Tournaments

Warmachine / Hordes tournament report: Scottish GT (75 points); 03-04Aug2019

I traveled to Common Ground Games in Stirling to take part in the Warmachine / Hordes (just Warmachine from here on in) Scottish Masters. Note that, despite the name being ‘masters’ it wasn’t necessary to be some kind of expert player; just as well really as otherwise I’d never get a look in. Just like the only other Warmachine event I’ve attended, this was run by Allan Gibb and all the organisation in the lead-up was smooth. I had been really looking forward to the tournament as it’s been a long time since I took part in a competitive wargaming event.

My objective here in terms of performance is not to come last. If I can get two wins, I’ll be delighted.

https://conflictchamber.com/?cb201b_-2njP4cjNjNjWbM7y7F4njD7g___-2n13fy0M1d1d0L0L0L0YbOfCnd4c

Minions
[Theme] Will Work For Food

[Jaga-Jaga 1] Jaga-Jaga, the Death Charmer [+27]
– Blackhide Wrastler [16]
– Swamp Horror [15]
– Swamp Horror [15]
– Gatorman Soul Slave [0(5)]
Brun Cragback [16]
Orin Midwinter, Rogue Inquisitor [0(5)]
Rorsh [15]
Totem Hunter [0(6)]
Farrow Valkyries [8]
Greygore Boomhowler & Co. (max) [17]

Minions
[Theme] Will Work For Food

[Arkadius 1] Dr. Arkadius [+32]
– Battle Boar [7]
– Gun Boar [8]
– Road Hog [15]
– Road Hog [15]
– War Hog [14]
– War Hog [14]
– War Hog [14]
– Targ [0(3)]
Gatorman Witch Doctor [0(4)]
Hutchuk, Ogrun Bounty Hunter [0(6)]
Underchief Mire [4]
– Blackhide Wrastler [16]

My lists are the same two I’ve been using for Minions for the last few games. Dr Arkadius is there to threaten an assassination but can attrition surprisingly well against Warbeasts (because I can get a good alpha strike with Dr Arkadius’s Feat) and a limited amount of infantry (because Overtake lets me pinball around, and two Road Hog sprays can be quite effective. The Jaga Jaga list is intended to be used against infantry, and especially to use her Feat to take out annoying solos and unit attachments; it also has a bit of hit-fixing with Signs and Portents.

Round 1 – King of the Hill vs Ross’s Retribution of Scyrah (game 8)

https://conflictchamber.com/?c5201b_-1ohH1gms3y3y3A3J0w4L2wfW2zmo31___-1ndUhImx9v3y3y4141dP35363u3536hT

Retribution
[Theme] Legions of Dawn

[Goreshade 4] Lord Ghyrrshyld, the Forgiven [+28]
– Chimera [8]
– Imperatus [20]
Arcanist Mechanik [2]
Arcanist Mechanik [2]
Dawnguard Destor Thane [7]
Dawnguard Sentinel Scyir [0(4)]
– Hydra [15]
House Shyeel Artificer [0(5)]
– Griffon [8]
Lys Healer [3]
Dawnguard Destors (max) [20]
Dawnguard Sentinels (max) [18]
– Dawnguard Sentinel Officer & Standard [0(4)]

Retribution
[Theme] Defenders of Ios

[Issyria 1] Issyria, Sibyl of Dawn [+29]
– Hemera [16]
– Hyperion [32]
– Sylys Wyshnalyrr, the Seeker [0(4)]
Arcanist Mechanik [2]
Arcanist Mechanik [2]
Ghost Sniper [0(3)]
Ghost Sniper [0(3)]
Houseguard Thane [0(4)]
Houseguard Halberdiers (max) [13]
– Houseguard Halberdier Officer & Standard [4]
– Soulless Escort (1) [1]
Houseguard Halberdiers (max) [13]
– Houseguard Halberdier Officer & Standard [4]
Arcantrik Force Generator [17]

I picked Dr Arkadius here as I was worried about how I would deal with the colossal in the Issyria list. Ross chose Goreshade, so that wasn’t helpful. I’m a bit worried about chewing through Dauntless Resolve, Steady, Tough Destors (or Sentinels, depending on how things go) as they seem tailor made to kill my Warbeasts. On the other hand, I think that Ross has to use his Feat early or play very cautiously with Goreshade unless he wants to risk a Feat / Overtake assassination.

Ross wins the roll and chooses the board edge so I go first. I’m aiming most of my army for that bottleneck in the centre as I think I’ll need to get through there. The Gatorman Witch Doctor seems important here to be able to get through the terrain.

Turn 1: Minions
Everyone runs forward. Dr Arkadius puts up Aggravator in case of any cheeky late-turn shooting and casts Forced Evolution on the left Road Hog. Mire casts Weald Secrets on the Blackhide Wrastler simply because it would be free later on. Some of my Warbeasts don’t run as otherwise I’ll end up with too much Fury on the board and I’m not confident about leaving Dr Arkadius on zero camp.

Turn 1: Retribution of Scyrah
Most of Ross’s list also runs full-tilt toward me. Goreshade puts a couple clouds up in between the central forests to ensure that I can’t see his army. Dauntless Resolve goes on the Destors along with the Steady aura, so I can see that I’ll have a tough time getting through them. The Sentinels form a loose screen in front of Goreshade while the Griffon goes for the left zone.

Turn 2: Minions
I think that I can use a trick with Dr Arkadius’s Feat to get the assassination this turn since Goreshade didn’t use his Feat. Hutchuk runs in from the left and fails to do much of anything to the Griffon. The Gun Boar runs into the clouds to be a Frenzy target and the Witch Doctor casts Ghost Walk on the War Hog. Mire and the Wrastler put Rage on the right-hand War Hog and Road Hog while the Battle Boar and Dr Arkadius put Primal on the left pair. Dr Arkadius then Feats, sending the left heavies into the cloud wall (and banging up the Gun Boar in the process) and the right ones round the other side of the forest. Over on the right, the War Hog makes a bit of a meal of killing the lead Destor but the Road Hog gets an amusing charge which lights Goreshade on fire with the Assault shot and then Overtakes though a handful of Sentinels. The left Road Hog puts some more damage into Goreshade with its flamethrower and clears a path through the Sentinels before eventually Overtaking out of the War Hog’s way. The Primalled War Hog has Goreshade in its sights and puts the Warcaster down in the first swing. Minions win by assassination!

Well, that went surprisingly well. Ross was a really nice chap, explained what his stuff did and took his Warcaster’s early demise with a smile on his face. I think that this was the narrowest win possible in Warmachine; I didn’t get any scenario points and the only thing I scored army point from was Goreshade himself. Things I learned:

  • I need to get more value out of Ancillary Attack and the Adrenaline option on Dr Arkadius’s Needle. I’m not really using either to any great effect.
  • Taking down Destors with Dauntless Resolve, Steady and Tough is really hard to do. In general, I don’t have any tech against Tough other than just spending Fury and hitting them again.
  • Cloud Walls are a bit of a problem as I have no way to see through them. Luckily in this case I was able to Frenzy onto one of my own models to get through Goreshade’s clouds, but if positioning had been a bit different that could have been off the table too.

Since that took such a short amount of time, we re-racked back to end of Ross’s first turn, and applied Goreshade’s Feat. I had to back off and cede some ground and lot of damage but eventually I managed to land a fully powered-up War Hog on Goreshade again and get a second assassination. No photos or clock from that game though, we were just chatting our way through options.

Round 2 – Recon II vs Kyle’s Protectorate of Menoth (game 9)

https://conflictchamber.com/?c2201b_-1qfZgS9xg9e49x9xlM9x9x2_2____-1r1l1q1rm3l-l-m03p7z2mbQ2m2jfV2jfV

Protectorate
[Theme] The Creator’s Might

[Malekus 1] Malekus, the Burning Truth [+30]
– Eye of Truth [20]
– Repenter [8]
– Revelator [37]
Initiate Tristan Durant [0(4)]
– Repenter [8]
– Repenter [8]
Scrutator Potentate Severius [0(6)]
– Repenter [8]
– Repenter [8]
Choir of Menoth (min) [4]
Choir of Menoth (min) [4]
[According to my notes there should also be a couple of Vassals of Menoth in here but for some reason it isn’t working out in Conflict Chamber]

Protectorate
[Theme] Exemplar Interdiction

[Vindictus 1] Vice Scrutator Vindictus [+29]
– Dervish [7]
– Devout [9]
– Fire of Salvation [14]
Exemplar Bastion Seneschal [0(5)]
Exemplar Bastion Seneschal [0(5)]
High Exemplar Gravus [8]
Knights Exemplar Seneschal [0(5)]
Rhupert Carvolo, Piper of Ord [4]
Exemplar Errants (max) [16]
– Exemplar Errant Officer & Standard [4]
Exemplar Errants (max) [16]
Knights Exemplar [9]
– Knights Exemplar Officer [4]
Knights Exemplar [9]
– Knights Exemplar Officer [4]

My knowledge of game match-ups is only at the most basic level possible. In this case, I looked at Kyle’s pairing and mentally broke it down to ‘lots of Warjacks’ and ‘lots of infantry’. Since we were playing a scenario that didn’t have any zones that could be scored by infantry, I figured that he would go for the Warjack list and selected Dr Arkadius accordingly. It was a bit of shock when Kyle picked Vindictus and I ended up facing a huge swarm of light infantry across the table, especially as I couldn’t set them on fire with Road Hogs.

Kyle wins the roll off and chooses to go first so I pick the side with slightly less annoying terrain. His army is more or less evenly spread across the line and I do the same, except that Mire and the Dracodile are in the middle since they are Amphibious (and have Immunity: Corrosion in Mire’s case) and hence can get around that irritating corrosion swamp.

Turn 1: Protectorate of Menoth
A huge swarm of infantry races toward me, ably assisted by True Path. Defender’s Ward goes on the Errants on my right, and Rhupert makes them Tough too. Everything other than the Infantry is a bit more cautious and hangs back behind the woods.

Turn 1: Minions
Everyone runs forward as usual. I don’t want to let too much of Kyle’s infantry get into me, but on the other hand I certainly can’t afford to get jammed out of the scenario. Dr Arkadius casts Aggravator in the vain hope that I can use it to shut down some cheeky potshots without exposing myself too much, then casts Forced Evolution on the nearer Road Hog. The Road Hogs put out a few sprays to minimal effect.

Turn 2: Protectorate of Menoth
Defender’s Ward is upkept, the Vindictus strolls up and uses his Feat. The various Exemplars jam me hard, and I lose the Road Hog on the left to charging Knights Examplar.

Turn 2: Minions
We weren’t sure of whether Dr Arkadius’s Feat would allow me to charge into Vindictus’s Feat so decided to assume that I couldn’t do it. I un-jam myself as well as I can with Overtake moves, and the Battle Boar lives the dream by Primalling itself and then eating the entire unit of Knights Examplar. 1 – 0 to the Protectorate as I can’t clear my own flag and forgot to ambush Hutchuk on to contest Kyle’s.

Turn 3: Protectorate of Menoth
Defender’s Ward is upkept again as Kyle judges that there are enough Errants left to be worthwhile. On the right, the infantry jam back in but I somehow don’t lose any of my Warbeasts. On the left, it’s less pretty as the War Hog is slammed out of the zone by the Bastion Seneschal (and eventually killed by Errants) and the Battle Boar is killed by the Dervish and Knights Exemplar Seneschal. Vindictus casts Admonition on Fire of Salvation. 3 – 0 to Kyle as he scores his flag again and the left zone.

Turn 3: Minions
Hutchuk makes an appearance and runs to contest Kyle’s flag. The Wrastler and Mire do some sterling work on the left, taking out the Dervish, both solos and a few more Errants. Dr Arkadius uses his Feat to get an extra few attacks out on the right and I’m feeling more comfortable about how much stuff Kyle has to come back to me with. One of the War Hogs heads for Fire of Salvation but it Admonitions away. Dr Arkadius gets on my flag; 3 – 1 to Kyle.

Turn 4: Protectorate of Menoth
Kyle throws all he has at me. Fire of Salvation gets fully fuelled and kills the lead War Hog. On the left, the Devout manages to leave Mire on a single box. No-one scores as everything is contested.

Turn 4: Minions
Hutchuk leaves Rhupert on a single box so the Gun Boar has to kill him from range (and a high damage roll hurts Hutchuk quite badly too). Mire and the Wrastler clear the Devout from the left zone and I think Kyle is out of things to meaningfully contest it. Over on the right, the War hog and Road Hog finally finish off the last of the infantry but I can’t pin down the Fire of Salvation with Admonition. I’m reduced to trying to block his route in, and Dr Arkadius applies Crippling Grasp to hopefully keep it out of my face. I score the left zone and both flags to bring the score to 4 – 3.

Turn 5: Protectorate of Menoth
Kyle is down to almost nothing on his clock. Vindictus personally polishes off my War Hog, then Fire of Salvation gets fully fuelled and just barely makes it into Dr Arkadius. Fortunately, my Warcaster survives the round and Kyle’s clock runs out. Minions win by deathclock.

That was tight! Kyle was a really lovely man, and on discussion with him was probably about as experienced at Warmachine as I am (i.e. not very). So in that regard this was really a perfect game for both of us. Things I learned:

  • Positioning of my Warlock is of paramount importance. I could have moved Dr Arkadius to various positions of safety but ended up needing the dice to save me.
  • The match-up into this cloud of light infantry wasn’t as bad as I expected. The warrior models need to clump up if they’re going to do anything of note to my heavy Warbeasts and doing so leaves them really vulnerable to sprays or Overtake chains in retaliation.
  • Getting the Berserk attacks off with the Battle Boar was extremely satisfying. It’s the first time I’ve had the opportunity to use that ability and it felt good.

Round 3 – Spread The Net vs Billy’s Protectorate of Menoth (game 10)

https://conflictchamber.com/?c2201b_-1q0ylV7jlUk9e4lVlM1G1G3t2____-1pm11UlVme3k3k7jjCjClR3C2_3F3Hninini

Protectorate
[Theme] The Creator’s Might

[Kreoss 1] High Exemplar Kreoss [+29]
– Judicator [35]
Anastasia di Bray [3]
Exemplar Warder [0(5)]
Exemplar Warder Elias Gade [0(5)]
Initiate Tristan Durant [4]
– Judicator [35]
Scrutator Potentate Severius [0(6)]
– Redeemer [11]
– Redeemer [11]
Vassal Mechanik [1]
Choir of Menoth (min) [4]

Protectorate
[Theme] The Faithful Masses

[Harbinger 1] The Harbinger of Menoth [+27]
– Crusader [10]
– Judicator [35]
– Hierophant [3]
Allegiant of the Order of the Fist [3]
Allegiant of the Order of the Fist [3]
Anastasia di Bray [3]
Champion of the Order of the Wall [8]
Champion of the Order of the Wall [8]
Hand of Silence [7]
The Covenant of Menoth [4]
Choir of Menoth (min) [4]
Idrian Skirmishers (min) [9]
– Idrian Skirmisher Chieftain & Guide [5]
Initiates of the Wall [0(7)]
Initiates of the Wall [0(7)]
Initiates of the Wall [0(7)]

I’m well and truly in the shark tank here; Billy is regarded as a potential winner of the whole event, plays in WTC and so on. Both his lists have Colossals in them so I figure I need the sheer damage output of Dr Arkadius again. Billy chooses to play with Harbinger. I’m just hoping for a lucky opening to get a Road Hog onto Harbinger or something.

Billy wins the roll-off and chooses to take first turn.  Neither side has much to recommend it so I take the one with a wall that I can hope to hide behind a little.  The Wrastler and two War Hogs go to the right in order to face off the Judicator; perhaps the threat of a long range attack from Raged War Hogs will make it play a bit further back.

The Idrians pick the painted Road Hog as Prey.

Turn 1: Protectorate of Menoth
Billy tuns his stuff up in a brick, making sure that Harbinger is far enough back that I can’t possibly land any assault sprays on her from the Road Hogs.

Turn 1: Minions
I move up and try to leverage my larger threat ranges. I’ve got Aggravator up in case I can get any moves out of cheeky shots from the Idrians that won’t also involve the Judicator getting an easy route into my heavies, and Forced Evolution goes on the nearby Road Hog.

Turn 2: Protectorate of Menoth
The Idrians and Judicator drop one of my War Hogs at range, and Harbinger casts Purification to clear off my upkeeps. The Champion and some Initiates are careful to block me off from the Judicator. The Allegiants move to be annoying, one of them runs to the right flag.

Turn 2: Minions
Hanging back isn’t likely to help me as I don’t have any ranged threats so I figure that I need to pull the trigger now and hope to do enough chipping away at the infantry that Harbinger will slow down on the Martyrdom. I need to get that Champion out of the way, but I seriously underestimate how tricky it is to clear a model with high armour, Tough, no-knockdown under Awe, when Harbinger can just take a bit of damage to keep him up. Now that I write it, possibly this should have been more obvious! In the end, my heavies get completely hung up on this one model and I can’t make any progress into the Judicator despite using my Feat, Primal, Rage and any thing else I could bring to bear. It didn’t help that the Champion passed his first five Tough checks before even needing to be Martyred. I do set a few things on fire but Harbinger Martyrs away any significant damage. Over on the left, I dismount the other Champion but have to Primal the Road Hog to get anything done at all. Hutchuk ambushes over to contest the right flag and Targ scores me for the left one. Billy scores for the left zone; 1 – 1.

Turn 3: Protectorate of Menoth
Harbinger loads up the Judicator and it kills the Wrastler and another War Hog. The Idrians take out the right Road Hog and Anastasia comes on the left and Toughs Targ. Billy scores his zone again; 2 – 1.

Turn 3: Minions
There isn’t much that I can do here. The Battle Boar kills Anastasia so that I can at least score another point. Just for fun I power up the last War Hog and it leaves the Judicator on a five boxes, so at least that was satisfying. Mire kills a few Idrians but I can’t get the whole unit. I score the left flag and right zone while Billy scores the left zone; 3 – 3.

Turn 4: Protectorate of Menoth
It’s just mopping up here. All but my rear-most miniatures are efficiently killed off with the Judicator and surviving Idrians doing most of the work. Minions lose on scenario (I think; from my notes I believe it was only 6 – 3 in Billy’s favour when we called it… anyway, I wasn’t coming back into this).

Overall that went more or less as I expected. Billy was a classy opponent, always polite and friendly even when he was crushing all my stuff. Spoiler alert: he did go on to win the whole event, so I don’t feel bad about being comprehensively crushed by him. Things I learned:

  • Despite the result I think that I picked the right list to use here; at least, I think that Jaga Jaga would have been even worse. It seems to me that I would need to bring some very different tech to give myself a fighting chance here. But perhaps I’m wrong, and the difference here was simply the vast gulf in skill and experience between us and I could have done more by simply playing better. If you have any thoughts on how to approach this match-up then I’ll be really glad to read them.
  • I need to get better at using power attacks. The Champion gummed me up completely trying to get my heavies into the Judicator. I think that it could have been possible to use one of them to throw him out of the way without messing about trying to kill him.
  • As with the Destors in game 1, I don’t really have a good answer for Tough, Steady models other than hitting them lots of times. In this case, the combination of Awe and Martyrdom made it even harder to deal with.

With that, the first day ended and most of us went out of some drinks and a rather lovely Italian restaurant. It’s one thing I do really appreciate about two-day events – being able to make an evening of the tournament and get to know people outside the context of the game that brings us together.

