Monthly Archives: June 2017

Painted Cherub

Here is Lilith’s totem for the Malifaux Neverborn faction, the Cherub. I love this little chap and would happily take it with other masters if only I could. It is highly mobile thanks to flight and has some small utility to help other miniatures with interact actions if they are nearby. Occasionally this ability can be critical, though it often leaves the Cherub in a vulnerable position. Even better than that, it has a reasonably effective ranged attack with does fairly trivial damage but also causes Slow and pushes things around. Against melee crews in particular this can be really amazing, allowing you to push their fighters away and stop them charging back in again.

The paint scheme is really simple, matching the other Nephilim I did already or have in the works. I had originally planned to go with white wings but they made the Cherub look a bit too monotone with the white skin too, so I made them a creamier colour instead.  My nice new lightbox shows off the many flaws in my painting to a depressing extent.

Next on the painting table: Kade.

Categories: Malifaux, Painting and modelling | Tags: , | 1 Comment

Malifaux tournament report: Malfunctional (50SS); 10Jun2017

I took the train all alone over to Common Ground Games in Stirling for the Malfunctional Malifaux event. The regular tournaments run by 2G1P attract folks from across Scotland and go from strength to strength thanks to organiser Kai and the others from the club. After some discussion within the FB group this event was increased to four rounds as the number of players meant that it would be unlikely to generate a clear winner after three. This is good news from me; the more Malifaux the better as far as I’m concerned.

Game 1: Neverborn (me) vs Arcanists (David Kerr Smith)

Strategy: Reckoning, corner deployment

Schemes
Pool: Claim Jump, Eliminate The Leadership, Leave Your Mark, Recover Evidence, Mark For Death
Neverborn: Claim Jump, Eliminate The Leadership
Arcanists: Leave Your Mark, Mark For Death

Crews
Neverborn: Pandora (The Box Opens, Fears Given Form), Barbaros, Nekima (One Thousand Faces), 2 Illuminated, Beckoner, Primordial Magic
Arcanists: Ramos (Under Pressure, Arcane Reservoir, Field Generator), Joss (Warding Runes, Bleeding Edge Tech), Soulstone Miner, Brass Arachnid, Firestarter (Imbued Energies, Imbued Protection), Arcane Effigy, Steam Arachnid

David was the first person I ever played in a Malifaux tournament game, all the way back the Blood, Steel and Stones event. Lately, after a long lay-off from Malifaux, he’s been getting back into the game and has joined our regular gaming night to get his hand back in. I took a small and somewhat tough crew to try to avoid giving up Reckoning points too easily; Pandora was picked quite arbitrarily and I could just as easily have favoured Lilith here. I was rather surprised to see that David picked Ramos for this strategy and had been expecting him to take Kaeris (another favourite) instead as I feel that Ramos’s biggest strength is his summoning; which of course is less useful in Reckoning. None of the schemes really appealed so I took Claim Jump on the basis that at least it would be in my control and eventually settled on Eliminate The Leadership thinking that, as tough as Ramos is to kill, I might somehow get to him as I waded through his crew.

Turn 1: The Steam Arachnid scuttles forward, followed by Joss who carves it neatly into two scrap counters. Ramos duly turns this into a trio of Steam Arachnids which themselves eventually form a Steam Arachnid Swarm. Pandora triple walks across the table (the indignity!) and Incites both the Arcane Effigy and Joss to begin Operation: Get In The Way. The Soulstone Miner appears behind a tree on the left side of the board.

Turn 2: Joss is forced to go first while he has the Swarm blocking his charge on Pandora so he misses a Focused shot at her. The Beckoner Lures the Firestarter in and makes him Brilliant, then the Illuminated smites him while the Arcane Effigy is obliged to activate and achieve nothing. Finally free to actually activate according to David’s wishes, Ramos summons another three Steam Arachnids. Pandora scoots into the middle of the neat cluster of Arcanists that has formed and I introduce David to the pleasure of three Inflict actions. This eventually kills the Brass Arachnid and one of the newly summoned Steam Arachnids, but more importantly mills most of the good cards out of David’s hand. Nekima kills the Fiestarter, Barbaros and the other Illuminated drop scheme markers and the rest of David’s crew flail uselessly at Pandora. I score for Reckoning and Claim Jump.

Turn 3: Barbaros puts up Challenge and charges into the Swarm for minimal effect. The Incited Effigy mucks about a bit then the Beckoner Lures the Miner toward her. Joss misses a couple of attacks on Barbaros and Pandora uses Inflict to eventually finish off the Effigy and put a few wounds on most of the crew. Ramos summons another three Arachnids and Black Jokers a shot at Barbaros. Nekima carves up the Soulstone Miner and the right Illuminated kills one Steam Arachnid while the rest of them completely fail to land a hit on Barbaros. I score again for Reckoning and Claim Jump.

