Malifaux tournament report: Gaming Faux Laura (50SS); 29May2016

This month’s tournament was a charity event held in Common Ground Games in Stirling in aid of Beatsons. Michelle Dallas and Alastair Crowe organised a day of gaming to raise money which included a Malifaux event allowing various arrangement to pay extra to charity to reflip etc. Additionally, I did offer to let people choose my crews, schemes etc for me for a suitable charity donation but in the end we mostly ended up either not bothering, or just putting in a donation at the start and enjoying a normal game of Malifaux. Furycat, Joe and I drove over in the morning; Furycat and I to play Malifaux and Joe to take part in the simultaneous Guild Ball event.

Game 1: Outcasts (me) vs Neverborn (Ian)

Strategy: Reconnoitre, flank deployment

Schemes
Pool: Convict Labour, Hunting Party, Exhaust Their Forces, A Quick Murder, Occupy Their Turf
Outcasts: Hunting Party, Convict Labour
Neverborn: Exhaust Their Forces, Occupy Their Turf

Crews
Outcasts: Leveticus (Tally Sheet, Desolate Soul), 2 Hollow Waifs, Rusty Alyce (Desolate Soul), Freikorps Trapper, Freikorps Librarian, Johan, 2 Ronin, Hodgepodge Effigy
Neverborn: Zoraida (Animal Shape, Hex Bag, Hexed Among You), Insidious Madness, 2 Silurids, 2 Waldgeists, Iggy, Hans (Mimic’s Blessing)

Reconnoitre (and Extraction) without Neutralise The Leader in the pool feels like a job for Leveticus. My crew is chosen to have the maximum number of possible anchors to give flexibility on Waif positioning (more importantly, I’m quite bad at predicting where I need Leveticus to be) and cover a lot of options in terms of melee, shooting and casting. Leveticus has Tally Sheet to combine well with Loyalty To The Coin from the Effigy, and of course because he can quite reliably kill off one thing per turn. Both Alyce and Leveticus carry Desolate Soul to gum up the other crew with Abominations; in general I don’t care if they die without achieving anything more than wasting AP on the other side of the table. With so many minions on the other side of the board I went with Hunting Party and then decided to use my expected activation advantage to drop scheme markers in places where I would need to be anyway.

001

Turn 1: Hans shoots the Trapper down to a single wound; the Trapper pushes away from the Waldgeist and caps a Silurid with two Critical Strike shots. The Waldgeist Germinates but fails to actually kill the wounded Trapper. Meanwhile, Zoraida Obeys Hans to take the Focus action but a run of bad cards means that he can’t actually be Obeyed to take the second shot. Iggy Incites a Waif and sets the Effigy on fire before the surviving Silurid finally polishes off the Trapper and Leaps back to its original place. Leveticus unburies from the Incited Waif to clear the condition.

002

Turn 2: Zoraida summons the Voodoo Doll, Hems it to Alyce and Hexes it to start the Burning going. She also Obeys Iggy to put some more Burning on the Doll, setting Alyce nicely ablaze. Leveticus makes a bit of a meal of killing the Insidious Madness but does bring an Abomination out of it to get in the Waldgeist’s way. The other Waldgeist moves to engage the Ronin at maximum range and Entrenches her. Hans drops Alyce down to a single wound after she suicidally guns down the Voodoo Doll (bringing out another Abomination in the process). Iggy gets clear of the first Abomination and Incites it; the Waldgeist Exhausts it. The Librarian uses Furious Casting to kill the Silurid. I score for Reconnoitre, Convict Labour and Hunting Party; Ian scores for Exhaust Their Forces.

003

Turn 3: The Waldgeist moves, Germinates and engages both Leveticus and the Ronin, Entrenching the latter. An Abomination bounces ineffectually off the other Waldgeist, which eventually Exhausts it. Hans Black Jokers a shot on one of my Waifs. Zoraida summons another Voodoo Doll and Hems this one to Johan. She then Obeys the Abomination away so that she can use her (0) action and Hexes some damage onto the Doll and Johan. Iggy puts yet more burning onto the Voodoo Doll. Leveticus kills the Exhausted Abomination using Rebirth to move over to the Waldgeist (and also to remove the Exhaust condition), then kills it in melee with a cheated Red Joker for damage. This does leave me in the unusual position of having Leveticus on the board and wounded at the end of the turn. I score again for the Strategy and Convict Labour.

