Malifaux: “Welcome to Malifaux!”, Starting a Faction

As a Henchman, I see a lot of people struggle with what to get once they set their sights on a faction. The seven factions of Malifaux each have their own identity with some bits of crossover. When delving into a faction though, there is still a sense of intimidation because crew boxes are not created equal; they merely provide theme and consistency. Here’s a quick guide, in my opinion, to the best crew boxes to start with in each faction.


Lady Justice, The Guild’s Judgement
Lady Justice herself is a bruiser of a model. She can shred enemies with her melee attacks, reliably heal herself, and charge without sight.
The rest of her box, sans her totem The Scales of Justice, is above average. With The Judge providing some movement tricks and great combat ability and Death Marshals being able to reliably reach objectives and “coffin” enemy models you don’t want to deal with anymore this box offers a solid starting point.


Perdita Ortega, The Latigo Posse
Perdita is the queen of the quick-draw and is amazing at ranged combat. She also has some movement tricks for her Family to employ and can make other models take actions with a steely glance and her threatening gun.
Her crew box are all individual Family members with their own unique skills. Francisco ties up enemies in melee and has a powerful defensive buff. Santiago emulates his sister with great ranged abilities. Nino watches over the field as a sniper and Papa Loco has some issues that deal mainly with psychosis and explosives. The Enslaved Nephilim isn’t part of the family but can rarely help out, handing out actions, and leap-frogging with it’s ball and chain.


Lillith, Mother of Monsters
Lillith is the master of terrain manipulation and positioning. She can ignore terrain elements, make new ones, swap model places, and she has a great melee attack to boot!
The Minions included in her crew box, Terror Tots, are the fastest demon babies in the west so they can easily claim objectives and they also have the ability to “grow” if they manage to kill something near an appropriate unit. Her included Henchman, Barbaros, is decently fast, tough, and has extremely respectable melee attacks that can set up “grow” opportunities for your horn-ed babbies. Lilith’s Totem, the Cherub, is usually shunned for the Neverborn generic totem but it has respectable uses of making scheme markers easier to drop and a decent ranged attack.
Jakob Lynch, Dark Debts
Lynch is on one-hand a control model with his ability to manipulate card drawing and on the other hand he is a pocket-cannon that can deal excellent damage. He is almost always accompanied by his darker half, The Hungering Darkness, that is a brutal damage dealer and can force actions on enemies.
The minions included with Lynch, The Illuminated, are undoubtedly the most solid melee minions in Neverborn AND Ten Thunders. They have decent speed, are tough, can heal themselves easily, have a ranged attack that can set up tons of melee damage via the “Brilliance” characteristic, and a punishing melee attack.



Ramos, The M&SU
Ramos is primarily a support master with auras and support fire. He can also summon squads of mechanical spiders from scrap on the battlefield.
There’s a lot of model value in Ramos’ crew box before even analyzing their great quality! His totem can give an extra activation to one of your constructs, but he’s rather slow and has next to no combat ability. Joss creates extra scrap when he gets a killing blow, great for more spiders, and his attacks ignore a lot of possible defensive shenanigans. If your opponent doesn’t finish him off he also gets a last “hurrah” of reactivating. Howard Langston is extremely mobile, can protect himself to a degree with steam clouds, and his melee attacks deal consistent damage and can instantly kill enemy models. The Steam Arachnids are hard to hit, surprisingly durable for their cost, make it easier to hit enemies near them, and have an annoying melee attack. They can also form together into a Steam Arachnid Swarm that is harder to dispatch, has a melee attack that can repeat itself, and can ruin enemy schemes.
Colette Du Bois, Smoke and Mirrors
Despite her learning curve, Colette has a lot of tricks that include giving pushes and actions to allies, making it easier to place scheme markers, and under easy-to-accomplish circumstances she is extremely hard to kill as she slips away.
Colette’s troupe is all about mobility and twisting the rules. Her totems, Mechanical Doves, are extremely fast and can pop themselves to cause damage or aid an ally. Cassandra is fast, has decent attacks, is usually tough to hit, and can copy spells from other models. Performers can pull models to them, set up schemes even with enemies nearby, and utilize poison to kill foes. Mannequins are very tough despite their low health and follow around other models to let them “toss” schemes a small distance.



Seamus, Shadows of Redchapel
Seamus is an offensive master with amazing mobility and a minor interlude in summoning. His ranged attack packs a wallop and his mere presence can drain life and cripple foes around him. Dead bodies near him can be used for making undead lovelies.
The lovely ladies of Seamus, and his diminutive doppleganger, are all wonderful independent models but synergize together wonderfully. Madame Sybelle can make belles near her faster, move them around, and she has great attacks to boot. Belles have a powerful spell that forces foes to walk near them, and if something involuntarily moves within reach they get a free attack. Lastly, and only leastly in size, the Copycat Killer can follow Seamus wherever he goes and fire a shot that rivals the damage of the original.
McMourning, Body of Evidence
Douglas McMourning is extremely mobile and tough master that specializes in tricks, such as ignoring defensive properties, flipping objectives for himself, loading up on poison for offense AND defense, and summoning/healing when he’s slashing away at enemies.
Having one of the most varied crew boxes, McMourning brings a lot of options. Flesh Constructs are incredibly tough and take up lots of room, Canine Remains are mobile and pest-like, and Nurses can give unique buffs/debuffs depending on the situation. His totem, the tiny Zombie Chihuahua, is effectively a ticking poison bomb waiting to infect everyone nearby.



