It’s a new year, but the Malifaux scene here in Scotland continues triumphantly onward. This event, held again at Common Ground Games in Stirling, was set up as a team format. We formed trios (Joe, Furycat and me in our case) and the team captains (Joe for our team) did some kind of jiggery-pokery to determine the match-ups. I deliberately stayed out of the process but it seemed to be smooth and clear to all involved. I’m happy to play anyone so I didn’t want to bias anyone’s choices.
Game 1: Outcasts (me) vs Resurrectionists (Connor Barker)
Pool: Line in the Sand, Bodyguard, Murder Protegé, Protect Territory, Spring the Trap
Outcasts: Bodyguard (Librarian), Protect Territory
Resurrectionists: Murder Protegé (Rusty Alyce, announced), Spring the Trap
Outcasts: Jack Daw (Writhing Torment, Twist and Turn, Firing Squad Injustice, Guillotine Injustice, Drowning Injustice), Freikorps Librarian, 2 Freikorps Trappers, Hodgepodge Effigy, Guilty, Rusty Alyce, Johan
Resurrectionists: Molly Squidpiddge (Take Back The Night, Forgotten Life), Valedictorian, Philip and the Nanny, Madame Sybelle (Bleeding Tongue), 2 Dead Doxies, Rotten Belle, Necrotic Machine
In our first round we were drawn against one of the toughest teams and I ended up matching up against Connor’s Resurrectionists again. I decided rather arbitrarily to play Jack Daw, not because he has any special cleverness in Extraction but simply because I was in the mood. The board was quite open so I put a pair of Trappers in the list, the rest was just a load of cool stuff I could flood the board centre with. Hopefully Jack Daw would work fairly well in the close confines of the area around the Informant marker. I considered taking Murder Protegé against the Valedictorian but ultimately decided that she would be too mobile and hard to take down reliably. Instead, I swithered and eventually chose to Bodyguard the Librarian; it could easily have been Alyce but I was quite glad when Connor revealed that he had Murder Protegé on her.
Turn 1: The Necrotic Machine moves up and pushes most of the crew towards me with Brethren. One Trapper misses shots on Molly; I was trying to put a little early pressure on her. The Belle and one of the Doxies drop scheme markers that Philip discards for the card draw before the other Trapper shoots him. The Valedictorian double moves into the right Trapper and attacks him via the trigger on Lecture Notes. On my side, the Guilty makes Johan Tormented, and Jack Daw does the same for Alyce before making the latter move up. Sybelle gets moved by the second Doxy’s Take The Lead and then advances and Calls Belle on Molly. In an effort to keep some control over Molly I throw Alyce into her for some trivial damage; forgetting of course that she was the Murder Protegé target. Molly puts Whispered Secret onto Alyce, Imbues Vigour onto the nearby Doxy and slaps Alyce with Revelation a couple of times. Johan charges the Doxy but can’t kill her before she reactivates and gently pokes Alyce.
Turn 2: The Doxy move into Johan with Take The Lead and hurts him a little. Alyce Black Jokers an attack on Molly and the Valedictorian easily kills the Trapper. Jack Daw charges Molly knocking her down dangerously low on wounds and leaving her with Firing Squad Injustice for her trouble. Molly summons a Punk Zombie in the midst of my crew and makes it Slice and Dice with Whispers of Past Life. She spends the rest of her activation in Penance to flip the ‘upgrade’ from Jack Daw. Johan kills one Doxy and pushes the other out of range of the Informant. Sybelle charges Alyce but achieves nothing apart from drawing some of my soulstones. The Guilty Torments the Librarian and flaps uselessly at the Punk Zombie. The Necrotic Machine again pulls Connor’s crew towards the centre with Brethren. The Librarian takes the push for being Tormented near Jack Daw and kills Molly. Philip and the Belle drop scheme markers for Spring the Trap (scoring 3 VP at the end of the turn). We both score on the strategy but I move the marker towards my board edge.
