Malifaux tournament report: A Scottish Som’er (40SS, 45SS, 50SS); 20May2017

Gareth and I took the train up to ABZ games in Aberdeen for another of Martin’s tournaments. This time we were able to convince our long-time gaming friend Justin to accompany us. Justin has hardly played Malifaux since 1.5, so we gave him a largely fixed crew of Viktoria plus friends and spent a few weeks doing a Rocky-style training montage to bring him up to speed with debatable success. A lot of the other Scotland tournament regulars were not playing in this event as they had entered the ITC, but I still got a round one match-up against a fairly experienced player in Callum.

Game 1: Neverborn (me) vs Guild (Callum Palin)

Strategy: Guard The Stash, standard deployment, 40SS

Schemes
Pool: Claim Jump, Frame For Murder, Covert Breakthrough, Accusation, Undercover Entourage
Neverborn: Claim Jump, Frame For Murder (Brutal Effigy)
Guild: Frame For Murder (Francisco Ortega), Accusation

Crews
Neverborn: Collodi (Fated, Strum The Threads), Barbaros (One Thousand Faces), Brutal Effigy, Arcane Effigy, 2 Young Nephilim, Black Blood Shaman
Guild: Perdita Ortega (Trick Shooting, Aura Ancestral), Francisco Ortega (Diestro, Wade In), Nino Ortega (Hair Trigger), Abuela Ortega, 2 Guild Guard (proxied by Orderlies).

We realised a few days before this event that none of us ever really play at 40SS any more so it was an interesting exercise to pare down a crew to its essential parts to meet this target. I was expecting a lot of summoners as they’re really strong in a small game and I was very pleased when Callum announced he was playing Guild. I wanted a master that could get a lot of personal work done and so selected Collodi on the basis that putting Slow or similar on up to four models in a small crew might be very handy. However, I’m always concerned that Collodi is quite vulnerable to simply being shot to pieces. The Black Blood Shaman is intended to put Black Blood into Collodi then possibly heal it up with the Personal Puppet rules; being able to splash damage around can be very strong anyway in Guard The Stash as the other crew have to come to the markers. The Young Nephilim have great mobility due to Flight that can be very important in getting round the Stash markers. I was quite surprised to see Perdita and had expected McCabe with Promises. I put Frame For Murder on the Brutal Effigy hoping that Callum would remember how useful it is to Collodi and take pains to kill it early.

Turn 1: Nino Rapid Fires into the Black Blood Shaman for remarkably little effect. The Brutal Effigy shoots Collodi to push it up, then the Shaman charges Collodi who relents the first hit to receive Black Blood then dodges the second to get about 9″ of forward movement from the trigger. Francisco puts El Mayor on Perdita, who then pushes up to Nino and blazes wildly at the Arcane Effigy; all three shots are missed due to my good flips and Callum’s terrible hand. Abuela makes Fransisco engage Barbaros (who has Challenged and swapped in Rapid Growth) with Listen Up Young ‘Un then shoots into the melee. Collodi kills Nino.

Turn 2: The Brutal Effigy gives Collodi Fear Not The Sword and puts down a scheme marker near the centre and companions Barbaros. The gladiator puts up Challenge and pokes Francisco a few times. Abuela shoots at Barbaros, doing some damage but showering her grandson (?) with Black Blood in the process. Francisco chain actives, wisely steps back out of splash range and misses Barbaros anyway, getting pushed further away with the Knock Aside trigger. On the left, a Young flies into a nice place nestled up with both Guards and Francisco, then eats one of the Guards. Perdita unloads bullets into the Brutal Effigy, but Callum’s flips are so bad (and his hand depleted from dealing with Barbaros) that she only hits once and I can’t even cheat low to take the hits without it being obvious that the Brutal Effigy is my sucker. Collodi shows her how it is done, hurting her and setting her ablaze so that she’ll burn to death at the end of the turn. I do sense a cheeky opportunity to turn a Young into a Mature Nephilim and charge it into her, but it is not to be. I score for the strategy and Claim Jump.

Turn 3: Abuela does Listen Up Young ‘Un on Francisco to Enfrentate A Mi back into Barbaros, and between her shots and a chain activation Flurry from Francisco, Barbaros is no more. The Young on the left misses the Guild Guard who walks away to Accuse the Brutal Effigy. The Shaman puts Blood Curse on the Guard so that they’ll expire at the end of the round, then Collodi uses My Will to make it attack and kill Francisco (to get round the negative flips from Francisco’s Finesse). This gives Callum two points for Frame For Murder; I’m now resigned to not getting my points for it. Collodi also walks up and drops a scheme marker to guarantee Claim Jump this turn along with the Arcane Effigy. I score for Claim Jump and Guard The Stash again; Callum scores for Accusation.

Turn 4: Abuela Accuses the Young and I throw everything I have at her until she dies. I wasn’t sensible enough to use the Nephilim last so that I could remove Accusation though. Neverborn win 7 – 4 (4 for Guard The Stash and 3 for Claim Jump for me; 2 for Frame For Murder and 2 for Accusation for Callum).

Callum put up quite a good fight and I always enjoy playing him. In fairness the cards were not falling in his favour, especially when he used Perdita, so that didn’t help his cause at all. I was trying to keep the pressure on by continually ramming Black Blood into his pieces where their good defenses didn’t help at all and I don’t feel that he had a good answer to that. I evidently need to get better at picking my sucker for Frame For Murder. I nearly put it on Barbaros but he’s sometimes so annoying to deal with that people just give up on it and leave him alone. Collodi was as effective as I had hoped, dropping Nino in turn 1 and Perdita in turn 2 with minimal assistance… other than the Effigies of course.

Game 2: Neverborn (me) vs Ten Thunders (Stew Allen)

Strategy: Interference, close deployment, 45SS

Schemes
Pool: Claim Jump, Dig Their Graves, Leave Your Mark, Set Up, A Quick Murder
Neverborn: Leave Your Mark, A Quick Murder
Ten Thunders: [I forgot to take a note of Stew’s schemes]

Crews
Neverborn: Pandora (Fears Given Form, The Box Opens), Nekima (One Thousand Faces), Barbaros, Young Nephilim, 3 Terror Tots
Ten Thunders: Jakob Lynch (Rising Sun, Woke Up With A Hand), Hungering Darkness (Addict), Kang (People’s Champion), Illuminated, Lone Swordsman, Katanaka Sniper

This is probably not a very typical crew for Interference but I decided that with close deployment in the mix that I could afford to take a fairly killy pair in the form of Pandora and Nekima. Barbaros is hilarious with Pandora and I love playing him anyway, and the rest of the Nephilim are cheap, fast and fun to use. My general plan was to bog down as much of Stew’s crew as possible with those two and then spread everyone else out to pick up Interference points. Seeing Stew’s crew I felt that getting to Kang with Pandora or Nekima should be pretty doable since he’s much slower than them, so took A Quick Murder. Leave Your Mark is much more achievable in close deployment so I selected that as my other scheme.

Turn 1: The Sniper takes a shot at Nekima. Hungering Darkness uses Heed My Voice to bring a Tot into range; it promptly runs away again. The other Tots move up and stay hidden while the Young engages the Sniper. Somewhere around here both Kang and the Lone Swordsman have moved right into the middle of the table in easy reach of both Nekima and Pandora and I start to worry that perhaps Stew is rather less experienced than I had assumed, and that perhaps I should have spent a bit longer doing my usual pre-game run-down of what everything did. Pandora goes in to hurt the Lone Swordsman and positions for maximal annoyance between him, Kang and Hungering Darkness. Nekima follows her in, bouncing off Kang with surprisingly little impact but polishing off the Swordsman. Barbaros, seeing that his services in the centre would not be needed, swoops over and sticks a few wounds onto the Sniper.

Turn 2: Nekima kills of Kang, collecting 3VP for A Quick Murder. The Hungering Darkness misses Pandora and she pushes out of range of a second charge attack. Barbaros hits the Sniper again and kills him with Black Blood from the return hits. Pandora kills Lynch with Self Loathing and the Young Nephilim trades hits with the Illuminated. My Tots move to claim table quarters and one drops a marker for Leave Your Mark. With only the Illuminated and Hungering Darkness facing off against my entire, almost untouched, crew, Stew has seen enough and concedes. Neverborn win 10 – 0.

Stew was a very nice gentleman to play and took all this in his stride, but nonetheless I feel quite bad for the scale of the mis-match here. Since he’d seemingly won his first game by quite a big margin (indeed, he was ahead of me on VP differential going into the round) I had believed that he had rather more experience that was actually the case. I’m aware that I can anyway be quite a brutal player in terms of efficiently removing parts of the other crew [citation: almost every other battle report I’ve ever written] so I was concerned that this whole thing might have been a bit demoralising for Stew. We did have time for a long chat while everyone else finished their games and I hope that I can face Stew again in a non-tournament setting as I think that he could become quite a good player with a bit of guidance and experience. There is not really anything to learn from the actual game, other than that standing in front of an unactivated Nekima for two turns in a row can be bad for one’s health.

Game 3: Neverborn (me) vs Gremlins (Ross McGuiness)

Strategy: Collect The Bounty, flank deployment, 50SS

Schemes
Pool: Claim Jump, Eliminate The Leadership, Accusation, Show of Force, Inspection
Neverborn: Claim Jump, Eliminate The Leadership
Gremlins: Accusation, Show of Force

Crews
Neverborn: Pandora (Fears Given Form, The Box Opens), Nekima (One Thousand Faces), Barbaros, 2 Illuminated, Beckoner, Primordial Magic (proxied by a Wisp)
Gremlins: Wong (Explosive Solutions, A Gremlin’s Luck, Dirty Cheater), Sammy LaCroix (Ooh Glowy), Old Major (Saddle, Quality Mash Liquor), 2 Lightning Bugs, 2 Swine Cursed (proxied by Boars)

I decided to take a risk and go for a fairly low activation crew which focused on survivability and hitting power at the expense of mobility. Nekima can be quite simple to take down, but when paired with the threat of Pandora and Challenge from Barbaros she’s a bit less vulnerable to counter attack. The combination of the Beckoner and Illuminated allows me to charge up for weak damage of 4 on the latter, and the option of a Lure in this strategy felt quite helpful. I was pleased to see Wong without Glowy McTavish facing me (actually my worst fear would probably have been Zipp who really makes life hard for Pandora) and also that Ross had chosen a similarly small crew. For schemes I took Eliminate The Leadership on the basis that I’d have to deal with Wong at some point, even if he can be quite hard to deal with. My second scheme was Claim Jump because it meant that I could keep my crew in a nice ball of death in the middle; I was expecting to only have a chance to score it in turns 3 to 5. Wong made Old Major Glowy.

Turn 1: Old Major moves up, using the Saddle on Wong twice and his Old Pig Knows The Way to bring both Sammy and a Swine Cursed with him. The Beckoner Lures Old Major forward and Barbaros Nimbles up and charges him, partly to do some damage but mainly to get Challenge into an annoying place. Nekima swaps in Fears Given Form, walks twice to engage Wong and smites Old Major. Pandora Incites a Lightning Bug and Old Major to allow her to push up, then charges the pig and draws most of Ross’s soulstones out of him; in the end Old Major is down to one wound and Pandora is engaging a good chunk of Ross’s crew. The Swine Cursed hurts Nekima, and Wong fails two attempts to disengage with Nekima before finally getting away. He could have walked up and gone for the Poof! trigger on his Iron Fan, but the Black Blood damage would have finished Old Major.

Turn 2: Old Major heals up with Quality Mash Liquor. Nekima kills the nearby Swine Cursed and hurts the pig again. The Incited Lightning Bug puts Slow on Barbaros before Pandora blows it up with three goes of Inflict. This also draws some good cards out of Ross’s hand and puts a few wounds on the other Swine Cursed, Sammy and Old Major. The Swine Cursed, which was Incited by Pandora this turn, fails its Horror duel against Pandora. The nearest Illuminated double walks to engages Wong in order to stop him blasting into the melee; Wong fails three times to disengage as Ross’s hand is empty after avoiding Inflict and various other duels. The surviving Lightning Bug attacks Nekima and Barbaros finishes Old Major. Sammy moves to score Show Of Force and top-decks the needed card to turn my scheme marker into a Stuffed Piglet. I score for the strategy, Ross scores for Show Of Force.

