Archery is still frequently practiced in the Three Kingdoms, as only the most rich and powerful have firearms. The Ten Thunders have their own elite archers, able to fire off a volley of arrows before most Guild Guards can even get off a single shot with their clumsy guns. These archers can easily lay down a rain of arrows or fire a single precise and deadly shot, depending on what the situation calls for.
Thunder Archers are amazing models when attacking at range. They do not randomize into engagements, can use “Rapid Fire” to get up to three shots, and even ignore LoS with some of their attacks! They have no melee attacks, but if the enemy gets close enough, they can use their “Leap Aside” Trigger to get out of trouble.
Not every battle is won with blood and sweat. Many battles are won through information, coercion, and deception. The Oiran excel at these arts. Seemingly harmless escorts, these women have infiltrated Malifaux for the Ten Thunders, feeding information to their masters to allow them to strike when the time is right. Of course, if pressed into a fight, they are far from helpless, thanks to their poisons and concealed weapons.
Oiran are mercenaries, meaning they can be taken by any faction. They boost the Wp of nearby friendly models, and they can give enemies the Unbeknownst Condition, which prevents them from targeting Showgirls (making Oiran a strong choice for Colette, even though she is not Ten Thunders). They can also “Lure” enemy models out of position, which is a great way to get them off of a key objective.
Misaki has been seeing Shang since she was a child. Nothing but fiery glimpses here and there... until she came to Malifaux. Once she crossed the breach, the nine-tailed fire fox revealed itself fully to her. Now it follows her, protecting or healing her where necessary.
Shang is Misaki’s totem, and it may only be taken in crews led by Misaki. It has “Rush of Magic,” allowing its controller to draw an extra card during the draw phase and then discard a card. This means that, so long as Shang is on the table, its controller will likely have a better hand. In addition to that, Shang can heal Misaki, which helps significantly as she is usually up front and in the action.
In days past, strict codes of honor kept the powerful families of the Three Kingdoms from open warfare. Instead, they turned to the silent, faceless tactics of the masked Torakage, who killed without a trace. Although the rich families of Earth have little use for Torakage presently, the Oyabun gladly employs them on the streets of Malifaux, where they strike like tigers from the darkness.
Torakage are highly mobile models with a good stat line. Enemy models suffer a negative flip when shooting at them if the Torakage is close to another model, and they gain a positive to attack in melee if they are alone; this allows them to move up field as a group and then split up to fight. They have “Rapid Fire,” and their shooting attack can automatically Trigger “Leaf Steps,” which Pushes them up to 3” with each shot. At least one Torakage is always a great choice to grab an objective or two.
There are some who say that fire has a life of its own, and Mei Feng has found this to be true. Adept at manipulating the forge, Mei can summon Emberlings from its flames. These are short-lived creatures whose bodies are composed entirely of flame and ash. They live and die at their mistress’s command as they were created by her and for her purposes.
The Emberling is Mei Feng’s totem, and it may only be included in crews led by her. It can pass out Burning with its “Torch” and “Fan the Flames” actions, which Mei Feng always finds useful. It can also produce Scrap Markers with its “Controlled Destruction” trigger and “Cool Down” action. Scrap Markers are useful to Mei Feng as she can use “Rail Walk” to be placed near them. Any Mei Feng crew should strongly consider hiring an Emberling.
Many stalwart men and women from the Three Kingdoms work tirelessly on the railroads of Malifaux. Of course, this is dangerous work, and missing limbs are common place. With the help of Mei Feng and the Thunders, these limbs are replaced by pneumatic equivalents. All that is asked in return is the worker’s loyalty, and it is always given.
Railworkers are difficult to remove because they have a combination of “Hard to Kill,” Armor, and a good defensive Trigger. They also have a decent attack action for their cost, and they can force models with the Burning condition to suffer damage at range. Their best trick is “Implacable Assault,” which allows them to discard a card to gain positive modifiers to attack and damage flips. When all is said and done, a Railworker is an incredibly effective model in any crew.
