Middlefaux was less than 24 h behind us when Joe and I, refreshed by being able to stay in bed later than 5am, hit the road again to the much more convenient destination of Common Ground Games in Stirling for a rather lower key Malifaux event. The Malifaux community has really taken off in Stirling and among the 20 or so players were about 8 who were new to the tournament scene; it was great to see them getting their first taste of tournament play. I’ve been playing Guild in tournaments all year, so between that and the expected less experienced field I committed to playing Outcasts for this event. I’ve never taken them out to an event before and I’ve only actually played one master at all (Tara). I figured I’d probably be OK as long as I didn’t end up playing Maria, Queen Beyond The Wall and all round expert in all things Outcast. It’s never good to play a crew that your master knows better than you.
Game 1: Outcasts (me) vs Resurrectionists (Kai)
Strategy: Squatter’s Rights
Pool: Line in the Sand, Distract, Breakthrough, Plant Explosives, Cursed Object
Outcasts: Line in the Sand (announced), Cursed Object
Resurrectionists: Breakthrough (unannounced), Distract
Outcasts: Tara (Knowledge of Eternity, Obliteration Symbiote), Freikorpsman, Freikorps Librarian, Freikorps Trapper, Killjoy, Void Wretch, Johan, Malifaux Child, Hodgepodge Effigy
Resurrectionists: Dr Douglas McMourning (Evidence Tampering, Moonlighting), Sebastian, Zombie Chihuahua, Flesh Construct, Crooked Man, 2 Canine Remains, 3 Crooligans, Nurse
In my relatively few games using Tara I’ve really enjoyed throwing Killjoy at people and just letting them waste their AP killing him, so I decided to go for that option despite the relatively ‘un-killy’ strategy and scheme pool. I picked Line in the Sand on the basis that corner deployment gives a lot of space on the centreline, plus I was planning to go there anyway for the strategy. Breakthrough would need me to move much further than I planned (i.e. past the centreline) so I somewhat arbitrarily picked between the remaining schemes.
Turn 1: The Trapper one shots the Crooligan on the left. I’ve no idea why I chose to do that first as it prevented Tara from getting Reactivate; I guess I just got excited at the prospect for an early way to level the piece count. The Child makes Johan fast. The rest the turn is spent jockeying for position. I briefly consider holding Killjoy for another turn but decide to throw him at the Flesh Construct anyway. Sadly I Black Joker one attack and Kai Red Jokers another so the effect is quite minimal. At least he’ll take a bit of work to kill.
Turn 2: Tara drops the rubbish cards out of my hand to make everything nearby (including the Flesh Construct) Fast, then pings the Construct twice for slow and drags a couple of nice cards out of Kai’s hand to avoid Glimpse The Void. McMourning beats up Killjoy, then Killjoy finishes the Flesh Construct and starts smiting McMourning. The Nurse fails to make Take Your Meds stick on Johan. My Freikorpsman climbs up the building and swings wildly at the Crooligan; later in the turn it will have similarly little effect in return but the point was only to stop Kai from claiming the Squat marker. The Trapper takes the corner Squat marker. Johan squashes the poor Chihuahua after it moved up to fart on some of my crew, then charges McMourning. The Child fails to make the Effigy fast, so it has to just climb slowly up the building to get to the Squat marker. The Librarian hands the Crooked Man a Cursed Object, then Tara makes everything Fast again (catching the Crooked Man this time since the Flesh Construct is dead) and claims the central marker. I score for the strategy and for Cursed Object.
Turn 3: Killjoy eats McMourning and moves to engage Sebastian and the Crooked Man. Over in the far corner, the Crooligan pokes at the Void Wretch, which has finally arrived, and receives a Cursed Object in return. The Librarian hurts the Crooked Man, then the Nurse continues to fail at life by messing up two tries at Take Your Meds on Tara. The Freikorpsman on the building finally delivers enough 1 damage hits to drop the Crooligan. The Crooked Man Distracts the Librarian and Killjoy. Tara hands out slow to various pieces, Johan bonks Sebastian a couple of times and the little mortuary assistant fails to disengage. My Trapper kills a Canine Remains. Kai scores for Distract, I score for Cursed Object and Squatter’s Rights.
Turn 4: Johan kills Sebastian, then the Crooked Man pokes Killjoy so Black Blood finishes off Johan; he refuses to take a second swing since that would kill himself. Killjoy kills off the Crooked Man anyway and also one-shots the Nurse who has foolishly wandered too close. The last Crooligan Distracts the Void Wretch and pops away; it follows and passes another Cursed Object. The Canine Remains, which has been skulking behind the row of buildings begins a run for Breakthrough and after throwing all sorts of attacks at it I finally manage to bury it with Tara. The Void Wretch dies of poison and out pops the dog again. I score for Cursed Object and Squatter’s Rights again and Kai picks up another for Distract. I should have removed Distract from the Librarian but I wanted to deal with the Canine Remains.
