I headed over to Common Ground Games my first attendance at a Malifaux tournament run by the 2 Guys 1 Paintpot group. I think a modest attendence of about 12 players had been expected but actually there were a few no-shows and the event went ahead with only 8 people. Nevertheless, it was decided to go with the planned 4 rounds. I had finished putting the Guardian together and decided to use it as much as possible and see if I can make it work for me.
Game 1: Guild (me) vs Outcasts (Allan)
Strategy: Interference Schemes Pool: Line in the Sand, Bodyguard, Breakthrough, Cursed Object, Outflank
Guild: Breakthrough (announced), Outflank (announced)
Outcasts: Cursed Object, Bodyguard (Freikorps Librarian)
Crews Guild: Perdita Ortega (Trick Shooting), Enslaved Nephilim, Nino Ortega (Hair Trigger), Witchling Stalker, Austringer, 2 Hunters, Watcher, Guardian
Outcasts: Von Schill (Shirt Comes Off, Engage At Will), Hannah (Ancient Tomes), 2 Freikorpsmen, Freikorps Trapper, Freikorps Librarian, Strongarm Suit, Steam Trunk
So for the second event at CGG in a row, I get paired with Allan in the first round. I strongly suspect that he’ll play Von Schill, but even if not there are just too many bad match ups for Sonnia in Outcasts so I choose Perdita. The Guardian looks to add a lot to Perdita to increase the chances of Quick Draw damage against any shooting attacks. I also think that it could be useful to leverage the big melee range to lock pieces down for Interference. With flank deployment and Outflank I pick the Watcher to simply rush a corner and hide to pick me up some points. Breakthrough also feels strong in flank deployment simply because the deployment zones extend so close to the centre. As it happens, Allan does indeed select his lovely Star Wars-themed Von Schill crew.
Turn 1: A Hunter hurts the Trapper, who then pushes away and fires a Focussed shot back. Von Schill moves forward and is, to my great surprise, buried by Hannah. Nino Rapid Fires the Strongarm suit which has come tearing up the centre of the big shed, getting a handy Red Joker on one damage flip. Perdita Relocates to Nino, chooses to ignore armour with Trick Shooting and drops both the Strongarm Suit and the Trapper. The Guardian uses Protect on Perdita.
Turn 2: The Hunter on the right attacks Von Schill and is chopped to bits in return after the mustachioed hero removes his shirt. Nino Rapid Fires a few more wounds off Von Schill before Hannah buries him to safety again. The Freikorpsman on the left moves up and shoots Perdita, taking damage from Quick Draw for his trouble thanks to Protect. The other Freikorpsman misses the Watcher which moves up to drop a scheme marker for Breakthrough. The surviving Hunter fails to do anything to the first Freikorpsman, so Perdita once more takes things into her own hands. Ignoring armour again, she guns down first Hannah (with some help from the Austringer) and the Steam Trunk. I score for Interference.
Turn 3: I flip an ace for Initiative, and Allan flips a 2. I decide it is worth a stone to try again, and flip another ace. Von Schill charges Perdita, but can’t take her down. The Hunter kills the left Freikorpsman and the Librarian heals some of Von Schill’s manly wounds. The Watcher, not fancying it’s chances giving the Freikorpsman another shot at it, flies back to safety behind a building. Perdita pumps bullets into Von Schill and the Guardian finishes him off. The Austringer kills the surviving Freikorpsman and I score again for the strategy.
Turn 4: With only the Librarian remaining, Allan doesn’t have many options. She passes the Guardian a Cursed Object and goes Defensive. Perdita kills her anyway and the Guardian removes the Cursed Object. With nothing left to stop me, we agree that I can spend the rest of the game moving and dropping markers for a full score. Guild win 10 – 0.
Allan’s a lovely chap to play against, and his game was much improved from our previous meeting (though the score was the same). He needs to focus more on scoring VPs; in particular he only revealed Cursed Object in turn 4 so could only have possibly scored 2 points from it. But his positioning was rather better and he made better use of his AP this time round. From my side, the game was quite one-sided so not much to learn, except that Perdita with Protect on her is quite amusing if anyone shoots her.
