Malifaux

Malifaux tournament report: Masters of the Path (50SS); 25Nov2017

Gareth and I took the train to Common Ground Games in Stirling for our last Malifaux event of 2017. As is my habit, I’ve swapped from Neverborn to play a new faction for the coming year or so; in this case I’m picking up Resurrectionists. I’ve long noticed that despite Molly being a common enough sight I have never seen anyone use the Spirit version. So I decided to start with her and see how I get on with this option. I will admit that I looked at the strategies and schemes and the ‘try hard’ part of me considered playing Neverborn for one last event since they are mostly not very friendly to a master who summons in models on low wounds near the enemy crew, but in the end I figured it would be an interesting pressure test.

Game 1: Resurrectionists (me) vs Neverborn (Ian Gemmell)

Strategy: Collect the Bounty, close deployment

Schemes
Pool: Claim Jump, Recover Evidence, Search the Ruins, Dig Their Graves, Eliminate the Leadership
Resurrectionists: Search the Ruins, Eliminate the Leadership
Neverborn: Claim Jump, Eliminate the Leadership

Crews
Resurrectionists: Molly Squidpiddge (Forgotten Path, Take Back The Night, Wronged Spirits), Izamu the Armour, Datsue Ba, Anna Lovelace, Goryo, Onryo, Dead Doxy, Grave Spirit
Neverborn: Collodi (Fated, Strum The Threads, Aether Connection), Mannequin, Shadow Effigy, 2 Stitched Together, 3 Marionettes, Baby kade, Burt Jebsen

The crew above is more or less the ones I’ve used to get used to Resurrectionists. When I pick up a new faction I usually start with a couple of masters but will run a few games with a pretty much fixed list approach until I see what works for me and what doesn’t. Since I’m still in that learning process I’m just making minor changes to the core here. In summary, Molly goes toward the biggest patch of the other crew and bombs Black Blood ghosts into them as allowed by my hand. The Doxy gives her a nice push forward at the start, and Izamu, Datsue Ba and Anna are there to do actual work until I can get the attrition rolling in my favour (I almost always lose one or more of these three by the end of turn two). The Goryo and Onryo are there for a bit of all-round hitting or scheming as needed, and also because I like the models. I’ve preferred the Grave Spirit over the Necrotic Machine mainly because it seems to fit the theme. For this match up I picked Search The Ruins as it would suit my attrition plans and Eliminate the Leadership because, having played Collodi, I knew that I would have to deal with it before the game was out.

Turn 1: The Shadow Effigy gets us underway by giving Collodi Blend Into Shadow; Collodi kindly shares this out to its minions. The Doxy pushes Molly forward. We jockey for position a bit and eventually I send Izamu forward to poke a Marionette. A Stitched comes forward and manages to land severe damage on the Ancestor. Molly moves up further and summons a Hanged which somehow manages to get the Stitched to Reactivate; it then hurts Izamu a bit more. Collodi makes one of the Marionettes a Personal Puppet, My Wills the Stitched to finish off Izamu and Slows Molly.

Turn 2: Molly summons another Hanged and companions the other one to hurt the untouched Stitched. The wounded Stitched together Gambles Your Life with Molly but loses. Datsue Ba kills a Marionette to turn it into a Gaki and Collodi hurts Molly rather badly. It also attacks the Hanged and makes the Spirit attack Molly but luckily Molly doesn’t take the hit. The Hanged puts Whispers From Beyond on Collodi who blows up its Personal Puppet to avoid the damage. We ruled that Collodi still got the Glimpse The Inevitable condition as it didn’t seem to be related to the damage. The Gaki misses the Mannequin and a Marionette goes Fast to charge Molly, helpfully dying to Black Blood in the process. The Stitched puts more damage onto Molly (scoring Ian a VP for Eliminate the Leadership) and is killed by Anna in return. Kade charges into Molly and top decks the Red Joker on damage to kill her (I didn’t have any cards left to use Masterful Dead), scoring the rest of the points for Eliminate the Leadership in the process. My Goryo pokes Kade after the Onryo failed to get Adversary onto him as usual. Burt moves around and drops a scheme marker. We end up drawing on the strategy.

Turn 3: The Hanged kills the Effigy, then Collodi kills the Grave Spirit and hurts my Goryo. Anna kills Baby Kade then the Onryo and Burt drop scheme markers around the place. The Goryo drops the Mannequin mainly to get it out of my hair, and Datsue Ba starts the long process of pinning Collodi down long enough to kill. I score for the strategy and Ian gets Claim Jump.

Turn 4: The Goryo gets Collodi down to a single wound. It summons a Marionette to make it a Personal Puppet and then finishes off the Goryo. Datsue Ba puts a wound onto Collodi to force the Marionette to die to Decoy. The Onryo hurts Burt after he has put down some more scheme markers, then Anna drops Collodi. I score for Collect the Bounty. Ian has seen enough (and anyway only has Burt left on a single wound) and agrees to call it there. Resurrectionists win 8 – 4 (3 for Collect The Bounty, 2 for Eliminate the Leadership [in retrospect I think I should have had the full 3 here] and 3 for Search the Ruins for me; 3 for Eliminate the Leadership and 1 for Claim Jump for Ian).

I really enjoyed that game. Having played Collodi quite extensively myself recently I felt that I had an idea of how to handle it, but Collodi is such a versatile master that almost anything is possible. I gave away Izamu quite cheaply but two Stitched were always going to get something so probably it was best to try to blunt them on Izamu’s armour since they ignore all the defenses on the rest of my crew. Ian’s crew was quite interesting and I was rather surprised by the inclusion of Kade who doesn’t seem to gain much from Collodi (or vice versa). Burt seems to show up all over the place so it was not so unexpected to face him but I was quite glad that he wandered off to do Claim Jump rather than getting in my way.

Game 2: Resurrectionists (me) vs Ten Thunders (Gareth Henry)

Strategy: Extraction, corner deployment

Schemes
Pool: Claim Jump, A Quick Murder, Inspection, Dig Their Graves, Leave Your Mark
Resurrectionists: A Quick Murder (Kang), Inspection
Ten Thunders: Claim Jump, Inspection

Crews
Resurrectionists: Molly Squidpiddge (Forgotten Path, Take Back The Night, Wronged Spirits), Izamu the Armour, Datsue Ba, Anna Lovelace, Onryo, Dead Doxy, Grave Spirit, 2 Night Terrors
Ten Thunders: Asami Tanaka (A Heavenly Design, Grasping Strands, Peaceful Waters), Amanjuku, 2 Ten Thunder Brothers, 2 Katanaka Snipers, Kang, Monk of Low River, Mr Tannen

A big majority of my games of Malifaux are against Gareth as he is my regular opponent for our little gaming group, so we came into this match-up with interesting expectations of what the other would bring. I took the same list as round one, swapping the Goryo for a pair of Night Terrors. I wasn’t too surprised to see Asami on the other side of the board though I did consider that Gareth might have picked Misaki instead. Not that Misaki is a strictly better pick for this strategy and scheme pool, but rather because Gareth is very effective at using her and I thought he might have decided to go all in on just killing all my stuff and picking up the pieces later. Kang would have to come into my clutches to get any work done so I decided I might as well score points for killing him with A Quick Murder. I love a pair of Night Terrors as cheap ways to collect points for Inspection, though when the Ten Thunder Brothers also telegraphed going for the same scheme I was a bit worried that they would simply kill the Night Terrors and leave me without a way to get anything to the corners.

Turn 1: The Snipers take pot shots at my crew for pleasingly little effect, then the Doxy fails to push Molly; I had a weird control hand with only low and high cards and didn’t want to cheat a really good card in simply to save Molly from walking. Asami teleports forward with A Heavenly Design, pulls Kang to her with Reaching Tendrils and summons a pair of Yokai. Molly advances and drops a Goryo into the middle of this scrum which then achieves nothing whatsoever attacking Kang, though it is tying up the Yokai. Kang helpfully misses the Goryo so Mr Tannen kills it off with Bore To Tears. Datsue Ba moves Izamu forward and moves into position herself. One of the Yokai charges Izamu who one-shots it in return and charges Kang. The Monk heals Kang to undo my good work and Anna puts some nice damage into the left Sniper. Meanwhile, The Night Terror and Ten Thunder Brothers start their long and obvious journeys to the corners.

