Thursday, 22 May 2014

Malifaux Masters: Lilith

Rolling on from the success of 'Malifaux Masters: Rasputina', I thought this time around I'd switch faction to my old B-Side crew, and discuss a little about the Mother of Monsters, Lilith, of the Neverborn Faction.

Lilith is a completely different beast to Rasputina, a quick look at her statistics will tell you that she is fast, ridiculously so with a walk and charge of 6. She has a decent wound stock, an above average willpower and an immovable 7 toughness. 

As with all of the Nephilim, she has Black Blood, which means she hits everything around her for damage when she's wounded. Her Master of Malifaux ability means she does not require LoS for charging or casting, and she ignores severe or hazardous terrain. This ability alone is pretty swish, but remember it. It's part of Lilith's key abilities. 

Her Disappear Defense trigger isn't the most potent, but it's nice to have, and with a Df of 7, Lilith is good at taking the hits. In MMO circles, she'd be referred to as a tank, someone who can grab the enemy's focus, and take the hits. 

Finally, for the front of the card, she has Rush of Magic, which means you'll get the best pick of cards for the duration of the turn. 

When it comes to attack actions, Lilith is very well equipped. Her Greatsword has a Ml of 7 and a range of 2 making it a very accurate ability, especially if Lilith hasn't charged this turn (and more on that later!) as she gets a + to the damage flip. The trigger, again, ensures that you have all of the best cards in your hand.

Wicked Vines casts on a 6, which shouldn't be too hard, especially with the amount of good cards you likely have in your hand. It's great for nailing opponents to the floor and stopping them from running away or pulling crazy movement tricks, and sets up nicely for some of Lilith's own. Speaking of which...

Tangle Shadows, if cast (as it is a tough cast at 9 Masks being required - burn a Soulstone or cheat high!) allows you to place one of your own heavy hitters (Barbaros? Mature Nephilim?) right into your opponents lines. Later in the game it allows you to drop onto markers (perfect in Turf War!) and rip your opponent away from them. The opposing model gets placed in base contact with Lilith, which won't trigger any Pounce effects from Terror Tots, or Lilith's own Thirsty Mandrake from her Living Blade upgrade as it's a place, not a push, but does mean she won't need to charge. 

Finally, Sudden Darkness, a zero AP tactical action that boosts Lilith's damage if she charges through terrain (which she ignores thanks to Master of Malifaux). It's nothing huge, but it makes a big difference. 

So what about her upgrades?

Beckon Malifaux allows her to take two zero AP actions, as long as they are different (which includes Interact actions if she's within 3" of the Cherub, and Sudden Darkness) and grants her a new one in the form of Illusionary Forest which casts on a 7, and places 2 50mm markers that stay until new ones are placed. Lilith ignores these because of Master of Malifaux, but they tie in beautifully with Sudden Darkness (for the extra damage if she charges through the markers), Transfixing Gaze (which will do damage and give the target Slow) and just generally adds a little protection in the form of soft cover, if they can see through it at all.

We've already mentioned Living Blade. It gives Lilith a new attack that is the same as her Greatsword, but has a longer range if 3, and the + applies to the damage and the attack if she hasn't charged. It makes her much more potent in combat. Then it also gives her Thirsty Mandrake. Anything that ends a push next to her is going to get smacked by her sword. Oh, and she probably hasn't charged for this.

Summon the Blood is an interesting ability the allows you, on a cast of 7, to 'pop' one of your Nephilim for 1 damage to deal 2 to all enemies near it. Situational, but amusing against some crews. 

Though not her upgrade, it's worth mentioning Barbaros' Nephilim Gladiatus as it's push effect is great to trigger Pounce or Thirsty Mandrake. 

Of the generic Nephilim upgrades, Obsidian Talons gives all friendly Nephilim the Flay trigger, to allow for damage cheats even on negative flips, and Lilith is included as she is Nephilim. 