Turn 3: Nekima kills Sammy and engages Wong again, who then Accuses the Lightning Bug and does nothing much else. Pandora kills the second Swine Cursed and fails to achieve anything against Wong. The Illuminated punches Wong, scoring a point for Eliminate The Leadership. The Beckoner Lures the Stuffed Piglet out of range of most of my crew and then kills it with Despicable Promises. Barbaros hurts Wong some more. I score Collect The Bounty and Claim Jump, Ross scores for Accusation.

Turn 4: I win initiative and Nekima easily dispatches Wong (scoring the rest of the points for Eliminate The Leadership) and the Lightning Bug. With nothing left on the table, Ross concedes the rest of the match. Neverborn win 10 – 2 (full score; Ross scores 1 for Accusation and 1 for Show Of Force).

Ross is a very nice, friendly chap to play against and I’m always happy to face him across a Malifaux table. I think that he wasn’t ready for the avalanche of my crew coming across the table so early, as it allowed me to keep Wong tied up in melee for almost the whole game. The constant succession of duels for Challenge, Incite, Fears Given Form meant that Ross was playing much of the games with effectively no control hand. As a result I was able to largely control which duels he won or lost and therefore took largely inconsequential damage across my crew rather than a concentrated damage on one individual. The Illuminated did almost nothing except drop scheme markers, but they weren’t really needed for their intended role as front line damage-soaks in this case.

When the scores are counted up, I am in first place; in fact due to a large number of draws in the upper tables I end up as the only player on three wins. I had a really good time, and I think that everyone else did too. I don’t think that Justin has caught the Malifaux bug but maybe we’ll be able to get a few more games in with him. Thanks to Martin for running the show, and to Callum, Stew and Ross for three fun games.

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Painted Stitched Together

It’s been a long time since I picked up a paintbrush. But here we are again with some Stitched Together from the Neverborn faction of Malifaux. Many of their abilities have a penalty for failure, and presumably due to this risk element, are therefore rather strong when they actually work. I’ve mainly tested them with the master Collodi, with whom they share the Puppet keyword and they seem to work pretty well with it. In particular, they combine with the Threads of Fate upgrade on Collodi (allowing them to go Fast at the cost of two wounds) and Fear Not The Sword from the Brutal Effigy shared via the Fated upgrade (also on Collodi). Due to the high risk nature of their attack I’m much more likely to cheat to win the duel so it is more often that they will be able to heal. And 3 AP on a Stitched Together can be rather nasty. Stitched Together can also generate an aura of soft cover which can be very useful in certain match-ups.

Stitched Together are pretty obviously meant to be Oogie Boogie from The Nightmare Before Christmas, which makes me happy. I painted them in dull sack-cloth browns as it seemed fitting for their inspiration. I was also looking for something very simple to paint so that I could get back into the feel of it, and it doesn’t get much simpler than almost entirely brown miniatures.

Next on the painting table: Terror Tots.

Categories: Malifaux, Painting and modelling | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Malifaux tournament report: Spring Breach 2017 (50SS); 22Apr2017

Gareth and I took the train to another Malifaux event; this time the 3rd Spring Breach run by Kai in Common Ground Games in Stirling. Despite the huge attendance, this was set up as only 3 rounds so there was no need for an early start (though I prefer more rounds over more time to arrive). I had some idea for a Pandora crew so Lewis very kindly loaned me a couple of miniatures that I don’t own yet. Round one I was drawn against tournament regular Jamie; we’ve somehow never managed to play each other in an event despite both attending most that are run in central Scotland.

Game 1: Neverborn (me) vs Gremlins (Jamie Gemmell)

Strategy: Extraction, standard deployment

Schemes
Pool: Claim Jump, Eliminate The Leadership, Leave Your Mark, Mark for Death, Tail ‘Em
Neverborn: Claim Jump, Tail ‘Em
Gremlins: Claim Jump, Leave Your Mark

Crews
Neverborn: Pandora (Fears Given Form, The Box Opens), Nekima, Barbaros (One Thousand Faces), Primordial Magic, 3 Terror Tots, Lust
Gremlins: Wong (Explosive Solutions, A Gremlin’s Luck), Sammy LaCroix (Ooh Glowy), Francois LaCroix (Stilts), Burt Jebsen (Dirty Cheater), Merris LaCroix (Hide In The Mud), Old Cranky, 2 Bayou Gremlins, 2 Stuffed Piglets

This (or some similar variation on it) is an entertaining Pandora crew that I’ve been thinking of for a while. The idea is that Pandora floats around the middle of the enemy crew distracting everyone and pinging Misery damage. Barbaros, Nekima and Lust force a load of willpower duels that either drain cards or force minor damage on each failure, and Nekima of course also kills things. Lust can additionally use Now Kiss to put things back close to Pandora. I probably would have chosen this crew regardless of the strategy but it felt like it should be well suited to Extraction in particular. With a wide choice of Henchmen who would have to be close to my crew I thought that Tail ‘Em would be a good option, and took Claim Jump as a default other one since I didn’t fancy the rest. Burt Jebsen was made Glowy, and I seem to have forgotten to take a picture of the start.

Turn 1: We move our cheap pieces up somewhat cagily. Barbaros moves up aggressively and swaps in Rapid Growth then Lust pushes Pandora forward. Pandora Incites a Stuffed Piglet and Bayou Gremlin and kills off Old Cranky while engaging as much as possible. Merris and Burt come up on my left to drop scheme markers. Wong zaps Lust rather ineffectively. Francois goes Reckless, Focuses and charges Pandora to drop a Dumb Luck Red Joker on her, then abandons Stilts to avoid the return damage. Oh dear, my master is dead in turn one; that is rarely a good thing. I realised (but only much later) that I could have avoided this by simply using a Soulstone on defense since it was obvious from the use of Focus that Jamie was wisely aiming to land one big hit on Pandora.

Turn 2: Barbaros pokes Francois and puts up Challenge in the most annoying place I can find. The Incited Piglet moves to Lust so she uses Now Kiss to push away, first to Wong and then to Francois. By luck I get the trigger for damage both time but Jamie elects not to blow it up since both Francois and Sammy are in the blast zone now. Burt kills a Tot and drops another scheme marker. Nekima kills the other Stuffed Piglet and a Bayou Gremlin then moves to score for the strategy. Francois misses Barbaros and Sammy successfully disengages from him to get in range for Extraction; she also turns one of my scheme markers into a Stuffed Piglet (which I admit that I’d forgotten she could do). Wong shoots the new Stuffed Piglet and hurts Lust then moves up to scoring range. We both score Extraction and Jamie scores Leave Your Mark and Claim Jump.

Turn 3: Nekima kills the other Bayou Gremlin and nearly gets Sammy, but she survives on a single wound after using Soulstones. Sammy summons another Stuffed Piglet and Jynxes Barbaros and a Tot to stop them moving. She companions Francois who kills Barbaros with another massive Dumb Luck shot and dies himself from the backlash. Lust moves Burt to be engaged with Nekima and moves the Stuffed Piglet away. Wong misses Lust with his Fan and the Tot Tails Sammy. Merris drops two scheme markers. One Piglet uses Bacon Bomb and gets a Joker, so there is carnage in the centre including the other Piglet exploding. We both score for the strategy and both of our schemes.

Turn 4: Sammy Jynxes Nekima to keep her in place and kills another Tot. Nekima fails to kill Burt due to the Black Joker on one damage flip and Wong kills the other Tot. With no way to score further I’m happy to concede it there. Neverborn lose 4 – 10 (2 for Extraction, 1 for Claim Jump and 1 for Tail ‘Em for me; full score for Jamie).

It was a real pleasure to finally get in a game with Jamie and we had plenty of laughs as various piglets exploded. I feel like I gave the game up very early by letting Francois kill Pandora right at the start and I was kicking myself when I remembered that I could have avoided it with a Soulstone. I also failed to use Lust well as I kept activating her early in the turn, thus removing her Manipulative ability and totally forgot her aura throughout. Jamie for his part did just what he needed to do, efficiently dropping my pieces where they were affecting his plans. Overall I think that the core of my crew has some promise, but perhaps I will reconsider my choice of scheme runners.

Game 2: Neverborn (me) vs Crossroads Seven / Outcasts (Lee McLean)

Strategy: Guard the Stash, flank deployment

Schemes
Pool: Claim Jump, Accusation, Dig Their Graves, Hunting Party, Inspection
Neverborn: Claim Jump, Dig Their Graves
Crossroads Seven: Dig Their Graves (I think; I didn’t note this at the time), Hunting Party

Crews
Neverborn: Collodi (Strum The Threads, Fated), Hannah, Lazarus, 2 Stitched Together, Bunraku, Arcane Effigy, Brutal Effigy
Crossroads Seven: Wrath (Deal At The Crossroads), Lust, Envy, Pride, Greed, Gluttony, Sloth, Malifaux Child

So after my defeat to Jamie I moved all the way down to the bottom table to face Lee. I was really excited to get in a game against the Crossroads Seven as I’ve never faced them before, and doubly so in the case of Lee’s gorgeously painted crew. I’m not actually sure if it is correct to announce faction as Outcasts or Crossroads Seven, but Lee told me both when we started. I decided to try an amusing Collodi crew using Hannah and Lazarus to bump Collodi up to a potential six actions per turn. The rest of the crew after that expensive core is just some Puppets to benefit from Collodi’s support abilities. I love the combination of Claim Jump and Dig Their Graves so I eventually chose that; I had considered Hunting Party but thought that the Malifaux Child might not come close enough for me to kill, and in any case I had no particular plans to cross the centreline.

Turn 1: The Arcane Effigy pokes Collodi a couple of times to move him forward, the Malifaux Child pushes Envy using Just Like You. I get nervous about Envy’s gun so go with Collodi to control Envy and also put an attack on Sloth, flipping the Black Joker on the latter. The Stitched Together hurts Sloth with Gamble Your Life and Greed heals some of the damage that Envy has taken. The Bunraku moves up to drop a scheme marker and Wrath, to my great surprise, pushes Envy further into my crew. Hannah is too far away to copy Assimilate from Lazarus so she charges in to Sloth, missing both attacks, then copies Gamble Your Life and loses to Sloth. Good work Hannah! I make Envy shoot Lust but he misses, and Lazarus then misses Envy and makes Collodi Slow him again.

Turn 2: Wrath charges Collodi, who takes the hit and pushes back to safety, then punches the Bunraku. Lazarus Focuses to kill Envy (scoring Dig Their Graves) and Assimilates My Will to make Collodi finish Sloth. Greed nearly kills the Bunraku. Gluttony puts A Rhythm For Those Who Hunger on Hannah, taking the trigger to drop a scheme marker nearby and push her into it for some damage. One of my Stitched Together goes Fast from Strum The Threads and kills Gluttony with Gamble Your Life. Pride drops a scheme marker to move Hannah over due to the condition and hurts her. Hannah hits back and copies Game of Chance in the hope of doing something other than being a punching bag but fails on that too so Lee gets to draw some cards. Lust uses Now Kiss to move Collodi behind Lazarus and make them both Slow, so the Arcane Effigy removes it from the both. The other Stitched Together finishes Pride and Collodi kills Greed and hurts Lust. I score Guard The Stash and Dig Their Graves.

Turn 3: The Bunraku stabs Wrath to make sure I actually get to activate it before it dies. Wrath kills it to score for Hunting Party. Lust drops a Red Joker damage flip to kill Collodi. Hannah moves back to the action, copies Gamble Your Life and hurts Wrath; a Stitched Together finishes the leader off to score Dig Their Graves. Lazarus pokes Lust. I score for the strategy and both of my schemes while Lee scores Hunting Party.

