Furycat, Dave, Joe, Andrew and I drove over to Common Ground Games in Stirling for my final Malifaux event of the year: ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas. I chose to predominantly use Jack Daw to widen my experience with Outcasts; I find him quite good fun as he, like Tara, is not a predominantly killing master and I am trying to learn to play with more shenanigans and less just wiping out the other crew as quickly as possible.
This was a story event, so each round was (somewhat loosely) linked to an overall story of the Krampus doing various things related to present delivery etc. The Strategy for each round was set up as attacker versus defender; the attackers’ role was the same for all crews in that round but the defenders could get 4 different victory conditions based on a card flip. In general the Strategies were quite reminiscent of those from Malifaux 1.5. For the first 3 games, the Krampus (who is a raging murder machine) would be part of the attacker crew; the defender got a paltry 3 additional Soulstones to make up for this. Once in the event it was allowed to choose the faction scheme instead of A Line in the Sand, but since the Outcast scheme is awful I didn’t bother.
Game 1: Outcasts (me) vs Guild (Martyn Nicol)
Strategy: Twas the jail break before Christmas (Attacker: interact with a jail terrain piece to free the Krampus, then get it back to their deployment zone; Defender: kill the Krampus)
Pool: Line in the Sand, Make Them Suffer, Bodyguard, Cursed Object, Breakthrough
Outcasts: Bodyguard (Rusty Alyce), Cursed Object
Guild: Line in the Sand (announced), [I forgot to note the second scheme]
Outcasts: Jack Daw (Writhing Torment, Twist and Turn, Firing Squad Injustice, Guillotine Injustice, Drowning Injustice), Freikorps Librarian, 2 Freikorps Trappers, Freikorpsman, Guilty, Rusty Alyce, Johan
Guild: Perdita Ortega (Trick Shooting, Aura Ancestral), Francisco Ortega (Wade In), Nino Ortega (Hair Trigger), Enslaved Nephilim, 2 Hunters, Watcher, Guardian, Krampus
My opponent, Martyn, turned out to be almost brand new to Malifaux. In fact so much so that he didn’t own a crew and was being brought along by a friend who had managed to misplace the crew that was going to be loaned to him. Luckily I had my Guild with me and, with some discussion with Martyn, constructed a crew that would be OK for the 4 games to play even if it was not optimised. I talked him though the simple interactions of the pieces he wasn’t familiar with and it was agreed that if he wanted to change any of the pieces then we could discuss it between rounds. So it was (at least for Martyn) probably not ideal that we met in round one [for anyone wondering about the lack of Austringers, mine were at home in the painting queue and I had previously returned Joe’s]. Of course, I picked Jack Daw and his usual set up of upgrades first. I took a Guilty to make other cool things Tormented for extra use with Jack’s various interactions, and then a suite of Freikorps as I find them excellent toolkits to get points scored. I love Alyce as a big damage dealer; with the additional pushes available when Tormented she is very hard to hide from. Similarly Johan can deliver some serious punch for his cost and also brings some helpful condition removal.
Turn 1: Perdita walks up and charges a Trapper that I’ve foolishly left too advanced but improbably he survives. My Guilty makes Johan Tormented. Francisco uses El Mayor on Nino who was surprisingly not deployed via From The Shadows. My Trapper on the right misses a Focussed shot at the Nephilim and Johan gratefully takes his push from Jack and charges Perdita, bonking her mightily with his hammer. The Trapper who survived Perdita’s attentions hands her a Cursed Object, pushes out of melee and plinks a Hunter. Jack Daw makes Alyce Tormented but fails to do anthing else. She pushes and walks forward then misses the Hunter anyway. Half of Martyn’s crew are bunched up behind the prison. I score for Cursed Object.
Turn 2: Johan Flurries Perdita, helpfully top-decking the Red Joker for damage on the first swing and killing her straight off. That was unexpected, but it’ll make my life much simpler. Francisco refreshes El Mayor on Nino and opens the jail; one Trapper shoots him to little effect. The Krampus, free of his prison, saunters over and smites most of the wounds off my poor Freikorpsman before receiving a Cursed Object in return. The Guardian Protects the nearby Watcher. Rusty Alyce Rapid Fires and blows away the Hunter who evaded her last turn. The Librarian hurts the Krampus, and my other Trapper shoot another couple of wounds off the Francisco so Nino guns him down in revenge. My Guilty ineffectually pokes the Watcher mainly to tie it up, then Jack Daw (slightly to my suprise) kills the Krampus by dropping Firing Squad Injustice on it, the ripping the upgrade right off again. Sadly, this does stop me scoring for Cursed Object this turn, but on the other hand it does pretty much guarantee me the win by getting me 4 VP for the Strategy and stopping Martyn from scoring it at all.
