Nationals: The Kaeris crew

Hi folks,

After two tournaments the other weekend, and hence 6 games of “testing”, it makes sense for me to chat in slightly more details about what is going in my final fixed crew for nationals, and why. You’ll find that it’s a fine balance of models which are thematic, models which are “good”, and models which adhere to the “rule of cool” (if you’re trying to win nationals, this isn’t the blog for you). The crew looks a little eclectic in colour schemes, but if you play the Borderlands games, all will become apparent (for inspiration, not immitation).


A bunch of actually painted models! A rare sight in the sssk household.

To start off there’s Kaeris (Borderlands Lilith/Firehawk), who pretty much sets the theme for the rest to follow. I’ve found her to be a very adaptable master, able to kill stuff, survive stuff, and run most schemes too. After much testing I’ve taken Purifying Fire, for a bit of healing and blocking LoS (Grab and Drop is handy for some things, but just not as useful in a fixed crew), Blinding Flame because pushes are great, and Seize the Day, because winning initiative is often rather good.


This is the alt Kaeris model, which I hated until I had it in hand, and now I love it… good stuff.


Here’s Lilith (borderlands lilith, not Malifaux lilith) being the firehawk, on whom I based Kaeris’s paint job. I realise Kaeris needs blue tattoos, but I’m way too scared off free hand for that at the moment, so will come back to it once I’m practiced. Pic ref:

With all of Kaeris’s actions being casts (and good casts at that) the Malifaux child (Tiny Tina) is a very powerful addition, providing not only a cheap activation, but also relatively reliable ways to hand out burning and/or deal some hilarious damage with Immolate.


The Malifaux child, because the only thing more amusing than a pyromaniac is a juvenile pyromaniac.


Tiny Tina from Borderlands 2, who is a juvenile demolitions expert. Though the Malifaux Child is unlikely to blow stuff up, setting things on fire is close enough for my liking.  Pic ref

With a Kaeris crew I had to take Firestarter (Maya) for theme and rule of cool reasons (just look at the alt firestarter model!), But after a lot of games I’m finding firestarter is actually a very good model for scheme running and dishing out burning. While her ability to count nearby burning deaths as hers can be a liability in a frame for murder world, it also Let’s other models in the crew do some “killing” for hunting party, headhunter etc. Firestarter has Imbued Protection, which I keep getting told is expensive, but I’m finding it means firestarter is either not attacked, or can act as a speedy pseudo-anvil when needs be.


Firestarter, a model which I got becuase it looks cool, but has actually been proving exceedingly useful. Might even find her way into non-Kaeris crews in the future.


Maya, on whom I based Firestarter. Again, blue tattoos will be done eventually. Pic ref:

Next up is Johan (Brick), who is usually a pretty good model anyway. He’s providing the condition removal, and seems to surprise a lot of folks by being outrageously hard hitting, especially around friendly M&SU members, which 6/7 of the other crew members are. He has Imbued Energies to get into fights quickly and/or provide cards when the opponent decides he’s too hitty and kills him.


Johan, quite possibly the biggest “height 2” model in the game. Also a ruddy good utility/hitty model as need be.


Brick, a character I never really liked in Borderlands, but he’s big and stupid and hits stuff… so just is Johan. Pic ref:

Now to the minions, and we start with Miss Fire/Willie (Torgue themed), who is just a very solid model. He hits well enough, he’s good enough in defence, he’s handy in being tricksy, and he’s not too sluggish. Basically Willie is just a good all round model. Usually he dies early… but someone has to right?


Miss Fire, an absolute nightmare to assemble, tricky to paint, but looks good at the end of it.


In Borderlands Torgue is a gun manufacturer where every weapon is based around explosions… so Miss Fire got painted up in Torgue colours. Pic ref:

Then we have 2 Gunsmiths (Nisha and Sir Hammerlock) which are very handy jack of all trades models, which is exactly what you need (or at least what I like) in a fixed crew. With hard to kill they survive attacks, with a good wk they can shift about and scheme run (especially if they hit their trigger to get fast!), with a good Sh they can hand out a reasonable amount of pain (if you ignore the weak 2 damage), especially with the hard way, and they look awesome!


The female gunsmith, one of my favourite models in Malifaux right now (despite “just” being a normal human).


Nisha, in Borderlands the pre-sequel she’s the lawbringer/gunslinger type person, so this was a pretty obvious choice for colour schemes. Pic ref


Gunsmith number 2. This guy is mainly in the crew because I love both Gunsmith models, but they’re actually pretty flexible in game too.


Sir Hammerlock from borderlands 2, a swell old chap and general shooter of things. Pic ref

To finish off the crew we have a Union Miner, which is the most overlooked beatstick in the crew. People seem to view miners as cheap scheme droppers, but when near M&SU (again 6/7 other models) they can reliably do 3-5 damage per hit, and no defensive triggers catches everyone (including me) out every time! As a nice little cherry on the hard hat, they can also hand out burning at range if you want Kaeris or Gunsmiths to do some killing.


The Union Miner. I couldn’t figure out anything from Borderlands that he might look like, so he’s kind of just a general miner. He’s also mid-painting, but I got bored, so just imagine him a bit less rubbish in the final crew.

So that’s the crew. It contains none of the usual Arcanist culprits (except Johan, the Arcanist enforcer), none of the constructs people tend to tech against for playing Arcanists, none of the Marcus I’m known for playing, and has quite a few synergies to make it greater than the sum of its parts…. Plus it looks flippin’ good.

Feel free to comment below and let me know how badly I’m going to lose at Nationals.

For future reference and in the Borderlands theme, I might well make a tasty Sandeep proxy to be a Mechromancer, with BANASUVA (has to be in capitals) as a Deathtrap, but for the time being I’m just working on normal Sandeep and co.

Until next time


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