Game 2: Guild (me) vs Arcanists (Alistair)
Strategy: Collect The Bounty
Scheme Pool: Line in the Sand, Distract, Protect Territory, Plant Explosives, Take Prisoner
Guild: Line in the Sand (announced), Protect Territory (announced)
Arcanists: [I didn’t actually note Alistair’s schemes down]
Crews Guild: Sonnia Criid (Reincarnation), Papa Loco (Hermanos De Armas), Brutal Effigy, Death Marshal, Witchling Stalker, Austringer, Hunter, Watcher, Guardian
Arcanists: Mei Feng (Price of Progress, Seismic Claws), Kang (Imbued Protection), Emberling, Willie, 2 Steam Arachnids, 2 Rail Workers
I decided that Sonnia Criid would be a good bet for Collect The Bounty as in theory she can kill several models in a single activation. The Guardian got the nod again here mainly on the ground of being a minion (and therefore only worth a single point) which is tricky to get rid of. The rest of the crew was also minions so that I could give up as few strategy points as possible, except for Papa Loco of course who was included to turbo charge Sonnia’s spells. Given that my plan was to burn swathes of Alistair’s crew, I picked the only two schemes that didn’t require me to keep anything alive.
Turn 1: Papa Loco does his usual routine of handing Sonnia dynamite, pulling her forward with Cover Me and being tucked safely into his Pine Box by the Death Marshal. Willie gets in range to be immolated by Sonnia so she hits him with a couple of moderate damages to start chipping away at a Rail Worker and Mei Feng behind him; Willie himself burns to death at the end of the turn. Probably just as well considering the havoc he can cause.
Turn 2: Sonnia notes that Mei Feng is within 14″, so she barbecues her and Rail Worker, and drops Kang to his Hard To Kill wound. Kang charges the Watcher and smashes it with his spade. The Hunter, which has been carefully positioned at 10″ away from the Metal Gamin and Steam Arachnid on the right, puts Slow onto both of them and pulls them closer. This develops into the world’s most disappointing fight as the Witchling Stalker and Emberling also get involved but nothing of significance occurs to anyone. Papa Loco escapes from the Pine Box and puts the final wound into Kang. The Effigy puts the last wound on the Rail Worker who had been softened up by Sonnia in turn 1. I score for the strategy.
Turn 3: The Hunter takes out the Arachnid and is killed off by the Gamin in reply. Sonnia kills the other Arachnid, splashing a blast over the Metal Gamin on the left. The Guardian finishes the job, the Stalker kills the Emberling and the Austringer kills off the last Metal Gamin. Guild win 10 – 0.
Alistair is a really nice chap, but I could see in his eyes as soon as we were paired up that he didn’t believe he could beat me here… and of course that became a self-fulfilling prophecy. It was a shame, because I think he can be a pretty decent player on his day, but I didn’t really get his best effort. Oh well. Everything worked nicely for me, and indeed I could have done more damage on turn 1 but for the need to keep things alive until turn 2 for the Strategy.
Game 3: Guild (me) vs Neverborn (Lewis)
Strategy: Guard The Stash
Scheme Pool: Line in the Sand, Assassinate, Bodyguard, Plant Explosives, Deliver A Message
Guild: Assassinate, Bodyguard (The Judge)
Neverborn: Deliver A Message (announced), Bodyguard (Mr Tannen)
Crews Guild: Sonnia Criid (Reincarnation), The Judge, Papa Loco (Hermanos De Armas), Death Marshal, Witchling Stalker, Austringer, 2 Hunters, Watcher
Neverborn: Pandora (The Box Opens, Fugue State), Depleted, Silurid, Illuminated, Mr Tannen, Teddy, Hans
Perdita and Sonnia both have plenty to offer against Neverborn, but I was in the mood for Sonnia and went for her this time. The Judge was included purely for Bodyguard purposes since I can never rely on Papa Loco making the end of any game. This time I couldn’t think of any real use I could get out of the Guardian so left him out. Killing Pandora seemed both necessary and achievable with Sonnia so I also picked Assassinate.