Round 4 – Bunkers vs Sean’s Grymkin (game 11)

https://conflictchamber.com/?ce201b_-2khvh2nlnlnlnlnlnlh4h4nFhmhmhmhn___-2khth2nlnlnlh4h6h3h3hmhmhmhmhr

Grymkin
[Theme] Dark Menagerie

[King of Nothing 1] The King of Nothing [+28]
– Cage Rager [14]
– Clockatrice [13]
– Clockatrice [13]
– Clockatrice [13]
– Clockatrice [13]
– Clockatrice [13]
– Clockatrice [13]
– Crabbits (2) [0(7)]
– Crabbits (2) [0(7)]
– Baron Tonguelick, Lord of Warts [4]
Gremlin Swarm [0(3)]
Gremlin Swarm [0(3)]
Gremlin Swarm [3]
Lady Karianna Rose [4]

Grymkin
[Theme] Dark Menagerie

[Dreamer 1] The Dreamer [+28]
– Cage Rager [14]
– Clockatrice [13]
– Clockatrice [13]
– Clockatrice [13]
– Crabbits (2) [0(7)]
– Gorehound [6]
– Skin & Moans [15]
– Skin & Moans [15]
Gremlin Swarm [0(3)]
Gremlin Swarm [0(3)]
Gremlin Swarm [0(3)]
Gremlin Swarm [0(3)]
Death Knell [13]

I’ve literally never seen Grymkin on the table before, so Sean very kindly talks me through his lists. I see that there are nine Clockatrices between the lists so I figure that they must be The New Hotness; after Sean’s explanation I decide that Swamp Horrors are probably the tech I need to deal with them so I go with Jaga Jaga. Sean picks his Dreamer list with a mere three Clockatrices.

Sean wins the roll off and chooses to go first. I pick the side with a trench to hide Jaga Jaga in. I’m aiming to use Brun and Rorsh to get on the outside flags and then run the rest of my stuff up the middle. The Totem Hunter goes behind the forest in the hope that I’ll be able to abuse that for some cheeky charges, although there aren’t really any great targets for him here.

The Arcana chosen are All Fall Down, Sacrifice and Labyrinth. I forgot to note what the Totem Hunter chose as Prey; I think it was probably the Clockatrice on the far right.

Turn 1: Grymkin
Everything just runs right at me. The Dreamer puts out an Artifice of Deviation on the right, presumably to stop any shenanigans with Rorsh. She also casts Mirage on the right Skin and Moans

Turn 1: Minions
Those Clockatrices have me out-ranged so I move up far enough to hopefully bring them into my range if they want to spray my Warbeasts. Jaga Jaga puts Grave Wind on the Totem Hunter (not that it ever saves him!) and Battle Host on herself. Brun and Rorsh cast their upkeeps since they’re free to keep in play thanks to the new theme benefit. Lug is relatively far forward in the hope that I can bait out some awkward positioning to gt round counter-charge.

Turn 2: Grymkin
Mirage is upkept and the Gremlin Swarms predictably stroll onto the flags. I have a plan to deal with the ones on the left but I can’t see myself doing more than contesting the right now. All three Clockatrices come in and apply a variety of penalties to both Swamp Horrors and Brine; the rest of the army moves up to counter punch if I can take them out. Another Artifice of Deviation appears to stop me doing anything useful with Brine.

Turn 2: Minions
I upkeep all my spells. The Soul Slave puts Ghost Walk onto the Boomhowlers and they run around and plink away a little at the front line. Jaga Jaga casts Signs and Portents and Feats, killing the left Gremlin Swarms, one of the Crabbits and otherwise clearing some of my own models out of the way. She also puts Rage on one Swamp Horror and the Wrastler does the same for the other one. The Swamp Horrors, slowed as they are, do manage to get both Clockatrices (actually the Totem Hunter has to finish the last one). Sean did good work having them Stutter to places where I couldn’t pull them in for bite attacks but eventually they went down. I’m a bit more stuck on the right and Rorsh is resigned to just taking a couple of potshots and contesting the flag. Somewhere in here Labyrinth was played. We each score our own zones; 1 – 1.

Turn 3: Grymkin
The Dreamer moves slightly and casts Manifest Destiny. The Skin and Moans on the right kills Brine but Rorsh lives on a single wound. The Cage Rager takes out the Swamp Horror on the right, saving me some worries about Fury management. The Gorehound charges across and eat Orin; I’m a bit annoyed with myself on this one as it was totally avoidable – I hadn’t realised that Gorehounds have Ghostly but more importantly Orin could easily have been a few millimetres further back and remained safe. The last Clockatrice kills the Totem Hunter and the heavies on that side start to pressure me through the forest on the right. The Crabbit contests the left flag and a Phantasm runs into my zone so only Sean scores his zone for 2 – 1 to Grymkin.

Turn 3: Minions
Battle Host is upkept for free, then Jaga Jaga kills the small Phantasm, puts Rage back on the Swamp Horror and casts Signs and Portents. Lug swats the Crabbit and Brun moves to be slightly less irrelevant while still scoring. The Soul Slave is going to need to get on the left flag so moves into range to run onto it next turn. The Swamp Horror eats both the Gorehound and Cage Rager and the Wrastler takes out the Death Knell. Boomhowlers run to contest the back zone and generally get in the way. I score the left flag and my zone; 3 – 2 to Minions.

Turn 4: Grymkin
Turns are moving quite quickly now as we run out of miniatures. The Phantasms move to contest and the Dreamer zaps the contesting Boomhowler before casting Manifest Destiny. The pair of Skin and Moans drop the Wrastler (needing to work quite hard for it) and the Clockatrice clears the right flag by killing Rorsh. Sean scores his zone and the right flag; 4 – 3 to Grymkin.

Turn 4: Minions
I need to send the Soul Slave to sit on the left flag this turn so I enjoy my last free upkeep of Battle Host. Jaga Jaga casts Signs and Portents and waves goodbye to the Soul Slave. The Valkyries and Boomhowlers contest, jam and clear Phantasms as best they can manage and the Swamp Horror takes care of a Skin and Moans. Brun and Lug both leg it to the centre flag. I score my zone and two flags, Sean gets one to bring the score to 6 – 5 to Minions.

Turn 5: Grymkin
Unfortunately, it turns out that I’ve left Jaga Jaga close enough to my objective that the Skin and Moans can charge it and buy attacks on her. So the Clockatrice takes care of the blocking Valkyrie and the Dreamer moves up to cover the landing spot with Manifest Destiny, and it does just that. Minions lose by assassination.

This was the only game a felt a little disappointed in my performance. Not because I particularly expected to win, but rather because the manner of the defeat was so avoidable; simply moving Jaga Jaga about 1” to my left would have left her safe. Of course, there were still plenty of options for Sean to win it, but I wanted to push him a little further to get the win. Oh well, just something else for me to try to think about in these games. Sean was a lovely opponent throughout. Things I learned:

  • As above, I’ve got a bit of a habit of not checking for threats onto my Warlock until after I’ve finished their activation. I really need to consider positioning for them much more carefully. I guess I didn’t really learn my lesson from game 2.
  • Signs and Portents showed it’s worth again and again in this match-up. On the other hand, Sean was casting Manifest Destiny for one Fury less and getting the same value out of it so maybe I should be wishing for that spell instead!
  • Swamp Horrors were as good into Clockatrices as I hoped. Sean did a good job of Stuttering them round the base of another model so I couldn’t drag the Clockatrices in for a good beak attack though.

Round 5 – Anarchy vs David’s Cryx (game 12)

https://conflictchamber.com/?c4201b_-1WnUc31hkpe2kwkr2IoIkgkk1____-1U0Z19193ci2dWdWhZh_hZh_bB

Cryx
[Theme] Scourge of the Broken Coast

[Rahera 1] Captain Rahera, Terror of the Wailing Sea [+28]
– Kraken [35]
– Stalker [8]
– Satyxis Blood Priestess [4]
Aiakos, Scourge of the Meredius [4]
– Kharybdis [17]
Axiara Wraithblade [0(6)]
General Gerlak Slaughterborn [0(6)]
Ragman [4]
Blighted Trollkin Marauders (max) [15]
– Jussika Bloodtongue [0(5)]
Bloodgorgers (max) [15]

Cryx
[Theme] Dark Host

[Coven 1] The Witch Coven of Garlghast [+26]
– Deathripper [6]
– Deathripper [6]
– Desecrator [14]
Bane Lord Tartarus [0(6)]
Bane Riders (max) [20]
Bane Riders (max) [20]
Bane Warriors (min) [10]
– Bane Warrior Officer & Standard [0(5)]
Bane Warriors (min) [10]
– Bane Warrior Officer & Standard [0(5)]
Wraith Engine [15]

I had a feeling that David was going to go for the swarm of Banes here and decided that my Dr Arkadius list would want no part of that. In addition, there is no incentive for the Witch Coven to play even remotely far forward so there wasn’t even much danger of getting a cheeky assassination. Jaga Jaga came out to play and David did indeed pick Witch Coven.

David wins the roll and decides to go first. I put both lesser Warlocks on the left to try to hold that flag and stick the Boomhowlers on the right with the hope of holding that zone at some point. The battlegroup goes in the centre so that I can see where things end up, although with such a wall of warrior models coming at me I suppose that the answer is ‘everywhere’.

The Totem Hunter picks Bane Lord Tartarus as Prey; I figure it might make David play him further back at least.

Turn 1: Cryx
Everything rushes right at me. David is careful to measure out proper landing zones for the Witches and Egregore. Occultation is cast on the right Bane Riders, Infernal Machine goes on the Desecrator and a Veil of Mists is put out to extend the wall of forests and theme-benefit clouds.

Turn 1: Minions
There’s not much to do but run right at them. I try not to offer too much to the alpha next turn, but on the other hand I also want to get deep enough that I can do some work under the inevitable Coven Feat. On the left, the Valkyries stay out of range of the Bane Riders as I can shoot them next turn unless they back right off the zone. Grave Wind is on the Totem Hunter and Battle Host goes up, along with the upkeeps from the lesser Warlocks.

Turn 2: Cryx
All spells are upkept. The Coven move up and, predictably, Feat to cover much of my army. The Bane Riders on the right come in and slap through the leading Boomhowlers. One of them kills the Totem Hunter too (actually it missed the impact attack but I let David take that back as he said he wasn’t aware of the Poltergeist thing); poor Totem Hunter. Otherwise everything is surprisingly cautious. The Wraith Engine swaps sides but I’m not really sure I understand why.

Turn 2: Minions
I look to see if there is any way that I can trample anything into the Witches while they’re far forward and eventually decide that it won’t work out. Jaga Jaga, Brun and Rorsh upkeep all their spells for free. Jaga Jaga casts Signs and Portents and Rages the Wrastler, which then goes in and Overtakes its way through three Bane Riders. Boomhowlers move out to get in the way a bit more; I’m hoping that there will be enough of them left to be worth using my Feat by the time next turn comes round. Rorsh uses Diversionary Tactics to get an additional move out of Brine, who walks into the Desecrator. Frustratingly, even under Signs and Portents Brine misses half of his attacks and leaves the Warjack on a couple of boxes. On the left, I realise that I can’t give away too much to the Bane Riders so the Valkyries gun one of them down. Brun scores my flag; 1 – 0.

Turn 3: Cryx
The Coven drop all their upkeeps and load up the Desecrator; the objective also heals it back to full functionality. The Bane Warriors on the left drop Brine without any problem after the first one runs to stop Lug’s Counter Charge. The Desecrator and one Bane Rider kill Lug too, along with most of the Valkyries though helpfully the last one Toughs and contests the left zone for me. The Bane Riders and Warriors on the right plow through a bunch of the remaining Boomhowlers (clearing the zone) and gum me up in the centre; finally Tartarus remembers to sit by his flag. 2 – 1 to Cryx.

Turn 3: Minions
Right, I feel like now I can get some work done as I can actually get to the Cryx army this turn. The Soul Slave puts Ghost Walk on the few remaining Boomhowlers and they walk up to stab a few of the Bane Warriors. Jaga Jaga casts Signs and Portents and Feats on the rest of the Boomhowlers apart from the Trollblood himself, clearing a bit more of the mess on the right. The last Valkyrie sacrifices movement to take a shot at a Bane Rider, then Rorsh gets to work. He aims and starts unloading, killing the Desecrator and a Warrior. Brun kills the contesting Bane Rider to clear my flag. The Wrastler and both Swamp Horrors go on a highly entertaining Overtake rampage, wiping out the last Bane Riders on the left and seriously thinning out the remaining Bane Warriors on either side. We each score our flags; 3 – 2 to Cryx.

Turn 4: Cryx
The Bane Riders on the left clear the Valkyrie to claim that zone while the Warriors move to contest my flag and kill off my Swamp Horror. Over on the right, the Deathripper charges into Boomhowler but crucially misses him. Later Warrior attacks just force him to Tough, which he makes to stymie David’s plans. The rest of the Warriors put some fairly desultory attacks into the Wrastler. Finally, the Wraith Engine goes Incorporeal and rushes forward. Cryx score their flag and left zone; 5 – 2.

Turn 4: Minions
Orin runs to the flag and Rorsh aims again to finish the left Bane Warriors. Brun charges into the left zone to kill a Rider, but mainly to contest. Boomhowler, the Wrastler and surviving Swamp Horror do great work on the right but can’t quite polish off the Deathripper nor one Warrior that snuck behind them. The Swamp Horror does pull in Tartarus and eat him as part of another Overtake chain though, so that felt pretty good. I was actually planning to send the Swamp Horror into the Wraith Engine until David kindly reminded me that it was Incorporeal this turn. I score my flag; 5 – 3 to Cryx.

Turn 5: Cryx
David is pretty much out of clock at this point but canny observers will note that, once again, I have neglected to move my Warlock a tiny amount to safety. The Deathripper runs toward Jaga Jaga and the Coven first put Curse of Shadows on her then follow-up with a couple of Stygian Abysses (luckily none of them get a critical hit). The Wraith Engine then charges her but misses enough attacks that she survives. David has 1 second left on his clock so he concedes. Minions win by deathclock.

Another close game, though in this case I think that David had run out of things to really threaten me with once I tidied up his Wraith Engine. It was nice to play into this kind of list as I’ve not really had experience into anything like it, and David ensured that it was a fun way to play. Things I learned:

  • Yet again, I failed to follow my own advice about keeping my Warlock safe. In this case, I thought that I would have the Wraith Engine in hand anyway but I had forgotten that it was Incorporeal so I couldn’t attack it. Nonetheless, I could have had Jaga Jaga playing less far forward than she was.
  • Sometimes it can be worth throwing something unexpected at a player to get them out of their comfort zone. I gave away Brine in exchange for most of the Desecrator but it was probably still effective as it meant that David had to slow the Bane advance on that side to deal with him. Of course, I was hoping that I wouldn’t miss so many attacks and actually kill the Warjack but it wasn’t to be.
  • The game is long enough that I can afford to back off and cede some scenario points to avoid a really bad situation (like strolling into David’s threat ranges under the Witch Coven’s Feat). No need to rush in as long as I can contest at least on my turns.

When all the scores are in, I somehow finish a remarkable 10th place out of 30ish people. Far, far better than I had expected, and actually slightly above Joe on whatever tiebreaker comes first (I think it is Strength of Schedule); more personally I surpassed even my stretch goal to win two games. Many thanks to Ross, Kyle, Billy, Sean and David for five fun games of Warmachine, and of course to Allan for running the whole show.

Categories: Battle reports, Hordes, Tournaments, Warmachine | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Warmachine / Hordes tournament report: Southside Steamroller (75 points); 03Nov2018

I recently attended my first ever Warmachine / Hordes (or WarmaHordes, or whatever… just Warmachine from now on) in Glasgow. Apparently this was the first Steamroller in Glasgow for something like five years, so it wasn’t only a first for me. I’ve got to admit that I was a little nervous for two reasons. Firstly, the Warmachine event scene has a bit of a reputation for taking their gaming seriously and I was worried that by going along and being really bad at the game that I’d be effectively denying one player per round a decent game. Secondly, competitive Warmachine is played on a Death Clock, meaning that it is possible to lose the game just by playing inefficiently. Joe helped me with the latter by giving me a timed game to practice, and I’m pleased to report that the clock was not an issue as he’d finished beating me long before time was up.

https://conflictchamber.com/#c7201b_-0b0g0r9DiRjpiXjq7d6R750k0m

Trollbloods Army – 75 / 75 points
[Theme] The Power of Dhunia

[Skuld 1] Jarl Skuld, Devil of the Thornwood [+30]
– Dire Troll Bomber [19]
– Dire Troll Mauler [15]
– Earthborn Dire Troll [14]
– Mulg the Ancient [22]
– Troll Basher [7]
– Trollkin Runebearer [0(5)]
Janissa Stonetide [0(4)]
Troll Whelps [0(4)]
Cylena Raefyll & Nyss Hunters (max) [19]
Krielstone Bearer & Stone Scribes (min) [6]
– Stone Scribe Elder [3]

My list is mainly put together as a combination of things I own, things I think look fun to play and things I think look good in an army. The only concessions to playing competently are the Runebearer (seems like a no-brainer choice for Jarl Skuld but has a boring miniature) and the Nyss Hunters (useful jamming unit in a theme force that doesn’t have any units, and anyway I already own them). The basic game plan is to move aggressively at the start and use Jarl’s Feat to block much significant attacking that turn. Then ram Warbeasts in with Rage applied and hope that the other force runs out of pieces before I do. The Nyss usually either jam or take shots of opportunity as needed.

Having a single list is a bit of a disadvantage as the other player can choose whichever of their lists will be best placed to face it. I did consider taking a second list but decided that would be a waste of time. I don’t have any experience with another list and even if I did, I’m not really sure yet when I would drop one or the other anyway.

Once I arrived in the admittedly rather ropey looking pub that was hosting us, I chatted with some other players and was pleased that I wasn’t the only attendee who was hopelessly inexperienced. I will note that I prefaced each game with an apology to each of my opponents for the likelihood of me getting some of the complex rule interactions wrong and they were all very cool about it.

Game 1: Andrew Murchie, Convergence of Cyriss

Scenario: Recon 2

https://conflictchamber.com/#cc201b_-0ilIdndndBd9d9dbdCdedfdfdgdz___-0id8dndBd9d9d9dedfdfdgdgdzdFdF

Convergence Army – 75 / 75 points
[Theme] Destruction Initiative

[Locke 1] Aurum Lucanum Athanor Locke [+29]
– Conservator [12]
– Conservator [12]
– Corollary [6]
– Inverter [15]
– Inverter [15]
– Prime Axiom [38]
Algorithmic Dispersion Optifex [2]
Attunement Servitors [0(4)]
Elimination Servitors [0(3)]
Elimination Servitors [0(3)]
Reflex Servitors [0(4)]
Optifex Directive [4]

Convergence Army – 75 / 75 points
[Theme] Destruction Initiative

[Axis 1] Axis, the Harmonic Enforcer [+30]
– Conservator [12]
– Corollary [6]
– Inverter [15]
– Inverter [15]
– Inverter [15]
Attunement Servitors [0(4)]
Elimination Servitors [0(3)]
Elimination Servitors [0(3)]
Reflex Servitors [0(4)]
Reflex Servitors [0(4)]
Optifex Directive [4]
Transfinite Emergence Projector [19]
Transfinite Emergence Projector [19]

Andrew selects the Axis list, presumably on the basis that it is better for dealing with a smaller number of tough targets. I choose to move first.

Trollbloods turn 1: My Theme Force benefit allows me to start the game with my Warlock’s upkeep spells cast. I have Quicken on the Bomber, Tactical Supremacy on the Krielstone and Weald Secrets on Jarl himself. Most of my force runs forward at top speed; Jarl dumps most of his Fury into the Krielstone.

Convergence turn 1: Many clockwork robots run at me. Iron Aggression is cast on one of the Inverters and a cloud of Servitors spread out to make my impact shooting irrelevant with all the Shield Guards.

