About half a year ago Joe and I (and a big chunk of the rest of the UK Malifaux tournament scene) bought tickets for the 2014 Malifaux UKGT, selling it out in some ridiculous amount of time. I didn’t give it a great deal more thought for a long time, except for Joe working out our accommodation. Then suddenly, the weekend was upon us! Joe picked me up at about 4.30 on Saturday morning and we drove down to the venue in York to take part in what the TO claimed was the biggest Malifaux event ever. It was certainly an impressive sight to see so many like-minded gamers from up and down the country in one place, and so many nicely laid out tables of terrain, just waiting to be played on. As this was a properly organised event, the first round pairings had been done way in advance; I was up against the excellent Connor playing his Gremlins. Not the nice easy start I could have done with!
Game 1: Ten Thunders (me) vs Gremlins (Connor)
Strategy: Turf War
Pool: Line in the Sand, Assassinate, Spring The Trap, Protect Territory, Power Ritual
Ten Thunders: Protect Territory (announced), Power Ritual (announced)
Gremlins: Protect Territory (announced), Assassinate
Ten Thunders: Yan Lo (Reliquaries), Soul Porter, Toshiro the Daimyo (Command the Graves), Yin the Penangalan, Izamu the Armour, Chiaki the Niece, Ashigaru, Thunder Archer
Gremlins: Ulix (Hunting Bow), Old Major (Corn Husks, Saddle), Gracie, Sow, Penelope, Hog Whisperer, 2 Piglets
Knowing the match up and strategy in advance I had considered various options which would depend on the scheme pool. In the end I felt that Yan Lo would give me the staying power in the centre to hold Turf War. I took Chiaki to pick up Power Ritual, and the rest of my crew was just tough bodies to throw at the strategy. The Archer can be useful to finish off wounded models who get stuck on Izamu, and Turf War meant that I wouldn’t have to worry about moving too much to get shots out. Looking across the table, I saw a wall of pork ready to flatten my crew.
Turn 1: The Soul Porter gets me underway by pushing Izamu and Toshiro forward round the choke points between the houses. Old Major saddles the Hog Whisperer forward and Ulix rides along. Chiaki schemes and starts her long run up for Power Ritual. The Hog Whisperer uses Sooey! to move the Sow up then reactivates both the Sow and Old Major. Gracie moves up and reactivates herself. Yan Lo shoots a few wounds off Old Major and picks up Ash Ascendant. The Piglets both walk and scheme, Toshiro War Fans the Archer and also schemes. He wasn’t far enough up to use the marker for Protect Territory, but I didn’t want to expose him too much and I figured I might have a chance to use it for Daimyo’s Price at some stage. Old Major moves up again, bringing the Whisperer and Ulix with him and moves Gracie. Izamu charges the Hog Whisperer and kills him, putting some damage onto Old Major too. Ulix uses Sooey! to bring the pigs round him, heals them all and pokes Izamu ineffectually. The Archer rapid fires Gracie for a little damage plus slow. Penelope pushes the Sow toward Yan Lo, then she charges and uses both activations to attack the old man. Ouch! So at the end of turn 1, I have much of the Gremlin crew almost in my deployment zone and I’m about to lose Yan Lo.
Turn 2: Connor wins the initiative, and the Sow eats Yan Lo, scoring all the points for Assassinate. She then walks over to engage more of my stuff. Izamu pokes Old Major again but doesn’t actually kill him off. Ulix heals his pigs again and makes Gracie attack Izamu. The Soul Porter hits the Sow, giving Chi to Toshiro. Gracie reactivates herself and chews a bit on Izamu. Toshiro and Yin hurt the Sow, the former War Fans the Archer (the Ashigaru being out of range anyway), the latter puts Gnawing Fear on Gracie. Penelope pushes Gracie away from Izamu. The Archer successfully disengages from the Sow but fails to shoot Gracie anyway. Gracie finishes Izamu at the second time of asking and the Piglets continue to drop scheme markers. The Ashigaru makes a mess of attacking Penelope. We both score for Turf War, the Sow dies of poison from Yin and turns into a couple of Piglets (but the photo was taken before we remembered about the poison).
Turn 3: Ulix heals his pigs again, makes Old Major charge Toshiro. The Archer rapid fires Old Major in the hope that eventually I’ll kill him off. Old Major pushes Gracie and eats the scheme marker that I’d so helpfully dropped on turn 1 to heal himself. The Soul Porter pokes Old Major a couple more times for more Chi on Toshiro and Yin and the Ashigaru drops Penelope to a singel wound plus poison. Yin finally kills Old Major and moves to get in Ulix’s way. Chiaki continues her run for the corner, pausing to zap a piglet who has run over to try and stop her with The Calling. Toshiro kills one of the new Piglets and summons an Ashigaru, which Gracie promptly eats. We both score on the strategy and Penelope keels over (again, slightly after I took the photo).
Turn 4: The Piglet engages Chiaki. The Archer rapid fires Ulix, and I am amazed that he kills the Gremlin master on the first shot (admittedly double severe on a negative flip but I did have 2 more shots on him and only needed to land weak damage twice); I hadn’t realised that Ulix apparently heals his pigs by feeding bits of himself to them, and all the Soulstones had been used up keeping Old Major in my face. Gracie reactivates herself and fails a few attempts to get away from Yin, allowing herself to be mildly tickled by Wicked disengaging strikes in the process. The Soul Porter pokes a Piglet for minimal effect, and a different Piglet charges Yin (because of the lack of remaining herders) for no effect at all. Toshiro kills another Piglet and makes the Archer fast. The Ashigaru schemes and Chiaki, to my great amazement, kills off her Piglet. We both score on the strategy again. Last turn is called just as we end this one but we agree to press on as there’s not much left any more.
Turn 5: Toshiro (or possibly Yin, I stopped taking notes at this point so we could finish up) kills Gracie. The final Piglet takes double defensive stance. The Archer and Chiaki both drop scheme markers. I score on Turf War. Ten Thunders win 10 – 7 (all points for me; 3 on Turf War, 3 on Assassinate and 1 for Protect Territory for Connor).
I always love to play Connor, and I thought I was in a lot of trouble after Yan Lo died so early. But the Ancestors can be a quite a lot of work to get through even without Yan Lo on board and the Pigs got taken down one at a time. I don’t think that Connor realised that Ulix was in danger from the Archer until the firing started; from my side I didn’t realise he was so close to death (I was just hoping to start whittling him down). That pig-based crew looked hilarious to play and Connor really made it do what it did well, pulling things out of melee to allow them to charge in again and keeping all the wounds topped up. Connor has posted his own thoughts on the game on his own blog: here. We’re swiftly on to the second round where I meet JP.
Game 2: Ten Thunders (me) vs Gremlins (JP)
Strategy: Stake a Claim
Pool: Line in the Sand, Breakthrough, Assassinate, Vendetta, Make Them Suffer
Ten Thunders: Breakthrough (announced), Vendetta (Archer on Raphael)
Gremlins: Breakthrough (announced), Vendetta (Rami on Toshiro)
Ten Thunders: Lucas McCabe (Glowing Sabre, Badge of Speed, Strangemetal Shirt), Toshiro the Daimyo (Command the Graves), Luna, Wastrel, 2 Illuminated, Rail Worker, Thunder Archer
Gremlins: Ophelia LaCroix, Francois LaCroix (Teamwork), Burt Jebsen (Dirty Cheater), Raphael LaCroix (Dirty Cheater), Rami LaCroix, 2 Young LaCroix, Bayou Gremlin, Mancha Roja
I’m terrible at using McCabe, and I’m terrible at Stake a Claim. The latter is partly because I don’t own the miniatures that I think are best for it in Ten Thunders (Torakage, probably Tengu), the former I just can’t seem to get to work the way I feel like he could. But McCabe supplies pushes and reactivates which are both very handy in Stake a Claim, so off we go. Also, I rather like to use each of my masters in a tournament environment if possible, so this was a golden opportunity to get McCabe on the table. Toshiro also brings pushes and fast minions, and anyway likes to be around the minions who fill up my McCabe crews. I hoped to use either Luna or the Wastrel to get somewhere innocuous at the start of turn 2 to drop a claim marker and put JP under a little pressure, perhaps with the help of a push, fast or reactivate. The Archer is good for Vendetta because of the range, plus it just always performs well for me.
