The second part of Fated Festival was a much more straightforward 50SS Gaining Grounds event, probably just as well after the mind-bending mystery of Sins of the North.
Game 1: Outcasts (me) vs Arcanists (Marcus)
Strategy: Guard The Stash, normal deployment
Pool: Convict Labour, Take Prisoner, Leave Your Mark, Search The Ruins, Public Demonstration
Outcasts: Convict Labour, Search The Ruins
Arcanists: Take Prisoner (Taelor), Public Demonstration
Outcasts: Leveticus (Tally Sheet, Desolate Soul), 2 Hollow Waifs, Taelor (Oathkeeper), Freikorps Trapper, Freikorps Librarian, Johan, 2 Ronin, Hodgepodge Effigy
Arcanists: Marcus (Feral Instincts, Trail of the Gods), Cassandra (Practiced Production), Cerberus (Imbued Energies), The Firestarter (Imbued Energies), 2 Molemen, Dawn Serpent, Malifaux Raptor
Yes, I did find myself playing against a man called Marcus, using the Malifaux master Marcus. With Guard the Stash and a lot of blocking hard cover I was expecting to see Ramos and a lot of Steam arachnids here so I took Taelor to try to keep on top of the summoning (or at least force activation order decisions). Leveticus has felt strong for me against Arcanists as they have plenty of pieces that rely on armour to keep them safe; this crew has a lot of ways to ignore armour. Given that I was expecting to fight in the centre, I decided to go back to my Guild roots of ‘kill everything, then drop scheme markers’ approach and took Search the Ruins. I thought that I could use the Ronin to go wide and drop a marker each away from the fight for Convict Labour, then swing into the centre as a sort of ‘second wave’ to keep me scoring on the strategy. If I was quite surprised to find myself not facing Ramos, I was astonished to see Marcus set up his entire crew in the far left corner as far away as possible from the Stash markers.
Turn 1: The Cerberus Leaps up staying out of the Trapper’s line of sight. Cassandra uses Practiced Production to help the Molemen advance more quickly. Leveticus, devoid of targets, walks up and drops a scheme marker. Marcus increases his walk, advances and takes Defensive Stance before the Trapper shoots him.
Turn 2: The Cerberus uses Imbued Energies, Leaps (flipping the Red Joker to Marcus’s irritation) and eats the left Ronin. Taelor uses Oathkeeper and beats it to death. The Molemen both sidle shiftily up to her and Marcus eventually Alphas the Dawn Serpent to join them for Public Demonstration. The Raptor moves right up into my deployment zone so the Librarian Focuses and shouts the bird to death. The Trapper Black Jokers a shot on Marcus, the surviving Ronin and the Effigy drop scheme markers and Leveticus knocks a few wounds off the Dawn Serpent. Marcus gets three points for Public Demonstration and I score for the strategy and Convict Labour.
Turn 3: The Dawn Serpent hurts Taelor and Leveticus expends a silly amount of effort to kill one of the Molemen, failing even to summon an Abomination in the process. Taelor swats the Dawn Serpent out of the sky. Marcus continues to lurk around the edge of the battle with Defensive Stance and the Librarian fails to deal with the last Moleman. Meanwhile, Cassandra and the Firestarter continue to run about behind the building at the back of the board to no discernible purpose, and the rest of my crew drop a load of scheme markers. I score again for Guard The Stash and Convict Labour.
Turn 4: Marcus Alphas Leveticus. Despite his dismal showing under my control, the old chap apparently has a lease of life now that he’s fighting for the Arcanists, charging the Librarian and killing her then one-shotting the Effigy before disappearing into the void. Taelor kills the second Moleman, and the Trapper and Johan combine to drop Marcus down to a few wounds left. Johan is denied the kill by the Black Joker. I score Convict Labour and the strategy again.
Turn 5: Marcus takes extra melee damage and beats up Leveticus, but the old man survives by eating Soulstones. In return he kills off Marcus and has enough AP left to deal the last wounds to the Firestarter. I score for Guard the Stash; Outcasts win 10 – 3 (full score for me; 3 for Public Demonstration for Marcus).
Marcus was a lovely opponent, and we were both really impressed with Marcus Alpha-ing Leveticus in the fourth turn. Marcus did make a big error in making no attempt to score Guard The Stash; he couldn’t afford to give up 4 points to me without a fight at all. I was quite surprised, considering the board and the presence of a Malifaux Raptor and Practiced Production, that Marcus hadn’t picked Leave Your Mark. Lunch was preceded by an excellent sword-fighting demonstration, then we were on to the second round.