Turn 2: Molly summons another Goryo and a Hanged, makes Izamu hit Kang and chain activates to really hurt the big chap. Then the Monk heals him again. Maybe I should actually deal with the Monk instead. The Onryo and Sniper on the left trade blows; the Sniper is left on a single wound and in Black Blood range. The Goryo makes Asami an Adversary; Asami then teleports away again and pulls Kang clear of the fray. She then summons a Jorogumo and an Obsidian Oni. The Doxy Takes The Lead on Izamu to push him into range to just engage Kang and the Obsidian Oni, then charges the other Sniper. This goes poorly and the Sniper cuts her down easily. Mr Tannen goes again with Bore To Tears on the new Goryo but doesn’t kill it this time. Datsue Ba kills the Yokai and the Hanged puts Glimpse The Inevitable on Kang. Ananjuku top decks the needed card to increase the Flicker on the Obsidian Oni and Kang kills the Goryo. Anna drops Kang to his Hard To Kill wound. I score Extraction and we both get Inspection.

Turn 3: The Monk of Low River removes Glimpse The Inevitable from Kang and heals him. Molly Black Jokers a Whispered Secret on Asami then summons a second Hanged and a Drowned. She chain activates Izamu to kill Kang (scoring me 3VP for A Quick Murder). Izamu also walks over to engage the Sniper. Datsue Ba hurts Asami who teleports away and charges into Izamu for minimal effect. The Onryo polishes off the Sniper while the Night Terror and Ten Thunders Brothers poke at each other gently. The Drowned gets double severe on a negative flip to kill the Monk of Low River in one go, then the Hanged and Anna get Asami down to a single wound. I score Extraction, Gareth scores Claim Jump and we both get Inspection.

Turn 4: Molly does Whispered Secret and Revelation to finish off Asami, then chain activates Izamu to deal with the Sniper. Mr Tannen puts some wounds onto the Hanged while the Night Terror and Ten Thunder Brothers continue to flail at each other. The Hanged kills Amanjuku. I score Extraction and we both get Inspection. Looking at the board state we agree that Gareth will certainly get Claim Jump next turn and I’ll get the last point for Extraction so we call it there. Resurrectionists win 10 – 5 (full score for me; 3 for Inspection and 2 for Claim Jump for Gareth).

I always have a great time playing Gareth and this was no exception. We play each other so often that there are sometime little games-within-games to play around taking expected pieces or counter-picking and I think that this adds an interesting extra dimension to our encounters. The game went well for me; it was the only strategy and scheme pool that I felt really comfortable with coming into the event. This allowed me to do the things I think that Molly does well: flood the centre of the board with disposable but dangerous chaff. I’m still working on the relative benefits of using a good card to summon compared to using it to make an attack land but hopefully this will come with experience.

Game 3: Resurrectionists (me) vs Guild (Lewis Philips)

Strategy: Reckoning, standard deployment

Schemes
Pool: Claim Jump, A Quick Murder, Show of Force, Leave Your Mark, Eliminate the Leadership
Resurrectionists: A Quick Murder (The Jury), Eliminate the Leadership
Guild: A Quick Murder (Izamu the Armour), Show of Force

Crews
Resurrectionists: Kirai Ankoku (Wronged Spirits, Spirit Beacon, Unforgiven), Izamu the Armour, Datsue Ba, Anna Lovelace, Madame Sybelle (Bleeding Tongue), 2 Rotten Belles
Guild: Perdita Ortega (Aura Ancestral, Trick Shooting, Fastest Draw In Malifaux), Francisco Ortega (Debt To The Guild, Wade In), Nino Ortega (Hair Trigger), The Jury (Debt To The Guild, Numb To The World), 2 Monster Hunters

This was the round that I really had no good plan for. Theorising with Gareth on the way over I had planned more-or-less the crew above, but with Molly at the helm. But when Lewis declared Guild as his faction I started to expect either Sonnia or Perdita and decided that maybe with Kirai I could leverage Ikiryo to give me a bit of time to close the range. The plan was to Lure in whatever I could using the Belles and then kill it. If anything looked particularly vulnerable on my side then I had intended to summon something healthier off it with Kirai. For schemes I decided to go all in on the killing and chose A Quick Murder (on The Jury as she looked a bit more vulnerable than Francisco) and Eliminate The Leadership. The latter scheme is sometimes really hard against Perdita but with only six models in Lewis’s crew I figured I would probably have to deal with her somehow anyway.

Turn 1: The Monster Hunters Stalk Madame Sybelle. One Belle Lures the other forward; it then Lures the activated Monster Hunter towards me. Kirai eventually kills it; not that it was helpful for scoring but I felt that a bit more activation control might help me. The rest of our movement is very cagey. Perdita Obeys Izamu to walk out of cover.

Turn 2: I figure I’ll have to go all in with Izamu if I want to get any work done so I throw him into The Jury for not much impact. Nino and Perdita join forces to kill him. The Belles Lure in the other Monster Hunter and after some Pounces and Madame Sybelle’s impact it is left on a single wound. Kirai moves up and knocks Nino down to one wound too. Lewis scores for Show of Force.

Turn 3: The Monster Hunter Stalks then kills a Belle, healing himself to full. If I’d known that they could do this (on top of their improbable list of other abilities) I would have made a bit more of an effort to deal with him last turn. Ikiryo does come out to hurt him again before Sacrificing with On The Wind. Anna shoots the Jury and I get lucky and Paralyse Perdita with the resulting horror duel. Francisco returns fire and is rewarded with Ikiryo again. The Belle kills the Monster Hunter and The Jury hits Ikiryo, which hits her right back and disappears again. I throw everything else I have but can’t deal with either Nino or The Jury. Lewis gets Show of Force again.

Turn 4: Sybelle finally puts down The Jury (scoring me 2VP for A Quick Murder). Francisco and Nino fail to kill Datsue Ba. I try my best to drop Perdita but can’t quite manage it. I even double focus with Kirai and eat the Seishin to have a go at Perdita, but Lewis (with an empty hand) top decks a queen and forces me to burn the Red Joker to hit at all. If he’d flipped a jack or less I could have killed Perdita and might have had a chance to take the game (probably only to a draw though). Oh well. He scores Show of Force for the last time.

Turn 5: Francisco Flurries to kill Datsue Ba then chain activates Perdita who guns down Anna with a timely Red Joker flip on damage. Kirai kills Perdita, getting me the rest of the points for Eliminate The Leadership. Nino thoughtfully kills Francisco to stop me from getting Reckoning, though I think it would have been quite unlikely anyway considering I’d have had to do it with just Sybelle at that point. Lewis scores Reckoning this turn. Resurrectionists lose 5 – 7 (2 for A Quick Murder and 3 for Eliminate the Leadership for me; 1 for Reckoning, 3 for A Quick Murder and 3 for Show of Force for Lewis).

Wow, so close… a really enjoyable game. Lewis played a really nice tight game to his strengths here and took great advantage of the terrain so that I was always having to react to him. I think that Kirai was still the right choice over Molly, though neither of them were really ideal I think. Perhaps a bit more familiarity with Kirai would have improved my chances (and actually, I’d never used Sybelle or the Belles before this game either) but to beat a player of Lewis’s skill I would need to be really on top of my game. If I had this match-up again I think I would stand by those scheme picks; none of the others looked very appealing. Perhaps the biggest mistake was that we played the central gallows as not blocking line of sight – as it was this provided a perfect place for the Guild guns to sit behind and pick my crew off while scoring for Show Of Force.

Game 4: Resurrectionists (me) vs Arcanists (Jamie Clark)

Strategy: Headhunter, flank deployment

Schemes
Pool: Claim Jump, Tail ‘Em, Show of Force, Accusation!, Frame For Murder
Resurrectionists: Claim Jump, Frame For Murder (Izamu the Armour)
Arcanists: Claim Jump, Show of Force

Crews
Resurrectionists: Molly Squidpiddge (Forgotten Path, Take Back The Night, Wronged Spirits), Izamu the Armour, Datsue Ba, Anna Lovelace, Onryo, Dead Doxy, Grave Spirit, Rotten Belle
Arcanists: Toni Ironsides (Warding Runes, Union President, Veteran Fighter), 2 Wind Gamin, 3 Oxfordian Mages (Nemesis Ward, Blood Ward and Doom Ward, plus a copy of Temporary Shielding each), Angelica (Practiced Production), Johan [Johana in this case] (Well Rehearsed), Arcane Effigy, Malifaux Raptor

Headhunter is my favourite strategy and I think that it really showcases all that is best of Malifaux; you need to kill the other crew but you can’t do it indiscriminately, and you need to have your own cheap pieces around to pick up their heads. I took again the same core Molly crew, this time losing the Night Terror (who are a total liability in Headhunter) for a Rotten Belle with the idea that if Jamie was very cagey I could bring a victim over and kill it at my leisure. With flank deployment I thought that Claim Jump could be quite useful since the line along which to lay the scheme markers is long. Izamu had been an easy victim in my other games this event so I thought that I might try to get some points out his inevitable (second) demise. With Molly liking to be in the thick of things plus two other Henchmen I was quite expecting to have Jamie pick Tail ‘Em so I planned to try to give him so much to do that he couldn’t afford to spend the AP on it (in retrospect he didn’t actually have many Minions so maybe it wasn’t so likely but that didn’t occur to me at the time).

