I seem to have had a very good run of frequent tournament attendance lately, and though this looks likely to drop off a bit as we move into summer, Furycat and I did head along to the latest event at 6s2hit in Edinburgh. This was the bizarrely and very un-catchily named ‘May the 4th has been and gone so this tournament is “Something. Something. Something Fauxside”‘, which I suppose must be a clever reference to some bit of pop culture that passed me by (I get the first part, of course). Anyway, it is an 50SS, 3 round event run by Andrew within a bus-ride distance of my house so I was certainly going to be attending. It was really well attended with 14 players from across Scotland and even a special guest appearance from Connor travelling up from England.
Game 1: Guild (me) vs Outcasts (Maria)
Pool: Line in the Sand, Bodyguard, Frame For Murder, Power Ritual, Protect Territory
Guild: Power Ritual (announced), Protect Territory (announced)
Outcasts: Power Ritual (announced), Protect Territory (announced)
Guild: Perdita Ortega (Trick Shooting), Enslaved Nephilim, Witchling Stalker, Austringer, 2 Hunters, Watcher, Brutal Effigy, 2 Guild Hounds
Outcasts: Tara (Eternal Journey, Obliteration Symbiote, Knowledge of Eternity), Bishop (Scramble), Taelor, Johan, Malifaux Child, 2 Void Wretches, Hodgepodge Effigy
Amazingly I had never managed to play against Maria before, and knowing her reputation as an extremely strong player I was really looking forward to this matchup. We’d been joking for a while about this in the Scottish Malifaux FB group, so I suspect that Andrew (the TO) deliberately paired us up in round one while he was shuffling to avoid clubmates playing each other too much. Anyway, against Outcasts I find Sonnia too risky so it was always going to be Perdita here. I focussed on mobile pieces with the hope of simply getting my stuff where it needed to be and then spending AP fighting only if engaged. Hunters are amazing at this strategy with their end-of-turn push to get in or out of engagement, or move into a quarter to control or deny it. Overall though, this had the makings of a fairly stand off-ish game so I picked some schemes that required minimal interaction with the Outcast crew, in case they didn’t feel they needed to come to me.
Turn 1: Tara buries Taelor and makes Bishop Fast. The Void Wretch and Watcher drop scheme markers while the other Void Wretch and the Hounds start their long journey to the far corner. Bishop charges a Witchling Stalker I’ve put out in front, easily beating it to death before being dragged in and mauled badly by the waiting Hunter. Taelor is unburied by Tara and races in to start on the Hunter, dropping it to a single wound easily. Perdita gets Shackled across the board and shoots Johan down to his Hard to Kill wound.
Turn 2: Tara fails to bury Bishop as Maria’s hand was so good she couldn’t cheat down to stop him passing the Wp test. The hardship! The Hunter polishes off Bishop and takes a bite out of Taelor. Johan moves to hide from Perdita and drops a scheme marker; the Hunter on that side puts a little damage on the Hodgepodge Effigy. The Void Wretches, Guild Hounds and Watcher continue to move around and drop scheme markers, apparently oblivious to the carnage around them. The Austringer’s Raptor pecks a couple more wounds off Taelor before she tires of being the victim and smites the Hunter into scrap. Tara walks across the board to tidy up the score in that quarter as she needed to balance out the Brutal Effigy crossing the centreline. Perdita is shackled back to my left, walks into the forest and pumps a couple of shots into Taelor. I stone for Rams both times to get her to her Hard to Kill wound, but Black Joker the first shot and leave Taelor hanging on with single wound. We both score on the Strategy.
Turn 3: Johan smashes the second Hunter and the Austringer finishes off Taelor. The Hodgepodge Effigy kills one of the Hounds but my Effigy misses a Focussed shot at Johan. Lacking for anything useful to do, the Watcher shoots the Hodgepodge Effigy (amazingly, doing some damage) and the surviving Guild Hound attacks it too. The Child finally makes Tara Fast so she races across the board and buries the Brutal Effigy, mainly to get it out of her quarter I suppose. Perdita is yet again Shackled across the board, moves over and guns down both Johan and the Hodgepodge Effigy (I got lucky shooting into melee). We both score for Interference again.
