Joe, Furycat and I drove over to Common Ground Games in Stirling for another one of Kai’s excellent Malifaux events. The format was the basic game at 50SS, no doubles or anything. The only twist was that Steve had graciously offered to run the actual event, thereby allowing Kai a rare opportunity to play in his own tournament. Strategies and schemes were announced ahead of time (which I approve of) but I don’t usually give them more than cursory thought until I know who I’m playing against and have seen the table.
Game 1: Outcasts (me) vs Arcanists (V West)
Strategy: Reconnoitre, flank deployment
Pool: Convict Labour, Covert Breakthrough, Public Demonstration, Leave Your Mark, Exhaust Their Forces
Outcasts: Covert Breakthrough, Convict Labour
Arcanists: Public Demonstration, Leave Your Mark
Outcasts: Leveticus (Tally Sheet, Desolate Soul), 2 Hollow Waifs, Rusty Alyce (Desolate Soul), Freikorps Trapper, Freikorps Librarian, Johan, 2 Ronin, Hodgepodge Effigy
Arcanists: Colette Du Bois (A Lady’s Secret, Practiced Production, Arcane Reservoir), Cassandra (Smoke and Mirrors, Imbued Protection), 2 December Acolytes, 2 Gunsmiths, Union Miner
Funnily enough, despite having known V ever since meeting her at my very first tournament, we had never actually played a proper game of Malifaux together until 2 weeks ago. However, the strategies and schemes that day were pretty similar to these, so we ended up playing largely similar crews. I chose Leveticus partly because he’s good for Reconnoitre as he’s good at destroying an enemy piece and replacing it with one of mine, and partly because I’m trying to get to grips with the interesting positioning he seems to need. Alyce comes in with Desolate Soul in order to get more Abominations out, and the rest of the crew are generalists who can act as anchors, thereby making it less likely that I accidentally strand myself out of Waif range. Tally Sheet combines well with the Hodgepodge Effigy; it means that I can use a soulstone for a crow (if needed) on the killing shot and then immediately get it back. Covert Breakthrough seemed quite easy in flank deployment since I’d have to get my pieces out there anyway, and I thought that Convict Labour could be an simple one to complete simply because I’d be starting so close to the centreline.
Turn 1: An Acolyte shoots Leveticus… how I hate those guys. I use one of my two Soulstones to prevent a second card discard. The Effigy puts Loyalty To The Coin and then chain activates Leveticus. He attacks the unactivated Acolyte, but for some reason I think that they have 7 wounds (they really have 8) and waste my last Soulstone on a crow when I can’t possibly kill him. Leveticus creates a Waif and disappears. Cassandra charges the Trapper and gives him a fairly effecting stabbing, so I take advantage of the delay in Acolyte activation to kill the wounded one with a focussed shot from the Librarian. The Trapper blows away a Gunsmith with a remarkably lucky first shot (double severe plus Critical strike on my first attack). The Union Miner does some False Claims and is then Prompted by Colette to do it some more, liberally scattering scheme markers around. A Ronin double walks to engage the surviving Acolyte.
Turn 2: The Acolyte stabs the Ronin a couple of times and pushes away on the second attack. Leveticus kills Cassandra to make me very relieved man. Rusty Alyce guns down the Miner and summons an Abomination from him. Colette uses Disappearing Act to get right in my face (and surrounded by scheme markers, so tricky to kill), Sabre Tricks the unwounded Ronin down to Hard To Kill and Prompts the Acolyte to take a couple of ineffective shots at the Librarian. The Trapper finishes the Acolyte and Johan pulverises the Gunsmith. The rest of my crew drop scheme markers. I score for the strategy and Convict Labour.
Turn 3: Colette Sabre Tricks Leveticus to death and polishes off the Ronin for good measure. Some of my stuff heads for the backfield to drop scheme markers for Covert Breakthrough, the rest flails uselessly at Colette. The game is already over, but it’s fun to see how long Colette can last; I score again for Convict Labour and Reconnoitre.
Turn 4: Leveticus fails to kill Colette, so she runs off to drop a scheme marker. The Librarian finally kills her so we agree that I can rack up the remaining points; V scores one for Leave Your Mark. Outcasts win 10 – 1 (full score for me; 1 for Leave Your Mark for V).
That was a highly entertaining game, and I think that we both had fun with Colette as an action hero at the end. V is only just getting back into the game after a long absence and I’m sure that she’ll soon be back to her old powers.
