Aramoro, Forkbanger and I went along to a tournament at a relatively new venue in Edinburgh, the Games Hub. Joe is still the tournament organiser which is good because it means it’ll be smooth event, but bad because it means that he probably doesn’t get to play himself. The event itself was 40SS with fixed masters which I believe is partly to do with a vague escalation strategy at the store while it builds up a Malifaux scene; the previous event was 30SS. Originally I was going to use Yan Lo, but some pre-event chat on our Facebook group showed that someone else was taking him and I wanted to avoid mirror matches / repeated rounds in such a small event. I didn’t want to just rock up and destroy the inexperienced players with my practiced crews so I decided to use the only Ten Thunders master I own but haven’t really played yet: Lucas McCabe. I got a couple of turns of a test run against Tiggs (who doesn’t even really play Malifaux) in the days leading up to the event so that there might be some danger that I would remember what McCabe can do on the day.
Game 1: Ten Thunders (me) vs Resurrectionists (Tattyted)
Strategy: Turf War
Pool: Line in the Sand, Bodyguard, Plant Evidence, Make Them Suffer, Protect Territory
Ten Thunders: Make Them Suffer, Bodyguard (Kang)
Resurrectionists: Line in the Sand (announced), didn’t find out the other one
Ten Thunders: Lucas McCabe (Strangemetal Shirt, Glowing Sabre, Badge of Speed), Luna, Kang, Wastrel, Thunder Archer, 2 Rail Workers, 3SS
Resurrectionists: Yan Lo (Reliquary, Brutal Khakkhara), Student of Viscera, Izamu, Yin, 2 Ashigaru
I’ve been playing a lot of Yan Lo myself lately so for the most part I feel like I know what to look out for, but at the same time I was looking forward to seeing the old man piloted by someone else. The McCabe build is based on the ‘looks cool’ factor as I just haven’t had any games to find a build that works. Kang is a simple pick when facing Resurrectionists as he is so good against undead or constructs. As for the rest, it was just a bunch that I most felt comfortable with though notably I had dreams of passing the Glowing Sabre to the Archer to wreck someone’s day. With only two minions in Yan Lo’s crew (the Ashigaru) I chose Make Them Suffer feeling that it should be simple to either kill them with McCabe and Kang for the points, or kill them off with anyone handy and rack up point in the subsequent turns.
Turn1: Everyone runs forward, of course. McCabe fails to either Black Flash the Archer or pass him the Badge itself, though he does give Izamu slow with the Netgun. About half way through the turn we realise the Tattyted has only put out a 30SS crew so adds Yin and a couple of soulstones in the cache.
Turn 2: The Student of Viscera advances and drops a marker for Line in the Sand. My Wastrel takes a shot at the lead Ashigaru but misses; these are really just time wasting activations hoping that the other player will be the first to commit something into a killable position. Yin moves right up into McCabe’s face to try and drain my hand with horror duels, but luckily Kang lets me ignore all that nonsense. The right-hand Rail Worker uses Implacable Assault and drops Yin in two glorious hits, getting round the negative flips on attack and damage with his own abilities plus Kang’s encouragement. Izamu advances but can’t get range to anything because he has slow so the Archer rapid fires to cause slow again. The first Ashigaru advances then Lunges to hurt the Rail Worker; McCabe kills it off to score on Make Them Suffer. He again fails to cast Black Flash but does pass the Glowing Sabre to Kang so he can carve up Izamu. The other Ashigaru repeats the moves of his fallen comrade but cleverly uses the Wall of Steel trigger to push my Rail Worker in Kang’s way. Yan Lo rebuilds Yin then heals her back to full health. Luna bites the Ashigaru, keen to bury the bone, then Kang kills it. Yin hits McCabe and we both score on the strategy.
Turn 3: McCabe kills Yin again (getting a couple of Soulstones from the Forbidden Runes trigger after retrieving the Sabre from Kang), then Opens the Stash again to hand it right back to him. Izamu advances and hits Kang with his melee expert action before Luna woofs ineffectually at him. The Student of Viscera moves closer to the centre and drops another scheme marker and is shot by the Wastrel. Yan Lo attaches Bone Ascendant then Hunpo Assaults a huge mob of my miniatures in the middle. It was a great move which I should have seen coming… but didn’t. When the dust settles, the Wastrel is dead and there are wounds on Kang, the Rail Worker and McCabe. The left Rail Worker charges the Student for a little damage, while the Archer and right Rail Worker pile into Yan Lo for a good chunk of damage and most of his soulstones. I debate having Kang join in but eventually decide I’d be better to make use of the Glowing Sabre to polish off Izamu, which he does with aplomb. I score again for the strategy and Make Them Suffer.