Turn 1: Various things trudge across the table at each other. A Young LaCroix hands Ophelia the Jug Rocket and My Threatenin’ Gun. McCabe Black Flashes Luna before moving up and shooting slow onto Mancha Roja. Luna rockets across the board into cover… and I forget that Ophelia has a native positive flip on her gun. Poor Luna is sent to the kennel in the sky.
Turn 2: Raphael shoots the male Illuminated, which heals and charges right back at him, taking the Gremlin down to 2 wounds. The Archer focuses and takes a shot at Raphael (scoring me a point for Vendetta) but Black Jokers the damage flip. Actually I’d forgotten that Raphael is hard to kill anyway so it wouldn’t have killed him, but it was still annoying. Mancha Roja deals with the male Illuminated and Burt charges and kills the Rail Worker. McCabe charges into the scrum in midfield, hitting Francois a couple of times and triggering That’s New once to hurt everything else close to him, which seems like a lot of Gremlins. Toshiro War Fans the Illuminated then charges and kills a Young LaCroix in the middle. Ophelia charges Toshiro, taking a little damage from Bloated Stench for her trouble and Rami shoots him (one point for Vendetta) but also Black Jokers the damage. The fast Illuminated strolls over the halfway line and drops a Claim marker. Meanwhile on the left of the board, the Wastrel and Bayou Gremlin show why they’re cheap minions and fail to do anything of substance. I score for Stake a Claim.
Turn 3: Toshiro stabs Ophelia and triggers Next Target to get into the scrum which includes Mancha Roja (so that Rami will have to randomise into combat if he wants to shoot Toshiro). Rami does indeed shoot into the melee, getting one shot on Toshiro (stoned the damage away) and cheating his attack flip down to miss Mancha Roja. The Wastrel fails to kill the Bayou Gremlin with his guns and the Illuminated takes Burt down to his hard to kill wound. McCabe drops Francois and fails to hand his sword to the Wastrel (I wanted to push him nearer to the Bayou Gremlin). Mancha Roja knocks McCabe off his horse; I place the dismounted version out of melee with the big Gremlin. This time McCabe kills the other Young and passes the sword to the Wastrel, pushing him into melee with the Bayou Gremlin. The Archer moves to get a clear shot at Raphael (who is now down to a single wound thanks to another That’s New trigger from McCabe) but flips the Black Joker on damage for the second time in a row. Ophelia lines up a shot on the Illuminated fighting Burt Jebsen but fails the horror duel with nothing left in hand to cheat. I score again on the strategy.
Turn 4: The Archer finally puts Raphael down (I actually rapid fired to make absolutely sure) scoring me the rest of the points for Vendetta. Rami, determined to do the same, fires into Toshiro, hitting Mancha Roja both times instead. For those keeping score at home, I Black Jokered 2 shots on Raphael and JP Black Jokered one of Rami’s shots at Toshiro and randomised onto Mancha Roja three times out of four. He then companions to Ophelia who shoots the surviving Illuminated down to a single wound and uses Ooh a Girl to push Mancha Roja towards Toshiro. The Illuminated kills Burt and moves up to think about scoring for Breakthrough at some point. The Bayou Gremlin easily escapes the Wastrel’s disengaging strikes and drops a marker for Breakthrough. Toshiro pokes Mancha Roja and pushes over to Ophelia with Next Target, stabbing her down to a single wound. He also War Fans the Illuminated in case things get a bit sticky with McCabe and Breakthrough. Mancha Roja finishes off Toshiro on his second (another point for Vendetta) and walks back over toward McCabe who cheerfully kills the big Gremlin. I score for the strategy again.