004

Turn 4: Hans Black Jokers a second shot, this time to fail to kill Leveticus. An Abomination chews the last wound off Iggy, then Zoraida Obeys Hans first to Focus and second to gun down Leveticus. The Ronin finally kills the Waldgeist that has been annoying her for most of the game. I score Hunting Party (no Minions left alive), Convict Labour and Reconnoitre.

005

Turn 5: Zoraida Exhausts an Abomination, then Johan Flurries to kill Hans. Leveticus uses Rebirth to kill my Abomination and prevent Ian from scoring. Outcasts win 10 – 1 (full score for me; 1 for Exhaust Their Forces for Ian).

006

A lovely way to start the event. We didn’t end up putting money in for charity for reflips; in my case because I didn’t need it and in Ian’s case presumably because he didn’t think they’d do enought to help. It was interesting using Rebirth with Leveticus as I usually would just kill something then bury again with Sanguine Evocations; I need to be a lot more choosy about when to Channel if I do that in future. In general I think Ian was too passive and allowed me to keep pushing his crew back. Indeed, I actually had to make an effort to keep a couple of pieces back to score for my own sections of the board; in other games I’d have thrown the Ronin at the far side of the board and the Librarian much more actively into the fray.

Game 2: Outcasts (me) vs Arcanists (Michael)

Strategy: Extraction, normal deployment

Schemes
Pool: Convict Labour, Exhaust Their Forces, Leave Your Mark, Undercover Entourage, Frame For Murder
Outcasts: Undercover Entourage (Leveticus), Convict Labour
Arcanists: Undercover Entourage (Marcus), Frame For Murder (one of the December Acolytes)

Crews
Outcasts: Leveticus (Tally Sheet, Desolate Soul), 2 Hollow Waifs, Taelor (Oathkeeper), Freikorps Trapper, Freikorps Librarian, Johan, 2 Ronin, Hodgepodge Effigy
Arcanists: Marcus (Seize The Day, Arcane Reservoir, Trail of the Gods), Jackalope, 2 Silent Ones, 3 December Acolytes, Cassandra (Practiced Production, Imbued Protection)

Since this strategy and scheme pool didn’t penalise having lots of cheap chaff, I used almost the same crew as last time. I swapped out Rusty Alyce for Taelor as I was expecting that Ramos would be a strong option to flood the centre with Arachnids. With Taelor and Johan getting bonuses against Constructs and the Ronin also ignoring armour I think that this crew would have fitted well there. So I was a bit surprised to see Marcus and a load of Frozen Heart models across the board from me. Maybe Michael knew my well-publicised feelings about December Acolytes and loaded up on them against me; it is also true that I have a pretty rough time against Marcus crews in general. I again took Convict Labour as I wanted to push the game line up aggressively and keep Michael’s crew back away from the Informant marker. Undercover Entourage on Leveticus felt quite easy as the old chap is very mobile. Luckily I was able to flip high enough for Michael to deploy first so he had to be a bit cagey about deploying his Acolytes.

Turn 1: The Trapper takes a shot at one Acolyte and pushes back behind the building to safety. The Silent One on the right heals him up, so all we did was waste all our AP. On the left, the Acolyte and the other Silent One team up to kill a Waif that I couldn’t get to cover.

007

Turn 2: The Acolyte on the left nearly kills the Ronin. I possibly should have used her to drop a scheme marker and Seppuku, but instead I went with the Effigy and Leveticus. The old man turned the Jackalope into an Abomination and only an unfortunately timed Black Joker on damage prevented one of the Silent Ones from suffering the same fate. The middle Acolyte walks into the centre of the street and returns the favour by Black Jokering a shot into the summoned Waif. The saved Silent One finishes off the Ronin on the left. Taelor burns Oathkeeper and charges in to smack the Acolyte in the street; the other Silent One heals it and the Trapper takes a shot at him after dropping a scheme marker. Cassandra charges the Librarian and Marcus makes very heavy work of killing off the Abomination that erupted from his pet. I score Convict Labour and Extraction; I move the Informant marker back a little to make Michael’s life a bit trickier. Somewhere in here the Silent Ones also did some damage to Johan and Taelor but I didn’t note it clearly.

