Malifaux tournament report: OctFAUXber (50SS); 22Oct2016

Gareth and I headed over to Common Ground Games in Stirling for another one of Kai’s excellent Malifaux events. I think that Kai was hoping to participate in this one, having arranged cover for his TO duties, but in the end there would have been an uneven number of players so he dropped out. I picked Gremlins since I have so little experience with them and wanted to run out another event, but my lack of assembled miniatures is quite limiting on what I can actually use. My first round saw me up against Callum; I think he was the last of the regular 2G1P team for me to play Malifaux with.

Game 1: Gremlins (me) vs Guild (Callum)

Strategy: Collect The Bounty, standard deployment

Schemes
Pool: Convict Labour, Exhaust Their Forces, Hunting Party, Frame For Murder, Detonate The Charges
Gremlins: Convict Labour, Frame For Murder (Rooster Rider)
Guild: Hunting Party, Frame For Murder (Nino Ortega)

Crews
Gremlins: Ophelia LaCroix, Lenny, 3 Young LaCroix, Rami LaCroix, 2 Lightning Bugs, 2 Rooster Riders, Slop Hauler
Guild: Lucas McCabe (Glowing Sabre, Badge of Speed, Promises), Luna, Brutal Emissary (Conflux of Exploration, Elixir of Life), Executioner (Ready To Work), Nino Ortega (Hair Trigger), Austringer, Brutal Effigy

I did consider using Wong here as he is also quite a good option for killing, but I decided that the single-target damage output of Ophelia would probably be more useful. Plus, I have more experience with her, having only played a couple of games with Wong. The board seemed quite open so I decided to give Rami a try in order to threaten damage (and hopefully Bounty points) right across the table. The rest of the crew is pretty much the stuff I’ve assembled. Nothing I own apart from the Whiskey Golem and Mancha Roja are very hard to kill, and I felt that against Guild I’d risk losing both of those to shooting before they became relevant. So in the end I probably didn’t really have the right crew for the job, but that is part of how the game is played. With my speed I chose Convict Labour; all the Reckless models make it quite easy to put down all the necessary markers in turn 1. Frame For Murder on a Rooster Rider also felt good; they’re too dangerous to be allowed to roam freely, though Callum didn’t have any Henchmen so I’d have to hope for McCabe to do the deed himself if I was to score all the points for it.

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Turn 1: Nino Rapid Fires at the Slop Hauler, flipping the Red Joker for damage on the first shot and easily dispatching the little chap. McCabe Reactivate the Austringer and passes the Badge and Sabre to the Executioner. Both of my Lightning Bugs go Reckless, advance and drop scheme markers for Convict Labour; the Austringer shoots at the one on my right. Rami shoots a couple of wounds of McCabe since I have so few other good targets. The Rooster on the right fires into the Austringer and bounces off to knock the Effigy down to Hard to Kill; the Emissary kills it and gives the Elixir to the Executioner. With all the pushes, the Executioner is already halfway up the board so he Nimbles and charges Lenny. Luckily for me, Callum has used up most of his hand on other stuff so Lenny gets away with a fairly gentle mauling in the end. Ophelia guns him down (conveniently removing all the relic upgrades from the game) and is Tossed forward by Lenny along with Rami. Finally, the left Rooster moves up and drops another scheme marker.

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Turn 2: McCabe uses his Net Gun to Paralyse Ophelia. How rude! The surviving Rooster mangles Luna and careens off into the Emissary who eventually kills it (scoring me two VP for Frame For Murder). Nino kills the wounded Lightning Bug and a Young LaCroix, scoring for Hunting Party in the process. Rami misses a shot at the Austringer and it then kills another Young LaCroix. My other Lightning Bug moves round to attack McCabe rather ineffectually. I score for Convict Labour and Callum scores Collect The Bounty.

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Turn 3: McCabe makes really heavy work of killing the Lightning Bug. Rami misses the Austringer again. The Emissary notices the Lenny’s willpower is only 1 and buries him on the charge. Callum made a mistake there as he should have used Nino to kill my last Young LaCroix since it is my only remaining target for Hunting Party. So the little Totem runs and hides behind a house. Nino shoots Ophelia instead, then she escapes from the Emissary’s melee range and shows Rami how it is done by dropping the Austringer then the Brutal Effigy. I score for Collect The Bounty and Convict Labour.