Turn 1: There is a lot of very cagey moving around. The Doxy pushes Molly forward with Take The Lead while the Raptor Takes To The Sky. The Mages push each other around a bit. Eventually I realise that I’m not going to get a nice ball of enemies to summon off and resign myself to a single Goryo between Johana and a Mage. Ironsides moves so that the injured Mage is in Hand Picked Men range, then helpfully fails a Horror duel targeting Datsue Ba. The Mage does strip a few wounds from Izamu with Furious Casting.

Turn 2: The Mage Furious Casts again to kill Izamu and I pick up 2VP for Frame For Murder. The Goryo gets Johana down to her Hard To Kill wound, and the nearby Mage suicides by Black Blood to kill it. This also forces Johana to discard Well Rehearsed to stay in the game, so the Doxy pushes Molly again then kills Johana as there is no way I’m going to miss an opportunity like that. The Mage that killed Izamu is Lured closer to me so that it is in a better place for Molly to summon. The Raptor, which had unburied next to Anna, pecks her a bit. Molly summons a Hanged and Goryo, then makes the Hanged put Glimpse The Inevitable on Ironsides. She companions into the Hanged which kills the Mage and the resulting Horror duels Paralyses Ironsides as Jamie cheated his last card in to stop Angelica from failing from the same pulse. Anna pushes the Raptor clear so that she can shoot Angelica and gets another pulse of Horror duels which this time Angelica and the Effigy fail. It is better to be lucky than good. Datsue Ba picks up a head in midfield and the Onryo misses some attacks on Ironsides. Jamie scores Claim Jump thanks to the Wind Gamin which have flown off to the corners pretty much unopposed and I score Headhunter.

Turn 3: The Mage hurts my Goryo and fails to disengage. Anna kills Angelica and the Onryo gently tickles Ironsides. Interestingly Jamie often chose not to take her Good Shot, My Turn trigger, presumably because he didn’t want me to splash Black Blood all over Ironsides. Ironsides kills the Hanged, uses a trigger to push over to where its head lands and picks it up, then charges and hurts Molly. Molly summons a replacement Hanged, puts Ironsides on negative flips with Whispered Secret then Paralyses her with Revelation. The Doxy picks up a head and Datsue Ba turns the Raptor into a Gaki. We both score for the strategy and Claim Jump.

Turn 4: Datsue Ba charges into the Effigy but can’t quite kill it. The last Mage kills the Goryo and picks up its head. The Doxy picks up a head and hurts the Wind Gamin after giving it Confused Feelings. Molly makes the nearby Gaki poke Ironsides then hits the Gaki to splash Black Blood onto Ironsides and kill her. She then moves over and kills the Wind Gamin. The Onryo finishes the Effigy and the Hanged drops the final Mage. We both score Claim Jump and I get a point for the strategy too. With only a Wind Gamin left, we agree to end it there. Resurrectionists win 9 – 5 (4 for Headhunter, 3 for Claim Jump and 2 for Frame For Murder for me; 2 for Headhunter and 3 for Claim Jump for Jamie).

Every time I play against Jamie I enjoy it and I feel that our games are even more fun as Jamie has consistently improved his skill over the last year or so. This was a particularly interesting match-up as it was not only my first event playing Molly but Jamie was also playing his first event with Ironsides after swapping Masters with Joe (though of course he’s experienced with Arcanists in general). I was very fortunate with Jamie flipping low on some crucial Horror duels in turn 2, though I would say that I’d done some work to drain his hand so it wasn’t pure luck. The Belle didn’t really do a lot but it was an extra activation, Lure is always good and it was cheap enough that I didn’t really mind if it just dropped scheme markers anyway.

Once the scores are all in I get second place overall behind Lewis so I’m very pleased. I’ve really enjoyed playing Molly and will admit that I find Black Blood highly entertaining on Spirits. I’m planning to get in a few more games with Kirai so that I’m not telegraphing that I’m going to play Molly in every game. Thanks to Ian, Gareth, Lewis and Jamie for four fun games of Malifaux, and of course to Kai for his continued excellent running of events. I’m looking forward to 2018’s gaming experience already.

Since this is my last event of the year, I thought it would be interesting to see how my record breaks down. I feel like it was a comparably successful year with Neverborn as with my previous years of playing with Factions (roughly: 2013-2014 for Ten Thunders, 2015 for Guild, 2016 for Outcasts) which supports my general theory of tolerable inter-faction balance in Malifaux. I hope that anyone reading these enjoys them and gets as much benefit from it as I do from writing them, and in particular that this adds a bit of ‘actual-faux’ to the vast amount of ‘theory-faux’ on the Wyrd forums.
Overall: 34 wins, 6 losses
Neverborn: 31 wins, 5 losses (Collodi: 8 wins, 1 loss; Dreamer: 4 wins, 0 losses; Lilith: 7 wins, 1 loss; Jakob Lynch: 5 wins, 1 loss; Pandora: 7 wins, 2 losses)
Resurrectionists: 3 wins, 1 loss (Kirai Ankoku: 0 wins, 1 loss; Molly Squidpiddge : 3 wins, 0 losses)

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

Painted Doppelganger

This is the Doppelganger for my Malifaux Neverborn crews. She has a number of useful toolbox abilities such as Ill Omens allowing one to cheat initiative and particularly the always-valuable Don’t Mind Me to enable interactions even when engaged. Her basic attacks are terrible but she can copy the attacks of nearby models so depending on what is nearby she can sometimes turn out to have something impressive like Nekima’s sword hidden under her sheet. Reading the forums one might think that the Doppelganger should be the first option taken in all crews and that Ill Omens is so powerful as to overshadow other options. I certainly like to play the Doppelganger in some crews but generally find that in few cases would the cost of a high card be worth it to cheat and win initiative; I prefer to set up so that I can play my turns whether I win or lose the flip.

The Doppelganger is a really nice sculpt and I like the story it tells with the skin and exposed muscle as if it is half-way through a change of forms. I used red ink (rather than wash) to give a shiny wet look to the muscles.

Next on the painting table: Gupps

Categories: Malifaux, Painting and modelling | Tags: , | 3 Comments

Painted Mature Nephilim

This big chap is a Mature Nephilim for my Malifaux Neverborn. As you can probably tell from the appearance, Mature Nephilim are unsubtle murder machines best suited for use as some kind of linebreakers. They’re fast on the charge and can fly so my most effective use of them has been simply throwing them into enemy crews and letting them get on with it while the rest of my crew goes about scoring points. They can grow from Terror Tots and Young Nephilim and I find it far more amusing to try to do that rather than hiring these guys right from the start. Even if it never happens, players get careful when there is a possibility that a wounded Young Nephilim could suddenly turn into a fully-healed bruiser like the Mature Nephilim.

I like the aesthetic of the Mature Nephilim, being a straightforward demon amalgamated from many familiar sources, though I would state that it looks bit squat. Probably that is a good thing; with that wingspan it is quite hard to fit neatly into my case anyway. Painting it was quite dull though since almost the whole model is skin. I could have livened it up with tattoos or a variable skin tone but they didn’t really fit with the way that I’d painted the other Nephilim so I just left it.

Next on the painting table: Doppelganger.

Categories: Malifaux, Painting and modelling | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Malifaux tournament report: OctFAUXber 2 (50SS); 21Oct2017

I spent another Saturday in the company of Gareth and various other gamers at Common Ground Games in Stirling taking part in another excellent Malifaux tournament organised by Kai. Here is how it all happened…

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

Strategy: Guard the Stash, standard deployment

Schemes
Pool: Claim Jump, Eliminate the Leadership, Accusation!, Covert Breakthrough, Last Stand
Neverborn: Claim Jump, Covert Breakthrough
Outcasts: Last Stand, Accusation

Crews
Neverborn: Jakob Lynch (Cheating Bastard), Hungering Darkness (One Thousand Faces), 2 Waldgeists, Spawn Mother (Hexed Among You), Bad Juju (Eternal Fiend), McTavish, Will O’ The Wisp
Outcasts: Von Schill (Engage At Will, Survivalist, Nythera Aftermath), Hannah (I Pay Better), 2 Freikorps Librarians, Sue, Johan, Steam Trunk

I had been planning to play Pandora for this game but when Andy announced his faction as Outcasts I had a sudden doubt that I might be facing either the Viktorias (who would just carve Pandora up with no trouble) or some Freikorps (who ignore much of what I want to do with her) so I decided to go with Lynch and his Swampfiend crew. I wanted to try out the new Cheating Bastard limited upgrade as Hungering Darkness isn’t really critical to the way this crew plays and the extra support could be useful. The rest of the crew plays a tanking and area denial game as I’ve described in previous reports. I chose scheme marker based schemes as I intended to summon Gupps which are great at both Claim Jump and Covert Breakthrough; my overall plan was to sit next to the markers and gradually knock wounds out of the other crew until there were none of them left. When Andy revealed his Von Schill crew I was glad that I had avoided Pandora.

