Slow on the Uptake! A Malifaux discussion on the merits of my favorite condition

This is a first attempt to formalizing something that I’ve been thinking about a lot recently. Namely the impact of various conditions on the board state in a game of malifaux 2nd Edition. This post I’m dedicating to perhaps the condition that I enjoy giving out the most but taking the least that being the “Slow” condition. Let’s delve into the wonderful world of slow and its impact on the game as a whole.

To truly understand the mechanical impact of “Slow” we need to understand the mechanic that this condition interferes with, that being how Action Points, (AP) are generated. Typically a non Master model will generate 2 general AP a turn a Master will Generate 3 AP a turn. The :”Slow” condition reduces the AP a model generates by 1 at the start of their next activation. So on a non master you are reducing their ap from 2 to 1 and reducing on a master from 3 ap to 2ap. Additionally slow removes the fast condition.  So what does 1 ap mean in the grand scheme of the game?

One AP means the difference between charging and walking, between delivering a message or not, between dropping a stake a claim marker or not moving twice or not. In other words slow reduces the options your opponent has on that turn. Now in the grand scheme of a game assuming you have 7 non master models and 1 master models your base turn 1 AP will be 17AP in that turn 7×2=14 and 1×3=3, 14+3=17. Now Lets say you get the opportunity to activate first this turn and your master has an ability to slow enemy models. And lets for ease of math assume your opponent also has 7 non master models and 1 master with a pool of 17AP at the start of the turn as well. You activate first with your master you utilize his 3AP to slow and dmg 3 of the non master models in your opponents crew. You have actively used 3Ap bringing your remaining pool to 14 and you have reduced your opponents AP to 14 before he’s been able to activate a model. But another way you have taken 1 models Activation, to reduce the effectiveness of 3 of your opponents activation’s.  But another way you and average AP per model of 17/8=2.13ap  this turn your opponent will now have an average of 14/8= 1.75ap.  Yet another way your master took away 1.5 total activation’s worth of AP way from your opponent. Only if he could have killed a model in 2 ap would the effect on this turn ap wise to have more mpact. If it required all 3ap to kill your actually less effective for the turn than the 3 slows however their is argument that the gain over the course of the game is greater. But will assume the master wouldn’t’ be able to kill any one of the models he targeted.

Now lets look at it in a game state lets assume were playing Extraction or TUrfwar scheme pool distract assassinate, cursed object, spring the trap close deployment. Okay so how does slowing 3 of your opponents models affect the actual game. Let’s say your opponent is playing a heavy melee focused list with supporting shooting elements. How does having 3 slowed models effect them in this scheme pool. Let’s assume Your opponent revealed no schemes. You selected cursed object and assassinate you also revealed nothing. So you slow 3 of your opponents melee threats removing their charge threats and reducing them to single walks this turn. In this situtation you have removed what your opponent was attempting to capitalize on by removing charge from his tool belt. This also means your able to gain more board space. Again think of the example above you are both deploying 12″ up the average walk being 5″. A model being able to use only a single ap can be 17″ up the board the model with 2 ap can be 22″ from their board edge. when you consider that the board is only 36″ long that’s a significant spacing advantage over your opponent. Now lets look at from a dmg potential standpoint, we’ll look at one of my favorite models, the Mature Nephlim. A mature nephlim has a base dmg spread of 4/5/6 so assuming he hits twice your minimum dmg incoming is 8. Now that same mature slowed your minimum dmg is 4 typically not enough to kill most undamaged models where 8 is often enough to do the trick. So in that example the slow can save the model from death.

So how does Slow compare with removal of opponents activation via removal i.e. just killing an activation a turn. Raw math incoming for purposes of this we will assume that turn 1 neither side can remove or slow an opponent. We will assume that through some combination be it a master or a combination of minions that 3Ap a turn are used to slow the opponent we are equaling assuming that one model is being removed every turn after the first.  We are assuming in both examples the players are facing equal skilled opponents. Also assuming each game ends on turn 5

Okay the vaccum examples

Slow Again assuming baseline 17AP a turn

the Slow giver will remove over the course of turn 2-5

4×3=12 AP

Okay Vaccum example

Removing model a turn after the first 17Ap A turn

Ap removed turn 2=2

Ap removed turn 3=4

Ap removed turn 4=6

Ap removed turn 5=8

20ap removed

So on the raw data we see model removal to be more effective, now the question is the  AP exchange equal. It costs me 12 ap over the course of the 4 turns to remove 12 ap from my opponent. Now this is just raw ap not accounting for what we’ve stopped them from doing. Now the question is can you remove a model a turn in less than 5 Ap and 2 activation’s. Sometimes you can but sometimes you can’t or by doing so you are limiting your ability to score points. So why show the numbers for both. because were about full discussion and disclosure.

So malifaux being a game of Activation efficiency and AP effectiveness. Why is slow my favorite condition? Quite simply its the removal of options from the opponent. When you play melee focused crews something I really enjoy if you couldn’t tell beings my favorite factions are NB and Ressers two melee first dmg dealing factions slow is like a silver bullet. Because it denies what melee focused crews relies on, the charge. Charging is one of most AP efficient actions in the game because it is effectively a 3Ap action that costs you 2 general ap generally. Why 3 Ap because in a charge you move your charge value, so you get essentially a free move Ap often larger than your standard Walk in a melee focused crew. Then you get 2 1 action close attack actions for a total effective ap of 3 at a cost of 2. So if I slow a melee model in charge range to my models i have effectively cost that model not 1 ap but 2ap. This is where the real value of slow occurs its in the ap denial of actions in a very efficient manor. If I can be in a situation where my model that can slow has both of its ap and 2 targets in range to slow them. Means for 1 activation and 2 ap I can limit 2 of my opponents activation effectiveness. I spend an activation to remove an activation I have only limited one activation that turn. Again always depends on game state but sometimes having 2 models doing nothing of note for a turn is better than removing a single model. So don’t dismiss Slow as a condition, see how you can use it to make your opponents activation’s less effective and yours more effective. Because malifaux is a game of resource management if you can limit your opponents resources you are gaining an advantage.

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2 thoughts on “Slow on the Uptake! A Malifaux discussion on the merits of my favorite condition

  1. Great write-up. Slow is a vital element to dismantling your opponents efficiency.

    The beauty of applying the slow mechanic in the game is that the designers usually incorporate it as part of an attack actions (or other ability) such that the applier of the condition gets to use his/her AP to do dmg (or push something) AND hand out slow.

    There are little to none (that I can think of) in the game where you just hand out slow without some other game effect taking place as well. As you describe giving out slow has a huge effect to your opponent because it makes their activations less effective and you’ve also done more to them with your available AP.

    I for one am always looking for ways to apply slow.

  2. I think one example of a model that applies slow and nearly nothing else is McCabe, but that’s a setup maneuver. If you hit someone who has slow with it again, it can become paralyze which is even more devastating. Trading two ap for 3 on a master, or bonus actioned enforcer or hench… Can be pretty good.

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