Turn 1: Hans Focuses, ignores armour with Reference the Field Guide and cheats in the Red Joker to kill my Hunter with the first activation of the game. Apparently this happened in the first turn of 3 of Lewis’s 4 games today. Papa Loco tells Sonnia to Hold This and moves to hide from Hans behind a forest, and Sonnia then unleashes her Flame Bursts to kill the Silurid obligingly standing in the middle of the deployment zone. She also kills Mr Tannen, who is hiding behind a tree on the right of the picture above, with the blasts. A brawl develops around the Stash on the right, with the Illuminated, Depleted, Hunter and Stalker all involved to little effect. Pandora scoots past, dropping Incite on Hunter as she goes. Teddy moves in and uses his (0) to take an attack on the Death Marshal, who then buries the big monster. The Austringer sends his bird to peck a few wounds of Pandora.
Turn 2: Pandora hurts the Austringer and kills the Death Marshal, releasing Teddy. Thanks to Incite I activate the Hunter, which puts some more damage on the Illuminated, though of course it’ll all be regenerated shortly. Teddy Delivers a Message to Sonnia then uses Gobble You Up to attack the Judge and push him away from the Stash on the left. The Judge walks back and pokes Teddy. The Austringer pushes Sonnia out of melee with Pandora, and she shows her appreciation by firing wildly into the combat. The first two shots helpfully randomise onto Pandora (and I cheat the Red Joker on the first), the third lands on the Austringer, killing him but allowing me to put the finishing blast on Pandora (scoring Assassinate for me). Just to rub it in, I turn Pandora into a Witchling Stalker. Hans finds that due to the placement of forests, Stash markers, and his own crew he has no targets to shoot, so has to actually walk before shooting Papa Loco. We both score on the strategy.
Turn 3: Teddy Flurries The Judge, but he survives on his Hard To Kill wound. The Hunter, realising that it is getting hammered by the Illuminated sooner or later anyway, kills the Depleted. Predictably, the Illuminated does scrap my robot. Papa Loco moves, tries to blow up himself and Teddy but Lewis is able to flip the face card needed to avoid death by dynamite; Papa Loco himself is left on a single wound. The Judge kills Teddy and uses Stand For Judgment to pull the Stalker to him. The Stalker then moves round to block a shot from Hans. Sonnia walks to the left Stash marker so I can score on the strategy.
Turn 4: Hans shoots Papa Loco, hurting Sonnia in the explosion. The Illuminated kills the Stalker, but sadly finds himself in range of Sonnia while on fire. Luckily, this state doesn’t last long, as Sonnia turns him into charcoal, she also puts some light damage onto Hans. The Judge runs for the right Stash and as far from Hans as possible so I can score both Bodyguard and Guard the Stash this turn.
Turn 5: Hans shoots Sonnia so she immolates him for his impudence. I score again for the strategy and Bodyguard. Guild win 9 – 4 (4 for Guard the Stash, 3 for Assassinate, 2 for Bodyguard for me; 1 for Guard the Stash and 3 for Deliver a Message for Lewis).
That was more like it! Lewis put up a really good fight there and I very much enjoyed our game. Playing against Pandora can be really hard, but Sonnia has the tools to deal with her, either directly thanks to her high Ca value or indirectly by splashing blasts off nearby victims. Ideally these are in the enemy crew but I have no problem targeting my own minions if the situation calls for it. Lewis told me at the end about having Bodyguard on Mr Tannen, who I’d killed in turn 1. I had considered sending my blasts the other way instead (i.e. to get the Depleted) since Mr Tannen didn’t seem so threatening way out on the right, but he’s such a pain that I figured I needed to get him when I could.