Turn 4: Despite all the killing that has gone on, we actually find our crews rather far apart. Tara, running out of options, buries one of the Void Wretches, and is in turn made Fast by the Child. We move our pieces around to optimise positioning for Interference, but with so few options left I am able to stop Maria scoring this round. Perdita also guns down the Malifaux Child since he’s the only viable target and I hate just walking around.
Turn 5: My surviving Guild Hound moves to be within 2″ of a pair of scheme markers for Protect Territory. Tara uses her (0) action to be placed in melee with Perdita and the Watcher and takes a few attempts to bury the Brutal Effigy, but thanks to my good hand it stays on the table. The Austringer pushes the Watcher out of melee and it’s clear that Maria has run out of ways to stop me scoring again on the strategy this turn, so we call it there. Guild win 10 – 8 (full score for me; 2 for Interference and 3 each for both schemes for Maria).
As anticipated, that was a terrific game against Maria. We spoke a little after the game and agreed that probably the biggest impact on the game was effectively trading Bishop and Taelor for a Hunter and a Witchling Stalker on the left. Setting it up and executing that took up too much of Maria’s resources and eventually the sheer cost of those two pieces (almost half her crew) to not really affect the scoring directly left her with too few options on the strategy in the later turns. My usual strategy of killing as much as possible in the early turns was effective this time; in turns 4 and 5 there just weren’t enough Outcasts left to hold onto their own table quarters, nevermind do anything to mine. The Enslaved Nephilim was amazing in this game, allowing me to Shackle Perdita left and right across the board to deal with threats as needed. Overall, it was a delight to play against a player of Maria’s calibre.
Game 2: Guild (me) vs Neverborn (Lewis)
Strategy: Collect The Bounty
Pool: Line in the Sand, Breakthrough, Protect Territory, Take Prisoner, Spring The Trap
Guild: Breakthrough (announced), Protect Territory (announced)
Neverborn: Breakthrough (unannounced), Take Prisoner (Sidir Alchibal)
Guild: Sonnia Criid (Reincarnation), Papa Loco (Hermanos De Armas), 2 Hunters, Sidir Alchibal, Witchling Stalker, Death Marshal, Austringer
Neverborn: Pandora (The Box Opens, Cry For Me, Fugue State), Coppelius (On Dreaming Wings), 2 Silurids, Depleted, 2 Illuminated
I wasn’t really sure whether Perdita or Sonnia would be the best option here, but in the end I went for Sonnia due to the swathes of damage she can do to either score or set up scoring for Collect The Bounty. Sidir Alchibal is a bit of an unusual choice for me but I decided to try him to see whether I could get any use out of Empty The Magazine to slow the usually-quick Neverborn down a little. I also partly expected Pandora again and thought that between Ruthless and high attack stats he could be useful to deal with the Master. The rest of my crew was divided between the usual Sonnia support team and some minions to give up as few points as possible. The Austringer is useful (also in Reckoning) for knocking the last wound or two off an enemy who has been mauled by one of the big hitters in the crew.
Turn 1: Silurids Leap forward and Papa Loco tells Sonnia to ‘Hold This’, pulls her forward with Cover Me and is eventually dropped into the comforting solitude of his Pine Box. One of the Silurids has come a bit too far forward into view and is attacked by the Austringer and Sidir, who uses Empty The Magazine on it and Pandora. Sadly, neither of them are slowed. I have two options with Sonnia. One is to spread some damage out across Lewis’s crew in preparation for finishing them off over the next turns to score for the Strategy. The other is to unleash full power and try to cripple his crew as much as possible, thereby gaining a substantial AP and activation advantage. I choose the latter. Sonnia immolates the Illuminated and Silurid on the right, splashing some small but important damage onto Pandora in the process (and forcing her to burn a couple of Soulstones early).
Turn 2: The surviving Silurid Leaps and charges Sonnia, putting a good number of wounds on her. In return, the Stalker charges it, doing healthy damage and lighting it ablaze. Coppelius hits one of the Hunters, and the Austringer knocks the last wound off the Silurid; Sonnia summons a Stalker from it. Sonnia hurts Pandora badly but can’t get the job done properly, so Pandora comes in, Incites a Stalker and puts out a fairly big chunk of damage across my crew with Inflict. Sidir Alchibal charges to box Pandora in and pokes her a little with his sword, and the Hunters start the long process of killing the Depleted while being too scared to attack Coppelius. I score on the Strategy.
