Malifaux Edition Changes – Bad Things Happen, But Change is Good

Salutations, Gentle Readers!

Today I wanted to discuss the recently announced Third Edition of Malifaux, specifically my thoughts on it, and most importantly, how it impacts you!

The fickle winds of Fate (and the fun-loving folks at Wyrd) recently announced they have been hard at work preparing the first steps of Malifaux’s 3rd Edition, or M3E. I can tell by how you’re reading this post that you have at least one working eye and a brain connected to it, so I won’t repeat all their statements, but here is a link to their official announcement, if you have not yet taken the time to read it yourself:

First off, let’s take a moment to appreciate that Wyrd knows that edition changes are stressful for everyone involved in the game, from the players to the developers. They included “table flip” in their URL for this announcement. If that doesn’t show that they know the knee-jerk response will be that the world has been turned upside-down, I don’t know what would. That said, they did a very good job of giving us a lot of soothing information in both their announcement and on the Wyrd forums, so breathe with me.


The sky is not falling. Don’t panic.


While I wasn’t playing Malifaux during the change from M1E to M2E, I have been through enough 40k edition changes to know I already like this approach a lot better. Besides the fact the Wyrd is giving us actual information instead of GW’s clues and hints, here’s why:

All Current Models Will Be Updated Day 1

In addition to the official announcement assuring us that all our current models will be playable and updated day one, for free (most probably by way of downloadable cards, as well as the Bad Things Happen App, though that’s a one-time $10 fee to have access to all the cards, including any updates), AND they will have faction decks available at local shops, if, like me, you prefer physical cards over digital ones or printing your own. Plus, supporting your local store is great!

My Master is Missing?

There are a few notable missing masters in the released lists, all of which coincide with them not being active in the story. Minor spoilers for anyone not up to date: Ramos is in prison, Lilith got stabbed by Nekima and thrown into Nythera so she would be able to heal, Nico is dead after losing a fight with Lady J, and Collodi…wandered off on a walk one day? The ol’ puppet has never been one to really hang out with the rest of the Neverborn so far. I’m not sure. Personally, I’m betting we will see all of them come back in the fluff and to the (official) roster in the future.

In any case, no master is being invalidated to play. A “Dead Man’s Hand pack WILL have updated cards for those four master for M3E. That said, Tournament Organizers will have the option to disallow them in organized play – but TO’s are generally interested in getting people to come have fun and play in tournaments,  not telling people they can’t play their favorite masters because they’re off doing other things in the fluff. I’ve talked to several Henchmen who organize local tournaments in the US Faux Tour Great Lakes and Central conferences. They all plan to allow these masters for exactly the reasons I mentioned, so don’t think this will be a big deal, at all.

There’s also the question about masters who are no longer dual-faction. What if you only ever ran them as the faction they’re no longer in? I’ll cover that a bit more when we talk about hiring, below.

What If The Rules Change?

Well, they will, that’s kind of the idea. But, to reinforce Wyrd’s point, the new edition does not throw the rules out the window for a fresh batch. The core of the rules is staying. They’re just cleaning up some rough edges, clearing the cobwebs, and polishing up the good soulstone china. My read is this will be a much easier edition to introduce to new players, while keeping down the rules bloat. They are streamlining abilities so if they do the same thing, they’re named the same thing. We’ll lose a few hilarious references I’m sure, but there will always be more. They’ve boiled all the conditions down to eleven. Just eleven! Few enough to have them on a reference card (which they will be)!

EDIT: There is one big change I forgot to mention. It will now be able to hire a second master into your crew. We have no further details on this yet, but it’s certainly exciting! There is the possibility that this could lead to some broken combinations as well. Thankfully, Wyrd is also taking applications for a closed beta test before M3E comes out, so we’ll have plenty of time to work out the kinks on this and other worries.

The Big Question

The new hiring method. I really like the idea of rewarding players for playing their masters in theme, determined by keyword. You can still hire models within faction that are not of the same keyword – or those with the “Versatile” keyword, like Effigies and Emissaries – but for “a slight penalty”. I think that penalty is the key, and I like that they say it will be slight. If done well, a thematic crew will be able to match an optimized non-thematic crew.  I think it will allow for several play styles for any given master, and allow for thematic crews to be both fun and competitive.

The extent of the keywords is really what will determine how we run masters who are no longer dual-faction. I know several Lynch players and McCabe players who played those two primarily in their non-Thunders factions. They are worried they’ll need to heavily buy into a faction they’re not invested or interested in. Personally, I love playing Brewmaster in Thunders. I even painted my Shadow Emissary to look like a freshly poured Guinness for him. But aside from my no-longer-thematic dragon, I’m not terribly worried about Brewie being Gremlins (excuse me, Bayou) only now.

Here’s my expectation: with keywords, previous dual-faction masters will retain the majority of their previous faction’s toys. Those were mostly their thematic crew in the first place. I may be wrong, but worst case scenario, those masters will still have their keywords. They’ll have a thematic crew (probably with new cool models!) within their single faction. Meaning you will probably be able to play them in-faction with a similar feel with minimal new models.

So, What’s the Worry?

Plain and simple, humans are bad dealing with change. We have a tendency to knee-jerk towards our worst expectations. And this isn’t even a change we can deal with right now, it’s coming in the We-Don’t-Know-When Future! So we analyze with partial information and worry over conclusions we draw from it. Try to resist that, keep your chin up. I’ll be keeping you up to date with any new information as it comes. But for now, try not to worry. Take a deep breath, and go enjoy some M2E in the meantime.

If you want more information and opinions on the M3E announcement, here’s where to look next. A new Steam Powered Scoundrels podcast will be out shortly, if it hasn’t dropped already. A new episode of the Max Value podcast came out late the day of the announcement.

1 Response

  1. TBalieySr says:

    The one thing I hope happens it the shortening of the play time just a little. I hope it becomes easier to get in a tourney game in less than 2 hours. It can be done now but it pushes it hard especially for newer players.

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