Turn 5: Rami and Ophelia fire all their guns to finish off McCabe. The Wastrel finally kills the Bayou Gremlin he’s been stalking for the entire game. It’s a good job I don’t hire them for their combat skills. The Illuminated takes advantage of fast (from Toshiro last turn) to drop two scheme markers for Breakthrough. I could finish off Ophelia with the Archer (probably) but it wouldn’t affect the game so we agree to call it and get to the lunch a little sooner. Ten Thunders win 10 – 3 (full points for me; 2 for Vendetta and 1 for Breakthrough for JP).
That was the first time I’ve played JP, though I’ve met him a couple of times at other events, and I do love to play new opponents and see what tricks they can show me. He played a good game, but took his mind off the strategy to focus on trying to get his Vendetta and break through me line somewhere meaningful. Of course, I was trying to keep it that way, and it allowed me to score all four points for Stake a Claim with only a single marker out. After a lunch provided as part of the event (a pretty decent baked potato), I was drawn against a really great player in Greg.
Game 3: Ten Thunders (me) vs Neverborn (Greg)
Pool: Line in the Sand, Breakthrough, Distract, Plant Explosives, Murder Protegé
Ten Thunders: Breakthrough (announced), Plant Explosives
Neverborn: Breakthrough (announced), Murder Protegé (male Illuminated)
Ten Thunders: Jakob Lynch (Endless Hunger), Hungering Darkness, Beckoner, 2 Illuminated, 2 Rail Workers, Thunder Archer, 2 Wastrels
Neverborn: Lilith (Beckon Malifaux, On Wings of Darkness), Primordial Magic, Doppelganger, Johan (Retribution’s Eye), Mysterious Effigy, Nekima, Terror Tot, Mr Graves
Any game against Greg is always going to be tough. I decided to go with a really big crew and basically hope to whittle the Neverborn down by weight of numbers while retaining enough of my own crew to keep scoring on the strategy. Breakthrough is pretty easy under flank deployment since the zones are so big (by contrast, Protect Territory is trickier than usual) and I took Plant Explosives mainly because I find it amusing. Murder Protegé on Nekima felt like a tall order if I announced it and might not be worth it for only 2 VPs if I didn’t against a player of Greg’s quality.
Turn 1: We mostly rush each other. Mr Graves pushes Nekima along and the Doppelganger copies Show Ya The Door to move her even further along. Lilith creates a forest right in front of my Archer and Tangles Shadows to move Johan and the Rail Worker. Nekima easily kills off the bait Wastrel but good positioning means that I can only get a single attack from Hungering Darkness in return, and she top-decks the Red Joker to avoid any damage. Lynch hits Lilith with a single shot, triggering unload but Black Jokering the damage anyway.
Turn 2: Nekima hurts Hungering Darkness down to a couple of wounds left then the Illuminated starts beating up Johan. Lilith casts Wicked Vines on Lynch, stranding him in the centre zone and moves the forest to block his line of sight to anything. Hungering Darkness does massive damage to Nekima but she pulls three severe cards on three healing flips to keep her alive on a single wound; even one less wound prevented would have sufficed. The big tadpole is feeling a lot better now though. Mr Graves charges Nekima for two chances to flip the card he needs to push Nekima out of range of the Rail Worker and succeeds on the second shot. Johan kills the Rail Worker on the left and the Archer moves up to drop a scheme marker right next to Johan and Lilith, scoring me 2 VP for Plant Explosives. Neither of us score on the strategy.
Turn 3: Nekima finishes the Rail Worker, then the Illuminated takes Johan down to his hard to wound before being smashed to bits in return (scoring 2 VP for Murder Protege in the process). The Beckoner makes Nekima Brilliant with Despicable Promises and Hungering Darkness kills her off at last, then makes Mr Graves Brilliant and paralyses him. Lilith shreds the Archer and Lynch and my surviving Illuminated drop scheme markers. Neither of us score for Reconnoitre.
Turn 4: Lilith flies over to Lynch and kills him. Hungering Darkness makes a mess of attacking Mr Graves. Johan moves up to get ready for a last turn scheme marker. The Beckoner lures Lilith into the centre zone of no-scoring and most of the rest of our pieces jockey for position on Reconnoitre so we both score on the strategy.
Turn 5: Lilith incredibly fails to kill the Beckoner. Sadly my elation is short lived as the Doppelganger copies Hardened Brilliance and murders the second Illuminated. Hungering Darkness finally kills off Mr Graves. Johan drops a scheme marker and the Primordial Magic flies over into range to count as a scheme marker. Neverborn score Reconnoitre and Ten Thunders lose 7 – 6 (3 for Breakthrough, 2 for Plant Explosives and 1 for Reconnoitre for me; 3 for Breakthrough, 2 for Murder Protege and 2 for Reconnoitre for Greg).
What a game. I felt like I made Greg work for it, which is always my hope when I come up against really great players. I didn’t see it at the time, but I should have moved the Wastrel in the bottom right corner, who had been faithfully scoring that quarter on Reconnoitre all game, across to block Johan on turn 4. Then on turn 5 I could have either shot him (he was down to his hard to kill wound at that point after a couple of turns of mauling from an Illuminated) or moved into melee depending on the range. I let my pieces get taken down a bit too easily and piecemeal; of course I expected to lose them quite fast but Greg’s strong positioning meant that I found it hard to capitalise on any times he took one out. Still, I enjoyed the game and was happy with my performance. We were on to the final game of the day and I was paired against Pete. I was very happy with this as Pete comes from the opposite end of the country (note for the geographically inclined: this isn’t strictly true) and so it took the gravity well of an event as big as this to draw us into the same pool; under normal circumstances we just live too far apart to end up in the same tournament.
Game 4: Ten Thunders (me) vs Arcanists (Pete)
Pool: Line in the Sand, Assassinate, Bodyguard, Take Prisoner, Frame For Murder
Ten Thunders: Bodyguard (Kang), Frame For Murder (Hungering Darkness)
Arcanists: Assassinate, I didn’t find out the other one (I vaguely think it might have been Take Prisoner on the Archer but I’m not sure)
Ten Thunders: Jakob Lynch (Endless Hunger), Hungering Darkness, Kang, Beckoner, 2 Illuminated, 2 Rail Workers, Thunder Archer
Arcanists: Marcus (Hunger Cry, Feral Instinct, Gods’ Domain), Blessed of December (Imbued Energies), Myranda (Imbued Energies), Howard Langstrom (Imbued Energies), Rail Golem
I picked Lynch again as I generally feel his crew can do well in Reckoning. This crew gives up points a little easily for my tastes but it makes full use of Ace in the Hole and it can really put out damage. Kang went in as I was expecting to see a few constructs. I figured on keeping Kang behind the main lines and so put Bodyguard on him, meanwhile I was planning to throw Hungering Darkness forward to cause mayhem and hopefully require Marcus’s attention to deal with.
Turn 1: We move up but I commit Kang a little too early. Langstrom had already activated but it hadn’t occured to me that Marcus could make him a beast and use Feral to get another shot; Langstrom is duly fired into Kang. He doesn’t get the kill but Kang takes a few wounds already. The rest of my crew pull down Langstrom. I did consider leaving him until turn 2 in order to increase my chances of scoring Reckoning, but I didn’t fancy him simply activating first and mauling my crew.
Turn 2: Marcus selects extra damage and melee expert, fails to Feral Kang then strolls up and kills him anyway. Well, so much for Bodyguard. He also hits Lynch and makes him a beast. Myranda turns into a Cerberus, apparently mainly to get away from an Illuminated I’ve thrown at her (Pete mentioned after doing this that he’d have been better off forcing Marcus to swing a few more times). The Beckoner Lures Lynch out of melee to stop Marcus from passing hits to him with Defend Me. One Illuminated hits the Blessed while the rest of my crew gangs up and takes down Marcus. The Rail Golem smites a Rail Worker, scoring a Reckoning point for Pete.
Turn 3: The Blessed tries to kill Lynch but fails and dies from Hold ‘Em, so the Cerberus leaps in and does the job instead scoring 3 VP for Assassinate. The Hungering Darkness smashes the Rail Golem down to a single wound and is then killed by it using Red Line a lot; I pick up 2 VPs for Frame For Murder. The Rail Worker finishes the Rail Golem. Everything else I have leaves the Cerberus on a single wound. We both score on Reckoning.