Turn 4: The Arcane Effigy puts down a scheme marker and Lust pulls it in to kill it (Hunting Party). The Child heals Lust but it doesn’t help and eventually Lazarus kills her and Hannah drops the Child. Neverborn win 10 – 2 (full score for me; 2 for Hunting Party for Lee) though I only noted down 10 – 1 so I think that we might have missed that Lust scored Hunting Party here.

Lee was a real gentleman to play against and I’m very grateful that he didn’t get sick of me constantly having to be reminded of which parts of his crew had which name (I especially kept mixing up Pride and Greed), which ones were Manipulative at any particular time, and what horrible things would happen if I ended an activation near any part of his crew. I didn’t actually get to do the trick with six actions for Collodi since Hannah was needed at the other side of the board, but otherwise everything seemed to go very smoothly for me. I could have used Jakob Lynch since he would easily get round all the ‘discard a card or something bad happens’ that comes in the Crossroads Seven but thought that would be less fun and a bit too much like counter-picking.

Game 3: Neverborn (me) vs Neverborn (Ian Gemmell)

Strategy: Reconnoitre, close deployment

Schemes
Pool: Claim Jump, Frame For Murder, Leave Your Mark, Undercover Entourage, Search the Ruins
My Neverborn: Frame For Murder (Barbaros), Search the Ruins
Ian’s Neverborn: Leave Your Mark, Undercover Entourage (Zoraida)

Crews
My Neverborn: Pandora (Fears Given Form, The Box Opens), Nekima, Barbaros (One Thousand Faces), Primordial Magic, 3 Terror Tots, Lust
Ian’s Neverborn: Zoraida (Aetheric Connection, Animal Shape), 2 Silurids, Iggy, Aionus (One Thousand Faces), Will O’ The Wisp, Sorrow, Insidious Madness

I decided that this would be an interesting test for the Pandora crew I used in game 1 since the strategy and scheme pool were a bit less favourable. I also know that Ian plays a fair bit of Pandora so he might be able to counter her in an interesting way that I could learn from (I figured he would probably not also take Pandora for a mirror match due to the schemes and strategy). Finally, I wanted to use Lust and the Primordial Magic again before handing them back Lewis. I’m always worried about Frame For Murder against Zoraida but decided to put in on Barbaros thinking that he might be annoying enough to want to kill, but not so annoying that all the Voodoo Doll tricks would be applied to him (I expected Nekima to bear the brunt of that). For my other scheme, I love Search The Ruins as it goes well with my overall strategy of killing all the things as soon as possible. Ian deployed his entire crew in the back right-hand corner.

Turn 1: Ian moves his speedy stuff over to my left. Zoraida Obeys the Wisp to summon a Voodoo Doll which Hems Lust. Barbaros moves up aggressively and swaps in Fears Given Form. The Doll swaps Hem to Barbaros, then Iggy sets it ablaze to the tune of six Burning and the Sorrow Paralyses it with Doldrums. A single manly tear rolls down Barbaros’s Paralysed cheek; he uses up a couple of Soulstones to survive on a single wound. So much for my expectation that Nekima would be the primary target. Meanwhile, Pandora is pushed forward by Lust, Incites both Silurids and pulses Inflict a couple of times to annoy the Silurids and Aionus (who has picked up Fears Given Form by this point).

Turn 2: Both Silurids get activated and Leap / run away from Pandora. Nekima blends the Wisp to cause Horror duels (all passed) for the clump of Ian’s crew still in their back corner and cuddles in nice and close to them for Black Blood purposes. Pandora kills the Insidious Madness and does nothing to Aionus, who is equally useless in return. The Primordial Magic pokes the Silurid and gets it down to a single wound. Zoraida summons another Doll which fails to Hem Nekima, then fails to Obey it to try again (Ian’s hand is drained due to the static duels I keep making him take). Iggy Incites Nekima, then Lust pushes Nekima fractionally toward Iggy purely so that she’ll fail the Willpoer duel, take damage from the Sorrow’s Misery ability and splash Black Blood all about the place. Lust then kills the Sorrow with a lucky trigger on Now Kiss. I score for the strategy.

Turn 3: Nekima focuses to hurt Zoraida (Ian does remember to use a Soulstone on defense, perhaps in part because we’d just been talking about my failure against his cousin in game 1) then drops Iggy. Zoraida takes off with Raven Form. On the far left, my Tot kills the wounded Silurid; all credit to Ian here for letting me take back the charge when he reminded me about Perfect Camouflage. The other Silurid Leaps off to drop a scheme marker. Lust pushes Barbaros back to my side and chases after Zoraida. Aionus does a cool trick to move one my scheme markers which is down for Search The Ruins into a place that it’ll make it almost impossible to score full points, then bounces off Pandora again. The Doll finally Hem Nekima, then pokes her and eventually dies to a flood of Black Blood damage which was quite amusing. Pandora continues to whittle down Aionus, taking wounds from Fears Given Form in the process. Barbaros and the nearby Tot take their chances on negative flips to attack Zoraida and do manage to extract her last Soulstone. I score for Reconnoitre and Ian gets one for Leave Your Mark.

Turn 4: Lust Focuses and cheats in the Red Joker to kill Zoraida with Heartbreaker. The Silurid puts down two scheme markers, Barbaros moves to cover one and the Tot Sprints twice to stand on the other. Pandora finally kills Aionus and Ian has seen enough. The Primodial Magic moves to be the needed extra scheme marker for Search The Ruins. My Neverborn win 7 – 1 (4 for Reconnoitre and 3 for Search The Ruins for me; 1 for Leave Your Mark for Ian).

As always, I had a great game against Ian with plenty of entertaining moments. The score flattered me a bit; if Ian won initiative in turn 4 he could have easily gotten Zoraida to safety and scored some points for Undercover Entourage. I had slightly expected to struggle to score Frame For Murder, though I suppose I could have run Barbaros in to suicide on Aionus’s Fears Given Form if necessary. But he was quite helpful in dealing with Zoraida and stopping Leave Your Mark at the end, so perhaps that wouldn’t have really helped me. The strategy didn’t really suit Pandora that well, but I felt that her mobility was quite effective and she did keep Aionus busy for the whole game so that is probably worth something.

When the scores are counted up I’ve come in 5th place, which I’m very happy about especially considering that I was on the bottom table for game 2. The overall winner is Ben, of Arcane Reservoir fame, and my big regret of the event is that I didn’t get a chance to test my luck against him. Big thanks to Jamie, Lee and Ian for three very good games of Malifaux, and particularly to Kai and Steve for running the event.

Categories: Battle reports, Malifaux, Tournaments | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Malifaux tournament report: Broken Promises (50SS); 04Mar2017

Gareth, Joe, Jonny and V headed (separately) over to Common Ground Games in Stirling to put up another Team Brutal Sensei try at a Malifaux event. Broken Promises was meant to be a two day doubles event which was fun last year (link) but I couldn’t make both days… apparently no-one else could either so Kai very kindly changed it to a one day fixed-faction event. Amazingly this was the first event run by Kai that I had been to in 2017; I believe that I speak for the whole Scotland community when I write that we are all really appreciative of the work that he and his team put in to run these tournaments.

Game 1: Neverborn (me) vs Arcanists (Andy Bush)

Strategy: Headhunter, close deployment

Schemes
Pool: Claim Jump, Frame For Murder, Accusation!, Undercover Entourage, Mark For Death
Neverborn: Claim Jump, Frame For Murder (Nekima)
Arcanists: Claim Jump, Mark For Death

Crews
Neverborn: Collodi (Strum The Threads, Fated), Brutal Effigy, Barbaros (One Thousand Faces), Nekima (One Thousand Faces), 3 Terror Tots, Black Blood Shaman
Arcanists: Rasputina (Shattered Heart, Cold Nights, Armour of December), Wendigo, Snow Storm (Sub Zero), 2 Silent Ones, December Acolyte, Ice Dancer, Ice Gamin

I’ve been playing around with a Collodi and Nephilim grow list lately with mixed success. Actually getting the Nephilim to grow or mature has been rather hit-and-miss, but the crew as a whole seems to work quite well as long as I don’t get obsessed with using Rapid Growth to the exclusion of scoring points. The notable addition to the list is the Black Blood Shaman which, thanks to the recent errata, now actually plays the way it should always have done (i.e. allowing it to apply Black Blood, then using Black Blood Pustule on its victim). In theory, I would put Personal Puppet on the Shaman so that I can Pustule Collodi if it takes any damage but sometime I have not had the opportunity to get this to work as I need the extra push on turn 1 to get somewhere. I was really worried about how open this board was, and this was doubled when Andy revealed his Rasputina crew. I had two options; either sit back, let my stuff die and then pick up my own heads at my leisure, or rush Rasputina to keep her and any relevant mirrors engaged. Those who know me will already know that I preferred the latter option. Reasoning that there were a lot of Arcanists that would be able to deal with Nekima I put Frame For Murder on her (I’ve had problems in some games where I’ve tried this and then killed off any threats to her) and then chose Claim Jump as it would be quite controllable and didn’t need me to get too far into the open ground. I thought I was in even more trouble when I had to deploy first, but Andy surprised me by refusing my left side entirely and castling up on my right.

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Turn 1: The Acolyte Focusses and one-shots the Tot on my far right, which was inconvenient. Luckily, it allows Nekima to fly forward thanks to Brood, so I go with her next. Fears Given Form is swapped in for One Thousand Faces then she charges into Snow Storm and beats it rather harshly. Critically, she’s gumming up much of the Arcanist crew with Fears Given Form and Black Blood. A Silent One marks Nekima for death and heals Snow Storm. I decide I might as well go as deep as I can, so Barbaros triple-moves up and Challenges, covering about half of the Arcanists; he also takes Rapid Growth for One Thousand Faces. Snow Storm walks over and hits Barbaros, then pulls Rasputina out of engagement. Over on my side, the Brutal Effigy gives Fear Not The Sword to Collodi and shoots it, annoyingly hitting for some minor damage and allowing Collodi to push right. The Black Blood Shaman charges Collodi, who relents on the first hit to get Black Blood then gets hit anyway on the second shot but continues to push toward the action. Ideally, Collodi only takes one wound from this process and pushes somewhere around 8 – 9″ (depending on placement and where I’m trying go) but the cards just didn’t fall right. The Ice Dancer moves bases to base with Nekima and gets Paralysed by the Wendigo; this of course had no effect on the Dancer but worked on Nekima. Collodi puts some trivial damage into Snow Storm but does manage to put Slow on it. Rasputina puts some pillars in my way and drops a scheme marker.

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Turn 2: Snow Storm hits Barbaros for a couple of points of damage (we actually had him make a second swing that Red Jokered damage to kill Barbaros, but luckily Andy remembered that Snow Storm was Slow and took the action back), then Barbaros hits back for similarly little effect and Challenges after moving to the most annoying possible place. The Ice Dancer, who is feeling a bit sad at this point after suffering Fears Given Form and Black Blood damage last turn, pokes Nekima again. Nekima un-Paralyses so I can get that tasty Fears aura back in play. A Silent One heals the Ice Dancer and my Tot on the right picks up the head marker dropped by its sibling. The other Silent One finally polishes off Nekima (giving me 2VP for Frame For Murder, and 1VP to Andy for Mark For Death) and the Wendigo picks up her head. Collodi kills Snow Storm and uses the My Bidding trigger on Pull The Strings to make Barbaros move into an even more irritating position, engaging Rasputina, then kills the Ice Gamin which conveniently blows up to finish off the Ice Dancer. Rasputina pushes away from Barbaros then kills him and finally the Acolyte drops a scheme marker. We both score for Claim Jump and the strategy.

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Turn 3: The Wendigo picks up a head, then Collodi kills both Silent Ones. Rasputina Black Jokers a Focused shot at Collodi then drops a scheme marker. Much of my crew also focuses on scheme markers; one Tot Sprints to pick up a head marker. We both score for Headhunter and Claim Jump again.

