Joe, Paul, Mark and I made another Malifaux road trip, this time down on the train to Sunderland for The Good, The Bad and The Fated. It was a four round affair which is unusual in one-day events I’ve played in, at a somewhat arbitrary seeming 41SS with fixed masters. I’ve played a lot with Jakob Lynch and Mei Feng, and used Lucas McCabe in the last fixed master event I entered so this time I chose to lead my Ten Thunder crews with Yan Lo. Admittedly, I wasn’t totally certain and did consider a swap while on the train but stuck with the old man anyway. We arrived at the venue and were greeted with bacon butties and as much tea as I could take (which is quite a lot); I was still trying to process the sandwich when the first round pairings were called.
Game 1: Ten Thunders (me) vs Gremlins (Connor)
Pool: Line in the Sand, Breakthrough, Plant Explosives, Assassinate, Murder Protege
Ten Thunders: Breakthrough (announced), Plant Explosives
Gremlins: Murder Protege (Izamu, announced), Plant Explosives
Ten Thunders: Yan Lo (Reliquary), Soul Porter, Izamu, Chiaki, Ashigaru, Yin, Thunder Archer, 5SS
Gremlins: Somer Teeth Jones (Liquid Bravery, Encouragement, Dirty Cheater), Trixibelle (A Gun For A Lady), Gracie (Saddle), Francois (Dirty Cheater, Gremlin See), Slop Hauler
We were playing on a lovely cemetery board that we agreed had impassible fences that could be shot through, which made things rather tricky for our slow, large based melee fighters, Izamu and Gracie. I took Yin because she’s difficult to get rid of and frequently seems to annoy people into spending huge effort to hurt her; that she can fly over the walls was a bonus. The Archer provided a little ranged threat to force things to stop simply standing off me and of course in this shooting gallery I felt that I needed something to return fire with in case of a gun line crew. Chiaki has incorporeal to allow her to get around the maze as well as being fast, annoying to kill and handy for scheme markers. It probably bears noting that the markings on the board correspond to the deployment types for the game.
Turn 1: Gracie gives herself reactivate and uses Saddle to more Francois and the Slop Hauler. There is the usual positioning on both sides, with the Soul Porter pushing Izamu and Yin forward since they’re so slow. Gracie uses Saddle again and Francois double focuses to shoot Yin, missing anyway when I cheat in a high card. Yan Lo shoots back and and adds Ash Ascendant.
Turn 2: Somer uses Do It Like Dis to add Rams to nearby models but neglects to move far enough to affect Francois or Gracie when they engage. He then double focuses to hit Yin for moderate damage and splash some onto Izamu (I’m not sure why he didn’t do it the other way round since shooting Izamu would have been a lot easier). The Archer Rapid Fires at Trixibelle to slow her and burn through a few Soulstones. Gracie gets reactivate, charges Yin and achieves nothing of significance then companions to Francois who charges Izamu and takes a good chunk out of him. Yan Lo heals the big suit of armour back up and shoots Trixibelle three times and forces her to eat a lot of Soulstones to survive. Gracie focuses and eats Yin, then Izamu drops Francois and starts on Gracie. Trixibelle takes a futile shot at the Ashigaru. The Soul Porter pushes Chiaki toward Somer and she moves in to drop a scheme marker near him and Trixibelle; the Ashigaru plants one next to Gracie. I reveal Plant Explosives for three VPs; the photo below has the scheme markers still visible.
Turn 3: Somer moves towards Gracie, uses Do It Like Dis for Rams again and misses a shot at the Ashigaru. The Archer fails again to drop Trixibelle though he does drain the last Soulstone and few good cards from Connor’s hand. The Slop Hauler finally makes it over to Trixibelle and heals her. Izamu cuts Gracie into bacon, then Trixibelle picks up the nearby scheme marker, moves over into a cluster of my miniatures and drops it again. Chiaki uses The Calling on Trixibelle (not much damage, but it’s her only (0) action so I use it whenever I can) and starts moving up to drop markers for Breakthrough. The Soul Porter, who is surprisingly handy in melee, charges in and finishes off Trixibelle and the Ashigaru gets rid of her scheme marker. Yan Lo resurrects and heals Yin then shoots Somer, who Squeals away. Yin simply moves to engage both remaining Gremlins and I score for the strategy.