Turn 5: The Canine Remains runs to put down a marker for Breakthrough; Tara removes the first scheme marker from last turn. Most of my crew hide from Killjoy, who eventually removes his Distract condition. By the time I’m able to kill of the Canine Remains I don’t have enough AP in the right places to remove the scheme marker. Outcasts win 10 – 3 (full score for me; 1 for Breakthrough and 2 for Distract for Kai).
I really enjoyed giving Tara her first tournament run out. I can’t believe that I made such a basic mistake as forgetting to activate her first in the first turn, there was simply no reason not to do it. The other turns I needed other pieces more so it was a choice not to use her Reactivate. In general I was happy with how the game went; Killjoy lasted a lot longer than I expected as I normally plan on him being a distraction while I get on with scoring points so I was delighted that he actually managed to kill McMourning.
Game 2: Outcasts (me) vs Outcasts (Maria)
Strategy: Stake A Claim
Pool: Line in the Sand, Distract, Protect Territory, Deliver A Message, Spring The Trap
My Outcasts: Protect Territory (announced), Distract
Maria’s Outcasts: Protect Territory (announced), Distract
My Outcasts: Tara (Scramble, Obliteration Symbiote), Freikorps Librarian, 2 Freikorps Trappers, Void Wretch, Malifaux Child, Rusty Alyce, Bishop
Maria’s Outcasts: Hamelin (Infectious Melodies, Piper, Sewer King), Stolen, Nix (Oathkeeper), Ama No Zako (Oathkeeper), Obedient Wretch, 2 Crooligans, Iggy (Oathkeeper)
So here I am, playing an unfamiliar faction against the premier player of that faction in my area. This will be a tough game. I took Scramble on Tara thinking that if need be I could just run around with her and drop markers all over the place. Alyce and Bishop are similarly speedy and I borrowed a second Trapper in the hope of either using From The Shadows to score a cheap Claim marker or taking pot-shots at targets of opportunity.
Turn 1: I draw the worst hand I’ve ever had in Malifaux with the highest card as a 3; even after stoning I only have a single card above that number. For the first part of the turn I also flip horribly and so am unable to cheat even when Maria only flips a modest card of her own. Iggy Incites the nearby Trapper; this is really clever move as it stops me from Reactivating Tara. Ama No Zako smites the one in the other corner. Tara and the Child make Bishop and Alyce Fast then head for the far half of the board. The Librarian hurt the Crooligan on the right and Alyce kills the one on the left. While all this happens, various combinations of orphans and vermin are multiplying in the far corner. Hamelin Obeys Nix to where he can see Bishop; Nix then spends Oathkeeper and Distracts Bishop and the Void Wretch. Funnily enough I never previously realised that you could score Distract in turn 1; Maria does so.
Turn 2: Tara Slows Iggy and the surviving Crooligan Distracts the Librarian and then disappears onto the roof where I will really struggle to get to her. The Child makes Bishop Fast, then the cage fighter kills Nix and removes Distract. The Trapper pings Iggy for a little more damage, the Librarian removes Distract and the Void Wretch puts down my first Claim marker. More rats and children are forming and reforming into various permutations in Maria’s corner. Alyce Focuses and shoots at Ama No Zako, who double walks to engage her. Iggy uses Oathkeeper and Distracts Tara. Maria scores for Distract and I score for Stake A Claim.
Turn 3: Iggy Incites the Trapper again, denying me the second use of Tara. The Trapper Distracts him. Ama No Zako fights Alyce who eventually Distracts her back. The Void Wretch removes its Distract, Tara Slows Iggy and the Child makes Bishop Fast again. The Crooligan Stakes a Claim then Bishop Stakes on right back near her to remove that marker. Ratty shenanigans continue in the corner but a Rat King is eventually sent out with Reactivate from a Rat Catcher. Hamelin walks the long way round the building and sacrifices Iggy as a Useless Toy, then the Rat King races over and Distracts Alyce. I score for the strategy and Maria scores for Distract.
Turn 4: Tara pings Hamelin a couple of times to draw out a couple of good hands avoiding being buried. Ama No Zako and the Rat King fight Alyce but can’t bring her down. The Crooligan, Librarian and Void Wretch all drop scheme markers. Alyce Distract the Rat King and I now need to hope that Maria can’t get close enough to it to make it sacrifice itself. Tara walks over and climbs up the building to be able to see the Crooligan but misses the shot at her; in retrospect I should have done this from the start but it didn’t occur to me. Hamlin rushes round the building, Obeys the Rat Catcher forward and makes it Fast. He also sacrifices a nearby underling to draw some cards. The Rat Catcher comes in and… successfully Reactivates the Rat King (and also drops a scheme marker for good measure). The Rat King sacrifices itself to stop me scoring Distract. It is a draw at 6 – 6 (3 for Stake A Claim and 3 for Protect Territory for me; 3 for Distract and 3 for Protect Territory for Maria).
