Thunderbear – Love the Lo

So next on the Thunderbear articles will be the guy he made me spread my wings beyond just Gremlins! The master ancestor Yan Lo (#LoveTheLo).


So what do we have from the old man stats-wise? Very simply, VERY average although he is a touch slow but he does have decent wounds. While is Cache is also pretty good. This old dog needs all his tricks as he is very vulnerable without them.


So what about his abilities then:

Infiltration (Retainer) – This means he can hire up to 4 models with the Retainer Characteristic that are not the Crew’s declared Faction. This means he can take Onyro and Ashigru from the off, although it is worth mentioning if you can get more of these during the game that is ok. This is not like rare..

Harvest Chi – When a model within 8” is killed by a model which it considers an enemy (so when your own stuff dies or when you kill the enemy works both ways but no killing your own stuff). Then Yan gains the Chi condition for the rest of the game – This is his may boosting ability as each Chi he has he can boost his Ca up by the total (to max of 3).

Focus Chi – At the start of his activation, he can discard a card to gain Chi. Great when you have a rubbish card to drop as Chi is very very important.

Attack Actions

Spirit Barrage – Average Ca based attack but remember the boost from Chi to make it scary (up to 8 which is one the highest stats you will see). It doesn’t do a lot of damage but Yan can use it as both a Sh and Ml attack, which is helpful. It also comes with a Crow built-in for the trigger.

  • Revitalize – Crow – After killing a target OR dealing severe damage, then Yan gains a Chi for his troubles. Worth pointing out that he gets bonus Chi from the Harvest ability as well 🙂

Lightning Dance – Fun little casting attack, that comes in with very average Ca, but remember Chi as it can suddenly become amazing (Chi always remember the Chi)! It is resisted against Wp and has an OK range. What it does do is move Yan into base contact with the target. Then the target (has to be enemy) is moved into base contact with any friendly model also within range and LoS. The fun of dropping an enemy into base contact with one of your big hitters after it has already activated would be fun. But the strategy it effects could be interesting Turf War and Reconnoiter, this could stop your enemy scoring!

Tactical Actions

Transcendence – This allows Yan to lower his Chi condition and for each point of Chi 1 friendly model gains the Spirit Characteristic and Armor +2. So he hands out incorporeal and armour to possibly many friendly models. This is a good, yes there are ways round both but very few that gets round both at the same time.

Ascendance – This is one of his zero point actions that although him to lower his Chi by a number to attach one of the Ascendant upgrades (lowering by cost of card). These ignore usual restrictions and help power up Yan in certain ways, explained later..

Instill Youth – His other zero action allows him to a heal a model based upon how much you beat the TN. So a 8 will heal 1 wound and up we go although you can only heal a max of 4 this way. Very nice if you have used the Reliquary upgrade but in general 4 wounds will have most things up and running again.


Fortify the Spirit – 1SS – Yan gains the defensive trigger (for Df & Wp): Fortify the Spirit, based on tomes – He can increase his total by his Chi level up to a max of 3, this like his attacks makes his Df and Wp very difficult to get past! Worth keeping a hih/medium tome in your hand or a soulstone to get this off as most will struggle to get past such high stats. Beware Joss and the like with their trigger removal.

Reliquary – 1SS – One of his signature spell needing a 11 of tomes (remember gets lower with more Chi). Allows you to bring back an Ancestor model which has been killed/sacrificed during the game (means you have had to hire them to start with). They suffer half of their Wds when they come on but bringing back Izamu is very powerful especially as you heal him up afterwards!

Brutal Khakkhara – 1SS – Grants Yan an average secondary Ml weapon (so doesn’t gain from Chi, unfortunately) but has a healthy damage track and also causes damage on disengaging strikes.

These are all great for Yan Lo to take in fact the only one I would consider dropping the Khakkhara but that is dependent on the schemes and strategies. Misdirection is a possibility with Yan Lo especially if you plan on getting him in the middle of a lot enemies (see Bone Ascendant).