Turn 1: I set the tone for the day by flipping a Red Joker on initiative; what a waste. The Spawn Mother and Wisp combine to summon Gupps and I throw them forward aggressively. If Andy kills them early then I can start annoying him with Bad Juju; otherwise it’ll be in the right spot to start on Covert Breakthrough. Von Schill punches Johan and Hannah forward with his new Clockwork Arm, then Librarians heal both. The left Waldgeist moves up to cover Sue and Johan with its large engagement range and the right one gently pokes at Hannah. Johan smacks the nearby Waldgeist, then Lynch moves up and drops a scheme marker for McTavish who gratefully feeds it to his pet and guns down Sue. Andy reveals Last Stand.

Turn 2: Hannah Accuses her Waldgeist and the other one Slows Johan. The Spawn Mother puts down a scheme marker and lays an egg which the Wisp hatches later. Von Schill charges, throws Johan into my face, then throws the Waldgeist away and kills it with a shot; Bad Juju falls out of it. Hungering Darkness eats Johan and McTavish nearly drops the left Librarian; she hides behind the Stash marker. We both score for the Strategy; I get Claim Jump and Andy scores Last Stand and Accusation.

Turn 3: The right Librarian heals itself. I send in Hungering Darkness to try to deal with the one on the left but get both Red and Black Joker on the second attack damage flip. Hannah Accuses the Waldgeist and Makes A New Entry to heal the Librarian further. Bad Juju hurts Von Schill as I repeatedly flipped double moderate damage on negative flips against him. On the left, the Librarian Accuses the Wisp as insurance for next turn and is then killed by the combination of McTavish and the Wisp to deny Last Stand. We both score again for Guard the Stash; I score Claim Jump and Andy gets Accusation.

Turn 4: Lynch makes Von Schill Brilliant by revealing a mask for Cheating Bastard, then puts a few more wounds into the old chap. Von Schill heals with the aid of the Steam Trunk and punches Hungering Darkness away. Bad Juju smacks Hannah and the Librarian heals her. The Spawn Mother puts the damage right back on and the Waldgeist finishes her off. Everything else puts all it has into Von Schill; he survives on one wound and Paralysed. The Gupps spend the game jumping around and putting down scheme markers. We both score for Guard the Stash; and we both get the remaining point for Claim Jump and Accusation. With so little left on the table, Andy is happy to concede without playing out the final round. Neverborn win 10 – 7 (full score for me; 3 for Guard the Stash, 1 for Last Stand and 3 for Accusation for Andy).

Andy is a solidly competent player and I feel he gets better each time we play; it is always a pleasure to do so. Things went more or less to plan from my side. The game was arguably won by things that don’t really merit much mention in the flow of the report itself though. The two summoned Gupps pretty much scored me 6 VP for my schemes by Leaping to places that were hard for Andy to get to and putting down scheme markers. The Cheating Bastard upgrade is also hard to rate by reading the flow of what happened but I would say that being able cheat last with almost my whole crew for most duels had a massive impact on hand control; for me it is very definitely worth consideration if you don’t need either of Lynch’s other (admittedly also excellent) limited upgrades.

Game 2: Neverborn (me) vs Guild (Lewis Philips)

Strategy: Reckoning, corner deployment

Schemes
Pool: Claim Jump, Frame For Murder, Leave Your Mark, Mark For Death, A Quick Murder
Neverborn: Frame For Murder (Nekima), A Quick Murder
Guild: Frame For Murder (Thalarian Queller), A Quick Murder

Crews
Neverborn: Lilith (Beckon Malifaux, The Land Consumes), Nekima (One Thousand Faces), Doppelganger, 3 Waldgeists, Lilitu, Cherub
Guild: Sonnia Criid (Counterspell Aura, Cherufe’s Imprint, No More Masks), Dr Grimwell (Debt To The Guild, Disrupt Magic), Thalarian Queller, Malifaux Child, Witchling Thrall, Witchling Stalker, Brutal Emissary (Conflux Of Incineration)

On a board like this I felt that I had to use Lilith just to generate some cover for me to hide behind; I also had some ideas about using her to Tangle Shadows Lewis’s crew into me one at a time to kill off at my leisure. I added The Land Consumes simply because I wanted to try it in a tournament game rather than because I felt that it would actually be particularly valuable. The Waldgeists allow me some measure of activation control while generally being quite resource intensive to deal with, and Nekima was there just to hurt stuff quickly. Lilitu in theory gives me a bit more positional control with her Lure, and the Doppelganger can either copy that or Nekima’s giant death sword. I took a risk with the Cherub that it would generally not be high enough priority to be worth killing, but I really like the bow for controlling heavy hitters. Lewis, as expected, put Sonnia down. When he explained what the Thalarian Queller did to armour I realised that the crew would make quite short work of the Waldgeists (and Lewis cleverly put Frame For Murder on it, knowing that I would have to deal with it somehow). Considering how ‘killy’ the game was set up to be, I went all in and took A Quick Murder and Frame For Murder on Nekima. For the latter, I figured I was likely to lose her and might as well try to get some points out of it. I wanted to play cagily until Sonnia got in range, then just down her throat as quickly as possible. Lilith would have to put her Illusory Forest somewhere midfield if I was to have any chance of surviving the opening barrage with enough to counter-punch effectively.

Turn 1: Dr Grimwell pushes Sonnia toward me. The Child puts a Flame Wall into the middle of the board. Our advances are cagey; I don’t want to give Sonnia too much of a target and Lewis (presumably) doesn’t want to let me rush Sonnia too easily. Eventually, Sonnia gets forward enough to see a Waldgeist in hard cover; she Soulstones to get a straight attack flip then (of course) flips the Red Joker on a negative damage flip, badly hurting that Waldgeist and allowing Lewis to splash blast over parts of my crew I thought were rather safer. She follows up with a minimum damage shot that kills the Waldgeist with Burning at the end of the turn. Lilith Tangles Shadows to bring the Thrall into the middle of my crew and Nekima kills it. I should have cast Illusory Forest before doing that as Disrupt Magic meant that I didn’t have the blocking terrain I wanted; against a player of Lewis’s calibre that alone could have ultimately cost me the game.

Turn 2: I cheat initiative with the Doppelganger after Lewis very kindly reminds me that I can do that (shows how often I use it). Lilith tries to Tangle Shadows to get the Emissary since I have the 13 of masks in hand, but it turns out that Lewis has the Red Joker; I suppose I should be glad to draw it from his hand. She does put an Illusory Forest slightly more than 4″ ahead of Sonnia so she’ll have to walk twice to get me. The Emissary retaliates by putting some burning on Lilith so a Waldgeist walks over and interacts to remove it. The Thalarian Queller gives Dr Grimwell Enchanted Weapons; I sense that this will not bode well for my Waldgeists. He does indeed charge one (using Soulstones to get round Perfect Camouflage) and kills it. It seems fitting to use a saw to kill a tree. The Cherub moves into cover and shoots the Queller to push it through my Illusory Forest, then Lilitu Lures him in further. The Child fires a Flame Burst and gets double severe damage on a negative flip to spread yet more damage around. Nekima smites the Queller and gives Lewis 3VP for Frame For Murder and Sonnia finally advances into the Forest and zaps Lilitu somewhat ineffectually.

Turn 3: Nekima charges Sonnia and leaves her on one wound. Somewhat to my surprise, Dr Grimwell activates and gently tickles the last Waldgeist; I was expecting Sonnia to activate and stab Nekima to heal. I’m happy to take the stroke of luck so Lilith disengages from Dr Grimwell and stabs Sonnia to death. The Emissary gets some temporary revenge by putting her in a box and puts Burning on the Waldgeist which has one wound remaining at this point. The Cherub shoots the Stalker and Lilitu puts out the Burning from the Waldgeist.

Turn 4: Nekima hurts the Emissary. The Stalker charges the Cherub, dies to Black Blood and explodes, finishing off the Cherub in a hilarious mutual death pact. The Doppelganger copies Nekima’s sword and leaves the Emissary on a single wound; it misses in return. Lilith falls back into reality and kills the Emissary (scoring 2VP for A Quick Murder in the process) then Tangle Shadows Dr Grimwell away from my very poorly looking Waldgeist. He fails to land a hit on Nekima, the Lilitu Lures the Malifaux Child on some Consuming Land that Lilith left in an earlier turn. I score for Reckoning.

Turn 5: Nekima cuts Dr Grimwell into tiny pieces, then Malifaux Child activates and is eaten by the Consuming Land marker she’s standing on. To add insult to injury, we didn’t remember about that until after flipping some amazing cards from the Child who cut down Lilitu and killed the Waldgeist with Black Blood… but I suppose that was just a dream of what could have been. I score again for Reckoning and she’s the last Guild piece. Neverborn win 4 – 3 (2 for Reckoning, 2 for A Quick Murder for me; 3 for Frame For Murder for Lewis).

Wow, what a game! Lewis is a highly skilled player of course, and always runs me very hard. But that game was especially interesting as we first met when I was playing Guild and he was playing Neverborn so we knew each other’s factions really well. Almost every activation from the middle of turn 1 onwards felt like it could be the one that made the difference between a win and a loss. I think that Lewis made a couple of important activation order mistakes, notably activating Dr Grimwell instead of Sonnia after she’d survived Nekima’s attentions in turn 3, and that cost him the game in a match this tight. I could have positioned much better throughout; the Doppelganger was just messing around not achieving much for a depressingly long period in the game and if I’d pushed the Stalker more cleverly after shooting it with the Cherub I could probably have killed it without the loss of my totem.

Game 3: Neverborn (me) vs Resurrectionists (Greg Piskosz)

Strategy: Squatter’s Rights, flank deployment

Schemes
Pool: Claim Jump, Accusation!, Frame For Murder, Hidden Trap, Search the Ruins
Neverborn: Claim Jump, Search the Ruins
Resurrectionists: Frame For Murder (Carrion Emissary), Hidden Trap

Crews
Neverborn: Pandora, (Woe Is Me, Fears Given Form), Nekima (One Thousand Faces), Barbaros (One Thousand Faces), Mr Graves, 2 Field Reporters, Insidious Madness
Resurrectionists: Reva (Decaying Aura, Litany Of The Fallen, Guises Of Death), Carrion Emissary (My Little Helper), Philip and the Nanny (Haunting Cries), Crooligan, Burt Jebsen, Asura Roten, Dead Doxy

This game seemed like a good opportunity to use Pandora with her new summoning upgrade. This also let me take a pair Field Reporters as the only out-of-faction Woes (that I can think of); Joe kindly loaned me his. In theory they should synergise nicely with Pandora as they are Manipulative and attack Willpower. The rest of the crew was quite standard; Nekima to stab things, Barbaros to annoy with Challenge (which is even better in a Pandora crew) and Mr Graves to push things around and hit them with sticks. My plan was simple: fire Pandora into the biggest clump of Resurrectionists I could find, summon a Sorrow and then spam Inflict until Greg ran out of cards. The Reporters and Insidious Madness would be on Squat marker and Claim Jump duty. I had hoped to be able to clear enough of the centre by the end of the game to get down my markers for Search The Ruins; this might seem optimistic but I am generally quite an aggressive player and can clear the board within 5 turns in a lot games. Seeing Reva and Asura Roten was very interesting as I would be able to Incite the endless swarm of Mindless Zombies, plus they (and Corpse Candles) are very easy to evaporate with Inflict if they’re standing near Pandora.

Turn 1: The Emissary uses My Little Helper, then flies up aggressively and put two sets of Shards right in my face. Fortunately it can’t get far enough to completely box me in so Mr Graves pushes Pandora along the line of Shards. The Corpse Candle moves forward so the Field Reporter on the right pushes it back again. Asura moves forward and summons the first of many Mindless Zombies. Pandora fails to Incite the Corpse Candle as it flips the Red Joker to defend. She is reduced to simply walking up, summoning a Sorrow off the Zombie and using Inflict. This does kill the Zombie and the Corpse Candle, allowing me to bring the Poltergeist into play. The Doxy pushes Reva toward me but my summons (and the Emissary) are still positioned such that Reva can’t see the corpse markers. She also drops some scheme markers that Philip eventually hoovers up for cards. Reva moves to get line of sight to the corpse markers, misses Pandora which allows her to push away (I held a 13 in hand specifically to do that, especially once I saw the Red Joker out of Greg’s deck), and instead kills the Sorrow. Nekima misses an attack on Asura. Burt takes a Squat marker and the Crooligan, Insidious Madness and other Reporter head for the corner markers.

Turn 2: Reva summons a Corpse Candle and hurts Nekima. Nekima then fails to polish off Asura, which was annoying as the Poltergeist would have give me a good opportunity to Paralyse the Emissary if I could have made it work. The Emissary puts more Shards out and turns a nearby corpse marker into a scheme marker. Pandora does kill both Asura and Emissary with Inflict since they’re on negative willpower flips due to the Poltergeist; the latter gives Greg 3VP for Frame For Murder. Burt and the Insidious Madness take Squat Markers. Mr Graves kills a Mindless Zombie who is getting in my way and allows Barbaros to walk twice and take a Squat Marker for me. The Poltergeist Slows Reva and the Reporter and Crooligan continue to achieve nothing whatsoever in their corner. We both score for Squatter’s Rights. Greg also announces and received 3 VP for Hidden Trap at this point; we only realise later that this should actually happen at the end of the game. We correct the final score but at this point I’m under the impression that I’m 7 – 1 down.

Turn 3: Reva somehow fails to kill the Poltergeist, so Nekima kills her and the summoned Corpse Candle (aiming for Burt but he’s Slippery of course). Barbaros kills the last Mindless Zombie. The Doxy pushes the Poltergeist away but ends up engages with Pandora. Mr Graves drops Burt Jebsen and Pandora kills the Doxy. I take back one of the scheme markers from the Resurrectionists. I score for the Strategy and Claim Jump.

Turn 4: Nekima kills Philip and we call the game. Neverborn win 10 – 5 (full score for me; 1 for Squatter’s Rights, 1 for Hidden Trap [we agreed that I would have still given up one from this as there was a scheme marker in the corner where the Reporter and Crooligan were staring uselessly at each other] and 3 for Frame For Murder for Greg).

It was super to get a game against Greg as he’s a highly skilled player and such a gent; it had been quite a long time since we’d faced each other. Coming into the game I was concerned that Greg’s huge experience with Neverborn might give him a substantial edge over me, so I was especially glad to edge out the win. Pandora’s new upgrade, Woe Is Me, turned out to be quite effective. Sorrows and the Poltergeist are really helpful to the kind of Pandora I like to play (i.e. to get in the way while my crew does stuff to score points) but normally they’re so easy to kill on the approach that they’re not really worth hiring. Being able to summon them in place is excellent, particularly for the Poltergeist that gets summoned for free by doing things I would do anyway. The Field Reporters went less well with Pandora than I expected but I think that this is because they want to be in different parts of the board than she does (i.e. she wants to be elbows-deep in the other crew, they want to be on the edges doing scheme-related things). However, they are still highly effective scheme runners and I feel that taking them along with Woe Is Me is well worth it.

Game 4: Neverborn (me) vs Guild (Dave Laing)

Strategy: Reconnoitre, standard deployment

Schemes
Pool: Claim Jump, Dig Their Graves, Leave Your Mark, Undercover Entourage, Tail ‘Em
Neverborn: Leave Your Mark, Undercover Entourage (Dreamer)
Guild: Dig Their Graves, Tail ‘Em

Crews
Neverborn: Dreamer (Dreams of Pain, Otherworldly), 2 Daydreams, Nekima (One Thousand Faces), Barbaros (One Thousand Faces), 3 Terror Tots
Guild: Nellie (Misleading Headlines, Guild Funds, Transparency), Phiona Gage (Debt To The Guild), Alison Dade (Numb To The World), 2 Guild Investigators, Monster Hunter, Prospector, Printing Press

Claiming table quarters seemed like a good opportunity to play a summoner so out came the Dreamer. I’d actually intended to try the new Sleep Cycles upgrade but forgot about it when crew building and went for Otherworldly instead (arguably this is safer anyway against a crew that can possibly put out long range fire like a Guild crew). I have tried this Dreamer / Nephilim Grow crew a few times before and it can be effective. I actually don’t need to Grow anything; just the threat of it can be a very good deterrent for moving injured models near Terror Tots. The idea was to force Dave to deal with the Nephilim while the Dreamer summoned enough models to let me win on the strategy. I picked Leave Your Mark because between the Tots and any summoned Insidious Madnesses I find that most crews don’t have the resources to deal with the scheme runners if they want to avoid being overrun by the big Nephilim. Dreamer is remarkably mobile, especially when you consider the extra movement that he can get from turning into Lord Chompy Bits for a turn or two so I also selected Undercover Entourage.