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Turn 4: Rasputina hurts a Tot and picks up a head. Collodi totally fails to hit the Wendigo (I had a terrible hand, and Andy flipped three kings in a row on defense) which eventually drops a scheme marker. One of my remaining Tots charges it for trivial damage (but mainly to deny Claim Jump) and the other Sprints to get another head. The rest of my crew happily drop scheme markers unopposed. I score for Claim Jump, we both score for Headhunter.

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Turn 5: The Black Blood Shaman Pustules the Tot to finish off the Wendigo, so Rasputina marks it for death and kills it easily. I make a massive mistake and rush Collodi (who has 2 wounds remaining) over to the Acolyte to deny Claim Jump, so the Acolyte gratefully marks my master for death and kills it. I then do what I should have done before, picking up a head with the surviving (unwounded) Tot and Sprint to stand on where Collodi just died. In fairness, I was banking on one of my 3 actions with Collodi being able to at least Slow the Acolyte, but it was not to be. I score again for Headhunter; Andy gets two for Mark For Death. Neverborn win 9 – 8 (4 for Headhunter, 3 for Claim Jump and 2 for Frame For Murder for me; 3 for Headhunter, 2 for Claim Jump and 3 for Mark For Death for Andy).

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Wow, what a close game! From the start, I felt like I would be in really big trouble facing this crew on this board, but Andy castling up in one tiny area allowed me to really drain his hand with Fears Given Form and Challenge covering much of his crew. If not for Collodi’s failure to do anything except die on turns 4 and 5 I think I might have had a slightly more comfortable ride, but sometimes the cards don’t give you what you need. I did needlessly give up a point for Mark For Death right at the end by putting Collodi in a position to be marked and killed by the Acolyte; I could have played it much safer by sending in the Tot instead (it could still have died, but probably it would need moderate damage on a negative flip so was more likely than Collodi who died to weak damage).

Game 2: Neverborn (me) vs Guild (Chris Blakey)

Strategy: Stake a Claim, standard deployment

Schemes
Pool: Claim Jump, Frame For Murder, Dig Their Graves, Hidden Trap, Tail ’em
Neverborn: Claim Jump, Dig Their Graves
Guild: Claim Jump, Frame For Murder (Phiona Gage)

Crews
Neverborn: Lilith (Beckon Malifaux, On Wings of Darkness), Barbaros (Rapid Growth, One Thousand Faces), Nekima (One Thousand Faces), 3 Terror Tots, Black Blood Shaman, Cherub
Guild: Nellie Cochrane (Delegation, Misleading Headlines, Guild Funds), Phiona Gage (Wrath of the Guild, Transparency), Francisco Ortega (Wade In), Master Queeg (Promises), Printing Press, Watcher, 3 Field Reporters

Facing off against Guild I felt a little bit worried that Collodi would be shot to splinters so I went with Lilith instead. She’s also a pretty nice choice for Stake A Claim because the Cherub makes it easier to drop Claim markers, and Lilith can Tangle Shadows if I really need to get an unactivated piece onto the far side of the board. The crew is otherwise largely the same as game one for the simple reason that I find Nephilim highly entertaining to play at the moment. Actually when I saw that Nellie was the other master my choice of master felt a bit less clever since she could target Lilith’s terrible willpower. I love the combination of Claim Jump and Dig Their Graves as it forces a no-win situation on the other crew. They can either come in to deny Claim Jump and risk being killed for Dig Their Graves, or they can just let me have the points for Claim Jump.

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Turn 1: The Watcher zaps Nellie so that she can build some Evidence. My Tots Sprint up and put down scheme markers while Nellie spends some cards to pass activations. Fransisco puts El Mayor on Nellie and moves up. Lilith Tangles Shadows to swap Nekima with the Tot on the right then puts an Illusionary Forest in the way of Queeg and Phiona. Barbaros swaps Fears Given Form in for One Thousand Faces, moves to the centre and puts up his Challenge. The Printing Press gives Evidence to Nellie and she moves up to make Francisco Fast. Nekima notes that there is a neat semi-circle of Nellie, Francisco, the Press, the Watcher and two Reporters within her range (at this point, Dave, playing at the next table, happens to look over and comments on the beauty of this positioning for me). She swaps in Fears Given Form, charges Francisco and eventually kills him (scoring for Dig Their Graves), using the Blood Beauty trigger to drag some of her victims in closer for some Black Blood action. Queeg moves up and one-shots a Tot, allowing my crew in the centre to move up even further.

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Turn 2: The Printing Press Slows Nekima and gives Evidence to Nellie. She chain activates and kills another Tot after making Phiona Fast. The Cherub shoots Phiona to knock off the Fast and push her to within 3″ of Nekima; in return a Reporter pushes Nekima away. Nekima kills Phiona (giving up 3VP for Frame For Murder) but Paralysing the Watcher and both Reporters with Teach Them Fear. Barbaros misses the nearby Reporter and the Shaman drops a scheme marker then Pustules Barbaros to hurt the Reporter anyway. Lilith moves up, drops another scheme marker (thanks to the Cherub) and polishes off the Reporter to score Dig Their Graves. The surviving Tot is able to drop both a Claim marker and a scheme marker due to the presence of the Cherub. I score for Stake a Claim and Claim Jump.

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Turn 3: Once again, the Printing Press Slows Nekima and gives Nellie Evidence. Nellie then repeatedly bumps Nekima off a building, causing her own damage plus another one each time from the Printing Press’s ability which seemed pretty cool. She then Incites the Cherub, which rather helpfully one-shots the Watcher with a Red Joker on damage. Nekima flies back into kill the reporter and Paralyse the Printing Press. Barbaros kills Master Queeg for Dig Their Graves and grows the last Tot into a Young Nephilim. Lilith hurts Nellie. I score for Claim Jump and the strategy.

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Turn 4: Nellie fails to finish off Nekima, who in turn vapourises both the Printing Press and the last Reporter. The rest of my crew gang up to kill Nellie but it takes a while. Neverborn win 10 – 3 (full score for me; 3 for Frame For Murder for Chris).

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Chris was a really nice opponent; despite his playing up his inexperience (which, admittedly did show a little with his positioning in turn 1) I think he was quite a skilled player. If he carries on playing Malifaux at regular tournaments he has the potential to become very strong and I look forward to that happening. From my side, the game went quite smoothly. One downside with a crew like this is that it is really easy for the other player to suicide a Frame For Murder sucker onto Black Blood or Fears Given Form. Since I tend to play quite an aggressive game, I’ve tended to accept that if Frame For Murder is in the scheme pool then I’ll be giving up some points for it at some point.

Game 3: Neverborn (me) vs Arcanists (Joe Taylor)

Strategy: Squatter’s Rights, corner deployment

Schemes
Pool: Claim Jump, Leave Your Mark, Accusation!, Mark For Death, A Quick Murder
Neverborn: Claim Jump, A Quick Murder
Arcanists: Leave Your Mark, A Quick Murder

Crews
Neverborn: Lilith (Beckon Malifaux, On Wings of Darkness), Barbaros (Rapid Growth, One Thousand Faces), Nekima (One Thousand Faces), 3 Terror Tots, Black Blood Shaman, Cherub
Arcanists: Sandeep Desai (To Behold Another World, Arcane Reservoir, Enlightened Soul), Howard Langston (Imbued Energies), Carlos Vasquez (Practiced Production, Stunt Double), Arcane Effigy, 3 Wind Gamin, Malifaux Raptor

Joe and I are fairly frequent opponents at Malifaux so we both have a reasonable idea of what the other is likely to take. In this case, I correctly predicted pretty much the whole crew except for Howard Langston. I took Lilith thinking that I might be able to deny the points from Leave Your Mark by Tangling in either Carlos or the Raptor since there was no way that Joe wouldn’t take that scheme (it is close to 3 free VPs for Arcanists if they take Raptors and Practiced Production. I ended up using the same crew as last time, partly because I felt that familiarity with my crew would be priceless in a close game like this, and partly because I thought that the combination of Cherub and Tots could work for the strategy. I chose A Quick Murder because I would need to deal with Langston anyway and I might as well get points for it. Claim Jump was picked mainly because I didn’t fancy any of the others too much.

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Turn 1: The early turn is mostly moving our crews toward the markers; one Wind Gamin and Terror Tot head for each corner. Lilith eventually Tangle Shadows to bring Carlos to her and puts an Illusionary Forest in Langston’s way. Sandeep makes Carlos Incorporeal (how does that ability not have a range?) and summons a couple of Wind Gamin in the centre. Nekima bounces ineffectually off Carlos and my Tot finds that the Illusionary Forest doesn’t do enough to stop him from being murdered by Langston. Both Barbaros and Nekima swap One Thousand Faces for Fears Given Form.

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Turn 2: The Arcane Effigy uses Sandeep’s fireball but Black Jokers the damage on Barbaros; Sandeep takes the opportunity to summon yet another Wind Gamin. Barbaros pushes one of the Gamin off Squat marker. Terror Tots and Wind Gamin claim up various Squat Markers. Nekima again fails to do anything useful to Carlos. Lilith Tangles one of the Gamin threatening to take a Squat marker into her (and to jam Nekima right into the centre of the board) and hits Carlos for a tiny amount of extra damage. Sandeep zaps the Black Blood Shaman and Howard Langston find himself relegated to claiming the last marker. Somewhere in there a Practiced Production marker was dropped by the Raptor which is, of course, right in my corner. We both score for Squatter’s Rights; Joe also scores for Leave Your Mark.

Turn 3: Lilith Roots Langston and drops an Illusionary Forest in front of him, then tries to Root Carlos but is denied by the Red Joker. One of the endless Wind Gamin borrows Sandeep’s push effect to free Langston from his condition. Nekima continues to beat Carlos; he’s looking a bit less well now. Barbaros pushes Langston back and Challenges. Nekima gets blasted by fireballs from Sandeep and his minions. One Wind Gamin suicides on Lilith’s Black Blood and the Shaman finally ends Carlos, though not before he has managed to get another Practiced Production scheme marker down by the Raptor. Over on the left, I make a huge mistake and charge the Tot off the Squat marker to make some pointless attacks on the Wind Gamin; it promptly Leaps over to get the Marker. Oops. In the centre, Langston really wants to get into Nekima but his Wind Gamin are in the way. Eventually he kills one himself and charges in but can’t do enough to kill her. Joe scores Leave Your Mark and Squatter’s Rights.

Turn 4: Nekima kills Langston, getting me 2 VPs for my (not very) Quick Murder. The Wind Gamin on my right finally continues to Leap and move deep enough into my half to drop a scheme marker for Leave Your Mark. Barbaros drops the Arcane Effigy and the cumulative effects of Black Blood and Fears Given Form are finally starting to thin out the herd of Wind Gamin in the centre. Sandeep summons a Wind Gamin but fails to hit Nekima thanks to Barbaros’s Challenge. Eventually Lilith kills Sandeep; she also takes back one of the Squat markers on the way thanks to the Cherub. I score Claim Jump and we both score for the strategy.

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Turn 5: Nekima kills the central Wind Gamin and the Raptor (it felt so good to kill off those accursed things!). The other Wind Gamin manages to top deck a Red Joker on a single hit on Nekima to leave her on one wound before succumbing to Black Blood. The rest of my crew take back the Squat markers and drop scheme markers, scoring me for the strategy and Claim Jump. Neverborn win 8 – 6 (3 for Squatter’s Rights, 3 for Claim Jump and 2 for A Quick Murder for me; 3 for Squatter’s Rights and 3 for Leave Your Mark for Joe).