Turn 3: Johan kills the Guardian and Francisco heals himself and takes a Focused shot into Jack Daw. The Librarian misses the Hunter twice and it misses her right back. The Guilty passes a Cursed Object to the Watcher. Nino Rapid Fires Jack Daw and I nearly lose my master to a Headshot which would have been quite embarrassing. I guess I need to be very careful about attackers with built-in positive flips. On a roll with Nino, the Nephilim tries to Influence him for another shot but can’t make it. My Freikorpsman, glad to be alive after the mauling the Krampus gave him, charges Francisco and hurts him quite badly and Jack follows him in, killing the Nephilim as an incidental attack. I score for Cursed Object.
Turn 4: The Hunter kills my Librarian and Jack polishes off Francisco and Nino. The Watcher escapes from the Guilty’s clutches, but only into the waiting arms of Johan, who turns it into scrap. The Trapper hands a Cursed Object to the Hunter. Martyn has seen enough so we call it there. Outcasts win 10 – 1 (full score for me; 1 for Line in the Sand).
Martyn was a really nice opponent, and he only revealed after we finished that he isn’t really a gamer as such at all, and was just coming along to keep his friend company. Considering that, I have to say that he really impressed me with his familiarity with the rules. I hope that he gets bitten by the Malifaux bug and starts joining in with more of our events as I think he has the potential to become quite good if he gets to grips with the game a bit more. From my side, it was the easiest possible start to the event, playing against a crew that I knew inside out (and indeed had picked myself) piloted by a highly inexperienced player. It was quite nice to be able to try Jack Daw out with his various upgrades, though I think I need to be a little bit less aggressive with him. It seems that he should perhaps be played slightly more passively as his surprising mobility makes it quite easy to move to far to support his Tormented crew (spoiler alert: I don’t learn that lesson in this event).
Game 2: Outcasts (me) vs Resurrectionists (Kai Young)
Strategy: While Visions of Treasure Chests Danced In Their Head (Attacker: pick up the treasure in the centre of the board, then get it back to their deployment zone; Defender: keep the treasure out of anyone’s hands and keep two models near it)
Pool: Line in the Sand, Deliver a Message, Distract, Frame For Murder, Breakthrough
Outcasts: Frame For Murder (Nothing Beast), Breakthrough (announced)
Resurrectionists: Frame For Murder (Bete Noir), Distract
Outcasts: Jack Daw (Writhing Torment, Twist and Turn, Firing Squad Injustice, Guillotine Injustice, Drowning Injustice), Freikorps Librarian, 2 Freikorps Trappers, Rusty Alyce, Johan, Nothing Beast (Void Shield), Void Wretch
Resurrectionists: Seamus (Redchapel Killer, Mad Haberdasher, Bag of Tools), Madame Sybelle (Corpse Bloat, Bleeding Tongue), 2 Dead Doxies, Rotten Belle, Copycat Killer, Nurse, Bete Noir, Krampus
Since Kai and I both won our previous game, we flipped to see who was the attacker and Kai got to have the big chap in his crew. Careful readers will note the lack of a Guilty in my crew; this was an accident as I was trying to work out how to make use of my additional 3 Soulstones and I must have put the card away again. Oh well, it is interesting to try things out without our usual crutches. I took double Trappers as this open board makes it really easy for them to knock wounds off things almost anywhere. My general idea was to sit a couple of tough things on the treasure and hopefully delay Kai long enough before he could get anything to pick it up to allow me to rack up a few points. I put Frame For Murder on the Nothing Beast since it is not too hard to kill but can be very dangerous if left unchecked (and conveniently has Ca attacks to fight the incorporeal Krampus); I thought that would combine to get Kai to commit to killing it. The Void Wretch was included specifically to work on Breakthrough.
Turn 1: One Trapper Focusses and kills the Copycat Killer and the other does the same to one of the Dead Doxies. Sybelle whips Seamus to Comply him to Focus (*whip* ‘Pay attention!’ *whip*), he fails to summon a Belle from the remains of the Copycat Killer, then Back Alleys forward and seriously (but not fatally) inconveniences the Trapper on the left with his massive gun. The Krampus legs it towards the Treasure Chest and Jack Daw races up to slap Firing Squad Injustice on it and do some big damage. The Nothing Beast is sadly not quite able to finish the job.
