Mechanical Rider, Arcanist Minion

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The Mechanical Rider is one of the 4 Horsemen of Malifaux (well, technically one of 5 now, with the advent of Twisting Fates).

The Mechanical rider upon her 'black steed' represents Famine - gaining power as time goes by and the enemy is "starved" of strength. By testament her steed is black and her weapon a pair of scales - and given she comes with a choice of ranged or Melee attacks (opposed to her fellow Riders), she can choose how to tip her attacks to her favor.

Players debate the inspiration of the Horsemen, whether based on the biblical Apocalyptic stories, or perhaps Baby Yaga’s horsemen servants. Whatever the case, the Mechanical Rider certainly feels like a character intent on conquering enemies and displaying its might and power. In the Malifaux game, the Mechanical Rider boasts good speed and maneuverability, solid attacking options, and if it survives till the later rounds of the game, can be quite difficult to kill.


The Mechanical Rider has the same Wk/Cg as the other 3 Riders, which grants it pretty good movement capability. Due to its Power Cycle ability (discussed more later), it gains (+1) Nimble and Pass Through during the first 2 turns of the game, and then (+1) Melee Expert during turns 3 and 4. So this effectively increases the movement capability by 50%, and gives the Mechanical Rider one of the longest threat ranges out of all 4 Riders. Nimble and Pass Through can be very helpful early in the game for getting the Mechanical Rider into position, or for performing a deep strike to pick off enemy models that have over-extended.

Mounted Combat also provides some nice movement options as this generates a Push, and not just a normal move. So, this ability can allow you to move away from enemies without a disengaging strike, and can allow for some neat tricks, like getting to an opponent’s model that is hiding behind its friends.



The Saber attack for this Rider is a solid option, with a 6 Cb and 3/4/5 Dg flip. No triggers are associated with this attack to start, but during the Full Power Stage of Power Cycle, she gains the Brutal trigger. And since she starts with one Tome in her Cb to start with, her minimum damage goes up to 4 or more, depending on how many Tomes you get in your total. Since she also gains (+1) Melee Expert during the Full Power Stage, and she has the (2) Flurry action available, she can make up to 4 attacks with some really good damage potential.

Mounted Combat is the other good option for melee attacks, as mentioned above, allowing the Mechanical Rider to push in and out of combat with your enemies. In either the Powering Up Stage or Full Power Stage, you have nice options for either a long range Mounted Combat attack (Nimble movement for 6” then Mounted Combat, for 16” total!). Or, you can use Mounted Combat to get close, engage an opponent, and then use Melee Expert when she is under the Full Power Stage. Not too difficult to deal out 8 Dg or more in a turn with these tactics.

Lastly under Melee, the Mechanical Rider has the Wicked ability, meaning that her Disengaging Strikes inflict damage, in addition to stopping an enemy model’s movement. This is an easy one to forget about, so be sure to remember it when engaged in melee combat. Again, combined with Mounted Combat and some of the other tricks, can make this model quite effective at tying up enemies and keeping them right where you want them.


The Mechanical Rider does have a ranged attack, and while the Cb is the same as the Saber, the damage is less. However, the Drag trigger on this weapon is the primary reason for using it, which causes the target to be pushed 4” toward the Rider after damage is dealt. This can be nice for things like pulling an opponent close so you can then use a Melee attack, or perhaps dragging an enemy model that is trying to engage one of your more fragile models.


The Riders in general seem to be somewhat difficult to keep alive sometimes. As they are large, high-cost models, they typically attract a lot of attention from your opponents, and it is worth learning how to keep them alive consistently.

While she does have 9 Wds, which is comparable to many other 8 SS cost minions, she only has a 4 Df. So this rather average Df statistic means that often times the hits will get through, and even if they do only minimum damage thanks to armor, Those 9 Wds can disappear quickly. This is especially true as many opponents will send their strongest pieces to kill a Rider due to the psychological threat they often pose.

Unfortunately, the Mechanical Rider has no inherent way to heal its Wds, but since it is a Construct, there are several options within typical crews to provide repair to fellow Constructs. So it is often a good idea to work something like this into your crew. Then you can do surgical strike type of maneuvers where the Rider goes out to make some attacks, then returns to get healed, and then repeats the cycle.


Thankfully, the Mechanical Rider does have Armor +1, and if you can get it into its Powering Down Stage, that goes up to Armor +4 total, with Hard to Kill as well, which can really help keep her alive.

Immune to Influence

Lastly, the Riders share a common trait of having the Immune to Influence ability, protecting them from opposed duels involving the Wp stat. In addition, being a Construct, means the Mechanical Rider is immune to Terrifying, and so rarely has to worry about Wp duels of any sort.

Tips and Tricks

The Power Cycle ability is the primary thing to be concerned with on the Mechanical Rider. This ability grants additional abilities to the Rider, but is dependent upon which turn of the game it currently is. Power Cycle works like this:

  • Powering Up Stage (Turn 1-2)
  • Full Power Stage (Turn 3-4)
  • Powering Down Stage (Turn 5 and later)

Remember that the Mechanical Rider only benefits from one stage at a time. However, the Rider does have a (0) action Spell called Power Manipulation which allows you to nominate a turn number either two higher or two lower than the current turn. This gives you some flexibility in controlling the Rider’s abilities. You only need a 4 or higher to cast the spell, so it is relatively easy to utilize, although it must be down before any other action during the Rider’s turn.

Learning when to effectively use which Power Cycle stage is the main thing you should learn for successfully using the Mechanical Rider.

Master-Specific Tips

The Mechanical Rider can be used in a crew with any of the Arcanist Masters, but it can also be included in a Guild crew led by C. Hoffman, or it can be hired by Leveticus since the Mechanical Rider is a Construct.


Since he is the Construct Master of the Arcanist faction, this is where the Mechanical Rider finds the most synergy within the Arcanists. Ramos can offer some nice options for healing the Mechanical Rider either through his Combat Mechanic spell, or through the Mobile Toolkit totem. Ramos' Arcing Screen spell also works quite well on this Rider if she is staying close by, giving her a total of 6 Df, and making her a very big deterrent for any opponents to get too close to Ramos himself. Lastly, since the Mechanical Rider is a Construct, and is a 50mm piece, it will drop 3 Scrap Counters if it is killed, which Ramos can then easily use for summoning Steampunk Arachnids or performing some of his other tricks.

Other Arcanist Masters

While the Mechanical Rider doesn't have any direct synergy with Rasputina, Colette Du Bois, or Marcus, any of those Masters may hire this model. There are still some interesting tricks which can be done like giving the Rider Frozen Heart and then Bite of Winter for extra damage, providing another high-speed long-range melee attacker for Colette's crews, or simply an additional beatstick for Marcus to utilize. In general, the Mechanical Rider's good movement capability makes it an ideal piece for many Strategies and Schemes. Most of these Masters do have options that are more suited to their particular crews, but it's always good to remember this Rider as a possibility.


At first it does not appear that there is much synergy between Leveticus and the Riders, but all you have to do is look at Leveticus, Avatar of Entropy from Twisting Fates to see why you would want to include the Mechanical Rider in a Leveticus crew. With the Mechanical Rider in play, Leveticus' Avatar form becomes much more potent, gaining (+1) Melee Expert and +1 Df, in addition to the fact that Avatar Leveticus heals Wds any time a Rider in his crew kills an enemy model. Unfortunately, the Mechanical Rider does not have much synergy with Leveticus before he manifests into his Avatar form. Since your opponent knows you are trying to manifest, they will likely attempt to kill the Riders as quickly as possible, so be sure to protect it well until you manifest and really start to create chaos.

C. Hoffman

The Mechanical Rider can be hired by Hoffman thanks to his Arcanist Ties ability. Again, the synergy here comes in the form of Hoffman's Combat Mechanic spell which can help heal the Rider when necessary. Also, the Mechanical Rider, particularly with (+1) Nimble during the Powering Up Stage, makes for a good Construct for Hoffman to hitch a ride with around the table. During the Powering Down Stage, if the Mechanical Rider stays close to Hoffman, he can utilize the Armor +4 for himself when he gets hit, which is quite nice. In addition, Hoffman can use (0) Assimilate on the Mechanical Rider to copy abilities based on which stage of Power Cycle the rider is currently in. Assimilating Hard to Kill can be quite nice at the end of game. Lastly, the Mechanical Rider can make for a very nice target for Hoffman's Override Edict spell, granting Reactivate to the Rider. This can allow some incredible movement across the table, or a stunning number of attacks per turn.

Minion-Specific Tips

The Mechanical Rider does not have any specific synergies with any other Minions within the game, but that does not mean it cannot work well with various other crews. The Drag trigger in particular can be very helpful for positioning an enemy where you want them, or drawing something into be hammered by some other big melee piece. In addition, there are countless ability combinations (like the Frozen Heart/Bite of Winter option listed above) which can be explored.

Playing Against the Mechanical Rider

One of the most important things to remember when facing the Mechanical Rider is its speed. Having access to (+1) Nimble or (+1) Melee Expert throughout the whole game, in addition to Mounted Combat, means she always has a minimum 10" threat range, with as much as 16". The Mechanical Rider will hit hard as well and do consistent damage. As noted above, it's 4 Df is its biggest weakness, and although it has Armor, you still only need 3-5 attacks total against it in most cases, depending on how much damage you do. So, as with many other high cost models, if you intend to start attacking it, you are better off focusing all your efforts on it for that turn, and be sure to finish it off. In many crews, if you leave it alive with only a couple Wds left, it will often use Mounted Combat to push out of engagement with your models, and run back to the safety of its own crew.

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