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That was an amazing game of Malifaux! All the way it was so close and even right at the end it could have gone either way. Joe made a couple of activation order mistakes that led to me being able to keep Nekima alive; she was down to a single wound twice but I was able to get her back to healthy enough to fend off more attacks. In the first couple of turns I was really getting overwhelmed in the centre, especially as I needed to keep an eye on Howard Langston, and the activation control from the sheer number of Wind Gamin was hard to work around. Around turn 4, the tide turned and the Wind Gamin in the middle started to succumb to all the Black Blood and Fears Given Form which allowed me to start fighting stuff that actually was going to do stuff. Wind Gamin still get a ‘they do what?’ response from me every time I find out something new about them.

Game 4: Neverborn (me) vs Guild (Lewis Philips)

Strategy: Interference, standard deployment

Schemes
Pool: Claim Jump, Eliminate the Leadership, Leave Your Mark, Show of Force, Search The Ruins
Neverborn: Claim Jump, Search The Ruins
Guild: Eliminate the Leadership, Show of Force

Crews
Neverborn: Lilith (Beckon Malifaux, On Wings of Darkness), Barbaros (Rapid Growth, One Thousand Faces), Nekima (One Thousand Faces), 3 Terror Tots, Black Blood Shaman, Cherub
Guild: Nellie Cochrane (Delegation, Misleading Headlines, Guild Funds), Phiona Gage (Wrath of the Guild, Debt to the Guild), Allison Dade (Transparency), Big Jake, Printing Press, 2 Guild Hounds, 3 Field Reporters

On the same basis as my game against Chris, I picked Lilith to play Guild. She’s good for Interference as there is no particular benefit to keeping my crew close together and of course can either Root enemy models to keep them in one quarter, or Tangle Shadows to move things to where I want them. After three games I decided to keep it simple and just took the same crew again; ease of use would be more useful here than a finely-optimised crew that I was less familiar with. I decided to use Claim Jump as it would allow me to keep some pieces back in my own quarters and control them while dropping scheme markers, and Search The Ruins on the basis that if I was going to score from it I might have some dominance by the end of the game and be able to spend some of my final AP dropping markers for it.

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Turn 1: We move forward. The Printing Press gives Nellie some Evidence and she moves forward and kills a Tot. I Tangle Shadows to move Nekima forward (replacing the Cherub, as Nellie had rather unobligingly killed the Tot I was planning to use for the purpose. Sadly, I had never previously noticed Nellie’s rule about pushing nearby models that fail attack duels, so Nekima charges Phiona and promptly gets moved back out of range. Against a player of Lewis’s skill, that isn’t a mistake I could afford to make and I genuinely thought that it might end up costing me the game. To add insult to injury, Allison Dade puts Under Investigation on her. Both Barbaros and Nekima swap One Thousand Faces for Fears Given Form.

Turn 2: Phiona puts Nekima on negative willpower duels. Barbaros kills a Hound and moves into the most annoying place possible for Black Blood, Fears Given Form and Challenge. The Printing Press gives Evidence to Nellie and she really hurts Nekima, getting various attacks out of Phiona in the process. However, the succession of Challenge duels drains Lewis’s hand really quickly and some of the attacks simply fail for that reason. Nekima moves in to engage a lot of Guild models and misses a shot on the Reporter thanks to the Black Joker (but she does splash some Black Blood around after Under Investigation goes off). Allison also attacks Nekima then the Cherub shoots her to push her into Nekima. A Hound charges the Cherub but does nothing, and Lilith charges Phiona for minimal effect (I was looking to get her into Nellie but couldn’t get it to work). On the left, the Tots drop scheme markers and one of the Reporters comes over to stop Claim Jump. We both score for Interference and Lewis scores for Show of Force.

Turn 3: Nekima kills Allison and Phiona thanks to a combination of Black Blood and big sword swings. The Printing Press Slows Barbaros and Nellie Slows Lilith and pushes her around. Barbaros hurts the nearby reporter and the Shaman kills off the Hound by casting Black Blood Pustule on the Cherub. My Totem misses a shot at the Reporter and Lilith starts to put some wounds into Nellie. One of my Tots gets severe damage on the Reporter and (to my surprise) she doesn’t move away so the other one hits its sibling to kill her with Black Blood. We both score for Interference and I get Claim Jump.

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Turn 4: Nekima beats Nellie down to a single wound; she cheats in the Black Joker on the last swing to save herself. Nellie Slows Lilith and pushes her around (Black Blood kills the Reporter) then the Cherub Black Jokers a hit on Nellie to keep her in the game. Eventually the Shaman uses Black Blood Pustule on Nekima to kill Nellie. Lilith kills the Printing Press and Barbaros runs over to the Reporter hiding on the left. I’m not sure what the Reporter can do, but figure that Barbaros can deal with her. I score Claim Jump and Interference, Lewis scores one VP for Eliminate the Leadership somewhere in there.

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Turn 5: Lilith runs away from Big Jake’s hatchet and drops two markers for Search The Ruins since the Cherub allows her to do one of them for a (0) action. Jake hits Nekima and Barbaros engages the Reporter. Neverborn win 10 – 4 (full score for me; 2 for Interference, 1 for Eliminate the Leadership and 1 for Show of Force for Lewis).

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That game was much closer than the final scoreline suggested and Lewis really pushed me all the way. I think that he hadn’t appreciated the impact of Challenge in turn 2 when he cycled about 6 cards just with Nellie’s attacks and triggered effects; the card drain was causing him big problems for the rest of the turn. I was really lucky to get away with wasting Nekima’s activation in turn 1; in another game against Lewis that might have been enough to cause defeat on its own. Big Jake didn’t take many actions but he consistently ensured that Lewis didn’t have to worry about holding that quarter.

So after all the results are in, I am in first place. Obviously, I’m delighted by the result, but I was particularly pleased with two other parts of the day. Firstly, on the train home Gareth and I noticed that all four of my opponents won their other three games. Secondly, Jonny had a really great result to get a hard-fought win against a very strong player in David Hamilton. Thank you to Andy, Chris, Joe and Lewis for four great games of Malifaux and again to Kai for organising the whole event in the first place.

Categories: Battle reports, Malifaux, Tournaments | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Malifaux tournament report: Vapnartak (50SS); 05Feb2017

I always love traveling down to Vapnartak (or Vappa as it is generally known) for the Malifaux event. Most importantly, it is a really smoothly organised tournament which is big enough to bring players from far across the country, giving me a big chance to meet new opponents. The event also takes place within a wargames show and the round times are always set up to allow a long break to wander round and see the demonstration games and stalls set out. Joe and I decided that it would involve too much driving to go there and back in one day so we found a cheap place to stay nearby on the Saturday night and arranged only to drive back after the event.

Game 1: Neverborn (me) vs Ten Thunders (Dan Haslam)

Strategy: Interference, standard deployment

Schemes
Pool: Claim Jump, Eliminate the Leadership, Dig Their Graves, Leave Your Mark, Hidden Trap
Neverborn: Claim Jump, Dig Their Graves
Ten Thunders: Claim Jump, Dig Their Graves

Crews
Neverborn: Lilith (Beckon Malifaux, On Wings of Darkness), Barbaros (Rapid Growth, One Thousand Faces), Nekima (Mimic’s Blessing, One Thousand Faces), 3 Terror Tots, Young Nephilim, Cherub
Ten Thunders: Lucas McCabe (Promises, Badge of Speed, Glowing Sabre), Shadow Emissary (Conflux of Exploration, Strangemetal Shirt), Kang (Equality), Lone Swordsman (Recalled Training), Luna, Guild Hound, Obsidian Oni

I picked up the Lilith box recently and have really been enjoying using her. After several test games it became apparent that I was terrible a positioning around Black Blood so the crew gradually mutated into variations on the current list where everything has the ability. The Tots are great with Dig Their Graves here as I can Sprint them forward, drop a scheme marker then Tangle Shadows to swap in Nekima and be horrible to something. One Thousand Faces on Barbaros and Nekima are intended to change into Fears Given form, mainly as a hand-drain rather than with the idea of actually causing much damage. Barbaros can make it really hard to deal with Nekima by putting up Challenge and positioning neatly. Rapid Growth is something that I find amusing and is relevant often enough that I don’t begrudge spending a soulstone to have it on Barbaros. Finally, the Cherub allows me to drop markers for a (0) action in some places which is obviously useful for my schemes. It also has an amazing ranged attack for a bit more control. I figured that Claim Jump would be a good option as I could place my minions near the centre line and hop from one side to the other as demanded by the strategy; in addition it synergises nicely with Dig Their Graves in that anything coming in to deny Claim Jump risks being killed and giving me the points for it instead.

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Turn 1: The Emissary pushes the Lone Swordsman forward and uses the Shirt while McCabe fails to Black Flash the Oni; instead he gives the Badge to the Oni and the Sabre to the Hound. We both spend a few activations moving our cheap stuff around somewhere near the centre, and in my case dropping a couple of scheme markers with Sprinting Tots. Eventually, Nekima gets swapped for the Young in the middle using Tangle Shadows as I can see an opportunity to deal with the Lone Swordsman before he uses Recalled Training and cuts his way through my stuff. Before this, the Hound charges a Tot who has helpfully dropped a scheme marker to let it do so for 1AP, killing it with a single swing of the Glowing Sabre (the image of Hounds using the Glowing Sabre always entertains me) and scoring Dig Their Graves. Both Barbaros and Nekima swap One Thousand Faces for Fears Given Form. Nekima charges the Lone Swordsman, killing him with Blood For Blood, engaging both Luna and the Hound and scoring for Dig Their Graves in the process.

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Turn 2: Barbaros charges the Shadow Emissary for no real effect other than to engage it and the Oni; he also puts up Challenge as the main point is to be in the most annoying place possible. The Oni has similarly little impact hitting Barbaros in return. The Cherub hits McCabe with its fantastic arrows, Slowing him in the process. He then wastes his activation failing to get round Challenge (as most of Dan’s good cards were used keeping Barbaros off the Emissary). The Tots continue to drop scheme markers and the Emissary hurts Barbaros a little and pushes Kang into a nice place and makes him fast. Ever one to oblige, Lilith Roots Kang in place, so the big chap is obliged to spend his activation throwing hot coals into the melee nearby (and hitting the Oni twice). The Hound pokes another Tot and Luna explodes thanks to Fears Given Form on Nekima, scoring me another point for Dig Their Graves. Nekima polishes off the Hound and moves to engage McCabe. I score for Claim Jump and Interference.

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Turn 3: Kang charges Barbaros, who issues his own Challenge and bops Kang away so he’s on the line between quarters for the strategy. The Shadow Emissary and the Oni continue to flail at Barbaros but he’s hanging on with a few wounds left. Nekima pokes McCabe off his horse and kills Kang. McCabe successfully Black Flashes the Oni so Lilith charges in to kill it for Dig Their Graves. The Cherub kills McCabe with a lucky moderate damage. I score for the strategy and Claim Jump.

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Turn 4: The Emissary finally kills Barbaros (Dig Their Graves) before Nekima cuts the dragon in two. Neverborn win 10 – 2 (full score for me; 2 for Dig Their Graves for Dan).

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That was a fun game and Dan was a pleasure to play with. We spoke a bit after the game about other things he could have done; the biggest one was handing me the Lone Swordsman in turn 1 for nothing. I’m not sure how I feel about losing the Tot in turn 1. On the one hand, if I hadn’t dropped the scheme marker I would not have been charged by the Hound, but on the other hand having that scheme marker let me get started scoring on Dig Their Graves early. And it did leave both dogs in a place where Dan had to worry about Fears Given Form and be potential victims for Nekima.