Turn 4: The Cerberus murders the Beckoner before being killed in turn by the Illuminated. I score for the strategy as Pete has nothing left, and then again on turn 5. We end up with a 5 – 5 draw (3 for Reckoning and 2 for Frame For Murder for me; 2 for Reckoning and 3 for Assassinate for Pete).
That was a fun game, and surely the fastest I’ve ever played in a tournament; it only took us about 45 minutes to play the whole thing including picking crews and set up. There were a lot things I felt I did wrong there, starting with not taking Assassinate. With only 5 pieces on the table there was no way that Marcus was going to survive the attentions of my crew. I gave up Kang too easily to Langstrom, though this mistake was compounded by having Bodyguard as a scheme at all instead of Assassinate; without that I probably would have been OK using the big chap as bait. I also failed to move Lynch to safety even when it became obvious that Pete was gunning for him and probably had Assassinate himself. Still,talking with Pete after the game he felt that he had also made some play errors, so probably a draw is a fair result anyway.
Joe and I went to check into our bizarre hotel / curry restaurant in the middle of nowhere before heading back to the centre of York for the evening event in the taproom of a brewery. That sounds pretty fine to me, especially as Joe was driving. There was a hearty buffet, a Malifaux pub quiz run by Dave which was lots of fun, nice beer and general socialising with like-minded gamers. I had a lovely time putting faces to (forum)names. Our quiz team ‘An Englishman, an Irishman, a Scotsman and the Wintons walked into a pub’ were made up of GT regulars apart from me and I felt very welcomed although we didn’t too so well at the actual quiz. As it happened I was paired up with Andy from the quiz team the next morning. Actually I was paired up with Connor, but since we’d already played each other in round one I was re-paired with Andy.
Game 5: Ten Thunders (me) vs Andy (Neverborn)
Strategy: Squatter’s Rights
Pool: Line in the Sand, Bodyguard, Breakthrough, Entourage, Outflank
Ten Thunders: Entourage (Mei Feng, announced), Breakthrough (announced)
Neverborn: Breakthrough (announced), Line in the Sand(announced)
Ten Thunders: Mei Feng (On Wings of Wind, Recalled Training, Seismic Claws), Emberling, Yamaziko, Izamu (Recalled Training), Thunder Archer, 2 Rail Workers, 2 Metal Gamin
Neverborn: The Dreamer (Dreams of Pain, On Wings of Darkness), Widow Weaver, Teddy (Retribution’s Eye), 2 Stitched Together, 2 Daydreams, Mysterious Effigy
I decided to play Mei Feng on this one as her large melee range and range of movement tricks make her really nice for Squatter’s Rights. Yamaziko and Izamu were picked pretty much on the same basis of having big melee ranges. I’ve fairly recently got a couple of Metal Gamin and wanted to play them, it turned out that much of the Dreamer’s crew is construct-based (if only I’d also brought Kang!) so that made them slightly more than just durable Rail Walk points. Breakthrough seemed like a good option with my mobility, and I figured that as long as I was going towards the Neverborn deployment zone anyway I might as well take Entourage on Mei Feng too. We agreed to play the water as normal terrain so that there would be some chance of movement from non-Unimpeded models, and the middle of the bridge was also climbable.
Turn 1: Daydreams push things around and one sacrifices itself to give the Dreamer a mask for this turn. The Effigy turns out to be really far forward after a couple of pushes and so a Metal Gamin uses Magnetism and charges it down to its hard to kill wound. The Widow drops a web marker by the right markers, Teddy lumbers toward Yamaziko and the Archer pings a shot off it. The Stitched Gambles Your Life with the first Metal Gamin while the second finishes the Mysterious Effigy with Magnetism. The Dreamer summons Lelu and Lilitu then heals them. By luck there is a line of constructs plus the scrap marker from the Effigy ending in Jackhammer Kick range of a Stitched. I consider for a moment – firing Mei Feng into the scrum will almost certainly mean her death (unless I get lucky with Leap Aside), but on the other hand it’ll pin the Neverborn back away from the Squat markers and more importantly will be hilarious. So she pushes Izamu with On Wings of Wind, discards Recalled Training and rockets across the board, landing with a boot in the face of the Stitched Together. She finishes that one off and follows up into the Widow Weaver. Lilitu and the surviving Stitched do some damage to her, and Izamu misses a swing at Teddy. Both Izamu and Mei Feng are hiding behind trees in this photo on the left and right respectively. As this turn ends, the entire hall stops to meticulously observe two minutes silence for Remembrance Sunday.
