Joe has heroically stepped up to running Malifaux tournaments and so he, Jonny, V and I headed out to Worlds at War for another three rounds of fun. The games were set up as 50SS and using the Gaining Ground tournament arrangement from Wyrd, which provides pre-set strategies and deployments on a rotating quarterly basis. Naturally as I wasn’t organising this event, that made no difference to me and was able to show up and play with the strategies and schemes presented.
Game 1: Ten Thunders (me) vs Outcasts (Joe)
Strategy: Turf War
Pool: Line in the Sand, Protect Territory, Spring the Trap, Bodyguard, Murder Protege
Ten Thunders: Protect Territory (announced), Bodyguard (Chiaki)
Outcasts: Murder Protege (Izamu, unannounced), Bodyguard (Taelor)
Ten Thunders: Yan Lo (Reliquary), Soul Porter, Izamu, Chiaki, 2 Ashigaru, Yin, Rail Worker, Thunder Archer, 4SS
Outcasts: Von Schill (Oathkeeper, The Shirt Comes Off, Survivalist), Strongarm Suit (Oathkeeper), Bishop (Oathkeeper), Taelor (Scramble), 2 Freikorpsmen
Joe wasn’t intending to play in the event but a last minute drop out allowed him to game; I think his crew was mostly selected to give a quick game so not many activations but a lot of power. For my part, I’ve been enjoying Yan Lo since the release of wave 2 but I’ve yet to really find a way to play him that works so well for me. I took the Reliquary upgrade on the theory that with three Ancestors on the table I would be bound to find a use for it at some stage. Chiaki generally feels like a decent choice for Bodyguard as she is quite tricky to get rid of without significant effort and the rest of my crew is filled with more threatening pieces.
Turn 1: We all run forward. I’ve tried to keep Yan Lo safe as it is tempting to throw him too far forward to get an early (and generally fruitless) shot off with Spirit Barrage. Yan Lo takes Ash Ascendant. Note the Ashigaru on the right facing Bishop: it is not a good day to be that Ashigaru.
Turn 2: Taelor charges Yin for a little damage. The Ashigaru near Bishop misses him twice (taking minor damage for the trouble) and is then pulverised by the pit fighter. The best I can say is that it slowed Bishop down for a round. My Archer pings a little damage into the Strongarm suit with Rapid Fire and the right Freikorpsman shoots Izamu for minimal effect. The surviving Ashigaru somewhat unwisely charges Taelor for no effect; the additional attack (from using Lunge for my first action) also misses and I should probably used Brace instead. The Strongarm suit charges the Archer and easily kills him. First the Rail Worker and then Izamu charge it and kill the Iron Man wannabe; Izamu also drops Taelor to a single wound with a lucky application of the Red Joker on a negative damage flip. Von Schill returns the favour, using Oathkeeper for Fast and charging first the Ashigaru (left on a single wound) then Izamu who he kills with the Red Joker on damage. This also scores for Murder Protege. Yin kills Taelor and Chiaki tries to push the two Freikorpsmen away from the Turf War marker with Purity but they both pass the test. Yan Lo ineffectually shoots at the Freikorpsmen then resurrects Izamu who also fails to kill them. We both score for the strategy.
Turn 3: Von Schill deals with the Rail Worker then rockets over to gently poke Chiaki. Naturally, I forget about Incorporeal. Izamu mangles the first Friekorpsman then charges the other but can’t quite finish him off. He is gently tickled in return, then Bishop wrecks him again. My entire remaining crew gangs up on Von Schill but he survives on a couple of wounds and a single soulstone. The Soul Porter pushes Chiaki out of the combat and she enthusiastically runs away at top speed, dropping a scheme marker to disguise that fact that I need her to survive. Yan Lo gains Ash Ascendant. We both score for the strategy.
Turn 4: We both use soulstones for initiative but I win in the end. Yan Lo polishes off Von Schill before he can remove his shirt. Bishop, evidently the real power house of the crew, charges and kills the Ashigaru, then charges Yan Lo for some good damage; partly because I forgot about Incorporeal (though apparently Bishop has a trigger to avoid that nonsense anyway). The Soul Porter pushes Yin toward the last Friekorpsman, who she charges and kills, then pokes Bishop. Chiaki continues to drop scheme markers. I score for the strategy.
Turn 5: Bishop tries to kill Yan Lo but can’t quite do enough, so Yan Lo shows him that a fit young pit fighter is no match for an old man and beats him to death with his stick. I score again on the strategy. Ten Thunders win 10 – 4 (full score for me, 2 each for Turf War and Murder Protege for Joe).
