M2E Marcus, Arcanist MasterMarcus.png

Overview

Marcus, the Beast Master, is almost the definition of utility. His ability to hire beasts from any faction allows him to truly tailor his force based on the Strategy, available Schemes, and Terrain lay out. His base abilities (before Upgrades) make him more of a buffer/debuffer, but his Upgrade choices allow him to choose between being more of a support master or to be more of a work horse for the crew. He can function as a one man team: he can hit hard and move fast, or he can assume a more defensive, supportive position and allow his beasts to carry much more of the burden. With the rebirth of many beasts which have become much more survivable, games that require killing and/or attrition are much more attainable for a ‘Beast Master’ list.


Mobility

Good movement with a nice long Cg with a 2" weapon and Unimpeded means he can get where he wants to go, even without some type of ‘hyper-movement’.

Add his Trail of the Gods Upgrade and you can push his Wk to an 8. He can cover a massive amount of ground.
Alternatively, his Gods Domain will allow him to charge for a (1) Action. Careful placement of models can allow you to use this to move 3x his charge with this upgrade as well, hopefully with 2 attacks at the end of the movement against an enemy model. You can charge your own models, but you will have to be prepared to either cheat or hurt your own crew as you can't choose to automatically fail as an attacker.


Offense

His base attack isn't very impressive. He has an above average Ml of 6 and a 2" range. The main use for this attack is his trigger. With a Tome, he can turn the target into a Beast which keys off of so many of his other abilities.

His upgrades can turn him into a much greater melee threat. Gods Domain has the possibility of adding [+] flips to both attack and damage, and allows charges to happen as a (1) Action. Trail of the Gods can add melee expert and +2 damage.


Resilience

Again, base Defense isn't very impressive. He does have a nice chunk of wounds though, so he can absorb some punishment.

His slightly newer version of Defend Me is awesome in that he can actually turn an enemy into a beast and shunt damage off on them. Giggle with glee as you target a high cost enemy right in the middle of the enemy crew and just stay there. Obviously this doesn’t work as well against crews that have lots of movement tricks like Lure and such, or against crews that can remove Conditions, but it’s fun watching them try to figure out how to get at Marcus.

Again, Upgrades can boost him defensively.

Actions

Not really an Action, but Accomplice deserves a mention here. Marcus can set up a debuff on an enemy or buff a friend and then allow a friend to activate immediately after Marcus finishes to take advantage of the set-up. Also incredibly nice if you put Darzee’s Chaunt (below) on said beast before they go…..it allows the beast to hit hard, while good positioning can limit the potential danger coming back at it.

His base card comes with one (0) Action, Darzee's Chaunt. This is a buff or debuff depending on where and when you use it. It's a ranged spell that he can cast only on a beast and it gives a [+] flip on attack and damage, but also inflicts a negative two flip on all Defense Duels. This is best used later in the turn after some things have already activated. If he casts it on an enemy that has already activated, there is no danger of receiving the enhanced attacks, but that model is in severe danger with the debuffed defense. Casting it on a potent melee beater is a great set-up for an attack run, but you have to make sure to mitigate whatever is coming back at it because it'll be a sitting duck. Unfortunately, since it's an attack action, Marcus can't cast it on himself.

Aside from his Shillelagh attack he has one other (1) Action, Law of Meat. This is a serious debuff spell. No beast keyword required for this one, can be cast at range, is resisted by Wp, but with a very high Ca stat, Marcus can force it through if he wants. It does require a suit though, so you'll want either the card or you'll need to burn a SS for it. A model hit by it is not allowed to make charges, and if engaged the only thing they can declare are Walk actions.......so no pushing out of combat, no attacks, Walk only. It is very powerful against melee types that want to charge, not as good against a shooter unless you can engage them....fortunately there are many fast models in a standard Marcus crew (or Marcus himself) that can get there....and Accomplice could let them go right away.