Turn 4: The Slop Hauler heals up the crew and takes pointless swing at Yin before the Archer focuses and puts an arrow into the poor little chap. To my great surprise Somer decides to back off from Yin, taking two wicked hits from disengaging strikes before escaping on the third attempt. The Soul Porter charges in to deal with the Slop Hauler and Chiaki starts dropping scheme markers near the Gremlin deployment zone. Finally Yan Lo attaches Spirit Ascendant and the melee parts of my crew converge on Somer’s location / deployment while the Benny Hill theme tune starts to drown out the banjo playing.
Turn 5: Somer moves back and places a scheme marker, presumably hoping to draw me onto it for a last gasp Plant Explosives. Yan Lo kills him with Spirit Barrage and the Ashigaru again has to do the dirty work removing the scheme marker while Chiaki continues to drop mine. With no Gremlins left on the table, I score on the strategy. Ten Thunders win 8 – 0 (2 for Reckoning and 3 each for the schemes).
After my initial surprise at outnumbering the Gremlin crew I felt like it would be possible to whittle down the number of relevant activations they could take by focusing on them one at a time. Trixibelle took a lot more work to kill than I had expected but on the other hand she did eat 6 soulstones on the way. Connor’s target priority seemed a little strange at times (notably shooting Yin instead of Izamu on turn 2 and shooting at the Ashigaru with Somer on turn 3) but I don’t know Gremlins especially well so I just assumed that he had some sort of cunning plan. As soon as he lost Francois and Gracie in exchange for only Yin (who I can bring back anyway) the tide turned very much in my favour. Still, Connor was a great opponent and I had a fun game. He finished in 7th overall so this result evidently didn’t do him any harm.
Edit: Connor put up his thoughts from his side of the game on his excellent blog here.
Game 2: Ten Thunders (me) vs Arcanists (David)
Strategy: Turf War
Pool: Line in the Sand, Protect Territory, Distract, Vendetta, Spring the Trap
Ten Thunders: Protect Territory (announced), Vendetta (Archer on Howard Langston)
Arcanists: Protect Territory (announced), Distract
Ten Thunders: Yan Lo (Reliquary), Soul Porter, Izamu, Kang, 2 Ashigaru, Thunder Archer, 5SS
Arcanists: Ramos (Arcane Reservoir, Electrical Summoning, Under Pressure), Brass Arachnid, Joss (Imbued Energies), Electrical Creation, Howard Langston (Imbued Energies)
As soon as I saw that David was using Ramos as his master I chose Kang to be in my crew. I picked Vendetta with the Archer against Howard Langston; the Archer is great for taking shots of opportunity and can put the finishing shot into many an otherwise hard to reach miniature. I chose Langston as the victim because he’s too expensive and dangerous for most people to want to keep out of the range for the whole game and ‘only’ has armour +1, which is quite tame next to my other option, Joss who is not only armour +2 but hard to kill and can use soulstones to boot. We’re playing flank deployment which leaves the crews remarkably close together at the start of the game.
Turn 1: Both Ashigaru advance and Brace. Just to mix things up a little the Electrical Creation is scrapped by Joss and Ramos begins the spider engine, summoning a pair of Steam Arachnids which scuttle into a nearby building. He then shoots the nearer Ashigaru and summons another Electrical Creation. I promptly forget about Vendetta and have the Creation shot by the Archer. Yan Lo shoots Ramos who has strayed a little too close, dropping a Red Joker on damage simply because I could, before attaching Ash Ascendant. The Brass Arachnid reactivates Langston who scurries about round the fringes of the engagement, apparently not keen to get involved in the tight murder ball I have set up around the Turf War marker.
Turn 2: The wounded Ashigaru drops a marker for Protect Territory (at the end we had to measure it really finely as it was surprisingly close to my deployment zone) as do both Steam Arachnids; the other Ashigaru Braces to at least make Langston and Joss pause before charging into me. The Brass Arachnid reactivates Joss and the Soul Porter pushes Yan Lo forward so he can shoot most of the wounds off Langston and heal the wounded Ashigaru. Langston is feeling a bit picked on and moves away to make sure that I can’t drop him this turn. Ramos summons some more Steam Arachnids in the middle of my force; the Archer drops one and Izamu gets another. Joss comes in and Distracts both an Ashigaru and Kang thanks to reactivate. David scores for Distract and we both score on Turf War.