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Turn 4: Ophelia blows away Nino (giving up two points for Frame For Murder) and charges the Emissary to keep him busy. McCabe kills Rami and my Young LaCroix runs for the corner of the board. The Emissary makes a couple of half-hearted attacks at Ophelia. I score for Convict Labour again and neither of us score for the strategy.

Turn 5: Lenny and Ophelia gang up to kill the Emissary. McCabe legs it toward the Young LaCroix, Dismounts and charges to easily kill the little chap. I score for the strategy and Callum scores for Hunting Party. Gremlins win 7 – 5 (2 for Collect The Bounty, 2 for Frame For Murder and 3 for Convict Labour for me; 1 for Collect The Bounty, 2 for Frame For Murder and 2 for Hunting Party for Callum).

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That was a tough game against Callum and I thought that I was on course to lose it somewhere around turn 2 and turn 3. Callum made an error not picking off the last Young LaCroix with Nino in turn three and I was able to hang on by my fingernails after that. My crew was really not good for this strategy as they are almost all extremely easy to kill; I might need to look into getting some of the tougher models such as Gracie or McTavish. In retrospect I probably had the range on Callum’s forces so I might have been better served taking Hunting Party instead of Convict Labour and sitting back to let him come to me. On Callum’s side, he really amazed me getting the Executioner to charge into Lenny in my own deployment zone on turn one, but in the end having used up most of his cards and me having almost a full hand left cost him not only the Executioner in exchange for a few wounds on Lenny, but also all of McCabe’s upgrades.

Game 2: Gremlins (me) vs Outcasts (David)

Strategy: Interference, flank deployment

Schemes
Pool: Convict Labour, Hunting Party, Show Of Force, Catch And Release, Search The Ruins
Gremlins: Convict Labour, Search The Ruins
Outcasts: Hunting Party, Search The Ruins

Crews
Gremlins: Ophelia LaCroix, Lenny, 3 Young LaCroix, 2 Bayou Gremlins, 2 Lightning Bugs, 2 Rooster Riders, Slop Hauler
Outcasts: Parker Barrows (Crate of Dynamite, Coordinated Heist, Black Market), Mad Dog Bracket (Lucky Poncho, I Pay Better), Johan (Scout The Field), Freikorps Librarian (Scout The Field), Doc Mitchell, 3 Bandidos

Hunting Party was in the pool again for this one but I just resigned myself to giving up points for that scheme in exchange for a huge number of activations and cheap minions to lock down the strategy. The plan was to keep the two Bayou Gremlins safely in the back to secure the table quarters closest to me, then rush David’s crew with the whole of mine, hoping to get enough of an attrition advantage from early kills from Ophelia and the Rooster Riders. The way the board was set out I felt that I could get two scheme markers down for Convict Labour on my right without too much of pain, then I would have to put down only one on the further side of the board. I didn’t even try for Show of Force, figuring that I could probably afford to give up a couple of points there if David was willing to keep one of his upgraded miniatures from scoring on the strategy. For Search The Ruins I hoped to be able to re-use one or more of the markers from Convict Labour by turn 5 and otherwise have enough AP available that I could afford to drop the needed markers. I’ve never played against Barrows or the rest of that crew, so David was kind enough to give me a run-down on their abilities before we started.

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Turn 1: Most of the Outcast crew advance towards me before the game even begins. One Bandido on the right uses Run And Gun to miss a Young LaCroix, meanwhile the Youngs are busy reloading Ophelia with her guns ablative armour. Mad Dog puts a ‘Blow It To Hell’ marker right where I want my crew to shelter from his gun fire, but is left dangerously exposed as a result. On my left, one Lightning Bug zaps a Bandido and the other drops a scheme marker. Parker Barrows duly blows this up and pushes some of his own guys around. The left Rooster eats Bandido and bounces off the other nearby one. Lenny Tosses the Slop Hauler and Ophelia; the former covers Mad Dog and the Librarian in pig food. Ophelia blows away the Librarian and hurts Mad Dog, then the last Rooster comes in to finish him off and also take out a Bandido who was simply standing there minding their own business.