Turn 1: The Press gets us underway by Focusing and giving Nellie some Evidence. The Dreamer summons Lelu and Lilitu while the Monster Hunter Stalks Barbaros. Our movement forward is quite cagey as there is a lot of open ground in the centre and neither of us want to give up the initial alpha strike at the end of turn 1. Eventually I put a Tot in the open within 6″ of both Nekima and Barbaros in the hope that Dave will kill it there to get me a free move. Instead, Nellie pushes it and places it in the midst of her lines where it eventually dies to Burning (and sprays a little Black Blood around) and scores Dave a point for Dig Their Graves. After passing a few activations, Phiona gets to go last and puts some minor damage onto Nekima.

Turn 2: Nekima swaps in Fears Given Form and flies into the middle of Dave’s crew. She smites the Prospector in order to Teach Them Fear; no-one gets Paralysed but it does consume a few decent cards out of Dave’s control hand. The Press feeds more Evidence to Nellie and she Slows Nekima and pushes her around with Propaganda. This allows a few attacks to come in from Phiona too. Barbaros swaps in Rapid Growth (this was a mistake; Fears Given Form would have been more useful considering that I had decided to keep the Tots safe) and rams himself down the Guild crew’s throat. He misses both attacks on the Investigator but splashes Black Blood on various models due to Alison Dade’s aura. The Monster Hunter takes advantage of his improved Stalk to Tail Barbaros. The Investigator gives Just Act Casual to Lelu, who is obliged to share it with Lilitu; Lelu ineffectually pokes him back. The Monster Hunter attacks Nekima but is hampered by Challenge and the fact that Dave has run out of cards. The Dreamer summons an Insidious Madness and Coppelius [I couldn’t find my miniature for him so Dave kindly let me use Vasalisa instead; since neither of us have ever seen it on a tournament table we agreed it would be clear] before turing into Lord Chompy Bits. The big Tyrant hurts the Monster Hunter but my positioning ins poor. I placed Lord Chompy Bits such that he wouldn’t be pushed away by Nellie on a miss but I’d have been better taking the risk and moving further up the table. I score for the Strategy and Dave scores for Tail ‘Em.

Turn 3: Nekima kills the Monster Hunter to drain more cards with Teach Them Fear; no-one ends up failing the horror duel. Nellie and Phiona combine to kill Barbaros, scoring Dig Their Graves again. Coppelius hurts the left Investigator who gives Just Act Casual to the Twins and Lord Chompy Bits. I throw various other attacks at that Investigator but he leads a charmed life, repeatedly flipping face cards for defense. The Daydreams push Lelu and Lord Chompy Bits around, then Lord Chompy Bits lightly tickles Phiona and turns back into the Dreamer. The Guild Investigator Tails Nekima, the Insidious Madness moves up to drop a scheme marker. Dave cleverly moves the Press in between the Dreamer and the nearest Daydream to stop me pushing attacks onto it and Phiona uses Debt To The Guild to hurt the little boy. We have somehow run out of time so I just try three times to disengage with the Dreamer; not surprisingly this does not work. Luckily he is just over the centreline. I score for Reconnoitre and Leave Your Mark, Dave scores again for Tail ‘Em. Neverborn win 5 – 4 (2 for Reconnoitre, 1 for Leave Your Mark and 2 for Undercover Entourage for me; 2 for Dig Their Graves and 2 for Tail ‘Em for Dave).

That was a truly great game! I’m not sure how we managed to play so slowly that we didn’t get to even start turn 4, but there was a lot going on; I had many activations and Dave’s activations were often highly complex. As always, Dave was an excellent opponent and really made me evaluate every move I made as he countered me so well. I felt that I was probably in position to win even if we had time to play the full game as I had built up a fairly large attrition advantage. My poor positioning of Lord Chompy Bits, and hence the Dreamer, could easily have ended up costing me the points for Undercover Entourage. On the other hand, I was well placed to score Leave Your Mark and Reconnoitre for the rest of the game, and probably deny Dave getting anything for the strategy.

So with four wins, I am confirmed as the overall winner of the event. Joe finally gets his blue best-in-faction badge for Arcanist after several attempts to pass Jamie, and Gareth is best Ten Thunders by default. I was particularly pleased that Dave, Lewis and Greg only lost one game each (i.e. the game against me) so I did feel that I had negotiated a challenging path to the end of the event. Thanks to Andy, Lewis, Greg and Dave for four terrific games of Malifaux, and of course thanks to Kai for running another excellent event.

Categories: Battle reports, Malifaux, Tournaments | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Painted Young Nephilim

Here are the Young Nephilim, the next up in the chain started by Terror Tots for my Malifaux Neverborn. They’re pretty reasonable generalists in their own right, being mobile (due to Flight) and punching somewhat above their weight class but are pitifully easy to kill. They do make for acceptable scheme runners for this reason as they can usually put up a creditable fight against any enemies sent for that purpose as well as being able to mostly get where they are needed. I rarely hire them, preferring to hire Terror Tots (cheaper and at least as good for laying scheme markers) and something with the Rapid Growth upgrade which allows the Tots to grow into Young, then eventually in Mature Nephilim. In practice, I don’t even succeed in doing this some games for various reasons but have found the threat of this occurring to be worth cost of the upgrade.

The miniatures are really nice looking ‘teenage devil’ styled sculpts. The one standing up was assembled as intended, but the flying one is supposed to be holding a skull which is attached to the ground only by a bit of dangling spine. Reasoning that the chance of that staying attached to the base for long was rather slim I did some minor work with putty to make it look like it is vaulting this pillar. Hardly perfect, but good enough for my purposes. The painting was intentionally the same as the other Nephilim: white/blue skin and purple clothes and hair. Simple but effective on the table.

Next on the painting table: Mature Nephilim

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Arcane Reservoir +56

By way of an interlude to my own hobby blogging, I was recently honoured to be invited as a guest onto the excellent Malifaux podcast Arcane Reservoir. So if you can’t get enough of the inadequately painted miniatures and excessively detailed battle reports on this blog, you can now spend some time with me in audio form too.

The show itself is a discussion of new releases for Neverborn from the Broken Promises book. It’s slightly ironic to be on a podcast talking of theory-faux since I partly write my battle reports to dispel the worst excesses of the theory game playing, but I did really enjoy myself.

Link

Categories: Malifaux | Tags: , | 4 Comments

Painted Waldgeists

Here are Waldgeists for my Neverborn in Malifaux. They’re quite agnostic about which Master they play in, bringing some simple but effective abilities to a crew. On the defensive side, Waldgeists have high armour to make them likely to suffer only 1 damage per attack (though it means that they really hate anything that ignores armour) and are hard to attack from range before they activate. Their attack does nothing exciting in terms of damage but has triggers to either Slow their victims or stop them walking. Waldgeists can also create little patches of cover for themselves and when sitting in them (or any other terrain) get a massive 4″ melee range. All this combines to make Waldgeists highly effective speed-bumps that are hard to ignore or remove. I particularly like playing them with Bad Juju (more on that later) so that even when the Waldgeists finally die they unbury the big compost heap right in the most annoying place I can find.

I deliberately kept the colours simple and naturalistic on the Waldgeists, as seemed appropriate since they are walking trees. Brown for the bark, creamy grey for the fungus and some green for moss.

Next on the painting table: Young Nephilim.

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Malifaux tournament report: Autumn’s End 2017 (50SS); 02Sep2017

Once again Kai organised a Malifaux event at Common Ground Games, so once again Gareth and I boarded the train to Stirling to take part. This event was low key and not really highly attended, and I got the impression that a lot of people were trying out something bit new after the Scottish GT in July. Indeed, I took Neverborn but picked up some toys for the Resurrectionists during the day.

