Thursday, 11 April 2013

Malifaux for Beginners - Leveticus and Eternally Shackled/Shackled

Editors Note - This tutorial is for version 1.5 of the Malifaux rules and has been left available for reference only. Some Malifaux 2nd Edition Tutorials can be found well as quite a few of these old ones, lol.

As a regular user of Leveticus I can understand how certain of his in game 'mechanics' can be confusing. It's not for nothing that he's regarded as the most difficult Master in the game to learn. However once you've got the hang of his little... idiosyncrasies...he's a lot of fun to play with...

The fact that he needs to 'die' every turn in order to use him to his maximum effectiveness is the first hurdle for us to overcome and how that works can be a bit of a chore to understand as it involves three different rules on the stat cards for two different models, namely Leveticus's own and that of the Hollow Waif(s) that he summons. I've photographed the bits of the cards that have the necessary rules on them here for your reference. If you click on them Blogger will kindly make them bigger for you...

We'll go straight into the example and I'll attempt to clarify a few things as we go along. Lets presume that all the preliminary stages of starting a game have been done and we're about to start our first Activation Phase.

Leveticus's player will have received a Control Hand just like any other player does at the beginning of the game...unfortunately beginning with the 2nd turn you draw 0 cards during the Draw Phase (that's the time when you discard unwanted cards and then take new ones to restore your Control hand to full size) when using Leveticus..

Should you be using Rusty Alyce with Leveticus (you probably are...she's in his starter box) she has an ability called 'Something to Live For' which allows you to draw two additional Control Cards at the beginning of the Draw Phase if she's within 3" of Leveticus at that point in time. Should these extra two cards put you over the maximum Control Hand size you'll still need to discard any extras.

Here's Leveticus (A) deployed as normal on the table and the first Activation Phase is about to start. It doesn't matter if his side is going first or if his opponent is...the following happens.

As per the second part of the Pariah rule which says 'At the start of the first Activation Phase, summon a Hollow Waif to base contact with this model' we're going to put a Hollow Waif (B) in base to base contact with Leveticus (A). As this model is Summoned it will be Slow which means it loses a General Action Point (AP) this turn. The turn then carries on from where it left off.

Though a model isn't normally allowed to use an Action to do something that will reduce it to 0 Wounds (Wd), Leveticus has several Abilities, Actions and Spells that specifically say that they can do so. Leveticus should be using these to kill himself each turn (hopefully he'll kill some enemies while he's at it as well). Generally you should try and reduce him to a single Wound (Wd) and then the 'Unstable Necromancy' Ability will cause him to suffer 1 Wound (Wd) at the start of the Closing Phase.

The following list is all of Leveticus's various talents that he can use to kill himself with...

Abilities - Unstable Necromancy.
Actions - Death's Lessons, Necromantic Sacrifice.
Spells - Desolation.

Several of his other abilities can be used to hurt himself but only those above can deal the finishing blow.

Most sensible people will try to kill something with the 'Entropic Transformation' Spell early on so as to Summon themselves another Hollow Waif as a bit of a safety margin for reasons that will become clearer shortly. This needn't be an enemy model...several people bring a cheap disposable Minion or two (such as a Canine Remains or similar) specifically for this purpose.

This player has rather sensibly created a second Hollow Waif (C) at some point during the turn.

So lets say it's all gone according to plan and Leveticus has either died during the turn or has lost his final Wound (Wd) to 'Unstable Necromancy'. So for now Leveticus (A) is absent by virtue of being dead...for now...

Now the 'Eternally Shackled' Ability comes into play.

Firstly we're going to Sacrifice a Hollow Waif (B) but just before we remove it we're going to get to place Leveticus (A) in base contact with it. As you can see it's vitally important that you keep a Hollow Waif somewhere safe as you can't bring Leveticus back without one.

Then we Sacrifice any other Hollow Waifs that we might have in play.

Now we discard our Control Hand. Unlike in the Draw Phase where we would have a choice about what we keep and what we discard, Leveticus has to discard his whole hand and then draws up to the Crews maximum hand size (usually six). One of the downsides to using Leveticus is that it's impossible to save good cards for later turns unless you choose to keep him alive for a turn which is rarely a good idea given how he works. Now we move onto the Hollow Waifs 'Shackled' Ability...

If a Hollow Waif was killed or Sacrificed during the turn, Summon this model to a friendly Leveticus at the End Closing Phase. If you had more than one Hollow Waif then this applies to all of them. As 'Eternally Shackled' specifically said Sacrifice in its description any of them removed in this way now return.

Simple....relatively...I suppose...

Here's a brief summary of the above.

1) Leveticus Dies/Is Sacrificed and then the 'Eternally Shackled' ability kicks in.

Eternally Shackled:
a) During the Closing Phase -> Place Leveticus in base-to-base contact with a friendly Hollow Waif
b) Sacrifice all friendly Hollow Waifs in play.
c) Discard your hand and draw up to your Crew's maximum hand size.

2) Then the 'Hollow Waif' abilities happen,
a) During the End Closing Phase if this model was Killed or Sacrificed during the turn, summon beside a Friendly Leveticus.

This means, provided at least either Leveticus and/or a single Waif is alive by the end of the turn, Leveticus and/or any removed Waifs will return prior the round ending due to the order that the cycle occurs in.

Hopefully that clears up any issues you might be having with at least one of Leveticus's unique little issues.
If you have any questions or find any errors with this tutorial then feel free to leave them in the comments section below.

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