Waldo managed to weasel his way into the Beta. We kicked him out pretty quickly, but before we did, he managed to print off a few of the new stat cards. After throwing some “distractions” (don’t worry, Kyle will recover), we grabbed most of them back. He managed to keep a hold of a few, and said he would only give them back if we let him talk about one for Waldo’s Weekly.
With that, we are happy to introduce the new Ten Thunders Master, Youko Hamasaki.
As a reminder, Youko is still in beta testing, so some of the Abilities and Actions discussed in this article might change between now and M3E’s release. With that disclaimer out of the way, let’s see what this mysterious woman has in store for us.
Youko Hamasaki is the new proprietor of the Qi and Gong, the most widely-renowned brothel within the Little Kingdom (if not all of Malifaux City). While she might not appear imposing at first glance, Youko has her delicate fingers upon the pulse of the city and is adept at gathering information, secrets, and blackmail.
Youko’s Keyword is “Qi and Gong,” as most of her thematic models are drawn from the employees of that establishment. Each Qi and Gong model has the Leverage Ability, which gives its controller a Pass Token at the start of the Turn… provided that the opponent has one or more revealed Schemes. Furthermore, the model can discard a Pass Token when performing a duel to gain a positive flip to that duel.
Leverage lets a Qi and Gong Crew play mind games with their opponent right from the very start of the game. As soon as the opponent reveals a Scheme to score Victory Points, the Qi and Gong crew is going to gain a whole pile of Pass Tokens that they can use for activation control, initiative bonuses, or fate modifiers. Is it worth scoring early and risking such a swing in power, or is it better to wait to reveal Schemes, which gives Youko’s crew time to counter them?
Youko’s ability to control the flow of the game doesn’t stop there, however. After an enemy model Activates within 6” of her, her Informants Ability allows her to look at the top card of either player’s Fate Deck and then gives her the option of placing that card on the bottom of that player’s Fate Deck. This Ability serves double duty, allowing Youko to either discard her own undesirable cards or to ensure that the opponent’s high cards end up getting buried back in their deck.
She also has Calm Demeanor, which allows her to draw a card whenever an enemy model within 6” discards a card. So long as Youko is near the battle, she’s going to be benefiting from the opponent’s misery.
Though fragile at only 10 Health, she is protected from enemy aggression by Disguised (which prevents her from being the target of Actions generated by the Charge Action) and Serene Countenance (which gives any Attack Actions targeting her a negative flip). She might not be durable, but she’s got plenty of tricks in her sleeve to avoid all but the most dedicated assassins.
Youko’s most impressive Action is most likely her Bonus Action, Backroom Dealings. It targets an enemy model and forces them to reveal their hand, giving Youko a glimpse into her enemy’s plans. The “Risking It All” trigger further punishes the opponent by letting you guess a suit before the reveal, which in turn damages the enemy model for one damage per card of the named suit in the opponent’s hand. This can be particularly damaging against summoners who often stockpile cards of certain suits. Her other trigger, “Shady Dealings,” reinforces her crew’s Leverage Ability: for each of the opponent’s unrevealed Schemes, they must discard a random card.
In addition to this formidable weapon, Youko also possesses Blackmail, which gives an enemy model the option of discarding up to two cards. For each card they don’t discard, Youko’s crew gains a Pass Token, providing further fuel to Leverage. Even if the opponent doesn’t care that Youko gains Pass Tokens, they may want to discard a card anyways; her “We Own You” trigger lets her force the target to take an Action… provided that the opponent discarded one or fewer cards.
Backing up her Blackmail capabilities is Riddles in the Dark, an amusing little Action that gives the target Distracted +X, where X is equal to the difference in the number of cards in each player’s hand (to a maximum of Distracted +2). This works whether Youko is up or down on cards, making it quite useful.
Rounding out her skill set is Information Network, a simple Action that lets her draw a card without having to flip any cards, and an Exotic Weapons attack that does average damage… unless she can get a model alone and declare the “No Witnesses” trigger, which allows her to deal +1 damage and ignore Armor if no enemy models other than the target can draw line of sight to her.
All in all, Youko Hamasaki is an interesting addition to the Ten Thunders roster, providing them with a true control Master who is more than capable of controlling the flow of information during the game.