Trollbloods turn 2: I think that I can take out the right side Transfinite Emergence Projector. The Nyss drop some Reflex Servitors on the left (they’re quite good at this since they ignore Concealment) and try not to line up too many nice sprays from the second battle engine. Jarl Feats to put his cloud wall in the way of Andrew’s central advance and casts Quicken on the Mauler. The Runebearer then casts Rage on it and the Mauler smites the Transfinite Emergence Projector with some Fury to spare. This does mean that I can’t manage to get the Runebearer onto my flag as I had originally planned.

Convergence turn 2: Axis Feats and swaps Iron Aggression on to the Inverter on the right; it makes short work of my Mauler. The remaining Transfinite Emergence Projector lines up shots on Nyss via the Conservator and kills a few. Convergence score a point from the flag and the right zone; 2 – 0.

Trollbloods turn 3: There’s not a lot that I can do this turn thanks to Axis’s Feat. I back off a bit to limit the damage those Inverters can do to me. Jarl kills a couple of Servitors with Magic Bullet to at least allow me to score my own flag but I can’t get anywhere near the other one. 3 – 1.

Convergence turn 3: Andrew could kill a load of my stuff here but he realises that he can just win the game via scenario instead. Axis casts Bulldoze. The Transfinite Emergence Projector clears the rest of the contesting Nyss. The Conservator pushes the Bomber out of the zone and the central Inverter kills the Runebearer; this allows Andrew to score both zones and his own flag. Trollbloods lose on scenario; 1 – 6.

Despite the one-sided nature of the game, I really enjoyed this. Andrew didn’t have to do anything particularly clever but he was very clear in his explanations as to not only what he was doing, but why he was doing it. This was really helpful – I learned a lot, and hopefully I can apply it in future games. In particular, it seems that I need to be a lot more aggressive against this kind of control list and just suck up the damage that inevitably comes after it.

Game 2: Stuart Fraser, Cryx

Scenario: Spread The Net

https://conflictchamber.com/#c4201b_-0B0WkA1u1hi22nf0f0dWhZh-h_h-h____-0UbY1k1f1t1e1u1u1v1v1v1h2k2nf02B2B

Cryx Army – 75 / 75 points
[Theme] Dark Host

[Terminus 1] Lich Lord Terminus [+27]
– Barathrum [15]
– Seether [13]
– Stalker [8]
Bane Lord Tartarus [0(6)]
Necrotech [2]
Soul Trapper [1]
Soul Trapper [1]
Bane Riders (max) [20]
Bane Warriors (min) [10]
Bane Warriors (max) [16]
– Bane Warrior Officer & Standard [0(5)]
Bane Warriors (max) [16]
– Bane Warrior Officer & Standard [0(5)]

Cryx Army – 75 / 75 points
[Theme] Black Industries

[Asphyxious 3] Asphyxious the Hellbringer [+24]
– Cankerworm [9]
– Nightwretch [0(7)]
– Reaper [13]
– Ripjaw [0(7)]
– Seether [13]
– Seether [13]
– Slayer [10]
– Slayer [10]
– Slayer [10]
– Stalker [8]
Machine Wraith [2]
Necrotech [2]
Soul Trapper [1]
Warwitch Siren [4]
Warwitch Siren [4]

Discussing before the game, it seemed that Stuart was rather more at my level of experience than other players attending, so I had high hopes to make him work for his victory here. He selected Asphyxious and I ended up with the first move again.

Trollbloods turn 1: Once again I start with Quicken on the Bomber, Tactical Supremacy on the Krielstone and Weald Secrets on Jarl. This looks like quite a live scenario and I know that Asphyxious can make his Warjacks move very fast so I need to get some table position before I get locked out of scenario. Jarl fills up the Krielstone.

Cryx turn 1: Everything moves up but the advance is rather more cautious than I was expecting.

Trollbloods turn 2: With help of Magic Bullet, the Bomber and Jarl clear out the solos on the right. The Nyss do a couple of massive Combined Ranged Attacks and cripple movement on the Stalker and drop Vociferon. I have no idea what Vociferon actually does, but it looked like something that was worth getting rid of while I had the opportunity. Especially considering the Carapace rule on all the Warjacks making the Nyss shooting a bit less effective. Jarl Feats too, covering the centre of the board.

Cryx turn 2: On the left side the Warjacks come in and clear about half of the Nyss; the Stalker and Ripjaw position to contest my flag too. Asphyxious uses his Feat. On the right, Stuart seems curiously reticent to engage Mulg, so I get to score my zone with the big chap; 1 – 0.

Trollbloods turn 3: Janissa charges in and drops the Stalker in one shot while the Earthborn wrecks the Ripjaw. The Nyss ding up the Nightwretch, Seether and Slayer and generally gum things up. The Runebearer puts Magic Bullet on the Bomber which scratches the paint on the central Warjacks and takes out the Warwitch. The Basher gets both Quicken and Rage and rushes over to smack the central Slayer. I’m not actually expecting to kill it; I just want to keep those Cryx Warjacks away for another turn. The Krielstone move into the central zone and I score 3 points; 4 – 0.

Cryx turn 3: The Seether tries to position for a drag on the Mauler but can’t because I explain the Whelp placement will stop it. The Seether comes in and hurts the Mauler anyway and contests. The Basher remarkably survives the attentions of the Slayer due to some bad dice on Stuart’s side. On the left, the remaining Nyss are killed off by Warjacks. I still score 2 point this turn to Stuart’s 1, so I get a rather surprising scenario victory. Trollbloods win on scenario; 6 – 1.

Well, that certainly went better than I expected. Stuart probably was too cautious with his movement, especially in turn 1. I don’t think that I have enough good attacks to deal with so many Warjacks coming across the board at me. By slowing down his advance, especially on my right, I was able to deal with the Warjacks in more manageable chunks. I was quite pleased that Jarl did what I expected of him, i.e. kill off some annoying solos and stop them from scoring or contesting. This was a nice, relaxed, fun game between probably the two worst players in attendance.

Game 3: Shane Frost, Circle Orboros

Scenario: Standoff

https://conflictchamber.com/#c8201b_-0p5v4QjGjF4H4H4Hg4g45gmVmV0U5e5e5f5f___-0WgM4B4B5H5H5H5H5H5H5HmO5g5g5f5f

Circle Army – 75 / 75 points
[Theme] The Bones of Orboros

[Wurmwood 1] Wurmwood, Tree of Fate [+27]
– Megalith [20]
– Wold Guardian [16]
– Woldwarden [14]
– Woldwyrd [9]
– Woldwyrd [9]
– Woldwyrd [9]
Blackclad Stoneshaper [0(3)]
Blackclad Stoneshaper [0(3)]
Blackclad Wayfarer [0(4)]
Gallows Grove [2]
Gallows Grove [2]
Farrow Bone Grinders (min) [5]
Sentry Stone & Mannikins [5]
Sentry Stone & Mannikins [5]
Shifting Stones [3]
Shifting Stones [3]

Circle Army – 75 / 75 points
[Theme] Call of the Wild

[Una 2] Una the Skyhunter [+29]
– Gorax Rager [7]
– Gorax Rager [7]
– Scarsfell Griffon [8]
– Scarsfell Griffon [8]
– Scarsfell Griffon [8]
– Scarsfell Griffon [8]
– Scarsfell Griffon [8]
– Scarsfell Griffon [8]
– Scarsfell Griffon [8]
– Storm Raptor [34]
Blackclad Wayfarer [0(4)]
Blackclad Wayfarer [0(4)]
Shifting Stones [0(3)]
Shifting Stones [0(3)]

During the pregame discussion phase, Shane decided that he would treat this as a teaching game. I get the impression that he’s pretty good (anyway, much better than me) but was having a bit of a bad day at the office with results so far. He chose to use Una on the basis that it would make for a more entertaining game. I get to go first again.

Trollbloods turn 1: I start with Quicken on the Bomber, Tactical Supremacy on the Krielstone and Weald Secrets on Jarl. Jarl fills up the Krielstone and everyone rushes forward as fast as possible. No reason to change a ‘winning’ formula.

Circle turn 1: Shane’s force unpacks. It has a much bigger threat range than my army so the actually movement forward is not so much. Everything is still in range to do horrid things to me next turn though.

Trollbloods turn 2: The Nyss take a massive 10 person CRA into the lead Griffon but roll 1,1 to hit. That’s quite annoying as they could have done some rather good damage if they’d landed it. The Bomber and Jarl land a few hits on the Griffons on the left and Jarl Feats. Shane spends a good amount of time explaining and advising on good places to put my clouds to mitigate the effect of his next turn.

Circle turn 2: Una Feats and puts Hand of Fate and Primal on a couple of Griffons. Despite the inconvenience of the cloud wall I lose the Bomber and Janissa (though I expected to lose her easily) but otherwise get off quite lightly. The Storm Raptor moves to my right in preparation for electrocuting all my Nyss next turn. Circle score 1 points (back zone) while contesting my zone. 1 – 0.

Trollbloods turn 3: It takes a bit of work to unjam myself from the centre Griffon since it dodges away from my first couple of attacks. The Nyss put some damage onto the Storm Raptor. On the left, the Mauler finishes a Griffon and Jarl puts Weald Secrets back on himself and continues to shoot chunks out of the Griffon lurking behind the wall on the left. We both score for the rectangular zones; 2 – 1.

Circle turn 3: The Storm Raptor wipes out all the Nyss in a single go. One Griffon comes into the Mauler to trigger Flank but the Primalled one can’t get the job done and the Mauler survives on a couple of boxes. Shane scores the right and back zones while I score my rectangular zone; 4 – 2.

Trollbloods turn 4: The Mauler heals up by eating Whelps and kills the first Griffon and leave the Primalled one on a couple of boxes. Jarl takes a few wounds off Una with Magic Bullets bouncing off Shifting Stones and the Basher charges in to start hurting the Gorax in the middle. Mulg commits and smacks a Blackclad. Finally, the Earthborn is powered up with Quicken and Rage and rushes over to take a good chunk out of the Storm Raptor. We both score for the rectangular zones again; 5 – 3.

Circle turn 4: The Storm Raptor and Griffon make short work of the Earthborn but a Whelp survives to contest and even the Blackclad misses it. On the left, the Frenzying Griffon fails to finish the Mauler. The Gorax hurts the Basher rather inconsequentially. Once again we both score for the rectangular zones; 6 – 4.

Trollbloods turn 5: The Griffon on the left leads a charmed life; avoiding all my attacks to survive to contest again. Mulg goes in to kill the Objective and contest the rectangular zone and Jarl continues taking potshots at Una (I think I forgot that he has Black Penny so I could possibly have killed that Griffon). I score my rectangular zone and one for the Objective; 6 – 6.

Circle turn 5: The Griffon and Storm Raptor come in and attack Mulg but he turns out to be quite tough. The Mauler finally goes down but the Whelp improbably survives another round. Una pushes Mulg out of the zone so we both score our rectangular zone; 7 – 7.

Trollbloods turn 6: Mulg can’t quite finish the Storm Raptor; the Basher drops the Gorax. Jarl continues to pump bullets ineffectively into the Griffon on the left. We score a point each; 8 – 8 .

Circle turn 6: The scrum in the centre continues without any kind of resolution. The Griffon attacks Jarl but can’t make anything stick. The Whelp gets ignored in favour of the Blackclad desperately trying to deal with Mulg but failing. More scoring rectangular zones; 9 – 9.

Trollbloods turn 7: My last turn. The Basher attacks Una, killing the Gorax through transferred damage. Jarl kills the Griffon and moves to cover both the circular and rectangular zones. Mulg finally offs the Storm Raptor. I score both rectangular zones and the left circular zone. 9 – 12.

Circle turn 7: Una and the last Raptor flail ineffectively at the Basher and Mulg respectively. Scoring is the same as last turn so Trollbloods win 15 – 10.

I know that Shane was going very easy on me, but it still felt nice to come out of that with a win. I was quite close to running out of clock (less than one minute left) but since I had no actions left it didn’t really matter. I got cocky with Jarl a couple of times and Shane did point out twice when he had reasonably good chances to win by assassination so I definitely have some more to learn about keeping my Warlock safe while still being relevant. I’m very appreciative for the teaching opportunity, and I hope that Shane enjoyed the game process as much as I did.

So, in the end I got listed with two wins and one loss, though that should really have been two losses since I’m pretty sure that Shane could have beaten me if it had mattered at all. Either way that far exceeds my expectations for performance here. Overall I had a really good time and I’m especially pleased that the Warmachine gaming scene is indeed not as hardcore competitive as I had heard. Thanks to Andrew, Stuart and Shane for three fun games and of course to Allan for running the event and making it all happen.

Categories: Battle reports, Hordes, Tournaments, Warmachine | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Malifaux tournament report: Autumn’s End 2018 (50SS); 22Sep2018

After a bit of a break, I attended another of Kai’s Malifaux tournaments at Common Ground Games in Stirling. There has been a long period this year where I haven’t been very enthusiastic about Malifaux but lately I’ve been missing it and was very glad to have the opportunity to get back into the saddle. I borrowed some Horrors from Gareth so that I could test out how I fare with Forgotten Life on Molly with a plan to use a more-or-less fixed crew for all three rounds. I hadn’t actually tried the crew before so it would be a learning experience all the way.

Game 1: Resurrectionists (me) vs Ten Thunders (Michael Arnott)

Strategy: Ours, Standard Deployment

Schemes
Pool: Guarded Treasure, Dig Their Graves, Set Up, Take Prisoner, Public Demonstration
Resurrectionists: Guarded Treasure, Dig Their Graves
Ten Thunders: Set Up (Yin the Penangalan), Public Demonstration (one Illuminated, Ten Thunders Brother, Wandering River Monk)

Crews
Resurrectionists: Molly Squidpiddge (Forgotten Life, Take Back The Night), The Valedictorian, Necrotic Machine, Rogue Necromancy, Yin the Penangalan, Kentauroi, 2 Guild Autopsies
Ten Thunders: Jakob Lynch (Wanna See A Trick, Woke Up With A Hand, Endless Hunger), Hungering Darkness (Smoke Grenades, Endless Hunger), 2 Katanaka Snipers, 2 Illuminated, Ten Thunders Brother, Wandering River Monk

My first round opponent is Michael; funnily enough we’d been messaging each other on the way to Stirling and he had hoped to face me again to make up for forgetting how to play the strategy during our last match-up. So he got his wish in round one. With Ours as the Strategy, I intended to use the Kentauroi to fire Molly forward and gum up the Ten Thunders crew as far back as possible and force them to spend their AP dealing inefficiently with my summons. This should allow me to use the Guild Autopsies to stand just in my two quarters and either twiddle their thumbs while scoring (they’re only 4SS each, after all) or take shots of opportunity as needed. I took the other three big Horrors in the Valedictorian, Rogue Necromancy and Yin simply because they’re cool and I could possibly do some tricks with Molly’s (0) action. Also, Black Blood makes me happy… at least as long as it is on my models. Nothing in the scheme pool looked very promising so I took Dig Their Graves (I’m going to try to kill things anyway, and in a pinch I can summon Drowned to get the scheme markers out) and Guarded Treasure. The requirements for Guarded Treasure are needlessly restrictive, but my hope was to use the Autopsies to move around and drop scheme markers near enough to my heavy hitting pieces on the assumption that the line of engagement would be somewhere close enough to the centreline.

Turn 1: The Snipers get started by putting some wounds into the Necrotic Machine and the Rogue Necromancy. Much of the turn is spent moving to position; Hungering Darkness uses Heed My Voice to make the Valedictorian walk directly back toward my board edge; so much for my threat ranges. Eventually the Kentauroi pulls Molly forward enough that she can summon a Punk Zombie, a Kentauroi and a Drowned right in the middle of the biggest group of Ten Thunders. Sadly this cost me enough cards that they don’t actually achieve anything of note when they arrive. Still, they should take a bit of time to put down.

Turn 2: Hungering Darkness flails at Molly. She doesn’t take much damage after Masterful Dead and Soulstone use, but frustratingly I flip the Black Joker on her Horror duel from Consume Brilliance. Amusingly, this costs Michael enough cards that the nearby Illuminated also fails his Horror duel; still, I think that I’ve come out worse in the trade here. The Kentauroi charges into the Ten Thunder Brother but misses twice. Lynch comes forward and drops a four ace 52-Card Pick Up on Molly, she ends up on a single wound remaining. Ouch! That’s a good way to get round her defensive trigger, though I don’t think I had any cards left anyway by that point. Yin pushes in to engage the Ten Thunder Brother and gives him Gnawing Fear. The Drowned gets Lynch down to a single wound and then a Kentauroi charges an Illuminated, landing close enough to Lynch that the Black Blood will kill him. Meanwhile the Guild Autopsies position to be just inside my quarters and drop scheme markers for the Rogue Necromancy and the Valedictorian to rather sheepishly stand on top of. I score for Ours and Guarded Treasure and Michael declares Public Demonstration for the full three VPs.

Turn 3: Molly summons a Drowned then kills Hungering Darkness herself, makes the Punk Zombie kill an Illuminated and chain activates the Kentauroi to drop the Wandering River Monk. These activations pretty much break the back of Michael’s crew and my attrition advantage is so big now that I’m pretty much certain to close out the game; of course, we still need to decide the margin. The Punk Zombie takes out the other Illuminated to score Dig Their Graves and a Drowned finally finishes the Ten Thunder Brother. I score for the strategy and Guarded Treasure and Michael announces Set Up on Yin to score two VP.

Turn 4: The Drowned puts down a scheme marker and Yin kills the Sniper on the left for Dig Their Graves. I’m ready to call it here but Michael helpfully moves the other Sniper closer to me to get a shot off at Molly so I send all I have left toward him in case I can pick up the final point for Dig Their Graves. I score Guarded Treasure and Ours again.

Turn 5: The Sniper flees into his own corner but the Kentauroi carries the Drowned toward him so he can drop a scheme marker. Molly finishes the Sniper off for the final points. Resurrectionists win 10 – 5 (full score for me; 3 for Public Demonstration and 2 for Set Up for Michael).

That went pretty much according to plan. As ever it is a pleasure to play Michael and we both took our good cards and bad with smiles. I hadn’t understood quite how deep I could pin Michael’s crew so in the end the Valedictorian and Rogue Necromancy were pretty much reduced to standing around scoring for Guarded Treasure (the latter contributed a few long range shots with Acid Breath). On the other hand they did guarantee me seven VPs for Guarded Treasure and Ours, so perhaps I shouldn’t overlook their contribution.

Game 2: Resurrectionists (me) vs Gremlins (Ross McGinness)

Strategy: Public Executions, Flank Deployment

Schemes
Pool: Eliminate the Leadership, Hold Up Their Forces, Undercover Entourage, Search the Ruins, Vendetta
Resurrectionists: Undercover Entourage (Asura Roten), Search the Ruins
Gremlins: Eliminate the Leadership, Undercover Entourage (Zipp)

Crews
Resurrectionists: Reva (Decaying Aura, Maniacal Laugh, Beyond Death), Asura Roten, Anna Lovelace, Carrion Emissary (Carrion Conflux), Dead Doxy, 2 Shieldbearers
Gremlins: Zipp (Dread Pirate Zipp, Gift of the Gab, Stilts), Burt Jebsen (Dirty Cheater), Raphael LaCroix (Dirty Cheater), Iron Skeeter (Hovering Airship), Lightning Bug, 4 Bayou Gremlins, Student of Conflict

For this round I had originally intended to stick with Molly but I got paired up with Ross. We played a very similar game in the Scottish GT and he beat my Spirit Molly crew with some clever Zipp plays. Over lunch I decided that it was likely that Ross would play Zipp again, and that it might be more effective to mix things up a little. So I took a Reva crew which is probably a better fit for Public Executions anyway (long ranged damage versus summoning in disposable minions seems like the better strategy to score points and deny them). The combination of Reva herself, Maniacal Laugh, Anna and the Emissary should ensure that there are good number of Mindless Zombies in play (not to mention Corpse Candles) so I decided to take Asura so that they would have something useful to do. Asura is a pretty good pick for Undercover Entourage since she’s a low priority target who can easily spare some AP to move in the late game. I picked Search The Ruins as my other scheme mainly because my general ‘kill them all and ask if anyone has any questions later’ approach fits in well with a scheme that I can score in turn 5 and partly because I didn’t expect the Gremlins to contest the centre unless Ross took the same scheme (and in that case, I would aim to kill everything, then drop scheme markers).

