CHARLES HOFFMAN is a dual faction master (ARCANISTS and THE GUILD) that has a decently large keyword with various different models to choose from. He definitely has one of the most complete keywords in the game currently. This tactica will focus mostly on the Guild version (it will however have information that will help Arcanist players too). He is decently versatile so you can try to solo him in multiple pools assuming you will.
The whole crew revolves around Power Tokens, generated by Hoffman, scrap markers and certain abilities. Power Tokens allow AUGMENTED models (bar JOSS and MEDICAL AUTOMATON) get a positive flip on their duels or add a suit to a duel. Managing Power Tokens is one of the core mechanics of Hoffman. What is important is that the Transfer Power bonus action most Augmented models have can be used on them as long as they have a Power Token. This adds a lot of mobility and lets you get out of engagement pretty easily. The price for that is generally low defensive stats (which are compensated by Armor).
JOSS: Joss is an Arcanist henchman that I would qualify as a tanky beater. His greatest asset is that his Arc Axe can generate irreducible damage (which means it bypassess all armor reduction as well as soulstone usage). He also has a pretty good Demise that deals Area of Effect (AoE) damage when he dies. If you take Joss, I would consider putting LEAD-LINED COAT (LLC) on him. He will be pretty durable (although he will take more damage than you expect with Df5). If you play Arcanists, I would strongly consider DIESEL ENGINE.
HOWARD LANGSTON: Another Arcanist tanky beater, but this time, an Enforcer. I really like him for a handful of things. First of all, he has a 2” engagement range and Executioner Claws prevent Resistance Triggers. Then he is also Unimpeded which means he will not be hampered by forests, lakes and such. He also has Terrifying (11) which combined with Execute trigger can put a lot of pressure on your opponents Control Hand. Finally he has Vent Steam, which creates a 3” aura of fog that grants Concealment and is Hazardous to enemy non-constructs. He’s another model that wants LLC in Guild as with Laugh Off, Armor +2, Terrifying he can tank a lot. Knowing when to attack and when to Vent Steam is important but it comes with practice.
MELISSA K.O.R.E.: Melissa is a Guild henchman that makes an excellent ranged threat. Gatling Guns are one of the best weapons in the game and with easy access to positives (thanks to the Power Converter and Dynamic Generator abilities) you can often negate Concealment/Friendly Fire negatives. Run and Gun give her an excellent threat range of 2 shots at 17” which can surprise a lot of people. Remember you don’t need a target to chargé so it’s worth charging turn 1 to get that extra Power Token. Consider stacking her with Focus as she has high damage spikes on her profile. What also makes her great is Transfer Power which let’s her get out of most engagements as long as she has a Power Token. You can consider giving her the EXPERT MARKSMAN (EM) upgrade if you expect to be against a lot of armored enemies.
PEACEKEEPER: Yet another tanky beater. His schticks is that he has a pretty great damage track (3/4/6 base) and Flurry which lets him attack 3 times. He can also eat enemy scheme markers for an extra attack (Trail of Gore bonus action) and has a decent Harpoon Gun that lets you deal damage from range and push enemy models (or friendly ones in dire situations) closer to you.
MOBILE TOOLKIT: A tiny support piece. It’s Insignificant, so it can’t score you points, but it offers some pretty sweet buffs. The Tune Up action, while only 1” range lets you stack up Focus on friendlies (there is also an option for Power Tokens or Shielded but I rarely use it) and Field Repairs lets you heal allied Constructs. With Df6 this is a steal for 3SS and I think I take it almost always.
MEDICAL AUTOMATON: Another tiny healing support piece. Since Hoffman walks in a bubble often, Healing Draughts is super good at keeping your constructs alive. Emergency Surgery is nice but it only works on Living models (so Hoffman, Joss, Howard and Union Steamfitter in keyword). The best reason to take an Automaton is Bedside Manners which let’s you pull back a friendly model that received damage.
UNION STEAMFITTER: Another support piece. But this time it’s Living. He has pretty good synergies with Howard (as they share 2 keywords together) due to Encase in Steel (and the Bronze Boxing Gloves trigger) and Unionized. Welding Torch can heal your constructs and Discarded Tool lets you put Scrap or Scheme markers while engaged which is strong but very dependent on the Scheme pool.
GUARDIAN: One of the big boys. A 9SS minion that has a Greatsword (min 3 attack) and an important ability called Take The Hit which lets you redirect attacks from your weaker or wounded models onto him. One more thing that let’s the Guardian stand out is the Toss action. It allows you to push a model up to 10” which can be either devastating to an enemy or beneficial to a friend.