Game 2: Outcasts (me) vs Resurrectionists (Martin)
Strategy: Extraction, normal deployment
Pool: Convict Labour, Hunting Party, Show Of Force, A Quick Murder, Occupy Their Turf
Outcasts: Hunting Party, A Quick Murder (Carrion Emissary)
Resurrectionists: Show Of Force, Occupy Their Turf
Outcasts: Leveticus (Tally Sheet, Desolate Soul), 2 Hollow Waifs, Rusty Alyce (Desolate Soul, Oathkeeper), Taelor (Oathkeeper), 2 Freikorps Trappers, Johan, Hodgepodge Effigy
Resurrectionists: Nicodem (Maniacal Laugh, Love Thy Master, Undertaker), Mortimer (Corpse Bloat), Philip and the Nanny (Take Back The Night, Necrotic Preparation), Nurse, Carrion Emissary (Carrion Conflux), Chiaki (Pull Of The Grave)
I knew that this would be a tough game with Martin as he’s really strong with Resurrectionists. I hoped that I could keep the expected summoning under control with Taelor and also make some use of Desolate Soul to possibly do a little summoning myself. When I saw the crew I thought my best option would be to try to swamp the Informant marker early on and then try to escort it back away from Nicodem’s summoning while staving off the inevitable swarm of Punk Zombies. I hoped to use my large number of henchmen and enforcers to score Hunting Party against the summoned minions. The Emissary was going to need to die early on anyway so I picked A Quick Murder against it.
Turn 1: The Nurse and Chiaki drop scheme markers which Philip eats for cards. Mortimer throws out a couple of corpse markers and a Trapper Black Jokers a shot at Nicodem (hoping to drain some resource). Nicodem raises Mindless Zombies then turns them into a Rotten Belle and a Hanged, making the former Fast. The Nurse Lures Johan in and the Hanged and the Emissary put him down to his Hard To Kill wound.
Turn 2: Leveticus fails to put even a single wound on the Emissary. Chiaki fails to finish off Johan so I activate him to kill the Mindless Zombie from the Shards (scoring a point for Hunting Party). One Trapper kills Chiaki and the other puts some damage into the Emissary. Nicodem summons a Punk Zombie and uses it to hurt Alyce. Taelor kills the Emissary for A Quick Murder. The Belle Lures the right-hand Trapper into the open. We both score for Extraction and Martin scores Show Of Force; I move the Informant marker back towards my board edge.
Turn 3: Taelor kills the Punk Zombie (for Hunting Party) and puts up Welcome To Malifaux. The Nurse stops Leveticus from doing anything but walking. The Hanged does its Whispers on Taelor, the Belle Lures her and Mortimer puts her down to a single wound. Philip even attacks her, but flips the Black Joker. The Trappers put shots into the Nurse and Nicodem and Alyce Rapid Fires at Nicodem to try to force some resources out of him. Nicodem heals himself with corpse counters, finishes Taelor himself and summons another Hanged and Punk Zombie. The latter kills a Waif and the former finishes Alyce. We both score for the strategy, I move the marker again, and Martin gets another point for Show Of Force.
Turn 4: Leveticus finally shows what he can do by killing both Hanged and the Belle, summoning an Abomination from the Belle to try to pin Nicodem back a little. The Punk Zombie polishes off one Trapper. Mortimer makes short work of the Abomination and my surviving Trapper runs round to act as an Anchor for Leveticus. Nicodem summons a Punk Zombie and nearly kills the Trapper with it. We score again for Extraction and Martin gets the last point for Show Of Force.
Turn 5: One Punk Zombie smacks Leveticus, who walks away and kills the Nurse. Nicodem summons a Doxy which pushes the Punk Zombie away from the centreline; they are joined by the other Punk Zombie to score Occupy Their Turf. The Effigy is unable to keep Mortimer or Philip away from the Informant Marker so Outcasts lose 9 – 10 (4 for Guard The Stash, 3 for A Quick Murder and 2 for Hunting Party for me; full score for Martin).
Wow, what a great game! I gave my best shot there, trying to force a high engagement line and then fall back with the Informant marker in order to force Nicodem (or his summons) to use his AP for walking toward the scoring zone rather than just killing all my stuff. Still, a 10 – 9 defeat to a player of Martin’s calibre is still no mean feat. Looking back, I should have put a bit more priority into killing the Nurse before the Emissary as the threat of her Take Your Meds (and the actuality of it in turn 3) was quite significant. I also tried to spend some effort making sure that Nicodem was on the back foot by putting Trapper and Alyce bullets into him, but Martin is very canny about where he needs to spend cards and where he can save them.