Turn 1: The Student makes Zipp Fast and the Doxy pushes Reva forward. After a few timewasting activations on both sides (Bayou Gremlins doing nothing much, most of my crew moving forward) Zipp goes in for Reva. I’m hoping that the combination of Ht 3 for Reva and the presence of Anna’s auras will mitigate the damage here but Ross helpfully top decks 13s for Zipp’s first two attacks and sends Reva way back from my intended angle of attack. He then turns into a Bayou Gremlin. Reva summons a Corpse Candle and places next to it. She charges the Lightning Bug and kills the Iron Skeeter (this also ensures that the Bug will die to Burning at the end of the turn). Burt stabs Reva and Raphael takes a pot shot at Reva but misses.

Turn 2: Burt swings at Reva and flips the Red Joker on damage; Ross announces Eliminate The Leadership. Reva kills him in return and charges away from the action to kill off a Bayou Gremlin on the left. Despite this distance, Zipp’s mobility allows him to get over to Reva and throw her back toward the rest of the Gremlin crew before turning into a Bayou Gremlin again. The Emissary kills this new Gremlin and then a random Bayou Gremlin kills off Reva to wrap up the points for Eliminate The Leadership. I’m out of cards so my attempt to get the Doxy to Take The Lead with Anna into range to contribute doesn’t work; she’s obliged to walk up. A Shieldbearer puts down another Bayou Gremlin but she’s out of sight of any other Gremlins so we draw on the strategy.

Turn 3: For the third time, the Student of Conflict makes Zipp Fast. The Carrion Emissary hurts Raphael but I Black Joker the damage flip that would have killed the Gremlin. Asura puts Grasping Hands on the Student but even so the nearby Mindless Zombie can’t land a hit. Raphael hurts the Carrion Emissary and then the Dead Doxy succeeds and pushes Anna Lovelace close enough to the Bayou Gremlin at the top of the board to kill the little chap. I score for Public Executions.

Turn 4: Zipp looks at the board state and decides to triple walk to hide in my deployment zone. The Carrion Emissary finally gets Raphael and I move Asura into Ross’s deployment zone. My Shieldbearers finish laying scheme markers round the centre of the board. It’s clear that we’re not going to be doing anything in turn 5 so we call it there. Resurrectionists win 8 – 6 (2 for Public Executions, 3 for Search The Ruins and 3 for Undercover Entourage for me; 3 for Eliminate The Leadership and 3 for Undercover Entourage for Ross).

I love to play Malifaux with Ross. His style of cagey hit and run attacks is very much in contrast to my ‘go for the throat’ approach and his positional play with Zipp in particular is really good. This game was very tight and could have gone either way. Burt’s Red Joker against Reva on turn 2 made quite a big difference as it really affected how I played Reva that turn; I had to be a bit more careful and hope to survive by distance (though of course, it didn’t help) rather than taking the initiative and making Ross react to my plays. I was quite glad that my choice of schemes paid off as this has been one area of my game that I feel has especially suffered from lack of practice. Asura as Undercover Entourage target is quite risky as she hasn’t really got any defenses apart from being surrounded by more important targets. I was quite close to taking Eliminate The Leadership instead and was glad I didn’t since Zipp is so hard to make damage stick on.

Game 3: Resurrectionists (me) vs Gremlins (Jamie Gemmell)

Strategy: Interference, Close Deployment

Schemes
Pool: Punish the Weak, Covert Breakthrough, Set Up, Inescapable Trap, Show of Force
Resurrectionists: Punish the Weak, Covert Breakthrough
Gremlins: Punish the Weak, Covert Breakthrough

Crews
Resurrectionists: Molly Squidpiddge (Forgotten Life, Take Back The Night), The Valedictorian, Necrotic Machine, Rogue Necromancy, Yin the Penangalan, Kentauroi, 2 Guild Autopsies
Gremlins: Mah Tucket (Know The Terrain, Manifest Destiny, Liquid Bravery), Sammy LaCroix, Francois LaCroix (Dirty Cheater, Stilts), Trixibelle, Gremlin Taxidermist, 2 Survivors, Slop Hauler

With Interference as the Strategy, this is really Molly’s area of expertise so it’s a really easy choice to go back to plan A and use the Horror Molly crew again. In particular, with close deployment I can unleash Molly in a single activation if there is an inviting cluster of models to summon from (though I don’t expect Jamie to give me anything so easy as he’s quite experienced). Looking at Jamie’s crew I decide that Punish The Weak is a good option as I’ll want to deal with the three Minions anyway and even if I don’t get them with Molly or the Valedictorian I can probably do it before the end of turn 3 to wrap up all the points. My crew will give up Punish The Weak quite easily but that’s just something I have to accept and play round. Covert Breakthrough is quite easy to score in close deployment and, like Search The Ruins from round 2, can be scored entirely in turn 5 when I have hopefully killed off all the other models. I did consider putting Unnerving Aura on the Valedictorian and/or Yin to pick up Show of Force instead but it doesn’t really work well with Interference and I’m happy enough with my two chosen schemes.

Turn 1: Mah pushes up, walks and swings ineffectively at Yin before going disguised. The Necrotic Machine pokes her back for just as little impact before Trixibelle pulls Mah back to relative safety. The Kentauroi moves up and pulls Molly forward and she summons two new Kentauroi in places where Black Blood will be most annoying. The Taxidermist hurts one of them and drops a corpse marker; it immediately eats the marker to undo the Taxidermists work and pokes Mah gently. Yin charges Francois and puts Gnawing Fear on him; he obligingly fails his Horror duel to attack back. The Slop Hauler is rather braver and knocks a good chunk of Yin’s wounds off despite Mass of Viscera; Black Blood is not kind to the little Gremlin though. The last Kentauroi gets the Rear Up trigger off Rotting Hooves and kills both the Slop Hauler and the Survivor on the left. Meanwhile, the rest of our crews slowly converge on this scrum with the exception of the right side Guild Autopsy who is content to find a spot where he can claim my quarter and not get killed too easily.

Turn 2: Trixibelle cheats the initiative flip. Mah charges in and kills Yin (I have to say I don’t think that I’ve ever lost Yin so easily) and chain activates Francois who kills one of my summoned Kentauroi. Molly kills Francois in return and summons a fresh Kentauroi, thus restoring the natural order of the universe. Sammy Jinxes the Rogue Necromancy to stop it from moving and Molly to make her scary for friendlies. The Rogue Necromancy reminds Sammy that it is not only a melee beatstick by showering her in Acid Breath and killing the Taxidermist with the blasts. Trixibelle pushes a Kentauroi around and Slows it. The Valedictorian puts a rather disappointing number of wounds on the surviving Survivor. I score for Interference and Jamie scores Punish The Weak.

Turn 3: Sammy Jinxes Molly to stop her from declaring triggers (uh oh!) and makes her scary to her friends again. In return, Molly kills Sammy. How do you like that de-buff, Sammy? She then chain activates a Kentauroi that totally fails to even hit Trixibelle. Mah kills the Necrotic Machine and the Rogue Necromancy shows the Valedictorian how things are done by eating the Survivor. Trixibelle kills another Kentauroi and Slows the one while incidentally putting about 20 Poison on it. I score for the strategy and we both score Punish The Weak.

Turn 4: Trixibelle kills a Kentauroi and Molly kills her. Mah makes it to my board edge and starts dropping scheme markers. It’s clear that the game is done now so we just agree that we can drop the required number of scheme markers for Covert Breakthrough. Resurrectionists win 10 – 6 (full score for me, 3 for Covert Breakthrough and 3 for Punish The Weak for Jamie).

Jamie is a really fun opponent and I had a great time playing with him. I think that he got too bogged down in the scrum caused by Molly and her summons to have a chance of scoring for Interference; of course, that was my intention but he didn’t seem to have any plan to break out of it. I was quite surprised by his choice of victim for Mah’s first turn attack; she could easily have killed the Necrotic Machine or Guild Autopsy just to control my activation count whereas she was highly unlikely to do anything substantial to Yin. From my side the game went quite nicely to plan. The Valedictorian was a bit disappointing in that the only time I threw her into combat the cards didn’t fall my way. However, she was on the far side of the board from most of the action so perhaps I’d have been better loading the centre during deployment rather than spreading out (I had to deploy first so I couldn’t react to Jamie’s positioning).

Once the scores are in I have done well enough to take second place, somewhat behind the mighty Lewis on VP difference. I was very glad to get out to this event and I feel like I’m perhaps out of my ‘Malifaux funk’ now. Thanks to Kai for his hard work running the event, and to Michael, Ross and Jamie for three very fun games of Malifaux. I will be back!

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

Malifaux tournament report: Scottish GT 2018 (50SS); 21-22Jul2018

This weekend was the Malifaux Scottish GT for 2018 and Gareth and I traveled over to Common Ground Games in Stirling to take part. I hadn’t really been in love with Malifaux lately (the last event was back in March, four months ago) and neither of us had played since then. Indeed, I was considering pulling out entirely but we decided to attend and make the most of seeing the many friends we’ve met through Malifaux. Gareth and I put in a couple of practice games to remind ourselves how to play and I realised that I’d forgotten too much to attempt multiple crews. So I chose to play single master all weekend with Molly, with only minor crew variations, in order to give myself a chance to remember at least my own models’ abilities even if not those of everyone else.

Game 1: Resurrectionists (me) vs Guild (Colin McCrae)

Strategy: Ours, Standard Deployment

Schemes
Pool: Guarded Treasure, Take one for the Team, Recover Evidence, Vendetta, Public Demonstration
Resurrectionists: Recover Evidence, Vendetta (Rotten Belle on Pistolero De Latigo)
Guild: Recover Evidence, Vendetta (female Guild Guard; I forgot to note the intended victim)

Crews
Resurrectionists: Molly Squidpiddge (Forgotten Path, Take Back The Night, Wronged Spirits), Izamu the Armour, Datsue Ba, Anna Lovelace, Onryo, Dead Doxy, Rotten Belle, Graveyard Spirit
Guild: Perdita Ortega (Fastest Draw In Malifaux, Trick Shooting), Peacekeeper (Numb To The World), Pistolero De Latigo, Guild Pathfinder, Brutal Effigy, 2 Death Marshals, Enslaved Nephilim, 2 Guild Guards

This is my basic Molly crew. The upgrades are easy picks; Forgotten Path is needed to make her Spirit Molly in the first place, Take Back The Night gives some very nice card draw (when I remember it) and Wronged Spirits is free and is occasionally relevant whether I start with or summon Onryo. Izamu and Datsue Ba give a bit of damage, and some nice utility and summoning in the latter case. Anna also does quite reliable damage with her ranged attack, has Rush of Magic for some card-cycling and her aura of no pushing / placing is critical in some games. Indeed, it would even more useful if I remembered it more often. The Belle and Doxy are there for movement utility and (along with the Onryo) scheme running, incidental damage etc. Finally, the Graveyard Spirit can make Molly a bit more survivable when she’s in harm’s way (which is pretty much all the time) and, being a Spirit, can in a pinch act as a Black Blood bomb. The general idea is to ram Molly and Izamu down the other crew’s throat as rapidly as possible in order to gum them up working through my summons and taking incidental damage from Black Blood through the process. The rest of the crew can contribute or get on with the business of scoring as needed.

Considering how far shy I felt of ‘fighting weight’ I was quite glad to get picked against Colin for the first round. Not only because he’s a really nice, fun guy to play against but also I will admit that he’s far below me in terms of experience and therefore I could have a fairly straightforward game to warm-up. I mean no disrespect to Colin in this, and if he reads it I think that he’ll probably agree with the assessment. I had absolutely no idea what Colin would pick since he’d choose anyway based on his own amusement rather than for any particular schemes. I took Recover Evidence since it matches what I want to do with this crew (i.e. engage turn 1, drop Evidence Markers turn 2, blend entire crew turns 2 to 4, collect Evidence turn 5) and Vendetta since Belles make it a pretty straightforward 2 VPs. For those paying attention to the photos, initially Francisco Ortega was deployed on my left but Colin realised that he’d made a mistake with the crew builder application and replaced him with a second Death Marshall. In addition, the Trapper is a proxy for the Pathfinder, and some random model that I don’t recognise is representing the Pistolero.

Turn 1: The Doxy pushes Molly and Datsue Ba makes Izamu walk forward. In general the first turn movement is a bit cagey as Colin doesn’t want to give me easy summons and I don’t want Perdita to vapourise my crew. The Pathfinder summons a Trap and the Belle Lures in the Pistolero to score me a VP for Vendetta. Eventually Molly gets close enough to the Peacekeeper and Death Marshal on the left and summons in a Hanged and a Goryo, then makes Izamu advance again. The Goryo does some sterling work stabbing wounds past the Peacekeeper’s armour until Perdita Obeys it to get rid of my ghost.

Turn 2: Molly hurts the Pistolero mainly to get the push trigger on Revelation and move to a better summoning location. She then summons a replacement Goryo which kills the Peacekeeper and chain activates Izamu to drop the left Death Marshal. The Pistolero helpfully fails a horror duel on the Hanged which itself fails to get Whispers From Beyond on Perdita (I do draw the Red Joker on defense though). Anna eventually kills the Pistolero; it was more convenient than having the Belle do it. Perdita kills the new Goryo and the Doxy pushes Izamu into a big clump of Colin’s models. Datsue Ba get the Effigy down to its Hard To Kill wound and the Onryo misses the Death Marshal a couple of times. I score Ours.

Turn 3: We both declare Recover Evidence. The Death Marshal hurts Izamu and gets him down to a single wound. In return, Izamu kills the Death Marshal, the Effigy and the Enslaved Nephilim, dying to Black Blood in the end since he was too far from Molly; it was a warrior’s death (but not a Warrior’s Death, of course). Perdita kills the Hanged and Anna kills one of the Guild Guard. The Belle and Onryo pick up Evidence since its now just lying around unattended after Izamu’s killing spree. Molly puts Slow on Perdita. I score for Ours again.

Turn 4: Perdita shoots Molly, but she’s in cover and protected by the Graveyard Spirit so it’s not very effective as Perdita can’t ignore both cover and Armour. Datsue Ba kills the second Guild Guard and collects my last piece of Evidence. The Pathfinder continues his long-running duel with Anna and she returns fire this time. Molly sticks Whispered Secret on Perdita but can’t actually wound her, and finally the Onryo fails to kill the Pathfinder. I score for the strategy.

Turn 5: Perdita fires a few more bullets ineffectually into Molly, and the Onryo kills the Pathfinder. I score Ours for the last time. Resurrectionists win 9 – 0 (4 for Ours, 3 for Recover Evidence and 2 for Vendetta for me; nothing for Colin). It looks like I forgot to take one last picture.

That was a nice game to get us started. It was a bit of a mismatch in terms of skill, but Colin is a really great guy and I had a lot of fun chatting with him while we played. Not much to learn from my side about the game; I probably could have scored the last point for Vendetta with a bit of effort but I think it was not very important.

Game 2: Resurrectionists (me) vs Gremlins (Ross McGinness)

Strategy: Public Executions, Flank Deployment

Schemes
Pool: Eliminate the Leadership, Hold Up Their Forces, Undercover Entourage, Take Prisoner, Take One For The Team
Resurrectionists: Undercover Entourage (Molly), Take One For The Team (Dead Doxy)
Gremlins: Eliminate the Leadership, Take Prisoner (Graveyard Spirit)

Crews
Resurrectionists: Molly Squidpiddge (Forgotten Path, Take Back The Night, Wronged Spirits), Izamu the Armour (Unnerving Aura), Hannah (Unnerving Aura), Anna Lovelace, Rotten Belle, Dead Doxy, Graveyard Spirit
Gremlins: Zipp (Gift of the Gab, Stilts, Dread Pirate Zipp), Student of Conflict, Burt Jebsen (Dirty Cheater), Raphaelle Lacroix (Dirty Cheater), Swine-Cursed, Lightning Bug, 4 Bayou Gremlins

For game 2 I got paired with Ross. He’s a very strong player, having taken top Gremlin in this event in 2017. He’s much more in practice than me so I knew that this would be a really hard test. With this slight more killy game I dropped Datsue Ba and the Onryo (both pretty easy to kill) and replaced them with Hannah and two copies of Unnerving Aura. I love the combination of Hannah, Anna and Molly. Seeing 8 cards a turn and holding 7 of them is amazing for a summoner and Hannah copying Anna’s ranged attack is beautiful. Hannah is also conveniently immune to Black Blood, and her 3″ melee range works nicely with Unnerving Aura. Ross picked Zipp, a master I hate to see across the board as his main attack ignores pretty much every defensive tech in the entire game and is very hard to pin down. I took Undercover Entourage on Molly thinking that I would be sending her forward anyway, and Take One For The Team on the Doxy since they usually end up in harm’s way in the late game and are very attractive targets for models with weak damage of three like Burt. I seem to have forgotten to take a photo at deployment.

Turn 1: I look at my hand in horror; even after stoning I have a 10 and then the rest is weak cards. So much for Hannah and Anna! The Student makes Zipp Fast and the Doxy pushes Molly. Ross wastes activations with the Bayou Gremlins while I move up cautiously. In the end I commit Molly to summon a Drowned engaged with a big chunk of Ross’s crew and it drops the Lightning Bug. Burt hurts it a little and Zipp finishes it easily with Up We Go, then does the same to Molly three times. Fortunately I can use all the rubbish in my hand to reduce the damage… oh wait, it’s Zipp so I can’t. Zipp then turns into a Bayou Gremlin which Incites the Graveyard Spirit.

Turn 2: My hand is even worse than last time, this might hurt. The Student makes Zipp Fast again and the Graveyard Spirit charges a Bayou Gremlin (sometime you can get lucky with it). Zipp bounces Molly around like a basketball (scoring a point for Eliminate the Leadership in the process) and then traps her in an alleyway behind his smoke markers and turns into a Bayou Gremlin. Hannah copies Anna’s ranged attack to hurt Raphaelle and then walks to hit and engage the Swine-Cursed. Raphaelle double Focuses but misses Hannah anyway. The Doxy pushes Izamu up and kills a Bayou Gremlin, and Izamu polishes off the Swine-Cursed. Molly spends all her attacks and fails to even wound the nearby Bayou Gremlin, and Anna likewise misses one. Burt kills the Doxy, evening us up on the strategy but scoring me 2VP for Take One For The Team.

Turn 3: Zipp finishes Molly to pick up the rest of the points for Eliminate the Leadership, hides himself with clouds and turns into a Bayou Gremlin. Izamu kills Burt and Anna nearly gets her Bayou Gremlin. Hannah gets Raphaelle and the rest of the Gremlins take pot-shots at Anna to limited effect. I score for Public Executions.

Turn 4: Anna Black Jokers damage on her Bayou Gremlin and it plinks away at her in return. In the end I have to commit Izamu to kill the annoying little chap so that I could have a chance to score for the strategy. Zipp shoots Anna and Hannah copies her sister to shoot back. I score for the strategy.