Turn 4: McCabe takes back the Glowing Sabre and uses it to kill Yan Lo. The Student kills the Rail Worker in his face and is dropped in return by the Archer. That’s the last of Tattyted’s pieces so we call it there. Ten Thunders win 10 – 2 (full score for me, one each for Line in the Sand and Turf War for Tattyted).
I think my experience with Yan Lo helped out here, but not as much as putting Kang on the table did. He is just brutal against undead. Anyway I was glad to get a full game in with McCabe as I feel like there are plenty of tricks to learn. So after a lovely lunch provided as part of the event fee, we were onto round two against none other than my regular gaming partner Aramoro.
Game 2: Ten Thunders (me) vs Outcasts (Aramoro)
Strategy: Squatter’s Rights
Pool: Line in the Sand, Distract, Take Prisoner, Murder Protege, Assassinate
Ten Thunders: Line in the Sand (announced), Murder Protege (Izamu; announced)
Resurrectionists: Line in the Sand (announced), Murder Protege (Kang; announced)
Ten Thunders: Lucas McCabe (Strangemetal Shirt, Glowing Sabre, Badge of Speed), Luna, Kang, Wastrel, Thunder Archer, 2 Rail Workers, 3SS
Resurrectionists: Leviticus (Pariah of Bone, Desolate Soul, To The Earth Return), Rusty Alyce (From the Aether), 2 Hollow Waifs, Izamu (Oathkeeper), 3 Abominations
I decided just to stick with the same crew as game 1 to get a bit more familiarity with McCabe; also Kang was again an easy choice to add as I expected crew of constructs and undead following Levi. I have to admit that I didn’t much fancy any of the schemes in combination with the strategy so in the end I took Murder Protege on Izamu, figuring that he would have to send such a piece forward. Line in the Sand is a bit of a gamble with Squatter’s Rights – if I can score on the strategy I can probably score on the scheme, but if I’m kept off the centreline then I’ll miss out on both. It’s also quite interesting that we’ve chosen the same schemes.
Turn 1: Of course, we all run forward. McCabe casts Black Flash on the Archer then passes him the Badge of Speed pushing him forward. The Archer moves forward into Kang’s aura with nimble then Rapid Fires twice into Izamu, who has helpfully moved up just far enough to be in range. He hits a frankly outrageous number of times and drops the Red Joker on one good shot, leaving Izamu on a single wound and looking like a hedgehog. All those arrows sticking out of the Izamu miniature were perfect to represent that moment. The Abominations muck about hurting each other a little for some cards.
Turn 2: I win initiative and briefly debate doing something with one of my squishy scheme running miniatures like Luna before Levi vapourises them. Then I remember that not only am I only one wound away from killing Izamu, a raging murder-beast, but that doing so will be worth 3 VPs. So without further ado, the Archer drops him. In return Alyce rapid fires at Kang getting him down to his hard to kill wound then creates an Abomination. McCabe hands the Badge to Kang then charges Levi and kills him for the first time and Kang retreats away from Alyce. The Abominations form
Voltron a Desolation Engine and move to engage McCabe. Luna, the Rail Workers and the Wastrel all handle the Squat markers and make a start on dropping scheme markers. I score on the strategy.
Turn 3: The Desolation Engine hurts McCabe, who hurts it right back before passing the Badge to a nearby Rail Worker. Alyce shoots into the melee but kills off the Desolation Engine instead. The nimble Rail Worker fails to kill an Abomination so the Archer shows him how it’s done, dropping both with a single activation. The rest of my crew drop scheme markers and move around to line up more attacks, except for Kang who moves to be far away from any possible Levi unburying shenanigans. I score again on the strategy.
Turn 4: The Rail Worker kills Alyce and we call it there. Ten Thunders win 10 – 0.
Again Kang was the real key piece here but it was highly satisfying getting the Archer moved up and two goes of Rapid Fire out of him in turn one with the Badge of Speed. Losing Izamu like that really took the wind out of Aramoro’s sails which was a shame, and he made a few moves toward the end to finish things sooner rather than drag out the inevitable. Anyway, he won his other two games which cheered him up I imagine. So with two wins I was paired up with the only other undefeated player – NinjaBreadMen and his hordes of conversions. Actually this time it was hordes of proxies since the crew he was playing was almost entirely unreleased miniatures.