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Turn 2: The Rooster on the right bounces between Johan and Doc Mitchell, killing the latter and leaving the former on one wound. I had to be a bit careful with placement for the last AP to avoid having to send the Rooster in to charge my own models thanks to Rampage. Johan puts the Rooster out of its misery scoring for Hunting Party. The other Rooster finishes off the last Bandido and starts pecking ineffectively at Barrows himself; he guns it down, dropping a few scheme markers in the process which he then uses to re-attach one of his upgrades with Five Finger Discount. The Young LaCroix blaze wildly at Johan until one gets lucky enough to finish him off. The Slop Hauler makes Barrows Appetizing, and he then finds himself getting shot by a Lightning Bug and finally Ophelia. Needless to say, this is not good for his health. With nothing left on the table, David is happy to concede the rest of the points to me. Gremlins win 10 – 1 (full score for me, 1 for Hunting Party for David).

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David is always a happy, fun man to play Malifaux with, and this was no exception. I think that he underestimated the damage that I could deliver, and wasn’t careful enough to keep his models in cover. Of course, I could still have found a way to attack them, but it would have made me work a lot harder to do so. From my side, my only disappointment was that I got so little opportunity to play with the Bayou Gremlins that I had literally only assembled the previous night and never previously tried them on the table.

Game 3: Gremlins (me) vs Ten Thunders (Dave)

Strategy: Stake A Claim, corner deployment

Schemes
Pool: Convict Labour, Exhaust Their Forces, Hunting Party, Set Up, Mark For Death
Gremlins: Convict Labour, Hunting Party
Ten Thunders: Hunting Party, Mark For Death

Crews
Gremlins: Ophelia LaCroix, Lenny, 2 Young LaCroix, Whiskey Golem (Barrel Up), 2 Lightning Bugs, 2 Rooster Riders, Slop Hauler
Ten Thunders: Shen Long (Wandering River Style, Peaceful Waters), Shadow Emissary (Conflux of the Dawn), Lone Swordsman (Recalled Training), Samurai (Favour of Earth), Wandering River Monk (Death Contract), Wastrel (False Target), Peasant, Monk of Low River

So, the third Hunting Party game in a row was going to be trouble for me. I knew that, again, the lack of resilience in my crew could hurt me but I also needed to use fast pieces to cross the board and drop markers. I dropped out some of the very easiest to kill models for the Whiskey Golem which can get around quite nicely with Nimble and a fast walk speed. I think in the end that this is the exact same crew that I played against Dave the last time we met at The Governor General’s Wake. Nothing in the scheme pool really looked very appealing, so I went with Convict Labour on the basis that I was going to be heading for the middle anyway and Hunting Party in the hope that Dave would end up presenting some of his minions to me in the process of trying to score for Stake A Claim.

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Turn 1: The Young LaCroix all reload Ophelia to waste some activations, meanwhile the Peasants and the Monk of Low River muck about to stack some conditions on the latter so that the Emissary can hoover them all up later for cards. Shen Long Mighty Gusts the Wandering River Monk toward me and the Samurai off the my left. The Whiskey Golem moves to the centre of the table and puts up Ironbound as I’m expecting the Lone Swordsman to stonk out and smite whatever I put in the middle of the board. One of the Lightning Bugs that I positioned badly (not in cover, in full line of sight and not close enough to the board edge) gets gunned down to a single wound by the Samurai over in the corner. Lenny Tosses the Slop Hauler and Ophelia; the Slop Hauler and a Rooster Rider drop scheme markers in the middle. The Wandering River Monk kills the Slop Hauler at range and Leaps back to safety. The Lone Swordsman uses Recalled Training to attack the Whiskey Golem to minimal effect, and then Ophelia shoots into the combat for similarly little impact.

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Turn 2: The Lone Swordsman pushes away from the Whiskey Golem and kills a Rooster; the other one kills a Wastrel and hurts the Wandering River Monk badly. The latter Marks the Rooster and leaps away to shoot it. My Lightning Bug on my side of the table puts down a Claim marker. Shen Long Mighty Gusts the Emissary and Samurai around a little, then switches to High River Style. The Samurai charges in to finish off the Lightning Bug he’d shot last turn after it has dropped a scheme marker (I’d planned to use Reckless and do a Claim marker instead, but it had only a single wound on it). The Emissary kills the Rooster and Ophelia puts some bullets into Shen Long. Finally, the Whiskey Golem punches the Lone Swordsman. I score Convict Labour and Stake A Claim; Dave scores for Hunting Party and Mark For Death.