Turn 5: Izamu kills another Bayou Gremlin and Anna shoots Zipp. Zipp shoots her back (to push her in case I had Undercover Entourage on her) and move to confirm Take Prisoner on the Graveyard Spirit. Resurrectionists lose 5 – 6 (3 for Public Executions and 2 for Take One For The Team for me; 3 for Eliminate the Leadership and 3 for Take Prisoner for Ross).

I really enjoyed that game! Of course, it helps that Ross is a real gentleman and a pleasure to play, but it was very close all the time. I actually was convinced that he would have taken Undercover Entourage on Zipp so when he revealed Take Prisoner on the Graveyard Spirit I was impressed. My biggest single mistake was taking Undercover Entourage on Molly. With Eliminate the Leadership in the scheme pool Ross had a big incentive to kill her, and with Zipp he had all the tools needed to do so easily. I gave away Take Prisoner too easily, it shows that I’m out of practice as I never considered it at all. None of this takes away from Ross who clearly had a plan of what to do, and cleanly delivered it; well done to him.

Game 3: Resurrectionists (me) vs Gremlins (David Hamilton)

Strategy: Guard the Stash, Close Deployment

Schemes
Pool: Guarded Treasure, Covert Breakthrough, Set Up, Show of Force, Search the Ruins
Resurrectionists: Covert Breakthrough, Search the Ruins
Gremlins: Set Up (Hannah), Search the Ruins

Crews
Resurrectionists: Molly Squidpiddge (Forgotten Path, Take Back The Night, Wronged Spirits), Izamu the Armour (Unnerving Aura), Hannah (Unnerving Aura), Anna Lovelace, Rotten Belle, Dead Doxy, Graveyard Spirit
Gremlins: Wong (Explosive Solutions, Behold My Effervescence, Ooo Glowy), Sammy LaCroix (Sparkly Lights), 2 Swine-Cursed, Burt Jebsen (Dirty Cheater), 3 Lightning Bugs

Game 3 sees me up against David Hamilton. We’ve played Malifaux many times and he’s one of the people I consider to be closest to me in terms of ability; neither of us have an advantage. Another game where survival is key so I stuck with the same build as last time. Molly really loves close deployment as she can throw her summoned models into the other crew right from the get go. I was really worried about David’s beautiful (but apparently coincidental) counter-picking of my crew. I’m looking to utilise Armour and Incorporeal to keep my pieces around for longer than usual, and his entire crew ignores Incorporeal and most of them ignore armour too. I realised that this game would be decided in the early engagement and hoped that my summoning would be instrumental in surviving the attrition. Therefore I picked schemes that I could score at the end, i.e. hopefully after I had already wiped the Gremlins from the board. I could also summon Drowned to get markers out where I need them most. Again, I seem to have forgotten to take a picture of the start.

Turn 1: In a surprise move, Wong makes Burt Magical. I win initiative but for some reason don’t take my chance to go on the offensive. Wong comes up and zaps Izamu. I cheat high enough to get a negative flip but he gets double moderate anyway, splashing damage over Molly, the Graveyard Spirit and the Doxy. He does it again, and the same thing happens (killing the Graveyard Spirit this time). I’m quite frustrated by this and I actually say to David that I think that this might be enough to win him the game eventually (because we’re so well matched, a bit of good luck at a critical point can be enough to decide the eventual result). Realising my mistake, I go for full aggression. Molly gets moved up by the Doxy who also attacks Wong to make hims Squeal back into his lines. The left Swine-Cursed takes the bait and kills the Doxy. Molly uses the push trigger on Revelation (against the Swine Cursed) to move further up, then summons a Hanged and a Goryo. The Hanged kills the central Lightning Bug, but sadly everyone passes the resulting Horror duel. The other Swine-Cursed pushes Burt forward and Hannah charges Burt to engage both. Sparkly Lights lets Magical things ignore disengaging strikes too so Burt strolls over and nearly drops Izamu. Izamu gets him down to Hard To Kill and the Belle finishes Burt. The Lightning Bug kills my Goryo, Sammy kills my Hanged and Anna kills the left Swine-Cursed. What a turn! Fortunately some of my losses are (replaceable) summons so I’m feeling better about the attrition situation.

Turn 2: Molly summons another Hanged and Goryo. Izamu chain activates and he hurts Wong but Black Jokers the killing damage flip against the Lightning Bug. The Swine-Cursed attacks Hannah and my new Goryo hurts the right Lightning Bug and gets killed in return. Anna kills the second Swine-Cursed and gets Sammy down to a single wound. The Lightning Bug that Izamu couldn’t kill shows him how it is done. Hannah misses attacks at Sammy and Wong misses Hannah. The Hanged moves over to make sure I score for Guard the Stash.

Turn 3: Molly summons another Hanged and plinks a few more wound off Wong. She makes the new Hanged kill the Lightning Bug and chain activates Hannah who gently tickles the Hanged to kill Sammy with Black Blood. The Lightning Bug kills the Belle and the Hanged gets Wong down to a single wound. We’re not quite done with the turn but David has seen enough (he has only 2 wounds left on the table) and calls it. Resurrectionists win 10 – 0 (full score to me; nothing for David).

That didn’t go quite as I expected. I genuinely thought that the game was effectively decided at the very start, but after that I had good luck and great hands, and David didn’t have good cards when he needed them. In addition, a ‘knock down, drag out’ brawl in the centre suits me very well and is good for Molly if she can survive the initial impact. I was able to keep Wong engaged for most of the game which really limited what he could do. Crucially, David had to spend a lot of resources dealing with my summons while every model of his that I killed reduced his ability to keep fighting.

The evening meal was a really good burger and chips followed by some lovely beer. One thing I like about these two day events is that there is an opportunity for socialising in the middle evening. Ultimately, a lot of the chat is about Malifaux (obviously since that is what brings us together) but it still feels like we can get to know each other better than when we’re only facing across the table.

Game 4: Resurrectionists (me) vs Resurrectionists (Callum Palin)

Strategy: Symbols of Authority, Corner Deployment

Schemes
Pool: Punish the Weak, Dig Their Graves, Set Up, Hold Up Their Forces, Take Prisoner
My Resurrectionists: Punish the Weak, Dig Their Graves
Callum’s Resurrectionists: Punish the Weak, Set Up (Izamu)

Crews
My Resurrectionists: Molly Squidpiddge (Forgotten Path, Take Back The Night, Wronged Spirits), Izamu the Armour, Datsue Ba, Anna Lovelace, Onryo, Dead Doxy, Rotten Belle, Graveyard Spirit
Callum’s Resurrectionists: Dr Douglas McMourning (Plastic Surgery, Moonlighting, Decaying Aura), Archie (Hulking Leap, Corpse Armour), Sebastian (These Are Not Ours), Zombie Chihuahua, Canine Remains, 3 Rotten Belles

Game 4 was against Callum. We’ve played quite a few games over the last couple of years but none for a while, and it’s always been a fun experience. Back to the classic crew for this one as I needed the extra activations and mostly didn’t care if I lost cheap pieces as long as I could do it on my terms to some extent. When I saw Callum’s crew I almost got PTSD flashbacks to the horrendous mauling delivered to me by the mighty Josh Leak in game 6 of the last Scottish GT. Fortunately, I know better how to deal with the McMourning crew now, and anyway my game plan this time is to rush him rather than hang back. At some point I’d have to deal with the Belles, Canine Remains and probably Flesh Constructs so I took Punish the Weak, and decided to double down on the killing game by making Dig Their Graves my second scheme.

Turn 1: The Canine Remains digs up a corpse marker, and to my great surprise Callum cheats in the Red Joker to make it work. Sebastian turns it into another Canine Remains. McMourning uses Injection to push a Belle. Molly gets pushed forward by the Doxy, double walks and drops a Hanged into a nice clump of models. It then successfully sticks Whispers From Beyond on McMourning, making him a much easier proposition to deal with. The Belles Lure Izamu around and eventually Archie puts a little damage into him.

Turn 2: McMourning does Rancid Transplants and Expunges my Hanged into a Flesh Construct (scoring him for Punish The Weak). A Belle chain activates to pull him slightly back from the fray. Molly uses the push trigger on Revelation against a Belle the drops a replacement Hanged and a Goryo into the scrum. She then chain activates Izamu who smacks a nice number of wounds out of Archie. Anna hurts the right Belle, paralysing her and drawing cards to avoid Sebastian and the Canine Remains getting the same treatment. The Chihuahua farts on Molly and is killed off by the Doxy. Archie Leaps over Izamu and smashes Molly with a frustrating double severe damage on a negative flip; sadly I don’t have enough cards to drop for Molly’s trigger. Datsue Ba turns a Belle into an Onryo to score my Punish The Weak and it hits McMourning. Callum reveals Set Up on Izamu for 3 VP.

Turn 3: Molly summons another Hanged and puts Whispered Secret on Archie. She makes the Goryo attack McMourning (on his last two wounds at this point) then chain activates to continue attacking but a combination of Black and Red Jokers and a heroic flip from Callum means that the doctor survives untouched. McMourning Rancid Transplants the Hanged into a Flesh construct, doing enough incidental damage to also finish off Izamu and also scoring for Punish The Weak. The Onryo on the right completes its long walk to the first Symbol and removes it, taking advantage of Incorporeal to saunter through the building on the way. Sebastian hurts Datsue Ba and applies Poison so that the nearby Canine Remains can also sharge her. The Doxy kills Archie and Takes the Lead to move Sebastian, but unfortunately not enough to get Datsue Ba out of his Induction aura. Datsue Ba hurts the Canine remains and both she and an Onryo die to Poison at the end of the turn. Somewhere in here Anna finishes off a Belle for my own Punish the Weak.

Turn 4: Molly drops the last Belle to score for Punish The Weak then chain activates the Hanged who kills the first Flesh Construct. The trigger Paralyses the second Flesh Construct and Sebastian who helpfully flips the Black Joker; this also scores Dig Their Graves for me. The Doxy kills the Canine Remains in the centre then pushes Anna back toward the other one (which has been making a long run to my Symbols) where she kills it. My Belle collects the left-most Symbol.

Turn 5: The Flesh Construct hurts the Doxy. Molly takes advantage of an unfortunate Black Joker from Sebastian to Paralyse him with Revelation. The Onryo takes the final Symbol. We spend a while trying to work out if I can possibly get a scheme marker near enough to Sebastian to score Dig Their Graves and eventually conclude that I can’t. My Resurrectionists win 8 – 5 (4 for Symbols of Authority, 3 for Punish The Weak and 1 for Dig Their Graves for me; 3 for Set Up and 2 for Punish The Weak for Callum).

A very nice game with Callum. Luck certainly played its part here, in Callum’s favour keeping McMourning alive for an activation of turn 3 and then in my favour with Sebastian getting two important Black Jokers. I didn’t really have much of a game plan to score Dig Their Graves; in retrospect I probably should have summoned a Drowned at some point. On the other hand, Callum’s plan to score the Strategy seemed to revolve around a single Canine Remains so perhaps I was never likely to lose that part. I think his crew was probably better suited to staying still and bringing its victims in piecemeal rather than either being rushed or needing to go across the board (or both as in the case here).

Game 5: Resurrectionists (me) vs Arcanists (George Hollingdale)

Strategy: Interference, Close Deployment

Schemes
Pool: Punish the Weak, Covert Breakthrough, Undercover Entourage, Take One for the Team, Vendetta
Resurrectionists: Covert Breakthrough, Undercover Entourage (Anna Lovelace)
Arcanists: Punish the Weak, Covert Breakthrough

Crews
Resurrectionists: Molly Squidpiddge (Forgotten Path, Take Back The Night, Wronged Spirits), Izamu the Armour, Datsue Ba, Anna Lovelace, Dead Doxy, Rotten Belle, 2 Night Terrors, Graveyard Spirit
Arcanists: Sandeep Desai (Arcane Reservoir, To Command Another Plane, Enlightened Soul), Joss (Imbued Energies, Bleeding Edge Tech), Howard Langston [Miss Step] (Imbued Energies), Myranda (Imbued Energies), Medical Automaton, 2 Malifaux Raptors

This was my first games of the event against a new opponent, and who better than the famous George. I was really glad to be able to get a game in as I’ve heard much about him and the rest of the Flippin’ Wyrd team. For this strategy I dropped the Onryo for a pair of Night Terrors. They’re quite inefficient to kill considering their cost, and as Minions they score quite nicely for Interference. George obviously decided that an ‘all in’ aggressive approach was also indicated, and this suited me quite nicely. Covert Breakthrough felt like a good idea as I could score it at the end once the dust settled. I then picked Undercover Entourage on Anna, partly because I’d learned my lesson from game 2, and partly because no-one ever bothers to attack her. It looks like I once again forgot a picture of deployment, which is a shame since the board looked a lot different by the time turn 1 ended.

Turn 1: I decide that this game will best be played with full-on aggression so Molly walks up, drops a Hanged in Langston’s face and sticks Whispered Secret on him. She then makes Izamu walk forward and chain activates the Hanged which Paralyses Langston. Myranda charges Molly and turns into a Cerberus, a trick I feel haven’t seen in a long time considering how popular it once was. The Doxy pushes Molly back into Anna’s Gravity Well so that the Cerberus can’t Leap after her. The Medical Automaton removes both conditions from Langston. Oh dear. I hadn’t been aware that was possible (I’ve never seen it before) and I think I might have possibly taken a different approach if I’d known that was possible. Anna shoots the Cerberus to remove the Three-Headed bonus and summons an incidental Seishin in the process. Langston copies one of Sandeep’s abilities in order to let Sandeep do something himself; needless to say he takes the opportunity to kill the Hanged. Langston comes steaming into Molly and kills her. I throw the Seishin and Graveyard Spirit into the Cerberus and knock off a couple more wounds. Joss fires himself across the board into the Belle. Datsue Ba hurts the Cerberus but sadly can’t finish it off (which would have got me a Gaki) so Izamu kills it and charges Langston. Sandeep hurts the left Night Terror. Finally the Belle Slows Langston. Wow, what a turn!

Turn 2: Izamu kills Lansgton and I breathe a small sigh of relief. Sandeep finishes the Night Terror to score Punish The Weak, then summons a Wind Gamin. The Doxy applies Confused Feelings to Joss and pokes him a bit. Raptors team up to kill the other Night Terror. Anna pushes Joss so I can get a second Pounce on him from the Doxy and knocks a few more wounds off. Datsue Ba gets Joss down to a single wound but can’t get the triggered Weigh Sins attack to land due to the negative flips from Bleeding Edge Tech (in retrospect I’m pretty sure I had a Soulstone to counter this and the card to make the target number; if so it was pretty big error on my side). Joss Reactivates and kills the Doxy. No-one scores for the strategy.

Turn 3: Anna kills Joss. The Gamin on the left puts down a scheme marker. Datsue Ba kills the Medical Automaton, then Sandeep runs far away from Izamu. Izamu is relegated to scheme running duties. I throw the Graveyard Spirit into Sandeep and the Raptor unbury to deny us both the strategy. I didn’t have it in my notes but presumably Sandeep killed something else (probably the Seishin) to score Punish The Weak.

Turn 4: Datsue Ba Focuses and casts Weigh Sins on the Raptor in front of her. On a straight flip she Black Jokers the damage, not only leaving the annoying bird around for another turn (to certainly deny me strategy points) but also stopping me from summoning another minion of my own. Sandeep summons another Gamin and kills the Graveyard Spirit for Punish The Weak. George scores for Interference.

Turn 5: Datsue Ba repeats the process, this time getting an Onryo out of the Raptor. Anna saunters into the Arcanist deployment zone. We both score for the strategy. Resurrectionists lose 7 – 8 (1 for Interference, 3 for Covert Breakthrough and 3 for Undercover Entourage for me; 2 for Interference, 3 for Covert Breakthrough and 3 for Punish The Weak for George).

Wow, what a game! I really enjoyed the whole thing, starting out with a brawl and ending with us both scrabbling round to deny the other points. It was an absolute joy to play against George and I hope that I’ll get to do so again. I was a bit frustrated by the Black Joker intervening on Datsue Ba attacking the Raptor on turn 4 as this literally cost me a point and therefore a draw. Still, I suppose that what the Jokers are in the game for. I had a bit of a rude shock when I found out that the Medical Automaton could remove conditions as I thought I’d safely locked down Langston for a turn to keep him out of my hair. Still, that sort of thing was probably to be expected at least once in the course of the event since I’ve not been getting exposed so much to wave 5 stuff. I possibly missed an opportunity to kill Joss in turn 2 rather than giving him a free Reactivate but I didn’t note it down so perhaps that is just wishful thinking. Anyway, George played very well and was a real gentleman, so he deserved the win.

Game 6: Resurrectionists (me) vs Guild (Lewis Phillips)

Strategy: Supply Wagons, Standard Deployment

Schemes
Pool: Guarded Treasure, Hold Up Their Forces, Inescapable Trap, Recover Evidence, Public Demonstration
Resurrectionists: Hold Up Their Forces, Recover Evidence
Guild: Hold Up Their Forces, Inescapable Trap

Crews
Resurrectionists: Molly Squidpiddge (Forgotten Path, Take Back The Night, Wronged Spirits), Izamu the Armour, Datsue Ba, Anna Lovelace, Dead Doxy, Rotten Belle, Onryo, Graveyard Spirit
Guild: Nellie Cochrane (Delegation, Guild Funds, Misleading Headlines), Printing Press, Phiona Gage (Numb To The World, Transparency), Executioner (Ready To Work), Thalarian Queller, Sanctioned Spellcaster, Hunter, Guild Investigator

For the last game I’m happy to be up against Lewis. He’s an extremely good player and a good friend, and it’s quite nice to be able to round out the event with a friendly match-up (we’re both 3 – 2 at this point so nothing meaningful is riding on the result). I’m not sure that this was the best iteration of my crew to play Supply Wagons; possibly using Hannah as a large base to push the Wagon forward at the start would be better. Anyway, I decided that I could afford to have the Belle, Doxy, Onryo and maybe Datsue Ba spend a few AP moving it around, then use them as a second wave once Molly, Izamu and the summons were despatched. Recover Evidence fits my ‘kill them all and score at the end’ plan, but I didn’t like any of the others at all. In the end I took Hold Up Their Forces on the grounds that I would probably end up engaging something and could possibly find some way to kill off any spare summons that would stop me from scoring it. Lewis’s crew was more or less what I expected, but I did like the use of the Hunter to push the Wagon.

Turn 1: The Sanctioned Spellcaster casts Singularity and teh Queller puts a Suppression Marker in my face. Nellie makes the Hunter, Executioner and Phiona Fast. The Hunter fires Lewis’s Wagon way up the board, meanwhile the Doxy, Belle, and Onryo heave away at mine for minimal effect (though the Doxy pushes Molly forward of course). In the end I leave the Wagon sitting on top of the Suppression marker to make my life a bit simpler. Nelly can wait me out by passing activations so I’ll have to make the first move. Molly walks twice and drops a Goryo into the crowd loitering almost in the Guild deployment zone. She makes it hit the Executioner, then chain activates to do the same again which rather nicely gets the Slow trigger on both shots. Phiona charges through a gap and starts smacking Molly.

Turn 2: Molly summons a Hanged and another Goryo more or less into the same mosh pit of ghosts and Guildies. She chain activates Izamu who lays into Phiona and gets her down to her Hard To Kill wound and bleeds a load of Soulstones off her. The Queller gives the Executioner enchanted weapons. I don’t like the sound of that so the Goryo kills the Executioner. Nellie makes Phiona Fast so Datsue Ba kills her with Weigh Sins and turns her into a Gaki. The Sanctioned Spellcaster commits suicide. We both score for the strategy and Lewis scores for Inescapable Trap. In the first of many errors that we only noticed later, he forgets to declare Hold Up Their Forces.

