The Hogmanay Hangover was the first of the 2013 Malifaux tournaments in my area and Forkbanger, Aramoro and I packed up our little toys and headed along for a few games and hilarity. It was a 30SS arrangement with fixed faction, preset strategies and unique schemes across all games as is the norm for these events. I don’t have anywhere near 30SS of Ten Thunders so it was an easy choice to declare Guild as my faction. I was hoping to avoid playing against Aramoro and Forkbanger since most of my games of Malifaux are with them, and otherwise my objectives were the same as usual: don’t lose all my games and have fun.
Game 1: Guild (me) vs Ten Thunders (Andrew)
King of the Hill (points at the end of each round after the first for having more significant miniatures on a hill in the middle of the board). This is a new strategy which effectively replaces Claim Jump. The scoring is certainly an improvement as it stops the last turn rush for the points of the previous version.
Guild: Hold Out (stop the other side getting models in your deployment zone), Assassinate (kill enemy master)
Ten Thunders: Hold Out, Grudge (one of my Witchling Stalkers; kill it in melee with a minion)
Guild: Sonnia Criid, 2 Witchling Stalkers, Witchling Handler, Austringer, Nino Ortega
Ten Thunders: Mei Feng, Emberling, Kang, 2 Rail Workers, Oiran, Willie the Demolitionist
I like Sonnia for take and hold type strategies as she can replenish her forces by judiciously casting Violation of Magic (which can create fresh Witchling Stalkers) and has good tools for blowing up enemies who are clumped together. Witchlings and the Handler are always funny and the other two provide a nice bit of fire support which is made easier when everyone has to run onto the hill to get any points. I’ve never played against Mei Feng, but I know she’s a close combat monster.
Turn 1: For the most part, everyone rushes forward. Willie targets Kang with his demo charges, triggering Fire in the Hole to push most of the Ten Thunders crew forward a little. I notice that Andrew is being surprisingly picky about where the Rail Workers end up and it turns out that Mei Feng can treat them as stepping stones. So at the end of the turn, Mei Feng casts Rail Walker and races across half the board to kick my Witchling Handler in the face. Ouch!
Turn 2: I realise that I’m about to lose the Handler so I activate her to try and put some damage on Mei Feng. This turns out to be rather hard to do. Mei Feng retaliates by finishing off the Handler then charges and nearly kills the Austringer. Nino puts down the nearest Rail Worker and Willie starts booby trapping the ground close to my Witchling Stalkers. It’s time for Sonnia to remind me why she’s my favourite model in the game, as she moves onto the hill, hits the Emberling with a Flame Burst (mainly to splash some damage onto Mei Feng, but it also conveniently ends up on a single wound) then casts Violation of Magic to turn the poor totem into a fresh Witchling Stalker. In an attempt to stop me from scoring on the strategy the other Rail Worker moves to the hill but a fantastic hit from a charging Witchling puts him down fast. I get a victory point for having more models on the hill.
Turn 3: Kang charges the nearest Witchling and beats him to death with a spade, thereby scoring the Grudge. The Oiran, who has finally moved onto the hill, is charged by a Witchling and killed quickly without having done very much of anything. Willie tries his amusing Wheelbarrow of Doom attack up into the middle of the hill but surprisingly fails to do very much of anything, though he is now in a prime position to blow up if I kill him. Similarly, the Austringer sends the bird at Mei Feng a couple of more fruitless times before being kicked into the middle of next week with some chop-socky action. Finally, the last Witchling and Sonnia combine to beat Willie down to a single wound and Violation him into yet another Witchling Stalker. He does blow up in a very entertaining fashion, putting a couple of wounds on all and sundry. I now have a firm hold on the hill and score again on the strategy.
Turn 4: Kang kills off another Witchling with his spade before he is finally turned into a Witchling himself. Hard to Kill models (who always stop at 1 wound left) are perfect prey for Sonnia’s Violation of Magic spell. Mei Feng sees how this is going and runs off behind a building to deny me Assassinate, and Andrew offers his hand in defeat.
I’m allowed to rack up the remaining victory points with the time I have left leaving me with 6 – 2 victory (2 for Hold Out and 4 for King of the Hill to me, two for Grudge for Andrew). That was quite a quick game so there’s plenty of time for chatting and watching other games before the draw for next round. This time I’m paired with Joe.
Game 2: Guild (me) vs Ten Thunders (Joe)
Escape and Survive (points for having models alive and far from your deployment zone).
