We’re back again (this is relentless blogging… I do have a life outside t’internet… honest), and today the topic is going to be the best lady in the whole of Malifaux (probably) – Myranda.
As usual, I’ll kick off with a disclaimer: at best this is going to be a biased look at Myranda, at worst I’ll just end up a jibbering wreck. She’s ace. Second half of the disclaimer: as more models (and thus more Arcanist beasts) get released, Myranda will just get more and more ace.
Right, now that that’s out of the way let’s get into it. Myranda is McMourning’s niece and Marcus’ mate (notably “mate”, not “partner”). She has the ability to shape shift to become all sorts of beasts, and Marcus has helped her to hone those abilities, and to command animals like he does. Myranda hangs around with Marcus a lot in the Malifaux background, and this is generally also the case in the game. She has so much synergy with beasts, she almost doesn’t work without them. All of her spells and abilities target beasts, so without beasts on her side, she’s fairly useless. However there are a few situations where non-beast based Arcanists might use Myranda, which we’ll cover in due time (skip on down to “shape change” if you can’t wait).
Myranda is a henchman, and a beast. She’s pretty cheap as henchmen go, with a large cache (if you want to run her leading a crew… which isn’t a bad plan), and her stats are very impressive (6’s and 7’s across the board). Her only immediately obvious weakness is her low wound count. If the opponent is trying to kill her using attacks which resist on df or wp, Myranda is fairly safe, but damage with no resist (eg from blasts) will take her out quicker than a shot to the head from Seamus’ flintlock. Generally I’m not too fussed if Myranda is reduced to a few wounds, as she has a (0) action to solve the problem (more on that later), but if enough no-resist damage can be put on her in one go, you can lose your henchman very quickly.
Myranda’s niche (I may start using ecological puns throughout so that “proper” Marcus players who’ve dedicated their lives to becoming more like Marcus can have a chuckle… retrospectively, I didn’t) is as a support model, helping to buff up the beasts in your crew. She can make your fairly average models turn into some proper nasty killing/surviving machines.
Myranda’s first passive ability is Huntress, which gives friendly beasts nearby a positive flip to defense flips (note: Myranda doesn’t benefit from it herself). As beasts tend to be a bit squishy, this really helps them to avoid incoming damage, and this often makes it worth having Myranda as a centre point to your crew. However don’t get sucked into the trap of thinking you have to keep your beasts near Myranda to keep them alive. I’ll often have something like a Waldgeist or Razorspine stood in front of Myranda to shield her from attacks, getting a lovely bonus to their already good defensive abilities, but the rest of the crew will be off ferreting around. Generally for me, this ability is a very handy bonus, but not really key to Myranda’s functioning.
Myranda’s other two passive abilities are wicked and accomplice. This means she’s handy for alpha strikes (and can even do a weird pseudo-alpha strike which we’ll get to in a minute), and can lock up enemy models with her good Ml. Enemies really have to think about whether to attack Myranda (against her good defense) or run away (risking damage). Neither of these is particularly groundbreaking, but they’re both handy to have in the right situation. There is a very notable lack of unimpeded here (which many beasts have). Myranda has a fantastic walk, but without unimpeded you have to really think about where she wants to be going.
This is Myranda’s melee attack. Originally I totally glossed over it as there’s usually other things Myranda wants to be doing with her AP, however it’s really rather a good attack. High Ml, alright range, and 2/3/5 damage with automatic poison +1, Myranda can dish out quite a bit of damage if people get too close. As I said, generally there’re better things to spend your AP on, but it’s good to be able to chuck out that change of pace if you need to.
This is a pretty easy to cast basic healing spell. It’s very useful for helping your squishy beasts to stay in the fight a bit longer, and it’s sufficiently easy to cast that I’ll often give it a go even if I have an awful hand, on the off-chance it pays off. While this is handy for healing any beast, there’re 3 beasts which will often be the target of my healing:
1) Cerberus, getting him back to 5 wounds to get positive flips on attacks and damage
2) Cojo and the Dawn serpent. Both of these have hard to kill, so when they get down to 1 wound, even healing 1 wound makes them much more survivable. This has given me the use of Cojo for 2-3 extra turns in the past… which is very handy for the purpose of irritating people.
This allows a friendly beast to make a (1) Ml action. This is like a mini-alpha, allowing Myranda to ship around her AP. As she’s a beast, of course she needs masks to cast it (Marcus crews chew their way through all of the masks in the deck), but fortunately Myranda is a henchman, so can use soulstones to add a mask to the cast. Generally she’ll cast this on big beasts (Cerberus, Marcus, Cojo, Dawn serpent etc). I like to use it to stick in an attack where the opponent was thinking their model was safe. For instance you might attack with your Cerberus and fail to kill what you attacked, then your opponent assumes that the model has survived till next turn, but no! They get smashed again! Indeed, if you do it with the Cerberus you can get even more attacks from the trigger on it’s attack! This can really get you out of the fire in a tight spot, or put your opponent in the fire.
I mentioned a “pseudo-alpha strike” in the accomplice bit, this is where it comes in. Myranda can activate, make a beast attack twice, and then have that beast activate immediately. In this way a beast can kind of alpha strike with itself… kinda like inception, with more fur. Very handy for use with those beastly beatsticks.
