After you've selected your Leader for your Crew, what remains is filling out the rest of the team. With the exception of Avatars, which will be forthcoming in the next round of the beta (we hope!), the remainder of the models in the game fall into the three lesser stations: Peons, Minions and Enforcers. While different in power-level and cost, each of these stations fills a much needed role within a Malifaux Crew.
PeonsPeons are the lowest of the low in the game, with point costs generally staying at around four or under. The station trait Peon doesn't itself carry any mechanical weight, although all Peons released so far are also saddled with being Insignificant, meaning that they are not able to take Interact actions. They are also unable to take Upgrades and are often barred from scoring for Scheme and Strategy purposes.
Any discussion of Peons must also touch on Totems because, although the groups do not overlap completely, nearly all Peons are Totems (and conversely nearly all Totems are Peons). In fact, of the first wave Beta models there are only three Peons that are not also Totems: Electrical Creation, Mindless Zombie and the Pigapult. The first two are disposable and the third is more a form of equipment than an ally.
Totems on the other hand are infused with a good deal more individuality. Representing their Leader's will on the battlefield, Totems can be thought of strategically as living (or unliving) Upgrade cards. They usually emphasize one part of their associated Master's play-style, or help cover up a weakness. The unassociated Totems do the same thing but may be hired by anyone in faction, following the usual limit of one per Crew.
Getting rid of the Totem is generally doable with the expenditure of a few Action points, but their low Soulstone price-tag makes it a quandary for the enemy - Do you spend the resources to take out such a small part of your opponent's force?
MinionsThe majority of the non-leader models in a crew are generally Minions. A step above Peons, Minions are characterized by their ability to interact with the table and help set up Scheme markers. Most Minions can be taken in multiples, filling out the Leader's ranks and providing some insurance for when your opponent eventually kills a few of them off.
Within each faction, Minions are generally themed in concert with one of the Masters or Henchmen but can be taken for any crew with ease. One of the themes of Malifaux 2e is opening up the restrictions on which models can be played when, instead rewarding themed play through synergy bonuses. This way its still clear which pieces 'go' with which others, but allowing the player to over-ride this system for a specific Scenario, Scheme or for their own personal style.
EnforcersLast of all are the Enforcers, the game changers of your Crew. Enforcers tend to be between seven to 11 Soulstones in cost, plus they have the ability to take a single Upgrade, meaning that they are an expensive investment. A Rail Golem with the Imbued Protection Upgrade will end up costing 13 Soulstones, more than a quarter of your entire Crew in a 50ss game.
Thankfully, you tend to get a lot of game effect for your stones. Most of the Enforcers have a primary attack stat of 6 or 7, usually with at least one Trigger. The majority of them also usually have at least one defensive ability, such as Armour or Hard to Kill, or a load of Wounds available. Perhaps most characteristically, the Enforcer group is where we see the majority of the 40mm and 50mm base-sized models, giving your Crew an option to exert greater control on the table.
The line between low-end Enforcers and high-end Minions can be a little blurry, with models such as the Ten Thunders' Samurai seeming like good candidates for the Minion Station and the Razorspine Rattler being easily confused with an Enforcer. The big difference is the access to Upgrade cards. Now at this point in development the number of cards available to each Enforcer is relatively limited, with some having access to only one or two viable options, but this will change as the game continues to roll out. Presently a handful of lucky Enforcers have custom Upgrades built specifically for them - Lenny has I'll Love It And Pet It, as an example. This is a glimpse of the potential that Enforcers have for the future as the story continues to develop and the meta game evolves.
Putting It TogetherFor every rule there is an exception and Malifaux 2e has its fair share. Lots of models break the rules, and the rules were built with this in mind. Totems who are Minions, or even Enforcers. Models which act as Scheme markers or Corpse markers. Totems that are hired in pairs or even triples. Non-Leaders with Use Soulstones. In a future article we will discuss the biggest example of this: the new prevalence of Dual-Faction models and their interactions with the Upgrade system.
Thanks for reading.