The Brilliance that the Hungering Darkness feeds its victims isn’t just addictive; it is also a powerful magic. After a person has received enough Brilliance to build up some immunity but before they have received so much that the Darkness consumes them, they are able to channel the Brilliance within them, allowing them to shape their limbs into weapons. They wield these weapons for one purpose: to taste more Brilliance.
Illuminated are highly durable models with good melee damage. They have Armor, “Regeneration,” and a good healing action. They also have a decent melee attack that deals extra damage against models with the Brilliance Condition. Due to their synergy with the Brilliance Condition, Illuminated work great with Jakob Lynch, but any crew that can take them never regrets having at least one.
There are monsters on Earth too, and the Dawn Serpent is one such monster. Its serpentine body can grow to be twice as long as a man, and it can spit fire when angered. The Ten Thunders have seen fit to bring some of these creatures across the Breach, where their powers have only grown stronger.
The Dawn Serpent has amazing attacks in both melee and shooting with a very high stat of 7. Its melee attack gives out Poison (useful with Brewmaster), and its shooting attack produces blasts and gives out Burning (useful with Mei Feng). It also combines “Hard to Kill” with a healing action, allowing it to reach the brink of death and then recover. This is a great model in many crews.
Monks of Low River learn the ways of healing and non-violence from an early age. Things were not always this way; the temple of Low River split off from the bloodthirsty temple of High River and has since devoted itself to bringing peace. Many Monks of Low River make a pilgrimage to Malifaux, where their ways are in dire need.
Monks of Low River have no actions that deal damage; however, they can still be incredibly useful in achieving victory. These monks can remove Conditions (essential in certain match ups) and lock down enemies in engagement with an impressive melee stat of 7. They can also heal and benefit greatly from the Defensive Condition. Monks of Low River have amazing utility and are good for grabbing objectives.
Wastrels are the spoiled children of rich families. After a lifetime of being bailed out of trouble by their family name, they have finally been forced to flee across the Breach. In Malifaux, the Guild puts them to use, hiring them for tasks that need to be kept quiet or that the Guards are unwilling to do. Many of these individuals follow McCabe, enjoying his brash nature and always hoping to share in some valuable find.
Wastrels are cheap, disposable models that have some decent attacks for their cost and get better when they have upgrades attached. Normally, Minions cannot attach upgrades, but McCabe can hand out upgrades during the game, which makes Wastrels a great choice in a McCabe list. In addition to their decent melee and shooting, Wastrels can take the “Cast-offs” action to heal a friendly model and then benefit from one of their amazing Triggers (they have a Trigger for every suit).
Clockwork Traps are the wayward cousins of Earthside bear traps. Some still have simple snapping jaws and a pressure plate, but many have been modified with tripwires, nooses, and even simplistic instruction codes that make them constructs in their own right, capable of springing forward and catching their prey.
Clockwork Traps have “From the Shadows,” which allows them to deploy almost anywhere on the table. However, they don’t activate as part of turn rotation. Instead, they lie in wait, attacking any enemies that end a move too close to them. This allows their controller to create a virtual minefield on the table, shutting off important locations or creating death traps. These models are frequently fielded in conjunction with a Guild Pathfinder.
There are many recluses and hermits attracted to the wilds of Malifaux. What calls them there varies from person to person, but the Guild is quick to put the skills of anyone who can survive the wilds to good use. Pathfinders often aid the Guild for a time, acting as guides or informants in exchange for supplies and, of course, the promise that their solitude will not be interrupted once they part ways.
Like their Clockwork Traps, Pathfinders have “From the Shadows,” allowing them to deploy almost anywhere on the table. This is great for setting up a position to take a shot or hold an objective. They can ignore Clockwork Traps when shooting into combat, and they even gain bonuses to both shooting and melee when there are Traps nearby. This allows their controller to hold enemies down with the Traps while finishing them off with the Pathfinder. They can also summon and reposition the Traps. A Pathfinder with a few Clockwork Traps can be worth their weight in gold when it comes to disrupting the enemy.