Turn 3: Izamu kills off another Steam Arachnid and smites Joss rather hard. Joss does his super attack on Kang, flipping the Red Joker on damage for a mighty 15 wounds and paralysing him; David is not pleased to be reminded that Kang is Hard to Kill. The further away Ashigaru hurts Joss some more but I’m nervous about giving him reactivate for nothing. Ramos somehow fails to finish off Kang and creates even more Steam Arachnids and an Electrical Creation, the former of which are promptly killed off by Yan Lo (who has a silly amount of Chi by this point). He also heals Kang; I’m not sure why I didn’t do that straight away instead of messing around with the Ashigaru first. The last Steam Arachnid moves off unhindered and drops another scheme marker. We’re about to run out of time so Langston takes massive end run round David’s side of the board which astonishingly leaves him within 17″ of the Archer on only three wounds left. The Archer goes for it, getting a straight damage flip thanks to the marvel of Kang and I cheat in a severe card to finish off the big chap and scoring me on Vendetta. David was understandably a little miffed as he hadn’t realised that it was possible to score Vendetta like that. The Electrical Creation in the middle Bursts to drop Joss to a single wound and therefore let him reactivate so the last Ashigaru pokes him to death and drops another scheme marker for Protect Territory. I score for the strategy; David scores for Distract. Ten Thunders win 8 – 5 (2 for Turf War and 3 each for the schemes for me; 1 for Turf War and 2 each for the schemes for David).
David is a skilled opponent and I was sorry to beat him with a ‘gotcha’ moment because he hadn’t realised that I could score Vendetta like that. Anyway, he took it in fine sport and went on to place 5th overall. It was a shame that we only got to turn 3 but I felt that I had things in hand (even assuming that I hadn’t been able to deal with Langston at the end if we’d been playing on) as David would find it tricky to dislodge me from the Turf War area with the pieces he had left. At this point we had a break for lunch, which was a pleasant chilli con carne, and the opportunity to admire the crews in the painting competition and catch up with some of the friends I only see when travelling to these events.
Game 3: Ten Thunders (me) vs Resurrectionists (Ant)
Pool: Line in the Sand, Breakthrough, Bodyguard, Cursed Object, Make Them Suffer
Ten Thunders: Cursed Object, Make Them Suffer
Resurrectionists : Breakthrough (unannounced), Cursed Object
Ten Thunders: Yan Lo (Reliquary), Soul Porter, Toshiro (Command the Graves), Chiaki, Ashigaru, Kang, Thunder Archer, 4SS
Resurrectionists : Nicodem (Maniacal Laugh, Reaper Grin, Undertaker), Rotten Belle, 2 Necropunks, Canine Remains, Vulture, Mortimer (Corpse Bloat, My Favourite Shovel)
My third round opponent was Ant who is among the strongest Malifaux players I’ve ever had the pleasure to face, so I knew I was in for a really tough game. With Resurrectionists across the table I opted to take Kang for the aura of ‘kill dead things harder’ and Toshiro with his upgrade to try to summon a few pieces and make the most of Reconnoitre. I have to admit I was a bit unsure about using so much support but I figured that both could hold their own in fighting if possible. Also with Make Them Suffer it meant that I had three models who could kill things to score on it. Cursed Object was a bit of an oddball choice for me but I suspected that killing the swarm of undead coming at me would be tough to do so this way I could hopefully score on those who I couldn’t dispatch.
Turn 1: Mortimer starts us off by fetching up a couple of corpse counters. Nicodem summons a Necropunk and makes both it and the nearby Belle fast. Toshiro does the same for the Archer. Yan Lo advances and picks up Ash Ascendant then the Belle Lures him forward and a Necropunk races forward and drops a Cursed Object into his robes.
Turn 2: Nicodem summons another Belle and makes her fast then gives Yan Lo slow through the Vulture. He companions to the Belle who Lures Yan Lo forward. Yan Lo charges the Necropunk mainly to get further away from the impending lure into a ball of death that is being set up over in the woods, but doesn’t do much to it. The Necropunk leaps away and gives the Ashigaru a Cursed Object and receives one straight back before the Ashigaru is Lured by the other Belle. There is a lot of positional play going on with Ant using the forest masterfully to keep my forces at bay and force me to commit to moves, and me trying to block line of sight as much as possible using the central monolith. In the end, he scores for Reconnoitre and we both score on Cursed Object.
Turn 3: Yan Lo is Lured in to the crowd by the Belles in companion and I know it is all over for him. He does manage to kill one of them for Make Them Suffer and attaches Spirit Ascendant to make the Resurrectionists work for it a bit. Nicodem summons a Punk Zombie and hits him with Decay before companioning to the Punk which Flurries. Toshiro sticks another Cursed Object to a nearby Necropunk. Mortimer is forced to charge in and finish off Yan Lo personally with his spade. Chiaki goes chasing the Necropunk who is heading for my rear right corner and Kang and the Archer continue to find targets hard to come by. a good few of the undead are still behind the forest obliging me to come in and deal with them. We both score for both the strategy and Cursed Object.