Turn 3: The Punk Zombie uses Slice and Dice twice for limited effect considering the amount of targets. Johan Flurries Sybelle leaving her with a single wound left; she hits Alyce down to a single wound and Complies her to hit Jack Daw (a clever way around Oldest Magic). The Trapper hurts the surviving Dead Doxy which kills Johan. The Guilty hurts the Punk Zombie and the Necrotic Machine kills Alyce (scoring Murder Protegé). It was a mistake on my part here not to activate Alyce earlier since she was so clearly a target. The Hodgepodge Effigy drops a scheme marker and gives Jack Daw Loyalty to the Coin. My master then goes wild and kills Sybelle, the Doxy and the Punk Zombie. The Librarian hurts Philip but flips the Black Joker on the second damage flip to leave him alive and he remove my scheme marker. The Valedictorian swoops in to hurt the Librarian. We both score for Extraction.
Turn 4: The Effigy drops a scheme marker then Jack Daw kills Philip and makes the Guilty drop a scheme marker. The Valedictorian kills the Effigy and the Librarian, before we run out of time. Outcasts lose 4 – 9 (3 for Extraction and 1 for Protect Territory for me; 3 for Extraction and both schemes for Connor).
I had a lovely time playing Connor, as usual of course. I think that the difference here was the good choice and clever application of schemes from Connor’s side compared to mine. I gave away Alyce quite cheaply, though I did use her to keep Molly busy for a couple of turns and save myself from being overrun by summons. I also should have been rather less aggressive with the Librarian since I had her as my Bodyguard choice, but again I felt that I needed her in action to keep other things in check.
Game 2: Outcasts (me) vs Arcanists (Michael Arnott)
Pool: Line in the Sand, Assassinate, Distract, Entourage, Vendetta
Outcasts: Assassinate, Entourage (Viktoria of Ashes, announced)
Arcanists: Assassinate, Entourage (Marcus, announced)
Outcasts: Viktoria of Ashes (Sisters in Spirit, Sisters in Fury, Synchronised Slaying), Viktoria of Blood (Oathkeeper, Mark of Shezuul), Freikorps Librarian, Johan, Malifaux Child, Bishop (Oathkeeper), Taelor (Oathkeeper)
Arcanists: Marcus (Arcane Reservoir, The God’s Domain, Seize The Day), Myranda, 4 Sabretooth Cerberuses (one has Pack Leader)
So despite Joe’s heroic victory in round 1, Furycat and I both lost so we were down already in the rankings. After the team captains picked the match-ups I was set up against Michael’s Arcanists. Seeing the frankly ludicrous bowling green of terrain my first thought was to use Alyce, 2 Trappers and Lazarus and just let my victims come into the teeth of my guns. I decided that was not really in the spirit of the team event and so picked out the Viktorias. I had only just assembled them but one test game earlier in the week made me think that they should be plenty of fun. Seeing Michael’s crew it was clear that he was taking the same approach. Considering the scheme pools I thought that Assassinate was an easy choice; Marcus was going to have to get his hands dirty if Michael wanted to win here. If I’d used a Trapper I would have been all over Vendetta but in the end I picked Entourage on my master.
Turn 1: The Malifaux Child casts Sisters in Fury and our crews advance on each other from our corners. I advance Viktoria of Ashes too far and Marcus is able to Alpha and Darzee’s Chaunt a Cerberus. Only Michael’s terrible cards save me from losing my master in turn 1. Assassinate, Entourage (Viktoria of Ashes, announced)Blood, stranded far from her sister, has to use Oathkeeper to catch up. She does blend the offending Cerberus quite effectively upon arrival.
Turn 2: I win initiative and power up Viktoria of Ashes with Sisters in Fury, advances and places her sister with Sisters in Spirit. Viktoria of Blood chain activates and charges into a perfect position between Marcus, Myranda and one Cerberus. Sadly, Michael flips the Red Joker to make the first attack miss and I Black Joker the second so the single Whirlwind I pull off is depressingly ineffective. Myranda heals the wounded Cerberus and companions it to miss Viktoria of Blood. Marcus misses her as well and one final Cerberus is able to get her down to a single wound. The rest of my crew are running to get involved. This was a very silly turn with all the good cards coming out on defense flips.