Turn 3: I announce Recover Evidence. The Press charges up Nellie and the Hanged moves to engage both it and the Investigator. Izamu kills the Queller and Nellie Slows the Onryo and pushes it away. The Gaki and a Goryo collect Evidence markers and various things bounce off Nellie, getting her eventually down to a single wound. We both score Supply Wagons and Hold Up Their Forces, Lewis also scores Inescapable Trap. Nellie has about 100 Evidence at this point so she heals and does some other shenanigans.

Turn 4: The Hunter attacks Anna. I have a clever plan to kill Nellie by attacking my Goryo with Datsue Ba and splashing her with Black Blood. Unfortunately, only after when I’m flipping the damage on my first attack do I remember that the Goryo is not close enough to Molly to have Black Blood. Oh dear, it seems that the weekend has taken more than I thought! Eventually Nellie does die to the Goryo, but not before she’s pushed Datsue Ba over to engage the Press and Investigator and therefore deny me my scheme. The other Goryo makes a run for Lewis’s wagon, getting a third walk thanks to Molly’s (0) action. The Doxy pushes the Hunter away from Anna and picks up the last piece of Evidence. Anna kills Datsue Ba, but she drops a corpse marker and so the Investigator pushes away from the Hanged. Looking back, he was close enough to Anna that there were no legal pushes and should have stayed where he was, but I forgot about it. We both score for the strategy.

The Goryo pushes Lewis’s Wagon back into his side of the board. We do a lot of movement shenanigans to avoid giving up points for the schemes while scoring our own, but the upshot is that Lewis gets another point for Hold Up Their Forces while denying mine (again, I think that this might have involved a push which Anna would have stopped if I had remembered it). I score for Supply Wagons though. Resurrectionists win 8 – 7 (4 for Supply Wagons, 3 for Recover Evidence and 1 for Hold Up Their Forces for me; 3 for Supply Wagons, 2 for Inescapable Trap and 2 for Hold Up Their Forces for Lewis).

As always, a super game against Lewis and a highly entertaining way to finish the event. In the end I think that we were both a bit frustrated by our play errors, but we were both a bit burned out by this point so I imagine that they probably evened out. I’m not going to assess my own errors in this section, partly because I mentioned the biggest ones in the report itself and partly because there were so many of them that it would boil down to ‘don’t play badly’.

I played a few games next to Ali Ferguson, though never actually against him this time out. We were both playing mono-Molly but he was doing the Horror version so we decided to make this event the definitive conversation on whether Spirit or Horror Molly was superior. We both finished on the same record (won 4, lost 2) but I had a slightly better points difference. I was also amused by the fact that our Mollys were wearing the same dress completely at random (as far as I know neither of us have ever seen the other’s painted Molly). Talk about a fashion faux-pas.

Once all the results were in, we were all asked to go outside; I had assumed it was for a group photo of us all. I assumed wrong. The awesomeness of Malifaux in general, Scottish Malifaux specifically and the Scottish GT in particular knows no bounds. Prizes were given out from the back of a unicorn, and I can hardly express how entertaining I found this.

Once all the scores are in I am delighted (and a bit surprised) to come in sixth place. I had an excellent time and I was certainly glad that I had not chosen to pull out. Thanks to Colin, Ross, David, Callum, George and Lewis for six wonderful games of Malifaux, and of course to Kai and his team of helpers for putting on a really special event.

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Malifaux tournament report: Broken Promises; 24Mar2018

As is our custom, Gareth and I took the train over to Common Ground Games in Stirling for another excellent feast of Malifaux laid on for us by Kai Young, this time in the form of the four round Broken Promises event.

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

Strategy: Public Executions, Close Deployment

Schemes
Pool: Eliminate the Leadership, Dig Their Graves, Undercover Entourage, Vendetta, Public Demonstration
My Resurrectionists: Eliminate the Leadership, Dig Their Graves
Stewart’s Resurrectionists: Dig Their Graves, Public Demonstration (Hannah with Kentauroi and both Necropunks)

Crews
My Resurrectionists: Molly Squidpiddge (Forgotten Path, Take Back The Night, Wronged Spirits), Izamu the Armour (Unnerving Aura), Hannah (Unnerving Aura), Anna Lovelace, Onryo, Dead Doxy, Graveyard Spirit
Stewart’s Resurrectionists: Reva (Guises of Death, Decaying Aura, Litany of the Fallen), Kentauroi, Carrion Emissary (Conflux of the Reaper), Anna Lovelace, 2 Necropunks, Chiaki the Niece

I picked Molly going into this match-up as I’ve found that she can afford to give up a point of Public Executions during turn 2 in order to get her engine running, then overwhelm the other crew in turns 3 to 5. Public Demonstration in the pool also adds to this as it encourages a certain amount of clustering from the other crew if picked. Seeing Reva across the board I realised that I probably wasn’t going to get much use of Izamu as he’s such an easy target for her, so I decided to take Eliminate the Leadership and use Izamu as bait to get her to activate early. Plus, I need to deal with Reva to stop her bossing the engagement range and scoring the strategy unopposed. Dig Their Graves seemed to fit well with the general plan of killing everything.

Turn 1: A Corpse Candle appears in front of Izamu, walks forward and sacrifices itself. The Doxy pushes Molly forward and the Carrion Emissary puts down Shards in one of the two choke points across the centre to keep me off Stewart’s crew. Reva summons another Corpse Candle but, to my huge surprise, doesn’t immediately vaporise Izamu; instead she puts down a scheme marker in midfield. Anna misses a shot at Reva but pushes the Corpse Candle back a bit. Hannah copies her sister’s attack and sticks it on Reva to start chipping through her wound pool. The Necropunks Leap toward Hannah and start dropping scheme markers and the Kentauroi follows suit. Molly moves around the wagon in the middle and drops a Goryo into the middle of the other crew; it then hurts Reva and, crucially, Slows her. Stewart reveals his Public Demonstration for three VPs.

Turn 2: Molly summons another Goryo and but fails to achieve anything else attacking the Carrion Emissary (I was hoping to get the push trigger to move to a better position but the cards didn’t work out). Hannah Chain Activates and drops a Focus attack on the Corpse Candle. This causes a pleasing raft of Horror checks, Paralysing one of the Necropunks, scoring a VP for Eliminate the Leadership and draining Stewart’s hand quite effectively. Reva Focuses and hurts Hannah right back. The Goryo from the previous turn Slows both the Kentauroi and Reva again, critically stopping the Kentauroi from just charging off into the sunset; meanwhile the Emissary puts Shards in Izamu’s way then kills the unactivated Goryo for Dig Their Graves. My Anna finishes off Reva (for the rest of the points on Eliminate the Leadership) and drains the rest of Stewart’s hand with the Horror pulse; I do paralyse my own Goryo in the process but that doesn’t matter as the Kentauroi kills it in the next activation anyway. I’m doing quite a lot of damage simply by spraying Black Blood about the place in the massive scrum. The Onryo knocks the Kentauroi down to a couple of wounds left and is wounded in turn by Stewart’s Anna. The Doxy pushes Izamu back toward the centre and Chiaki fails to remove the strategy condition on Hannah. Izamu shows his worth by dropping a Mindless Zombie and the last Corpse Candle pokes Molly, dying to Black Blood in the process. We draw on Public Executions.

Turn 3: Stewart uses the Emissary cleverly to put down Shards stopping the Onryo from getting Black Blood from Molly, then hurts Izamu. Molly summons a pair of Hanged (probably not really needed but I had the cards, felt that the game was in hand and enjoy summoning Hanged when I can) and misses yet another attack on the Kentauroi. She does make one of the Hanged hit it to force another card out for the Horror check. I chain activate Izamu who finally contributes by killing Anna Lovelace. The surviving Necropunk Leaps clear and drops a scheme marker. Hannah finishes the Kentauroi, drops a scheme marker and copies from Anna to shoot the Emissary; the Doxy then Takes the Lead to push Molly out of her way then charges in to kill the Emissary and score me a VP for Dig Their Graves. Chiaki fails to deal with the Onryo, who pokes her back equally ineffectively. I score for Public Executions.

Turn 4: Chiaki kills the Onryo (for Dig Their Graves). The Hanged drops a scheme maker then Molly kills Chiaki to score Dig Their Graves for me. I should have left it there, but I forgot (again) how Public Executions is scored and so have Molly finish the Necropunk and hence not get the Shed Blood condition. Oops. My Resurrectionists win 6 – 5 (1 for Public Executions, 3 for Eliminate the Leadership and 2 for Dig Their Graves for me; 3 for Public Demonstration and 2 for Dig Their Graves for Stewart).

As always it is a pleasure to face Stewart; his skill is constantly improving and I think that he’s really only hampered by the relatively small and inexperienced Malifaux scene in Aberdeen not getting him the opportunities to test his mettle against stronger opponents so often. I felt that I had the game in control and then let a couple of points slip through my fingers right at the end; that could have been costly but fortunately I was still able to squeak out a narrow victory. I’m not sure why Stewart didn’t just go in for wiping Izamu straight away in turn one; he had all the tools with Reva to do so and unless his hand was catastrophically bad it would have been very possible to force through.

Game 2: Resurrectionists (me) vs Ten Thunders (Michael Arnott)

Strategy: Ply for Information, Standard Deployment

Schemes
Pool: Surround Them, Covert Breakthrough, Dig Their Graves, Inescapable Trap, Show of Force
Resurrectionists: Covert Breakthrough, Dig Their Graves
Ten Thunders: Covert Breakthrough, Dig Their Graves

Crews
Resurrectionists: Kirai Ankoku (Wronged Spirits, Unforgiven, Maniacal Laugh), Asura Roten, Anna Lovelace, Rotten Belle, Dead Doxy, 3 Shieldbearers
Ten Thunders: Shenlong (Peaceful Waters, Yang, Wandering River Style), Peasant, Tengu, Yasunori (Recalled Training), Yamaziko, 2 Ten Thunder Brothers, Monk of Low River, Monk of Wandering River

I chose to try Kirai for this match-up, not because I think that she is especially good for the strategy, but because the board here was wide open in the middle and I was expecting a lot of ranged attacks to come in. I was hoping that Kirai’s ability to bring Ikiryo into play might be a bit of a deterrent to this. With that in mind, I took a crew with mainly Living or Undead characteristics to force the issue. The Rotten Belle (and, to a lesser extent, the Dead Doxy) were there intending to bring Michael’s pieces to me so that I could Ply them effectively from my side of the board. With that in mind, I chose Dig Their Graves, so that once I had completed sufficient Plying, I could kill the model in question for another VP. Covert Breakthrough felt like the least bad of the rest of the bunch; hopefully I’d be able to get an attrition lead with Kirai’s summoning and score at the end. Michael did put down Shenlong, but slightly to my surprise he didn’t include much in the way of long ranged force projection. On the other hand, Yasunori in that crew was going to be able to reliably delete one of my key pieces within turn one if Michael chose to pull the trigger.

Turn 1: As if by magic, the Peasant reproduces by binary fission. Asura puts down a scheme marker and summons a Mindless Zombie to get my ghost factory rolling. The Doxy pushes Kirai and the Zombie moves to be just within range to summon from. Moving the Zombie just wastes another activation and I can always hope that Michael would fall for over extending to kill it early in the hope of slowing down the summoning; of course he’s far too good a player to fall for this. Meanwhile, the Peasants hand Focus to Shenlong and poke Yasunori to move him forward a little; eventually the Monk of Low River heals the rider too. The opening moves are quite cautious and I realise that with the threat range on Yasunori so large (especially once Shenlong inevitably makes him Fast) I’m going to have commit pieces. The Shieldbearers move up to be just within range to get Fast from Kirai when she uses a Soulstone for summoning. The Belle Lures Anna forward and Shenlong pushes Yasunori up and gives him Fast as expected. Kirai summons a Hanged off the Mindless Zombie and then a Downed and a Shikome off one of the Shieldbearers. Yasunori uses Recalled Training and comes in to kill Kirai; I do summon Ikiryo off the first attack so at least it is on the board. Yamaziko kills the Hanged and sets up Brace in an annoying position. The rest of my crew beat up Yasunori and eventually he dies of Poison. I’m left with the uncomfortable feeling that trading Kirai for Yasunori might not have been in my favour.

Turn 2: Yamaziko kills one of the Mindless Zombies. Anna shoots her down to a single wound and pushes her back to remove Brace, then Shenlong swaps in Low River Style and heals Yamaziko right back up. The Drowned puts some damage into the Wandering River Monk (I’m trying to deal with him before he Leaps off into my backfield and starts dropping scheme markers everywhere). The Doxy pushes Ikiryo forward a little and uses Grasping Hands on Yamaziko. The Ten Thunder Brother on my left kills my Drowned, scoring Michael a VP for Dig Their Graves, then Ikiryo uses her ludicrous charge range to kill Yamaziko to get me a VP for my own Dig Their Graves. The Tengu hurts Ikiryo and even a Peasant charges in. The Belle Lures the left Ten Thunder Brother over and one of the Shieldbearers kills it after Plying for Information. The others hurt the Wandering River Monk and Peasant. I score for the strategy.

Turn 3: Shenlong picks up Fermented River Style in the Shenlong Phase. Ikiryo kills the Tengu (another VP for Dig Their Graves) and the nearby Peasant. The Wandering River Monk Leaps away from the Shieldbearer and runs for the board corner. The Shikome takes advantage of Shenlong having Poison on him to charge in, but fails to actually achieve anything useful. In return, Shenlong kills it (scoring Dig their Graves in the process) and Ikiryo. The central Shieldbearer plies the Monk of Low River for information and the Doxy pushes Anna around. The Monk of Low River puts down a scheme marker by healing Shenlong. I realise that I need to drain Michael’s hand if I am to deal with the Wandering River Monk; luckily I have a couple of decent crows in hand so the Belle Lures the Ten Thunder Brother to her, getting the discard trigger both times. A Shieldbearer knocks him down to a single wound and Anna kills the Wandering River Monk now that he can’t Butterfly Jump to safety. I score again for Ply For Information.

Turn 4: The Ten Thunder Brother flees and drops a scheme marker, presumably for Covert Breakthrough. A Shieldbearer Plies Shenlong for Information but is immediately killed by him. Asura and another Shieldbearer move up and put down scheme markers for my own Covert Breakthrough. The Doxy Plies Shenlong, and the Belle Lures the Ten Thunder Brother back, killing him with a Pounce to get Dig Their Graves. I score again for the strategy.

Turn 5: The Doxy Plies Shenlong again, so he kills her. Anna Plies him instead. The Monk of Low River removes one of my scheme markers and my Shieldbearer puts down another to replace it. Resurrectionists win 10 – 5 (full score for me; 3 for Dig Their Graves and 2 for Covert Breakthrough for Michael).

That was a tough game right from the start; I thought I was in for a very rough ride when I lost Kirai in turn one. I had considered trying to leave Yasunori alive at the end of turn one so that I could possibly Ply him at the start of turn two, but on balance I think that was probably too risky. I was able to hang on for the rest of the game, but I think that Michael might have forgotten that Peons can be Plied For Information which would probably have impacted the margin if not the result. Michael’s game is getting better and better, but I do slightly wonder about some of his crew picks; notably the Tengu didn’t really seem to serve much purpose here.

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

Strategy: Ours, Corner Deployment

Schemes
Pool: Guarded Treasure, Set Up, Take one for the Team, Recover Evidence, Hold up their forces
Resurrectionists: Guarded Treasure, Take one for the Team (Dead Doxy)
Guild: Guarded Treasure, Set Up (Asura Roten)

Crews
Resurrectionists: Reva (Maniacal Laugh, Beyond Death, Decaying Aura), Asura Roten, Carrion Emissary (Carrion Conflux), Guild Autopsy, 3 Shieldbearers, Dead Doxy
Guild: Nellie Cochrane (Guild Funds, Misleading Headlines, Delegation), Printing Press, Phiona Gage (Wrath of the Guild, Debt to the Guild), Alison Dade (Transparency), Executioner (Ready to Work), Big Jake, Thallarian Queller, Guild Guard

I have very little experience playing Ours, but I decided that a summoner would probably be wasted here since Lewis is too experienced not to just leave my summoned models alone and instead kill the scoring pieces. So with that and the corner deployment I decided to try out Reva as she can project damage a long way across the board. I went for both Asura and Carrion Emissary not only to summon Mindless Zombies but also to give them something to do once they were suitable gumming up the Guild crew. I didn’t like any of the schemes here and it showed. I chose Guarded Treasure but I read the rules wrong and didn’t realise until we were part way through the game that I was making it very hard for myself to score on it. After a bit of indecision I also picked Take One For The Team on the Dead Doxy; it was nearly on the Guild Autopsy instead and I got mixed up about which I’d chosen.

Turn 1: The Press gives Nellie Evidence, the Doxy pushes Reva forward and the Queller drops a Suppression marker in the middle of the board. Nellie makes both Phiona and the Executioner Fast and passes some activations so that she can get the drop on me. The Emissary puts Shards down in the middle of the board and eventually Lewis decides that he won’t get the alpha strike he’s looking for and moves up the Executioner rather more cagily.

Turn 2: The Executioner drops a Mindless Zombie who has wandered in to engage him then charges the Emissary leaving my big bird feeling rather poorly. Reva fails to kill Phiona thanks to a timely Black Joker on her last attack. The Press again gives Nellie Evidence and she chain activates; I’m forced to use my good cards to stop her from making the Executioner kill the Emissary. In fairness I’d somehow forgotten that she could do that or I might have used the Emissary earlier. We move our cheaper models around to score and I start to get a weight of Mindless Zombies into annoying positions. Big Jake saunters over into a corner and starts dropping scheme markers. Phiona eventually spends her activation mowing down Corpse Candles and Mindless Zombies. We both score for Ours and Lewis scores Guarded Treasure but I don’t because I didn’t read all the requirements… oops!

Turn 3: Reva finally kills Phiona. The Press again gives Nellie Evidence and she kills the Emissary between her own attacks and free swings from the Executioner. The Executioner kills the Doxy and I forget to announce Take One For the Team (I’d got in my head that it was instead on the Guild Autopsy); more on this below. Asura and one of the Shieldbearers gang up to kill the Executioner in return. Once again both score for Ours and Lewis scores Guarded Treasure.

Turn 4: A Shieldbearer makes a start attacking Nellie, mainly in the hope of draining Lewis’s hand. Reva completely fails to do anything at all to her. The rest of the turn is just moving our models about to try to score Ours, which we both do and Lewis gets his third VP for Guarded Treasure.

Turn 5: As usual, the Press gives Nellie some Evidence and she scoots over to my right corner of the board. Reva kills the Guild Guard and the Shieldbearers kill the annoying Printing Press. I score for Ours and, finally, Guarded Treasure. With the last action of the game, Nellie drops a scheme marker near Asura to pick up a point for Set Up on her.

Wow, what a game. Lewis is a really strong opponent and I’m always pleased to play him. He used Nellie to her strengths and had a clear plan to wipe out my big stuff early on with her, Phiona and the Executioner, then play defensively for the second half of the game to deny me any chance for Take One For The Team. I was especially impressed by his play of Set Up; he left it to the last minute to score it so that the threat of me handing over two or even three VPs for Take One For The Team was always there. From my side, my inexperience with Reva showed. I spent too much effort getting rafts of Mindless Zombies around and not enough time actually doing anything useful with them. I would have been better served focussing Reva’s attacks on the Executioner as his raw stats are worse than Phiona’s but I got too caught up in getting use out of Decaying Aura. The Shieldbearers were really good; nothing flashy but they were always an annoying threat to do a bit of damage and they are such a pain in the neck to remove without a really dedicated fighter that it just wasn’t worth the bother of anyone attacking them.

The big point of this game was my forgetting to declare Take One For The Team when the Executioner killed the Dead Doxy. When I realised at the end of the game I discussed this with Lewis as, obviously, I wanted to have the VP for it. We agreed to ask Kai as TO and he ruled in my favour. Having had time to think on this now, I believe that actually Kai should have ruled in favour of Lewis in this case; the rules clearly state that the scheme should be revealed once it is scored. And while I don’t think that there was any big impact on the rest of the game play (Lewis didn’t have anything that could really have killed my stuff by that point so it wasn’t like he had to work hard to avoid killing anything else and risking me having the scheme still active) it still meant an unpleasant surprise for Lewis at the end as he thought that he had the game in the bag. Lewis took this frustration admirably and we’ve spoken since so that I could apologise for this. I think that Kai ruled in my favour partly because he understood that it was a genuine mistake on my side but also because he didn’t want to be seen to favour his club-mate; I’m very grateful to him to have made a ruling at all. Fate restored itself as Lewis went on to win his last game and take first place overall.

Game 4: Resurrectionists (me) vs Ten Thunders (Dave Laing)

Strategy: Symbols of Authority, Standard Deployment

Schemes
Pool: Punish the Weak, Set Up, Inescapable Trap, Take Prisoner, Public Demonstration
Resurrectionists: Punish the Weak, Take Prisoner (Kamaitachi)
Ten Thunders: Set Up (Izamu), Public Demonstration (Izamu with all three Yokai)

Crews
Resurrectionists: Molly Squidpiddge (Forgotten Path, Take Back The Night, Wronged Spirits), Izamu the Armour (Unnerving Aura), Hannah (Unnerving Aura), Anna Lovelace, Rotten Belle, Dead Doxy, Graveyard Spirit
Ten Thunders: Asami Tanaka (Nefarious Pact, Borrowed Time, A Heavenly Design), Katanaka Crime Boss (Equality), Monk of Wandering River, Ten Thunder Brother, Tanuki, Kamaitachi, 3 Yokai

I was feeling quite tired here so I chose to pick my round one crew (except removing the Onryo for a Belle) simply on the basis that I might be able to autopilot my way to some VPs due to familiarity. The main plan was to push up the centre then send summoned models out to pick off the side Symbols. I picked Take Prisoner on the Kamaitachi as I figured it would be something that I could safely not attack, then summon something to it at the end. Punish The Weak was chosen since it plays into my normal style of killing things first and asking if anyone has any questions later on.

Turn 1: The Doxy pushes Molly forward and the Wandering River Monk puts scheme marker precisely in the middle of the semicircle of Yokai. This is so that when they activate they’ll also pick up a Poison from the Tanuki and therefore enable extra jank with their end-of-turn placing. The Kamaitachi pushes Asami forward. Molly moves up and drops a Goryo near Asami who kills it with a Focus attack and summons a Yokai. The hired Yokai crowd round Izamu, placing here and there due to the Poison and scoring Public Demonstration for an easy three VP.

Turn 2: A Yokai hurts Hannah. Molly summons a Goryo and Hanged then chain activate Izamu who fails to kill the Katanaka Crime Boss when I flip a Black Joker on the second attack. This turns out to be quite important as I’d forgotten that they have Calls Unto The Chi, so most of that good work is immediately undone and Izamu takes a thorough beating for his troubles. The Doxy kills one of the Yokai and pushes Hannah, but Asami teleports over and kills Hannah in a single go. Anna shoots at the Ten Thunder Brother on her side and the Yokai flail rather ineffectively at the Hanged. Somewhere in there the Ten Thunders dropped a few scheme markers and score Set Up on Izamu for two VPs.

Turn 3: The Katanaka Crime Boss finishes both Izamu and the Goryo. Molly drops Whispered Secret on Asami to make her a bit more manageable and summons a second Hanged which chain activates to Paralyse Asami. Sadly, the Kamaitachi dies as a result of all of Molly’s summoning (and probably some incidental Black Blood). A Yokai collects my Symbol in the middle. The Doxy drops a second Yokai and the other Hanged kills the Crime Boss. Even the Graveyard Spirit gets in to stack a few wounds on Asami. My notes confirm that I score Punish The Weak here but I can’t work out how.

Turn 4: Molly puts Whispered Secret on Asami again and hurts the Tanuki. The Hanged kills Asami and the Tanuki stabs the Hanged, dying to Black Blood in the process (I think that this was deliberate to avoid giving up Punish the Weak). The Hanged and Ten Thunder Brother get Symbols.

Turn 5. The Ten Thunder Brother hides so that Anna can’t kills him for Punish The Weak, then the Dead Doxy and Wandering River Monk both remove a Symbol each. Resurrectionists lose 3 – 9 (2 for Symbols of Authority and 1 for Punish The Weak for me; 4 for Symbols of Authority, 3 for Public Demonstration and 2 for Set Up for Dave).

A well-deserved win for Dave who outplayed me quite thoroughly. As always we were joking and chatting through the game and I’m delighted for any opportunity to match up with him. I took the wrong crew for this encounter entirely as it was just too easy for Dave to spread out and deny my summoning. I didn’t have anything fast to go for the outer Symbols and should have realised that I would be held up in the centre for too long to go for them after mopping up. I don’t own any Necropunks but perhaps I should have tried Crooligans to work the edges (though I don’t have any experience with Horror Molly). Or maybe even just hired a pair of Goryo to make use of their crazy speed and gone up the flanks; they could have probably outfought the Ten Thunder Brother and Wandering River Monk on the way if needed. Clearly the Kamaitachi was a poor choice for Take Prisoner so that is a lesson that I can learn.

So once we’re all done I come in 8th place (of 20) which feels quite good considering that I don’t think I played particularly well in any of the matches. Thanks as always to Stewart, Michael, Lewis and Dave for four fun games of Malifaux and of course to Kai for his tireless work to promote the game here and run the events.

I’ve been feeling a bit unenthusiastic about Malifaux for the last few months (probably this is why it’s taken me so long to write up this tournament report) and I’m not sure if I’m burned out on the game or the competitive aspect. I’ve also had the feeling lately that the current edition is quite bloated with confusing rules and could probably benefit from another round of flattening such as the way that the ME1.5 to ME2 was handled; it is quite hard to teach the game to new people in my gaming group as there are so many moving parts for them to learn. In the short term I’m going to take a bit of a break from events and play a couple of other good systems with friends so we’ll see if my mojo comes back. I already have my ticket for the Scottish GT so I’ll surely be there.

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

Malifaux tournament report: Vappafaux; 04Feb2018

Joe drove Gareth, Mike and me down to York for our fifth Vappa in a row. I have a soft spot for Vappafaux as it’s been quite a happy hunting ground for me and indeed gave me my first big tournament win back in 2014. The locals and other travellers are always most welcoming and the standard of play has always seemed quite high in general. After a colossal pie dinner and beer on the Saturday night we rocked up to York Racecourse (not getting lost on the way for the first time ever) early and ready to roll. First round pairings put me with the mighty Ant Hoult, so no chance of a nice easy run into game one.

Game 1: Resurrectionists (me) vs Outcasts (Ant Hoult)

Strategy: Supply Wagon, corner deployment

Schemes
Pool: Guarded Treasure, Inescapable Trap, Undercover Entourage, Public Demonstration, Vendetta
Resurrectionists: Public Demonstration (all three Shieldbearers), Vendetta (Rotten Belle on Bandido)
Outcasts: Inescapable Trap, Undercover Entourage (Parker Barrows)

Crews
Resurrectionists: Kirai Ankoku (Wronged Spirits, Unforgiven, Maniacal Laugh), Asura Roten, Anna Lovelace, Rotten Belle, Dead Doxy, 3 Shieldbearers
Outcasts: Parker Barrows (Coordinated Heist, Oathkeeper, Stick Up), Mad Dog Brackett (Lucky Poncho, Oathkeeper), Sue (Oathkeeper), Wokou Raider, Bandido, Hodgepodge Emissary (Conflux of Stolen Goods) [note that this was proxied with Ant’s Carrion Emissary], Doc Mitchell

I picked this crew in a fairly back-to-front way. I was looking for something that could efficiently push the Wagon and settled on Asura as she has a big base (so can push it further) and doesn’t really do much with her own AP. Since I was taking Asura, it made sense to take the Maniacal Laugh upgrade so that there would be plenty of Mindless Zombies to make use of her abilities. Then, as I was going to do that, I took Kirai because I like her with that upgrade. I got the idea of using Mindless Zombies for Kirai’s summoning from the excellent Dave Laing and liked it well, especially with Asura. Anna got into the crew simply because she brings so many solutions to problems and I love to play her. The Belle acts as a spare battery of wounds for Kirai’s summoning and the Doxy is to make sure that I get Kirai into a relevant part of the board at the start; this is especially important in corner deployment. The Shieldbearers work well for Public Demonstration since they are quite mobile and it is very easy to get them Fast for turn 2 by using a Soulstone for Kirai to summon something. Having taken the Belle I thought it would be rude not to abuse her huge range for Vendetta.

Turn 1: Almost the whole of Ant’s crew take a move forward thanks to Coordinated Heist. Sue pushes the wagon forward, and Asura pushes mine and summons a Mindless Zombie. The Emissary gives Sue the Vitality potion and some other upgrade to the Bandido, then immediately takes the latter back to draw cards. Finally, it drops one of my scheme markers to let the Wokou Raider move up. My Doxy pushes Kirai forward with Take The Lead, then moves my wagon. Parker discards Stick Up, moves the Bandido, uses Five Finger Discount to attach Black Market and makes the Bandido push the wagon. Finally he guns down the Mindless Zombie and gets Ikiryo in the middle of his crew for his troubles. My Shieldbearers all move up to end within 6″ of Kirai. The Wokou Raider kills Ikiryo; I’m not sure whether the impact on Ant’s AP use was more effective than just using Ikiryo to start attacking something. Mad Dog moves up and puts a Blow It To Hell marker in the middle of the board and Doc Mitchell heals Sue. The Belle, unable to see the Bandido, moves my Wagon and Kirai summons a pair of Hanged from the Doxy (I couldn’t use the Belle since I needed her for Vendetta) which float forward to get in the way next turn. The use of Soulstones makes all three Shieldbearers Fast.

Turn 2: Parker uses Oathkeeper, Focusses then Black Jokers damage on the Hanged. This frustrates Ant immensely (chatting before the game he’d mentioned that flipping the Black Joker on Parker’s activation is tantamount to suicide) and he almost concedes there and then. Fortunately we agree to continue playing, but this does end up eating quite a chunk of the round time. Parker then uses Five Finger Discount to attach Stick Up and uses Black Market to make the Bandido push the Wagon. The Hanged breathes a sigh of relief and does Whispers From Beyond on the Hodgepodge Emissary. In turn, it cycles another trinket to the Bandido and pulls it back for cards then kills the other Hanged. Ikiryo comes out and misses the Emissary, then disappears again as I was hoping to be able to summon it again later. Sue, Asura, the Bandido and my Belle all take turns at pushing their wagons forward; the Belle still didn’t have a line of sight at the Bandido to start on Vendetta. The Wokou Raider drops a scheme marker in the midst of my crew and before I can do anything about it, Mad Dog comes rushing in to stop me removing it, thereby telegraphing Inescapable Trap. Still, that did make it easier for me to score Public Demonstration. Two Shieldbearers charge into Mad Dog and burn through a good number of Soulstones while the last pushes my wagon just over the halfway line and stands near the Hodgepodge Emissary. Anna and Kirai both attack Mad Dog too, for relatively little effect. I score for Supply Wagon (Ant’s wagon is just out of my half of the board) and 3VP for Public Demonstration; Ant scores for Inescapable Trap.

Turn 3: The Hanged moved into a somewhat annoying position and gently tickles the Emissary. The Emissary hands the Bandido the Pretty Floral Bonnet and the Memento, she chain activates and pushes the wagon. Kirai kills the Wokou Raider and puts some more wounds into Mad Dog. He attacks the Belle, then Asura and one of my Shieldbearers hit him; I still can’t actually finish him off by the end of the turn. Sue puts down a scheme marker near my models in the centre that I won’t be able to avoid for Inescapable Trap. Parker finds the Black Joker again, this time on Five Finger Discount, then runs to hide behind a forest so that he can score for Undercover Entourage since between the discussion at the start of turn 2 and a brief interlude for a fire alarm, this will be the last turn. The Shieldbearer near the middle pushes Ant’s wagon back across the centre line (i.e. where it won’t score) and also opens up a line for the Belle to see the Bandido. The Belle fails to Lure the Bandido due to Sue’s Man In Black, but the point was to score one for Vendetta anyway. I score again for the strategy and Ant scores Inescapable Trap. Resurrectionists win 6 – 4 (2 for Supply Wagons, 3 for Public Demonstration and 1 for Vendetta for me; 2 for Inescapable Trap and 2 for Undercover Entourage for Ant).

I had a very enjoyable time playing against Ant, and it’s a mark of his skill that he was able to work around the critical Black Jokers to keep this close. I think that if the game had gone on longer I probably had enough of an attrition advantage that I could have stayed in the lead, but some of the last turn actions were played with the knowledge that we were nearly out of time so perhaps things might have gone differently with the full turns. Overall I was quite pleased with how my plans went, and I felt that I should be able to score at least 9 VP if we went to turn 5 (it was unlikely that the Belle would have personally killed the Bandido). I would have been interested to see how survivable the Shieldbearers were in practice but in fact Ant never had spare AP to even attack them so I only got to experience their distinctly average offense.

As is customary at Vappa, a long lunch break was arranged so that we could go and see the rest of the Vapnartak show so Gareth and I wandered around looking at all the other shiny wargames we could get into, if only we somehow had an infinite amount of time in which to play them.

Game 2: Resurrectionists (me) vs Resurrectionists (Greg Piskosz)

Strategy: Symbols of Authority, flank deployment

Schemes
Pool: Punish the Weak, Set Up, Dig Their Graves, Hold up their Forces, Take Prisoner
My Resurrectionists: Punish the Weak, Dig Their Graves
Greg’s Resurrectionists: Punish the Weak, Dig Their Graves

Crews
My Resurrectionists: Molly Squidpiddge (Forgotten Path, Take Back The Night, Wronged Spirits), Izamu the Armour, Anna Lovelace, Datsue Ba, Onryo, Rotten Belle, Dead Doxy, Graveyard Spirit
Greg’s Resurrectionists: Reva (Guises of Death, Decaying Aura, Blood Mark), Asura Roten, Anna Lovelace, Lampad (My Little Helper), Rotten Belle, Valedictorian, Necropunk

I was a bit concerned going into this match-up. I had intended on playing Spirit Molly since she fits my preferred aggressive style and loves the flank deployment options to get her summoning early and effectively. I decided that I would just be able to ride out giving up points for Punish The Weak and try to deny the other scheme. But when I was paired with Greg, I started worrying that he would counter-pick me very effectively since we’ve been discussing Molly back and forth over the last few months. In the end, I decided that I’d be best served by playing to my own strengths rather than worrying about what was coming from the other side of the board. The basic plan was to have the Belle, Doxy and Onryo head for the Symbol markers while everything else jumped down Greg’s throat as quickly as possible to keep them in a ball. With Asura and Reva on the other side of the board I felt comfortable in taking Punish The Weak and eventually decided that Dig Their Graves was better for my game plan that the other options. Critically, Greg didn’t take the Litany of the Fallen upgrade on Reva that would have let her ignore armour.

Turn 1: I have an awful hand; even after using a Soulstone I have the Red Joker and then my highest card is seven. Asura summons a Mindless Zombie which Datsue Ba turns into and Onryo (mistake here, I think that a Gaki would have been a better call); she also order Izamu to move forward. Greg’s Anna nearly kills the Onryo, getting the trigger to summon another Mindless Zombie which then annoyingly finishes off my Onryo. So we’ve both spent several activations and the only upshot is that there is an extra corpse maker in the middle of the board. The Belle, Necropunk and Onryo all start the long slogs out toward Symbol markers on the corners. The Doxy pushes Molly forward and she moves up aggressively to summon a Goryo in the middle of Greg’s crew. I chose a Goryo over a Hanged even though I had the card for the latter since the bigger base meant I could get more wounds on it. Greg’s Belle Slows Izamu to stop me charging him into the fray and the Valedictorian uses Lecture Notes to turn off Molly’s triggers. Oh dear. The Graveyard Spirit moves to cuddle up to Molly and Izamu and makes Greg discard a card. This turned out to be critical as I dropped a weak card myself and forced Greg to use a card he’d been relying on having access to for the rest of his cunning plan. The Lampad misses a shot at the Graveyard Spirit and my Anna pushes him and Asura back. Reva summons a Corpse Candle, attacks Molly once and realises that she’s not going to achieve anything with so much Armour on Molly. We discussed this after the game and think that he was probably in range to just kill the Graveyard Spirit with the first attack which would have opened the game up a lot more. Instead, Reva turns a nearby corpse into a scheme marker then kills the Goryo for Dig Their Graves. At least it got to splash a bit of Black Blood over her.

Turn 2: Molly summons another Goryo and a Drowned, then kills a nearby Corpse Candle for Punish The Weak. The Goryo hurts Reva, Slowing her, but not enough to stop he from easily dispatching the Drowned for Punish The Weak. This does helpfully leave a scheme marker in the middle of Greg’s crew for future attempts at Dig Their Graves. My Anna kills the Lampad, then the Necropunk Leaps over to pick up my first Symbol. Eventually, the Doxy puts down a scheme markers, pushes the Necropunk up to Pounce on it (applying Confused Feelings in the process) and despite all that it still takes the attentions of Datsue Ba and my Onryo to kill it for Dig Their Graves. The Grave Spirit pokes Izamu to kill off another Corpse Candle to clear his way. Asura and a horde of Zombies pile Grasping Hands onto Izamu but he is still able to drop the Mindless Zombie engaging him and charge Reva, killing her and allowing me to breathe a big sigh of relief. In return the Valedictorian kills the Goryo for Punish the Weak but she’s feeling a bit hurt due to the sea of Black Blood that’s been sprayed over her. My Belle can’t quite make it to the Symbol on the right so she hides behind it instead. Greg scores for the strategy.

Turn 3: Molly kills a Mindless Zombie for Punish The Weak, then puts Whispered Secret on the Valedictorian and kills her with a lucky Red Joker on damage. This also scores me Dig Their Graves thanks to the scheme marker left behind by the Drowned. Quite a good activation, so Izamu chain activates and shows how it is not done by failing to hit the Belle on three attempts. She Slows him in return. Mindless Zombies put Grasping Hands on my Anna, then Greg’s Anna makes a break for a Symbol marker as she’s the only thing he has that is likely to reach them. My Anna pushes away a Zombie engaging her, then charges her doppelganger. This doesn’t have any effect but it does make it very hard for Greg to get to the marker. My Belle finally takes Greg’s first Symbol marker. I score for Symbols of Authority. We look at the board state and agree that it is unlikey for Greg to get anything else out of the game, nor for him to stop me from getting all my points so we call it there rather than playing out the inevitable. My Resurrectionists win 10 – 4 (full score for me; 1 for Symbols of Authority, 2 for Dig Their Graves and 1 for Punish The Weak for Greg).

What a tight game. I really love to play Greg because he looks at the board state and acts in a completely different way to me. He’s very good at attacking from angles that I just don’t see (probably because I’m focusing on a more direct play) and as such I have to be on my guard for every activation. Of course, he is also a very friendly and fun gentleman to play against so in that regard is surely one of my favourite opponents. The game hinged on my being able to keep Molly alive and pressure Reva and the Valedictorian with summons. When Molly survived turn 1 and I got initiative in turn 2 I felt that I had enough power to just attrition my way through the game. Killing the Necropunk early was also important because it was the only thing in Greg’s crew that was really suited to collecting my Symbol markers. I believe that Greg’s plan was to use Reva’s sheer damage output to cripple my crew early then pick up any point he could after all my pieces were dead.

Game 3: Resurrectionists (me) vs Outcasts (Nathan Chenery)

Strategy: Public Executions, close deployment

Schemes
Pool: Eliminate the Leadership, Search the Ruins, Take One for the Team, Show of Force, Recover Evidence
Resurrectionists: Search the Ruins, Show of Force
Outcasts: Search the Ruins, Recover Evidence

Crews
Resurrectionists: Molly Squidpiddge (Forgotten Path, Take Back The Night, Wronged Spirits), Izamu the Armour (Unnerving Aura), Hannah (Unnerving Aura), Anna Lovelace, Onryo, Dead Doxy, Graveyard Spirit
Outcasts: Hamelin (Plague Pits, Survivalist, The Piper), Hodgepodge Emissary (Conflux of Plague), Midnight Stalker, Nix (Hollow), Stolen, Obedient Wretch, 3 Malifaux Rats

The crew here is the same as when I played a similar scheme pool for Public Executions against Jamie Clark in round 5 at Gaining Force last month. The general plan was to take the centre early and hold it with Hannah (and Izamu if needed for Show of Force) then project damage out as required. Since I was going to be in the middle anyway, I took Search the Ruins too. Molly’s general plan to summon in models with few wounds would be a concern in the strategy but my experience has been that eventually a critical momentum builds up and attrition starts to favour the Resurrectionist crew. On the plus side, being unable to charge near Hamelin wasn’t going to be a problem since I could just summon next to him instead.

Turn 1: Nathan announces Recover Evidence so I choose the models that are in the centre of my crew. The Doxy pushes Molly up and removes the central Plague Pit. Molly summons a Goryo and a Hanged next to Hamelin, killing the Stolen and Rat nearby and hurting Hamelin himself. The Emissary gives the Pretty Floral Bonnet to the Midnight Stalker then Hamelin kills the Hanged before it does anything useful, though there is a significant dent in Hamelin’s wounds already thanks to Black Blood. He also summons a pair of Stolen. The rest of our crews move for position. The Obedient Wretch throws rats about the place, eventually summoning a Rat King.

Turn 2: Molly summons another Hanged and Goryo. The Goryo kills Hamelin but I forgot that he could sacrifice the Stolen to ignore this. That was a big mistake on my part as I am fairly sure that I could have dropped the Stolen before hitting Hamelin. Hamelin summons another pair of Stolen but stops short of killing the Hanged as he’s drowning in Black Blood by this point. Izamu charges the Hodgepodge Effigy, cheats in the Red Joker for damage on the second attack to get it to Hard to Kill then frustratingly flips the Black Joker on damage for the killing blow. More Rat Kings start to appear. Hannah finally kills Hamelin after both Stolen are dropped with a cheeky spray of Black Blood from something; she Makes A New Entry to copy The Swirling Damned from her sister. A Rat Catcher appears from a Rat King and reactivates another Rat King. This one kills the Hanged and starts attacking Izamu. The Midnight Stalker collects Evidence markers. I score for Show of Force but we draw for Public Executions.

Turn 3: The first Rat King attacks Izamu, but thanks to Armour and Black Blood they are doing more damage to themselves as to Izamu then turns into a Rat Catcher to avoid giving up an easy kill; the Obedient Wretch comes out to kill Izamu with Bleeding Disease instead since he’s sitting on Blighted +9 or something by this point. The Goryo kills the first Rat Catcher and comes back to put down a scheme marker. The Doxy pushes Hannah into range of Nix then puts out another scheme marker. My Onryo goes to hurt the new Rat Catcher and gets beaten up a bit in return, then Molly kills the Rat King and my own Onryo, finally pushing into range to chain activate Hannah. Sadly Hannah does nothing useful to Nix except copy Anna’s Vortex to push Nix further back. This turns out to be important because Nix can’t then get far enough into the middle to clear Hannah’s massive engagement range to put down scheme markers so he just settles for getting close enough to deny Show of Force. Somewhere around here we get the call for last turn, we were both quite surprised at how little we’d got done but the turns were very busy. Anna drops a scheme marker herself then uses the Red Joker to Vortex Nix clear of the centre. The Midnight Stalker collects a third bit of evidence and puts down a scheme marker, and the Hodgepodge Effigy comes steaming round the corner and uses its (0) action to push and put another scheme marker out (in retrospect, this wouldn’t have worked as Anna’s Clockwork Dress would have stopped the push). I score for the strategy and Show of Force again. I also have three markers out for Search The Ruins and Nathan could only get two. Resurrectionists win 6 – 3 (1 for Public Executions, 3 for Search The Ruins and 2 for Show of Force for me; 3 for Recover Evidence for Nathan).

Wow, that was a hell of a game! I was delighted to get to play with Nathan as I’ve seen him around at tournaments for years but we’ve somehow just never been drawn together. He was a terrific opponent, a gentleman throughout and the whole game was played with smiles on both sides. I must also admit here that I had underestimated Nathan; I had considered him before in the ‘good but not great’ category but on this evidence he is a truly strong player of Malifaux. In terms of the game itself, I was happy that Molly was the right Master here as her aggressive playstyle fits the strategy and deployment well. Being able to bombard Hamelin with Black Blood seemed like a fairly effective way to deal with him. I did wonder if Eliminate the Leadership would have been a more suitable scheme to pick but in the end I think it was more of a gamble than those that I actually selected. Flipping the Black Joker on the killing blow against the Hodgepodge Emissary was a crucial moment and that could have lead to a very different result. I would have been very interested to see how the game would have gone on if we had enough time to play the full five turns. I felt that I had the advantage in attrition and could probably have held on to win via strategy points but it would have been extremely close; probably Nathan would disagree. Playing against Hamelin and Nix’s Nihilism was the same exercise in frustration as usual.

Once all the scores are in I’m delighted to find that I took first place, beating Lewis Phillips by a single point of VP differential and I got a very nice engraved beer glass to bring home with me. As always I had a lovely time meeting friends both old and new. Thanks to Ant, Greg and Nathan for three hard-fought fun games of Malifaux, and of course to Graham for stepping up and running the event this year.

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

Malifaux escalation event report: Gaining Force; 13Jan2018

The first Malifaux event of 2018 at Common Grounds was Gaining Force. It was described as a story event but I would say it is more like an escalation since the story didn’t go further than ‘an Enforcer went for a walk and gradually found friends while being attacked’. The format was to select one Enforcer and play two Enforcer Brawls, then add that Enforcer to a Henchman Hardcore crew and play two games of that. The entire Henchman Hardcore crew was then to be included in a regular 50SS Malifaux crew for one final game using the new Gaining Grounds 2018. I will admit that I’m not a big fan of Henchman Hardcore but Kai’s events are always excellent so I wanted to attend anyway.

I selected Izamu as my Enforcer for the highly tactical reason that he is the only Enforcer I have available (the Carrion Emissary is still part-built on my painting tray and Ikiryo isn’t eligible anyway). Izamu’s Warrior’s Death ability does mess with the scoring in a fairly amusing way so it’s not like I would have chosen anyone else.

Enforcer Brawl 1:

For the first round I was set up with Gareth, Martyn and Mark. We got the rules slightly wrong; killed Enforcers should be able to return to the game at their own initiative step and not just at the end of each round. Also, to make the overall event scoring practical we were capped at 5VPs at any one time.

Me: Izamu the Armour
Gareth Henry: Yin the Penangalan (Unnerving Aura)
Martyn Nicol: Lone Swordsman (Recalled Training)
Mark Watson: Ice Golem (Armour of December)

Turn 1: The Lone Swordsman charges into the Ice Golem and declares that it Shall Not See Another Sunrise. This doesn’t help as the Ice Golem swats him and Yin polishes him off. Izamu kills the Ice Golem.

Turn 2: Izamu smacks the newly-returned Lone Swordsman but incredibly the Ice Golem fails to kill the plucky chap. Yin, who is left too far away to participate, floats back toward the action. The Lone Swordsman declares (again) something about Ice Golems and Sunrises, and kills the big construct. The resulting explosion is fatal for the Lone Swordsman too.

Turn 3: The Ice Golem moves up and is gently tickled by Izamu’s Dadao. Yin puts Gnawing Fear on Izamu and hurts him.

Turn 4: Izamu smacks the Ice Golem again. The Lone Swordsman uses Recalled Training but Black Jokers one attack on Yin. To keep up with the action, the Ice Golem Black Jokers an attack on her too. Yin attacks the Golem.

Turn 5: Yin kills the Lone Swordsman. The Ice Golem attacks Izamu and is killed in return.

Turn 6: The Lone Swordsman uses Recalled Training (such a good upgrade when you can use it all the time!) and kills Yin. Izamu and the Ice Golem are too far apart to do anything meaningful.

The final scores are:
Me: 5
Gareth: 2
Martyn: 5
Mark: 0

Enforcer Brawl 2:

The second Enforcer Brawl sees the model I expected in abundance in this format. I just had to hope that the Langston players didn’t get too lucky with their Decapitate triggers, then counter-punch them. Note that the photos are a bit weird for this one; the big buildings were constantly in the way of one model or another so some were taken from different angles.

Me: Izamu the Armour
Andy Bush: Howard Langston (Imbued Energies)
Jamie Clark: Howard Langston (Imbued Energies)
Martyn Nicol: Lone Swordsman (Recalled Training)

Turn 1: Andy’s Langston comes in for Izamu but can’t kill him so Izamu stabs the big construct right back. Jamie’s Langston fails to drop the Lone Swordsman in one go and is easily taken down in return during the second activation after declaring that he Will Not See Another Sunrise.

Turn 2: Jamie’s Langston appears and immediately ends the Lone Swordsman who reappears on the far side of the board. Andy’s Langston kills Izamu and Nimbles away from his imposter. Izamu gently tickles Jamie’s Langston.

Turn 3: Jamie’s Langston kills Izamu. The Lone Swordsman declares Sunrise on Andy’s Langston but is killed in return before getting a second activation. Izamu helpfully reappears on the edge of the board furthest from anything, and girds himself for a long walk.

Turn 4: After flipping an ace for the previous two turns of initiative, I flip the Red Joker for this turn, ensuring that Izamu can get straight on to the business of double walking toward the action. The Lone Swordsman reappears and kills Andy’s Langston having declared Sunrise on him. Jamie’s Langston shows up but fails to off the Lone Swordsman, and is shanked back to death immediately by Andy’s copy.

Turn 5: Andy’s Langston kills the Lone Swordsman and hurts Jamie’s Langston badly. Jamie then fails the horror duel for his Langston to attack back. Izamu trudges across the board.

Turn 6: Jamie’s Langston recovers his wits and kills Andy’s Langston before being murdered in turn by the Lone Swordsman. Andy Langston reappears in range to come and try his luck with Izamu, but after 3 turns of nothing but hand sculpting Izamu easily survives and kills him in return.

The final scores are:
Me: 5
Andy: 0
Jamie: 2
Martyn: 5

Henchman Hardcore 1: Resurrectionists (me) vs Ten Thunders (Martyn Nicol)

Crews
Resurrectionists: Anna Lovelace, Izamu the Armour (Unnerving Aura), Dead Doxy, Graveyard Spirit
Ten Thunders: Sensei Yu (Low River Style), Lone Swordsman, 2 Monks of High River

I realised that I could approach this whole event by either picking a Henchman Hardcore crew that I thought was good, and then hoping that it would lead nicely into a 50SS crew in the end, or largely pre-select my 50SS crew and pick the Henchman Hardcore models as a subset of that. In the end, I took the latter approach mainly because I vastly prefer 50SS Gaining Grounds as a format, especially over Henchman Hardcore. Nonethless, I did put some thought into it. With Eliminate the Leadership as the always scheme I decided that Anna Lovelace’s preference for range, good stats and armour would be a good selection; I had considered Datsue Ba instead but thought that she would be too easy to kill in this format. The Dead Doxy can get a chance at a third attack if she Pounces after Take The Lead, and while one of my main criticisms of Henchman Hardcore is the decreased importance of positional play, her ability to move things around is never not useful. Finally, the Graveyard Spirit was added simply because it fit the points. Being able to add Armour is useful but I did think that only having 3 non-Peons to score for the strategy would be a concern. I expected Sensei Yu to move my models out of scoring position, and then the Lone Swordsman to come in and try to kill Izamu by ignoring armour on one of his triggers.

Turn 1: The Monks move up and take Defensive Stance and the Dead Doxy pushes Izamu forward. Yu Airbursts him back but not far enough and I’m able get a swing on the right Monk (though it misses anyway) and Anna fires a barrage of ghosts at Sensei Yu which scores me the first point for Eliminate the Leadership. We both score for the strategy.

Turn 2: Sensei Yu realised that if he doesn’t heal himself, he’ll not get another try, so he punches himself better. The Doxy pushes Izamu into the guts of Martyn’s crew, then charges the right Monk for no effect whatsoever. The Monk then kills her straight out in return, not even needing the huge stack of Burning he had applied. Izamu smacks Sensei Yu a little, allowing him to pick up a few Defensive conditions when I missed. The Lone Swordsman declares the Izamu Will Not See Another Sunrise but can’t kill the big chap even with a second activation and kills himself to expunge the shame. Anna misses a couple of shots at Sensei Yu. We both score again for Extraction.

Turn 3: Sensei Yu heals himself again. Izamu again fails to do anything useful to him and instead switches attention to the Monks. One of them Focuses but misses Izamu and in desperation I throw in the Graveyard Spirit which kills the wounded Monk (only had to do one damage due to the Unnerving Aura). Anna continues to attack Sensei Yu who Soulstones all the damage away. We both score for Extraction once again.

Turn 4: Sensei Yu heals himself. Izamu kills the second Monk and Anna finally finishes off Yu to get me the rest of the Eliminate the Leadership points. I score for Extraction too. Resurrectionists win 7 – 3 (full score for me; 3 for Extraction for Martyn).

I always have a nice time playing Martyn as he is just such a cheerful gentleman. He had me worried here with his crew selection and I thought that the combination of Sensei Yu pushing my models away from the scoring area plus the threat of the Lone Swordsman just carving through Izamu would have been possibly a winning strategy. As it happened, the high minimum damage on Anna’s ranged attack forced Yu to play passively to stay alive for almost the whole game, and Martyn just didn’t get the cards he needed for the Lone Swordsman’s Perfect Cut. I was really impressed with the Monks of High River at their new cost.

Henchman Hardcore 1: Resurrectionists (me) vs Resurrectionists (Gareth Henry)

Crews
Resurrectionists: Anna Lovelace, Izamu the Armour (Unnerving Aura), Dead Doxy, Graveyard Spirit
Resurrectionists: Valedictorian (Unnerving Aura), Yin the Penangalan (Unnerving Aura), 2 Rotten Belles

I knew what was coming here as Gareth and I had been discussing crews on the train to Stirling, but it didn’t make this easier to deal with. Gareth basic game plan was to apply crippling conditions with Yin, put one model per turn where he needed it with the Belles (and Slow everything else as needed) and then kill it with the Valedictorian. Having one model locked down by Yin each turn would be a big problem with only four in my entire crew (and one of them a fairly useless Totem). My plan was to throw Izamu up as aggressively as possible, using the Doxy to push him into melee if Yin gave him the No Escape condition, and then hit things with him and Anna until they went away. Weak damage of three can solve a lot of problems.

Turn 1: The Belles Lure and Slow Izamu, and the Doxy Takes The Lead to push him into melee with the left one. Yin gives Izamu both Gnawing Fear and No Escape, but he’s able to drop the Belle in two hits which felt quite fortunate. The Valedictorian comes in and puts a bit of damage onto Izamu, then Anna hits her twice with the Swirling Damned. I trigger Screaming From The Aether once and Gareth helpfully fails the resulting Horror duels for both Yin and the Valedictorian. This stroke of luck pretty much ensures that I’ll win the game right there. I score Extraction.

Turn 2: Izamu smites the Valedictorian, scoring me a point for Eliminate the Leadership, then the Belle Lures him to my right and Slows him again. Anna kills the Valedictorian to get the rest of the points for Eliminate the Leadership and I score for Extraction again. I do rather unwisely keep pulling the marker back toward my table edge even though I would have been better served leaving it in the middle.

Turn 3: Izamu Black Jokers his chance to Reform, the misses a speculative swing at Yin. She kills him (though she does flip the Black Joker herself on my Warrior’s Death attack so some damage does get stacked up) then puts various conditions on Anna. I waste some Soulstones to get round all the negative flips attacking Yin with Anna and miss the shot anyway, apparently because Gareth has a truly heroic control hand this turn. The Belle Lures Anna and Pounces on her. No score for the Strategy.

Turn 4: The Belle Slows Anna. The Doxy Focuses and lands Take The Lead on Yin, getting me the Confused Feelings trigger. With us both on negative flips it just comes down to luck whether I can actually do anything to Yin, but have the better stat and only need to draw. Between the pounce and the second AP, Yin goes down and I breathe a big sigh of relief. Anna pushes the Belle away and shoots her. Neither of us score for the Strategy.

Turn 5: Anna fails to kill the Belle who hurts her back, but not by enough to get a point for Eliminate the Leadership. My Resurrectionists win 5 – 0 (2 for Extraction and 3 for Eliminate the Leadership for me; nothing for Gareth).

Gareth is my main opponent at Malifaux (and indeed, all wargames) and it’s always a fun experience. I think that we were both a bit sad that this one was pretty much decided by luck in turn 1, but I guess if Gareth hadn’t been so keen to fire all his good cards into locking Izamu down with Yin he would have had something left to pass the Horror duels on Yin and the Valedictorian. My main error was to move the Extraction marker way back then commit my crew too far forward to actually score from it.

Game 5: Resurrectionists (me) vs Arcanists (Jamie Clark)

Strategy: Public Executions, close deployment

Schemes
Pool: Eliminate the Leadership, Dig Their Graves, Undercover Entourage, Show of Force, Take One For the Team
Resurrectionists: Dig Their Graves, Show of Force
Arcanists : Dig Their Graves, Take One For the Team (Wind Gamin)

Crews
Resurrectionists: Molly Squidpiddge (Forgotten Path, Take Back The Night, Wronged Spirits), Izamu the Armour (Unnerving Aura), Hannah (Unnerving Aura), Anna Lovelace, Onryo, Dead Doxy, Graveyard Spirit
Arcanists : Viktor Ramos (Arcane Reservoir, Philosopher’s Stone), Joss (Open Current), Howard Langston (Imbued Energies), Mobile Toolkit, Metal Gamin, Wind Gamin, Brass Arachnid, Arcane Effigy

I extended my Henchman Hardcore crew to be lead by Molly with my preferred Spirit build. I’ve been trying Hannah lately with Molly, partly because I just love to use her, partly because of the amusing theme of having both Lovelaces in the same crew, partly because of Arcane Reservoir and partly because she doesn’t have to worry about Black Blood thanks to her Freikorps suit. Having Anna around also means that Hannah is never short of something useful to copy with Make A New Entry. I considered taking a Belle instead of the Onryo but the latter won out because we defined the canals as difficult terrain, and I decided that Lures would be a bit less critical in close deployment. The two copies of Unnerving Aura were specifically for Show of Force, and I have to admit that I forgot about them for much of the game otherwise (to be fair, Jamie mentioned at the end that he had forgotten about his Arcane Reservoir for some of the turns). