Mr. Graves, Neverborn/Ten Thunders Dual Faction Enforcer


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Overview

A dual faction model with high resilience, decent damage and the ability to control an area; Graves can find something to do in almost any list. Equally viable in either a Ten Thunders or Neverborn list Graves excels at guarding a vulnerable master like Lucius or Lynch, and at forcing your opponent to change their game plan by sitting him in a key area of the board. With neither ranged attacks nor ranged abilities, Graves is at his best when getting stuck in in the middle of the action.


Mobility

Graves isn’t particularly fast, but he’s not slow either. A Wk of 5 and Cg of 6 mean that while he’s perfectly capable of getting into decent positions he won’t be able to do any scheme-running; although with his other skills and attributes scheme-running would be a bit of a waste.

The only movement trick Graves has is the Show Ya the Door attack action that’s covered in the offense section below. It’s worth remembering that you can use Show Ya the Door on a friendly model to push them 6” and have graves push into base-to-base with them, increasing his movement by about an inch.


Offense

Graves is most at home in the thick of the action, while he may lack any ranged attacks his melee abilities are dangerous both in terms of damage inflicted and board control. Graves has two attack actions that can be used in melee; Fence Post and Show Ya the Door.

Fence Post is (1) Ml strike with average accuracy and range which inflicts a fairly high amount of damage. Crushing Strike is triggered with a ram and gives a positive flip to the damage flip which can be incredibly useful if you’re trying to dispatch a tough enemy. The other trigger Your Fight Is With Me is very situational, improving a friendly Mr Tannen’s survivability by allowing him to keep the Manipulative ability even after he has activated.

Show Ya The Door is another (1) Ml action, that revolves around board control rather than damage dealing. After successfully pulling off this attack, Graves pushes the target model up to 6” away and then moves into base to base contact with the target. With a ram the And Stay Out! trigger allows you to take a Fence Post attack for free. This attack is really useful for moving models out of engagement range of more vulnerable models, taking a buffing or support model away from their entourage or if you’re able to get the trigger, keeping Graves moving as he takes down his target. You can also take this once-a-turn action against a friendly model, which is great at getting an aggressive model like the Hungering Darkness into combat as soon as possible.


Resilience

To put it simply, Graves is great at tanking. An uninspiring Df is offset by 9 Wounds, Hard to Kill and Armor +1 meaning that if your opponent is going to eliminate him, they’re really going to have to commit to it. That said, while he can go toe-to-toe with most models, sending him up against a melee master, like Lady Justice, is probably not going to end well. His Black Blood ability adds a little bit more to his defence as your opponent might think twice about engaging him in Ml because of potential splash damage.

Keeping the Peace is a handy (0) Tactical Action which only needs a 5 mask to pull off. It makes enemy models in the vicinity of Graves have to take a TN 13 Wp duel if they want to declare a charge. While this helps stop Graves from being charged, it is far more useful when in area control or bodyguard mode as it can be fantastic at stopping other models from being charged.


Upgrades


Ten Thunder upgrades

Servant of 5 Dragons: The increase in Wp doesn’t really benefit Graves very much as he won’t be using his Wp all that often thanks to being ruthless. The Cleanse the Earth ability can improve his area control game as it allows you to discard scheme markers within 3” when you discard this upgrade which could in some cases be the difference between winning or losing. It’s definitely not a must, but if you have a spare Soulstone and are planning on board control it could be a wise investment. If you're using Cleanse the Earth you have to discard this upgrade at the beginning of the activation, so it needs so it really needs some planning to be effective.

Recalled Training: Getting a positive on every flip for a turn can turn the course of a game if used in the right setting. The question mark over this upgrade is how sure you can be that Graves will have the chance to make the positive flips for a turn worth spending a Soulstone on. Because he’s going to be in the thick of it more often than not, being able to improve all his flips for a turn could be very helpful, but with the upgrade he’s going to be costing 9 Soulstones, so you have to be sure you can make him worth the extra investment.

Neverborn Upgrades

Pact: For one Soulstone this model is able to cheat fate when you flip a Black Joker. The biggest consideration here is how often is that going to really make a difference? Before paying for this upgrade play a few games and work out how many times on average you get the Black Joker coming up in a situation you can normally cheat in, and then divide this number by the average number of models in the crew. Depending on the crew and the way you play, it’s likely this upgrade will only get used once every few games at the most and for one Soulstone it doesn’t really justify itself. In a Lynch crew that’s cycling through the cards quickly with quite a low model count it could be more useful, but there are still probably better ways to spend that stone.