Turn 4: Barbaros pushes Joss back to keep him away, then kills another of the endless Steam Arachnids. Ramos summons two more of them and puts up Arcing Screen. Pandora Inflicts a few more times as the damage starts to mount up. Steam Arachnids continue to bounce ineffectually off Barbaros, who is living a charmed life; the Swarm helpfully Black Jokers damage on him at some point too. This is the last turn, so Nekima and one Illuminated head off to deny points for Leave Your Mark. I score for the strategy and Claim Jump one more time. Neverborn win 6 – 0 (3 for Reckoning and 3 for Claim Jump for me; nothing for David).

David is a very fun person to play with, and he’s getting better with each game. I think that here he had fundamentally the wrong approach though, as summoning piles of cheap minions just let me kill them off a couple at a time for Reckoning. I don’t know Ramos well, but presumably there is a way to play him that doesn’t focus so much on the summoning; if not, another master was probably indicated. From my side, of course it was indeed a mistake to consider Eliminate The Leadership on Ramos; I probably had the tools to deal with him in Nekima, but in the end I pinned Ramos right on one board edge and all my fighting stuff was far away and busy. I’m not really sure what I would have taken as another option though.

[Edit: David has posted his thoughts about the event in general and our game in particular on his own excellent blog here].

Game 2: Neverborn (me) vs Resurrectionists (Stewart Herbert)

Strategy: Turf War, standard deployment

Schemes
Pool: Claim Jump, Frame For Murder, Leave Your Mark, Undercover Entourage, A Quick Murder
Neverborn: Frame For Murder (Hungering Darkness), Leave Your Mark
Resurrectionists: Frame For Murder (Shikome), A Quick Murder

Crews
Neverborn: Jakob Lynch (Endless Hunger), Hungering Darkness, 2 Waldgeists, Spawn Mother (Hexed Among You), Bad Juju (Eternal Fiend), McTavish, Will O’ The Wisp
Resurrectionists: Dr Douglas McMourning (Moonlighting), Zombie Chihuahua, Sebastian (Transfusion, These Are Not Ours), Anna Lovelace (My Little Helper), Shikome, Flesh Construct, Nurse, 2 Canine Remains

Stewart is really stepping up his tournament appearances lately, having traveled down both for this event and Cry Havoc last week where we met in round one. Turf War felt like a a great option to use this highly entertaining Lynch crew. Having Hexed Among You means that my Waldgeists can start right where I need them, and if they (or almost anything else) gets dislodged then they get Bad Juju to deal with. The Spawn Mother would combine with the Wisp to generate Gupps to score Leave Your Mark, and McTavish is intended to play a sort of sweeper role and take out anything that gets stuck into my front line. Frame For Murder on Hungering Darkness feels like a good option in this crew since it is almost the only thing that can be killed without releasing Bad Juju. Big thanks to Michael for lending me his Lynch and Hungering Darkness as it turned out that mine are still in Gareth’s case while he’s been playing Ten Thunders.

Turn 1: The Spawn Mother lays an egg and the Wisp hatches it. Meanwhile, the Flesh Construct walks up and gets charged by the Nurse, ending on something like Poison +1000. Both Canine Remains shoot up the table, obligingly ending up with 4″ of the left Waldgeist which Germinates next to itself then kills one of them. Lynch guns down the Chihuahua and puts down a scheme marker for McTavish to eat later. Sebastian summons another Canine Remains from what was left of the first one. Hungering Darkness uses Heed My Voice to move the Flesh Construct away, then McMourning pushes it back into my face and charges Hungering Darkness.

Turn 2: Hungering Darkness smites McMourning and heals a little damage, then the doctor kills it off, giving up 3VP for Frame For Murder. The Spawn Mother charges the Shikome for depressingly little impact while the Flesh Construct and Waldgeist poke each other ineffectually over on the right. Anna and the Shikome somehow fail to kill the Gupps, then McTavish puts a couple of bullets into the Shikome. The left Waldgeist kills the other Canine Remains and Lynch puts a bit of damage into McMourning. We both score for Turf War.

Turn 3: Jakob Lynch guns down McMourning and pumps some bullets into the massive damage sponge that is the Flesh Construct. The Nurse pumps up the Flesh Construct with better melee attacks. The Spawn Mother hits the Shikome, but something in the way Stewart is Cheating Fate makes me suspect Frame For Murder so her second attack is on Sebastian. The morgue assistant hits her back and the Waldgeist luckily polishes off the Flesh Construct with a Red Joker on damage. Anna somehow again fails to kill the Gupps which run off to drop a scheme marker. McTavish kills another Canine Remains but misses attacks on the Nurse while the other Waldgeist pokes at Sebastian. We both score for the strategy and I score Leave Your Mark.

Turn 4: The Waldgeist kills the Shikome, handing 1VP for Frame For Murder to Stewart. Anna misses shots at the Waldgeist and the Spawn Mother kills Sebastian. The Nurse Paralyses Lynch with Take Your Meds. The Waldgeist kills the Nurse; the Rooted trigger turned out to be very useful here. McTavish shoots Anna and the Gupps put another scheme marker down. I score for the strategy and Leave Your Mark again.

Turn 5: McTavish focuses and kills Anna Lovelace. Neverborn win 10 – 3 (full score for me; 2 for Turf War and 1 for Frame For Murder for Stewart).

Stewart is getting much more experience as a player as he attends more events outside his local area. He played his strategy to keep Bad Juju off the table really well (indeed, I didn’t get the Mire Golem out at all) but the end result of this was that while I was able to whittle down Stewart’s crew, he never killed any of mine apart from Hungering Darkness. I was quite surprised that the Gupps at least didn’t get killed off by Lovelace, but most of Stewart’s good cards were dedicated to keeping his own crew alive, and as the momentum snowballed in my favour I simply had too many AP to spend on attacks against him. Perhaps a better approach would have been to allow Bad Juju to Unbury, then keep it Paralysed with the Nurse for as long as possible.

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

Strategy: Collect The Bounty, flank deployment

Schemes
Pool: Claim Jump, Eliminate The Leadership, Dig Their Graves, Covert Breakthrough, Tail ‘Em
Neverborn: Dig Their Graves, Covert Breakthrough
Arcanists: Claim Jump, Covert Breakthrough

Crews
Neverborn: Lilith (Beckon Malifaux), Nekima (One Thousand Faces), Doppelganger, 3 Waldgeists, Lilitu, Cherub
Arcanists: Colette Du Bois (Arcane Reservoir, Cabaret Choreography, Practiced Production), Howard Langston (Imbued Energies), Mechanical Rider (Imbued Energies), Hoarcat Pride, Large Arachnid, 3 Mechanical Doves

For this round, I got to have another crack at the Nicest Man In Malifaux after his sound thrashing of me last week. Funnily enough, Joe and I played this exact strategy and scheme combination earlier in the week (though with completely different crews) and came to the conclusion that it was quite horrible to pick a crew that could do well at both schemes and strategies. I considered all the masters I had access to and finally settled on Lilith as her board control could help me to isolate enemies and concentrate them down to kill them on my terms without exposing myself to too much of a reprisal. The Waldgeists were taken on the basis that nobody counter-picks Neverborn with anti-armour technology and so they would hopefully be a big problem to deal with efficiently. I borrowed Lilitu from Steve as her Lure is better than a Beckoner, and I didn’t need the other options that Beckoners bring. Covert Breakthrough feels like it should be quite achievable in flank deployment as you don’t have to cover much ground to put markers near the other zone. I considered both Claim Jump and Dig Their Graves (or both) and settled on the latter as it combined better with what I’d be trying to do anyway, i.e. kill everything in Joe’s crew.

Turn 1: To my great surprise, Howard activates early and just moves across the board. I suspect a trap and check in case Frame For Murder is in the scheme pool, but decide that I can’t pass up on an opportunity to deal with him so early. Lilitu Lures the big guy in and a Waldgeist charges for a couple of points of damage but mainly to position for a Tangle Shadows point for Nekima. Lilith swaps Nekima in and kills a nearby Dove, then puts an Illusory Forest in the most annoying place I can see. Another Dove gives Howard positive defensive flips, but it doesn’t help against Nekima who carves the Steamborg Executioner down. Colette places the Large Arachnid forward with Disappearing Act and summons another Dove. She then Prompts the Mechanical Rider to kill my Cherub. The Large Arachnid eats one of my scheme markers and attacks the nearest Waldgeist.

Turn 2: A Dove turbo-charges the Large Arachnid which Chain Activates to hurt the Waldgeist and knock its armour off. The other Waldgeist puts some damage into the Mechanical Rider. It burns Imbued Energies, summons a Mannequin to push away from Lilith and shoots her three times. The unarmoured Waldgeist pokes at the Large Arachnid and the furthest forward Dove runs as far to my table corner as possible. Lilith Tangle Shadows Nekima and the Doppelganger and puts some damage into the Mechanical Rider, though this is foiled once by the Black Joker. Lilitu Lures the Dove back toward me so I don’t have to deal with a scheme marker so far up, and pulls the back Waldgeist toward the action. Colette fires the Hoarcat Pride at me with Disappearing Act and Prompt. The Waldgeist at the back kills the Dove that Lilitu Lured; this was a mistake as I should have dealt with the Hoarcat Pride which eats my injured Waldgeist. The Doppelganger copies Nekima’s sword and makes short work of the Hoarcats, the Nekima herself kills the Mechanical Rider. I score Collect The Bounty and Joe scores Claim Jump.