Next up are the Ascendant upgrades you can unlock during the game..

Ash Ascendant – 1SS – Grants Yan Impossible to Wound which is very nice for making it harder to get big damage of on him (hopefully). But also gives him an additional casting action:

Terracotta Curse – Needs any 9 to achieve it (again lower with Chi around) and can only be taken once per turn. EVERY enemy model within range (which is Ok) must pass a TN 15 Wp duel or gain the condition Curse of Terracotta until the end of the Turn – Models with this take 2 damage (which cannot be reduced) when it declares a Walk or Charge Action. Very nasty for non-range models and tanky models. Will certainly mean crews will eat through their hand to stop to many models being caught with this as the high TN number is very nasty (I need to remember to use this more).

Spirit Ascendant – 2SS – Grants incorporeal which like Ash just adds more to his survivability yes there are a lot of thing that can ignore this but still nothing to be sneezed at. He also gets a 2 AP tactical action:

Fury of Yomi – Up to 3 friendly Spirit models (Transcendence is what is helpful here) may immediately take 1 AP Action. This is situational as with this and Transcendence it will cost Yan his whole activation, unless you have set it up the previous turn with the help of the soul porter (not removing conditions). But 3 possible extra actions outside of activation is very powerful. This could help Izamu clear out or Chiaki remove some more conditions etc. certainly worth giving it a go but it depends if you can get the best out of it.

Bone Ascendant – 3SS – His last upgrade is the most expensive so you will probably not get it till late game. But for 2 actions he gets;

Hunpo Assault – which is a place move for Yan Lo (powerful in itself as he can move a lot further with this than normal). He then picks a Ml attack Action to do which he does to all enemy models in range, all with positive flips to attack and damage.

Incredibly powerful ability that can rip apart models that are close together, but also consider a 8” place can mean he can pull of some late game schemes/strategies with this.


Yan Lo is an interesting one as he sticks to his Ancestors more times than not. So Izamu, Toshiro etc. with minions that work within this, so Ashigru and Komaniu (which toshiro can raise up) while 10T also has other possibilities outside of theme – Kang is the obvious one if you are dealing with constructs/undead. Generally I think I will stick with the theme as it is a very strong one.

Strategies – With his personal movement when fully powered up and the extra AP he can grant spirits activating him near the end of a turn can allow you achieve any of the strategies. I don’t see any bad ones for Yan Lo, except maybe Reconniter but this is about numbers something easily sorted with all the awesome minions in 10T.

Schemes – Like the strategies, there are no terrible ones for Yan Lo to worry about, although if you do go more elite with builds, so all the ancestors some of the marker based schemes may mean you are out-activated and as such will struggle.


Yan Lo is the reason I am playing 10T I love the style and mechanic he brings to the table. Once things start dying he will power up to be incredibly hard to take down. While all the time he is supporting the rest of the crew. But he is not afraid of getting his hands dirty if the situation presents itself. Yes he won’t survive against lots BUT it will take a lot to bring him down.


3 comments on “Thunderbear – Love the Lo

  1. Good summary of the old chap. I don’t personally rate Fortify The Spirit (too unlikely to go off when you need it, or forces you to burn stones too often for my choices) or Brutal Khakkhara (good attack but using Spirit Barrage lets you improve your chances of hitting with Chi) as necessary. I’d say that just about every game I try to ascend to Ash Ascendant in turn 1.

    Transcendence doesn’t actually give Incorporeal, only the Spirit characteristic (presumably so you can use Fury of the Yomi).

      • I think that is a hangover from Malifaux 1.5 (where Spirit and Incorporeal were the same).

        I’ve never tried Misdirection on Yan Lo actually; in general I don’t load up on Upgrades as I’d rather have more pieces on the table instead. I will say that I’ve never missed it though; by the time Yan Lo is in danger he’s usually swimming in Chi and most of the big hitters on the other side have been taken down.

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