For my first model review I’ll take a glance at the Arcanist Performers! Do note that these models are mercenaries and can be hired into any crew.
What we like: The ability to hire them outside of Arcanist proves to make them even more useful, and for just 5/6 soul stones. They have a rather average stat line of 5s across the board, but they carry the very nifty Manipulative 13 lowering them in target priority a little so long as they haven’t activated. They can take interact actions while engaged, and also when they die give a friendly minion or showgirl reactivate – even in death they help! They have 2 standout abilities on the back of their card – a Lure that only needs a 4 of any suit to reach TN, albeit it only moves them their walk, with several nice triggers. Notably the built in Sip of Wine trigger (for you McMournings or Brewys) which instantly deals damage equal to the target’s poison condition value. And perhaps even more valuable, a (1) tactical action that allows you to remove a Scheme Marker from 8″ away and potentially severely debuff surrounding enemy models.
What we don’t: Should you need to activate your performer early or if Manipulative 13 doesn’t phase your opponent they will die very quickly. Df 5 Wd 5 will not hold up at all so keep them in cover and away from anything that can punch. Their melee attack Poisoned Hairpin comes in at a nice Ml 6, but the damage track of 1/3/5 means that unless you really want to cheat a high card or get lucky with the damage flip you’ll probably just do 1 damage – at least it gives poison +2 built in?
Why take it: Are you in a scheme pool that is full of schemy schemes? If it looks like Claim Jump, Dig Their Graves, Setup, Search the Ruins, Leave Your Mark, etc these Performers will really be a poison hairpin in your opponent’s side. With proper positioning the ability to shut down 1, possibly 2 points your opponent could get is massive and very well could win you the game. If you’ve built a list around poison and would like some assistance with killing then the Sip of Wine trigger could surprise someone – I don’t know that I would take one just for that but hey, a Lure that can deal some damage, why not?