Luna is McCabe’s loyal dog. The mastiff is large and capable of coming head to head with anything Malifaux can throw at her. She has saved McCabe’s life on numerous occasions, and both master and pet would gladly risk their lives for the other. Together they have faced ancient beasts, traps, and thieves of all manner and kind. The two are inseparable.
Luna is McCabe’s totem and may only be included in crews led by him. Other friendly Hounds lose “Insignificant” while she is in play and gain +1 Wk while she is near, making Guild Hounds an excellent choice with her. McCabe never flips a card for her when randomizing into an engagement, instead gaining bonuses against models she is engaged with. This allows her to tie down an enemy while McCabe shoots it. Every McCabe list should strongly consider including Luna.
Yan Lo was not alone when he walked the Paths between life and death. There were many other strange beings there. One such being was the Soul Porter, which captured souls and used them to light Yan Lo’s way. When Yan Lo returned to the mortal world, he brought the Soul Porter with him, hoping to make use of its abilities.
The Soul Porter is Yan Lo’s totem and may only be included in crews led by him. It has a number of useful abilities that help to support Yan Lo. “On The Altar Of Eternity” prevents enemies from being able to remove the Chi Condition, which is very important for Yan Lo. It can also hand out Chi to friendly models, and push friendly Ancestors, giving extra movement to models like Izamu. Any Yan Lo crew should strongly consider a Soul Porter.
The temples of the five rivers are attended to by all manner of Peasants to do the cooking, cleaning, and various menial tasks. Some of these Peasants follow The Dragon with such zeal that they would gladly follow him unarmed into combat, laying down their lives for the glory of Shenlong and The Dragon.
Peasants are Shenlong’s totems and may only be included in crews led by him. Shenlong may hire up to two Peasants. Peasants can apply a number of helpful Conditions to friendly models, including Defensive, Focused, Burning, and Poison. While Burning and Poison may not generally be good Conditions, Shenlong can make use of them. Peasants can also be sacrificed to allow Shenlong to take a free action. Finally, if a Peasant takes an Interact action, which Shenlong can allow them to do despite their Insignificant characteristic, another Peasant is summoned. These models are amazing in any Shenlong list.
Kamaitachi are fickle, playful Oni. They frequently take a liking to an individual, following him or her around like a mischievous pet. In combat, a Kamaitachi can be a whirlwind of claws and teeth, leaving its victims bloody and confused. They are also capable of healing others, an ability they mainly use when they damage their favored playmates too badly with their claws.
The Kamaitachi is the Ten Thunders generic totem, and it may be included in any crew that does not already have a totem. It is most effective if the crew can discard and attach upgrades. The Kamaitachi may draw a card when a nearby model attaches an upgrade and heal models that discard upgrades; this combos well with many abilities in the Ten Thunders faction. It can also push friendly leaders or Minion models for extra movement and apply the Burning Condition. This is an excellent utility model that should only be left at home if the crew already has a totem.
When the Ten Thunders need to make a statement, they send out the Brothers. These men and women wear Oni masks that hide their faces, both to make them more fearsome in battle and to maintain their anonymity. They are excellent enforcers of the Ten Thunder’s power. Few are willing to speak ill of the clan, lest a Ten Thunders Brother overhear.
Ten Thunders Brothers are excellent foot soldiers with good stat lines, a decent attack, and high versatility. They have a high Df that can be raised with the Defensive Condition, and they prevent friendly Scheme Markers from being discarded when they are near. Their attack is good considering their cost and has some decent Triggers. Most useful of all is the” Dance of the Heavens” free action, which has triggers to boost the Brother’s effectiveness with anything from increased melee range to Armor. These models work well in any crew.
On several missions, the Ten Thunders have found themselves given aid by a mysterious little creature known as the Shadow Effigy. It embodies everything the clan holds dear: silence, honor, and brutal pragmatism. It hides its allies in shadow and then vanishes when the mission is complete.