Game 1: Neverborn (me) vs Gremlins (David Hamilton)

Strategy: Turf War, standard deployment

Schemes
Pool: Claim Jump, Frame for Murder, Dig Their Graves, Inspection, Last Stand
Neverborn: Frame for Murder (Hungering Darkness), Claim Jump
Gremlins: Frame for Murder (Burt Jebsen), Inspection

Crews
Neverborn: Jakob Lynch (Endless Hunger), Hungering Darkness, 2 Waldgeists, Spawn Mother (Hexed Among You), Bad Juju (Eternal Fiend), McTavish, Will O’ The Wisp
Gremlins: Zipp (The Gift of the Gab, Airship Spotlight, Rambling Diatribe), Earl Burns, Iron Skeeter (Hovering Airship), Iron Skeeter (Poorly Handled Explosives), Burt Jebsen (Dirty Cheater), The First Mate (Treasure Map, Where The Captain Can’t See), Mechanical Porkchop, Sparks

I was originally considering playing the Dreamer in all three rounds for the event since I can’t quite seem to get the performance out of the little chap that I feel is possible. But when David announced Gremlins I had a feeling that I would be seeing Zipp or Wong, both of whom I think would make pretty short work of the Dreamer (and Pandora, another likely option for this strategy), so I went with the old faithful crew of Lynch plus Swampfiends. Actually crew might have been an interesting one to use for Last Stand as it has plenty of Henchmen, but I still think that it is a terrible scheme since I don’t generally aim to lose all my pieces (at least, not faster than the other crew). Instead I went for the slightly predictable combination of Claim Jump and Frame For Murder (on Hungering Darkness as it’s so easy to kill and doesn’t bring out Bad Juju).

Turn 1: Earl Burns hands out Tomes to everyone nearby and Sparks makes the Mechanical Porkchop Fast. On my side of the board, the Spawn Mother lays an egg and the Wisp hatches it. The left Iron Skeeter makes Burt Fast and taxis him up into range, so one of my Waldgeists moves to hurt it, then Black Jokers the Germinate that would have allow it to cover Burt and Sparks also within melee range. Zipp attacks the Waldgeist with Up We Go (I really hate how that attack ignores pretty much every defense in the game) and the Mechanical Porkchop pushes it around some more. Eventually Burt kills it in such a position that I can’t bring out Bad Juju. The other Waldgeist moves over to block the same choke point as its predecessor and the First Mate uses Menacing Croak to push the Spawn Mother back toward me. Lynch drops a scheme marker for McTavish to eat, and the latter guns down an Iron Skeeter. Hungering Darkness uses Heed My Voice to make Sparks move away from the action.

Turn 2: Hungering Darkness takes three attacks to kill off the other Iron Skeeter despite it being only on two wounds at the start. Zipp zaps it to push it back toward me, then flies over and shoots the Spawn Mother to stop her laying eggs, or doing anything else at all useful. The Gupps drops scheme markers and the First Mate comes over to eat one of them. McTavish shoots Burt and then Sparks gives him armour. An armoured Burt is all kinds of horrible, as the Waldgeist demonstrates by flailing uselessly at him. Lynch gently tickles Zipp with Play For Blood; I really wanted to deal with the First Mate but the combination of armour and Perfect Camouflage meant that would be really hard to do. The Mechanical Porkchop and Earl move to the board edges and score for Inspection; we both also score for Turf War.

Turn 3: Zipp shoots both McTavish and the Spawn Mother to stop them taking (0) actions. Hungering Darkness attacks Burt but Black Jokers the first attack then David flips the Red Joker on the second, killing my Henchman with All In The Reflexes. Still, at least I get some points for Frame For Murder. The First Mate takes his turn and Black Jokers his Leap. Sparks makes Burt a Construct again and hands out Fast, the Burt walks over to Lynch and kills himself on Lynch’s Hold ‘Em trigger (for some reason it didn’t occur to me to just not declare this) giving David three points for Frame For Murder. Lynch, the Spawn Mother and McTavish kill Zipp. David scores again for Inspection and we both score for the strategy.

Turn 4: McTavish hurts Earl so the First Mate Leaps over to guarantee the Inspection points. Lynch kills Sparks. We run out of time even with me passing all my remaining models, and unfortunately there isn’t time for one more turn. I do score Claim Jump this time, David gets the last point for Inspection and I take Turf War. Neverborn lose 6 – 8 (3 for Turf War, 2 for Frame For Murder and 1 for Claim Jump for me; 2 for Turf War, 3 for Frame For Murder and 3 for Inspection for David).

That was a game that I felt should have been closer, and I will admit that I was a bit irritated that we didn’t have time for a couple of activations of turn 5 since I could conceivable have pulled up for a tie. Still, it was great to get another game against such a nice and skilled opponent as David, and at the end of it he played the game more efficiently than I did. David did really well to play around the threat of Bad Juju, effectively controlling my pieces with Zipp rather than killing them.  I am also quite pleased by the prospect of David returning to really regular play at tournaments as he has the ability to be among the strongest players in Scotland. I should have killed my own Gupps in turn 3 to bring out Bad Juju. I also made the mistake of giving away Frame For Murder by needlessly using Lynch’s defensive trigger, though the prospect of letting Burt just wander round attacking my stuff was also quite unappealing.

Game 2: Neverborn (me) vs Resurrectionists (David McGuire)

Strategy: Headhunter, flank deployment

Schemes
Pool: Claim Jump, Eliminate the Leadership, Frame for Murder, Mark for Death, Tail ’em
Neverborn: Frame for Murder (Nekima), Claim Jump
Resurrectionists: Eliminate the Leadership, Mark for Death

Crews
Neverborn: Dreamer (Dreams of Pain, Otherworldly), 3 Daydreams, Nekima, 2 Teddies
Resurrectionists: Molly Squidpiddge (Forgotten Life, Tear of the Gorgon), Carrion Emissary (Carrion Conflux), Johan, 3 Rotten Belles, Nurse, Crooked Man

So now that I was out of the running to win, I decided to try out a fairly silly crew. I’m pretty sure I heard of someone else using this (maybe Greg P) so it’s certainly not my original idea, but it is really funny to play. The idea is to throw the Teddies into the other crew, then follow-up with Nekima. By the time that lot has been dispatched, I have hopefully summoned enough stuff to win the game. Optionally, Lord Chompy Bits is usually ready to work by the time my forward line has been handled, so I can also fire him up in to the other crew for more distraction. Teddy can be very easy to control again Resurrectionists due to its low stats, but the terrifying test can be quite an effective hand-drain. I picked Frame For Murder on Nekima as I planned for her to die early (could also have picked either Teddy for the same reason) and Claim Jump since I was hoping to pin David right back off the centre line. Thanks here to Jamie for lending me his very nicely painted Miss Ery.

Turn 1: My Daydreams push both Teddies forward aggressively; one of them sacrifices itself to give the Dreamer a mask for summoning. The Emissary comes up and puts Shards in the centre of the board and moves back, but there isn’t a choke point for this to be a big problem for me. The Dreamer summons Lelu, Lititu and a replacement Daydream, then Molly comes forward and summons a Punk Zombie between my Teddies and gives one of them Whispered Secrets. The Belles Lure her back to safety and bring the affected Teddy in with her. It Focuses and eats the Nurse; I’m glad to get her out of the way at least. Nekima kills the Punk Zombie and Lelu walks on to its head.

Turn 2: Molly puts a Teddy on negative flips with Whispered Secret. The other Teddy Flurries Molly, pushing towards my crew before a Belle Lures her back to relative safety. The Crooked Man Marks the de-buffed Teddy for Death and the Belles Lure it around, eventually killing the big cuddly beast off with a Red Joker pounce attack and scoring a point for Mark for Death; Johan picks up its head. Meanwhile the Daydreams push Lilitu forward and she then Lures Nekima forward to where she can attack the Emissary for depressingly little effect. Lelu picks up a head somewhere here and Dreamer just pushes my stuff around with Empty Night. We both score for Headhunter.

Turn 3: Molly Paralyses Nekima and gives the surviving Teddy Whispered Secrets. The Belles eventually pull Nekima down with Pounces after something Marks her (another point for Mark for Death for David, and two for Frame For Murder for me). The Daydreams move Teddy back into range of the Dreamer to remove the condition with Empty Night, then he summons Coppelius and an Insidious Madness and turns into Lord Chompy Bits. The Crooked Man unluckily Black Jokers a chance at Paralysing Teddy, which would have been annoying after I’d just removed Whispered Secrets from it. Lord Chompy Bits eats the Crooked Man and is Lured forward by a Belle; Teddy does some more damage to Molly. Somewhere in her I pick up a head (probably the Nurse’s) and get markers down for Claim Jump, scoring both.

Turn 4: We’re pretty much out of time. Lord Chompy Bits kills the Emissary and turns back into the Dreamer. Molly hurts the Dreamer and chain activates Johan who burns my cards and gets my master down to half wounds, thereby scoring a point for Eliminate the Leadership. I don’t have time to put down scheme markers or pick up heads. Neverborn win 5 – 4 (2 for Headhunter, 2 for Frame For Murder and 1 for Claim Jump for me; 1 for Headhunter, 2 for Mark for Death and 1 for Eliminate the Leadership for David).

