The Blessed Of December stands out as one of my favourite Arcanist scheme runners, particularly in crews led by Marcus or Rasputina. Is it because she can put down a claim marker every activation in Stake A Claim? Yes, partially. But there’s more to this high-end scheme runner than just that, so let’s take a look at her and why she often makes an appearance in my crews.
For starters, the Blessed has excellent manoeuvrability. The (0) action Leap – with the mask needed to hit the TN built-in to the (admittedly low) Ca – lets her jump around all over the place, and alongside a solid Wk stat and the Unimpeded ability means that the Blessed shouldn’t have any issues getting where she wants to. Leap even lets her ignore terrain, other models, disengaging strikes and pretty much most stuff that would otherwise hold her in place, meaning that she’s very hard to pin down.
The Blessed comes in at a pricey 9ss, but her offensive and defensive potential tends to justify this cost when I use her. Her only Attack Action, Ragged Claws, has an astounding Ml 7 with a variety of triggers, and should let her deal with most other scheme runners with relative ease. What’s more, her Eat Your Fill ability lets her heal after killing an enemy model, making her a pretty durable and self-sufficient scheme runner. If your opponent wants to stop her getting where she wants to, they’ll usually have to commit a surprising amount of resources to stop her. I tend to mainly aim to have her engage enemy scheme runners – thanks to Leap she often won’t have to waste ap engaging them, or alternatively can Leap and then charge for an impressive threat range of 12″.
I’ve previously written about Molemen, who are possibly the complete opposite of the Blessed. Where she’s mobile, they rely on moving to set points (scheme markers) and like to sit in one place. Where she’s offensive-oriented, they’re defensive-oriented. These two models fulfil very different parts of the same role. To earn her place in the crew, the Blessed will normally be doing more than just using Leap and dropping a trail of scheme / claim markers behind her. To me, her ability to do this while also hunting down enemy scheme runners is what makes her such an interesting choice.
Naturally at home with Marcus or Rasputina due to the Beast trait and Frozen Heart ability respectively, the Blessed isn’t necessarily a bad choice alongside other masters. Given that she tends to operate by herself she won’t be around to benefit from Kaeris and her upgrade buffs, for example, and Colette can always use another model upfield dropping scheme markers (though given the Mannequin’s Magician’s Assistant ability, often a Performer can get scheme markers just as far). Mei Feng is possibly a little less suited to the Blessed, given that she likes having Constructs around to Railwalk to, and the Blessed is quite a sizeable chunk of soulstones not spent on Mei’s mechanical friends. However, as with everything in Malifaux, it all boils down to the strategy and schemes. That’s one of the main things I love about this game, as an aside – that there’s no ‘top-tier’ master or model, really, as while models may excel in certain situations, they may be less-than-helpful in others.
To get back on point, I’ll usually consider the Blessed for Squatter’s Rights and Recconoiter, and she’s almost an auto-include for the rarely-found Stake A Claim due to her ability to take a (2) interact to drop a claim marker and then Leap 7″ away, ready to repeat next activation. When it comes down to schemes, she excels at anything that requires you to be deep in the opponent’s half of the board or have scheme markers in specific places – Breakthrough, Spring The Trap, and Plant Explosives all spring to mind. Sadly, as an Enforcer, she can’t help out with Entourage, so that perfect combination remains tantalisingly out of reach.
When it comes down to it, I don’t tend to worry too much about model costs, but rather how many VP they can score – and, in the right combination of strategy and schemes, the Blessed Of December can potentially rack in a fair chunk of VP by herself. And, if she’s scoring me 3 – 4 VP (or potentially more), then that’s enough to justify her inclusion to me.
Finally, I’ve completed Marcus month – although it actually turned into two months after all that, as I ran him pretty exclusively throughout January too. I certainly feel that I’ve achieved what I set out to – I’m far more comfortable with Marcus now, and more confident running him as a master. Previously I just hadn’t used him enough to be happy fielding him, being stuck in a catch-22 of ‘I’m used to M&SU / Showgirl themed crews, so therefore I’ll keep running what I know’. I really feel like I’ve come a long way with Marcus over the past eight weeks, and am looking forward to running him a lot more nowadays!
I’ve also finished painting my old metal Marcus model, and am very happy with how he turned out. I prefer the character of this model to the new plastic one, so he tends to be the model I use for Marcus most games.