Dealing with Ranged Crews


Overview

If you are reading this, chances are you are a beginning Malifaux player. You have probably picked up a Crew Box because you liked the look of. Someone in your play group did the same thing. You started your first match and you were utterly destroyed by turn 2. And now you worry about the game's balance and/or if you picked a sub-par crew.

Alternatively, you are an experienced player with a few matches under your belt. And now this greenhorn marches in, with his new unpainted crew no one in your group plays. And that greenhorn blasted you from the table and you doubt your sanity or something.

This is a small guide on how to deal with ranged crews. Since similar questions were asked repeatedly in the forums, I thought collecting the answers in one place might make for a useful resource for new players. Normally, these questions are about a single Master that gives people grieve. Often, it's Perdita Ortega. Also often, it's Rasputina. Sometimes, it's other Masters, too. And almost always, the problems would have been similar if one of the other ranged Masters would have been on the other side of the table. So, I'll first talk about ranged crews in general, and then about some specific Masters. This is not a guide on how to beat ranged crews handily. I give in to the wishful thinking that the game is perfectly balanced and that winning doesn't come down to ranged or not ranged but gaining victory points. This guide should turn the game into a tactically challenging experience for both players.


Be a Good Sport

Step 1: Be a good sport about it. This is my inner psychologist talking but especially if your opponent is learning the game, he doesn't want to hear how overpowered his crew is and that his victories are tainted by insufferable cheese. Furthermore, don't rant at him for bringing such a crew in the first place. Hurt feelings don't help anyone. Instead, talk about it and ask him for his opinion. Most people don't like winning too easily any more than losing that way. Now, if you ask yourself ”What is the condescending git talking about? Who would do such a thing?“, you didn't need this first step, which is an admirable trait.


Terrain Use

Step 2: Check your terrain. If you come from other games like Warhammer or Warmachine, chances are you are used to way too little terrain. Check the wiki for some tips on terrain

This is the most important step for bringing your games up to balance. Too much terrain and the ranged crew will be at a disadvantage, to little and it's the other way around.


Terrain Knowledge

Step 3: Now that the terrain is properly placed you should have a good look at it. Watch for fire corridors. For sniper positions. Regard the table from all sides so you aren't surprised by some window you didn't see. Most ranged crews will let you deploy your models first, either for From the Shadows, or just to see where you will go. Choose the side that will grant good cover or where the ranged crew will have to move before they get good lines of sight. In short, know your battle field and don't walk into a shooting range.


Prepare for Loss

Step 4: Be prepared to lose stuff. Ranged crews do their damage before the melee starts. It's only natural. Often, your opponent will play a mind game where he tries to kill an important model Turn 1 so you are too scared to come for him. If this brings him another turn of shooting it's worth the investment. Don't fall into this trap. Keeping your distance will not keep you safe. Clinging to your models will make you vulnerable to this psychological warfare.

Many ranged models are severely hampered if they are in melee. Double walking into melee can be worth it even if you can't attack. It will keep the shooters busy and your other models can come out of cover to line up charges. Be prepared to lose that tar pit model, as well.


Identify

Step 5: Identify lynchpin models and take them out. In short, know your enemy. Read his cards. If you get beaten, call for a rematch. In most crews, some models are keeping the crew together: They have an important bonus or guard the sniper or can get others out of melee. These have to die… the faster the better.


Be Prepared

Step 6: Don't bring a knife to a gun fight. If you know the opponent will shoot (if he declared Gremlins or Guild, and probably Outcasts, as well, or if you know him and he just prefers shooting) bring some anti-shooting tech. Many factions have some models who can generate cover or block line of sight. The latter thing is generally best, but cover or similar abilities seriously hamper the damage potential of shooters.


Play for VP

Step 7: Okay, now comes the obligatory, but ultimately best advice: Play your Strategy and Schemes. Malifaux is a game about victory conditions. Theoretically, you should choose your crew for the victory conditions and the faction of your opponent. This is skewed normally for beginners, as they only have one or two crews and normally know what their opponent has, as well. But the game is not won by killing the most models or the enemy Master. It's won by keeping your goals and the goals of the opponent in mind all time. Deny your opponent his victory points while playing for yours. If the opponent has to come to your half of the table, wait for them to do so, for example. It will save you walking into the gun line.


Ownership
This Page is based on work by forums user Dirial
Unless otherwise stated, all names and images on this site are property of Wyrd Miniatures, LLC. (Link)