Furycat and I headed along to Common Ground Games in Stirling again, this time for a Malifaux doubles tournament. I’ve never played doubles before, but it seemed like an excuse to be silly and not worry too much about the game balance; the main Malifaux rules don’t really cover doubles so there are some odd cases of things not working as normal. Furycat and I took Ten Thunders Misaki and Outcast Tara respectively for the simple reason that those were the masters we were in the mood for playing when we drove over.
Game 1: Outcasts / Ten Thunders (us) vs Outcasts / Ten Thunders (Greg and Maria)
Pool: Convict Labour, Take Prisoner, Leave Your Mark, A Quick Murder, Inspection
Our Outcasts / Ten Thunders: A Quick Murder (Bishop), Convict Labour
Their Outcasts / Ten Thunders: A Quick Murder (Rusty Alyce), Inspection
Our Outcasts / Ten Thunders: Tara (Knowledge of Eternity), Freikorps Trapper, Johan, Rusty Alyce; Misaki (Stalking Bisento, Recalled Training), Sensei Yu (Wandering River Style), Katanaka Sniper, Monk of the Low River
Their Outcasts / Ten Thunders: Misaki (Stalking Bisento), Sensei Yu (Wandering River Style), Mr Graves, Shadow Effigy; Viktoria of Ashes (Sisters in Fury, Synchronised Slaying, Oathkeeper), Viktoria of Blood (Mark of Shezuul, Oathkeeper), Bishop (Oathkeeper), Hodgepodge Effigy
So, game one and we come up against the strongest pairing in the event. Not the straightforward start I was hoping for to get a feel for how doubles play would work out in practice. Still, it did at least mean that (in theory) every game after this one would be easier. I don’t think we even put a lot of thought into our crews; the masters got our favourite upgrades and the rest were selected mainly with a view to being able to put damage out at range. Clearly with the amount of pushing available in the other crew we would be facing a turn 1 onslaught. Seeing the schemes, we figured to drop Bishop quickly (for a Quick Murder) and hope to have anything live long enough to score Convict Labour. We planned to put some shooting downrange in turn 1 with the Trapper and Sniper then brace for impact, hopefully deploying our own Misaki missile at some point.
Turn 1: The two Effigies do their things on the masters and head off in cover. Tara makes Alyce Fast. Our long range shooters put some damage into Viktoria of Ashes, drawing a couple of Soulstones to prevent damage, while Sensei Yu fails to Stalk the Sniper but does push Misaki up and make her fast. She then crashes into the Sniper and does a little damage. Mr Graves pushes both Viktorias forward (due to one of the many doubles quirks about friendly models). Our Yu pushes Alyce, stalks Viktoria of Blood and makes Misaki Fast. The Viktorias then power up and Viktoria of Blood wades in to kill Misaki and Johan. Alyce bounces some bullets off Viktoria of Blood in return and Tara charges in and ends up burying her.
Turn 2: Tara makes Alyce Fast again and Slows Viktoria of Ashes. Misaki offs the Sniper, bringing Viktoria of Blood back, then Alyce guns down Bishop (scoring our Quick Murder). Viktoria of Blood kills the Trapper then the Monk climbs up to engage her and Misaki. Our Yu hides behind the building (there was nothing useful to do with him) and their Yu has a terrible run of cards and fails to do anything whatsoever. Mr Graves charges Viktoria of Ashes and pushes her into range to swing on Tara and Alyce. Greg and Maria score on Interference and Inspection.
Turn 3: Alyce kills Viktoria of Ashes; Viktoria of Blood kills the Monk. Tara Slows Misaki and makes Alyce Fast. Their Yu pushes Mr Graves forward and Stalks Tara. Miaski then kills her. Greg and Maria score on Interference and Inspection again.
Turn 4: Misaki kills Alyce for a not-especially Quick Murder. We have Sensei Yu left but there is nothing left he can do so we concede the rest of the game. Our team loses 3 – 9 (3 for Quick Murder for us; 4 for Interference, 3 for Inspection and 2 for Quick Murder for them).
As always, games against Greg and Maria are terrific fun, so getting them both in a single game was excellent. We made some pretty big mistakes here; probably the biggest was not revving up Misaki with Sensei Yu earlier in the turn so that we could have the option to drop them onto the Viktorias after they’d been pushed forward by Mr Graves (though there were other options available to Greg and Maria so they didn’t need to walk into that trap). Anyway, the game was over so quickly that we could go out for lunch, have a wander round the shop and still come back to find that the other teams weren’t finished at all.
Game 2: Outcasts / Ten Thunders (us) vs Outcasts / Resurrectionists (Ali and Dave)
Strategy: Squatter’s Rights
Pool: Convict Labour, Hunting Party, Show Of Force, Detonate The Charges, Public Demonstration
Outcasts / Ten Thunders: Hunting Party, Show Of Force
Outcasts / Resurrectionists: Hunting Party, Public Demonstration (Hodgepodge Effigy, Dead Doxy, Student of Viscera)
Outcasts / Ten Thunders: Tara (Knowledge of Eternity), Rusty Alyce (Desolate Soul), Taelor; Misaki (Stalking Bisento, Recalled Training), Yin the Penangalan, Illuminated, Katanaka Sniper
Outcasts / Resurrectionists: Von Schill (The Shirt Comes Off), Hodgepodge Effigy, Johan, Convict Gunslinger (Oathkeeper), Freikorps Trapper; Molly Squidpiddge (Forgotten Life), Student of Viscera, Dead Doxy, Rogue Necromancy
Needless to say, the thrashing we received in game 1 sent us right down to the bottom table for the second game. This one had a much more favourable scheme pool from my point of view. I took Alyce with an upgrade with the idea of dominating the centre and Taelor in the hope that one day I would actually get to use Welcome To Malifaux against Molly. Furycat notably took Yin as our plan was to take firm control of the centre with Misaki and my Outcasts, then harass anything sent to the flanks with the rest of our crews. With the other crew packing minions and likely to summon more we selected Hunting Party, and had picked Alyce specifically to give us the option of Show Of Force. We deployed second and had no hesitation in parking the Sniper in melee with the Trapper, being careful not to give him space to push free without either going off the tower or remaining in melee.
Turn 1: Molly Imbues Vigour onto the Doxy then Tara makes Misaki, Taelor and Alyce Fast. The Doxy uses Take The Lead twice to move the Student toward the corner marker. The Sniper pokes gently at the Trapper and Misaki charges in to generally make no impact on the poor Freikorpsman.
Turn 2: The Gunslinger Rapid Fires Alyce to burn a good number of our Soulstones away keeping her well. Yin moves to cover the corner marker and puts Gnawing Fear on the Student. The Doxy pushes it forward again. Tara makes Alyce Fast again. The Rogue Necromancy shoots Alyce and Stalks her. The Sniper continues to trade blows with the Trapper, and some fantastic cards from Ali has the Trapper coming out ahead. Alyce shoots the Effigy (trying to score Hunting Party) but completely fails to do anything significant; she flips her marker. Misaki kills the Gunslinger and pushes into Molly who attacks her for no meaningful effect. Taelor and Tara flip the other two markers in the middle. Von Schill misses a couple of shots at Alyce, then we score Squatter’s Rights and Show of Force.
Turn 3: Tara makes Alyce Fast and fails to Slow Von Schill. The main moustache charges and hurts my master a lot. Alyce guns down the Rogue Necromancy, summoning an Abomination which is then killed bt Johan for Hunting Party (oops!). Misaki and Molly continue to flap at each other. The Doxy fails a horror duel on Yin, then Taelor steams over to smite the Student of Viscera (scoring a point for our Hunting Party). Yin pokes the Doxy a bit while the Sniper finally manages to win his sword fight with an unarmed man, dispatching the Trapper on his 6th attack (and after help from Misaki). Tara buries Von Schill. We score again for Show of Force and the strategy; they reveal Public Demonstration to score a point from the Dead Doxy.
Turn 4: Yin finishes the Dead Doxy for Hunting Party, bringing out Von Schill who wastes no time polishing off Taelor. Misaki drops Molly and Johan misses the Illuminated which kills the Effigy. This guarantees us the final Hunting Party point in turn 5 since it was the last minion. Everything we have left pours attacks into Von Schill, leaving him on a single wound left. We score for the strategy and pick up the last Show of Force point.
Turn 5: Tara kills Von Schill. It had no impact on the game, but I wanted it for completeness. Johan fails to do enough damage to the Illuminated to score another Hunting Party. Our team wins 10 – 2 (full score for us, 1 each for Hunting Party and Public Demonstration for them).
That was a hilarious game and we were all especially enjoying the epic duel on the rooftop between the Sniper and the heroic Trapper. From our point of view, everything went perfectly according to plan, so not much more to say. I think that Ali and Dave dithered a little too much, being unduly cautious with Molly and not committing Von Schill to the centre early enough on to matter.
Game 3: Outcasts / Ten Thunders (us) vs Ten Thunders / Ten Thunders (Callum and Dave)
Pool: Convict Labour, Exhaust Their Forces, Show Of Force, Neutralize The Leader, Catch And Release
Outcasts / Ten Thunders: Show Of Force, Neutralize The Leader (Lucas McCabe)
Ten Thunders / Ten Thunders: Show Of Force, Neutralize The Leader (Misaki)
Outcasts / Ten Thunders: Tara (Knowledge of Eternity), Johan, Freikorps Librarian, Freikorps Trapper, Hodgepodge Effigy; Misaki (Stalking Bisento, Recalled Training), Sensei Yu (Wandering River Style), Izamu the Armour (Recalled Training)
Ten Thunders / Ten Thunders: Lucas McCabe (Glowing Sabre, Badge of Speed), Luna, Shadow Emissary (Elixir of Life, Conflux of Exploration), Mounted Guardsman; Shenlong (Wandering River Style, Recalled Training), Sensei Yu (Smoke Grenades, Promising Disciple), Peasant, Katanaka Sniper
We went into this knowing that we were going to give up 3 points for Neutralise The Leader on Misaki, and resolved just to get on and enjoy doing what she does best (i.e. doing just the same thing to the other master); Lucas McCabe felt like an easier choice of victim than Shenlong, at least to score a point. Furycat took Sensei Yu to turbo-charge Misaki, score Show of Force and generally get our crew on to head markers as needed and Izamu to be a colossal roadblock that might not even surrender his head in the end. For my part, I took cheaper stuff that could pick up heads but didn’t need to commit too far forward. The Librarian was there to mitigate any Sniper shenanigans and the Trapper was there to provide our own. Johan was hungry to get a chance to swing that Relic Hammer at Shenlong, or otherwise just to be a handy second wave threat with Yu to push him around. Some of the cover options on the board aren’t very obvious, but we did pick some pieces to stop it being like playing on an empty field.
Turn 1: The Shenlong phase starts with the Peasant reproducing by binary fission. Tara makes Yu and Misaki Fast and a Peasant makes the Sniper Focus. The Hodgepodge Effigy puts down some Mist to mitigate the incoming gun fire. The Sniper guns a pait of Focus shots into Misaki while our Trapper has only one shot at McCabe. The Emissary pushes their Yu forward while our Yu pushes Izamu up and makes him Fast. Their Yu then Airbursts Izamu forward and fails to Mighty Gust him back and Slow him. The attentive among you may notice that their Yu didn’t actually have Wandering River Style at that point; an activation or so later Dave realises this and we put the high card we cheated to avoid the Mighty Gust back into our hand. Izamu, barely able to believe that Yu’s clone was so helpful as to bring him even closer, happily charges in and beats the big chap to within an inch of his life, relieving the crew of all Soulstones in the process. McCabe Black Flashes the Sniper and charges Izamu, beating a Soulstone out of him in the process, then passed the Sabre to the Mounted Guard. The Librarian heals a couple of wounds off Misaki, then the Sniper shoots them right back off again. Shenlong heals some wounds on Sensei Yu, then Misaki tears off up the board and kills Yu anyway. She pushes into a clump of Ten Thunders models to keep the Mounted Guard off Izamu. The Guard does stab a few wounds off her to score a point for Neutralise The Leader.
Turn 2: Shenlong narrowly fails to kill Misaki. She races over to knock McCabe off his horse (scoring a point for Neutralise The Leader) and eventually pushes further away from the bulk of their crew. The Emissary picks her off with a blast from an attack on Izamu (scoring the last points for Neutralise The Leader), who in turn smacks all but one of McCabes wounds off him. The Mounted Guard kills Izamu with the Sabre, but the Armour hits him back and doesn’t drop a head thanks to A Warrior’s Death. Tara fails to do anything to McCabe. The Sniper shoots Johan down to his Hard to Kill wound, then Yu pushes him around a wall and makes him Fast. Johan gets into the Mounted Guard, killing him and picking up a previously dropped head right at his feet. Tara, slightly sheepishly, finally drops McCabe with her gun to score our remaining Neutralise The Leader points. This Reactivates the Sniper who blows away a Peasant who had ended up engaged with Johan before killing the renegade steamfitter with the second shot. We score for Show of Force.
Turn 3: Tara Slows the Sniper and Shenlong. The latter switches to Wandering River Style and picks up a head. Yu Airbursts him back and Mighty Gusts the Librarian forward. The Emissary passes the Elixir to Shenlong to push him back to the middle. Our Effigy picks up a nearby head. The Sniper knocks the Librarian to a single wound with one Focussed shot, the Black Jokers the damage on the second. She uses Furious Casting plus Fast to take the Emissary to 1 wound before Black Jokering the last shot in her own turn. Luna bites the Effigy, the Trapper finishes the Emissary and Tara vapourises Luna with a timely Red Joker. We score again on Show of Force.
Turn 4: Shenlong changes to High River Style and hurts Tara. The Librarian picks up another head and we run out of time. Our team wins 9 – 4 (3 for Headhunter and 3 for each scheme for us; 1 for Headhunter and 3 for Neutralise The Leader for them).
It was lovely to play against Dave and Callum, but once Dave had made his mistake with Sensei Yu they were right on the back foot for the whole game. Not just because it let us take Sensei Yu almost for free, but because it shook Dave’s confidence in his choices. We had an interesting quandary at the start of turn 2 with Misaki. We ultimately decided to go directly for points by throwing Misaki into McCabe, but we could have dropped three Thunder attacks over the crew which would probably have picked up the Sniper, both Peasant and Luna, with some nice damage on Shenlong and the Mounted Guard. That would have given us some interesting activation control for the rest of the game.
Game 4: Outcasts / Ten Thunders (us) vs Resurrectionists / Resurrectionists (Dave and Robert)
Strategy: Turf War
Pool: Convict Labour, Exhaust Their Forces, Leave Your Mark, Occupy Their Turf, Take Prisoner
Outcasts / Ten Thunders: Exhaust Their Forces, Leave Your Mark
Resurrectionists / Resurrectionists: Exhaust Their Forces, Take Prisoner (female Illuminated)
Outcasts / Ten Thunders: Tara (Knowledge of Eternity), Taelor, Rusty Alyce (Desolate Soul); Misaki (Stalking Bisento), Kang, 2 Illuminated
Resurrectionists / Resurrectionists: Molly Squidpiddge (Forgotten Life), Valedictorian, Carrion Emissary (Conflux of Molly-ness), Graveyard Spirit; Seamus (Sinister Reputation), Bishop, 2 Rotten Belles, Copycat Killer
Our plan here was to accept that we’d be out numbered and Lured around and just go directly for the throat, trying to keep the line of combat far enough back that it would be hard to put two pieces into the Turf War area. I took Alyce’s upgrade thinking that Molly might summon some pieces that we could gun down into Abominations, and Taelor for her general utility, bad-ass-ness and possibility of getting off Welcome To Malifaux. Furycat’s plan was to apply early pressure with Misaki and then back it up with a wall of Kang-assisted Illuminated. None of the schemes looked very appealing, so we picked Exhaust Their Forces (thinking that there would be plenty of force to exhaust) and Leave Your Mark with the aim of dropping markers when we were right up the table.
Turn 1: The Emissary flaps over the building and drops a pair of Shard Markers right in our way, then flaps back. Tara makes Misaki and Taelor Fast. We sacrifice an Illuminated to the inevitable chain Lure, and it is indeed pulled right into the death ball Misaki charges the Emissary for no effect at all. Molly summons a Punk Zombie, makes it attack Misaki then summons a Drowned. Eventually Bishop drops the Illuminated and Seamus Exhausts Misaki to score a point.
Turn 2: We end up with a hand full of high crows and decide to try to burn their resources. She Stalks Seamus and Assassinates him three times. Sadly, we only get weak damage on all three flips and one of them is stoned away to nothing so ultimately we probably ended up hurting our own hand and cache more than theirs. Oh well. Molly puts Terrible Truth on Misaki and Bishop puts the final blow into her a few activations later of things poking at our Master. Tara Slows the Valedictorian. Taelor charges in and Hammerfalls to move a few things around. Alyce can’t get a clear shot on anything and ends up dropping a scheme marker. Kang smites Bishop and Seamus Exhausts Taelor. The Illuminated does kill off the Mindless Zombie though. Tara ends up burying the Valedictorian and a Belle Slows both Tara and Taelor. We score Leave Your Mark, they score Exhaust Their Forces and we both score Turf War.
Turn 3: Kang kills Bishop, releasing the Valedictorian which Exhausts him in reply. Tara removes Slow from Taelor and Exhausts a Belle. Taelor fails a Hammerfall that would have caught almost the entire Resurrectionist crew (they flipped high and the highest card we’d drawn was a 7). The Illuminated charges the Belle, splashing Black Blood over just about everyone, so Seamus kills her to do a bit more. He companions to the other Belle who Lures Alyce into the scrum; she responds by Exhausting Seamus. Various things attack Tara who tries to disengage so she can put down a scheme marker, but fails. My notes fail me at this point, but somewhere in here Taelor died (possibly to Black Blood) and the Illuminated gets Lured right into the back of the crew. When time runs out, we both score Exhaust Their Forces and Turf War, and they reveal Take Prisoner on the surviving Illuminated. Our team loses 4 – 8 (2 for Turf War and 1 for each scheme for us; 2 for Turf War and 3 for each scheme for them).
That was another really interesting game, and I always enjoy playing against a Malifaux legend like Dave. Our planning and strategy was completely wrong though; we should have taken more cheaper stuff and aimed for crowd control. Certainly Alyce was wasted, her job could have been done just as well by a 4 Soulstone Void Wretch. We also wasted more resources on Misaki in the middle of the mosh pit than we cost Dave and Robert; she’d have been better moving to force them to react and maybe taking out a few lesser pieces rather than going all in on Seamus.
Game 5: Outcasts / Ten Thunders (us) vs Arcanists / Arcanists (Andy and Michael)
Strategy: Stake a Claim
Pool: Convict Labour, Hunting Party, Show Of Force, Search The Ruins, Public Demonstration
Outcasts / Ten Thunders: Show Of Force, Search The Ruins
Arcanists / Arcanists: Hunting Party, Search The Ruins
Outcasts / Ten Thunders: Tara (Knowledge of Eternity, Obliteration Symbiote), Killjoy, Freikorpsman, Hodgepodge Effigy; Misaki (Stalking Bisento, Recalled Training), Dawn Serpent, Sensei Yu (Wandering River Style)
Arcanists / Arcanists: Ramos (Seize The Day, Bleeding Edge Tech), Brass Arachnid, Large Arachnid, Howard Langston (Imbued Energies); Colette Du Bois (Arcane Reservoir, Shell Game, Nothing Up My Sleeve), Mechanical Dove, Myranda, Cassandra (Practiced Production, Imbued Energies)
We took one look at the scheme pool, terrain and close deployment here and decided to end the event by going all in for fighting. I picked Killjoy to aim for the first turn, or even first activation, beast bomb, and Furycat got Sensei Yu set up to do a full on Misaki missile. I took two cheap activations; the idea was to gum things up so much with Misaki and Killjoy that the Effigy and Freikorpsman would have a free reign on the fringe of the action. The Dawn Serpent was partly because Furycat loves it, and partly to avoid giving up 3 points on Hunting Party too easily. We picked Show of Force and Search the Ruins with the idea of getting Yu to score the former on his own and with Tara’s help for the latter if we could successfully push the Arcanists right back. As it turned out, they deployed too cagily for me to fire Killjoy in activation 1.
Turn 1: The Large Arachnid kills the Dove for scrap. Tara makes the Dawn Serpent and Yu Fast. Ramos summons a pair of Steam Arachnids; the Dawn Serpent breathes fire over them. Sensei Yu charges Misaki with Fast and pushes her forwards, then Stalks Howard Langston. Langston drops Imbued Energies and attacks her, drawing some of our stones. Interestingly, I advise Furycat not to attack back this point as I’ve forgotten about Colette behind her wall, but luckily so has Andy so he makes the Brass Arachnid Stoke Langston instead. That mistake costs Langston his life as Misaki tears him apart then charges in to bounce off the Large Arachnid. Cassandra prompts Myranda to move, then advances herself. Tara moves up, unburies Killjoy, pulses Temporal Shift (catching one Steam Arachnid, Killjoy, Yu and the Dawn Serpent) and chain activates Killjoy. The big beastie lumbers into Ramos, positioning so any push away will leave him braced up against a monument. Colette Prompts the Large Arachnid to bite Misaki.
Turn 2: Colette Prompts Ramos to summon 3 Steam Arachnids, then Prompts the Large Arachnid to attack Misaki until she has only a single wound remaining. Misaki stabs Ramos repeatedly and draws out all their cards and Soulstones; Ramos misses her back three times. The Dawn Serpent Focuses and clears out all the newly summoned Arachnids. Cassandra attacks the Effigy and Myranda attacks the Freikorpsman, then turns into a Cerberus to do it again; both survive. Sensei Yu Airbursts the Effigy free, drops a scheme marker from the Focus he gained, walks up and drops another scheme marker. Tara uses Temporal Shift again to speed up almost our whole crew, then drops another scheme marker to take control for Search the Ruins. The Large Arachnid hurts the Dawn Serpent then the Effigy puts down a Claim marker. Killjoy turns Ramos into a stain on the ground then saunters off to line up an Arachnid as its target. The rest of Andy and Michael’s crew improbably bounce off Misaki. We score Stake a Claim and Show of Force.
Turn 3: Misaki hurts Colette and Cassandra kills the Effigy (scoring for Hunting Party) while the Cerberus finishes off the Freikorpsman. The Dawn Serpent heals and eats the Large Arachnid. Yu Airbursts the Cerberus back into its own half of the board. Tara buries a nearby Arachnid (actually I was just trying to burn a card out of their hand) and uses Temporal Shift again. Colette finally kills Misaki to cheers all round, so Killjoy kills her in return, and squashes the Brass Arachnid for good measure. Again, we score Stake a Claim and Show of Force.
Turn 4: The plucky Steam Arachnid bites Killjoy. The Dawn Serpent charges into hurt Cassandra and she gets away from it on the second attempt. Yu fails to Airburst the Cerberus, so luckily gets through Southern Charm to Mighty Gust her back to the Dawn Serpent. The Cerberus fails to Leap over the centre line and walks sadly instead. Our team wins 9 – 1 (3 each for the strategy and both schemes for us; 1 for Hunting Party for them).
That was a very funny game and we were all laughing and groaning as yet another attack bounced off Misaki’s seemingly perfect dance of death in turn 2 and 3. We could very easily have lost Misaki to prompted Langston attacks in turn 1 (I think we had the cards in hand to survive but it wasn’t a sure thing) but all of us missed the opportunity. After that, it was just clean up as Misaki and Killjoy effectively paralysed their entire crew apart from Myranda and Cassandra for three turns, allowing our crew to go about the business of scoring all the points.
So in the end we somehow come in 2nd place; seemingly Greg and Maria destroyed everyone else as easily as they did us, and the other teams in the top half of the table took results off each other. Playing doubles was quite an instructive experience as I had to be able to explain my reasoning for my choices to Furycat and have him make me understand why he chose various courses too. As a team we seemed to work quite smoothly together with general agreement on how to proceed and even which cards to cheat; by contrast some teams did appear to spend a lot more time discussing strategy. Thanks to Greg, Maria, Ali, Dave, Callum, Dave, Dave, Robert, Andy and Michael for 5 terrific games of Malifaux, and to Jamie and Kai for their great work organising and making the whole event run smoothly.