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Turn 3: Ophelia shoots Shen Long but he uses cards, Soulstones and his own wound pool to survive. The Emissary kills the Lightning Bug on that side for Hunting Party and the Monk of Low River heals Shen Long. The Lone Swordsman pushes out of combat with the Whiskey Golem and Stakes his own Claim; the Golem kills him. This was a mistake; I should have used Lenny to drop my own Claim marker at this point. Shen Long swaps for Fermented River Style and charges Lenny, nearly killing him; Lenny swaps him right back. The Samurai gets rid of my scheme marker in the corner and moves into my half of the board. The Young LaCroix start to run back to my corner of the board to avoid shipping more Hunting Party points. Dave scores Hunting Party.

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Turn 4: Lenny kills the Wandering River Monk to score Hunting Party for me (I pay cards to avoid Death Contract); Ophelia chain activates but fails to drop Shen Long again as I’m denied by the Black Joker on a critical flip. The Emissary engages the Whiskey Golem; later the Golem hits it back. I must note what a gent Dave was here as I was trying to get the Golem to disengage and walk round to drop a Claim marker as I thought I could make it to the correct side of the board in one (Nimble) action; Dave kindly measured and allowed me to take back the action when he demonstrated that the range wasn’t right. Shen Long Marks Ophelia, then kills Lenny. The Samurai puts down a Claim marker and Dave Scores on the Strategy.

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Turn 5: Ophelia finally kills Shen Long, then the Emissary Marks the Whiskey Golem and kills it. Dave scores again on Stake A Claim and Mark For Death. Gremlins lose 3 – 6 (1 for Stake A Claim, 1 for Hunting Party and 1 for Convict Labour for me; 2 for Stake A Claim, 2 for Hunting Party and 2 for Mark For Death for Dave).

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That was a terrific, close intense game. Dave played really well, especially with his positioning and efficiency of AP use. I actually felt that I was in a good position around the end of Turn 2 as I thought that the Ten Thunders crew hadn’t advanced enough to score anything on the Strategy, but Dave made brilliant use of his mobility from the pushes to catch me up. I made several notable errors. Most importantly, I had several opportunities to use my miniatures to drop Claim markers but instead did something else; notably Lenny in Turn 3 should have dropped a Claim marker instead of using the Whiskey Golem to attack the already-activated Lone Swordsman. I got too obsessed with wasting Ophelia’s AP attacking Shen Long when I should have given it up much early as a bad job; my first activation of turn 4 should have been to kill the Monk with Lenny then move him to block line of sight from Shen Long to Ophelia, thereby allowing her to drop another Claim marker. In turn 1, my positioning of the Lightning Bug on the left is terrible as it is a clear shot for the Samurai (actually I was quite lucky not to lose it outright that turn); even an inch or so to the left would have kept it safe.  Finally, I think I possibly could have killed the Emissary with the Whiskey Golem in turn 5 if I’d activated it first instead of Ophelia, and she might have been able to survive the attentions of Shen Long.  Anyway, those are all lessons for me to remember; I certainly don’t want to take away from Dave’s strong play to get the victory.

As a small aside, Dave has now become the first member of the 2G1P team to beat me in a tournament, almost two years after we first met (at A New Day Dawns). I’m really pleased as this milestone has been the subject of much banter with all of us, and Dave is a terrific player. So now the pressure is off on both sides. Good work Dave!

After all the scores come in I’m in 6th place, just behind Gareth by a single VP conceded. In addition to all the excellent work the Kai does to run these events, I should also mention that we were able to test a new bit of software for recording tournament results directly into the Malifaux Rankings system. Kai and the team are really doing great things for the Malifaux community with this hard work. Thanks again to Callum, David and Dave for three terrific games of Malifaux, and to Kai again for running another wonderful event.

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Categories: Battle reports, Malifaux, Tournaments | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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