This is Myranda’s only (0) action, and it doesn’t need casting. Basically, this sacrifices Myranda, and allows you to summon a friendly Arcanist beast into base contact with her (and the Jackalope comes back if it has died). The only limitation is that the beast can’t be a master or henchman, so no returning Marcus or a new Myranda to the table, but it’s (pretty much) open season on any other beasts (you can’t bring in a model if it takes you over their rare restriction, so 2 Cojos are off the cards too). This is where Myranda is just going to get better and better as more beasts are released. Generally I use this if Myranda is under threat. If she’s taken lots of wounds, or finds herself stood next to some horrible killing machine which is yet to activate, she may well sacrifice herself (after using her 2AP of course) to get a more suitable beast into the action. Another cheeky ploy is to have Myranda drop out some scheme markers late in the game, then turn into a Cerberus, which can leap for a (0), and then put out another scheme marker.
This is also where Myranda may be used by non-Marcus arcanists. You could hire her, walk twice in the first turn, then turn her into something else (which can do a (1) action and a (0) action in that turn), and boom, you have what is effectively an infiltrating beast. This is particularly useful with Cojo or a Cerberus, which cost the same as/more than Myranda respectively. Imagine that! A Cerberus 12″ closer to the enemy than it would normally be, able to leap and attack/walk/drop a scheme marker, all for cheaper than it would cost to hire normally!
So that’s basic Myranda, she’s easily worth her cost purely for the ability to turn into other stuff if nothing else! But let’s have a look at upgrades for her (briefly… I’m waffling on again).
Gets her to defence 8, she still suffers from weakness to blasts etc. Ability to discard to stop 2 damage might keep her alive long enough to shape change in a tight spot (a soulstone would do much the same though). Personally I’d rather position her better so I don’t need it, and use the stones I save to give me masks in the cast. Never used it, probably never will.
Always always always use this. Myranda’s aim for the game is to sacrifice herself, or die trying. Either way, drawing 4 extra cards mid-turn is obscenely useful. If you take Marcus with Arcane reservoir, you now have 11 cards in your hand this turn… that is game changing. I’ll often sacrifice myranda to get a Cerberus, a jackalope, and 4 cards in a critical turn. Seriously, Myranda should just cost a stone more and come with this upgrade, I don’t think I’d ever not take it. You could discard it for fast… I haven’t found the need for that yet, but she could chuck out 2 scheme markers in that manner, which might be helpful.
Never tried it. As the Marcus crew needs so many masks, this could be really helpful to keep enough stones to keep casting those spells, but realistically you’ll probably only get Myranda close enough to get 1 or 2 extra stones at best… though that would pay for the upgrade. Further study needed (spot the academic).
Ha! I tricked you into looking at the worst upgrade I’ve seen so far! Myranda’s whole role is to support beasts as she advances with them, this just undermines the whole plan. I can see it being useful if you fling a jackalope right up the board, get it killed, pop out Myranda, then turn her into a big beast to get stuck in on turn 1… but basically don’t bother. (small disclaimer: I’ve probably missed some super tricksy plan for this, but I really don’t see any use for it).
This makes Myranda the ultimate support model. Marcus’ crew can chuck out a lot of spells/attacks/horror duels which resist on wp. With this upgrade, friendly beasts can make extra attacks when enemies fail wp duels. Very useful, but I don’t tend to use it because I simply forget it’s there (I’m only human). I had the same problem with Mei Feng in 1st edition. She was able to draw a card when she killed a model (I think she still can with an upgrade). I played her for a good 6 months. She killed a lot (probably averaging 2-3 models per game). Over those 6 months I drew approximately 5-10 cards… all within the final few weeks of using her.
What to watch out for
Myranda is going to die. Whether she’s killed, or you sacrifice her, she WILL die. I’ve only had 1 game where I didn’t sacrifice her, and that was because she suffered a Pandora to the face. Therefore I’d suggest NEVER taking bodyguard on her, you might get 1 VP from it, but not more.
If Vendetta is available, you might want to assume that your opponent will have taken it against Myranda. The best way I’ve found to solve this is to keep Myranda out of the fighting (support from the back), and when things heat up, sacrifice her. Yes, you’re (probably) giving your opponent a VP, but you’re also (probably) stopping them from getting 2 other VP… ever… oh, and you’re getting a Cerberus, Cojo, or maybe RSR for your troubles, and also those 4 cards from imbued energies.
If Murder protege is available, either make sure Myranda is not the most expensive model in your crew (joss or Howard might be good models to take for this eventuality… with a canine remains of course), or if she is (or is equal most expensive) ditch her. Murder protege against Myranda is basically giving your opponent a 3VP head start.
So I use Myranda every game (with the Joss/Howard proviso given in the murder prot bit above). When you’re using Marcus you’d better have a good reason not to. She’s a fantastic support model, buffing defence, healing, buffing offence, then turning into something else to do some killing. I run her just with imbued energies to draw those extra cards when she (inevitably) passes on. I’ve found few models which are as cost effective.
And that’s it for today. Next time I’ll be back on with a possible crew list for squatter’s rights. Thanks for all the thoughts and opinions on the reckoning crew. I’m getting tempted to flip back to good ol’ “trail” Marcus… we’ll see.
Anyway, until next time.