Turn 2: The Stitched hurts Mei Feng again with Gamble Your Life, and in return she bounces hits off the Widow and Lelu (in retrospect I’m not sure why I didn’t just end by Rail Walking to safety again). Teddy walks in and punches Yamaziko. The first Metal Gamin claims a Squat marker and finishes Widow Weaver with magnetism. Lilitu gets Mei Feng to her last wound and a Rail Worker flips another Squat marker before Lelu finishes my master off. The Archer fails a horror duel on Teddy; I had nothing good in my hand by then. The Dreamer summons another Daydream and makes Lelu attack a Metal Gamin. The Gamin and Stitched mess about in their own little fights to not much effect. Izamu kills Teddy, Yamaziko claims that marker and heads off round the shed. I score for Squatter’s Rights. The Dreamer is actually sitting on the roof of that building but kept sliding off so we just put him next to it.
Turn 3: A Gamin takes out another Stitched, then Lelu misses it; this marks the beginning of a ridiculous run of defensive flips from the Metal Gamin to keep them alive much longer than they had any right to expect. The Emberling gets in range to drop a marker for Breakthrough. Lilitu flails ineffectually at the other Gamin and Yamaziko come round from behind and hurts her. The Dreamer summons two Stitched and Daydream, turning into Lord Chompy Bits at the end. The other Metal Gamin takes down one of the new Stitched before Lord Chompy Bits eats it and a nearby Rail Worker, then disappears back into the Dreamer. I score again on the strategy.
Turn 4: Izamu smites the Dreamer, who pawns one off onto a nearby Stitched (killing it) and takes a good chunk of damage; if only I’d had a couple of high masks in hand. He wisely summons another Stitched as extra protection before I can get a Rail Worker into him. Yamaziko finishes Lilitu off at last, and the new Stitched kills the Rail Worker and hurt Izamu. Lelu kills off my mobile suit of armour and finally the Emberling drops another scheme marker. I score on Squatter’s rights again. Ten Thunders win 6 – 0 (3 each on Squatter’s Rights and Breakthrough).
Andy was a really fun opponent, and I was very glad to have a chance to play him after having chatted with him in the pub the previous evening. I’m still not sure whether firing Mei Feng off on turn 1 was a good idea (except in so far as I won, so it must have been at least an OK idea) but it was highly entertaining and did cause Andy a lot of problems getting her out of his hair in the first couple of turns. In the final round, I’m up against Rob.
Game 6: Ten Thunders (me) vs Rob (Arcanists)
Strategy: Turf War
Pool: Line in the Sand, Distract, Breakthrough, Plant Evidence, Deliver a Message
Ten Thunders: Breakthrough (announced), Distract
Arcanists: Plant Evidence (announced), Line in the Sand (announced)
Ten Thunders: Yan Lo (Reliquaries), Soul Porter, Toshiro the Daimyo (Command the Graves), Yin the Penangalan, Izamu the Armour (Recalled Training), Chiaki the Niece, 2 Rail Workers
Arcanists: Colette du Bois (Seize The Day, Arcane Reservoir, Shell Game), Cassandra (Practiced Production), Myranda (Imbued Energies), Mechanical Rider, 2 December Acolytes.
I’ve never played against Rob before, but I took a look at the scheme pool and knew he’d be putting down Colette. For my part, I was pretty tired out from the previous five games and just plonked down Yan Lo with all the ancestors and a couple of Rail Workers to pad out the list (I figured if I really needed Ashigaru I could summon them in later on). I had some kind of vague plan to rush the centre and just suck up the damage for a few turns, distracting the tougher models while Chiaki walked away to drop scheme markers.
