Loathesome Lackeys is the first in a series of articles designed to be the counterpoint to the Mighty Minions series. These articles are about the minions I've encountered in my local games that I feel warrant extreme prejudice. These minions alone have wrecked my battles, and in doing so, have undone my plans for world domination.
I'll explain why I think they are such a threat and then talk about my current theories, given what I have available, to combat these harbingers.
So lets starts with everyone's favourite Guild puppet Ryle. At 8 soulstones this is one tough minion, packing both serious ranged and close combat weapons. He is a force to be reckoned with.
- Threat range with Gatling gun is 12" standard or can be extended to 24" (double walk, socially repressed zero action away from Hoffman and ranged expert)
- Can drop a two action to go fully automatic and get a shot on each of any bunched up minions
- Two inch melee attack with mechanical fist that has built in critical strike trigger and can ignore defensive triggers on a second ram in total
- Immune to talents and spells that target willpower
- Socially repressed gives Ryle a free push, to move him closer or further away from a living target, it can also get him out of combat, if your minion is living.
- Low defence
- Low willpower until he kills
- Insignificant until he kills
- height 3 means he's unlikely to hide behind terrain
- "Can't Connect" ability mean's he can't be the target of Hoffman's buffs and debuffs (unless within 6" of Hoffman using maintain machines ability - see Wyrd model errata)
Lackey's Current Tactics
The Ryle push (described in threats section above) in turn 1 is something I see a lot of Hoffman players do. With a 24 inch threat range on turn 1, it means Ryle can quite often kill one of your minions in the opening moves of the game and is particularly effective against cheap minions or totems. The psychological affect to the opponent is enough to unsettle their game, and Hoffman and crew can get on with what they need to do unfettered.
Ryle within 6" of Hoffman is probably the most deadly. Hoffman uses his ability "Maintain Machines" to hex off Ryle's "Can't Connect" ability. This then gives rise to Hoffman using Ryle like a free machine gun, squeezing off two shots. The real sting in the tail is the these two shots are at Cb 6 instead of Ryle's natural 5, and worst of all they automatically have the critical strike trigger, for +1 damage. This can then be combined with "Tap Power" on another construct to give Hoffman fast, he squeezes off three Ryle super shots before using his second zero action (Linked In) to activate Ryle,who squeezes out another 3 shots! No matter how you look at that combo its 6 shots, 3 with mandatory critical strike, doing between 0 and 27 wounds before any triggers are played! And then there's Ryle's trigger "Fully Automatic" that could be doing anything between 0 and 24 additional wounds, depending on how many times he gets that trigger off.
Beyond those devastating combos I see Ryle often perched on objectives because he's bound to loose insignificant at some point, and the only way to that objective is through some punishing ranged and melee attacks.
Lastly comes combat against the big man, which isn't going to easy either. With the built in critical strike trigger, he's doing anywhere between 0 and 14 wounds and he can easily push up or just walk away from the combat without encountering a disengaging strike.
So how the heck do you deal with this guy?
Well in preparing this article, I did my research and the overriding message from other players was to take schemes that avoid contact. There's no point apparently heading directly towards the guy with the big gun and huge fist unless you have to. You also want to make it harder for a Hoffman player to stop your schemes, which is relatively easy when as long as you curtail his more mobile units, he moves with all the speed of an aesthetic tortoise. Well that's what the articles say and I see their point, but what about finding some combo in my existing forces capable of taking him on....
An Onryo and Seamus would do it with terrifying and Seamus might be able to do it by heading in with the gun and then a charge. He would need support from some belles to lure away crew and to keep Hoffman off Seamus's back. Going avatar would certainly improve his chances in combat but sacrifices the gun.
Having a belle run up and then die is probably the only safe way to deploy Bette and even then she may not get the job done before burying herself.
Molly is probably the hardest matchup. I wonder if a wall of Crooligans could shield a rogue long enough for it make it into contact? Probably not. Get a necrotic into contact would end him nicely but that thing is so fragile I can't see that happening.
Kirai I think stands the best chance, providing in swirling her spirits, she doesn't leave herself to exposed.
You could unleash the twin linked Shikome brigade and they would almost certainly deal with him. Their fast enough to get into contact, they don't suffer from summoning sickness and their 0 action denial of sanzu would stop him getting away. I think it needs both of them to ensure he goes down.
I'm not as convinced that Ikiryo could do it on his own, maybe with an Onryo hexing off his willpower immunity and some terrifying it'd work.
And if anyone reading this has themselves a sure fire way of dealing with this brute then please don't hesitate to comment...