Turn 3: Viktoria of Ashes again casts Sisters in Fury, moves round into companion range of Viktoria of Blood and swings once at the Cerberus engaging her. Viktoria of Blood kills Marcus (scoring Assassinate) and hurts Myranda and both Cerberuses nearby. Myranda heals a cat and transforms into a Cerberus herself. Taelor uses Oathkeeper and hurts yet another giant cat. It Leaps into Viktoria of Ashes, misses the first attack and then top decks the Red Joker on a negative flip for the second, scoring Assassinate in the process. So since we both have Assassinate in the bag and can’t score Entourage, this will now been decided by Reckoning score. Bishop kills a Cerberus, one of them finally polishes off Viktoria of Blood and the Librarian softens up yet another one. We both score for Reckoning.
Turn 4: The left-most Cerberus Leaps and kills off the Malifaux Child. Taelor kills one Cerberus and Johan combines with Bishop to drop the second-last one. The survivor flees from Taelor and gets hurt by Furious Casting from the Librarian. I score Reckoning.
Turn 5: The Cerberus is able to flee out of my range, so we call the game there. Outcasts win 5 – 4 (2 for Reckoning and 3 for Assassinate for me; 1 for Reckoning and 3 for Assassinate for Michael).
That was a very silly game with ridiculous flips on both sides of the table. I don’t think I’ve played that badly with my positioning for a long while, but it was quite instructive in using the huge threat range of the Viktorias. I ended up with them engaged with the whole of Michael’s crew while the rest of my crew ran to keep up. My choice of schemes was quite silly too; with Assassinate in the pool I shouldn’t have put all my eggs in the same basket by taking Entourage on Viktoria of Ashes. Taelor would have been a far better option, partly since she’s much more survivable and partly because there were no Assassinate VPs riding on her too. I had a nice time and I was quite glad not to have taken a shooting crew against Michael’s hilarious cat crew.
Game 3: Outcasts (me) vs Gremlins (Kenny Hall)
Strategy: Stake a Claim
Pool: Line in the Sand, Bodyguard, Breakthrough, Outflank, Plant Explosives
Outcasts: Breakthrough (announced), Plant Explosives
Gremlins: Bodyguard (Francois LaCroix), Breakthrough (announced)
Outcasts: Tara (Obliteration Symbiote, Knowledge of Eternity), Freikorpsman, Freikorps Librarian, Freikorps Trapper, Hodgepodge Effigy, Johan, Killjoy, Ronin
Gremlins: Ophelia LaCroix (Dirty Cheater), Old Cranky, Lenny, Francois LaCroix (Dirty Cheater), Rami LaCroix (Hide in the Mud), Slop Hauler, Merris LaCroix, 2 Bayou Gremlins
Despite my win in round two, both Joe and Furycat lost their games so we went further down to the bottom tables. I ended up paired with Kenny, a player returning from a hiatus since Malifaux 1.5, to take on his Gremlins. I took Tara for her large number of AP since there wasn’t really anything needing killing. Since we were using close deployment I took Killjoy hoping to catch the Gremlin crew unawares, perhaps as soon as the first activation with a Tara bomb. I fancied trying out a Ronin since I only just put them together the night before the event; from this choice you can see the highly tactical approach I was taking. Breakthrough is simplest in close deployment, and I thought that with my relatively un-killy crew (except Killjoy) that Plant Explosives would be the best option from the rest. I set up first and Kenny loaded his entire crew on one side, which put paid to my plans to launch Killjoy at them right at the beginning of the game.