Game 2: Outcasts (me) vs Arcanists (Jamie Clark)
Strategy: Extraction, normal deployment
Pool: Convict Labour, Detonate the Charges, Occupy Their Turf, Hunting Party, Exhaust Their Forces
Outcasts: Hunting Party, Convict Labour
Arcanists: Detonate the Charges, Occupy Their Turf
Outcasts: Leveticus (Tally Sheet, Desolate Soul), 2 Hollow Waifs, Taelor, Freikorps Trapper, Freikorps Librarian, Johan, 2 Ronin, Hodgepodge Effigy
Arcanists: Ramos (Arcane Reservoir, Under Pressure), Howard Langston (Imbued Protection), Joss (Bleeding Edge Tech), Arcane Effigy, Mechanical Rider, Steam Arachnid
I was really pleased to get an opportunity to play Jamie as I’ve dodged him for pretty much the whole of last year; he had predicted earlier that this would be his chance to play me. I guessed that Jamie would pick Ramos for this strategy (flooding the centre with Steam Arachnids is quite an effective way to work) so I chose Leveticus again. Not only is Leveticus an effective counter-summoner, but he also ignores most Arcanist defensive abilities. I swapped Alyce out for Taelor so that I could threaten Welcome To Malifaux occasionally but also make use of her tasty Relic Hammer. When I saw that Jamie’s plan would indeed be to summon Arachnids I picked Hunting Party (pretty easy to score with Taelor here) and then also chose Convict Labour on the grounds that it would give me most freedom to operate without worrying about Jamie’s moves.
Turn 1: Joss smacks the Steam Arachnid into scrap, and Ramos turns it into a pair of new Steam Arachnids (we discussed afterward that Jamie could do this slightly more effectively by moving the Arachnid up first then charging with Joss; probably people who play Ramos can give better suggestions). One of them advances into Leveticus’s range and is duly vapourised and turned into an Abomination. The Mechanical Rider, apparently concerned about Johan’s Relic Hammer, takes the unusual step of heading into the centre and therefore within range of Taelor’s. The Trapper shoots the Rider to get started on dropping it before the defensive trigger gets going.
Turn 2: Ramos summons another two Steam Arachnids. Taelor stonks across and smites the Rider into scrap with a timely cheated Red Joker. Langston kills the Waif on my left and the nearby Ronin pokes him gently in retaliation. I start dropping schemes on the centreline, but sadly forget to drop the third one (was going to do it with Johan but moved him to engage instead). The Librarian fails to kill one of the many Steam Arachnids, thereby preventing me from scoring on Hunting Party. Leveticus, aided by the Hodgepodge Effigy, turns the Arcane Effigy into an Abomination but Black Jokers a chance to do the same to an Arachnid. We both score for the strategy but I get to move the marker back toward my table edge.
Turn 3: Langston somehow fails to kill the pesky Ronin. Johan squashes an Arachnid to score me Hunting Party. Ramos summons three more Arachnids and shoots Johan. A huge scrum erupts in the middle with big chunks of each crew involved. The Ronin stabs a few more wounds out of Langston and commits Seppuku to clear a shot for Leveticus to kill him, which he duly does (and turns him into an Abomination, not because it would be useful out there but because it is entertaining to do it). The Trapper and Librarian take shots of opportunity at Ramos. I score on Extraction and Convict Labour while Jamie scores two points for Detonate the Charges.
Turn 4: Taelor beats two more Arachnids back into scrap (for Hunting Party, and also just to keep them in check) then Joss kills Johan. Ramos summons another two Arachnids; the Librarian kills another. I score again for Extraction and Convict Labour and we run out of time. Outcasts win 7 – 3 (3 for Extraction, 2 for Convict Labour and 2 for Hunting Party for me; 1 for Extraction and 2 for Detonate the Charges for Jamie).
That was another really fun game; it felt like whack-a-mole trying to keep the Arachnids under control. I was happy to keep the dog-pile in the centre going as I was able to move the Informant marker back far enough that Jamie could only score on turn 2. I should really have picked up Convict Labour in turn 2; in a 5 round game I would have probably been able to get the last points in the final round but it was a little sloppy anyway.
Game 3: Outcasts (me) vs Arcanists (Lewis Philips)
Strategy: Collect The Bounty, close deployment
Pool: Convict Labour, Catch and Release, Undercover Entourage, Hunting Party, Leave Your Mark
Outcasts: Hunting Party, Undercover Entourage (Tara)
Arcanists: Hunting Party, Leave Your Mark
Outcasts: Tara (Knowledge of Eternity, Obliteration Symbiote), Killjoy, Malifaux Child, Johan, Rusty Alyce, Freikorps Trapper, Nothing Beast (Void Shield)
Arcanists: Marcus (Hunger Cry, Trail of the Gods, Feral Instincts), Myranda (Imbued Energies), Cassandra (Practiced Productions), Cerberus (Pack Leader), 2 Malifaux Raptors, Jackalope, Blessed of December
I’ve played Lewis a few times lately and he’s getting really good. I was quite surprised to see that he’d moved to play Arcanists now as I think I’ve previously only seen him using Neverborn. Still, I change factions from time to time, it’s quite nice to have a change. Close deployment and Collect The Bounty feels like it could be a good call for the Viktorias but I’m pretty bad at using them so I decided to use Tara for this one (also, I’d be quite worried at shipping so many Bounty points on them as they’re not hard to finish off). I planned to throw Killjoy at a few big things and hope to keep enough stuff distracted while the rest of my crew picked off any stragglers. Undercover Entourage would be good for Tara since she can cover plenty of ground when she needs it, and I was hoping that I could do enough damage to the Raptors and Jackalope that I could score easily on Hunting Party.