Turn 4: Somewhere in the middle of here last turn was called. The Necropunks continue to leap away from my engagement range and drop scheme markers and is killed off by Chiaki. Mortimer uses Fresh Meat to propel the zombie horde toward the Ashigaru and therefore to mess up my chances in Reconnoitre. Toshiro skewers the Vulture for Make Them Suffer and the Ashigaru Braces to hopefully pause the onrushing zombies and passes the Canine Remains and Cursed Object. Nicodem doesn’t value his minions that highly though and the Belle Lures the doggy back and the Punk Zombie carves it up. One Necropunk has leaped back into my left hand quarter; I can’t give it Cursed Object but I can possibly kill it to claim a point for the Strategy. The Archer moves round and drops the thing to its hard to kill wound then the Soul Porter sidles up and pokes it with his spear. Meanwhile Nicodem summons a Crooked Man near my deployment area and then immediately kills it so that a scheme marker is dropped. I am in awe at such a clever move – so simple but effective. Finally the last Necropunk races forward to deny me a table quarter where I only have the Archer scoring. As it turns out, I score on Reconnoitre anyway (that Punk Zombie is slightly too close to the centre) and Ant scores on Cursed Object. Resurrectionist win 7 – 6 (2 for Reconnoitre and Breakthrough and 3 for Cursed Object for Ant; 2 for the strategy and 2 each for the schemes for me).
What a great game. I think that the closeness of the scores probably flatters me a little as I didn’t have much left that could face down the encroaching Nicodem mob if we’d gone a further turn. Playing against Ant is such a challenge; he is so good at the positional game that every move I can take feels like the wrong one. My hopes are that I learned a bit more from this, and that I put up enough of a fight to make it a bit of a challenge. Ant won the event overall, going undefeated through the day which was quite a feat in what seemed to me to be a fairly strong field.
Before the final round there was a short break for everyone to rush to their phones and frantically try to order tickets for the much-hyped GT in November. It was hilarious to see the focus of so many intently peering at their phones punctuated periodically by the cheering of those who succeeded. Thanks to Joe for sorting mine out; he’s like my Malifaux dealer.
Game 4: Ten Thunders (me) vs Outcasts (Greg)
Strategy: Squatter’s Rights
Pool: Line in the Sand, Protect Territory, Assassinate, Outflank, Power Ritual
Ten Thunders: Protect Territory (announced), Power Ritual (announced)
Outcasts : Protect Territory (announced), Power Ritual (announced)
Ten Thunders: Yan Lo (Reliquary), Soul Porter, Toshiro (Command the Graves), Izamu, Chiaki, 2 Ashigaru, 5SS
Outcasts : Jack Daw (Writhing Torment, Twist and Turn), Drowned, Guilty, Taelor (Oathkeeper), Freikorps Trapper, Johan
I didn’t put too much thought into the faction match up here as I know practically nothing about Jack Daw, instead taking a crew based only on the strategies and schemes. I selected Protect Territory and Power Ritual because I knew that the game would come down to sitting on the Squatter’s Rights markers and so sending off only one model (Chiaki because she’s tricky deal with when she’s right away from the action) to drop a Power Ritual marker wouldn’t affect the rest of the game too much. As it happened, Greg chose the same schemes, and so did both of the players on the next table. In the end, my crew was made of of things which are awkward to shift when they get into position; all the Ancestors can take a hit and the Ashigaru can Brace if it comes to it to add to their wounds, armour and hard to kill.
Turn 1: The first activation is the Trapper focusing and taking a shot at the Soul Porter but the little chap takes only a single wound. The Guilty drops a scheme marker and makes Taelor Tormented; Jack borrows this ability and makes Johan (disguised here as a Ronin with a hammer) Tormented and moves him forward. Toshiro makes the Ashigaru fast and moves up toward the Squatter’s Rights marker; the Ashigaru drops a scheme marker and catches up. Johan smacks Toshiro with his huge hammer for having the temerity to advance so close. The Soul Porter pushes Chiaki and Izamu; the former claims the first marker and the latter fails to hit the Drowned (hidden from view behind the building) after Yan Lo has shot him. It’s evidently near the end of the day as I forget to attach Ash Ascendant to Yan Lo.