Turn 3: Pandora forces the Incited Stalker to go first, so it walks over and smites her with its Shattered Rune Blade. She’s not up for much more of that, so casts Inflict a couple more times (causing the summoned Stalker to blow up, which of course causes even more damage to her) and making Sonnia hit herself with Self Loathing. The Hunter kills the Depleted and Coppelius somehow plucks a couple of eyeballs from its metal frame. Sidir kills Pandora, and I summon another Stalker, mainly because I find it amusing to do so from Masters when the opportunity arises. Sonnia launches a couple of desultory fireballs at Coppelius, but doesn’t achieve anything. I score for the Collect The Bounty again.
Turn 4: Coppelius moves over and kills Sonnia. One of my Hunters, spotting the Illuminated making a run for Breakthrough, shifts position to line up the drag and pulls the scary chap back away from my deployment zone. My robot tiger gets killed for its trouble, so the other one pulls the Illuminated still further across the board. The rest of my crew run around dropping scheme markers all over the place. Lewis scores for the Strategy.
Turn 5: Sidir smacks Coppelius, who heals himself up and produces a couple of Alps from nowhere. The Alps don’t last long as they are killed off by a Witchling Stalker and the Austringer before activating, and meanwhile the Illuminated and Hunter poke each other gently. No-one scores on the strategy (as I had forgotten that Alps are Peons) but Lewis does reveal Take Prisoner on Sidir, scoring 3 VPs for it. Guild win 8 – 4 (2 for Collect The Bounty and 3 each for both schemes for me; 3 for Take Prisoner and 1 for Collect The Bounty for Lewis).
This was a very fun game against an opponent who is really learning each time we play. I believe that the idea with the Silurids was to race them in and lock Sonnia up in melee. This would have been a great except that it allowed me to kill the second one for an easy Bounty point and activate Sonnia anyway. Considering the Strategy, I’m not sure that summoning extra Witchling Stalkers was very useful, but I find it highly amusing to do so (doubly so on a Master) so it was worth it in entertainment even if not from a gaming perspective. Similarly, I’m still undecided about whether making early use of Sonnia to thin out enemy crews is useful in turn one of killing Strategies (i.e. this one and Reckoning, also maybe for Head Hunter). It does allow for a solid control of the game to be taken, but comes at the risk of not scoring in subsequent turns.
Game 3: Guild (me) vs Outcasts (Joe)
Strategy: Guard The Stash
Pool: Line in the Sand, Assassinate, Bodyguard, Frame For Murder, Cursed Object
Guild: Frame For Murder (Hunter with harpoon (on the left in the photos)), Line in the Sand (announced)
Outcasts: Frame For Murder (Freikorps Trapper), Assassinate
Guild: Perdita Ortega (Trick Shooting), Nino Ortega (Hair Trigger), Enslaved Nephilim, Austringer, 2 Hunters, Watcher, Brutal Effigy, Guardian
Outcasts: Viktoria of Ashes (Oathkeeper), Viktoria of Blood (Mark of Shezuul, Oathkeeper), 2 Ronin, Vanessa, Freikorps Trapper, Ama No Zako, Johan
A second game against Outcasts today meant that I went with Perdita again in case Joe used a full Freikorps list to stymie Sonnia’s blasts. I have to admit that I was expecting to see Leveticus here, both because Joe has favoured the old chap lately, and because of the futility of scoring Assassinate against him. But Perdita feels like she has decent answers to the Viktorias too, so I was happy to engage in what would probably be a bloodbath, especially with close deployment. Frame For Murder against the Viktorias was a simple choice, and I picked a Hunter to tempt the use of Viktoria of Blood since she was carrying the Mark of Shezuul upgrade. I’m not really sure why I left Assassinate since I reckon that should always be achievable against Viktoria of Ashes, but anyway picked Line in the Sand instead, figuring I’d be spending time on the centreline anyway. I deployed first trying to space my pieces out as much as possible to avoid a first turn Whirlwind taking to much of my crew out; note Joe’s cheeky deployment of the Trapper in melee with Nino.
