On 7th July 2012 I set off for my first ever tournament in any game system, the Blood, Steel and Stones Malifaux tournament. I wasn’t really sure of what to expect, so I packed up my Guild, my line in the sand markers and the usual hobby supplies and set off into the pouring rain. I’m delighted to say how welcoming everyone was, especially since I think that all the other nine players knew each other or had at the very least met at previous Malifaux events. After a bit of setting up boards etc, the tournament organiser (TO), David announced the initial pairings, found that he’d matched up a couple against each other and swiftly re-jigged it. As there was an odd number of players, David himself was taking part and indeed I was his first opponent. My battle reports are a bit sketchy since I didn’t want to delay the games too much to take copious notes; the same goes for the photos.
Game 1: Guild (me) vs Arcanists (David)
Shared Plant Evidence (spend an action to interact with up four pieces of terrain in the other half of the board)
Guild: Stake a Claim (end the game touching a specified piece of terrain; in this case it was a set of ruins just to the left of the centre), Breakthrough (have more models in the opponent’s deployment zone than he does)
Arcanists: Bodyguard (keep your master alive), Kill Protegé (kill off the highest cost minion, Samael Hopkins in this case)
Guild: Sonnia Criid (plus 6 soulstones), Samael Hopkins, Witchling Handler, 2 Guild Hounds, 2 Witchling Stalkers, Austringer
Arcanists: Rasputina (plus 5 soulstones), Kaeris, Ice Gamin, 2 Gunsmiths, 2 Large Steampunk Arachnids
I deploy in a strung out line, focussed in the middle with the Guild Hounds out on the right aiming to go through the ruins and start planting evidence (though I have no idea how; they can light dynamite too!) and the Austringer on the left to hide behind cover and send his bird at people a bit. David puts both Large Steampunk Arachnids facing the Guild Hounds, and they’ll tear the dogs to bits in a straight fight so I’ll have to rethink that part of the plan. Kaeris goes on my left and everyone else takes up the firing lane in the centre.
Turn 1: Mostly everyone just runs forward. The Witchling Handler pushes one of the stalkers up to interfere with the Gunsmiths, and Rasputina burns a couple of soulstones to hurt him, then puts up ice pillars in front of the Guild Hounds, forcing them to turn around or spend ages trying to bite through them. This picture is from the end of turn 1.
Turn 2: The Witchling Stalker severely wounds the female Gunsmith before being shot by the male one. The Ice Gamin runs up to the clump of my miniatures with Sonnia in it (they explode when killed) and I have no choice but to kill it off with the other Witchling simply to get it out of my hair. Sonnia then turns the wounded Gunsmith into another Witchling Stalker which is conveniently in combat with Rasputina, though she burns a soulstone to avoid its attack. Here’s are a couple of shots from somewhere around the end of turn 2.
Turn 3: We’ve been playing fairly slowly, so this will be the final turn. Samael Hopkins flips the dreaded black joker taking a shot at one of the Large Steampunk Arachnids in the hope of destroying it before it plants evidence, then runs away to avoid getting killed (and hence give up kill protegé). Rasputina shows what she’s capable of by blowing up two Witchling Stalkers, but it’s too little, too late. Sonnia and the Guild Hounds zoom around planting evidence and staking a claim. The final score is 5 – 3 to the Guild (3 bits of evidence planted, plus stake a claim compared to 1 bit of evidence and bodyguard). This is the centre at the end of the game.
It was a really fun game, and I learned quite a few rules clarifications from David. I’ve got a feeling that he was going a bit easy on me (as TO, it’s not really in his interest to pummel the new guy on his first ever game in the group), or perhaps he was just distracted because he was meant to be doing the TO thing as well as playing the game. After the game there was some lunch and general chit-chat, then the pairings were announced for game 2. I was to play Greg, who has the coolest possible method for tracking his soulstones: sweeties. Whenever he uses one in-game, he eats it for a ‘power up’.
Game 2: Guild (me) vs Ressurectionists (Greg)
Shared Contain Power (kill the opponent’s leader)
Guild: Hold Out (stop the other side getting models in your deployment zone), Kill Protegé (on Mortimer)
Ressurectionists: Bodyguard (keep your leader alive), Death After Death (end the game with more models than you started with)
Guild: Sonnia Criid (plus 8 soulstones), Exorcist, Witchling Handler, 2 Guild Hounds, 2 Witchling Stalkers, Austringer
Ressurectionists: Nicodem (plus 6 soulstones), Grave Spirit, Von Schill (who was the leader for contain power and bodyguard purposes), Mortimer, Madame Sybelle, 2 Rotten Belles
I actually remembered to take a picture of deployment this time.
Turn 1: Everyone rushes forward like 5 year olds playing football. The Rotten Belles lure in one of the Witchling Stalkers, and Madame Sybelle hits him a little.
Turn 2: Madame Sybelle kills her Witchling, and Von Schill makes short work of the other one. Meanwhile, the Guild Hounds eat the Grave Spirit and dog-pile Nicodem, mainly just to clog him up a bit while he kills them off. Nicodem totally ignores the dogs, instead summoning a Flesh Construct right in Sonnia’s face. Eeek!
Turn 3: Sonnia uses a lot of soulstones to keep the Flesh Construct from killing her, and then tries to use her disassemble trigger to get it to go away. This doesn’t actually work, but Greg is forced to discard enough cards that the Exorcist can banish it to oblivion at the end of the turn. Von Schill rockets about being annoying, and somewhere around here the Witchling Handler is killed and Madame Sybelle and one of her Rotten Belles are severely damaged. The Guild Hounds carry on biting Nicodem, and he carries on paying them no attention. Down boy!
Turn 4: This is the last turn, again due to time. Von Schill zooms into my deployment zone to try and make it hard to kill him and also to deny me holdout. Sonnia turns both Madame Sybelle and the injured Belle into Witchling Stalkers (I love doing that). Nicodem summons a boat load of Punk Zombies to try and get his death after death scheme, and is then killed by the Guild Hounds. A couple of shots on Mortimer don’t get me lucky enough to kill him, so it’s now all about the Austringer and Von Schill. The big guy is on 3 wounds. The Austringer hits with his first attack, doing one wound. He hits with his second attack. I’m on a negative flip, so I need both cards to be above 6. I flip the first: it’s a 6. All I ned now is anything above a 5 to win the game. Both Greg and I are on tenterhooks. I flip the second card… it’s a 3. Weak damage, and Von Schill is left on a single wound, denying me the points for hold out and contain power, while getting Greg the points for bodyguard. The final score is 2 – 0 to the Ressurectionists (for bodyguard). Here’s the scene at the end. Von Schill is painted like Hulk Hogan since they seem to share the same barber (balding with an outrageous moustache).
That was a great game, perhaps the best I’ve had in Malifaux. Greg was a lovely opponent, and I really enjoyed every minute of it. Close games are always the most exciting. Anyway, with that we were onto the final round where I was paired with Irving.
Game 3: Guild (me) vs Neverborn (Irving)
Shared Line in the Sand (attacker has to light the dynamite markers in the centre of the table while the defender has to defuse them; I was the defender in this one)
Guild: Bodyguard, Grudge (kill a pre-selected minion with a non-master melee attack; I chose Tuco)
Neverborn: Hold Out, Assassinate (kill the other master)
Guild: Sonnia Criid (plus 8 soulstones), Samael Hopkins, Witchling Handler, 2 Guild Hounds, 2 Witchling Stalkers, Austringer
Neverborn: Lilith (plus 7 soulstones), Mature Nephilim, Young Nephilim, 3 Terror Tots, Tuco
As usual, deployment was a couple lines of miniatures hurrying to get to each other as quickly as possible. My Guild Hounds were away out on the left with everyone else pretty much taking up the centre. Lilith was on my far right and one Terror Tot was on the left, the rest of the Nephilim were advancing in the open ground behind the pool.
Turn 1: Everyone rushes forward to get started on the dynamite. One of the Terror Tots in the centre is killed by the Austringer. The Mature Nephilim is looking very big and scary as it stands next to the pool.
Turn 2: Samael Hopkins sets his bullets on fire then rapid fires at the Mature Nephilim. Slightly to my surprise, the big chap dies on the second shot. Lilith uses a couple of soulstones to get a blood token for herself (I’ve no idea what she can do with it though, as I’ve never played against Lilith or any other Neverborn before). The Guild Hounds kill the isolated Terror Tot and Sonnia Criid uses Violation of Magic to turn the last one into a Witchling Stalker. Did I mention how much I love that spell? Here’s how things looked at the end of turn 2.
Turn 3: The fresh Witchling Stalker kill off Tuco, and the Young Nephilim is pulled down in a wash of black blood. Only Lilith is left from her crew, but she’s already lit two of the dynamite markers. Everyone starts running over to try and stop her.
Turn 4: Pretty much my whole crew dog-piles Lilith. It’s depressingly ineffective, as I fail to put a single wound on her this round.
Turn 5: Lilith kills Sonnia (getting assassinate, and denying me bodyguard), and I finally pull down Lilith as black blood splashing onto the Witchling Stalkers after Samael Hopkins had delivered a wound causes them to blow up and finish her off. The Austringer defuses one of the lit dynamite markers in turn 6. The final score is 5 – 2 to the Guild (I got 4 of 5 dynamite markers defused and picked up grudge; the Neverborn took the points for assassinate).
There was an interesting bit of tournament etiquette here. In Malifaux, the game doesn’t end if you table your opponent, instead the game can continue until turns run out in so that you can achieve various victory conditions. When I killed Lilith in turn 5 (of 6), Irving shook my hand, which of course I reciprocated. I took this to mean ‘well done, you wiped out my crew and will win the game’ as I was already ahead on VPs at the time. However, he seemed to think that my accepting this handshake indicated that the game had ended, and was therefore aggrieved when I started moving my miniatures to try and get the remaining dynamite tokens. It ended up with a disagreement between Irving and the TO in which Irving was asked to leave the store, presumably to cool off. In full disclosure, they are brothers so I suppose that may have been the argument rather than anything relating to Malifaux. Anyway, how would you have interpreted the situation?
Anyway, the tournament ended, and I came in a respectable 4th place with two wins and a defeat. David (game 1) was third with the same record, beating me on some tiebreaker which I think was VP differential. Greg (game 2) won overall with 3 wins and Irving finished in 9th. I’m pretty delighted at that result. Lets have a quick look at my goals for the tournament:
- Draw or win at least one game
- Meet new gaming friends
- Have a good time
Glorious success on all three counts, I would say. In terms of playing the game I certainly can get better in pretty much all areas of the game, but the biggest thing I could fix is picking the right schemes. Of the six I chose, I only managed to achieve two.
Particular thanks must go to David for organising the tournament. I had a great time and I certainly plan to go back for more. It was quite interesting that I was the only player who brought Guild.
Finally, here are a few random pictures of crews from the tournament. I didn’t take any notes about them, but I think that the purple and white Nephilim won the award for best painted and I know that the Kirai-themed Gremlins in the last picture are the work of NinjaBreadMan (the theme is a bit of a Malifaux in-joke). There are some more pictures from tournament here and a podcast with hilarious echo issues here.