Game 2: Neverborn (me) vs Neverborn (Ross Hill)

Strategy: Squatter’s Rights, corner deployment

Schemes
Pool: Claim Jump, Accusation, Leave Your Mark, Undercover Entourage, Tail ‘Em
My Neverborn: Accusation, Tail ‘Em
Ross’s Neverborn: Undercover Entourage (Collodi), Tail ‘Em

Crews
My Neverborn: Collodi (Strum The Threads, Fated), Arcane Effigy, Brutal Effigy, Lazarus (One Thousand Faces), Marionette, 2 Bunraku, 2 Stitched Together
Ross’s Neverborn: Collodi (Strum The Threads, Bag of Props, On Wings of Darkness), Arcane Effigy, Brutal Effigy, 2 Bunraku, 3 Marionettes, Doppelganger, Widow Weaver

I decided that Collodi’s ability to spread his AP around and let things go Fast would be useful with this scheme pool and strategy, so I took a big crew of minions and hoped to just swamp the other crew off the Squat markers. To my surprise, Ross apparently took the same approach. After having only played once (that I can think of) against a Collodi crew previously, I now found myself in a mirror match. Even more interestingly, Ross to the other Limited upgrade (Bag Of Props) so I was looking forward to seeing how that worked out for him. With the Widow Weaver and Collodi itself as possible targets of Tail ‘Em it felt like a good option, and I selected Accusation on the basis that I had a lot of AP and not a lot of killing power.

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Turn 1: We both spread out; I realise that I’m not going to get to the corner markers quickly enough to matter as Ross’s Bunraku are so much faster than mine thanks to the Widow Weaver. His Effigies are mainly just using Focus to hand to Collodi throughout the game. I’m (needlessly, in retrospect, I think) concerned about losing my Collodi to Ross’s so I’m trying to be cautious about placement. He makes really good use of Collodi, dispatching one of my Stitched by getting the My Bidding trigger and making it Gamble Your Life on one of my other pieces. For my part, I put Collodi’s efforts into killing the Doppelganger. I gt greedy and use my hand really badly; on the third AP I got a cheatable damage flip but only flipped weak when the Doppelganger had four wounds left. I had a severe card in hand that I should have used while I had the opportunity; instead I tried to save it. I flipped low on the last attack and had to use the card anyway, then flipped the Black Joker for damage leaving the mimic alive. Lesson: use your cards while you have the opportunity.

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Turn 2: Lazarus misses a focused shot at Collodi, then Assimilates My Will to make Collodi finally deal with the Doppelganger. My Collodi hurts his (bearing out my theory that maybe I didn’t need to have worried so much about losing my own Collodi), then takes a shot at the Widow Weaver where we both flip the Black Joker. Ross’s Collodi kills one of my Bunraku and puts Slow on the other one and the Brutal Effigy. My Marionette and Stitched Together claim Squat markers (the latter having to take damage to go Fast to do so) but my placement is bad on the centre marker and Ross sends in a Marionette to take it back. His Bunraku take both corner markers and something uses Tail ‘Em on my Collodi. Ross scores for Tail ‘Em and Squatter’s Rights.

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Turn 3: My Brutal Effigy shoots a Marionette. The Arcane Effigy goes fast, charges into the Marionette. His Collodi kills the other Stitched and a Bunraku. My Marionette puts Tail ‘Em on the Widow Weaver and Accuses a Marionette; the latter pushes out of melee and removes it. I realise that I need to start thinning out the tide of minions; Lazarus starts shelling Marionettes. One of them Tails Collodi who kills two Marionettes and badly mauls a Bunraku. I could use one of Collodi’s AP to hide (and not give up Tail ‘Em) but I also need to consider board position for next turn and decide against it… probably this was a bad move. The Arcane Effigy goes fast, charges into the Marionette in the centre and takes back the Squat marker. The Widow Weaver hides. We both score for the strategy and Ross scores for Tail ‘Em.

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Turn 4: My Arcane Effigy goes Fast, races across the board and Accuses Ross’s Arcane Effigy. His Collodi hurts my Brutal Effigy and hides. Lazarus makes Collodi hurt the left Bunraku more and then it finishes the job and uses My Will to move my Marionette which eventually makes it to the corner marker and claims it for me. His Arcane Effigy successfully polishes off mine but it takes two attempts so it can’t remove Accusation. I score for Squatter’s Rights and Accusation.

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Turn 5: My Brutal Effigy moves round and tags Ross’s Collodi with Tail ‘Em. The Widow Weaver drops another Web and Paralyses my Collodi, then his Collodi races off into my deployment zone. Lazarus marches up to stand on the Squat marker near the rest of Ross’s crew and we call it there. My Neverborn lose 6 – 7 (3 for Squatter’s Rights, 2 for Tail ‘Em and 1 for Accusation for me; 2 for Squatter’s Rights, 2 for Tail ‘Em and 3 for Undercover Entourage for Ross).

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Wow, what a game! It was really great to see how Collodi feels from the receiving end, and Ross played a good game. He used Collodi really well to control my options and it is something I really need to learn from. Having said that, I made a lot of mistakes which hopefully I can use to improve my game in the future. Firstly, it turns out that Collodi isn’t quite as vulnerable as I expected: I really thought that I would be in danger of having one Collodi erase the other in a single activation. I used my cards badly against the Doppelganger and had terrible target priority with Collodi in turn 2; I shouldn’t have even wasted the effort attacking Collodi and set instead about controlling Ross’s incoming minions. Most tellingly, I played the final turn really badly. I should have given up on catching Collodi with the Brutal Effigy and instead sent it the other way round the tent to put Tail ‘Em on the Widow Weaver. I could then have chain-activated Collodi to Accuse her and control her to keep her in sight. That alone might have been enough to get me a draw. Finally, somewhere around turn 4 I realised that I hadn’t even swapped One Thousand Faces for Retribution’s Eye on Lazarus; not that it mattered as he couldn’t hit anything all game anyway.  Oh well, Ross got a deserved win and I got some valuable lessons.

Game 3: Neverborn (me) vs Gremlins (Dimitrios Mourtzouchos)

Strategy: Head Hunter, standard deployment

Schemes
Pool: Claim Jump, Frame For Murder, Leave Your Mark, Hunting Party, Set Up
Neverborn: Frame For Murder (Nekima), Hunting Party
Gremlins: Frame For Murder (Piglet), Hunting Party

Crews
Neverborn: Lilith (Beckon Malifaux, On Wings of Darkness), Barbaros (Rapid Growth, One Thousand Faces), Nekima (Mimic’s Blessing, One Thousand Faces), 3 Terror Tots, Young Nephilim, Cherub
Gremlins: Mah Tucket (Know The Terrain, Dirty Cheater), Old Cranky, Trixibelle, Gracie, Burt Jebsen (Dirty Cheater), Slop Hauler, Piglet, 2 Bayou Gremlins

The crew I selected is probably not the optimal one, but I was feeling a bit tired out so I just chose to use the exact same crew as in game 1. There are quite a few potential Hunting Party victims in it, but none of them are particularly easy to kill and (except the Cherub) can occasionally get a functional heal by growing to the next size of Nephilim. I don’t think that I’ve ever faced Mah Tucket in a tournament previously so I was really interested to see what she did. I figured I should take Frame For Murder on Nekima; with Hunting Party in the pool and Barbaros as my only other Henchman, I thought Dmitri would be almost forced into killing her somehow. For my other scheme I chose Hunting Party of my own; the Gremlin minions are quite cheap but I felt that they would need to put themselves in harm’s way if they were to contribute to the game.

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Turn 1: We both start by moving the cheaper minions forward to set up positions. Trixibelle Gremlin Lures Gracie twice toward my lines, the pig then gets Reactivate and moves in to threaten the Young Nephilim I’ve already moved up. Lilith swaps it for Nekima so Mah pulls Gracie away and kills a Tot. Barbaros moves to be annoying with Challenge and charges Gracie (for trivial damage) engaging her outside her own range; he also takes Fears Given Form. Nekima smites Gracie and I realise that, while I could get her with Blood For Blood, I also have the cards to ensure the pig dies and notice that Dmitri has none of his own left. So I take a chance on Teach Them Fear and get rewarded by Mah failing the resulting Horror duel.

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Turn 2: Trixibelle cheats to win the initiative and the Piglet runs in to tickle Barbaros. Lilith Tangles Shadows to get it away from my Henchmen, then uses Wicked Vines on Burt. He kills a Tot anyway with his gun (scoring for Hunting Party) and the blast knocks the other one down to a single wound. I decide that I’ll have to deal with the (probable) Frame For Murder on the Piglet eventually so I send the wounded Tot in to kill it, getting a Young Nephilim and giving up two VPs for Frame For Murder. Trixibelle Lures Mah back to safety. Barbaros charges the Slop Hauler and it Squeals away. Nekima gets in and kills Old Cranky (got my Frame for Murder) and does Blood For Blood twice to finish the Slop Hauler before it can get better. The Young picks up a head and the Cherub takes an opportunistic shot at Burt and ends up killing him with moderate damage plus the extra from the push after being Rooted. I score for Head Hunter and Hunting Party; Dmitri also scores for Hunting Party.

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Turn 3: Barbaros drops a Bayou Gremlin to score my Hunting Party. Mah comes in and beats up Nekima to get my hopes up about Frame For Murder and Trixibelle rushes up to have some hope of scoring more for Hunting Party. The Bayou Gremlin and my Young Nephilim collect heads and the other Young heads toward the Bayou Gremlin but Black Jokers the first shot to let it Squeal away. Lilith hurts Trixibelle and Nekima smites Mah (but not too hard because I need her to live long enough to get my Frame For Murder). We both score Head Hunter; I score Hunting Party.

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Turn 4: Mah Pushes Nekima away and picks up a head. The Young Nephilim charges the Bayou Gremlin but Black Jokers the first shot to let it Squeal away. Nekima kills Trixibelle and the Bayou Gremlin runs away. It doesn’t help as Lilith Tangles Shadows to bring it back and then cuts the little blighter down, thereby guaranteeing my final points for Hunting Party. We both score for Head Hunter.

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Turn 5: Dmitri has only Mah left. The Young Nephilim picks up a head and tries to keep Mah from having a landing zone to collect one herself. She charges the Young Nephilim but can’t deal damage quickly enough to clear it from the head, so in the end Mah can’t handle it. Neverborn win 7 – 5 (4 for Head Hunter and 3 for Hunting Party for me; 2 for Head Hunter, 2 for Frame For Murder and 1 for Hunting Party for Dmitri).

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It was a pleasure to play against Dmitri; he really seems to know a lot of cool tricks with Mah Tucket. One really interesting thing about Malifaux is how scoring and attrition are not linked; I lost only a couple of Tots in the game and wiped out the Gremlin crew (technically we called it with Mah still alive, but with only a couple of wounds left I’m pretty sure she would have died if we played it out) yet the score was very close. In general I was quite pleased with how things went. For some reason it hadn’t occurred to me that Rooting Burt in turn 2 would just mean he would use his gun to kill the Tot. I might need to reconsider using Nekima as a Frame For Murder target so often; not only is she quite an obvious pick but I often find that I do enough damage getting work out of her that there isn’t anything strong enough in the other crew to actually put her down in the end.

Once all the scores are counted up I come in seventh place (not bad out of 36 players). Most impressively, Joe (the nicest man in Malifaux) has won the event overall Well done to Joe, especially as he was telling me on the drive down to York that he’d never won any event before despite playing since Malifaux 1.5. As always, I had a wonderful time at Vappa and I recommend it to anyone interested in events. Thanks to Dan, Ross and Dmitri for three fun games of Malifaux and especially to Chris for running a lovely event. I already plan to be back next year.

Categories: Battle reports, Malifaux, Tournaments | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Malifaux tournament report: December’s End (50SS); 21Jan2017

Gareth, Jonny, Joe, V and I traveled up north to Aberdeen to attend probably the northernmost Malifaux event venue in the UK: ABZ Games. The scene in Aberdeen is still growing but numbers were bolstered by travelers from various locations so there was a good mix of players attending. December’s End was a fixed master event which suited me fine as I’ve only used Collodi so far in Neverborn; probably Lilith will get a try next. In the end there was a late cancellation so the TO, Martin, got to play and I was drawn against him in round one.