Guild: Bodyguard (keep your master alive), Stake a Claim (nominate a terrain piece on the other half of the board and end with a model touching it)
Ten Thunders: Breakthrough (have models in your opponent’s deployment zone than they do), Grudge (Francisco Ortega)
Guild: Perdita Ortega, 2 Witchling Stalkers, Francisco Ortega, Santiago Ortega, Austringer
Ten Thunders: Lucas McCabe (Strangemetal Shirt, Invigorating Bridle), 2 Wastrels, Torakage, Ten Thunders Brother, Ten Thunders Archer
Perdita is fast which is helpful for strategies like this where you have to get moving. I preferred Santiago over Nino as Nino almost never wants to move with his ludicrously long ranged gun. Arguably, the same is also true of the Austringer, but I figure that with the push to get out of combat I can always make a run for it on the last turn. Joe’s selection of Lucas McCabe is probably a good one as he’s very mobile. I’ve never played against any of these models so I decide that I’ll just have to freestyle it and hope for the best. My deployment is big bunch on the edge of my deployment zone. Joe’s Wastrels are concealed because they can move further when out of line of sight.
Turn 1: A Wastrel uses his powers of hidden movement to move really far forward. This turns out to be a poor idea as Francisco walk up and shoots him. The Torakage uses Mistaken Identity to swap with the Wastrel but then realises that it’s a once-pre-activation ability (I think Joe was planning on moving the Archer up with this trick) and instead moves onto the hill, where Perdita guns him down. The Austringer puts a couple of wounds on the Ten Thunders Brother who thought he was safe hiding behind a wall, then McCabe gallops round the hill but misses a shot with his net gun.
Turn 2: The Austringer puts another couple of wounds on the Ten Thunders Brother then Delivers Orders to Perdita. She fires a few shots at McCabe forcing him to burn a few cards and soulstones to avoid damage, and activates Quick Draw. McCabe retaliates by moving round the hill (taking another shot from Perdita thanks to Quick Draw), shoots a Witchling then uses Stunner to paralyse him. Santiago shoots McCabe a few times but nothing is really happening thanks to McCabe’s armour. The Archer, having had to spend the first turn laboriously walking into place instead of being placed in range by the Torakage, fires a rather nasty shot the un-paralysed Witchling Stalker before Francisco takes him down to a couple of wounds left. Finally, the Witchling charges McCabe and does nothing and the Ten Thunders Brother does the same to the paralysed Witchling for the same effect.
Turn 3: The Austringer, noticing that there are a lot of models around with very few wounds left, shoots down first the wounded Wastrel then the Archer. He then Delivers Orders to Perdita again who companions with Santiago then finishes off the Ten Thunders Brother and takes out an unwounded Wastrel. Santiago fires wildly into the melee with McCabe for a couple of wounds. McCabe, who is now feeling rather lonely, gees up his horsey with the Invigorating Bridle then Rides Down Perdita and both Witchlings, slowing both of the latter and then shooting Francisco. The rest of my crew shoot McCabe for very little effect.
Turn 4: McCabe heals his horse again, then charges the Austringer and tramples the poor falconer down to a single wound. Joe noted a few minutes after this that he should have used Ranged Expert to shoot before doing this, but we didn’t roll back. The Austringer pushes out of combat and Santiago manages to avoid a disengaging strike for the first time in ages to leave McCabe out of melee. Perdita shoots a few times then Obeys Francisco to charge. A Flurry from the duelist finishes the horse on the first attack, but Joe cleverly puts the dismounted version of McCabe out of reach. Presumably Francisco is so busy flurrying that he doesn’t notice that he is flogging a dead horse. Both Witchlings charge in too, but they can’t make anything stick.
Turn 5: I win initiative and Perdita companions with Francisco and Obeys him to charge McCabe. Sadly he Black Jokers his charge attacks, so Perdita sighs and charges in herself, soulstoning the attack out of sight (McCabe had long since used up the last of his cache) and finishing him off in person. As I have the only remaining models on the board I am free to move everyone comfortably far from my deployment zone and pick up my Stake a Claim. I take the victory 8 – 0 in the end. Once again, that finished very quickly so we have a good chat and watch a bit of the other games going on. For the final round I am drawn against David and his Neverborn.
Game 3: Guild (me) vs Neverborn (David)
Destroy the Evidence (various points for interacting with four markers in the other side of the table).