Turn 2: The Nothing Beast kills the Krampus and hurts the Dead Doxy. The Belle Lures Jack Daw forward and she and the Doxy do some damage by Pouncing on him. Both Trappers shoot the Nurse but one Black Jokers the damage; she then keeps the chain of incompetence going by failing to Paralyse the Nothing Beast (she was going for Jack Daw initially until I pointed out that he is immune to it). Alyce also misses the Nurse who is living a very charmed life so far. Seamus somehow fails to kill the Trapper. Jack kills the nearby Belle causing Bete to pop out; she hurts him rather nastily. I score on the Strategy.
Turn 3: Bete kills Jack Daw. Dang, he really hates attackers with positive flips. The Trapper shoots at the Nurse and the Librarian finally kills her. Sybelle sensibly takes up hard cover but misses a Focussed Shriek at the Librarian which could have been nasty with my bunched up crew. Seamus finally finishes beating the Trapper to death and shoots Johan, who charges in and smacks the nasty little chap with his hammer; Alyce adds some bullets to Seamus’s day. The Nothing Beast kills the Dead Doxy and forces Bete to bury. Somewhere in the far corner all alone, the Void Wretch starts dropping markers for Breakthrough. I score again for having models close to the treasure.
Turn 4: Sybelle detonates one of the many corpse counters but it doesn’t affect the Nothing Beast or the Librarian. Johan knocks Seamus down to 3 wounds left with no hat and no Soulstones; he hits one last time but Black Jokers the damage. Seamus in return drops Johan to his Hard to Kill wound but Black Jokers the damage on his own killing blow. I don’t bother to attack much so as to avoid bringing Bete Noir back, but Sybelle takes a bit of a pasting anyway. I score again for the strategy.
Turn 5: Seamus kills Johan (releasing Bete again) and hurts the Nothing Beast. The Librarian kills Sybelle and the Void Wretch drops yet more scheme markers. I score one last time for the Strategy.
Turn 6: I asked Kai if he was OK to finish up at the end of turn 5, but he said he had more to do so we flipped and got an extra turn. Seamus kills the Nothing Beast, scoring me for Frame For Murder. I should have just let Bete get on with it here, but in the interest of making it a game I had Alyce kill her… giving Kai the points for Frame For Murder. It was a funny end to a funny game. Outcasts win 9 – 2 (4 for the Strategy, 3 for Breakthrough and 2 for Frame For Murder for me; 2 for Frame For Murder for Kai).
Every game against Kai is a pleasure and this was no exception. I got a perfect hand for the Trappers in turn 1 and made the most of it to get a big activation advantage. Jack and the Nothing Beast were, as planned, perfect for killing the Krampus (but I still think it is worth more than 3 Soulstones!). Once I got my crew on top of the Treasure chest there was pretty much no way that Kai was going to be able to score the Strategy, and not making any attempt to Distract my crew or deal with the Void Wretch cost him even more. I was expecting Rusty Alyce to do a lot of work in this match up since she ignores Hard to Wound but she was surprisingly ineffective. Relatively speaking anyway; I still really like to use Alyce.
Game 3: Outcasts (me) vs Neverborn (Lewis Philips)
Strategy: Soon Gave Me To Know You Have Something To Dread (Attacker: get the Krampus into the other half of the board, more points to get it back to their deployment zone; Defender: interact with the Krampus twice)
Pool: Line in the Sand, Entourage, Breakthrough, Cursed Object, Bodyguard
Outcasts: Entourage (Jack Daw), Cursed Object
Neverborn: Entourage (Zoraida), Breakthrough (announced)
Outcasts: Jack Daw (Writhing Torment, Twist and Turn, Firing Squad Injustice, Guillotine Injustice, Drowning Injustice), Freikorps Librarian, 2 Freikorps Trappers, Rusty Alyce, Johan, Void Wretch, Guilty, Krampus
Neverborn: Zoraida (Animal Shape, Hex Bag, Crystal Ball), Bad Juju (Hexed Among You, Eternal Fiend), 2 Silurids, 2 Waldgeists, Coppelius
This time I was the winner of the flip to determine the attacker so I got to be the one with the Krampus in his crew. I did remember to include a Guilty; my plan was to make the Krampus Tormented and use the push from Writhing Torment and the ‘extra’ action from Twist and Turn to get the it up the board in good time. Jack can be hard to pin down with disengaging strikes and had been getting around the board surprisingly quickly so Entourage seemed sensible. I knew that keeping Zoraida from scoring Entourage would come down to being able to kill her.
