I’m a frequent visitor to the fan-made Facebook page A Wyrd Place (which is an awesome group of like-minded Malifaux lovers, by the way, and I’d absolutely recommend it!), and one of the things I’ve noticed is that, whenever a new budding Resurrectionist posts asking what is best to expand their new crew box, Rotten Belles seem to be on everyone’s recommendations. So, let’s dive into the seedy world of Redchapel and what makes these undead ladies of the night so darn special.
To start, the basic profile of a Belle is not to be sniffed at. 8 wounds with Hard to Wound for 5ss is pretty durable, and will probably take a couple of AP to put down. Her walk and charge are pretty standard, and while her defence is a little lower than you’d expect she can still take a hit or two. Sybelle can give them a little boost to their walk, helping them to get into the best position and encouraging thematic usage. Finally, they do have the Companion ability (thankfully not Accomplice!).
And then we flip the card over, and come to Lure. This is pretty much the main reason to take a Belle or two, and it’s a great ability. From dragging your opponent’s models out of position to pulling forward the slower members of your own crew, Lure is just such a versatile ability. Positioning is key to so many schemes (and 3/4 of the strategies!), so being able to determine the position of key enemy models can be a huge advantage. And that’s not forgetting the incredible 18″ range – plus the Belle’s high ca makes it surprisingly hard to resist.
I could do a whole post on Lure and its myriad of uses, but one thing I would mention is the trigger She doesn’t look that dead to me! Due to the high ca of the Belle it’s easy enough to use a low tome, and making your opponent discard cards is always a good thing. This is also a brilliant way to help Seamus if you’re running him with his discard shenanigans, especially as you can cast Lure when the Belle’s engaged to take advantage of the trigger and Pounce (providing the enemy model actually moves, of course – you can’t Pounce if they’re already in base-to-base contact).
They also have the often-overlooked Undress ability, allowing them to hand out Slow to an enemy model. Unfortunately this is a lot harder to cast than Lure, with a lower ca, greater difference to reach the tn, and (as a result of the lower ca) a greater chance of the enemy resisting it. Still, it’s a nice action to have, and while it’s going to be more useful against some crews than others (those with condition removal, such as Witchling Stalkers, aren’t going to be too worried for example) it can still be helpful. It works well late in the game, particularly if I know what my opponent’s trying to do scheme-wise and Slow can hinder that.
Having said all that, Belles are great in that they excel at moving and slowing down enemy models, but do suffer when it comes down to offense. Their Teeth and Nails attack isn’t spectacular (though the trigger is quite nice if you can get it early in the turn), and they’re not as fast as Canine Remains or able to tank as much damage as a Flesh Construct. As with so many models in Malifaux, they’re a solid cog but work far better as part of a larger machine with other parts – ideally melee-centric beatsticks to jump on enemy models as they’re pulled away from the rest of the crew.
When it comes down to playing against Belles, it’s best to try and stay out of their line of sight – at the very least this forces them to waste an AP walking before they can cast Lure. Anything with Counterspell is pure gold, as the Belle’s TN requires two suits (neither of which are built in to the Ca). Other than that, if I have to kill one, I tend to try and throw models with a high weak damage at them to minimise how much Hard to Wound helps.
As always I’d love to hear other player’s experiences with Rotten Belles, or how people find them whether they’re using them or facing them! Feel free to jump in and leave a comment below, it’s great to hear from readers :)