Von Schill, Outcasts Master

vonSchill.JPG

Overview

The client says what he wants, a price is set, job is done. That simple is the Freikorps business model. The leader of this formidable mercenary group is Von Schill, master of everything (okay, maybe except spellcasting). Schill has good to excellent stats, equally excels in shooting and melee, and last but not least very capable of buffing his troops. On top of that you can virtually never pin him down.


Mobility

While at a first glance Schill’s Wk of 5 doesn’t imply that he is a very mobile Master, the leader of the Freikorps is a formidable foe when it comes down to mobility. His main trick is the Augmented Jump Ability which lets him Charge when engaged and during any Charge movement Schill can ignore other models and terrain. (Remember: only Walk Actions provoke Disengaging Strikes, so enemy models won’t have a chance to stop him.)

The other ace in his sleeve is the Reposition Trigger that comes with his Clockwork Seeker Attack Action. This is more occasional since it requires a won Duel and a Mask to work, but when you really need to shoot AND move some (maybe to get out of LoS), you always have the option to use a Soulstone for the needed Suit.

Schill’s mobility could also be increased with the Scramble Upgrade.


Offense

Melee

Close quarters fighting is not a problem for Schill. Although his Jack Knife Attack has only 1” range but Ml 6 and the accompanying damage potential is quite solid. We shouldn't forget to mention that Armor doesn't matter here, but where it really starts to shine is the Trigger section.

Can Opener reduces the Df of the opponent permanently so it is useful even if you can’t finish the enemy in one activation. If Schill is going against a tough character make sure to use this Trigger during the first Attack. It will make your life much easier for the rest of the Activation.

The knife has a nice second Trigger: although Schill lacks the Rams in his basic Ml stat, using Critical Strike you can get +2 Damage on a crucial Attack with a high enough Rams and spending a Soulstone to get an extra Suit.

And you should never forget about Finish the Cur Tactical Action that is basically an order from Von Schill to finish a weakened (down to 1 or 2 Wd) opponent with an Ml Action. Since Schill can also target himself with this, he practically can get an extra Ml Attack against a properly damaged enemy.

Ranged

Although Von Schill lacks any kind of Ca Action, his gun can take care most of the problems. With an Rg of 12" and a healthy Sh 6 the threat range is quite formidable. The damage track starts at 3 which makes the Clockwork Seeker one of the most lethal ranged weapon in Malifaux. And the Attack ignores Hard to Wound. Beware, Resser scum!

Schill has an option to pump the lead all over the board at once but this Tactical Action is very costly (3 AP) and highly situational. More about this in the Tactics and Tips section.


Resilience

So far so good, right? But the real fun starts here. Von Schill is like a rock on steroids. Certainly he can be destroyed, but the opponent needs to put a horrible amount of effort into it.

Df 6 is no joke and his Wp is even better. Armor +1 mitigates the incoming harm so does the legendary Freikorps Suit. The later makes its wearer immune to any kind of damage that comes from a Pulse or Aura. Schill's resilience is also heightened by the fact that you can't lock him in melee. If things starts to get hot, he can simply Charge out of trouble with his backpack.

When his Wounds start to melt away he can heal up relatively easily. One straightforward method is the team's professional medic, the Freikorps Librarian. Her healing Action has a moderately long range and not that hard to pull off. Schill can take care of himself too, since his The Shirt Comes Off Upgrade lets him make a Healing Flip of 2/3/4. No matter from where it comes the healing can be greatly enhanced with the Survivalist Upgrade because Schill gains a [+] on all those Flips aaaand he also gets the very useful Hard to Kill Ability. If you bring the Steam Trunk with you, it can also assist with its (0) Actions that let you heal, get rid of Poison or Burning Conditions.

The above things combined with the potential Soulstone use makes Von Schill one of the hardest target to bring down in the game.


Upgrades

You will be in trouble when you have to choose Upgrades for Schill. Not because he doesn't have any good option, rather the opposite. He swims in charming alternatives and sadly you can only put 3 on him.

Prime time

  • Survivalist - We talked about this in the Resilience section. For a single SS this is a no brainer. Take it whenever you can!
  • Oath Keeper - This is all about getting Fast at the most needed moment. The extra AP could be used to crown critical offensive plans or in defence when you need to move Schill out of a dangerous position. And if you unfortunately lose Von Schill in the game without discarding this Upgrade you can at least place a Scheme Marker down.
  • The Shirt Comes Off! - This complements well with Survivalist with an option to get a 2/3/4 Healing Flip. That (0) Action also has a nice (attacking) side effect since every enemy model within 8" and LoS need to take a TN 12 Horror Duel. For 1 SS? Bargain!

Well worth to consider

  • Engage at Will - Using two different (0) Actions in a turn could be very useful for many Friendly models or even for Von Schill himself. Especially when you bring the Steam Trunk since it "loans" 3 different (0) Actions to nearby models. The Upgrade's Aura of effect is also quite large: that is 8" around Von Schill.
  • Scramble - When you need to move a lot in a game and/or the board is full of severe terrain areas this Upgrade will come very handy since it gives +1 to Wk and Cg, and also gives Unimpeded.

The rest of the Upgrades are highly situational but players should take a look at them too, because personal preferences and certain match-ups could justify the use of some of them. For example if you think that you will face a Terrifying-heavy crew, maybe Hard & Relentless has a place among the chosen ones.


Tactics and Tips

Managing Von Schill is not rocket science but you should pick your fights and actions carefully in order to get the most out of him. He is strong and agile but can go down facing a serious assault by a professional killer or two. You should also judge the importance of handling out buffs to the rest of the Crew versus going after a precious target with Schill Rambo style and thus leaving the slower models to their own.

The Freikorps bubble

Von Schill has a good influence on other Freikorps models' performance thanks to the always active A Legend to Live Up To Ability. Within 6" and LoS all models gain +1 to their already high Wp and a sort of Hard to Kill. Here we need to underline that this later effect works like the mentioned Ability but the models don't actually get Hard to Kill. This is important because certain Attacks (like Joss' Arc Axe) can ignore Hard to Kill, but those Attacks can't bypass Von Schill's inspiring presence. Schill has also upgrades that can hand out positive effects to a similar range so usually that is a good idea to try to move and position most of the Crew members around the Master in a tight circle in order to maximize the effect of these buffs. Minions can go upfront to hold the line while important support models like the Freikorps Librarian should remain in the backfield.

Fast as lightning

Von Schill excels at picking his battles and this can be enhanced even more when he has the option to get Fast (either from Oath Keeper Upgrade or the Student of Conflict). For example without that option Schill can "only" move 5 and Charge a target within 8+1" (Cg + range of the knife). With Fast the initial 14" threat range grows to 19" which is a huge difference on a 36x36 board. Or alternatively he can Charge someone within 9" first and when he finishes his 2 Attacks hop over the next target who could be (at best case) within 17" of the starting position. Most of the time threat is more devastating than an actual attack. So if you bought the Upgrade, take your time and don't waste it at the first opportunity just to have another shot on a cheap model in an irrelevant place.

Charge all night long

Never ever forget that Schill can Charge when engaged! This means even if your are more than 1" away from an enemy but within his engagement range you can still Charge him (or anyone else) without a problem. The Augmented Jump Ability can also be used if your are within 1" of your intended target. If you plan to land at least 2 Attacks on it then you can use Charge to position Schill around the target and still hit it 2 times. Remember, you can even move to the other side of the model through it as long as you remain within engagement range since Schill's Charge movement ignores terrain and models.

Finish him!

Always plan with Finish the Cur Tactical Action! As it was stated earlier Schill can target himself with that for an extra Attack. This must be taken into calculation during the whole Activation since good foresight can change the fate of the battle. For example Schill is engaged with a model on 5 Wd who must die but only 1 AP and the 0 Action left. Since Jack Knife has a minimum damage of 2 you can maximize your chances if you use a Soulstone to get the Critical Strike trigger on the last normal Attack. In this case the minimum damage goes up to 3 so the enemy will go down at least to 2 Wd. Voila, you can now use Finish the Cur - and not counting the appearance of a Black Joker, the enemy model most probably will be removed from play.

Shooting star

While on paper the Stand and Shoot Action looks fearsome it will be a rare opportunity when it would worth the 3 AP investment. First Schill needs at least 4 reasonable targets to even consider this and even then if most of the models in sight have some kind of Cover then you will need Soulstones to get a [+] compensating the Cover handicap. Since this Action eats Schill's all AP allotment in an Activation he must start in a perfect place to use it and usually the opponent won't assist in this with leaving his models in vulnerable places. However if Schill gets Fast for a turn then the chances are much better. In this case you can move 5" and position Schill so that he can get as much models as possible in a whirlwind of gunshots. Worth to keep this in mind.


Leading a Crew

From the leader of the Freikorps you would expect that he works well with those models - and you would be right. The A Legend to Live Up To Ability buffs all Freikorps model, Hannah can copy Schill's (0) Actions and in general the Freikorps has solutions to almost any task. So if you want to remain "in theme" you don't have to sacrifice anything on the altar of efficiency. This doesn't mean that hiring something else then Freikorps is a bad choice. For example if you go against a summoner heavy Resurrectionists team then Taelor is a viable option.

Among the Totems there is only two real contenders: the Steam Trunk is used mostly in attrition type mission where extra healing and Condition removing stuff works wonders, while the costly Student of Conflict brings the more than valuable Fast buff on the table which can be given to any other model nearby, in case Von Schill would be out to hunting somewhere in the distance.

List of Freikorps models


Masters

Henchmen
  • Hannah - She is relatively tough with Armor, Freikorps Suit, Counterspell to deny or make it much harder to pull off Ca Attacks and Nether Flux that strips important Suits from the enemys' Characteristics. She is on a 50mm base and has Ht3 so she can block LoS to friendly models and with her 3" Ml reach she can lock down a large territory. Good for board control and defensive type missions. She can also use Von Schill (0) Ca Actions so you can use Finish the Cur twice in a turn.
  • Anna Lovelace

Enforcers
  • Freikorps Specialist - Burn, Baby, Burn! The Specialist is quite slow and his Flammenwerfen has a short(ish) range but it can ignore Cover. Aside from burning through the enemy ranks he has many handy options like getting rid of Corpse and Scrap Markers (good thing to have against most of the Ressurectionists and some Arcanists Crews), removing Slow and Paralyze from multiple Friendly models or even discarding Scheme Markers with the proper Trigger on Flammenwerfen. When he dies he leaves a nice Burning +2 Condition on others within 3".
  • Freikorps Librarian - We mentioned her already multiple times. She can use her Healing Energy Action twice in a Von Schill (Outcasts) crew but please note that Furious Casting don't let you use it 3 times since the healing is not an Attack Action. On the other hand you can use it with Ancient Words which is a quite decent ranged and melee Attack Action in itself.
  • Lazarus - Highly durable thanks to its 10 Wd and Armor +2. Lazarus probably won't need the Hard to Kill(-like) protection from Shill but backed with a Librarian it could be a pain to get rid off it for the enemy. Place it in center position and you will have awesome board control.
  • Strongarm Suit - Like a mini-Von Schill: can Charge out of combat, hits like a huge hammer and has excellent resilience. His Charge Up Action can be used to tailor his performance according to the situation. A good all-around model but unfortunately his price is quite high so you need to leave other models at home when you opt for him.

Minions
  • Freikorps Trapper - Relatively cheap, excellent model focused on ranged combat. With From the Shadows you can place him in a good spot at the start of the game and pepper the enemy with annoying long ranged shots. While he automatically gets [+] Flip on his rifle his Sh is only average so high Df models can be a pain to hit when the opponent has a good Hand.
  • Freikorpsmann - The standard men-at-arms role in the Freikorps doesn't mean the Freikorpsmann would be a below average piece. They are cheap, have decent statline and can sustain some hits before going down (especially within Von Schill's protecting Aura). They are also quite agile with Wk 5 and Unimpeded. When the Strategy or Schemes call for a numerous Crew, you can't go wrong with bringing some Freikorpsmann.

Please note: although the Steam Trunk is Schill's dedicated Totem, it is NOT a Freikorps model. So it doesn't get the buffs aimed for Freikorps but it is a good toolbox for the rest of the Crew. If you hire it make sure that there is a relatively safe spot (behind a forest or a building) somewhere around the center where you can anchor it down and use its potential with the others.

Strategies and Schemes

As the Freikorps is an elite mercenary group, they especially shine in those Strategies and Schemes where durability and hitting power is more important than sheer numbers or quick position changes.

Turf War - Most probably the best one for Schill. Here the combat takes places in the center where he can use the Freikorps bubble to put up a tough resistance.

Reconnoiter - The opposite of Turf War since it requires much maneuvering and Schill can't protect his Crew all over the board. The disadvantage can be mitigated with more cheap Minion models but it won't be easy even then.

Reckoning - Having good ranged threat and tough Enforcers to choose from, Schill is very good at this sport. Kill and survive could be the motto of the Freikorps.

Squatter's Rights - This one is also not that bad since the middle of the centerline could be occupied easily with Schill and the other models so the opponent need to divide his forces to get the last 2 Markers or mount a frontal assault against the dreaded Freikorps bubble.

Stake a Claim - The Strategy only comes up on Jokers so it is a rare guest on the boards. Luckily for Schill since this one requires many models with good speed and/or placement tricks - something that most of the Freikorps models lack.

Schill's hiring options are versatile enough to tailor his force around the required tasks so he can deal with most of the Schemes. He especially loves a few ones that need aggression or resilience like Entourage, Vendetta, Make Them Suffer or Murder Protege.

Building a Crew

Here are just a few examples of possible lists.

Balanced, versatile

As the title says: this is a good all-around setup with options to perform almost any kind of task. You won't fight an extremely uphill battle if you opt for this, especially when you can't guess the composition and style of the enemy, or the Strategy and Scheme pool consists too different kind of missions.

Outcasts Crew - 50 - Scrap
Von Schill -- 6 Pool
+Oath Keeper [1]
+Survivalist [1]
+The Shirt Comes Off [1]
Hannah [10]
+Oath Keeper [1]
Student of Conflict [4]
Freikorps Librarian [7]
Freikorps Specialist [8]
+Oath Keeper [1]
Freikorps Trapper [6]
Freikorpsmann [5]

Elite

This is a good way to go when the tasks require hard hitting, durable models but not too much movement or body count. With Von Schill, the Strongarm Suit, Lazarus and the Specialist on the frontline and two Librarians to heal at the back this is a very hard nut to crack for the opponent.

Outcasts Crew - 50 - Scrap
Von Schill -- 5 Pool
+Oath Keeper [1]
+Survivalist [1]
+The Shirt Comes Off [1]
Strongarm Suit [10]
+Oath Keeper [1]
Lazarus [10]
Freikorps Librarian [7]
Freikorps Librarian [7]
Freikorps Specialist [8]

Sniper squad

A kind of fun list for the enthusiasts of (long) ranged combat. This could work when the board has many good, long firing lanes and when the opponent needs to play more actively on the centerline or even beyond, at your half of the table. Since you can just position your models in good firing places and wait for them to come into your reticle.

Outcasts Crew - 50 - Scrap
Von Schill -- 6 Pool
+Oath Keeper [1]
+Survivalist [1]
Student of Conflict [4]
Freikorps Librarian [7]
Freikorps Trapper [6]
Freikorps Trapper [6]
Hans [8]
+Oath Keeper [1]
Lazarus [10]
+Oath Keeper [1]


Playing Against Von Schill

Playing against Von Schill is easy and very hard at once. Easy because most of his and his Crew's Abilities, Actions are quite straightforward, therefore you can guess fairly accurately what you should anticipate. On the other hand Von Schill is a beast in combat and can go wherever he wants. He can easily attack your back ranks with a surgical Charge attack, so you need extra care to look for your key models - and even then he would kill them if he really wants that. Since Schill and the Freikorps in general has excellent resilience and awesome healing potential you should not spread some damage here and there around the board. You must concentrate your fire and kill whatever you can in one go. Most of the time it is a mistake to go out for the hide of Schill but if you really want that make sure to wipe out any Freikorps Specialist around. Since Schill has good Df, awesome Wp, Armor, Soulstone prevention option and damage from Blasts and Pulses doesn't harm him you need to look for other kind of weapons against him. For example handing out Slow or Paralyzed is always a good way to go.


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