Turn 1: The Waldgeist on the left pokes the Trapper and Germinates right in my way. The other does the same to a Void Wretch that I’ve foolishly moved too close. The Guilty makes Alyce Tormented. Zoraida uses Animal Shape to get way up the board and Obeys the Walgeist on the left to slap its Trapper again, handing out Entrench this time. The Trapper on the right pushes out of melee and puts a couple of bullets into the Waldgeist there. Coppelius moves up but is unwisely out of cover so Alyce pushes forward and Rapid Fires him stone dead. Did I mention I love Alyce? The Silurids leap around. Jack Daw has another ineffective turn, making the Krampus Tormented on his third attempt, then making it walk forward. It pushes and walks then misses an opportunistic swing at Zoraida. The Trapper on the left gives its Waldgeist a Cursed Object from which I score this turn.
Turn 2: The Librarian kills the Silurid in my deployment zone which causes Bad Juju to pop out. The other Silurid Leaps and interacts with the Krampus for 2VP and the Waldgeist over there does the same, getting Lewis all the Strategy points wrapped up. Johan misses a couple of optimistic swings at Zoraida; she summons a Voodoo Doll, Hems Johan then Obeys him to smite the Doll into splinters for big damage to himself. The Krampus Focusses and beats most of Zoraida’s wounds out of her in a single swing. The Waldgeist on the right kills the Void Wretch and Alyce and the right Trapper shoot some wounds off it. Bad Juju drops a scheme marker and the left Trapper Curses the Walgeist again. Finally Jack kills a Silurid. I score for Cursed Object.
Turn 3: Zoraida flies to the corner to stop the Krampus from mauling her and Obeys Bad Juju to drop a scheme marker. The Librarian shoots a few wounds off Juju. The Waldgeist on the left swipes at the Trapper again; Alyce shoots a few more wounds off Bad Juju then the Mire Golem charges and kills the Librarian. Lewis was trying some quite clever moves here to try to drain my hand so that the Trappers would be less likely to blow Zoraida away… but I knew that I didn’t need the Librarian but I do need to kill Zoraida. Indeed, the next activation I do drop Zoraida with a Focussed Trapper shot from right across the board. The Guilty passes a final Cursed Object to the right Waldgeist and Johan, the Krampus and Jack Daw kill the one on the left. Finally, the left Trapper starts running for my own corner to try to pick up Lewis’s scheme markers. I score for Cursed Object for the last time.
Turn 4: The Guilty kills the last Waldgeist. Bad Juju and Alyce wrestle and Johan strolls down to help out. The Krampus and Jack Daw head for the Neverborn deployment zone.
Turn 5: Bad Juju Flurries to kill Rusty Alyce and is killed (or at least buried) in return by Johan. My Trapper removes the scheme marker in the corner. Outcasts win 10 – 5 (full score for me; 4 for the Strategy and 1 for Breakthrough for Lewis).
Another lovely game against Lewis, who keeps getting smarter in his plays. I’ve managed to go the whole year without losing to any of the Stirling folks, but I think that they are all really improving together and I look forward to the first time one of them can beat me. Lewis could possibly have taken this to a draw if he’d been a bit more careful with Zoraida but taking a massive hit from the Krampus in turn 2 meant that he was always in danger of losing her and therefore any chance at Entourage.
Game 4: Outcasts (me) vs Resurrectionists (Connor Barker)
Strategy: To The Top Of The Wall, Now Dash Away (Attacker: stay close to the wagon marker and get it to your own side of the board; Defender: have more pieces on the opponents side of the board than they have on yours each turn)
Pool: Line in the Sand, Plant Evidence, Assassinate, Spring The Trap, Breakthrough
Outcasts: Plant Evidence (announced), Breakthrough (announced)
Resurrectionists: Assassinate, Breakthrough (announced)
Outcasts: Jack Daw (Writhing Torment, Twist and Turn, Firing Squad Injustice, Guillotine Injustice, Drowning Injustice), Freikorps Librarian, Freikorps Trapper, Freikorpsman, Rusty Alyce, Johan, 2 Guilty
Resurrectionists: Yan Lo (Reliquary, Fortify Spirit), Soul Porter, Carrion Emissary (Ancestral Conflux), Toshiro the Daimyo (Corpse Bloat, Command The Graves), Datsue Ba (Spirit Whispers), 3 Gaki
Happily, there was no Krampus in this scenario. Instead, the player with the most pieces near the wagon marker at the end of each turn got to push it around. We actually both announced which master we were planning to play here instead of only faction since I think that we had both decided already to play this event as a single master. I mainly stuck with the same rough crew as my previous games, getting rid of one of the relatively static Trappers in favour of another Guilty to make use of the additional mobility afforded by Jack Daw. I seriously considered taking Assassinate but in the end decided that it wasn’t reliable against Yan Lo as he can really get his defenses going over a game. I decided to try to flood the centre to get hold of the wagon and just drop scheme markers where possible.