Game 3: Outcasts (me) vs Arcanists (Graham)
Strategy: Collect The Bounty, normal deployment
Pool: Convict Labour, Exhaust Their Forces, Show Of Force, Catch and Release, Detonate The Charges
Outcasts: Convict Labour, Detonate The Charges
Arcanists: Exhaust Their Forces, Detonate The Charges
Outcasts: Leveticus (Tally Sheet, Desolate Soul), 2 Hollow Waifs, Taelor (Oathkeeper), 2 Freikorps Trappers, Johan, 2 Ronin, Hodgepodge Effigy
Arcanists: Marcus (Feral Instincts, Hunger Cry, Trail of the Gods), Myranda (Imbued Energies), 2 Canine Remains, Howard Langston (Imbued Energies), Mechanical Rider (Imbued Energies), Jackalope
By this point in the weekend I was tired out and didn’t want to go for anything too complex, so I went with my default Leveticus crew and put Taelor in it for Alyce in case of a lot of summoning. There were a few good points to put Trappers so I took two; if the lines engaged on a wide front I planned to use them to drop markers for Convict Labour, otherwise I dedicated that job to the Ronin and Effigy. I picked Detonate The Charges partly because I didn’t really fancy the other schemes and partly because I figured if I was dropping markers for Convict Labour anyway then I might be able to get some of Graham’s stuff to blunder into them.
Turn 1: The Canine Remains both bite Langston and the Mechanical Rider to turn them into beasts. The Trappers take pot shots at the Mechanical Rider and Myranda heals it a bit. Otherwise we just jockey for position a bit.
Turn 2: Johan hurts Langston and is Decapitated by the first part of a return Flurry. Leveticus kills Langston and summons an Abomination (I’m in doubt about whether the annoyance value I could get out of the Abomination was worth the risk of giving up Bounty points for it) and the Jackalope just to get it out of my face. Marcus races across the board and turns both Taelor and the Ronin into beasts, then domesticates them both. The Rider shoots at the left Trapper, dropping a scheme marker into the middle of a clump of my crew and summons a Metal Gamin. The Trappers both put a few shots into the Mechanical Rider then the Gamin and Abomination poke each other ineffectually. Myranda becomes a Cerberus which takes a cagey approach and the Ronin and Taelor both fail to escape Marcus’s clutches. The rest of my crew on the right drop scheme markers I score for Convict Labour.
Turn 3: Marcus Howls, make Taelor a beast and kills the Ronin. He then Domesticates and hits Taelor and companions to the Cerberus. It charges Taelor but I manage to flip two severes on prevention flips to avoid her taking any damage at all. The Trapper on the left drops a Canine Remains before being shot again by the Mechanical Rider, which summons another Metal Gamin. Leveticus kills the Rider and the new Metal Gamin. The old Metal Gamin kills my Abomination and the other Trapper kills the second Canine Remains. We both score 2 for Detonate The Charges and I also score for Collect The Bounty and Convict Labour.
Turn 4: Taelor hurts the Cerberus which jumps up and eats the wounded Trapper. The Ronin, finally making into the action from the far right flank, kills the Metal Gamin. Marcus smacks Taelor around and Leveticus and the Trapper join forces to kill the Cerberus. I score again for Collect The Bounty and Convict Labour.
Turn 5: Marcus takes extra damage and melee expert then kills Taelor and rushes over to make the Ronin a beast. The Ronin Flurries him back and does Seppuku to stop Marcus from passing damage on to her. Leveticus nearly kills Marcus and the Effigy finishes him off. I score for the strategy. Outcasts win 9 – 2 (4 for Collect The Bounty, 3 for Convict Labour and 2 for Detonate The Charges for me; 2 for Detonate The Charges for Graham).
I had a great time playing against Graham and I always find it a challenge when I’m up against Marcus as he has so many cool tricks. I gave up swinging at Marcus too easily on turn 2; I should have forced some Soulstones out of him at least with a focused attack from Taelor. I think that Graham made a poor choice of schemes as he was never in a position to score on Exhaust Their Forces; even if he did get enough extra bodies out there to make it a reasonable proposition I would have had a lot of ways to ensure scoring Collect The Bounty with all the armour-ignoring things in my crew. I’m still undecided about the value of summoning nuisance pieces (i.e. the Abomination in this case) in Collect The Bounty; on the one hand it’s a free Bounty point but on the other hand it wastes some valuable AP which could allow my heavy hitters to swing the game my way elsewhere.
Once all the scores are in, I have achieved a creditable second place behind Martin and ahead of Maria on VP difference. As with all Nate’s events this was superbly run with everything being handled smoothly. Thanks to Nate for the great organisation, and to Marcus, Martin and Graham for 3 fun games of Malifaux.