Turn 3: The Waldgeist puts a scheme marker near the Large Arachnid, so Colette does various shenanigans to get it away from my crew. Lilitu Lures it in, then it walks away. Finally Lilith Tangles Shadows to bring it to me, then kills it for Dig Their Graves. Nekima kills the last Dove and stands next to Colette, who is admittedly surrounded by scheme markers. I score for the strategy.

Turn 4: Colette proves to be remarkably killy, and nearly finishes off Nekima from a standing start. Lilith Tangles Shadows to get Colette away from her scheme markers, then kills her for Dig Their Graves. Neverborn win 9 – 1 (4 for Collect The Bounty, 2 for Dig Their Graves and 3 for Covert Breakthrough for me; 1 for Claim Jump for Joe).

I love to play Malifaux with Joe, and he’s really improving his skill levels lately. The game really turned on Joe’s early mistake with Howard Langston; it is probable that he forgot about Lilitu (who admittedly was slightly tucked slightly under a balcony) though I did point it out before we started. My gamble with the Waldgeists was reasonably effective, though the presence of the Large Arachnid made short work of one of them. Being able to Lure and Tangle Shadows meant that I was able to engage on my own terms for the most part, and the concentration of force was enough to make sure I killed the right number of Arcanists each turn to score.

Game 4: Neverborn (me) vs Outcasts (Ali Ferguson)

Strategy: Headhunter, close deployment

Schemes
Pool: Claim Jump, Dig Their Graves, Accusation, Recover Evidence, Last Stand
Neverborn: Claim Jump, Recover Evidence
Outcasts: Claim Jump, Last Stand

Crews
Neverborn: Collodi (Strum The Threads, Fated), Brutal Effigy, Barbaros (One Thousand Faces), Nekima (One Thousand Faces), 3 Terror Tots, Black Blood Shaman
Outcasts: Viktoria of Ashes (Sisters in Spirit, Sisters in Fury, Synchronised Slaying), Viktoria of Blood (Mark of Shezuul, Oathkeeper), Nothing Beast (Void Shield, The Bigger They Come), Ashes & Dust, Vanessa (Oathkeeper), Malifaux Child

Since I had already played the other three Neverborn masters I have access to, it felt fitting to use Collodi for this final round. The Nephilim list is really quite effective, and for Headhunter it has a nice mix of heavy hitting power to kill the enemy crew and cheap minions to pick up their heads. Collodi also can pass out AP to the crew as needed for collecting Heads. The Brutal Effigy goes wherever Collodi goes of course, as the doll combines so nicely with the puppet master. Seeing the Viktorias across the table in close deployment is quite scary, though I heartily approved of Ali’s choice of upgrades on the sisters as they’re exactly what I prefer. Again I swithered between Claim Jump, Dig Their Graves or both and eventually selected the first option as it gave me an option to send a Tot round to the far side of the outermost buildings if Ali’s small crew clustered in the centre. Recover Evidence seemed quite a good option as with such a small crew Ali would be hard pressed to keep the markers away from where I could get to them. I was quite interested in the match-up to see if my experience playing with the Viktorias would translate into success playing against them.

Turn 1: The Malifaux Child casts Sisters In Fury while I waste activations with the Brutal Effigy and Terror Tots. Vanessa Commands Construct to move Ashes & Dust to my left and zaps Barbaros, so Barbaros takes Rapid Growth and charges her right back. The Nothing Beast commits to the right side and Ashes & Dust to the left, presumably to counter the Tots I have there, while Nekima picks up Fears Given Form and smacks Vanessa now that the only counter charge is from Viktoria (and there is no staying out of her threat range). Ali elects to hold the Viks back to threaten me for next turn and I see my chance to control them before my whole crew gets blended. The Shaman gives Collodi Black Blood and pushes it forward before becoming the Personal Puppet. Collodi Pulls The Strings on Viktoria of Blood a couple of times, critically getting the My Bidding Trigger to attack her sister. Ali flips the Black Joker for the master’s defense, and I have the Red Joker in hand, so that is the end of Viktoria of Ashes. At the end of the turn Ali reveals Last Stand.

Turn 2: I reveal Recover Evidence since Ali has only 5 pieces left on the board. Barbaros kills Vanessa and there is a Tot in range to Grow, but I decide that the Tot will be more useful to me than a Young Nephilim at this point and elect not to Grow. The Nothing Beast Focuses to attack Barbaros but flips the Black Joker for damage, then Ashes & Dust kills the Tot on the left and picks up its Head. Collodi finishes Viktoria of Blood and picks up a nearby head. One Tot and the Brutal Effigy drop scheme markers while the other picks up an Evidence token. Nekima hurts the Nothing Beast and gets hit back for her troubles. I score for Claim Jump and we both score for Headhunter.

Turn 3: Nekima Kills the Nothing Beast while Ali has a hand full of cards. Ashes & Dust collects another Head. The Effigy and a Tot put down scheme markers and Collodi drops Ashes & Dust to 2 wounds remaining (I deliberately left it alive so I could have a chance to deal with it properly next turn) then picks up some Evidence. Barbaros collects more Evidence and the other Tot gets a Head marker. We both score Headhunter again and I get Claim Jump.

Turn 4: Collodi breaks up Ashes & Dust then kills the Dust Storm. The rest of my crew throw attacks at the Ashen Core, as long as they’re not busy with Heads or scheme markers. I score for Claim Jump and Headhunter. There are no Heads left, Ashen Core won’t drop one and can’t move to pick any up, so we call it there. Neverborn win 9 – 2 (3 for Headhunter, 3 for Recover Evidence and 3 for Claim Jump for me; 2 for Headhunter for Ali).

All games with Ali are fun and this was certainly no exception; he just has such a nice attitude to gaming that one can’t help but smile along as we play. In general I think that his approach of using the Viktorias as an area denial threat is quite good, but in this case the large threat range on Collodi plus the low number of AP generated by the Outcast crew combined perhaps make the immediate alpha strike a better option. Once Viktoria of Ashes went down for essentially no impact on the game, this was really over as a contest and it was just a matter of letting my bigger number of activations carry the day. This was doubly the case in Headhunter where Ali had to choose between using his expensive pieces to kill my crew or score points.

Once the scores were calculated I came in first place as the only player on four wins. I was particularly pleased to see three of my opponents, Joe, Stewart and Ali, come in third, fourth and fifth having only lost one game each (i.e. to me). As always I had a terrific time and would thank David, Stewart, Joe and Ali for four fun games of Malifaux and Kai and Callum for doing the work to run the tournament in the first place.

Categories: Battle reports, Campaigns, Malifaux, Tournaments | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Malifaux tournament report: Cry Havoc 2017 (50SS); 03Jun2017

Cry Havoc is a regular date in the regional wargaming calendar, and lately it has featured a Malifaux tournament, so Gareth and I headed over the Forth Bridge to Dunfermline to take part. It ended up being a fairly small event (at least, compared to the Age Of Sigmar tournament sharing the hall) but most of the Malifaux-playing areas of Scotland seemed to provide at least one player to test their mettle.

Game 1: Neverborn (me) vs Resurrectionists (Stewart Herbert)

Strategy: Reconnoitre, close deployment

Schemes
Pool: Claim Jump, Dig Their Graves, Leave Your Mark, Covert Breakthrough, Last Stand
Neverborn: Leave Your Mark, Covert Breakthrough
Resurrectionists: Leave Your Mark, Covert Breakthrough

Crews
Neverborn: Pandora (The Box Opens, Fears Given Form), Barbaros (One Thousand Faces), Nekima (One Thousand Faces), 3 Terror Tots, Black Blood Shaman, Primordial Magic
Resurrectionists: Seamus (Sinister Reputation, Redchapel Killer), Copycat Killer, Dead Doxy, Night Terror, Rotten Belle, Forgotten Marshal, Necropunk, Rogue Necromancy, Philip and the Nanny (The Haunting)

With close deployment I decided to pick a Pandora crew since it would mean that I could hopefully get her in about the Resurrectionist crew before they could split up and therefore keep a big chunk busy. I find that she’s really good at draining cards and since I was partly expecting Nicodem here I was intending to expend Pandora as a distraction piece. The rest of my crew is a Nephilim list that is pretty mobile and threatens to Grow opportunistically. I find that it is quite hard to rely on Grow in a crew, but having the option can force people to respect the threat of it. More importantly, it is highly amusing when it actually works. I’ve used more or less the same crew with Lilith and Collodi at the helm in previous events and it appears to work well regardless of the chosen Master. With close deployment it was a simple choice to pick both Leave Your Mark and Covert Breakthrough since any markers touching the centre line would be good enough to score it. When Stewart revealed his crew with Sinister Reputation on Seamus I was quite worried and knew I would have to play Pandora somewhat cagily to keep her safe from him.

Turn 1: Seamus starts off by using Back Alley to get behind my lines, then helpfully flips really low on a shot at a Tot, allowing me to cheat to avoid it. The Copycat Killer moves to him and tries the same, with similarly ineffective results, much to both our surprise. The Doxy uses Take The Lead to move the Rogue Necromancy up on the right, so Pandora pushes over to it (Inciting the Belle and Doxy in the process) and beats its hard enough to drop the Three Headed rule. The Belle Lures it back to relative safety. Barbaros swaps in Rapid Growth and moves to cover Pandora on the right, and the Necromancy comes forward and misses an optimistic ranged attack at Barbaros. Nekima picks up Fears Give Form and double walks over to smite the Forgotten Marshal and engage the Necropunk. The latter predictably Leaps away and is eventually stabbed by the Black Blood Shaman. The Forgotten Marshal rather obligingly not only fails his Fears Given Form check (which kills him) but also Black Jokers the check to see what was hidden in his coffin.