Game 3: Ten Thunders (me) vs Gremlins (NinjaBreadMen)
Pool: Line in the Sand, Breakthrough, Assassinate, Plant Explosives, Frame for Murder
Ten Thunders: Breakthrough (announced), Plant Explosives
Gremlins: Breakthrough (announced), Plant Explosives
Ten Thunders: Lucas McCabe (Strangemetal Shirt, Badge of Speed, Barbs), Luna, Toshiro (Command the Graves), Wastrel, Illuminated, 2 Rail Workers, 3SS
Gremlins: Wong (Three Demon Bag, Gremlin’s Luck, Explosive Solutions), Lovely Assistant, Burt Jebsen (Dirty Cheater), 4 Lightning Bugs
So I’m not expecting any constructs or undead so I drop Kang for Toshiro as I figure that improving my minions’ melee attacks could be good in this crew. I take out the Archer for an Illuminated (which I love but don’t seem to have used much lately) and also decide to try my luck with Barbs instead of the Glowing Sabre. The Archer could have been useful but I felt that he’d be a bit too easy to splash damage onto from Wong’s big blast attacks. Again we picked the same schemes.
Turn 1: Not at all surprisingly, most of this turn is advancing. McCabe casts Black Flash on the Illuminated and passes him the Badge. The Lovely Assistant stacks the deck then Wong drops a huge Red Joker Lightning Jump on McCabe, nearly dismounting him in one shot. The Illuminated charges Wong who Squeals away after the first hit. That was a mistake on my part, I forgot about Squeal. I originally planned to go for a group of Lightning Bugs and Burt near the edge of the forest.
Turn 2: The Lightning Bug on my right dismounts McCabe. Toshiro hits Burt and War Fans the Illuminated into Wong again. Wong teleports out of melee with the Poof! trigger then shoots Lightning into the melee with Toshiro. There followed an extremely long sequence of chained actions between Wong and the Lightning Bugs which ended up with Toshiro on two wounds left, one of the Lightning Bugs dead and a little damage on the other. The Illuminated gives up chasing Wong and flattens another Lightning Bug. Burt tries to escape the Illuminated but keeps failing to dodge the disengaging strikes. The Wastrel misses the Lightning Bug on the right then the last one on the left finally drops Toshiro who uses up the last of soulstones failing to survive it. McCabe charges and kills the Lightning Bug on the right. Luna drops a scheme marker right next to Burt, the last Lightning Bug and Wong and we both reveal the Plant Explosives scheme (the picture below has the markers still in place to show where they were) scoring three for me and two for NinjaBreadMen. I also score on the strategy.
Turn 3: The Lovely Assistant tries to bunch up the two Rail Workers onto Luna with Crackerjack Timing but they both resist. Wong blows up Luna anyway and splashes a little damage onto the Rail Workers before moving up and using BOOM! to hurt them some more. The Illuminated finally swats the last Lightning Bug and starts on Burt Jebsen who makes a run for it. McCabe saunters round his table quarter dropping scheme markers, the Rail Workers put a little more damage on Wong and Burt and the Wastrel sits around dreaming of milk bars and/or ultraviolence while keeping that table quarter firmly under my control. I score again on the strategy.
Turn 4: The Gremlins are running out of options now and although Wong has been carving a swathe through my own crew he can only do so much. The Lovely Assistant Stacks the Deck again then the Rail Worker kills off Burt. Wong uses the Poof! trigger again to escape the Rail Worker’s attentions and runs off to place a scheme marker. The Illuminated kills off the Lovely Assistant leaving Wong feeling rather lonely. I score on the strategy.
Turn 5: The Rail Worker gets the Pin trigger on Wong but he just gets away again with Poof! and drops another scheme marker. I don’t bother moving any of my pieces as it won’t affect the game. Ten Thunders win 10 – 5 (full score for me, three for Breakthrough and two for Plant Explosives for NinjaBreadMen).
I’ve never played against Wong before and I was really impressed with how much damage he was able to put out and the interactions with the Lightning Bugs. An interesting thing in that game was that my Wastrel did almost nothing all game but was able to keep the table quarter secured for me. I didn’t get much value out of Toshiro but with all the firepower coming in I felt that I didn’t have much option but to throw him into melee and hope for the best. At least he kept the attention off the Illuminated and the Rail Workers for a turn! Similarly I didn’t get to use Barbs on McCabe but that was partly because he lost the Netgun early when he was dismounted and then only needed to make a single attack to deal with the Lightning Bug on the right.
The scores were added up and I came in first, which I’m really happy with. To my surprise and delight there was a voucher for store credit which I put to use ordering more Ten Thunders toys for me to play with. Aramoro came in fourth (by one VP!) and Forkbanger put in another heroic effort to enlarge his prized collection of wooden spoons. Overall I had three good games against three fun opponents and I can’t ask for more than that. In the end I didn’t play against any of the really new players so my choice of master was pretty much irrelevant.