Von Schill, Hired Guns
Von Schill, leader of the Freikorp, excels at versatility for what the situation merits. He has a jump-pack that lets him charge whenever he wants with a good melee attack to back it up, a ranged attack with a punch, and direct synergy with any nearby Freikorp models via buffs and extra actions.
The versatility of the units in the Freikorp are amazing. The Specialist is a little sluggish but gives people seeking cover a bad time and has some unique motivational techniques with his flamethrower. The Trapper is a sniper that can scoot in-between shots. The Librarian is a healer that can dish out a lot of magical damage. The Freikorpmenn are solid grunts with decent overall abilities. The tricky-to-construct totem, the Steam Trunk, has utility abound in it and nearby Freikorp can use some of its abilities.
The Viktorias, Hired Blades
The Viktorias, of Ash and Blood, are an incredibly lethal duo of melee skill. With the ability to buff “Sister” models and slingshot across the board, nothing is safe from their blades.
The crew box supports the twins by mopping up things that aren’t high priority. Ronin can’t be charged, ignore armor with their sword, have a decent ranged attack, and can sacrifice themselves for your gain if that is more useful. The Student of Conflict, the Viks’ totem, can help move them around, give an extra action nearby, and has a pretty good melee attack.



Ophelia, The Kin
Ophelia takes the questionable gremlin logic and applies it to big hats and big shots. She can cycle through upgrades to help when they’re needed, has fast movement, and can move other gremlins around with her looks.
Francois LaCroix can deal tons of damage, but he’ll hurt himself in the process. Raphael is somewhat tough but becomes amazing when wounded. Pere can cause a lot of burning and blasts but also has the chance of blowing himself sky-high. Ophelia’s totems, the Young LaCroix, can borrow her special guns and help her cycle them when needed.
Wong, Explosive Solutions
Wong is all about blasting magic, enhancing one of his allies, and causing chaos with objectives.
Mancha Roja is a gremlin luchador that can deal a ton of melee damage with great triggers, taunt enemies to attack him, and use a nearby gremlin to “assist” in some damage dealing. Lightning Bugs have a solid magical attack and can “pocket” a card to give a unique effect at the end of the turn. The Lovely Assistant can bunch models together for easier blasting and manipulate the top four cards of your deck.


 Ten Thunders

Misaki, The Thunder
Misaki is an assassin with high mobility and a unique method of additional offense and defense: running out of soulstones!
The crew box for Misaki adds more oomph and mobility. Ototo is a bruiser that becomes more powerful once wounded and can simply ignore smaller models when moving. Torakages can leave any engagement they don’t like, are harder to hit near other models, and hit harder when alone. Misaki’s totem, Shang, grants some card filtering, can inflict a little burning, and give health to Misaki when she needs it.
Shenlong, Temple of the Dawn
Shenlong has found focus in conditions, including those normally harmful! He can stack on Burning, Poison, Focus, and Defensive and choose to hold onto it until he needs to use it. (Aside from Defensive normally going away when he activates.) He can switch to different martial art styles to suit the occasion giving extra mobility, offense, defensive/healing, or disruption when needed.
Shenlong’s box continues his trend of versatility. Sensei Yu can hand out conditions with attacks, give mobility to other models, and borrow some martial arts from Shenlong himself. High River Monks are offensive models that can get an extra attack on a charge and ramp up damage as they burn the enemy. Peasants are somewhat odd; they can sacrifice themselves to give Shenlong an extra (0) Action and can perform “Interact” actions if Shenlong activates near one which spawns a second Peasant if you only have one.


Henchman for Wyrd Games, parent company of Malifaux and The Other Side.

4 Responses

  1. Guslado says:

    Very handy, although I feel like you got it half wrong on the Arcanist front–Ramos is a solid master and his crew box has piece that will be used across the faction a lot of the time (Joss and Hank), but I feel like Colette is too “tricksy” of a master for a beginner. Don’t get me wrong, she is a fantastic master, but I feel like she is a little convoluted for someone just learning the game. I would recommend Rasputina to Arcanist beginners–she’s strong and straightforward but does allow for room to learn to use her better once the player has some experience.

    • Eldmor says:

      The reason I went with Colette over Rasputina is that the Rasputina crew box and her play style are very inclusive. I started my Malifaux play with Rasputina and think it’s a great box to learn game concepts and strategy, but I have never seen an Ice Golem or an Ice Gamin in a crew that didn’t have Rasputina at the helm. On the other hand, I see Cassandra a lot and I see Performers even more due to their Mercenary status.

  1. March 29, 2016

    […] my last article, I talked about the different crew boxes and offered my opinion on which were the best. Crew boxes […]

  2. March 29, 2016

    […] my last article, I talked about the different crew boxes and offered my opinion on which were the best. Crew boxes […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *