Malifaux tournament report: Broken Promises (50SS); 04Mar2017

Gareth, Joe, Jonny and V headed (separately) over to Common Ground Games in Stirling to put up another Team Brutal Sensei try at a Malifaux event. Broken Promises was meant to be a two day doubles event which was fun last year (link) but I couldn’t make both days… apparently no-one else could either so Kai very kindly changed it to a one day fixed-faction event. Amazingly this was the first event run by Kai that I had been to in 2017; I believe that I speak for the whole Scotland community when I write that we are all really appreciative of the work that he and his team put in to run these tournaments.

Game 1: Neverborn (me) vs Arcanists (Andy Bush)

Strategy: Headhunter, close deployment

Schemes
Pool: Claim Jump, Frame For Murder, Accusation!, Undercover Entourage, Mark For Death
Neverborn: Claim Jump, Frame For Murder (Nekima)
Arcanists: Claim Jump, Mark For Death

Crews
Neverborn: Collodi (Strum The Threads, Fated), Brutal Effigy, Barbaros (One Thousand Faces), Nekima (One Thousand Faces), 3 Terror Tots, Black Blood Shaman
Arcanists: Rasputina (Shattered Heart, Cold Nights, Armour of December), Wendigo, Snow Storm (Sub Zero), 2 Silent Ones, December Acolyte, Ice Dancer, Ice Gamin

I’ve been playing around with a Collodi and Nephilim grow list lately with mixed success. Actually getting the Nephilim to grow or mature has been rather hit-and-miss, but the crew as a whole seems to work quite well as long as I don’t get obsessed with using Rapid Growth to the exclusion of scoring points. The notable addition to the list is the Black Blood Shaman which, thanks to the recent errata, now actually plays the way it should always have done (i.e. allowing it to apply Black Blood, then using Black Blood Pustule on its victim). In theory, I would put Personal Puppet on the Shaman so that I can Pustule Collodi if it takes any damage but sometime I have not had the opportunity to get this to work as I need the extra push on turn 1 to get somewhere. I was really worried about how open this board was, and this was doubled when Andy revealed his Rasputina crew. I had two options; either sit back, let my stuff die and then pick up my own heads at my leisure, or rush Rasputina to keep her and any relevant mirrors engaged. Those who know me will already know that I preferred the latter option. Reasoning that there were a lot of Arcanists that would be able to deal with Nekima I put Frame For Murder on her (I’ve had problems in some games where I’ve tried this and then killed off any threats to her) and then chose Claim Jump as it would be quite controllable and didn’t need me to get too far into the open ground. I thought I was in even more trouble when I had to deploy first, but Andy surprised me by refusing my left side entirely and castling up on my right.

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Turn 1: The Acolyte Focusses and one-shots the Tot on my far right, which was inconvenient. Luckily, it allows Nekima to fly forward thanks to Brood, so I go with her next. Fears Given Form is swapped in for One Thousand Faces then she charges into Snow Storm and beats it rather harshly. Critically, she’s gumming up much of the Arcanist crew with Fears Given Form and Black Blood. A Silent One marks Nekima for death and heals Snow Storm. I decide I might as well go as deep as I can, so Barbaros triple-moves up and Challenges, covering about half of the Arcanists; he also takes Rapid Growth for One Thousand Faces. Snow Storm walks over and hits Barbaros, then pulls Rasputina out of engagement. Over on my side, the Brutal Effigy gives Fear Not The Sword to Collodi and shoots it, annoyingly hitting for some minor damage and allowing Collodi to push right. The Black Blood Shaman charges Collodi, who relents on the first hit to get Black Blood then gets hit anyway on the second shot but continues to push toward the action. Ideally, Collodi only takes one wound from this process and pushes somewhere around 8 – 9″ (depending on placement and where I’m trying go) but the cards just didn’t fall right. The Ice Dancer moves bases to base with Nekima and gets Paralysed by the Wendigo; this of course had no effect on the Dancer but worked on Nekima. Collodi puts some trivial damage into Snow Storm but does manage to put Slow on it. Rasputina puts some pillars in my way and drops a scheme marker.

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Turn 2: Snow Storm hits Barbaros for a couple of points of damage (we actually had him make a second swing that Red Jokered damage to kill Barbaros, but luckily Andy remembered that Snow Storm was Slow and took the action back), then Barbaros hits back for similarly little effect and Challenges after moving to the most annoying possible place. The Ice Dancer, who is feeling a bit sad at this point after suffering Fears Given Form and Black Blood damage last turn, pokes Nekima again. Nekima un-Paralyses so I can get that tasty Fears aura back in play. A Silent One heals the Ice Dancer and my Tot on the right picks up the head marker dropped by its sibling. The other Silent One finally polishes off Nekima (giving me 2VP for Frame For Murder, and 1VP to Andy for Mark For Death) and the Wendigo picks up her head. Collodi kills Snow Storm and uses the My Bidding trigger on Pull The Strings to make Barbaros move into an even more irritating position, engaging Rasputina, then kills the Ice Gamin which conveniently blows up to finish off the Ice Dancer. Rasputina pushes away from Barbaros then kills him and finally the Acolyte drops a scheme marker. We both score for Claim Jump and the strategy.

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Turn 3: The Wendigo picks up a head, then Collodi kills both Silent Ones. Rasputina Black Jokers a Focused shot at Collodi then drops a scheme marker. Much of my crew also focuses on scheme markers; one Tot Sprints to pick up a head marker. We both score for Headhunter and Claim Jump again.

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Turn 4: Rasputina hurts a Tot and picks up a head. Collodi totally fails to hit the Wendigo (I had a terrible hand, and Andy flipped three kings in a row on defense) which eventually drops a scheme marker. One of my remaining Tots charges it for trivial damage (but mainly to deny Claim Jump) and the other Sprints to get another head. The rest of my crew happily drop scheme markers unopposed. I score for Claim Jump, we both score for Headhunter.

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Turn 5: The Black Blood Shaman Pustules the Tot to finish off the Wendigo, so Rasputina marks it for death and kills it easily. I make a massive mistake and rush Collodi (who has 2 wounds remaining) over to the Acolyte to deny Claim Jump, so the Acolyte gratefully marks my master for death and kills it. I then do what I should have done before, picking up a head with the surviving (unwounded) Tot and Sprint to stand on where Collodi just died. In fairness, I was banking on one of my 3 actions with Collodi being able to at least Slow the Acolyte, but it was not to be. I score again for Headhunter; Andy gets two for Mark For Death. Neverborn win 9 – 8 (4 for Headhunter, 3 for Claim Jump and 2 for Frame For Murder for me; 3 for Headhunter, 2 for Claim Jump and 3 for Mark For Death for Andy).

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Wow, what a close game! From the start, I felt like I would be in really big trouble facing this crew on this board, but Andy castling up in one tiny area allowed me to really drain his hand with Fears Given Form and Challenge covering much of his crew. If not for Collodi’s failure to do anything except die on turns 4 and 5 I think I might have had a slightly more comfortable ride, but sometimes the cards don’t give you what you need. I did needlessly give up a point for Mark For Death right at the end by putting Collodi in a position to be marked and killed by the Acolyte; I could have played it much safer by sending in the Tot instead (it could still have died, but probably it would need moderate damage on a negative flip so was more likely than Collodi who died to weak damage).

Game 2: Neverborn (me) vs Guild (Chris Blakey)

Strategy: Stake a Claim, standard deployment

Schemes
Pool: Claim Jump, Frame For Murder, Dig Their Graves, Hidden Trap, Tail ’em
Neverborn: Claim Jump, Dig Their Graves
Guild: Claim Jump, Frame For Murder (Phiona Gage)

Crews
Neverborn: Lilith (Beckon Malifaux, On Wings of Darkness), Barbaros (Rapid Growth, One Thousand Faces), Nekima (One Thousand Faces), 3 Terror Tots, Black Blood Shaman, Cherub
Guild: Nellie Cochrane (Delegation, Misleading Headlines, Guild Funds), Phiona Gage (Wrath of the Guild, Transparency), Francisco Ortega (Wade In), Master Queeg (Promises), Printing Press, Watcher, 3 Field Reporters

Facing off against Guild I felt a little bit worried that Collodi would be shot to splinters so I went with Lilith instead. She’s also a pretty nice choice for Stake A Claim because the Cherub makes it easier to drop Claim markers, and Lilith can Tangle Shadows if I really need to get an unactivated piece onto the far side of the board. The crew is otherwise largely the same as game one for the simple reason that I find Nephilim highly entertaining to play at the moment. Actually when I saw that Nellie was the other master my choice of master felt a bit less clever since she could target Lilith’s terrible willpower. I love the combination of Claim Jump and Dig Their Graves as it forces a no-win situation on the other crew. They can either come in to deny Claim Jump and risk being killed for Dig Their Graves, or they can just let me have the points for Claim Jump.

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Turn 1: The Watcher zaps Nellie so that she can build some Evidence. My Tots Sprint up and put down scheme markers while Nellie spends some cards to pass activations. Fransisco puts El Mayor on Nellie and moves up. Lilith Tangles Shadows to swap Nekima with the Tot on the right then puts an Illusionary Forest in the way of Queeg and Phiona. Barbaros swaps Fears Given Form in for One Thousand Faces, moves to the centre and puts up his Challenge. The Printing Press gives Evidence to Nellie and she moves up to make Francisco Fast. Nekima notes that there is a neat semi-circle of Nellie, Francisco, the Press, the Watcher and two Reporters within her range (at this point, Dave, playing at the next table, happens to look over and comments on the beauty of this positioning for me). She swaps in Fears Given Form, charges Francisco and eventually kills him (scoring for Dig Their Graves), using the Blood Beauty trigger to drag some of her victims in closer for some Black Blood action. Queeg moves up and one-shots a Tot, allowing my crew in the centre to move up even further.

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Turn 2: The Printing Press Slows Nekima and gives Evidence to Nellie. She chain activates and kills another Tot after making Phiona Fast. The Cherub shoots Phiona to knock off the Fast and push her to within 3″ of Nekima; in return a Reporter pushes Nekima away. Nekima kills Phiona (giving up 3VP for Frame For Murder) but Paralysing the Watcher and both Reporters with Teach Them Fear. Barbaros misses the nearby Reporter and the Shaman drops a scheme marker then Pustules Barbaros to hurt the Reporter anyway. Lilith moves up, drops another scheme marker (thanks to the Cherub) and polishes off the Reporter to score Dig Their Graves. The surviving Tot is able to drop both a Claim marker and a scheme marker due to the presence of the Cherub. I score for Stake a Claim and Claim Jump.

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Turn 3: Once again, the Printing Press Slows Nekima and gives Nellie Evidence. Nellie then repeatedly bumps Nekima off a building, causing her own damage plus another one each time from the Printing Press’s ability which seemed pretty cool. She then Incites the Cherub, which rather helpfully one-shots the Watcher with a Red Joker on damage. Nekima flies back into kill the reporter and Paralyse the Printing Press. Barbaros kills Master Queeg for Dig Their Graves and grows the last Tot into a Young Nephilim. Lilith hurts Nellie. I score for Claim Jump and the strategy.

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Turn 4: Nellie fails to finish off Nekima, who in turn vapourises both the Printing Press and the last Reporter. The rest of my crew gang up to kill Nellie but it takes a while. Neverborn win 10 – 3 (full score for me; 3 for Frame For Murder for Chris).

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Chris was a really nice opponent; despite his playing up his inexperience (which, admittedly did show a little with his positioning in turn 1) I think he was quite a skilled player. If he carries on playing Malifaux at regular tournaments he has the potential to become very strong and I look forward to that happening. From my side, the game went quite smoothly. One downside with a crew like this is that it is really easy for the other player to suicide a Frame For Murder sucker onto Black Blood or Fears Given Form. Since I tend to play quite an aggressive game, I’ve tended to accept that if Frame For Murder is in the scheme pool then I’ll be giving up some points for it at some point.

Game 3: Neverborn (me) vs Arcanists (Joe Taylor)

Strategy: Squatter’s Rights, corner deployment

Schemes
Pool: Claim Jump, Leave Your Mark, Accusation!, Mark For Death, A Quick Murder
Neverborn: Claim Jump, A Quick Murder
Arcanists: Leave Your Mark, A Quick Murder

Crews
Neverborn: Lilith (Beckon Malifaux, On Wings of Darkness), Barbaros (Rapid Growth, One Thousand Faces), Nekima (One Thousand Faces), 3 Terror Tots, Black Blood Shaman, Cherub
Arcanists: Sandeep Desai (To Behold Another World, Arcane Reservoir, Enlightened Soul), Howard Langston (Imbued Energies), Carlos Vasquez (Practiced Production, Stunt Double), Arcane Effigy, 3 Wind Gamin, Malifaux Raptor

Joe and I are fairly frequent opponents at Malifaux so we both have a reasonable idea of what the other is likely to take. In this case, I correctly predicted pretty much the whole crew except for Howard Langston. I took Lilith thinking that I might be able to deny the points from Leave Your Mark by Tangling in either Carlos or the Raptor since there was no way that Joe wouldn’t take that scheme (it is close to 3 free VPs for Arcanists if they take Raptors and Practiced Production. I ended up using the same crew as last time, partly because I felt that familiarity with my crew would be priceless in a close game like this, and partly because I thought that the combination of Cherub and Tots could work for the strategy. I chose A Quick Murder because I would need to deal with Langston anyway and I might as well get points for it. Claim Jump was picked mainly because I didn’t fancy any of the others too much.

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Turn 1: The early turn is mostly moving our crews toward the markers; one Wind Gamin and Terror Tot head for each corner. Lilith eventually Tangle Shadows to bring Carlos to her and puts an Illusionary Forest in Langston’s way. Sandeep makes Carlos Incorporeal (how does that ability not have a range?) and summons a couple of Wind Gamin in the centre. Nekima bounces ineffectually off Carlos and my Tot finds that the Illusionary Forest doesn’t do enough to stop him from being murdered by Langston. Both Barbaros and Nekima swap One Thousand Faces for Fears Given Form.

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Turn 2: The Arcane Effigy uses Sandeep’s fireball but Black Jokers the damage on Barbaros; Sandeep takes the opportunity to summon yet another Wind Gamin. Barbaros pushes one of the Gamin off Squat marker. Terror Tots and Wind Gamin claim up various Squat Markers. Nekima again fails to do anything useful to Carlos. Lilith Tangles one of the Gamin threatening to take a Squat marker into her (and to jam Nekima right into the centre of the board) and hits Carlos for a tiny amount of extra damage. Sandeep zaps the Black Blood Shaman and Howard Langston find himself relegated to claiming the last marker. Somewhere in there a Practiced Production marker was dropped by the Raptor which is, of course, right in my corner. We both score for Squatter’s Rights; Joe also scores for Leave Your Mark.

Turn 3: Lilith Roots Langston and drops an Illusionary Forest in front of him, then tries to Root Carlos but is denied by the Red Joker. One of the endless Wind Gamin borrows Sandeep’s push effect to free Langston from his condition. Nekima continues to beat Carlos; he’s looking a bit less well now. Barbaros pushes Langston back and Challenges. Nekima gets blasted by fireballs from Sandeep and his minions. One Wind Gamin suicides on Lilith’s Black Blood and the Shaman finally ends Carlos, though not before he has managed to get another Practiced Production scheme marker down by the Raptor. Over on the left, I make a huge mistake and charge the Tot off the Squat marker to make some pointless attacks on the Wind Gamin; it promptly Leaps over to get the Marker. Oops. In the centre, Langston really wants to get into Nekima but his Wind Gamin are in the way. Eventually he kills one himself and charges in but can’t do enough to kill her. Joe scores Leave Your Mark and Squatter’s Rights.