Turn 2: Izamu fails to achieve much against the Drowned and Johan does the same to Toshiro. The Ashigaru on the right and the Drowned both flip markers for the strategy; the only unclaimed ones are being sat on by Izamu and Johan. Toshiro uses the War Fan on the Ashigaru to push him into stabbing range of Johan and stabs a few wounds off the Outcast. Jack obeys Johan to bash the Ashigaru after failing twice to put a curse on it. Taelor drops Oathkeeper to go fast and charges Izamu using a Soulstone to get the suit to ignore armour but black jokers the damage on one attack and leaving him standing. The Ashigaru polishes off Johan and flips the Squatter’s Rights marker. Yan Lo charges Taelor but in a flurry of low cards fails to even tickle her. To compound my error from turn 1 he then fails to pick up Ash Ascendant, instead trying (and failing anyway) to heal Izamu. It’s probably superfluous anyway; either Izamu will kill Taelor next turn or Taelor will kill him regardless of how many wounds he has. The Trapper decides against shooting Chiaki and drops a scheme marker instead for some reason that isn’t really clear to me. I score on the strategy.
Turn 3: Taelor does indeed kill Izamu. I figure that I’ll soon be awash with corpse counters anyway and let him take his retributive strike which does at least hit home. The Ashigaru charges the Guilty for minimal effect but does poison him then Jack obeys it away, gives it Guillotine Injustice and takes back the Squatter’s Rights marker. The other Ashigaru moves over to engage the Trapper (I’d forgotten he could just push away but at least it forced him to do it) and the Drowned places a scheme marker. Chiaki moves close to the corner and drops a scheme marker and then the Trapper tiptoes round her and takes it away again since their melee ranges aren’t big enough to engage each other across it. Toshiro drops the Guilty to his hard to kill wound (so he dies of poison at the end of the of the turn) and Yan Lo and the Soul Porter tag team Taelor down to the same state. We both score for Squatter’s Rights.
Turn 4: The Soul Porter kills Taelor; I love that little guy. The Trapper shoots Chiaki then moves in to engage her and goes into defensive stance. Yan Lo kills the Drowned then resurrects and heals Izamu in fighting range of Jack Daw (this was probably a mistake as I didn’t need to kill Jack for this game). Jack Daw hands out Drowning Injustice to Toshiro and Firing Squad Injustice to Izamu then obeys Izamu to hit Toshiro but flips the black joker on the damage flip that would have killed him. We’re about to run out of time so the left Ashigaru pitches the cards to not die of his curse and puts down a scheme marker, the right Ashigaru moves to put down the marker for Power Ritual and Chiaki moves off to place another scheme marker. Ten Thunders win 9 – 4 (3 for Squatter’s Rights and 3 each for the schemes for me; 2 for the strategy and 1 each for the schemes for Greg).
That was another fantastic fun game. Greg is a great advocate for the game, full of enthusiasm. We’ve seen each other a lot of events lately but somehow have never actually faced off across the table in a proper game (I lost to him in a Hardcore match at the 2013 Scottish GT) so it is a real pleasure to finally play the man in a full match. I think that we were both slightly starting to lose focus in this game, for example me totally failing to attach any of Yan Lo’s upgrades; Greg also felt that he hadn’t played his best. In fairness, he also black jokered a couple of important damage flips (Taelor on Izamu in turn 2 and Izamu on Toshiro at the end, though the latter came too late to affect things) so perhaps the cards just weren’t falling his way. Anyway, he still finished in 8th place so the rest of his day must have gone quite well.
When the scores are announced at the end I turn out to be in 2nd place which I’m really satisfied with considering how many good players were attending. My fellow travellers also seemed suited with their final rankings with Paul in 9th, Joe in 12th and Mark in 17th; I felt that as a group we’d acquitted ourselves well. As a final bonus, I also won a cake in the raffle; there were seven with ribbons for each faction and I was lucky enough not only to win but for the Ten Thunders one to be left. Sadly I wasn’t smart enough to take a photo before we headed home and the handling on the return journey didn’t do any favours for the cosmetics of the icing. Still, I can say that it looked nice before I ruined it, and tasted lovely when it was consumed over several sittings at Chateau Argentbadger. The event as a whole was run fantastically well, the food was good, the tea plentiful; thank you to Nate and the rest of his team for putting on such a good time for us. Thanks also to Connor, David, Ant and Greg for four terrific games of Malifaux, and to Paul, Joe and Mark for being great travelling companions. As Joe later put it: 10/10, would do again.