Turn 2: The Black Blood Shaman polishes off the Necropunk. The Doxy pushes Pandora around and gives her the Confused Feelings condition. Sensing that this could be rather bad news with Seamus in view, Pandora scoots round the building and kills the Rogue Necromancy. The Copycat Killer misses the Tot again, and Barbaros charges into the Doxy to tie up Seamus. The Belle fails a Horror Duel trying to Lure Pandora around and a Tot joins in the mix to attack the Doxy. Philip and my other two Tots drop scheme markers, as does Seamus (to my great surprise) after walking out of Barbaros’s clutches. I score for the strategy and we both score for Leave Your Mark.

Turn 3: The Copycat Killer finally lands a hit on something, knocking the Primordial Magic down to a single wound. The Tot eats the Doxy and Grows into a Young Nephilim. Seamus drops another scheme marker and Barbaros charges into him. Philip drops another scheme marker and Nekima barrels into him vaporising the poor chap with a lucky Red Joker. The Belle makes some desultory attacks on Pandora, who completely fails to do anything in return to her. The new Young picks up a scheme marker near Nekima (in retrospect, I think that I shouldn’t have been able to do this as it had only been summoned that turn). The Tot charges the Night Terror and the Black Blood Shaman uses Pustule to finish it off. I score for Reconnoitre and Leave Your Mark again.

Turn 4: Seamus walks away from Barbaros, focuses and shoots into the melee with the Copycat Killer. Amusingly, he randomises onto the little guy and blows away his own totem. Pandora finally deals with the Belle and Nekima chops Seamus into a fine red mist. Neverborn win 10 – 1 (full score for me; 1 for Leave Your Mark for Stewart).

The cards in turn 1 favoured me a bit; whenever Stewart wanted to take a shot at anything with Seamus or the Copycat Killer I always seemed to be able to get to one higher than him. I was able to put the pressure on quite early by using Pandora to turn the Rogue Necromancy’s nasty damage track against it and by dropping the Forgotten Marshal in turn one. This meant that Seamus had to worry about dropping scheme markers rather than blowing up my crew with his horrible gun. Stewart took it all in his stride and was a gentleman throughout.

Game 2: Neverborn (me) vs Gremlins (Joe Taylor)

Strategy: Reckoning, standard deployment

Schemes
Pool: Claim Jump, Frame For Murder, Accusation, Hunting Party, Hidden Trap
Neverborn: Frame For Murder (Barbaros), Hunting Party
Gremlins: Claim Jump, Hunting Party

Crews
Neverborn: Pandora (The Box Opens, Fears Given Form), Barbaros, Nekima (One Thousand Faces), 2 Illuminated, Beckoner, Primordial Magic
Gremlins: Wong (Ooo Glowy), Gracie (Saddle), Burt Jebsen, Iron Skeeter (Do Over), Swine Cursed, Old Cranky, 2 Bayou Gremlins, 3 Stuffed Piglets

Joe had been talking about using this crew all morning, so I had some idea of what was coming, but sadly I couldn’t think of any really good counter so I ended up putting down a crew with some decent stats and hoping to ride out the horrible alpha strike that it can put out, then counter punching my way through with whatever I had left. I took Frame For Murder, expecting only 2VP since there are no Henchmen to worry about, and Hunting Party since I figured I might have some opportunity to take out the Swine Cursed, then would have to see if any opportunities arose to handle the rest of the Minions and Peons. Wong makes Burt Glowy.

Turn 1: I get hopelessly out activated, since between the Bayou Gremlins, Stuffed Piglets and Old Cranky (total 16 Soulstones) there are six activations. Pandora fires forward into an aggressive position, Inciting a couple of Stuffed Piglets in the process. I was hoping that I can abuse the Fading Memory push and her high stats to reduce retaliation, and then I could threaten a bigger chunk of Joe’s crew next turn. Similarly, Nekima goes forward on the far left and Black Jokers a swing at a Stuffed Piglet that had come up too far; the intention was to thin out the activations a bit. The rest of my crew huddle up a bit with Barbaros in the middle to abuse Challenge. The Iron Skeeter discards Do Over and moves Burt forward, making him Fast in the process. Gracie Reactivates and pulls the Swine Cursed forward four times. Burt kills Pandora, cheating in above me each time. Then the Swine Cursed kills Nekima with similarly little fuss. Wong misses a speculative shot at an Illuminated. This looks bad.

Turn 2: The Illuminated knocks the Iron Skeeter down to one wound. Barbaros kills a Stuffed Piglet to score Hunting Party and the Beckoner Lures Gracie forward so that she’s engaged with Barbaros but outside her own melee range, then fails to finish the Iron Skeeter with Despicable Promises. Now that Joe can use his crew in the order of his choice, Burt wipes out Barbaros (scoring me 2 VP for Frame For Murder) and Gracie kills the nearby Illuminated to score for Hunting Party. The Swine Cursed somehow misses the other Illuminated three times in a row and Wong shoots the Beckoner. We both score for Reckoning and Joe scores for Claim Jump.

Turn 3: The Swine Cursed finally hits the Illuminated, who kills it in return. Burt kills him in turn, scoring Hunting Party again. The Beckoner fails again to kill off the Iron Skeeter, then Gracie Saddles it toward the Beckoner. The Iron Skeeter fails to hit her somehow, so Wong does the job. With only the Primordial Magic cowering behind a tree, I’m happy to concede the rest of the points. Neverborn lose 4 – 10 (1 for Reckoning, 2 for Frame For Murder and 1 for Hunting Party for me; full score for Joe).

Ouch, that was quite brutal! Joe was, of course, a perfect gentleman all the while he was thrashing me soundly; one would expect nothing less of The Nicest Man in Malifaux. In retrospect, the choice to be really aggressive with Nekima and Pandora was probably wrong and I should have considered keeping them all in Barbaros’s Challenge Aura. But it would have been quite hard to position such that the aura couldn’t have been blocked by some good positioning on Joe’s part, and with the extreme threat range on Burt and the Swine Cursed I would have struggled to keep it relevant. Indeed, Joe could also have just killed Barbaros first. In fact, even if I’d played my own pieces much better, I’m not certain I could have avoided the devastating first turn here. The threat range on the Gremlin fighters is enough to get into my deployment zone so unless I huddle at my own table edge then I’m going to receive the attacks eventually, and even doing so means that Joe can spend turn one setting up as he pleases then pull the trigger on turn 2 instead. Also, Joe’s control hand on turn one was quite unholy: after cycling away an 8 with Old Cranky and drawing two cards with Do Over his lowest card was an 11 and three of them were 13s. I had nothing to match that so it was perhaps inevitable that I was going to lose something important.

The good thing about being beaten so thoroughly was that we had time to re-rack and try again with the same match-up after Joe and I had discussed a few options I could consider for the second game. So in a three round event, we got to play four games. However, I didn’t bother to note the details of the second game for your reading pleasure.

Game 3: Neverborn (me) vs Guild (Dave Laing)

Strategy: Turf War, corner deployment

Schemes
Pool: Claim Jump, Accusation, Leave Your Mark, Undercover Entourage, Set Up
Neverborn: Leave Your Mark, Undercover Entourage (Bad Juju)
Guild: Accusation, Set Up (Bad Juju)

Crews
Neverborn: Jakob Lynch (Endless Hunger), Hungering Darkness, 2 Waldgeists, Spawn Mother (Hexed Among You), Bad Juju (Eternal Fiend), McTavish, Will O’ The Wisp
Guild: Lucius (Secret Assets, Legalese, Surprisingly Loyal), Master Queeg (Promises, A Debt To The Guild), Captain Dashel (Arrest Them, Numb To The World), Witchling Thrall, Guild Pathfinder, Terracotta Warrior, The Scribe, Clockwork Trap

In a rare event for me, I had decided to use this list for this round long before the day of the tournament. It’s a bit of a gimmick list, or maybe a theme list, but the bits all fit together quite well and the whole thing is terrific fun to play. To summarise, the Spawn Mother and Will O’ The Wisp combine to summon Gupps at (sometimes) a rate of one per turn. Everything in the crew apart from Lynch and the Hungering Darkness (and including any Gupps I can summon) is a Swampfiend, so killing any of it will let me bring Bad Juju into play. McTavish synergises really nicely with other Swampfiends, both improving their cover and using them for his own amazing gun. The crew turns out to be quite independent of the Master; I’ve tried variations of it with Lilith and Pandora too for reasonable effect. In this case, Lynch brings the potential to abuse the ace of Masks for Gupps leaping, the badness that is Hungering Darkness and an AP he doesn’t always know how to use; I put this last part to good effect by dropping scheme markers for McTavish to eat. Various people have quite reasonably pointed out that I could go even further down this rabbit hole by putting Rising Sun on Lynch instead, but I’m more familiar with Endless Hunger and haven’t really tried the burying version of Hungering Darkness; anyway, the threat saturation of the crew is huge and often Hungering Darkness seems to be too much trouble to kill off so has survived the games anyway. Leave Your Mark was picked as I planned to summon Gupps and send them out of the Turf War area to score it, and I eventually chose Undercover Entourage on Bad Juju, figuring I could kill my own model near the Guild deployment zone if it was buried and I needed to bring the walking compost heap back into play.

Turn 1: The Spawn Mother moves up and lays an egg, which the Wisp hatches. The Terracotta Warrior puts Ancient Protection on the Witchling Thrall, who moves up centrally. The Gupps move to engage the Thrall, either to be killed and get Bad Juju out early, or to tie up the Thrall until I could deal with it. To my immense surprise, Dave takes the bait and Lucius walks to make the Thrall kill the Gupps. He Issues Command to make the Thrall hit Bad Juju, then uses What Lackeys Are For to swap places with the Pathfinder. Bad Juju pokes the Thrall which removes Ancient Protection, then moves to cover the Pathfinder and Terracotta Warrior and fires off Landslide which slows the Pathfinder and Thrall. Dashel moves and fails to summon a Guard. Lynch also moves up (fittingly, into the swamp) and drops a scheme marker for McTavish. Queeg pushes the Terracotta Warrior around and puts down a scheme marker, as does the Pathfinder. The Waldgeist and Hungering Darkness poke the Thrall for not much effect. McTavish pushes up to the scheme marker and takes a shot which kills the Clockwork Trap. Dave reveals Set Up on Bad Juju, scoring 2 VP.

Turn 2: The Pathfinder summons a Clockwork Trap in a rather annoying position. This was a mistake from Dave as he should have used the Terracotta Warrior to reapply Ancient Protection to the Thrall. I take advantage by having Hungering Darkness kill off the Thrall. Dashel puts enough wounds on Bad Juju to bury it and the Waldgeist hurts the Pathfinder. Lucius Issues Command to move the Pathfinder over to the unactivated Waldgeist, then has him Accuse it. He puts a Focused Hidden Sniper shot into Lynch. Lynch Plays For Blood to finish the Pathfinder. Queeg engages the Accused Waldgeist to stop me from simply removing the condition, and McTavish puts some bullets into him. The Spawn Mother lays another egg and engages the Terracotta Warrior, then the Wisp hatches the egg and the Gupps move off toward Dave’s deployment zone. We both score for the strategy and Dave scores for Accusation.

Turn 3: Queeg uses A Debt To the Guild and then accidentally kills the Waldgeist by flipping 2 severe cards on a negative flip so Bad Juju unburies. The Hungering Darkness finishes off Master Queeg. Dashel Accuses the surviving Waldgeist and fails again to summon a Guild Guard. The Spawn Mother totally misses her swings at the Terracotta Warrior and completes her shame by Black Jokering to lay an egg. The Scribe puts Red Tape on Hungering Darkness so Bad Juju kills him. Lucius misses a shot at Lynch with the Hidden Sniper, then moves up and Black Jokers a Commanding Presence on himself; suddenly I don’t feel so bad about the Spawn Mother’s abject failure. The Wisp and Terracotta Warrior bounce ineffectually off each other. Lynch puts another scheme marker down and takes a shot at Lucius with Play For Blood; for some reason it didn’t occur to me that it would be perfect for Dave to put me on a negative flip to hit, thereby causing some free damage to Lynch. McTavish then guns down Lucius with some very lucky flips; I twice got double moderate damage on negative flips. Lucius also really hurts Dashel and the Trap with Devil’s Deal to try to stay alive. The Waldgeist pokes at Dashel. We both score for Turf War, I score for Leave Your Mark and Dave scores for Accusation again.

Turn 4: Dashel finally manages to summon a Guard then Accuses the Waldgeist. The Spawn Mother again fails to hit the Terracotta Warrior which kills my Wisp. Lynch finishes off the Trap and hurts the Guard; Hungering Darkness kills her and hurts Dashel some more. McTavish, getting tired of the Spawn Mother’s ineptitude, ends the Terracotta Warrior. I score Turf War and Leave Your Mark again and Dave gets the final point for Accusation.

Turn 5: Dashel summons another Guard. The Hungering Darkness fails to kill it, so McTavish does so. The Waldgeist finally lands a hit on Dashel to kill him and Bad Juju shambles into Dave’s deployment zone. Neverborn win 10 – 7 (full score for me; 2 for Turf War, 2 for Set Up and 3 for Accusation for Dave).

As always, playing Dave was a real pleasure. He’s such a student of the game that you always know that his crews will contain some entertaining synergy. In this case, the game hinged on his activation order error at the start of turn 2 which allowed me to finish off the Witchling Thrall quite painlessly rather than failing uselessly at it and suffering another series of attacks from it throughout the turn. From my side, the pieces generally did as expected. The Waldgeists got in the way and were quite frustrating to dislodge. McTavish was a superstar though he was probably helped by some really lucky flips on my side. In contrast, the Spawn Mother couldn’t do anything correctly, though in fairness the two Gupps she did summon (with help from the Wisp) both had a pretty big impact on the game.

So when the scores are in I’m in 4th place which I am quite pleased with. I got four good games of Malifaux, including an unexpected bonus game after round two… though perhaps I would have preferred not to have capitulated quite so quickly against Joe. Thanks to Stewart, Joe and Dave for more fun games, and to Michael and Andy for their parts in running this.

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