Turn 1: The Trapper Focusses and kills the Soul Porter. Toshiro moves up, drops a corpse counter and turns it into an Ashigaru. The Guilty make Johan and Alyce Tormented and move up. Datsue Ba summons a Seishin on the right. Johan moves up to engage the lead pieces and try to keep some chance of keeping control of the wagon, so Yan Lo Lightning Dances him away. Sadly for Connor he Black Jokers one attack leaving the old man very exposed. Alyce pushes to get a clear shot at Yan Lo and Rapid Fires most of his Soulstones out of him. Jack Daw uses Twist and Turn to make her do it again then charges in and leaves Yan Lo clinging to his life by a shred. The Carrion Emissary kills Johan. Connor moves the wagon toward his side of the table.
Turn 2: Yan Lo, to my great surprise, goes fully Defensive. Jack kills him anyway then uses the Ghost of Malifaux trigger to move to the Mindless Zombie and hand Firing Squad Injustice to Toshiro. This was a mistake as there was no need to be so aggressive and it left Jack very exposed. Various minions, all getting positive flips from standing near Toshiro, take turn at attack Jack. Toshiro summons another Ashigaru then War Fans a Gaki; I try to kill it with the Trapper (to make the effort on War Fan wasted) but can’t quite do the deed. The Librarian hurts another Gaki and Alyce shoots one of the Ashigaru and the Guilty kills it again. The Seishin moves to annoy Alyce. The Freikorpsman drops a scheme marker and is easily killed by Datsue Ba.
Turn 3: Jack kills Toshiro. The Emissary attacks Jack but can’t make it stick. The Guilty kill a Gaki each. Datsue Ba summons another Seishin and I’m not doing a good job of keeping them in check. There is a big and fairly ineffective scrum in the centre which ends with me moving the wagon back to its starting point.
Turn 4: The Emissary Focusses and kills Jack Daw, scoring for Assassinate in the process. The Guilty on the right drops a scheme marker as does the Librarian. Everything move in on the wagon and eventually Connor has slightly more around it and so move it back to his side of the board, mainly due to the swarm of Mindless Zombies and Seishin hanging around. Outcasts lose 3 – 4 (3 for Plant Evidence for me; 3 for Assassinate and 1 for Plant Evidence for Connor). Sadly, I forgot to take a photo of the end state before we tidied up.
I had a terrific game against Connor; he is such a gentleman to play with. I think one of the reasons I love to play Connor is that we feel quite evenly matched so every game we both need to play our best if we are to win. I certainly learned a lot about Jack Daw today; probably the biggest thing I need to learn is to use him less aggressively since he isn’t that tough to kill against a determined crew. Hopefully I can improve on this. I think that I’m always going to be an aggressive player so it’s not like I’m going to change that but I need to take more care of where I’m sending Jack Daw.
The story pack was really good fun overall. There were a few minor gripes from me, but I think that part of this is being spoiled by the good balance on the Gaining Grounds strategies. Although I had no particular problem killing the Krampus I think that the other crew only getting 3 soulstones compensation was a bit low and I know that other players found the Krampus a bit of a handful. There were also a few sections of the rules pack that I felt would have benefited from the ‘non-Peon’ clause, but maybe that is just sour grapes on my side after Connor swamped me with Seishin.
When all the scores are added up, I’m in third place which I am very pleased with. I had a terrific time playing Malifaux with old and new friends, just as I always do. The tournament community for Malifaux in Scotland and the North of England (and the other bits of the UK from which I’ve encountered players, even though I don’t venture so far myself) is so universally friendly that I would recommend it to anyone. Even if you’re not-a-tournament-player, I advise you to get out and reach out to your local community and see for yourself. Hopefully others have had the same experience gaming. Thanks to Martyn, Kai, Lewis and Connor for four fun games of Malifaux, and to Andrew for the hard work he put into making this such a successful event.
Since this is the last event for me in 2015, I thought it would be interesting to add up my results over the year. I’ve managed to play 52 tournament games over 13 events (counting the two Kings of the North events separately), mostly with Guild but a few with Outcasts. I have 42 tournament games with Guild: 30 wins, 3 draws and 9 losses. Breaking these down by master I used Sonnia most (18 wins and 7 losses), then Perdita (12 wins, 2 draws and 2 losses) with only a single game using Lady Justice (a draw). My few events with Outcasts have yielded 8 wins, 1 draw and 1 loss; these are Tara (5 wins and 1 draw) and Jack Daw (3 wins and 1 loss). Overall, a pretty good Malifaux year.