Turn 1: The left Hunter moves up to try to Slow Vik of Blood with its Chain Harpoon, and also make enough of a pest of itself to make Joe want to kill my Frame For Murder target. The other one mauls the Trapper and the Austringer finishes the job (giving up 2 VP for Frame For Murder in the process) and pings a wound off Vanessa. Ama No Zako double moves into melee with the Hunter and Nino, so the Nephilim Shackles Nino out of melee and Perdita forward toward the Brutal Effigy on the hill. Nino Rapid Fires Vanessa, killing her with a Red Joker on the second shot and Viktoria of Blood finally takes the bait and slaughters the Hunter (3 VP to me for Frame For Murder). Viktoria of Ashes, who has clearly had enough nonsense from Austringers in the past, burns Oathkeeper and charges my poor guardsman, easily killing him. Perdita pumps bullets in to Viktoria of Blood, drawing out most of Joe’s Soulstone cache but doing little actual damage, while the Guardian Protects her and swipes a few damage on to Viktoria of Ashes.
Turn 2: The Guardian swings a couple more times into Viktoria of Ashes then chain activates to Perdita. She impressively guns down both Viktorias with a single shot each (admittedly top-decking a Red Joker to deal with Viktoria of Blood) and looks around asking ‘Is there no-one else?’. Johan turns the Hunter into a pile of scrap and my Watcher drops the first of many scheme markers on the centreline. In fact, I mis-position it as in my attempts to stay out of sight of the Ronin, I fail to get within 2″ of the Stash marker. The Nephilim pulls Nino out of melee again and he Rapid Fires Johan, finally picking him off with Headshot; I think that this could be the first time I’ve managed to get that to work in M2E. Ama No Zako piles into the middle of my crew. Joe scores for the Strategy.
Turn 3: Ama No Zako puts some nasty damage onto Perdita and releases the Miasma of Boils and Flies. Nino shoots a few wounds off the Ronin on the right who saunters over and almost kills the Watcher before moving back to range of the Stash marker with Next Target. The Watcher itself flies over and picks the only possible landing site which is out of melee with the Ronin, out of sight of Ama No Zako (otherwise the Miasma will kill it), close enough to the centreline to drop a scheme marker on it and close enough to the Stash marker to score. The Nephilim pulls Perdita out of melee as she only had 4 wounds and no Soulstones left, so an unlucky flip on the dangerous terrain from Miasma could have killed her. The Brutal Effigy puts Fear Not The Sword and moves away from Ama No Zako, dropping a scheme marker near the left Stash marker. Perdita shoot Ama No Zako (healing a wound and thereby saving herself from dangerous terrain-related death) then charges back in and, along with the Guardian, nearly kill the Oni. We both score for the Strategy.
Turn 4: We both have awful hands (my highest is a 6). The Guardian kills Ama No Zako, and both Ronin go defensive. Nino is Shackled into line of sight of the Ronin but achieves little with a Rapid Fire. Perdita moves round the rocks and charges the right Ronin, but misses both shots. We realised soon after that Ronin are disguised so I could have done that, but never mind; I don’t suppose it mattered since I missed anyway. In fact, I should have used Hero’s Gamble and hoped to get a decent card with which to take the final wound from the Ronin. We both score again from Guard The Stash.
Turn 5: The Ronin on the right misses Perdita and the one on the left shrugs off a couple of hits from the Guardian to finish the Effigy (which helpfully drops a scheme marker on the centreline for Line in the Sand, not that I needed it by then). Perdita finally kills the pesky Ronin on the right so that this time only I get a point for the Strategy. Guild win 9 – 5 (3 for Guard the Stash, 3 each for my schemes for me; 3 for Guard the Stash and 2 for Frame For Murder for Joe).
Every game against Joe is a pleasure, as he is well-known as the Nicest Man in Malifaux. I’m lucky to be able to play him in my regular gaming group weekly too. Overall, the game was the predicted bloodbath. I made a bit of an error not using Hero’s Gamble on my bad hand in turn 4, but otherwise I felt in control of the game. Especially since I got lucky and was able to only give up 2 points for Frame For Murder this time.
When the scores are counted up I am delighted to find that I have come in second behind Dave on VP difference. It was a great event which ran smoothly from start to finish. Thanks to Maria, Lewis and Joe for another 3 very fun games of Malifaux and thanks to Andrew for looking after the whole show.