Unfortunately Kathryn and I haven’t had time to get in the next Malifaux story encounter this past week, so today I’ve finally put pen to paper / fingers to keyboard to talk about one of my favourite models in Malifaux: the Metal Gamin. It’s been a while since I wrote up a Tactica Tuesday post – for any readers who haven’t seen this before, it’s a short(ish) article where I talk about my own experiences and opinions re a particular model. It’s by no means a definitive guide (not by a long shot!), just my own opinions and experience :)
I see a lot of people extolling the virtues of Metal Gamin, and I’m a big fan of them myself. For a mere 4ss, they’re a very effective, reliable model that works well for most strategies.
The humble Metal Gamin stands as one of the most durable models in Malifaux for its cost. With a solid Df of 5, plus Armor +2 and Hard To Kill, it’s almost guaranteed that a Metal Gamin will take 2ap to put down, if not more. Combined with their ability to go on Defensive Stance without having to discard a card, this makes Metal Gamin very difficult to remove once they decide they want to stay somewhere.
On the face of it, Metal Gamin aren’t the most mobile of models – in fact, they’re rather slow with a Wk 4 and Cg 6. Their only movement trick, Magnetism, involves damaging another construct. In my local meta, such as it is, my opponents don’t tend to run that many constructs (if any at all), so I’m usually forced to hurt my own models if I want to speed the Gamin up. However, that’s just around here – it’s still a great movement trick that makes the Metal Gamin deceptively fast with a maximum movement of 14″ in one activation. You can target either friendly models or enemies, but with regards to targeting enemy models – it’s nice to do that guaranteed 2 damage, but often worth considering if that’s where you want the Gamin to go, especially if he’ll end up locked in combat with the enemy he’s targeting. At least Magnetism has a ridiculously long range – more often than not it’ll probably be the Gamin’s short height of 1 that prevents him from targeting a model rather than the range!
Offense isn’t a particularly strong point for the little creatures – they’re far happier tanking damage rather than dealing it. Their ability to hand out Burning +2 if the target is engaged with a friendly model under the Protection of Metal condition is rather nice, particularly with some masters such as Mei Feng and Kaeris, but it’s rather hampered by their low Ml. Unless the target’s on a negative twist or their defence is low / reduced (such as by being in base contact with a Steam Arachnid or two), it’s unlikely that the Gamin will hit without having to burn in a high card from your hand. To be honest, more often than not I’ll get the Gamin out of combat since they’re surprisingly good at escaping other model’s engagement. Their Df is pretty good at 5 (6 if they’ve used Protection of Metal on themselves), allowing them to have an advantage for disengaging strikes against all but the hardest melee fighters. And if you’re not confident on being able to walk away, they can use Magnetism to push away and avoid the disengaging strike.
Metal Gamin only have one tactical action, but since it’s a pretty darn good one I reckon it’s all they need! Protection of Metal doesn’t even require you to flip a card, since it’s got no TN or casting cost. The use of the ability varies depending on the model you’re targeting, but (to leap ahead into the next paragraph) it’s worth its weight in soulstones for some strategies. A Df 6 Rail Golem on the point in Turf War? Sounds good to me! Just watch out for any sneaky pushes or the like that can move the models out of the 3″ ‘buddy zone’ they need to be in to benefit.
It probably goes without saying that Metal Gamin are great at Turf War. Standing on a point and tanking damage is what they do best, and with a source of healing – be it Ramos’s Combat Mechanic upgrade, the Bleeding Edge Tech upgrade on a nearby model or Johan’s Open Revolt, there’s a few good sources of healing that can keep them around longer. I’ve found them to be pretty good at Stake a Claim, oddly, since they can use Magnetism as a (0) action and still have 2ap left to drop the required marker. They do suffer a bit more in Reconnoiter, since their slower movement – what with Magnetism being dependent on other constructs – means they can’t relocate to a different quarter as quickly as other models.
Personally, I’ll always take one with C. Hoffman (through his Arcanist Assets upgrade), since the ability to Power Loop in Ca 8 for Hoffman is amazing. This, combined with his Empower ability, lets him reach an impressive Ca 10 and makes casting any of his spells rather easy, freeing up those moderate-to-high cards for other models. I’ll usually keep the Metal Gamin very close to Hoffman to be the target of his Feedback ability, since Hoffman can then borrow his Ca 8 to make it easier to cast Redirect Power. Plus, if they do end up separated, the Metal Gamin can cast Magnetism on Hoffman without hurting him as much, since Magnetism ignores Armor, which Hoffman doesn’t have – he’s got his weird quasi-armour Protection ability instead. On that note, it’s also worth noting the order of resolution – the Gamin pushes first, then the target suffers 2 damage. Essentially, if you were really desperate, you could cast Magnetism on Hoffman, push the Gamin, then burn a soulstone to reduce the damage from 1 to 0 (barring an untimely Black Joker flip, of course).
Mei Feng also works well with Metal Gamin, since they’re not only a durable jump point for her Railwalker action, but can also hand out Burning to synergize with her Tiger’s Claw attack. I do quite like them with Ramos too, since they can buff up his Df with their Protection of Metal ability if needed (though, if truth be told, Ramos is pretty tough without it. Still, if Assassinate’s on the table, a little extra boost to Df doesn’t hurt). I haven’t played Kaeris enough to really offer up my experiences with how she works with the diminutive creatures, but anything that can hand out Burning must be good in her book!
As to playing against Metal Gamin, anything that ignores Armour – or even better Hard To Kill – is the best way to take them out. Other than that, a high minimum damage will hopefully ensure that they don’t take more than 2ap to kill. However, as with all things Malifaux, the first consideration is always whether they’re contributing to your opponent’s strategy or schemes – if not, they’re probably not as high a priority as the models that are :) They are pretty slow unless you’re running constructs (or the Arcanist player is willing to damage a few of his own), so if you can force them into the wrong part of the board with Lure or a similar ability, they’ll probably find it hard to re-position that quickly. After all, if you can minimize or outright deny their impact on VP, that’s only a good thing!
That’s enough from me – I’d love to hear your thoughts on Metal Gamin. Are they an auto-include, or what are your tactics for dealing with them when you have to?
Thanks for reading, and take care,
Note: As of 1/11/15, Metal Gamin have been errata’d so they can’t cast Protection Of Metal on a Metal Gamin (including themselves), and have had Hard To Kill removed from their stat card. Do I still take them? Of course! They’re still tanky little models who take a bit of effort to put down, and Magnetism is just such a good ability to have – particularly when you’re facing constructs such as Teddy or the Rogue Necromancy. To me, these changes just clarify the whole Protection Of Metal rule, and stop them being the auto-summon by the Mechanical Rider.