Nexus of Power: This upgrade allows Graves to support the Master and Henchman of his crew to good effect. It allows them to heal 1 damage when they use a Soulstone if they are within 6” of this model. If you’re using Graves in the role of bodyguard it can be a really useful addition. Remember, this upgrade doesn't have any effect if the Soulstone was spent on a damage prevention flip.

Retribution's Eye: A solid upgrade that let's Mr. Graves' Fence Post ignore armor and also bypass defensive triggers for a turn if you discard it. A very good option if you're taking Graves as a trouble-shooting melee model, as it expands the range of models he can effectively threaten. Bear in mind it's Rare 1, so you might prefer it on a more directly offensive enforcer if you're taking one.

Useless Duplications: This upgrade can help Mr. Graves protect other mimics as well as himself. It's particularly useful if he's going to be carting Mr. Tannen or another vulnerable mimic and as long as you have the cards to discard it can make him even more survivable in melee. Many mimics can carry this upgrade, so who gets it takes some deciding. Graves is nice as he's height 3, so drawing line of sight to him is easy for the first ability.


Tactics and Tips


Graves does well in a few different roles; bodyguard, beat-stick, and area control.

Bodyguard: Using graves to accompany a slightly less resilient master like Lynch can work to good effect. Being able to obstruct charges with either his 40mm base or the Keeping the Peace tactical action means melee focused opponents can have quite a lot of trouble getting engaged with your master. When things get too hot Show Ya the Door can either be used to get the master out of trouble (avoiding disengagement strikes if engaged) or to remove the source of the threat. Nexus of Power has good synergy with this role as it can help a friendly Soulstone user top up their wounds.

Beat-stick: Although he’s not the hardest hitting model around, Graves can survive in the thick of it putting out respectable levels of damage for a fair few turns before he goes down. If your crew is lacking a beat-stick there are definitely worse choices than Mr. Graves. Recalled training and Retribution's Eye are upgrades chich play to this role the most.

Area Control: Tied into the beat-stick role, graves is very good at occupying a vital area of the board and making the opponent have to alter their game plan. Show Ya the Door is great for moving models out of key areas, and Graves’ resilience should mean he can withstand a bit of pressure. Servant of 5 Dragons is a decent upgrade in this role as it allows Graves to get rid of makers in a decent size area. Keeping the Peace is good at limiting the amount of charging and assaulting your opponent can do in or through this area too, and as a (0) action should never be forgotten.

Mr. Graves has some obvious synergy with Mr. Tannen, the trigger on the Fence Post attack makes Tannen a bit more survivable, while Tannen’s This One is Yours let’s Graves close down on his targets quicker. Bear in mind that while it may look like Tannen has to activate first to get the most from Your Fight is With Me that's not actually true, so you should be declaring it any time you don't use crushing strike.



Master-Specific Tips

Lucas McCabe can help out Mr. Graves with his bouncing duties. The Badge of Speed can give Mr. Graves nimble, helping him move in and start swinging. It means that Graves can also walk toward an enemy, charge, then Show Ya the Door twice, effectively moving a maximum of 25" in one activation. This can really surprise someone who intended to have their master up in the front of the battle, only to find them back on the edge of the board with Mr. Graves standing watch over them.

Mr. Graves also likes the Elixir of Life. He is already pretty hard to put down, but having Regeneration +2 can really keep him going. It is really embarrassing to drop Mr. Graves to 1 wound due to Hard to Kill, only to have him activate and heal 2 wounds. It also gives him Unimpeded, which makes moving him around very easy. If he does Shows Ya the Door on a friendly model, then that model can start moving out of any terrain that he was in at the end of the push, effectively making Mr. Graves a nice little taxi service.

Finally, Mr. Graves is very good with Recalled Training. Putting him next to whoever has the Promises upgrade can give him a quick and easy bonus for a turn or two, until he goes off on his own. Once he moves away from the Promises aura, Mr. Graves can discard Recalled Training to keep up his consistent hitting for another turn.


Playing Against Mr Graves


Graves can be very awkward to play against, he doesn’t go down easily and is often found in very awkward positions. The best advice, as always, with resilient, expensive models is that wherever you can afford to ignore him you should just stay out of his way. If you do have to go through him, while a few high damage attacks can take him out in a few turns, his Armour +1 and Hard to Kill mean pineboxing, pushing, paralysing or slowing him can be a wiser option than trying to kill him.


Ownership
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