Guild: Breakthrough, Raid! (finish the game with more minions)
Neverborn: Stake a Claim, an unannounced scheme which (not surprisingly) turned out to be Kidnap (nominate 3 enemy minions and make sure they’re dead at the end of the game)
Guild: Perdita Ortega, 2 Guild Hounds, 2 Witchling Stalkers, Santiago Ortega, Austringer
Neverborn: Jakob Lynch, Hungering Darkness, Mr Graves, Illuminated, Beckoner, Stitched Together, 2 Desperate Mercenaries
I take Perdita again as I think that I’ll need her speed and ranged threat for this strategy. Obey should allow me to move some minions onto or away from markers as needed. I take the Guild Hounds as they’re fast and pretty useful for destroying markers since they’re significant when they stay close together. I actually own Lynch and some of these models so I have a reasonable idea of what they can do, but Hungering Darkness is a real beast to get rid of, and the reputation of Stitched Together precedes them. I deploy in a group to my left as that is where the majority of markers have ended up. David’s crew split up with Lynch, Graves and the Beckoner in a group on my right and everyone else facing my models down a valley between two hills.
Turn 1: Hungering Darkness puts Brilliance on one of the Desperate Mercenaries, and the Stitched Together puts up his Creepy Fog. Luckily, Austringers don’t need line of sight so it gets pecked for a few wounds. Everyone else moves up a bit and Santiago shoots at the Hungering Darkness but doesn’t do anything of note.
Turn 2: The Austringer, continuing his amazing run from the previous game, gets the Stitched Together down to its Does Not Die wound and takes out the Desperate Mercenary. Hungering Darkness responds by charging a Witchling and killing him off then using Heed My Voice to force the other one to charge the Austringer, killing him too. Ouch! At this point David realises that he forgot to deploy the Illuminated so we put him on the table and move him up as he would ave done in turn 1. The Guild Hounds charge up and kill the other Desperate Mercenary and get started on the Illuminated. To be fair to them, the Illuminated is somewhat out of their league, but I wanted to tie him up while I tidied up the midfield. Perdita takes out the Hungering Darkness, but of course he can come back later. The Beckoner uses her wiles to give the Stalker Brilliance and lure him up on the hill, the Stitched Together kills off one of the Hounds before expiring and the Illuminated takes the other one down to a single wound remaining. To make it worse, the surviving Hound can’t interact with the Destroy the Evidence markers now as it’s only significant with its partner. Finally, Mr Graves actually scores a point by destroying the first evidence marker. I say that I feel like I’ve had a bit of a hiding that round, and David replies that he was about the state the same.
Turn 3: Mr Graves charges in and kills off the last Witchling; then Perdita kills the Beckoner (causing the reappearance of Hungering Darkness on 3 wounds) and puts some damage into Mr Graves. Santiago tries to shoot the Illuminated but is narrowly out of range. The Hungering Darkness charges Perdita but she’s a tricky one to hit so he does nothing but trap her in melee. My Hound runs off to hide from the Illuminates as it only has one wound left but will still count for my Raid! scheme, and the Illuminated himself charges Santiago and beats him down the Hard to Kill wound. Finally, Jakob, delighted that no-one has attacked him, strolls around and picks up another marker.
Turn 4: The Hungering Darkness attacks Perdita but it still can’t connect, and Mr Graves charges in and has the same problem. Sadly, Santiago is much easier to hit and despite three attempts to get out of melee with the Illuminated is kept in every time. Perdita is tired of toying with her prey and guns down both Mr Graves and the Hungering Darkness, then the Illuminated takes out Santiago.
Turn 5: I need to kill of the Illuminated to get Raid! and get a significant model into David’s deployment zone for Breakthrough. Only Perdita can manage that, so she shoot the Illuminated, using soulstones and cheating to make sure he stays down (in fact, I got the rare but hilarious triple Critical Strike to do so) and then starts running forward. Jakob sits next to his Stake a Claim objective happy in the knowledge that he won’t be shot.
Turn 6: Perdita runs into the deployment zone to complete Breakthrough. We count up victory points and I lose 5 – 4 (first evidence marker, Stake a Claim and Kidnap for David, and Breakthrough and Raid! for me). What a great game. It was brutal from start to finish, and with better play I feel like I might have had a chance to win.
The scores are counted and I finish up in third place behind David (first) and Aramoro (second). I’ve had three very fun games against three very fun players. As for out little group, I think we did very well. Aramoro and I got little trophies for first and second while Forkbanger, taking part in his first Malifaux tournament, took home the much larger trophy for best painted crew (which can be seen here). Thanks very much to David for organising another brilliant tournament and to Andrew, Joe and David for three fantastic hilarious games. There are a few photo galleries from David here, here and here. I’m already looking forward to the next one.
A final thought: of twelve players at the tournament, three of us have beards. Of the players who placed in the top three, three of us have beards. Coincidence?