The Shadow Effigy has very good defensive abilities for its cost, making it a great objective grabber. Its Precision Blade has an amazing Ml of 7, though it only deals one damage. Even so, it’s good for keeping enemy models in combat. It can also give friendly models the Remember the Mission Condition, which allows them to place a Scheme Marker in base contact at the end of their activation. Finally, it can use its “Blend Into Shadow” action to help protect the friendly leader.
Many important buildings are guarded by a pair of stone or metal creatures that look like a cross between a lion and a dog. These are Komainu, and the temple’s guardian spirits can inhabit them in times of need. Komainu are fearsome opponents, and it is said their bite rends both flesh and soul.
Komainu are excellent foot soldiers; midrange models with decent attack and defense. Their Armor and “Hard to Kill” defensive abilities combine to make them difficult models to put down. A Komainu’s Rend the Soul melee attack targets Wp, which makes it a good choice if the opposing crew has high Df. It has some very useful Triggers that it can use automatically if an Ancestor is nearby, making it a good model for Yan Lo. Finally, it can push into base contact with an enemy as a free action, and its abilities make using Ca actions near it a dangerous prospect. Komainu work well in any list, but they are great counters against certain enemies.
For most, alcohol is a brief escape from reality, but to the Fermented River Monks it is a sacred ritual and way of life. These monks use drink to loosen their muscles and their minds, making them fearsome and unpredictable in combat. The more experienced the monk, the less alcohol he needs to achieve this state, as meditation can aid in the process.
Fermented River Monks rely on the Poison Condition to function, which makes them an excellent choice for The Brewmaster. As they gain Poison, their Df increases, making them more difficult to hit. They can also remove the Poison Condition when attacking to deal extra damage. If they gain enough Poison, they can even remove it to gain Reactivate, which is a very powerful Condition that allows an additional activation. Fermented River Monks stumble drunkenly across the battlefield, impossible to predict as they leave a path of destruction and inebriation in their wake.
Monks of High River are acolytes of the oldest temple in the valley of the five rivers. They are devoted to combat and the application of violence, which has earned them a fearsome reputation. They frequently wear steel masks in combat to conceal their humanity. These monks cannot be swayed with coin, only with promises of violence and fearsome opponents against which to prove their worth.
Monks of High River are melee models. They may discard a card to produce an extra attack when Charging, and their melee attack has a Trigger to automatically apply Burning to their target. They have a free action to push, which helps them set up for a devastating Charge. In addition, they gain a bonus when taking the Focus action. These are melee models, which rush in and put the opponent down with a single crippling Charge before they get a chance to strike back.
Legends say that Tengu were once men but that they have been cursed to exist after death as demons. These Oni are bound to protect the forests and mountains of the Three Kingdoms. Despite their fearsome appearance, they are not always hostile, and it is rumored that they even aid in the training of the Torakage. Villages within a Tengu’s domain learned long ago to treat the land with respect.
Tengu are cheap models designed to grab objectives. They may be placed in contact with a friendly Scheme Marker at the start of their activation, which greatly increases their mobility. They can place Scheme Markers with a Trigger on their attack, and they can discard enemy Scheme Markers as a free action. Finally, they can give other friendly models Regeneration, which heals them. These are some of the best objective running models in the Ten Thunders faction.
When the Katanaka wish to eliminate a target from a distance they call on the Ansatsu dojo. These snipers are experts at stealth and are trained to frame the murder on unfortunate bystanders. They are patient, carefully planning, setting up, and awaiting the perfect time to strike. Before their first mission, each Katanaka Sniper has their tongue removed, insuring their silence.
Katanaka Snipers have the “From The Shadows” ability, allowing them to be deployed almost anywhere on the board. Their Clockwork Rifle is an excellent shooting attack that gains a bonus to hit and doubles its range with the Focused Condition. Unlike other sniper models, Katanaka Snipers have a melee attack just as devastating as their ranged attack. Finally, as a free action they can use the “Blow Dart” action to Slow a nearby enemy. Katanaka Snipers add excellent ranged support to any list.