On the 28th September I attended the Clover’s Pact Malifaux team tournament, dragging along my good friend Justinmatters. The rules are a little unusual and I won’t go into them in detail here (they can be found here) but basically the teams are both playing on the same board for the same strategies, but with separate schemes. The crews have to be compatible, which meant that one of us would have to learn a new crew. Luckily for me, Justinmatters volunteered for that duty and we did manage to get a single practice run in with him using Perdita Ortega. I’m not much of a teacher since I think I’ve only used her once too. Anyway, there’s nothing like learning in the heat of battle to temper your skills. Our crews weren’t really optimal even considering that it was a fixed list event (normally in Malifaux you can select your crew once you know what faction you’ll be up against) but it’s limited by the miniatures I own. I tried to get a few photos as we went on but most of them came out blurry even by my standards and in any case I didn’t want to delay the games. David KS (the tournament organiser) has posted about a million of them here.
Me: Sonnia Criid, Nino Ortega, Witchling Stalker, Witchling Handler, Guild Austringer, 6 soulstones
Justinmatters: Perdita Ortega, Francisco Ortega, Santiago Ortega, Witchling Stalker, 2 Guild Hounds, 6 soulstones
Game 1: Guild vs Neverborn
Strategy: Shared Reconnoitre (points available for having the most models in each table quarter)
Our first game was against Barry and Mark running Neverborn.
Schemes: I took Exterminate (Beasts) against Barry, as I thought that there might be some chance of getting it in this crew; Justinmatters took An Eye For An Eye against Mark. On the other side, Barry took Bodyguard on Zoraida and Mark took Breakthrough against me.
Barry: Zoraida, Bad Juju, 3 Silurids
Mark: Pandora (plus Avatar), Teddy, 2 Sorrows, Doppelganger
Here’s how it looked at the start, sadly none of the photos show the sheer awesomeness of Mark’s scratch built Teddy, nor of the high quality painting we faced.
Turn 1, not much happened. Zoraida predictably summoned a Voodoo Doll which linked to my Witchling Stalker, who uses Dispel Magic to get rid of some of the poison. Mostly, everyone is running into position but it’s a bit cagey; in our case it’s because we don’t know what the other crews are capable of. I assume that Mark and Barry were cautious about Guild firepower or something.
Turn 2 is where it all got a bit tasty. Pandora incites Justinmatters’ Witchling Stalker and wounds it a few times mainly to use her pushes to scoot about the board a bit. She’s wary of Perdita though, so Pandora is careful to stay back. The Voodoo Doll obeys Teddy to charge and kill the poor Stalker, then Zoraida obeys the big guy to charge Perdita. Good flipping and judicious use of soulstones means that Perdita avoids every one of Teddy’s attacks, even when he flurries her. Nino tries a couple of headshots on Zoraida and forces her to discard a couple of cards before he’s dogpiled by Silurids. Perdita calmly blows Teddy into stuffing and eyes up Bad Juju, who has appeared midfield and activated defensive stance. Then the Doppelganger copies obey from Zoraida and forces it to lumber into Perdita, though it can’t make a hit stick either. Finally, my Witchling Stalker kills off one of the Silurids.
After both sides using soulstones on the initiative flip, it goes to the Guild. Perdita kills Bad Juju and her companioned Guild Hounds run off into the forest to try and claim a quarter for us. Pandora scoots around a bit but ultimately doesn’t achieve a lot against the stubborn Ortegas, and the Silurids easily finish Nino. My Witchling Stalker kills the Voodoo Doll as it’s the only thing in range; this also allows it to catch Zoraida and the Doppelganger in the disrupt magic effect. Zoraida doesn’t care though, and obeys my Witchling Handler to charge Sonnia; she doesn’t do significant damage but it takes her away from the Silurids that I wanted to charge. Sonnia does kill one of them before the game runs out of time.
We count up the victory points and it’s a 3 – 3 draw; we got 3 table quarters but no schemes and Mark and Barry got the other quarter plus Bodyguard. It was a really fun game, and I have a least some idea of what the Neverborn do. It was a shame that we ran out of time, as I felt like we were whittling the Neverborn down and might have been able to get a win over 6 turns. On the other hand, I imagine that Mark and Barry thought that they could get us too if we had longer to play. In particular, I think that they both felt that our crews were a good counter for theirs, and I guess that they could be right.
Game 2: Guild vs Guild
Strategy: Shared Destroy the Evidence (points for interacting with various markers on the board)
Game 2 was against the Davids. I have to admit to a bit of pre-game gushing here as I recognised one of the opposing crews as belonging to Sholto, of whom I am something of a fan via the internet. Hopefully I didn’t come across too stalker-y.
Schemes: I took Breakthrough against David M and David H took the same scheme against Justinmatters. Justinmatters took Bodyguard on Perdita and David M selected Raid.
David M: Hoffman, Peacekeeper, Steamborg Executioner, Mobile Toolkit
Mark: Perdita, Santiago, Nino, Guardian, Enslaved Nephilim
Strangely, this is only the second time I’ve played against Guild and the first was when I was showing Justinmatters what Perdita could do in preparation for this tournament. As usual, we just lined up to get moving as quickly as possible.
The game begins with the Hoffman train rolling right on top of the central evidence marker. Justinmatters and I tried to jam things up with a Witchling Stalker and the Guild Hounds but all we managed to do was take out the Toolkit and get our miniatures pulverised by the machine puppeted Peacekeeper. Sonnia does turn one of the Guild Hounds into a replacement Witchling Stalker which promptly fails its terror test from all the scary robots (Hoffman was assimilating terror from the Peacekeeper each turn) and runs for the far table edge.
Hoffman destroys the central evidence marker then companions the Peacekeeper, which charges Santiago. I do get some satisfaction as Nino headshots the Steamborg Executioner – that’s literally the first time I’ve ever managed to get a kill with that ability.
The other Nino is obeyed to shoot the fleeing Witchling Stalker but his shot draws the dreaded black joker. Our Santiago, who improbably survived the onslaught of the Peacekeeper tries and fails 3 times to get out of melee with the beast. Then we get to the real meat of the game – Perdita on Perdita action! Both Ortegas take some heavy damage and burn through all their soulstones, and while neither die, ours is definitely in more trouble. Finally, Francisco is killed by his brother’s impostor.
If things were going against up before (and they were), they get a lot worse now. Hoffman machine puppets the Peacekeeper to finish off Santiago before stomping over toward the farthest evidence marker, coincidentally in melee range of Nino and the Witchling Handler. Their Santiago takes out the Witchling Stalker lurking about in their deployment zone. In fact, the only good thing is that our Perdita runs away very quickly and Sonnia kills the Enslaved Nephilim and puts some wounds on Nino and Santiago. At this point the game ends before we’re thrashed any more soundly.
Remarkably we’ve only lost 5 – 2 (we get Bodyguard, they get one evidence token and both schemes) though we were definitely in line to be tabled for an 8 – 0 if the game had gone the distance. There are no two ways about it, we were comfortably beaten by better players on that one.
Game 3: Guild vs Neverborn
Strategy: Shared Claim Jump (points available for having the most models in the centre of the board)
So the pairings for the last round were announced, and we were against Barry and Mark again. Oh well, it would have been nice to match up with three different teams, but these guys were great fun to play against so I can’t complain. As a fixed crew tournament, of course both sides were the same.
Schemes: I took Raid against Barry and Justinmatters took Kill Protegé on Mark’s Teddy. On the other side, Barry chose Hold Out against me and Mark selected Kill Protegé on my Witchling Handler (though he could have chosen Nino).
There was a lot of raised terrain on this board, so I decided to make the most of it by putting the Austringer and Nino in elevated positions to make them a bit harder to kill.
As in the first game, turn 1 is just rushing into position and summoning Voodoo Dolls. All the Silurids leap up a level but I have to admit I haven’t a clue why as they all moved down again next turn.
The Voodoo Doll obeys Justinmatters’ Witchling Stalker to head toward the main body of Guild models, then Zoraida realises that she didn’t want to target him anyway, scraps the doll and makes new one, conduiting Santiago. He is obeyed to shoot the Witchling Handler but misses. Sonnia finally does something useful by nuking both Sorrows and turning one of them into a new Witchling Stalker, coincidentally this also puts some wounds on their master. Pandora herself scoot around a bit getting the Stalker and the Handler to beat themselves up a bit with self loathing (killing the former) but crucially I cheat in a red joker on the last incite, leaving her stuck in front of Perdita. A few shots later, Pandora is on 1 wound left with no soulstones, but still alive. Teddy heroically runs to interpose himself before any more shooting can go her way. Santiago then gets 3 trigger happy triggers in a row, blowing the Teddy away before it did anything useful (again). Finally, we all realise that the game will not go past the next turn so most activations are spent running toward the claim jump. Most, that is, with the exception of the Witchling Handler who runs off to hide with 1 wound left and Kill Protegé on her.
Pandora avatars, then kills a Guild Hound. My Witchling Stalker charges Candy and puts a few wounds on her, and catches a whole lot of Neverborn in his disrupt magic aura. Zoraida obeys Bad Juju to kill off the offending Stalker, but his explosion then takes both Pandora and Candy to a single wound remaining and Perdita finishes them off. Time is called and everyone runs for the claim jump marker. Sadly, I failed to take a photo of the massive scrum around the marker at the end, but we count up who was in there and find that there is one more Neverborn miniature in range than Guild.
So we lose 4 – 2 as they got the Claim Jump and Hold Out; we got Kill Protegé. Again, I did think that we were doing alright here. If the game had gone the full number of turns I think our whittling down of the Neverborn would have paid off as we were only 1 Silurid away from getting Raid and had taken almost no casualties of our own. Oh well. The game was fun and I don’t want to take anything away from Barry and Mark as they knew what they had to do to get the victory.
With one draw and two defeats, it will come as no surprise that Justinmatters and I came in dead last and were duly handed the wooden spoon certificate. I had a really nice day out, and I believe that Justinmatters enjoyed himself at his first Malifaux tournament (I am a veteran, of course, having attended one previously!). I felt that we were doing well enough against Barry and Mark to make them work for their victory points and if things had been a little different we could have taken wins in either of those games. As for game 2 against the two Davids, they were out of our league; they played better than us in every way and it showed during the game. Thanks very much to both Davids, Barry and Mark for being fun to play with, and special thanks to ‘the hardest working henchman’ David KS for organising another great event. I’ll be back!