It is always a good fun game against Joe, though it was quite funny that after his pains to make sure that people don’t get paired up in the first round with regular gaming partners we ended up together. Still, there isn’t much you can do when real life intervenes for a player. I haven’t quite got rolling with Yan Lo yet. He’s got a lot of abilities and supports his crew fairly well but I am terrible at making sure he is in the right place to gather Chi or use corpse counters. More work is required, I think. My second round opponent was Malcolm, who I don’t think I’ve seen since the advent of Malifaux second edition.
Game 2: Ten Thunders (me) vs Guild (Malcolm)
Pool: Line in the Sand, Distract, Breakthrough, Frame for Murder, Power Ritual
Ten Thunders: Power Ritual (announced), Frame for Murder (Rail Worker)
Guild: Power Ritual (announced), Frame for Murder (Hunter)
Ten Thunders: Mei Feng (Price of Progress, Seismic Claws), Emberling, 2 Rail Workers, Yin, Kang, Izamu, Thunder Archer, 5SS
Guild: C. Hoffman (Field Mechanic), Guardian, Peacekeeper, Warden, Huneter, Austringer, 2 Witchling Stalkers
I decided to play each of the three masters I’ve actually used in M2E (i.e. not McCabe) this tournament so I put Mei Feng down here. Just to mix it up a little I put in Izamu and Yin since I think that they’re both useful and independent models who shouldn’t need a lot of help from Mei Feng. Frame for Murder is an easy choice in Reckoning, though I didn’t expect that I’d be able to get Hoffman to actually do the work I was sure I’d get 2 VPs. The deployment this round was in corners which made Power Ritual a much more appealing choice as suddenly only one corner is in your deployment zone.
Turn 1: We all run at each other. Both sides drop scheme markers for Power Ritual in their own corners. I see that a Stalker is coming for the corner that I have sent the Emberling toward so Izamu heads over to intercept.
Turn 2: The Austringer plinks away at Izamu and one Rail Worker advances to try and bait something to come in to me and be attacked. The Guardian obliges so Yin hits it and uses Gnawing Fear on the Hunter. Hoffman realises he’s blocking in his own Peacekeeper so moves out of the way, using Field Mechanic to put Hydraulics on it. The Peacekeeper then charges Yin but can’t hit her. Kang counter charges but Black Jokers the seconf damage flip. The Hunter joins in the massive ball in the middle of the table. In some ways, this is great because I can apply most of my killing power to the Guardian, Hunter and Peacekeeper. On the other hand, I dream of this perfect opportunity to use Mei Feng to chop-socky all three and now there is no room to put her in the centre. Instead, she beats up the Hunter a bit and Vents Steam. I didn’t want to kill the Hunter this turn because letting it live means that it might be possible to score Reckoning next turn.
Turn 3: Izamu kills the Stalker on the left. The Peacekeeper kills my Rail Worker (scoring my Frame for Murder) and Mei Feng kills the Hunter (scoring Malcolm’s Frame for Murder) and the Guardian. The Austringer continues to annoy Izamu. My Archer Rapid Fires into the Peacekeeper for minimal damage but does at least make it slow. Hoffman advances, heals the Peacekeeper and adds some Patchwork Armour to it. The Emberling and Warden both complete their treks across the table edges to drop their markers for Power Ritual. The Rail Worker and Yin combine to finally finish off the Peacekeeper thanks to Yin’s Poison. For the purposes of scoring on Reckoning I would have been better to leave it alive for another round to get it next time but I was worried about the Peacekeeper’s killing potential. I score for the strategy.
Turn 4: Izamu kills the other Stalker, then Hoffman charges in and kills Izamu with an armour-ignoring severe damage on a negative flip. It doesn’t help and the rest of my crew kill Hoffman before we run out of time. I score on the strategy. Ten Thunders win 7 – 6 (2 for Reckoning, 2 for Frame for Murder and 3 for Power Ritual for me; 3 each for Frame for Murder and 3 for Power Ritual for Malcolm).