Game 4: Guild (me) vs Ten Thunders (Dave)
Strategy: Guard The Stash
Scheme Pool: Line in the Sand, Entourage, Breakthrough, Power Ritual, Protect Territory
Guild: Power Ritual (announced), Protect Territory (announced)
Ten Thunders: Power Ritual (announced), Breakthrough (announced)
Crews Guild: Perdita Ortega (Trick Shooting), Enslaved Nephilim, Austringer, 2 Hunters, Watcher, Guardian, Death Marshal, 2 Guild Hounds
Ten Thunders: Misaki (Stalking Bisento, Smoke and Shadows), Ototo, Yin the Penangalan (Smoke Grenades), Chiaki the Neice, Lone Swordman (Recalled Training), 2 Torakage
I’ve played Dave at the last couple of tournaments in Scotland and I think he’s getting pretty sick of seeing Sonnia. Since this game wasn’t going to affect the standings (I had such a ludicrous VP difference by this point that losing 10 – 0 and having Lewis win his last game 10 – 0 would still leave me ahead of him) I told Dave up front that I would use Perdita. I had some kind of vague idea about using the big melee range on the Guardian to lock up a couple of Squat markers, but the corner deployment made them rather more spread out than usual. My crew was filled with cheap minions as there would be no particular benefit (apart from activation control) for Dave to kill my stuff. Interestingly, he took a much more elite crew. The board was good to play on, but the huge frontings and narrow streets meant that the photographs are quite useless for anything in the middle.
Turn 1: A Guild Hound and both Torakage drop markers in the corners for Power Ritual; I guess Dave wanted a bit of insurance. Misaki Stalks the Hunter. The Austriner plinks a few wounds off Misaki and Perdita ignores cover to knock her down a few more.
Turn 2: The centre Hunter moves onto the central Squat marker and shoots Misaki, missing. Perdita chain activates and shoots Miskaki down to a single wound. She speeds away, killing my Watcher then the Death Marshal takes the central marker while bravely hiding behind the Hunter. Yin puts Gnawing Fear on Perdita and Ototo misses the Hunter in a display of the martial prowess for which he is most famous. With the demise of my Watcher, the other Hunter heads for the corner to get the marker and Power Ritual; the Austringer fittingly avenges the poor winged robot by killing Misaki with his Raptor. The Swordsman comes in and knocks a few chunks out of the Guardian, which has Perdita under Protect. Chiaki floats through a wall and takes one of the Squat markers in the house. Neither of us scores on the strategy.
Turn 3: The Death Marshal pushes Ototo into a Pine Box and the Lone Swordsman epically kills Perdita; he didn’t even need to use You Shall Not See Another Sunrise to do it. Even with defense 7 and double positive flips I still couldn’t keep her alive. My Guild Hounds and Hunter in the corner drop scheme markers and claim their Squat markers before the Torakage get to them. Yin and Chiaki hurt the Death Marshal but can’t release Ototo. The Hunter, Guardian and Austringer all put a little damage into the Lone Swordsman, finally taking him down by sheer weight of attacks it seems. I score for Squatter’s Rights.
Turn 4: This will be the last turn. We both have shocking hands, and agree to show each other. We each have one moderate card, and the other 10 cards between us hold nothing higher than a 5. The Guild Hounds fail to kill their Torakage. The ninja on the other side of the board walks away from the Hunter and drops a marker for Power Ritual. The Austringer drops a scheme marker. Chiaki moves to stop me messing with the Squat marker Dave has already claimed, then Yin tries to leave melee with the Hunter, which has moved round to force a disengaging strike as she goes for the last marker. But I top deck the Red Joker to stop her getting away on the first attempt. Guild win 8 – 3 (2 for Squatter’s Rights and 3 each for both schemes for me; 3 for Power Ritual for Dave).
Dave is always a great chap to play against, and I really feel like he’s improving as a player each time we meet. This game was full of ludicrous flips and terrible hands all round, and we both had a good laugh whenever something else went awry. I think Dave made a really interesting choice to go for Perdita with the Lone Swordsman in turn 3. Of course, it worked and stopped Perdita from laying waste to his crew, but I felt that the Death Marshal would have been an easier target, and would also have allowed him the use of Ototo again. The Guardian probably earned its place in the crew. It may be slow but I think it adds an interesting option for Perdita’s defense against some ranged attacks. In normal or close deployment, that 3″ melee range could have been more effective in Squatter’s Rights too.
So once the final scores are called, I come in first place. It wasn’t the strongest field ever, but I was happy to get 4 fun games of Malifaux against nice people and I’m really pleased whenever a tournament is run near where I live. Thanks to Allan, Alistair, Lewis and Dave for playing this great game with me, and thanks to Kai and Jamie for running the event. I’m already looking forward to the next one.