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M2E Viktoria of Ashes
Viktoria of Ashes, Outcast Master
Table of Contents
Tactics and Tips
Leading a Crew
Strategies and Schemes
Building a Crew
Playing Against Viktoria of Ashes
The ultimate glass cannon, the Viktorias are melee monsters with some movement tricks to make sure they get there. No longer two master models, she still very much relies on the combination of herself and
Viktoria of Blood
being greater than the sum of their parts.
With a Wk of 5, a Cg of 8, and 3 AP a turn, she's no slouch at getting around by herself, but by no means is she the fastest character in Malifaux.
Utilising the Student of Conflict to cast (1) Sisters in Spirit further increases her range (by another 6"or so). This can be yet again further increased by having another sister take the Sisters in Spirit upgrade, giving you further access to (1) Sisters in spirit, however, generally Viktoria of Ashes would take this upgrade herself to allow her to assist the movement of Viktoria of Blood.
It's worth noting the way Sisters in Spirit plays. Because it's a place effect, you can place the target sister anywhere in base contact with the caster. It means that you can get a little extra range, by placing the target into base contact on the opposite side to where they originated. The other major benefit to this is that you can place Viktoria of Blood (for example) into the best possible position to charge.
The other major benefit to using Sisters in Spirit, is pulling Viktorias out of trouble. You can use it to remove a vulnerable Viktoria from melee, or even out of line of sight of a ranged threat. This extra movement control is possible the biggest factor in keeping the Viktorias alive, and delivering their wrath at the best time.
Offense is generally what the Viktorias do best.
Viktoria of Ashes has an often overlooked clockwork pistol, Sh: 6, with a decent damage spread is above average and can come in handy.
Her Masamune Nihonto is generally what does the work. Ml 7 with a built in mask makes triggering whirlwind relatively easy, and she has a good damage spread.
To further increase her effectiveness, Viktoria of Ashes has a few options available:
Her (0) East and West action gives her + attack flips whilst not within 6" of a friendly sister
The Synchronized Slaying upgrade gives her access to the (1) Sisters in battle spell to grant + attack flips
The Sisters in Fury upgrade (and spell of the same name) gives her access to +2 damage in Melee
The Mark of Shez'uul upgrade allows her melee attack actions to ignore armor, hard to wound, hard to kill and incorporeal.
As an added bonus, both Sisters in battle and Sisters in fury affect all friendly sisters in play, meaning you can have a number of sisters all dealing significant amounts of damage and hitting reliably.
(2) Dragon's Bite provides further movement and offense possibilities. For an 8 of any suit, you can place all friendly sisters within 6" of the target in base contact, then all of them get a (1) Ml action with + attack flips. With the potential for there to be 5 sisters on the table at once, in a perfect situation, that's a lot of attacks coming the way of a single model.
Viktoria of Ashes has well above average damage output on her own. It's when that damage output is combined with her twin Viktoria of Blood that the sisters really shine. They really excel at not only assassinating single models, but removing entire groups of models, and can really put crews that require bunching up on the back foot.
The boosting effect she has on her twin is also an amazing offensive threat:
(1) Sisters in Fury provides all sisters with +2 damage. (requires Sisters in Fury Upgrade)
(1) Sisters in Battle provides all sisters with + attack flips. (requires Synchronized Slaying upgrade)
Usually then (1) Sisters in Spirit moves Viktoria of Blood into position to charge (requires Sisters in Spirit upgrade)
Viktoria of Blood can then activate immediately (thanks to Synchronized Slaying). At this stage she preferably has fast, either from the Student of Conflict, or by using the Oathkeeper upgrade.
Viktoria of Blood can now use (0) The lonely path to gain + damage flips and then charge to more than 6" away from Viktoria of Ashes.
Viktoria of Blood is now in melee with 4 possible attack actions (2 from the Cg, Melee expert, and then her fast action). All of those attacks are at ++ attack flips, and + damage flips, doing up to 8 damage (potentially ignoring armour, hard to wound, hard to kill etc from Mark of Shez'uul)
Then there's the potential of triggering whirlwind to attack other targets if available.
Even the most resilient masters with a full soulstone cache will be sweating if they have a run in with a fully buffed Viktoria of Blood.
Df 5, 7 wounds and no damage reduction abilities (apart from soulstone use) means that even mid priced minion models have a good chance of killing Viktoria of Ashes outright.