Game 1: Neverborn (me) vs Guild (Martin Cairns)

Strategy: Interference, standard deployment

Schemes
Pool: Claim Jump, Frame For Murder, Dig Their Graves, Hunting Party, Search The Ruins
Neverborn: Claim Jump, Frame for Murder (Marionette with mirror)
Guild: Claim Jump, Frame for Murder (Guild Pathfinder)

Crews
Neverborn: Collodi (Strum The Threads, Bag of Props), Arcane Effigy, Brutal Effigy, 2 Marionettes, Beckoner, 2 Illuminated, Lazarus (One Thousand Faces)
Guild: Perdita Ortega (Trick Shooting, Aura Ancestral), Phiona Gage (Debt to the Guild), Francisco Ortega (Wade In, Hermanos De Armas), Austringer, Witchling Stalker, Guild Rifleman, Field Reporter, Guild Pathfinder

My preference so far has been to use the Fated upgrade for Collodi but that favours a ‘ball of death’ approach which isn’t really compatible with Interference. So I tried out the Bag of Props limited upgrade with the idea that the two Effigies could follow Collodi around and generate Focus or Defensive as needed for it. The Marionettes were initially included to simply sit in a corner and count for the strategy but I realised that I could get some work out of them for Claim Jump too. Since they had to be forward, I took a gamble on Frame for Murder on the left Marionette too. The Beckoner and pair of Illuminated are a solid team that can handle most cases unless they are really out-matched so my plan was to use them on one side and Collodi, the Effigies and Lazarus on the other.

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Turn 1: The Pathfinder summons a Clockwork Trap and double walks suspiciously forward. I’m going to have to deal with him eventually, so the Beckoner Lures the woodsman forward and applies Brilliance. The Illuminated make rather heavy work of killing the Pathfinder but eventually he goes down and scores 2VP for Frame For Murder to Martin. Meanwhile, Collodi receives power-ups from the Effigies who also hit it to trigger Run Away Home and start its advance up the table. Most of Martins crew are hiding behind the forest in the centre but for some reason Phiona edges into it so that my crew can see her. Perdita gets El Mayor and Relocates to Francisco to shoot Collodi so it pushes out of range. That massive firing lane down the right side of the board might be a bit of a problem for me. Collodi applies a load of damage and conditions to Phiona and Lazarus helpfully makes it do some more; in the end Phiona has a single wound remaining. Lazarus swaps One Thousand Faces for Mimic’s Blessing.

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Turn 2: The Witchling Stalker and my Marionette on the left drop scheme markers; my Marionette also moves to block the Guild marker from scoring Claim Jump. Phiona uses her single AP to move into the middle of the board and the Austringer delivers orders to get another scheme marker. The Rifleman shoots the Marionette on the left, leaving it on Hard To Kill and the Beckoner polishes off Phiona. After the Rifleman’s failure, Francisco takes care of the Marionette which scores me 3VP for my Frame For Murder. I had to cheat high on one attack to make sure that the Rifleman didn’t get the job done alone. On the right, my other Marionette drops a marker and moves across the centreline. One Illuminated shoots the Stalker and the other moves up to take the place of the Marionette; Perdita pumps some bullets into him. The Reporter moves up and drops another scheme marker so Collodi creeps across the board to make her pick it up and, later, die to Burning. It kills the Stalker too. I score for Claim Jump and Interference.

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Turn 3: The Guild win initiative and Perdita has a clear shot at Collodi. Even after using Run Away home to get out of the line of fire after the first shot, the end result is a lot of lead coming from Perdita and a lot of splintered wood on my side of the table. The Illuminated charges Francisco to keep him busy and receives a Flurry in return. Lazarus Focuses to fire a grenade at the Austringer, who throws birds at the Marionette before my totem drops another scheme marker. The Rifleman moves forward, being careful to stay out of Lazarus’s range but the Beckoner Lures him forward anyway. The other Illuminated tries to hide from Perdita, then my Effigies either drop scheme markers or get in the way of Martin’s Claim Jump as needed. I score for the strategy and Claim Jump again.

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Turn 4: Francisco finishes the Illuminated off and companions to Perdita who makes short work of my Brutal Effigy. The Marionette drops a final scheme marker before being killed by the Austringer. Lazarus blows up the Rifleman; I might have been better going for the Austringer, but preferred the activation control of killing the Rifleman before it got to do anything this turn. The Illuminated moves up to engage Francisco and Perdita and the rest of my crew move to control quarters and put down scheme markers where needed. I score the last Claim Jump point and another for Interference.

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Turn 5: The Illuminated fruitlessly pokes Francisco before being killed in return. The Austringer fails to deal with the Arcane Effigy which quickly hides from Perdita. The Guild master rushes over to try to drop the Beckoner but can’t go far enough to get the needed number of attacks. The Beckoner and Lazarus take some speculative shots at Perdita but can’t kill her either. Martin scores for Claim Jump and neither of us can get anything for Interference. Neverborn win 9 – 3 (3 for Interference, 3 for Claim Jump and 3 for Frame For Murder for me; 1 for Claim Jump and 2 for Frame For Murder for Martin).

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That was a very fun game; I’m always really pleased to play with people I’ve never faced previously and Martin was a lovely opponent. I am still getting to grips with how to use Bag Of Props Collodi and I’m not sure I learned much about it here except that I need to be much more careful with positioning and to remember to actually use the Focus / Defensive when I’ve built it up. Indeed, I feel like the exact same crew but with Fated instead of Bag Of Props would probably have been more useful. Overall I was in control for most of the game, partly because the early demise of the Pathfinder and more particularly Phiona for no real loss on my side built up a big enough attrition advantage that even when Martin did get on with killing my crew I already had scored most of the points needed. Full credit to Martin for doing a great job leveraging Perdita’s ranged power to good effect to bring the crew counts back to level. In retrospect I’m not sure why he didn’t pick Hunting Party as he had plenty of Henchmen to score it. The table could probably have benefited from a bit more scatter terrain on my right.

Game 2: Neverborn (me) vs Guild (Callum Palin)

Strategy: Headhunter, corner deployment

Schemes
Pool: Claim Jump, Frame For Murder, Accusation, Show of Force, Hidden Trap
Neverborn: Claim Jump, Frame for Murder (Stitched Together)
Guild: Show of Force, Frame for Murder (Nino Ortega)

Crews
Neverborn: Collodi (Strum The Threads, Fated, Threads Of Fate), Arcane Effigy, Brutal Effigy, Lazarus, Barbaros, 2 Bunraku, Stitched Together
Guild: Lucas McCabe (Glowing Sabre, Badge of Speed, Promises), Luna, Brutal Emissary (Conflux of Exploration, Elixir of Life), Executioner (Ready To Work), Nino Ortega (Hair Trigger), Austringer, Mounted Guard

This strategy felt much more comfortable for having a ball of fighty puppets and just keeping them topped up on wounds with Collodi while using my master for a spot of control. I also took Barbaros with some kind of plan for just sitting him behind the line of engagement with Challenge up to draw cards. I’ve enjoyed Bunraku for their high speed and ability to pull pieces to where I want them to be, though after several games I think I have yet to manage to get even a single trigger out of them. Stitched Together are hilarious with Fear Not The Sword (from the Brutal Effigy) as they can go Fast thanks to Strum The Threads then heal the wounds caused by hitting stuff with Gamble Your Life; because of the damage they take if the attack is missed I am generally inclined to cheat to win. Even if they lose, there is a change to pick up reactivate then heal with subsequent attacks. Having written all that, I chose to put Frame For Murder on the Stitched Together. My other scheme was Claim Jump as I didn’t fancy Show of Force at all (indeed, I didn’t even pick for it, which may have been a mistake) and the other schemes involved a lot of messing about with the other crew when I wanted to focus on just killing them and picking up their heads. As you can see, my deployment is terrible: Barbaros is perfectly placed to spray Black Blood over half of my crew.

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Turn 1: Nino Rapid Fires into Barbaros. I cheat high to dodge one shot and stone away the damage from another but there is still a bit of Black Blood damage splashed around; overall a needless waste of my resources which was completely avoidable. The Brutal Emissary passes the Elixir of Life to the Mounted Guard so that they can all get past the mess of forests in the Guild deployment zone. The Effigies power up Collodi and poke it to move my master forward. A Bunraku takes Fast then moves and charges Nino to put a couple of points of damage on him. McCabe reactivates the Mounted Guard, passes the Sabre and Badge to the Executioner and the Elixir to Nino; the latter is pushed back out of the Bunraku’s grasp. I can see that the Executioner is being primed to get flung into the centre of my crew (or worse, to kill Collodi) with the Mounted Guard, so Barbaros, the Stitched Together and a Bunraku move to make the needed movement tricky. Eventually Callum gets cold feet and the Executioner ends up just passing his activation without coming for me. Lazarus Assimilates My Will from Collodi to make the Bunraku pull Nino back with Snatch. Collodi then puts Nino down to a single wound remaining with Burning on him (Callum was out of cards to prevent it) as I think that Frame For Murder is either on him or the Executioner; helpfully the Ortega burns to death.

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Turn 2: The Brutal Effigy gives Collodi Fear Not The Sword (who shares it out) and drops a scheme marker, then chain activates the Stitched Together. The Stitched Together does some nasty damage to the Mounted Guard. McCabe misses a shot at Barbaros, heals the Mounted Guard and passes the Elixir to the Austringer and the Sabre to the Mounted Guard. My Arcane Effigy picks up Nino’s head then chains to Barbaros who charges the Mounted Guard for some fairly trivial damage; my main goal was to gum up the Guild crew with Challenge. Stupidly I forgot about the Brutal Emissary’s abilities and Barbaros is promptly buried. Oh well. The Mounted Guard charges into the Brutal Effigy for little effect, pulling the Executioner with him. Collodi slows the big chap and generally makes sure that neither the Guard nor the Executioner will do much of any consequence. The Bunraku on the right goes Fast and charges Luna, killing her with two lucky moderate damage flips. In the end, nothing at all dies in the scrum in the centre even though I get all trigger-happy with Lazarus and have him lob grenades into the middle of the mess. Callum does manage to deny my Claim Jump but I score for the strategy.

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Turn 3: The Arcane Effigy charges and kills the Executioner (who was looking rather poorly after the mauling he got last turn); the Brutal Effigy chain activates to pick up the head. The Brutal Emissary fails to hurt a Bunraku and the Stitched Together goes Fast and does some nasty damage to McCabe but is also knocked to a single wound itself. Callum can’t let me have another go with the Stitched Together so kills it with the Mounted Guard to score my 2VP for Frame For Murder; of course I was hoping that he would use McCabe to do the job. McCabe does throw himself into the mess in the middle of the board. The Bunraku in the centre finishes off the Mounted Guard and Lazarus Auto-Fires into the big mess but only succeeds in hitting Barbaros twice. Collodi kills the Emissary; I consider finishing off McCabe too (since he has only one wound remaining) but decide not to let Callum have another activation this turn. Barbaros Nimbles round McCabe and stabs the Austringer to push it away from the centre of the board and therefore avoid it scoring for Show Of Force, but only after it has picked up a head. We both score Headhunter and I score for Claim Jump.

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Turn 4: Barbaros pokes at McCabe and throws up his Challenge. McCabe make a bit of a meal of attacking the Bunraku thanks to Callum’s terrible cards (he Black Jokered one of the Challenge checks and needed to cheat another despite being on positive flips from Promises). Collodi kills the Austringer, and Callum has seen enough to end it. Neverborn win 9 – 1 (4 for Headhunter, 2 for Frame For Murder and 3 for Claim Jump for me; 1 for Headhunter for Callum).

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As always, Callum was a classy opponent and made me work probably harder than the scoreline suggests. This game really hinged on two moments, both in the first turn. The first was when Callum found that Nino would die to burning and therefore not score any points for Frame For Murder, which really knocked the wind out of his sails. The second was when, after spending almost the whole of his first turn AP turbo charging the Executioner to come and kill Collodi, he realised that the positioning of the rest of my crew would not make it possible and he aborted the whole process. One of the interesting parts about Malifaux is AP efficiency and the upshot of this was that Callum had wasted almost his entire crew to set something up. From my side, I was obviously quite pleased with the way things worked out. My biggest errors were both with Barbaros, a piece that I love but can’t quite seem to ever get right. As mentioned above, the deployment of Barbaros was absolutely dreadful and could easily have ended up costing me much more dearly in turn 1. Then in turn 2, I really gave him away to the Brutal Emissary; slightly more clever positioning could have probably have at least forced Callum to waste an AP moving into position.