Turn 4: Nekima kills Langston, getting me 2 VPs for my (not very) Quick Murder. The Wind Gamin on my right finally continues to Leap and move deep enough into my half to drop a scheme marker for Leave Your Mark. Barbaros drops the Arcane Effigy and the cumulative effects of Black Blood and Fears Given Form are finally starting to thin out the herd of Wind Gamin in the centre. Sandeep summons a Wind Gamin but fails to hit Nekima thanks to Barbaros’s Challenge. Eventually Lilith kills Sandeep; she also takes back one of the Squat markers on the way thanks to the Cherub. I score Claim Jump and we both score for the strategy.

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Turn 5: Nekima kills the central Wind Gamin and the Raptor (it felt so good to kill off those accursed things!). The other Wind Gamin manages to top deck a Red Joker on a single hit on Nekima to leave her on one wound before succumbing to Black Blood. The rest of my crew take back the Squat markers and drop scheme markers, scoring me for the strategy and Claim Jump. Neverborn win 8 – 6 (3 for Squatter’s Rights, 3 for Claim Jump and 2 for A Quick Murder for me; 3 for Squatter’s Rights and 3 for Leave Your Mark for Joe).

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That was an amazing game of Malifaux! All the way it was so close and even right at the end it could have gone either way. Joe made a couple of activation order mistakes that led to me being able to keep Nekima alive; she was down to a single wound twice but I was able to get her back to healthy enough to fend off more attacks. In the first couple of turns I was really getting overwhelmed in the centre, especially as I needed to keep an eye on Howard Langston, and the activation control from the sheer number of Wind Gamin was hard to work around. Around turn 4, the tide turned and the Wind Gamin in the middle started to succumb to all the Black Blood and Fears Given Form which allowed me to start fighting stuff that actually was going to do stuff. Wind Gamin still get a ‘they do what?’ response from me every time I find out something new about them.

Game 4: Neverborn (me) vs Guild (Lewis Philips)

Strategy: Interference, standard deployment

Schemes
Pool: Claim Jump, Eliminate the Leadership, Leave Your Mark, Show of Force, Search The Ruins
Neverborn: Claim Jump, Search The Ruins
Guild: Eliminate the Leadership, Show of Force

Crews
Neverborn: Lilith (Beckon Malifaux, On Wings of Darkness), Barbaros (Rapid Growth, One Thousand Faces), Nekima (One Thousand Faces), 3 Terror Tots, Black Blood Shaman, Cherub
Guild: Nellie Cochrane (Delegation, Misleading Headlines, Guild Funds), Phiona Gage (Wrath of the Guild, Debt to the Guild), Allison Dade (Transparency), Big Jake, Printing Press, 2 Guild Hounds, 3 Field Reporters

On the same basis as my game against Chris, I picked Lilith to play Guild. She’s good for Interference as there is no particular benefit to keeping my crew close together and of course can either Root enemy models to keep them in one quarter, or Tangle Shadows to move things to where I want them. After three games I decided to keep it simple and just took the same crew again; ease of use would be more useful here than a finely-optimised crew that I was less familiar with. I decided to use Claim Jump as it would allow me to keep some pieces back in my own quarters and control them while dropping scheme markers, and Search The Ruins on the basis that if I was going to score from it I might have some dominance by the end of the game and be able to spend some of my final AP dropping markers for it.