That game was a lot of fun, and very instructive for me in terms of future use of Molly (as she is my next planned master). I’m always especially pleased to play against Molly when piloted by David since he is her creator in the fluff. Overall, I think that I had things well in hand in this game, but neither of us were playing very quickly so the scores were low on both sides. The game was also strewn with minor positioning errors on my side which is a bit sloppy, but David was out of practice so he didn’t capitalise on them as well as he might have done when he was playing more regularly.

Game 3: Neverborn (me) vs Gremlins (Steve McVicar)

Strategy: Interference, close deployment

Schemes
Pool: Claim Jump, Accusation!, Dig Their Graves, Covert Breakthrough, Hunting Party
Neverborn: Claim Jump, Dig Their Graves
Resurrectionists: Dig Their Graves, Hunting Party

Crews
Neverborn: Dreamer (Dreams of Pain, Otherworldly), 2 Daydreams, Nekima (One Thousand Faces), Barbaros (One Thousand Faces), 3 Terror Tots
Gremlins: Wong (Dirty Cheater, Ooh Glowy, Explosive Solutions), McTavish (Dirty Cheater), Old Cranky, 2 Swinecursed, 2 Lightning Bugs, Slop Hauler

I really wanted to try out a game with this Dreamer crew and utilising the Grow mechanic for Nephilim. The only other time I used this crew I never even got started since I was under such pressure right from the very first activation (game 3). So my idea was to send in the Nephilim and then use the Dreamer to summon in back-up pieces to cover the table for the strategy. As a bonus, two likely summons (Lelu and Lilitu) even have Black Blood so I could be a bit more relaxed in my positioning. I chose Claim Jump and Dig Their Graves for the obvious synergy, but I’m not sure why I didn’t pick Covert Breakthrough as it is really easy to score in close deployment. Probably I didn’t even look past those two that I selected. Steve makes McTavish Glowy to no-one’s surprise.

Turn 1: My hand is awful, even after using soulstones. It really hurts a summoner to have a terrible hand in turn 1. We’re both really cautious in positioning here. McTavish blows a hole in Nekima from across the board. The Dreamer summons a pair of Insidious Madnesses with my only two decent cards and then Black Jokers a Daydream summon. Nekima moves into the centre to capitalise on winning initiative next turn, or hopefully survive long enough to do anything useful if I don’t.

Turn 2: I don’t win initiative. The central Swinecursed goes into Nekima and gets a lucky Red Joker damage which really hurts, though she does survive. Unfortunately, the return swings are blunted by Steve top-decking two Kings in a row on defense, which I can’t match so I don’t even take out the Swinecursed never mind do anything else useful. McTavish comes in and kills Nekima easily. A Terror Tot kills the wounded Swinecursed, but unfortunately Steve points out (correctly) that I didn’t remember to change out One Thousand Faces for Rapid Growth on Barbaros. I do it now, and Barbaros charges into Old Cranky for minimal effect except to tie up a big chunk of Gremlins. Wong fails his Challenge duel three times in a row trying to shoot the Tot, meanwhile the other two put down scheme markers. Not much gets done as we’re both out of cards. The Dreamer does manage to summon a desultory Daydream. I score for Claim Jump and we both get the strategy.

Turn 3: Barbaros bounces of Old Cranky again but Nimbles over to tie up more stuff. McTavish kills the nearby Tot, scoring for Dig Their Graves (but not Hunting Party as Steve forgot that models counting for Dig Their Graves can’t count for anything else). The surviving Swinecursed, Wong and the Lightning Bug all attack Barbaros but the Nephilim hangs in there taking everything that Steve can throw at him. The Dreamer summons Lilitu and turns in Lord Chompy Bits, who finally deals with McTavish. I score for Interference and Claim Jump.

Turn 4: Barbaros finally kills Old Cranky and is eventually pulled down by the Slop Hauler somewhere near the end of the turn. The Swinecursed hurts Lord Chompy Bits and is eaten in reply, scoring my own Dig Their Graves; Dreamer reappears. Lilitu Lures the Left Lightning Bug right into the centre of the board and Dreamer Paralyses it then summons Lelu into the spot where Barbaros just fell. Lelu kills the Slop Hauler to heal up. I score for the strategy and Claim Jump again.

Turn 5: Lelu hurts the Lightning Bug next to him and is stabbed in return by Wong (this kills the Bug due to Black Blood). The Dreamer puts down a scheme marker then finishes off the other Lightning Bug for Dig Their Graves. I score for Interference; Neverborn win 9 – 2 (4 for Interference, 3 for Claim Jump and 2 for Dig Their Graves for me; 1 for Interference and 1 for Dig Their Graves for Steve).

That was another excellent game against Steve, who I felt did well considering his relative inexperience with Gremlins. On the other hand, he knows Dreamer pretty well, so probably had no problem knowing what to do to stymie me. My big mistakes were forgetting to change in Rapid Growth on Barbaros in turn 1, then failing to realise that it was a lost cause in turn 2 and going for it anyway; I would have been far better served taking Fears Given Form at that point. Playing so aggressively with Nekima was a risk worth taking, I think. If I’d stayed back and played more cagily I’d have been shot to bits by Wong and McTavish, and Nekima gave the rest of my crew the time to get into position.

Somewhat to my surprise, I get third place when the scores are announced; though positions two to six are only separated by very tiny amounts. I had a great day, and went home with a large pile of Resurrectionists to put together. Thanks to David, David and Steve for fun games of Malifaux, and to Kai as always for his great efforts running the event and generally being the focal point of Malifaux in Scotland.

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

Painted Barbaros

This is Barbaros, one of the Nephilim Henchmen for the Neverborn faction in Malifaux. Unlike Nekima (more on her later), Barbaros is a tanking and control piece. His main ability, at least for me, is to make enemy models take a fairly tricky willpower check if they are near him and target someone else with an action, otherwise they fail. Ideally they’ll be in a position where actually attacking Barbaros is impossible or undesirable so they would need to take the test all the time. Helpfully, it even affects things like healing friends. Naturally, passing one willpower duel is easy (notwithstanding the Black Joker, of course) but with some clever positioning I’ve had opponents taking more than a dozen in a single turn. Eventually, they start to fail and have run out of good cards to cheat in. Even when Barbaros is attacked he has armour, Black Blood and a tasty (if rare) defensive trigger to keep him in the game. Overall, Barbaros is one of my favourite pieces in the faction.

I stuck with the same Nephilim skin tones as before, pale blue all over for skin and purple hair. At least Barbaros is wearing more than one item of clothing so I was able to mix up the colours a bit with his armour. I like the pose, though I’ve knocked his left arm off quite a few times now (the spikes on his weapon keep sticking in the foam of my carry-case). The only frustrating thing is that the miniature has wings but the rules of the game don’t give him flight. It took me quite a few games to get that correct, especially as the Young Nephilim have almost identical wings but can fly.

Next on the painting table: Waldgeists.

Categories: Malifaux, Painting and modelling | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Painted Black Blood Shaman

Here is the Black Blood Shaman, part of the Malifaux Neverborn faction. Arguably more than most pieces in Malifaux, the Black Blood Shaman has a fairly narrow niche. It supports models with Black Blood, gives them Black Blood and has some synergy with the Nephilim tag (almost all of whom have Black Blood). Luckily, I also love all these things, so I take this beaky chap fairly often. Most obviously, it makes a nice support piece in a Nephilim-heavy crew, allowing some un-resisted damage to be splashed on anyone standing near your Black Blood models. More than that, being able to hand out Black Blood for a tiny damage cost can be hilarious for options that can heal themselves. Wise scholars have often asked ‘what is more annoying to deal with than an Illuminated?’ To which the answer is surely ‘an Illuminated with Black Blood.’ Similarly, I really enjoy giving Collodi Black Blood (this also allows the use of the Run Away Home trigger to move the Puppet around), then making the Shaman its Personal Puppet. So when Collodi takes damage, it can push up to the most annoying position possible, then make the Shaman hit it with Black Blood Pustule for some area damage and a possible heal or buff for Collodi itself (living the dream, you could also theorise that the Shaman is itself engaged with something and bleeding profusely over it in the process, but I’ve never actually had this happen).

The miniature was somewhat fiddly to assemble and paint. The former is due to the rather spindly arms and the tiny contact points at both wrist and shoulder, though this is rather standard fare for Malifaux. The latter is because of the folds of the wings making it a bit tricky to maneuver the paint brush around the model. Nonetheless, I like the miniature’s pose and did find it fun to colour. The scheme was a simple copy of all the other Nephilim, pale blue skin and purple clothing; the beak (I assume; for all I know it’s meant to be a mask) allowed a bit of divergence from the norm.

Next on the painting table: Barbaros.

Categories: Malifaux, Painting and modelling | Tags: , | 2 Comments

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