That was a very tight game and Malcolm, despite downplaying his ability, made some great choices of schemes and did the right things to achieve them. I’m not really sure now that Yin was the right option in this match up as the forest meant that most of my crew were bunched together, allowing Malcolm to target any of them. I think Yin is probably best slightly off on her own to hold up a few models away from where they need to be. On the other hand, Kang is brutal against a standard Hoffman crew. Speaking of which…
Game 3: Ten Thunders (me) vs Guild (David)
Strategy: Squatter’s Rights
Pool: Line in the Sand, Protect Territory, Assassinate, Deliver the Message, Entourage
Ten Thunders: Protect Territory (announced), Entourage (announced; Mei Feng)
Guild: Protect Territory (announced), Entourage (announced; Joss)
Ten Thunders: Mei Feng (Price of Progress, Seismic Claws), Emberling, 2 Rail Workers, Yin, Kang, Izamu, Thunder Archer, 5SS
Guild: C. Hoffman (Field Mechanic, On Site Assimilation, Arcanist Assets), Mechanical Attendant, Mobile Toolkit, Howard Langston, Joss (Plant Evidence), Large Arachnid, Guardian
So having decided to play my three masters once each, I duly began selecting a crew lead by Jakob Lynch. Then David stated that no-one in his regular gaming group played Mei Feng ‘well’ and asked if I would play her instead of Lynch. Having been suitably buttered up by the implication that I would be able to do this, I agreed and (in the interests of time) put out the same crew as the previous game. I didn’t fancy any of the scheme pool too much but ended up going for Protect Territory since I usually have enough activations at the end of the game to drop a few scheme markers and Entourage on Mei Feng because she’s quick and hard to pin down.
Turn 1: Hoffman begins a complex and soon-to-become familiar routine by making a construct slow, Power Looping another and dropping scrap somewhere. He puts Hydraulics on Joss and Programmed Directives on Langston, then Machine Puppets them both forward and makes Langston fast for good measure. Joss flips a marker in the centre so the Rail Worker shoots him and cheats in a Red Joker to use up a soulstone early on, and Langston also flips a marker on the far right.
Turn 2: Yin charges Joss to give him both Slow and Gnawing Fear, but mainly to hold things up a little in the block. The Mobile Toolkit gives Langston positive flips on attacks and I realise that this isn’t going to end well for the Penangalan. Indeed, Langston easily deals with Yin and the Archer replies by Rapid Firing at him. The Emberling flips a marker on my far left. Hoffman does his routine, Machine Puppeting both Joss and Langston back in to the safety of the ruins and healing them. The Guardian is also Machine Puppeted to drop a scheme marker. It Protects the Large Arachnid (and David curses as he realises that this will fall off before mattering) and moves up to stop me flipping the marker that Joss had been guarding back. Kang moves up to inspire my crew to fight harder and not be scared of the Steamborg in a more helpful spot. The Rail Worker charges it for no effect. At this point, David is thoroughly sick of Kang’s aura of ‘beat robots harder’ and moves up the Mechanical Attendant to turn it off with Null Field. Izamu is having none of that, and smites the little robot into pieces. The Large Arachnid charges Kang for trivial damage and Mei Feng charges right back into it but can’t land a single hit as we’re both out of cards by this point and relying on getting what we need off out decks. David scores on the strategy.
Turn 3: Izamu crushes the Arachnid with great flips (and casually flips a Red Joker on the second attack when Grinding Halt might have saved the construct). Hoffman does his routine, heals Langston back to full, removes his Slow and Machine Puppets him for a steam cloud to stop me shooting Slow right back on to him with the Archer. Joss is also Machine Puppeted to move forward twice. The Archer shoots the Guardian which then moves round to open up a lane for Langston to charge Izamu. One of my Rail Workers heroically moves into the way to block the charge and is duly Decapitated by Langston on the first hit of a Flurry. So Mei Feng destroys him in return and the surviving Rail Worker polishes off the Guardian. Joss races over to engage the Archer and the Emberling flips a second marker for me. We both score for the strategy.
Turn 4: This will be the last turn. Joss kills the Archer and high tails it into my deployment zone; Mei Feng heads the opposite way and drops a scheme marker on arrival. The Mobile Toolkit also heads into my deployment zone, dragging Hoffman with it. Everyone and their dog drop scheme markers; the Rail Worker switches one of David’s strategy markers. I score on the strategy. It is a draw! 8 – 8, we both get 2 for the strategy and 3 each for the schemes.
Another really good, close game. I believe that I could have had the win if we’d gone another round but it was not to be. I was quite happy that I was able to contain and eventually kill off most of the Guild crew but I couldn’t get the ones that mattered. I wasted a couple of activations, notably Rail Workers and the Archer, mucking around doing trivial damage to hefty constructs or moving too far away from the action, but overall I was happy with my play. Hopefully David learned something about Mei Feng other than ‘use Kang against construct / undead crews and profit’.
When the scores are counted it turns out that out of 16 players there is nobody on 3 wins. I come in second place behind David, my final round opponent. I also get a little Brawlin’ Brute trophy for getting the most Ml kills in the tournament (15; I also adhere to the philosophy of Play it like Beatdown). It was a great day out, and I think that my car-sharers were also satisfied with how things had gone.