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Turn 1: We move forward. The Printing Press gives Nellie some Evidence and she moves forward and kills a Tot. I Tangle Shadows to move Nekima forward (replacing the Cherub, as Nellie had rather unobligingly killed the Tot I was planning to use for the purpose. Sadly, I had never previously noticed Nellie’s rule about pushing nearby models that fail attack duels, so Nekima charges Phiona and promptly gets moved back out of range. Against a player of Lewis’s skill, that isn’t a mistake I could afford to make and I genuinely thought that it might end up costing me the game. To add insult to injury, Allison Dade puts Under Investigation on her. Both Barbaros and Nekima swap One Thousand Faces for Fears Given Form.

Turn 2: Phiona puts Nekima on negative willpower duels. Barbaros kills a Hound and moves into the most annoying place possible for Black Blood, Fears Given Form and Challenge. The Printing Press gives Evidence to Nellie and she really hurts Nekima, getting various attacks out of Phiona in the process. However, the succession of Challenge duels drains Lewis’s hand really quickly and some of the attacks simply fail for that reason. Nekima moves in to engage a lot of Guild models and misses a shot on the Reporter thanks to the Black Joker (but she does splash some Black Blood around after Under Investigation goes off). Allison also attacks Nekima then the Cherub shoots her to push her into Nekima. A Hound charges the Cherub but does nothing, and Lilith charges Phiona for minimal effect (I was looking to get her into Nellie but couldn’t get it to work). On the left, the Tots drop scheme markers and one of the Reporters comes over to stop Claim Jump. We both score for Interference and Lewis scores for Show of Force.

Turn 3: Nekima kills Allison and Phiona thanks to a combination of Black Blood and big sword swings. The Printing Press Slows Barbaros and Nellie Slows Lilith and pushes her around. Barbaros hurts the nearby reporter and the Shaman kills off the Hound by casting Black Blood Pustule on the Cherub. My Totem misses a shot at the Reporter and Lilith starts to put some wounds into Nellie. One of my Tots gets severe damage on the Reporter and (to my surprise) she doesn’t move away so the other one hits its sibling to kill her with Black Blood. We both score for Interference and I get Claim Jump.

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Turn 4: Nekima beats Nellie down to a single wound; she cheats in the Black Joker on the last swing to save herself. Nellie Slows Lilith and pushes her around (Black Blood kills the Reporter) then the Cherub Black Jokers a hit on Nellie to keep her in the game. Eventually the Shaman uses Black Blood Pustule on Nekima to kill Nellie. Lilith kills the Printing Press and Barbaros runs over to the Reporter hiding on the left. I’m not sure what the Reporter can do, but figure that Barbaros can deal with her. I score Claim Jump and Interference, Lewis scores one VP for Eliminate the Leadership somewhere in there.

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Turn 5: Lilith runs away from Big Jake’s hatchet and drops two markers for Search The Ruins since the Cherub allows her to do one of them for a (0) action. Jake hits Nekima and Barbaros engages the Reporter. Neverborn win 10 – 4 (full score for me; 2 for Interference, 1 for Eliminate the Leadership and 1 for Show of Force for Lewis).

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That game was much closer than the final scoreline suggested and Lewis really pushed me all the way. I think that he hadn’t appreciated the impact of Challenge in turn 2 when he cycled about 6 cards just with Nellie’s attacks and triggered effects; the card drain was causing him big problems for the rest of the turn. I was really lucky to get away with wasting Nekima’s activation in turn 1; in another game against Lewis that might have been enough to cause defeat on its own. Big Jake didn’t take many actions but he consistently ensured that Lewis didn’t have to worry about holding that quarter.

So after all the results are in, I am in first place. Obviously, I’m delighted by the result, but I was particularly pleased with two other parts of the day. Firstly, on the train home Gareth and I noticed that all four of my opponents won their other three games. Secondly, Jonny had a really great result to get a hard-fought win against a very strong player in David Hamilton. Thank you to Andy, Chris, Joe and Lewis for four great games of Malifaux and again to Kai for organising the whole event in the first place.

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Categories: Battle reports, Malifaux, Tournaments | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Malifaux tournament report: Broken Promises (50SS); 04Mar2017

  1. Ann

    Congrats for taking first place; sounds like everyone had a good time. 🙂

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