HUNTER: Mobile versatile minions. They are quite fast (Mv6, Transfer Power and Deadly Pursuit), can hit pretty hard, have a similar Harpoon as the Peacekeeper. Overall a mix between a Scheme Runner that can pack a punch. I have mixed feelings about them but a lot of people like them
RIOTBREAKER: This is a very specific minion. It has a few things that make it a very tech pick. First of them is Blow it to Hell that lets you remove cover bonuses from enemies but the also destroys Destructible markers (Ice, Coffin and a few others). It also has a decent gun (stat 6, potential blasts) and Crowd Control which prohibits enemies within 6” from taking actions outside of their activation, which shuts down a few obey masters.
WARDEN: A cheap durable minion. He is dual keyword with GUARD which gives him Pursue. What makes them great is their durability for 5SS and the Restraint Claw which is a ranged attack that gives Slow. They also have the Knock Aside trigger on their attack (which can be accessed pretty easily with Power Tokens) that can reposition enemy models in your favor.
WATCHER: A small, fast scheme runner. Sz1 means he can hide behind cover pretty easily. Transfer Power makes him immune to engagement and Flight with Mv7 makes him one of the most mobile models in the faction.
GUILD LAWYER: They are one of the best and versatile pieces in Guild. They can get you a high card due to Tools for the Job. They give shielded (with a possible Surge) with Impassioned Defense and Obey is pretty sweet for that finishing attack/extra move to score points.
PHIONA GAGE: While she cannot use Power Tokens, she brings a lot of utility if you need to hold a point. Bring It! allows you to pull enemies towards your constructs. I’ve Got Your Back allows getting friendlies out of trouble. The Hero We Deserve is easily doable with all the cheap support minions you don’t need that much early and with positives to both defense and offense, she is a really solid piece.
Size: 50 soulstones
Pool: 3 soulstones
This crew has decent mobility (2 Hunters, 2 Watchers, Unimpeded Howard and Run and Gun Melissa that’s very hard to lock in melee). It can spread out decently as Watchers only need 1 Power Token for Transfer Power. It’s surprisingly durable.
Size: 50 soulstones
Pool: 4 soulstones
If you need less mobility and more punching power, you can consider something like this. This crew has 4 healers, 2 melee beaters, a range threat. Of course you might want to swap Joss for Peacekeeper and it will still work. Those are just lists I am accustomed to :)
- Hoffman will want to activate early in the first turn to give everyone Power Tokens via Power Nexus. Remember to deploy all your constructs within 6” and Line of Sight of him.
- While Hoffman is a support master, he can dish out some great damage with his Enhanced Fists (especially if you have Focus as they have a very good damage spread).
- While Welding Torch has a 1” range, remember you can use it after a charge. If you have 2 Power Tokens on Hoffman you can charge 4”, then spend them on Welding Torch and heal a friendly construct from 9” away for 3 points of health. Remember you can’t use Tokens from other models to extend Welding Torch range!
- JOSS can Command Construct a GUARDIAN to Toss him giving him up to 10’ extra threat range.
- MECHANICAL ATTENDANT can push your whole crew up with Internal Magnet if you position correctly.
- Since your crew lacks card draw don’t be afraid to spend Power Token on simple duels (Tune Up of MOBILE TOOLKIT, Hoffman’s Overcharge, Internal Magnet) but make sure you don’t run out of them on key models like WATCHERs.
- People often underestimate the range of a Fast MELISSA K.O.R.E. I managed to shoot her multiple times into enemy deployment (with Focus +2 given by MOBILE TOOLKIT) and power tokens spent on a Ram (to get a ). This can deal a surprising amount of damage to unaware enemies.
- While Hoffman’s bonus action, Emergency Power Transfer is very complicated, it can allow you to remove 2 conditions from your own model for 2x3. Do not underestimate it as multiple times I was able to remove Slow and Stunned from my key models for basically free(there is a very high chance of getting 2x 3 without cheating and Hoffman lacks any other bonus action).
- A WATCHER with Fast can make an interact action 16” away (double walk + Transfer Power).
This is a sample deployment of a Hoffman crew. As you see all my 8 models are within range of Hoffman’s Power Nexus and Attendants Internal Magnet. Mobile Toolkit is close to Melissa to stack her with Focus and Hoffman can Overcharge anyone he wants :). Of course the Watchers and Hunters can be deployed slightly differently depending on your chosen Schemes and the game Strategy.
If you have anything to add or want to correct me or ask questions, you can find me at discord trikk86#0182 or on the Wyrd Forums as trikk.