008

Turn 3: Cassandra nearly kills the Librarian. Leveticus kills the Acolyte in the centre, summoning an Abomination and giving up three points for Frame For Murder. The Silent One kills off the Abomination and Marcus tanks round the corner of the building to punch the Trapper ineffectively. Johan and Taelor both charge up the middle to very slowly chip away at the middle Silent One. The Librarian puts a big hit onto Cassandra and the surviving Ronin runs to give me options on Undercover Entourage later with the Waif in tow. I score again for the strategy and Convict Labour.

Turn 4: The Librarian uses Furious Casting on Cassandra, failing to kill but drawing some great cards out of Michael’s hand. Marcus uses Darzee’s Chaunt on himself but still fails to get the Trapper. The Acolyte shoots into the melee with Taelor, Johan and the Silent One and gets Taelor both times; Taelor uses her single AP to finally drop the Silent One. Cassandra polishes off the Librarian and the surviving Silent One kills Johan. Leveticus himself takes out the last Silent One, turning it into an Abomination despite Black Jokering the last attack (Michael flipped an ace and had nothing to cheat). The Trapper pushes away from Marcus in order to be in range to score for the strategy, and shoot the Professor a couple of times just to keep some pressure on. I score for Convict Labour and Extraction again.

009

Turn 5: Marcus runs to score for Undercover Entourage. Taelor moves to engage the Acolyte on the left who eventually kills her off. Cassandra hurts the Effigy but can’t get the kill she’d need to stop me scoring for Extraction. The Abomination gums up the other Acolyte and is also eventually killed off. Leveticus saunters into the Arcanist deployment zone. We both score Undercover Entourage and I get Extraction one last time. Outcasts win 10 – 6 (full score for me; 3 for each scheme and nothing for the strategy for Michael).

010

That was a very fine game and it felt very much like we were giving each other tit-for-tat with damage. As soon as I saw that Michael wasn’t making any attempt to score on the strategy I felt confident that I could lock in all my own points and keep him from getting the full ten. The board, although it looks very nice and thematic, is actually quite annoying to play on as the cover is all-or-nothing and the main street has very few places to stay out of shooting range. I basically had to just run Taelor and Johan right up the middle and hope that the Silent Ones and Acolytes couldn’t do enough damage before they arrived. This was a game where the ability to summon Abominations was useful just to force Michael to spend his activations clearing them out rather than shooting at anything I actually cared about.

Game 3: Outcasts (me) vs Arcanists (Lewis)

Strategy: Collect The Bounty, close deployment

Schemes
Pool: Convict Labour, Hunting Party, Show of Force, Neutralise the Leader, Catch and Release
Outcasts: Hunting Party, Neutralise the Leader
Arcanists: Hunting Party, Show of Force

Crews
Outcasts: Jack Daw (Writhing Torment, Twist and Turn, Firing Squad Injustice, Guillotine Injustice, Drowning Injustice), Freikorps Librarian, Freikorps Trapper, Johan, Taelor, Guilty, Rusty Alyce
Arcanists: Marcus (Hunger Cry, Feral Instincts, Trail of the Gods), Jackalope, Cassandra (Practiced Production, Smoke and Mirrors), Cerberus (Pack Leader), Myranda (Imbued Energies), Howard Langston (Imbued Energies)

Lewis and I discussed before the game if we were going to mess about with charity donations for flips, but Lewis decided that he was still hungry to beat me fair and square so we agreed to stick some money in the charity box at the start of the game and play it straight from there onward. I was intending to play Leveticus all day, but it seemed to be a bit to easy giving Lewis three free VP for Neutralise The Leader. Jack Daw can provide some nice damage and is tricky to kill if the other crew don’t bring the right tools (i.e. anything with baked in positive twists). I took a mix of each station; I didn’t want to give up Hunting Party too easily but I knew I had to take care not to also let Lewis score for the strategy without working for it. In retrospect I should have taken something on Taelor or Alyce to at least challenge for Show of Force. I took a risk for Hunting Party; Lewis could deny it by keeping the Jackalope right back and not using it at all so I had to gamble the he would need the extra threat. Arguably, taking Neutralise the Leader was a similar risk, but Marcus doesn’t really support enough to keep him totally safe. I deployed first so I kept my crew back; there was no reason to advance and I was the one bringing guns.

