Published to Miniature Trading on August 8th, 2012
Miniature Review: Christian Fiore – Canceller for hire
Set: Pirates of the Mysterious Islands
Collector’s Number: 025
Faction Affiliation: Mercenary
Ability: Ex-patriot. Once per turn, one crew or ship within S of this ship cannot use its ability that turn.
Flavor text: Fiore had a knack for getting people to tell him their secrets, for creating kings. Eventually the objects of his manipulations began to bore him, and hearing of Gustov’s plan, he took his talents to the sea to help create a new world order.
Christian Fiore might be the the crew with the widest range in the entire game. By that, I mean that he is versatile and that he opens up broad possibilities for every fleet you can think up. There are two reasons for this:
1. He has the Ex-patriot keyword, so he can serve on almost any ship in the entire game.
2. The cancel ability is an extremely broad ability; it can be used almost anywhere and at almost anytime in the entire game. It is not limited to shoot actions, specific factions, treasure running, etc. It does not depend on a die roll or any other prerequisites for usage, other than having to be within S range.
This is part of what makes Fiore so exciting; if he can be on almost any ship and his ability is so all-encompassing, he should see a ton of use. This is indeed the case. Although he has not been reviewed yet, he has been used in 25 fleets.
Fiore is best used on a gunship for two reasons. The more important reason is that he makes his ship Mercenary, so that she can’t dock at her home island. This is extremely counter-intuitive for treasure running, because then you’d have to have another canceller cancelling Fiore! Also, he takes up a cargo space, something that most treasure runners need to max out. A few ships could afford to have him, a helmsman, and an explorer, but not many. If you’re determined to use a canceller on a treasure runner, use a regular canceller that doesn’t have the Ex-patriot keyword. Cancellers can be useful on treasure runners in cancelling enemy shoot actions (so you can survive to get the gold home), but Fiore would be more of liability than an asset on a treasure runner.
Strategies and game play:
If you use him right, Fiore should have a large impact on game play. The cancel ability is essential in cancelling the opponent’s best crew, and many times ruining their strategy. For example, simply cancelling an opposing captain once during the game can tilt the game substantially in your favour. In a 40 point game, let’s suppose each fleet has one powerful gunship. Your opponent moves in for the kill with a fast gunship, and just when all appears lost, you reveal Fiore and cancel their captain. Now your ship is safe, and the enemy ship is a sitting duck for your return fire, which should severely damage or sink the enemy gunship. Then you can move on to taking out enemy treasure runners, and go on to win the game.
One of the best uses of cancellers involves cancelling those powerful abilities (especially the defensive ones) that would otherwise win the game for your opponent. Ships like Le Bonaparte and El Acorazado are the most powerful ships in the game (especially the Acorazado). To be completely honest, you either have to have a massive advantage in firepower (I’m talking at least twice as many guns) or at least one (and preferably two on two different ships) canceller to deal with these beasts. With a canceller, you can strip down their defences and send them to the bottom as if they were normal ships.
Cancelling keywords can make for some strange situations. You can bring a submerged sea monster or submarine to the surface. You can strand a Titan on an island.
Combos with other miniatures:
Assuming that Fiore is on a gunship, you’ll also want to have a captain and a helmsman on board, and this would bring the point cost to 11, so you’ll want a ship with at least three cargo that costs at least 11 points.
He is linked to the Forward, which is a pretty cool ship. She has solid stats, and gets +1 to her cannon rolls against any ship. Not the best gunship, but not bad.
Since he can serve on pretty much any gunship, the combos are endless. I was originally going to go into specific combos, but realized it would be pointless. Of course, he is more valuable to the factions without crew cancellers (Jade Rebellion, the Cursed, Barbary Corsairs, Vikings), although there are ways (such as this) to get other cancellers besides Fiore on board.
Due to his versatility, Fiore has been used in many fleets and games I’ve been involved in.
Ways to counteract it:
-Don’t use a strategy that relies on crew/ship abilities.
-Take him out with a crew or cargo killer.
-Use L-range guns so the ability doesn’t come into play. This can be a bit tricky with the maneuvering, but sometimes it is necessary.
-Certain UT’s make you immune to his ability.
Fiore is the most expensive canceller in the game, and therefore you’d be better off with these options if you’re playing that specific faction:
There are ships that have the cancel ability built-in, but they are a totally different topic.
-Ability is one of the best (and arguably the best) in the entire game.
-Ex-patriot keyword lets him serve on any ship that costs at least 6 points that can carry crew.
-Cancel negative abilities (like Mercenary) to make your fleet better. Ironically, he makes his ship Mercenary, but his ability can cancel the Mercenary keyword of the Mercenary ships, allowing them to dock at their home island, and thus run treasure (although he can’t cancel his own Ex-patriot keyword).
-Stop an opponent’s shoot action.
-Ruins strategies that are based on crew.
-Ex-patriot (and therefore, Mercenary) keyword makes you start S away from your home island, which can be very beneficial in getting to the action more quickly. Almost like a one-time helmsman, this can make paying the extra point worth it.
-He gives you the +1 to die rolls when docking at mysterious islands, which can come in handy, especially if you are cheap and try to intentionally dock at islands like this one.
-Costs more points than other cancellers (because of Ex-patriot keyword).
-S range requires you to get quite close to the enemy.
-He cannot cancel equipment, events, forts, or actions.
Artwork and aesthetics:
He looks like a pretty unhappy dude that wants to go to bed.
I give Christian Fiore a 9 out of 10. He isn’t perfect because he is the most expensive canceller, and because he essentially can’t serve on treasure runners. He is a great crew to have, especially for beginners that haven’t acquired some of the other cancellers.