Turn 1: The Bayou Gremlins surprisingly don’t go Reckless, but do shoot my Ronin who takes the damage despite cover. Rami Focuses and blows away the Freikorpsman (on the left; not visible in my photo due to the terrain) with a Dumb Luck Red Joker; the Trapper drops him in return before he can be healed. There is some fairly ineffective shooting around the board. Ophelia moves up, uses Ooh a Girl to pull Lenny into a nice clump with Old Cranky, Francois and Bayou Gremlin before shooting the Ronin. Tara moves up, unburies Killjoy and makes him, Johan, the Librarian and a Bayou Gremlin Fast with Temporal Shift. Killjoy rockets into the Gremlin crowd but fails to kill Lenny thanks to Old Cranky’s aura. Lenny Tosses Ophelia upfield and pokes Killjoy. The Slop Hauler uses Reckless and moves up to heal some Gremlins.
Turn 2: Tara pings Ophelia for Slow, gives Killjoy Fast and buries him, then unburies him again to companion for the charge. This time he kills Francois, fails to kill Old Cranky (due to Lenny’s aura of damage reduction) then finishes off Lenny. In retrospect I should have dealt with Lenny first. Ophelia kills the Ronin and shoots the Librarian. Johan kills Merris and the Slop Hauler makes a run for it to catch up with Ophelia. The Effigy deeper into Kenny’s half of the board and drops a scheme marker. Old Cranky, to my surprise, moves in and attacks Killjoy, killing himself with Black Blood in the process. The Librarian shouts a few wounds out of Ophelia with Ancient Words; the Gremlin Squeals into melee with her. One Bayou Gremlin escapes Killjoy’s clutches and wastes a couple of bullets shooting at Tara; the Trapper kills it in return. Tara Stakes a Claim, scoring me a VP for the strategy.
Turn 3: Somewhere around here I realise that I’m meant to be doing Plant Explosives. Tara Slows Ophelia and makes Killjoy Fast, burying him in the process. Ophelia kills the Librarian and runs for my board edge. The Effigy and Slop Hauler put down Claim markers. Tara walks between the Slop Hauler and last Bayou Gremlin to put down a scheme marker which is immediately removed for Plant Explosives (2 VP). I score on the Stake a Claim.
Turn 4: Tara misses two charge attacks at the Slop Hauler, but her main objective was to get far enough past him to deliver Killjoy into Ophelia. Good use of masks (for Squeal) and soulstones on Kenny’s side leave Ophelia alive with a couple of wounds after Killjoy is finished. Ophelia drops scheme and Claim markers. Johan kills the Slop Hauler, rather showing up Tara pitiful efforts from earlier in the turn. The Bayou Gremlin puts down a scheme marker and shoots Johan, killing itself with Dumb Luck in the process; Johan was saved by his Hard To Kill. The Trapper, who spent the whole of last turn walking, guns down Ophelia. Neither of us score for the strategy on turn 4, but since Kenny is out of Gremlins we agree that I spend turn 5 removing his scheme markers and putting down another Claim marker with Tara. Outcasts win 8 – 0 (3 for Stake a Claim, 3 for Breakthough and 2 for Plant Explosives).
Kenny was a lovely chap to meet across a Malifaux table. I think his inexperience showed a bit here as I felt that he was a bit over-cautious when it came to things like Reckless and Dumb Luck. I did explain at the start of the game about the Tara / Killjoy bomb but I think it is the sort of thing that you need to have happen to you before you can counter it. On the one hand, concentrating his crew on one side did make it longer before I could deliver Killjoy, but on the other it meant that I could tie up half of his crew with a single piece. I really enjoy playing Tara; it always feels like I have options.
Joe also managed a win in the final round (Gareth got a hilarious Evidence Tampering sucker punch for a third narrow loss) so at least we as team managed one win. I think we were 6th or so out of 10 in the team rankings. Slightly to my surprise the TOs did put up individual ranking (surprising because I thought that the team format would make single rankings a bit weird) and I was somewhere in the upper third. Wherever we ended up, I had a great time out. I was really impressed with the turn out; 30 players for an unranked event right at the start of January is absolutely terrific. As always, it was terrific to catch up with old friends and new. Thanks to Connor, Michael and Kenny for three enjoyable games and to Kai and Jamie for their usual smooth organisation.