011

Turn 1: The Trapper shoots Marcus and Lewis gives me the opportunity to cheat in a Red Joker with Critical Strike; this nets me an immediate point for Neutralise The Leader. The Guilty makes Alyce Tormented and moves up to bait Howard Langstrom, which he successfully does at the cost of being vapourised. Alyce Rapid Fires half of Langston’s wounds off and I forget yet again about the range on Alpha. So Marcus strolls forward and makes Langston take another activation; he uses it to kill the Trapper, thereby guaranteeing Lewis all the Hunting Party points. Taelor kills Langston in return. From a strategy perspective it would be preferable to leave the killing until turn 2, but I can’t risk losing initiative and giving Langston another try at mangling my crew. Myranda heals Marcus and Jack floats up to hurt Cassandra and give her Firing Squad Injustice.

012

Turn 2: I got my measurements wrong and Jack Daw is indeed within Leap plus charge range of the Cerberus. I get very lucky, top-decking the Red Joker on the second attack and surviving the first with only weak damage. Johan charges Cassandra who cheats in the Red Joker to get the trigger to push away. Marcus Alphas the Cerberus and uses Darzee’s Chaunt on it but the previous actions have seemingly cost Lewis all his good cards and Jack again gets away without too much further harm. Taelor smites the big cat, then Alyce puts a bullet into Myranda. Cassandra uses her activation to flip down the Firing Squad Injustice. Jack Daw kills the Cerberus and zaps Cassandra to give her Drowning Injustice; it doesn’t matter though as the Librarian shouts her to death. I score for the strategy and Lewis scores for Hunting Party and Show of Force.

013

Turn 3: Taelor charges Myranda but can’t kill her off; Marcus picks up melee expert and extra damage, then returns the favour and drops Taelor. He accomplices to Myranda who heals them both. The Librarian shoots at Marcus. Johan smacks Myranda. Alyce Rapid Fires at Marcus, dropping the Jackalope in the process (I think that Lewis had moved it up to act as a damage soak for Marcus but it did get me a point for Hunting Party). Jack Daw uses Twist and Turn to make Alyce put another bullet into Marcus; it would kill him so after some deliberation Lewis passes the hit onto Myranda, killing her instead. Jack piles in to Marcus but can’t do enough damage stick to drop him; having the extra cards from Myranda’s death really helps here. Neither of us score for the strategy, we both score for Hunting Party.

014

Turn 4: Marcus chooses to increase his damage profile, focuses and hits Jack Daw. He makes Jack into a Beast, then puts all Beasts onto negative flips. With only 4 wounds left on Jack and both of us on negative flips, it’s just a question of whose deck is luckiest (with a stat advantage to Marcus of course)… the blow lands and Jack Daw is killed. Alyce blows Marcus away in revenge, scoring me the rest of the points for Neutralise the Leader, and the Jackalope reappears and runs away. This was a bit of a mistake on my part as I used Rapid Fire but got the kill on the first shot; I should have fired single shots and possibly had the option to pick off the Jackalope with a second AP. Nothing I have is quick enough to catch the Jackalope, nor will they be next turn, so we end the game there. Outcasts win 5 – 4 (1 for Collect the Bounty, 1 for Hunting Party and 3 for Neutralise the Leader for me; 1 for Show of Force and 3 for Hunting Party for Lewis).

015

That was a terrific game and Lewis played very well to keep it close right up to the end. Lewis agonised quite a lot about whether to let Myranda or Marcus die at the end of turn 3; I think that he made the right choice as this way only cost him the point from Show of Force whereas if Marcus died it would have gained me a point for Collect the Bounty and Jack might have been able to kill her anyway without the cards from Imbued Energies. From my side, I got very lucky to keep Jack Daw alive when the Cerberus attacked him in turn 2; I had mistaken the threat range on the big cat and it could easily have changed the game.

After all the raffles and so on are done, the event has raised a terrific £1200 or so for Beatsons – you can give too by going here. I take first place in the event and Furycat has a terrific run coming in second, behind me only on VP difference, using the same Ten Thunders Yan Lo crew each time (there was an achievement list which included using the same crew in each game). Thanks to Michelle and Alastair for setting up the gaming day, and to Kai for his wonderful smooth running of the tournament.

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