His final base-card Action is the (2) Action, Alpha. It can only be cast on a beast and requires a suit, but can be cast at range...also Wp resisted. It gives the model basically a free Activation that Marcus controls completely...and it happens as soon as Marcus' current Activation ends. This is great on a friend as they can choose to fail the resist and they get to go twice, but also good on an enemy that you could either setup for something (like walking the enemy master into range for a Spring the Trap scheme.....or an Assassinate run), or getting the enemy out of position to do anything beneficial, or having them do bad things to members of their own crew. Alpha is situational. It counts as a Chain so he can’t use Accomplice after it and Alpha being a (2) limits your ability to shut down counter attacks (via Law of Meat). This is a very versatile action, whether it's giving a scheme runner an extra activation, getting your heavy-hitter to attack again, or taking control of an enemy model to mess with your opponent's plans. (Special note here must go out to those models who can Sacrifice themselves, such as Myranda, Ramos and Lucas McCabe) Do consider whether Marcus can put those 2 AP to better use himself rather than giving them to a hireling.

Upgrades

The Hunger Cry: I’m always going to consider this Upgrade when facing Rezzers or Neverborn just for the +2 Wp for my own crew. Unfortunately, Marcus does not gain this benefit. I will also consider it if I design my crew specifically for it. Howl is great for helping to cast several of Marcus’ spells…..and there are a few beasts with Terrifying, so it basically bumps that by 2…..combined with someone having the Pack Leader Upgrade to allow bonus attacks from failed Wp Duels is a nice combo. I’d also consider it using it if I wanted to run a few Canine Remains because their trigger can turn things into beasts for the rest of the game.

Feral Instincts: Not really high on my list, this is usually the first one I drop if in a dilemma about what to take. Instinctual is nice if I’m playing more supportive since I could use this card’s Feral to turn an enemy into a beast then de-buff them from a distance. If Alpha still counted as the model’s activation for the turn I might consider this Upgrade more often.

Trail of the Gods: This is the one-man team Upgrade. +3” Wk gives Marcus incredible range for running objectives. 4 Weak damage is a killer…especially against Hard to Wound models. And of course who doesn’t like Melee Expert? This card is an Auto-take if you want Marcus running around killing things or chasing objectives.

The God’s Domain: This is the support Upgrade. This is an excellent match with The Hunger Cry. Marcus can use Domesticate, then charge in for 1 AP and still have AP to smack someone else around. He doesn’t do as much damage, but he has a better chance of hitting and triggering Primal so all of those models are pretty heavily de-buffed….excellent if the enemy likes to bunch up. Regeneration and a 7 Df make Marcus very survivable also. This allows him to not worry so much about moving to a defensive position or killing a foe before being killed.......therefore being free to spend his AP to de-buff the enemy to give his team an easier time.

The God's Path: The third Limited upgrade, added in book five. This one focuses on making Marcus a bit of a deadly tarpit when used alongside Law Of Meat, while also augmenting his support capabilities. Wicked is pretty nice to have by default, and +1 Ca from Secrets Of The Owl is just fantastic - this will probably be the one you'll be choosing each turn, since it turns his buff/debuff spells up a notch to the point where most models will find themselves having to cheat a high card to avoid them. Law Of Meat with Ca 8 - even the feared Pandora will struggle not to get locked down by that if you have a high card to throw at it! The other two options are fairly neat too - +2 Armor from Resilience Of The Turtle can help to keep Marcus alive while he's on the front lines, and Wrath Of The Wolverine combos nicely with Wicked to make Marcus a more dangerous tarpit.
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Venomancy: Does what is says on the tin, and tries to make Marcus a bit more Poison focused. The additional trigger to his Shilleligh attack is nice, though it competes with the other trigger to turn the target into a Beast (and, subsequently, be vulnerable to Marcus's various Beast-only spells). It also gives Marcus an aura which increases the damage taken from Poison, though he's still lacking a Sebastian-esque model to force multiple instances of Poison per turn. Leans heavily towards building the crew around Poison to support him - so models like The Scorpius, Razorspine Rattlers and Performers.

The others: I would consider most of the other Arcanist Upgrades. Arcane Reservoir speaks for itself. Pack Leader is nice, but I usually put it somewhere else. Imbued Protection is nice when combined with the Trail of the Gods to give him more protection while he’s beating people up, and I suppose some people will give it to him with the Domain to make him Df 8, but 7 is enough for me.

Recharge SS is situational…. and sadly a bit dependent on the enemy crew. Depending on how you like to run Marcus, it can be quite a good addition to him if you prefer melee-focused Marcus.

Imbued Energies. There are 2 powers from this upgrade. The first lets you gain 4 cards when the model is killed. Its not great on your leader, but 4 cards is always useful. The second use is to discard it to gain fast. This can be very useful with Marcus, as this can combine with his other upgrades. Personally I like using this in conjunction with Trail of the Gods, gaining melee expert and +2 damage, as 5 attacks on a 4/4/6 profile is very handy. It is using up an upgrade slot, so you need to consider if that slot and the SS are worth the extra AP when you need it.

And I would never take The Philosopher's Stone. I’d rather save those SS for more important things and I have other ways to boost Marcus Df.


Crew Tactics and Tips


Myranda: Thanks Wyrd….we can use this model now. And she is totally worth it. Great stats and a great attack….she has crap for wounds, but if she had any more she would be worth more than 8 ss….and I’m happy keeping her at 8. Myranda is at the forefront of my whole ‘survivable beast’ theory. What’s the best way to survive? Not be there when the sting comes.

Jackalope: You mess with the Jackalope, you get the horns! Same as ever. Still doesn’t make sense that a giant 3-headed cat has no difficulty moving through the undergrowth, but a little rabbit can’t……..I guess his horns get stuck. And doesn’t make sense that sometimes he can jump (mask in hand or flipped) and sometimes he can’t. But I don’t care, still a nuisance….still keeps on coming back. Now that he gets the +2 damage on both charge attacks, he has an even greater chance of actually killing a low Df model on the charge. What’s not to love about this guy?


The Beast List


Here is a list of all of the Beasts Marcus can hire. Don't forget that Marcus is an Arcanist, and can therefore hire any Arcanist model.....and there are some good ones that fit right in with him just fine. But this list will be about Beasts.....I will include all the Arcanist Beasts for completeness. I have assembled the list from highest to lowest SS cost:

Arcanists
Sabertooth Cerberus (9ss, Enforcer, Wave 1)
Blessed of December (9ss, Enforcer, Wave 2)
Myranda (8ss, Henchman, Wave 1)
Cojo (6ss, Enforcer, Wave 1)
Slate Ridge Mauler (7ss, Minion, Wave 2)
Razorspine Rattler (6ss, Minion, Wave 1)
Hoarcat Pride (4ss, Minion, Wave 1)
Moleman (4ss, Minion Wave 1)
Malifaux Raptor (3ss, Peon, Wave 2)
Jackalope (2ss, Totem, Wave 1)

Resurrectionists
Rogue Necromancy (10ss, Enforcer, Wave 2)
Shikome (7ss, Minion, Wave 2)
Canine Remains (4ss, Minion, Wave 1)
Night Terror (3ss, Minion, Wave 2)

Neverborn
Spawn Mother (8ss, Henchman, Wave 2)
Rougarou (8ss, Minion, Wave 4)
Silurid (7ss, Minion, Wave 1)
Grootslang (6ss, Minion, Wave 5)
Waldgeist (6ss, Minion, Wave 1)
Gupps (4ss, Minion, Wave 2)
Corrupted Hound (3ss, Minion, Wave 3)

Gremlins
War Pig (9ss, Minion, Wave 1)
The Sow (8ss, Minion, Wave 2)
Wild Boar (5ss, Minion, Wave 2)
Piglet (4ss, Minion, Wave 1)

Guild
Guild Hound (3ss, Minion, Wave 2)

Ten Thunders
Dawn Serpent (9ss, Minion, Wave 1)

Interesting exercise. Four beasts from two of the Factions.....with Guild and 10T only giving one each....... six from the Neverborn, and not a single Outcast Beast.


Playing Against Marcus

Marcus himself is fast with a variable Crew and a lot of force multiplier effects. You can take him down to reduce the power of the beasts, or hunt down individual beasts to counter them. Be careful of Myranda: she typically will hide around a corner and heal up and protect the beasts so you can't kill them.

Marcus can redirect damage to nearby beasts. Don't try to attack Marcus until you've killed nearby Beasts. Don't try to attack Marcus with Beasts.


Ownership
This tactica uses work done by forums user dgraz
Unless otherwise stated, all names and images on this site are property of Wyrd Miniatures, LLC. (Link)