Game 3: Neverborn (me) vs Outcasts (Ali Fergusson)

Strategy: Extraction, flank deployment

Schemes
Pool: Claim Jump, Eliminate the Leadership, Leave Your Mark, Recover Evidence, Tail ‘Em
Neverborn: Leave Your Mark, Tail ‘Em
Outcasts: Leave Your Mark, Recover Evidence

Crews
Neverborn: Collodi (Strum The Threads, Fated), Arcane Effigy, Brutal Effigy, Barbaros (Rapid Growth), 3 Terror Tots, Lazarus, Bunraku
Outcasts: Tara (Knowledge of Eternity, Obliteration Symbiote, Survivalist), Nothing Beast (Void Shield, Tally Sheet), Freikorps Librarian (Oathkeeper), Johana (Scramble), Big Jake, Void Wretch, Ronin, Malifaux Child

Finally a game in which killing all my stuff wasn’t a primary goal for the other crew. I wanted to try a Nephilim-heavy crew for a change as I feel like Tots should be good for gumming things up and also have the speed to get markers down for Leave Your Mark. Since I had the Tots I decided to put Rapid Growth on Barbaros; the idea was not particularly to focus on getting Young / Mature Nephilim but simply to have the possibility to do so if the opportunity came up. For one soulstone it felt worth it. The Bunraku was a late addition to the crew as I felt that a bit more speed might be useful. I chose Leave Your Mark partly as a result of having the Tots and partly just to be a change from Claim Jump; the two schemes are remarkably similar, at least superficially. Tail ‘Em was chosen despite Ali having only two targets because I had so many minions that I was sure I’d be able to keep some scoring going.

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Turn 1: Tara Reactivates the makes the Nothing Beast Fast and buries it. My Effigies power up and push Collodi. The Child makes Johana fast and our crews generally converge but respect each other’s threat ranges. I’m really concerned about the Nothing Beast getting unburied, focusing and tearing up Collodi so some of my moves are to check the movement options on that side of the board. Lazarus Assimilates My Will from Collodi, making it take a Pull The Strings attack against him with the My Bidding trigger so I can move Lazarus into firing range of the Librarian who is out of normal range but also not in cover. The actual firing is not hugely effective, missing twice, but I do get a straight flip on one so cheat in severe damage to land some wounds on Tara. The Bunraku goes Fast and charges Tara, mainly to try to pin her in place; Johana steams over and smashes the little puppet into matchwood. This has the effect of dropping the Nothing Beast out. Collodi puts considerable effort into hampering the Nothing Beast but only manages to draw some soulstones and the Void Shield out of the big monster. Slightly to my surprise, the Nothing Beast charges Lazarus for minimal effect; it would have been tricky but not impossible to get it onto Collodi I think. Tara herself moves round the forest.

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Turn 2: The Nothing Beast focuses then handily flips the Black Joker on an attack on the Lazarus. It does splat the nearby Tot in a single hit though. The Brutal Effigy shoots the Librarian, killing her, then chain activates to Barbaros who moves up to tickle Big Jake and put up Challenge. Tara fails to bury Lazarus. The Terror Tot furthest up the table Sprints then drops a scheme marker. Johana hurts Barbaros and the Arcane Effigy puts Tail ‘Em on the Nothing Beast. Collodi spectacularly fails to do anything substantial to Tara and the Ronin moves to deny my Leave Your Mark from the Tot. We both score for Extraction and I score Tail ‘Em.

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Turn 3: Ali reveals Recover Evidence so I put the markers on my most inaccessible pieces. Johana flurries Barbaros so I cheat the Red Joker on the first swing to push her away with the Knock Aside trigger. Collodi kills the Nothing Beast and Barbaros pokes Big Jake again. Tara runs away to the far end of the board so I can’t possibly catch her for Tail ‘Em. The Ronin polishes off my Tot before it can run away and drop more markers. Lazarus focuses and fires at Barbaros, then cheats in moderate damage to kill Big Jake. Finally, the Void Wretch drops a scheme marker. Ali scores for Leave Your Mark and I score for Extraction.

Turn 4: Collodi sidles across the board and kills the Void Wretch. Tara takes Reactivate and starts running back to where she was last turn. Lazarus moves to engage her simply on the basis that Ali must have a plan for her to do something and I might as well try to stop it from happening. Johana charges Barbaros and gets another go of the Knock Aside trigger; the Arcane Effigy kills her. The Ronin removes my scheme marker and does Seppuku. Barbaros moves up to drop another scheme marker and the Child disentangles itself from the Tot and stands there to deny me Leave Your Mark again. This is where my attrition has come to work for me as I can just have the Tot drop a marker instead. Tara fails to disengage from Lazarus. I score for the strategy and Leave Your Mark.

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Turn 5: We’re pretty much out of time and last activation could be called at any minute. Big Jake reappears next to Tara and recovers some Evidence. The Terror Tot puts down a scheme marker. Tara finally gets away from Lazarus and runs off to drop a scheme marker so the robot follows to deny Leave Your Mark. The Brutal Effigy applies the condition for Tail ‘Em to Tara and the game ends. We both score for the strategy; I score for Leave Your Mark and Tail ‘Em. Neverborn win 8 – 4 (4 for Extraction, 2 for Leave Your Mark and 2 for Tail ‘Em for me; 2 for Extraction, 1 for Leave Your Mark and 1 for Recover Evidence for Ali).

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That was a terrific game; Ali is really improving at Malifaux as he plays it more often. I was impressed particularly with the good way that Ali used his resources to keep the Nothing Beast alive and well in turn 1 though I as mentioned I was quite surprised to see Lazarus as the choice of charge target as I would say that he must be one the least vulnerable miniatures to the Nothing Beast in the entire game. Of course I was trying to make it unappealing to get the Nothing Beast into Collodi but I think it would probably have been possible and I would have been facing a very uphill struggle if Collodi had been killed early in the game. Rapid Growth on Barbaros didn’t end up doing much but I think it was worth the cost to have the possibility to get a Young Nephilim; better flips could have seen me get one from the Malifaux Child in turn 3 but it was not to be. Barbaros in general ended up just doing what he does best: standing in the middle of a crew a forcing them to deal with him. Based on previous games I find he does usually die (he especially hates it when anyone ignores armour) but the idea is to make the other crew expend a lot of AP to do it. One interesting thing that I discussed with Gareth in the pub later was Ali’s choice to move Tara right back to deny me a point for Tail ‘Em. I feel that the opportunity cost of not having any contribution from your master is generally not worth it to save a VP, though I can see that there are some cases where it would be correct move. In this case it allowed me to get a big leg up on attrition by dealing with the Nothing Beast, Johana and Big Jake in close succession.

So once the scores are all counted, I am pleased to see that I get first place. Even more pleasing was the positions of my not-actually-a-team team mates as Joe got second, Gareth third, V sixth and Jonny eighth, so very well done to all of them. I had a great time and the trip to Aberdeen always results in a fun event. Thanks to Martin, Callum and Ali for three fun games of Malifaux, and to Martin again for running everything.

Categories: Battle reports, Malifaux, Tournaments | Tags: , , , , , | 6 Comments

Painted Rooster Riders

These are the first Malifaux Gremlin miniatures I got round to painting. I used Rooster Riders a lot during my brief time playing Gremlins, but I won’t write much about them here because the rules have changes since I last did so. Gremlins as a faction just didn’t really excite me after a dozen games or so and since then I’ve moved on to a different faction for my gaming pleasure.

Rooster Riders are an absolutely lovely concept and I really enjoyed the idea of crazed Gremlins frantically clinging onto the back of the giant chickens and just hoping for the best while steering them in roughly the correct direction. I’ve seen a lot of vividly coloured Roosters but I preferred to keep a rather darker tone for the mount in order to make the green of the Gremlin skin stand out more.

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Next on the painting table: Viktoria of Blood.

Categories: Malifaux, Painting and modelling | Tags: , | 1 Comment

Painted Jack Daw

Here’s another painted master for my Malifaux Outcasts; this time it is the tormented spirit Jack Daw. Jack is mainly a control master, handing out the Tormented condition by various methods and using it to push friendlies and enemies alike around as seen fit. Enemies who get the Tormented condition by means of Jack’s not-really-an-upgrade cards also have penalties when they try to take certain actions. His main defense is that all attack actions against him are at negative flips; for this reason Jack Daw really hates anyone with a built-in positive flip, or any player who remembers to use the Focus action. In particular there are a lot of these in Ten Thunders and I find him a really risky pick against that faction. I love to play Jack Daw in Headhunter where his ability to push friendly models around is great for picking up heads. He is also pretty nice in any scenario where pieces need to be in particular spots around the centre (for example in Extraction) as it this allows him to keep his own crew within his control auras while disrupting the other crew.

Jack Daw was a bit fiddly to paint as I had to work around the rope coiled about him. But overall I found the miniature to be rather satisfying to paint and not only characterful but a good representation of his appearance in the stories.  There isn’t a lot of scope for complex paint schemes with these large blocks of unbroken texture (i.e. skin, shirt, hood and trousers) which would probably have been highly frustrating for a skilled painter; luckily I do not have that problem.  Many have pointed out that he looks like he’s playing air guitar, and you can see a (much better painted) version by the highly skilled Maria taken to the next level here.

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Next on the painting table: Rooster Riders.

Categories: Malifaux, Painting and modelling | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Painted Taelor

This is Taelor, the iconic Outcast henchman (henchwoman?) from Malifaux. She wields a massive hammer with great effect, and can activate an ability that lets her charge any summoned models in range. Not only that, be she is also extremely difficult to get rid of, having both hard to wound and hard to kill abilities. Taelor’s main weakness is that she is extremely slow; and spending so many points on a model that will probably spend her first few turns walking is occasionally quite frustrating. Still, Taelor brings a lot to the table, as long as all you really want is for things (especially constructs) to be hammered into the ground like tent-pegs.

The miniature is very nice and dynamic, posed partway into smashing her hammer down. I’ve seen one particularly nice conversion where she is astride Lazarus applying the hammer to his head. The observant might note that her pony tail is on upside-down as I knocked it off while gaming and reasoned that this way round was less likely to catch on things. I like the contrast of the light shirt and dark skin. Her hair is pink partly because I’ve put some pink on all of my Outcasts and partly because I like the way it ties her in with Rusty Alyce with whom she’s often competing for space.

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Next on the painting table: Jack Daw.

Categories: Malifaux, Painting and modelling | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Painted Montresor

Here is Montresor, the thematic Henchman for the Outcast master Jack Daw in Malifaux. On the table, I’ve really struggled to get much use out of the big chap since his abilities all revolve around bringing pieces in close to him and keeping them there, but do nothing to stop them from simply killing him once they arrive. He can occasionally get a cheeky Paralyse off on non-Soulstone users but overall the opportunity cost for using Montresor is really high. For a single additional soulstone I could use Taelor, Rusty Alyce or Bishop, all of which I rate much higher than Montresor even with the cost difference. That said, Montresor does have a new free upgrade (i.e. functionally an errata fix) to improve him. I haven’t used it so I can’t comment on how effective it has been.

In contrast to how lacklustre Montresor is on the gaming table, the miniature is really nice. I think he’s meant to be part of the Hammer Horror style canon of creepy hangmen, but to me I can’t help but think of Lurch from the Addams Family. Despite his ragged appearance I deliberately kept the painting tidy as I think he looks a lot better that way. As usual for my Outcasts Montresor sports some pink attire; his tie in this case.

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Next on the painting table: Taelor.

Categories: Malifaux, Painting and modelling | Tags: , | Leave a comment

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