Viktoria of Ashes resilience comes primarily from Fates Entwined. This rule means that whenever this model makes a healing flip, all other friendly sisters in play heal the flipped amount. Fortunately both Viktoria of Blood, and Vanessa have access to healing, and the Fates Entwined rule as well.
Viktoria of Blood heals the first time she kills a model during her activation, which happens quite frequently.
Vanessa has a (2) heal spell.
Add to this any healing from other sources (most commonly the freikorps librarian) and there's plenty of options to keep those wounds up.
A few other abilities and upgrades further increase Viktoria's resilience:
Fate's chosen gives her + flips to Wp and Df duels when she has 3 or fewer cards in her hand.
(0) Setting Sun provides +1 Df whilst within 2" of another friendly sister
The survivalist upgrade provides hard to kill and + healing flips
Sisters in spirit from either the Student of Conflict, or another sister with the upgrade can pull Viktoria out of a dangerous situation.
Viktoria of Bloods (2) Flight of the dragons, can also push all sisters away from a model that is threatening them, keeping them out of melee when necessary.
The other thing that really helps with Viktoria's resilience is her threat range. Given the access to movement tricks from sisters in spirit, she can often strike, or slingshot her twin Viktoria of blood, from a long way away, meaning you can keep her safe from threats and out of line of sight until ready to capitalize on opportunities.
With no real defensive abilities a decent soulstone cache is rather handy. Soulstones in a Viktorias crew can be seen simply as damage reduction flips. At least 4-5 soulstones would be recommended if only used for damage reduction. Unless you have some healing available, keeping the Viktorias as close to full wounds as possible is always a good idea, so if they take even a few wounds, damage reduction flips are a good thing to consider.
Keeping the sisters alive boils down to 3 things:
1. Keep them out of danger
. Sisters in Spirit and accomplice give you an amazing threat range, so you can keep the sisters behind terrain, out of range, or melee. there's no need to advance the sisters into the face of danger, with the movement available you can deliver a Viktoria from a long range, remove a threat, and be relatively safe. Accomplice allows you to do this without spending an activation with your fragile Viktorias out in the open. Once they're done, use sisters in spirit to pull them out of danger, and start removing the next threat.
. There's plenty of access to healing with the crew, and using it at the right times really increases the survivability of the twins. Apart from Viktoria of Blood's healing action, generally the healing choices come in two major models: The Freikorps Librarian and Vanessa.
The major differences in them are as follows:
Friekorps librarian has a (1) action heal, with a limited range. This means she needs to advance close behind the sisters, and can find them hard to keep up with. The Librarian is a soulstone cheaper than Vanessa, and can heal any model, so can support the entire crew. The librarian healing Viktoria of Ashes also interacts with Survivalist, gaining + healing flips.
Vanessa's heal spell is a (2) action, and can only target herself. Thanks to the fates entwined rule, anything she heals will also heal the Viktorias. The way this plays out allows Vanessa to stay back in relative safety and keep the other sisters alive. The down side to this approach is that it means you have an 8 soulstone model dedicated to just supporting the masters.
Alternatively you can advance her and use her as a solid mobile shooting platform that also heals the Viktorias. Vanessa being a sister also means that she synergizes with the other effects that can target sisters (sisters in spirit etc) so can situationally have more synergy than the Librarian.
3. Positioning and card control
. Fate's chosen means Viktoria of Ashes has + Df and Wp flips whilst you hold 3 or fewer cards. When you have 4 or more cards, Viktoria of Blood get's + Df and Wp flips. So maintaining your hand, or reducing your control hand size depending on which Viktoria is under threat can make a big difference.
Viktoria of Ashes (0) The Setting Sun gives all sisters within 2" +1 Df, but requires a sister to be within 2" of Ashes.
These 2 rules mean that you can usually activate the Viktorias late, sling Blood into something big and let her go to town. At the start of the following turn, she will have + Df and Wp duels, then you can pull her out with sisters in spirit + use (0) The Setting Sun to increase the defense of both Viktorias. Later in the turn Viktoria of Ashes is generally more survivable (with + flips) so you can be riskier with her... Up to a point.
Whilst keeping the Viktorias alive is normally a good thing, using them to make surgical strikes from safety is the best way. In the end, they have 7 wounds each, and will, in a lot of cases, die.
Giving up models without a good reason is never good, so don't throw the Viktorias away. But if they can ensure that the rest of your crew can achieve strategies and schemes, and risking them puts you in a better position to do that, it's an acceptable sacrifice. A lot of players resign themselves to the fact that Viktoria of Blood will die every game, and that she just needs to do as much damage as possible before that happens.