Rapid Growth, on the other hand, is central to one of Lilith's 'builds'. If you choose to take Rapid Growth, it allows your Terror Tots to become Young Nephilim, and Young Nephilim to become the terrifying Mature Nephilim. You'll want to carefully utilise Pounce and other push triggers to feed your Terror Tots, but the reward is access to truly terrifying models without the need to hire them. 

The generic Neverborn Upgrades are worth looking at too. Pact means you can cheat fate if the Black Joker shows up, but only for the model taking it. It's a damn sight cheaper than Rasputina's similar card, and Lilith is likely to be flipping a lot of cards, so you might deem this worth it. I rarely take it, in honesty. 

Fears Given Form definitely is more of a Pandora crew upgrade (give it to a Teddy) but has limited use in a Lilith crew, especially if she's dragging things close and you're in Reckoning or have Make Them Suffer as a scheme option.

As with all the Stone upgrades, I don't like Stone of Tyrant Echoes. Defensive is useful, but Lilith is already Df7 making the Echo of Souls ability near useless as you're spending a Soulstone to max your Df to 8. Sure, it could increase her Wp, but I really think there are much better options for her upgrade slots.

Again, Aether Connection is nice in that damage prevention flips prevent an additional damage, it just depends if you think Lilith will take a lot with her Df of 7.

Finally we have Nexus of Power. This means Lilith or any friendly model using a Soulstone within 6" also heal 2 damage. It's got its uses if you're up against a heavy damage crew, but again is situational.

So what do you take in a Lilith crew? That depends on the build. I'd always start with the Mother of Monsters box. If you're utilising her Rapid Growth upgrade, then you'll want to max out on Terror Tots and models that can push things into them (Barbaros and the Cherub, for instance - though I'd not spend the points on a Mature Nephilim, despite Wing Buffet) so that they can perform the killing blows. You'll obviously need some Young Nephilim and Mature Nephilim models handy for when the Tots grow.

Otherwise, if going down the sheer monstrous combat route, Mature Nephilim, Young Nephilim or Black Blood Shaman's certainly get a look in, and you'll want to max out on her damage upgrades.

The biggest danger when running a Lilith crew, I've noticed, is getting sucked into murdering everything, and forgetting about the schemes and strategies. It's very tempting to just go all out and butcher your opponents crew, but this will not usually win you the game.

So that's how to play Lilith, but how do you play against her? What do you need to look out for?

As you'll have seen, Lilith is a combat beast, but with Transfixing Gaze and Tangle Shadows, it's not as simple as just keeping your distance. She is fast and will drag you in. Primarily, you need to work out which build she's running. If she is on a Rapid Growth build, it's worth neutralising the Terror Tots early (the fact that their Sprint makes Terror Tots great for dealing with Scheme Markers is also a bonus to killing them) to stop any nasty surprises growing up, but try to do so either from range, or by spreading her forces out thinly. If you can isolate models and systematically take them off the board, the more's the better. 

If she's running a more combat build, really focus on keeping your distance and keeping together. She has little in the way of dealing with multiple enemies at once (Barbaros can if he's been upgraded). If things start getting close, spread out to minimise Black Blood damage and take the crew down one at a time.

A trick I have often used is to throw cheap units to the sides, and let Lilith go chasing after them. It's sneaky and relies on you playing a poker game with your opponent, but it is so easy to lose focus on the important parts of the game, the schemes and strategies and get lost in the killing. Remember, Reckoning and Make Them Suffer only give one VP per turn. If you can afford to give these points away in order to lead Lilith to where she's of little threat, you're doing well.

She's a tough cookie, and certainly one of the scarier crews out there on sheer brutality, but she can be beaten. Just remember what you're needing to do, and focus on doing that whilst keeping your distance. If you can hire shooty models to your crew, do it. Stay calm and focus!

1 comment:

  1. Fantastic article for a new Malifaux and Lillith player such as myself, thanks!