Turn 1: The Acolytes, aided by four Prompts, shoot Slow onto half of my crew and drain my hand completely. The Soul Porter pushes Izamu and Yin forward; Yin fails to get one of the Acolytes with Fear Behind The Eye and Izamu misses it with his melee expert attack. Cassandra also breathes fire onto Izamu and the Mechanical Riders finishes him off with the chain spear. Yan Lo zaps a few wounds off the Mechanical Rider before it powers up into indestructibility. Myranda turns into a Cerberus (surprise!) and leaps over to eat the Soul Porter. Chiaki removes Slow from Toshiro and I slog my crew forward into the teeth of the Arcanists.
Turn 2: Cassandra Prompts Colette to Prompt the left Acolyte to shoot Slow onto the nearest Rail Walker (presumably the push for Colette was useful) and Breathes Fire over my crew. Toshiro charges the Acolyte while he actually has two AP and the Cerberus kills Yin. She really hates things with built-in positive flips to attack. The Mechanical Rider shoots the Rail Worker down to hard to kill and in return it misses both swings at the Acolyte. Colette Prompts more stuff around and kills the Rail Worker with Sabre Trick. Chiaki schemes and the other Acolyte finishes off the other Rail Worker. Finally Yan Lo puts some tasty damage onto the Mechanical Rider. While all this is going on there is a sea of scheme markers appearing. We both score on the strategy.
Turn 3: The Acolyte Slows Chiaki. Toshiro distracts Colette and summons and Ashigru. Cassandra Prompts Colette away from Toshiro (I knew this would happen actually, but I was running out of ideas and models with which to anything at all and pokes the new Ashigaru. In return, it hits her. The Mechanical Rider hurts Toshiro now that he’s unengaged and spawns a Metal Gamin. Yan Lo brings back Izamu and distracts the Metal Gamin. The Acolyte also shoots Toshiro before Izamu kills the Mechanical Rider. Colette removes Distract and prompts the Acolyte to Smell Weakness, then the Cerberus takes advantage of that to kill Izamu (again). We both score on Turf War again.
Turn 4: The Ashigaru stabs Cassandra, and she Prompts Colette to Prompt her out of melee and Breathe Fire killing both the Ashigaru and Toshiro. She then walks over to remove my scheme marker when Colette Prompts her later. Yan Lo brings back Yin, Lightning Dances the Acolyte out of the way and walks onto the marker to stop Cassandra from being Prompted onto it. So instead Colette Prompts her to walk into melee with Chiaki. She also Prompts the Cerberus a couple of times to kill Yin again. Needless to say, Chiaki is unable to get away on her first action so I can’t get another marker down for Breakthrough. Time is called; Rob scores for Turf War. Ten Thunders lose 3 – 9 (2 for Turf War and 1 for Breakthrough for me; 3 for everything for Rob).
That was a fun game, but I was never really in it. Rob’s strategy kept me on the back foot for the entire game and I need to get some real experience against Colette to work out how to unravel that crew. I think out of a possible 16 AP that could have been spent on Prompt (4 turns, 3 per turn for Colette and 1 per turn for Cassandra, not including a few times they were Prompting each other to Prompt again), it happened 14 times; the only thing that stopped the last two was Colette removing Distract from herself on turn 3. Still, Rob was a fun opponent who clearly knew his stuff, and I was only sorry not to have been able to push him a bit more.
In the end, I came in 21st (I actually thought it was 29th at the time, but according to the scoring posted it was higher) which I’m really happy with. I got a chance to play 6 fun games of Malifaux against top players from across the country and I got to see some crews on the table that I don’t see much in my usual area. My favourite part of this wonderful game is learning new things, and I hope that I did that over the weekend. I’d like to thank Connor, JP, Greg, Pete, Andy and Rob for playing highly entertaining games with me, and Mike, Lee, Matt and Chris for great work organising such a fun event both during the day and the night. I’ll definitely be back next year for another go!