Viktoria of Ashes really benefits from some available upgrades, others... not so much:
Sisters in Spirit: Gives Viktoria of Ashes the ability to move a friendly sister within 6" into base contact with her. Primarily used for moving Viktoria of Ashes into position. This increases the threat range of the sisters dramatically. Highly recommended.
Synchronized Slaying: Gives access to Accomplice, allowing you to chain activate a model. The (1) Sisters in battle provides access to + attack flips. This increases the threat of the sisters and can help remove threats greatly. Highly recommended
Sisters in Fury: (1) spell to give sisters +2 damage. Increases the damage spread of the twins to 5/6/8. That can be rather scary for opponents. A good option.
Howling Wolf Tattoo: Mercenaries can flurry or rapid fire without discarding. Benefits Ronin, Convict Gunslingers etc. Also provides access to make a friendly minion a sister. This can come in handy to further utilize sisters in spirit, or (2) Dragon's Bite. Situational.
Mark of Shez'uul: If you are going to take this, it's better suited to Viktoria of Blood. Some would say it's mandatory for Viktoria of Blood.
Oathkeeper: Another activation point is never a bad thing. A good option.
Tally Sheet: Whilst extra cards can help, sometimes it actually decreases Viktoria's resilience, due to keeping her above the 3 card hand size taht allows her to gain + Df and Wp duels. Still extra cards are handy, and she tends to kill things. Not as much synergy as some others.
Survivalist: + healing flips and hard to kill really help with keeping Viktoria of Ashes alive, Can be good if you find Viktoria dying too early. A good option.
Traveller's Stone: Potentially increases Viktoria of Ashes Survivability, but is questionably more efficient than damage prevention. Questionable.
Sisters in Spirit and Synchronized slaying really help the "slingshot" style of play that the Viktorias really excel at. From there, it comes down to personal preference and available soulstones.
Tactics and Tips
Whilst Viktoria of Ashes is a scary prospect in her own right, she really excels at delivering and supporting Viktoria of Blood, who does the heavy lifting.
The slingshot of doom:
Maximum threat range requires:
Viktoria of Ashes + sisters in spirit
Viktoria of Blood + oathkeeper + scramble
Student of Conflict
Student activates, walks, uses sisters in spirit to move Viktoria of Ashes into base contact.
Viktoria of Ashes activates, uses sisters in spirit to move Viktoria of Blood into base contact, walks, slings Viktoria of Blood again.
Viktoria of Blood activates, uses Oathkeeper to gain fast, walks once, and Charges target, then uses melee expert (from being within LoS of Viktoria of Ashes) and whirlwind to remove threats.
Viktoria of Blood is now engaged with models up to 29" away with 3 attacks + bonuses from whirlwind.
This is the extreme version, and highlights the threat range that the Viktorias have. Often access to this kind of movement often leaves the Viktorias isolated from there crew and overextended. With only 7 wounds, this mistake can be fatal for a Viktoria.
Some ways to increase the effectiveness, but decrease the range involve giving Viktoria of Ashes sisters in spirit, syncronized slaying and sisters in fury. Then Viktoria of Blood can trade scramble for Mark of Shez'uul. This combination of upgrades means that you can chain activate Viktoria of Blood, and increases her damage potential dramatically.
The Viktorias really benefit from being activated late turn in most cases. This way your opponent has less options to react.
The other thing to consider is where the sisters are in relation to one another. A lot of their actions only work if they are more than 6" apart, others only work whilst they're within 2" of each other. Combine this with the fact that Sisters in spirit has a 6" range, and positioning becomes very important.
Card control is also important. Viktoria of Ashes gets defensive boosts for having 3 or fewer cards, whilst Blood gets boosts for having 4 or more. Knowing which sister is most in danger and managing your control hand accordingly can make the difference between keeping them alive and losing a Viktoria.
Understanding that in a lot of cases, there is a good chance the Viktorias, or at least one (usually Viktoria of Blood) will die during an encounter is important, Having a plan from the outset about what you want them to achieve before they are eliminated is essential. Usually this involves removing threats to allow your minions to achieve strategies and schemes.
In a normal game their actions (in a lot of cases) could be summarized:
Turns 1 & 2. The waiting game.
They hold back, whilst other models start looking to position to achieve strategies and schemes. During this time you should be identifying the biggest threats to your crew, and looking to tempt them out.
Turns 3 & 4. Wreck face.
From the safety of behind terrain, sling a Viktoria of Blood into the biggest nastiest thing on the board and watch her remove it. Then look to support her.
Turns 5+. Objective grab.
With the biggest threats removed, and hopefully with the Viktorias still alive, they can look at supporting the crew and helping achieve strategies and schemes. The movement available to them makes them ideal for dealing with a threat on one side of the board, then achieving an objective on the other the following turn.
Leading a Crew
Viktoria of Ashes does a few things very well:
Remove threats, generally in melee.
Increase the threat range and damage potential of her twin
Boost the damage effectiveness of her crew with melee expert and howling wolf tattoo.
Of those 3 options, arguably the most important is number 2. It's almost impossible to think about Viktoria of Ashes without considering her twin, since you will almost never see them apart, and they are at their best when they are supporting each other. Viktoria of Ashes and Blood excel at removing key threats: masters, henchmen and enforcers to allow the rest of your crew to achieve strategies and schemes. When the strategies and schemes involve killing models it's definitely a bonus.
Generally speaking though, the Viktorias are an offensive line, running interference and dealing with key models, to allow the rest of the crew to achieve objectives.
Strategies and Schemes
(General overview, then maybe specifics on what strategies/schemes are good and bad)
Building a Crew
(What sort of minions might or might not work well with the master, overall advice.
Playing Against Viktoria of Ashes
Kill them. Kill Viktoria of Blood at least. In all seriousness, the sisters will remove your crew at an alarming rate. But to do that, they have to be in melee, which means they are exposed. With only 7 wounds a piece, they drop really quickly. If you can remove Viktoria of Blood before she gets to pounce, all the better.
Understand that the Viks can get to where they want to go. So in most cases, you are not safe. Not even in your deployment zone.
If you can tempt a Viktoria player to overextend, to try and achieve a little too much, then it's an ideal opportunity. Be willing to sacrifice a key model. There isn't much that can match the damage output of a Viktoria, so if you sacrifice a mid-high Soulstone cost model to tie up a Viktoria, it can be surprisingly easy to then deal with them.
A game with the Viktorias across the table will often boil down to how well you force-feed them models they have to deal with. If the Viktorias are left to roam free; they will cut down your crew in no time. Instead, it is often great to create hard choices for them to make, and capitalize when they make mistakes. The latter will often result in the Viktorias' either getting killed, or putting you in place to score VPs.
Some other things that can really ruin a Viktoria's day:
Models that cannot be charged (such as
models) will slow down the Viktoria killing machine a great deal.
Take schemes like Frame For Murder, Plant Explosives, Spring the Trap. The Viktorias wants to get up close to you, and those schemes can be ease to plan for if you know that the Viktorias wants to come charging in.
The Viktorias' will try and punch you in the jaw early, keeping you on the backfoot while simply putting on the offensive pressure. Offence is there best defence. Plan for getting hit hard, and strike them back. Playing defensive against such fire power will often not work.
Models that can happily shoot into combat, preferably without randomizing, like the mercenary McTavish and Ramos.
Any Df triggers that cause them to be removed from melee or makes them lose AP. Things like Rasputina's trigger to end their activation, Zoraida's Regret trigger, or Squeel can thwart the best laid plans.
They suffer rather badly from even minor damage. Extra damage sources like Poison, or Burning will quickly add up. Masters like Pandora, Jack Daw, and McMourning can tailor their offence to fit that bill. The Guild Lawyer can cast its Fees-condition on the Blood Vik in order for it to take damage every time she deals damage.
Lots of Viktorias players bring along some extra healing, to help keep them alive. Dealing with those support pieces can make a Viktorias player hesitant to use the sisters to full effect. Vanessa and the Freikorps Librarian are the two most common sources for healing.
Models that can attack from afar can make life hard for the Viktorias. Sonnia, Wong, and Rasputina can order their own lines to block of charge lanes while they still happily shoots into any model, thanks to their ability to get blast markers. Lazarus is also threat for similar reasons.
The Resurrectionist upgrade
will shut down both healing and Soulstone-usage. Either could ruin the Viktorias' already soft defences, both is a nightmare.
The Outcast master Leveticus can kill either Viktoria with two attacks, while denying them the ability to use Soulstones. On top of that, under the right circumstances he will simply come back after being killed. So Viktorias' offence being the best defence approach is not going to be as effective against Leveticus.
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