Turn 1: Tara makes the Nothing Beast and Alyce fast. The Trapper shoots a few wounds out of Marcus. The Blessed moves up toward the centre and the Nothing Beast charges it and Red Jokers the damage to end it in one go. I’d planned to soften it up a bit for the next turn. Marcus gets stuck into Johan, making him a beast and Domesticating him. Alyce beats him up and inconveniently also drops double severe damage onto one attack that it passed over to Johan. Tara unburies Killjoy, drops (some good) cards to make everyone nearby fast, then chain activates into Killjoy. He charges into the Cerberus but makes a total mess of his attacks. This was a massive play error on my side. Firstly, I dropped 3 good cards (my last in hand) to get a few more AP; I was hoping to get lucky off the deck but didn’t. The right move was definitely to make use of the cards to have an impact on the actions I actually did use. I also dithered about finishing off Marcus; he was vulnerable but it would have cost me Johan and also possibly my ability to score on the strategy in the following rounds. I’m still on the edge about the bounty points, but I’m currently thinking that it would have been worthwhile to just let Johan go and probably finish Marcus while the opportunity was there. Anyway, Myranda turns into another Blessed which Leaps in to finish Johan anyway. A Raptor lands near Marcus too so he has both it and the Blessed to pass attacks off to.
Turn 2: Alyce punches Marcus who uses Soulstones to pass the damage around and avoid dying. He turns Killjoy into a beast, domesticates him and moves out of Black Blood range and hurts both Alyce and the Trapper. He then accomplices to the Cerberus who takes a few bites out of Killjoy. The Nothing Beast kills his second Blessed of December and one Raptor swipes at the Trapper. The other is sitting far off in a corner to have scheme markers thrown at it by Cassandra. The Trapper pushes out of melee and shoot Cassandra. Tara Slows Marcus but he stubbornly refuses to be buried (it does draw some cards out of Lewis’s hand though). Killjoy heals himself and takes an ineffectual focussed swing at the Cerberus. Cassandra drops a scheme marker and misses a stab at the Trapper. I score on the strategy; Lewis scores Leave Your Mark.
Turn 3: Marcus again makes Killjoy a beast, Domesticates him and kills him before stabbing Alyce. The Cerberus chain activates and finishes her off. Cassandra kills the Trapper (scoring for Hunting Party) and drops another scheme marker, while Practiced Production lets another fall out of a Raptor. Tara buries Marcus who has one wound left and no soulstones. The Nothing Beast kills the Jackalope (scoring for me on Hunting Party) which causes Marcus to fall out of the Void; the Nothing Beast kills him too (finally!). The Malifaux Child makes a run for it. Lewis scores for both Collect the Bounty and Leave Your Mark.
Turn 4: Tara finishes the Cerberus and starts running for the far side of the board. Cassandra drops a final scheme marker and manages to get the child (double moderate damage on a negative flip for the single attack she could make; I tried my best to keep the little chap alive!) to collect all the remaining Hunting Party points. The Nothing Beast swings fruitlessly at her. I score Collect the Bounty and Lewis gets the last point for Leave Your Mark with the Raptors staying nice and safe.
Turn 5: The Nothing Beast eats Cassandra. The game ends in a draw at 7 – 7 (3 for Collect the Bounty, 1 for Hunting Party and 3 for Undercover Entourage for me; 1 for Collect the Bounty and 3 for each scheme for Lewis).
That was a very close game, and very enjoyable too. Lewis is becoming a really strong player and making good use of his experience at tournaments in the wider community now and it’s a big challenge now to play him. That said, I’m annoyed with myself for my poor play in turn 1. It might have been the right decision not to kill off Marcus (but I’m currently feeling like the game control would have been worth it even if it ended up denying me a Collect the Bounty point) but it certainly wasn’t the right decision to pitch 3 good cards to give out fast. Still, this is the reason that I write these things – they make me think about what I should have done differently.