I loved playing that game. Holding a player of Maria’s calibre to a draw when playing using a crew she knows better than me was a great result as far as I am concerned. I must remember Tara’s vulnerability to Incite for future games as it is not something that I had previously seen. I feel like Maria spent a lot of time doing various things with rats and children in her own deployment zone that didn’t look to have a huge impact on how the game actually played out; of course some of the models eventually came out of it that were important (notably the Rat King and Rat Catcher) but for the effect they had it looks like Maria could have just hired them in the first place. Alyce was pleasingly resilient and Bishop is just hilarious with Fast on him so I’m glad I tried them out with Tara.
Game 3: Outcasts (me) vs Outcasts (Ali)
Pool: Line in the Sand, Assassinate, Breakthrough, Deliver A Message, Cursed Object
My Outcasts: Breakthrough (announced), Cursed Object
Ali’s Outcasts: Deliver A Message (announced), Assassinate
My Outcasts: Tara (Knowledge of Eternity, Obliteration Symbiote), Freikorpsman, Freikorps Librarian, Freikorps Trapper, Killjoy, Void Wretch, Johan, Malifaux Child, Hodgepodge Effigy
Ali’s Outcasts: Von Schill (The Shirt Comes Off), 2 Ronin, 2 Convict Gunslingers, Freikorps Librarian, Freikorps Trapper, Hans
After playing one of the strongest players in the area I found myself up against a very inexperienced player (in fact, I think it was Ali’s first tournament). I went with the same crew as the first game with idea of throwing Killjoy into the biggest clump of targets I could find and keeping them tied up around him while I work on the strategy. Johan provides some handy condition removal if I need it and the rest of the crew are independent middle-weight options to allow me to really spread out for Reconnoitre. Breakthrough is a simple pick in close deployment and I decided that Cursed Object was probably the simplest option against this crew.
Turn 1: Hans Slows my Trapper. I inexplicably pick the Child next to make Johan Fast; I have no idea why I didn’t use Tara as there was no reason not to do it. One Ronin walks out from behind the building and is shouted at a lot by the Librarian (how can you shout ‘Shhh’ so much that it hurts?). The Trapper goes to finish her off but Black Jokers the damage flip. Tara does what is needed instead and Slows the other Ronin, followed by Johan beating her a little. On the other side of the board, Von Schill slaps around my Effigy a little.
Turn 2: Tara moves up and launches Killjoy into Von Schill. After the onslaught the mustachioed one is still standing and The Shirt Comes Off, paralysing my Effigy. He also beats Killjoy rather hard but can’t finish the big monster. My Librarian, not content with her sterling work on the Ronin, flips like a champion to drop the Convict Gunslinger on the right. Ali’s Trapper misses a shot a Johan and mine blows Hans off his rooftop perch. The Child makes Johan Fast and he kills off the second Ronin. Ali’s Librarian fails to heal Von Schill and finally my Freikorpsman gives the Gunslinger a Cursed Object (but you can’t see them hiding behind a building on the left). I score for Reconnoitre.
Turn 3: Tara buries Killjoy then immediately unburies him to fire him at Von Schill again. It doesn’t work and Von Schill, badly wounded though he is, finishes Killjoy. The Freikorpsman pokes ineffectually at the Gunslinger but survives the return volley. Ali’s Librarian again fails to heal her boss and receives a Cursed Object from the Hodgepodge Effigy. Tara charges Von Schill. I score for the strategy.
Turn 4: Von Schill hurts Tara (quite a bit in fact) so she kills him. Ali’s Trapper kills mine. My Void Wretch, feeling quite lonely, drops scheme markers all over the backfield. The Gunslinger and Freikorpsman continue to bounce off each other and the Effigy, somehow still alive on a single wound for most of the game, Curses the Librarian. I score for the Strategy again.
Turn 5: I win iniative and remember that Ali announced Deliver a Message so Tara uses Lost Instants to stop that happening. Ali has seen enough and calls it there, though it’s only after we’re tidying up that he mentions Assassinate was his other scheme. I think I could have kept Tara alive but it would have been interesting to play it out. My Outcasts win 10 – 0.
Ali was a lovely opponent and I hope that he enjoyed his day enough to come out for future events. The game was quite one-sided due to Ali’s lack of experience but he’ll get better by playing more games. Notably taking Assassinate and Deliver A Message seemed a tough choice considering other options in the scheme pool and his model placement could definitely improve. But these are things he’ll earn with more games under his belt. The game went pretty much according to plan for me but I must remember that Von Schill is quite a tough ask for Killjoy and start using him more sensibly. I’m a little disappointed in myself for forgetting to activate Tara first in turn 1 again.
In the end, I come in second place behind Connor and ahead of Maria by a single VP difference, so actually getting the shut-out against Ali at the end did affect the placings. I really enjoyed taking Tara out for a change, she’s a highly entertaining master to play and she seems to have the flexibility to cover a lot of situations. Thanks to Kai, Maria and Ali for three more great games of Malifaux and to Jamie for his work as the tournament organiser. All in all it was a great weekend to play 7 games of Malifaux.