Game 4: Outcasts (me) vs Resurrectionists (David McGuire)
Strategy: Reckoning, corner deployment
Pool: Convict Labour, Exhaust Their Forces, Take Prisoner, Covert Breakthrough, Inspection
Outcasts: Convict Labour, Inspection
Resurrectionists: Take Prisoner (Freikorps Trapper), Inspection
Outcasts: Tara (Knowledge of Eternity), Taelor, Johan, Rusty Alyce, Bishop, 2 Freikorps Trappers
Resurrectionists: Molly Squidpiddge (Forgotten Life, Terrible Knowledge), Philip and the Nanny (Take Back The Night), Madam Sybelle (Bleeding Tongue), 2 Night Terrors, 2 Dead Doxies, 2 Crooligans
With Reckoning I decided to go with a very small crew (something I don’t normally play well); Outcasts are spoiled for great options at 10 soulstones so it feels like a bit of treat to be able to take 3 in the same game. I went with Tara again thinking that I could possibly use her to leverage the best out of my elite models. I picked the Trappers with the idea of just sitting them in the corners for Inspection, dropping scheme markers for Convict Labour in turn 2 and generally just taking shots at targets at they presented themselves. I was quite surprised at David’s crew as I thought that quite a few of his models could end up presenting cheap kills, and Molly is usually played as a summoner of disposable minions too. On the other hand, I knew that David was too canny to give up strategy points too easily.
Turn 1: Tara makes Johan, Taelor and Alyce fast. Both Crooligans take double Defensive Stance, a Doxy pushes Philip around and he eventually does some card cycling at the cost of some scheme markers. The Trappers shoot at a Doxy to soften it up a little. Sybelle moves forward and Calls Belle on Molly, who moves up and summons a Punk Zombie out of Taelors sight. She fails to Paralyse Johan with Obscene Truth.
Turn 2: Molly summons a pair of Punk Zombies and makes one of them Slice and Dice in the middle of my bunched up models, doing nasty things. It also hurts the other one to start Black Blood splashing around. She chain activates the one from last turn which kills Johan. Alyce Rapid Fires into Sybelle, hurting her badly and using up most of David’s soulstones. A Doxy pushes Sybelle forward then Taelor smites the two newest Punk Zombies before they activate (but getting more Black Blood everywhere). Tara Slows Molly and Sybelle, then discards the trash out of my hand for a lot of Fast. Sybelle puts Attend To Personally on Bishop, and he’s only too happy to oblige, beating her to death (again) and getting covered in more Black Blood for his trouble. The Trappers drop scheme markers in the corners then the Night Terrors and Crooligans jump on one of them to make it a waste of time. I score Reckoning and Inspection.
Turn 3: Taelor charges Molly and kills the last Punk Zombie. Molly uses Terrible Truth on Bishop then Paralyses him. Philip continues to cycle cards. The Trappers shoot at Doxies with varying results and Tara finishes them both off with Sympathetic Echoes (more Black Blood though). I score for Reckoning and we both score Inspection.
Turn 4: Taelor hits Molly, finishing Bishop with the Black Blood splash. Molly then kills Taelor, Alyce and Tara, who were all on only a few wounds after the bathing they’d been doing in Black Blood. David scores for Reckoning and Take Prisoner; we both score for Inspection again. Outcasts lose 5 – 6 (2 for Reckoning and 3 for Inspection for me; 1 for Reckoning, 3 for Take Prisoner and 2 for Inspection for David).
However, when we’re discussing the game afterwards, David rechecked some rules and realised that he’d accidentally made an important error in how we’d played Black Blood (I think that it was that Sybelle actually shouldn’t get it but I may have misunderstood). He was really embarrassed at the time and I hope he won’t mind me mentioning it – after all it was a simple mistake. We discussed with the Tournament Organiser and David offered to reverse the score to 6 – 5 to me on the basis that Bishop could have Haymakered Molly without dying (I had the needed cards in hand), denying his point for Reckoning and allowing my crew in the centre to get on with the business of dropping enough scheme markers to score me a point for Convict Labour.
As always, I had a wonderful time playing against David. It’s a particular treat when he’s using Molly since he’s also her creator and it makes me smile to think of how cool it must be to play a character that you wrote yourself. I need to get much better at spreading out against Molly crews as I always get suckered by the combination of summoned Punk Zombies, Black Blood and Slice and Dice. Or maybe I just need to play more Freikorps. As it turned out, taking Crooligans and Night Terrors didn’t harm David at all in Reckoning since I didn’t manage to kill any of them.
So once the (revised) scores are added up, I came in first place. For my troubles, I got one of the new Mystery Boxes, but it wasn’t for a faction I play so I gave it to Joe; hopefully he’ll get plenty of use and fun from it. I had a wonderful time, and I have to thank V, Jamie, Lewis and David for four fun games of Malifaux, Kai for organising the event and Steve for running the show on the day.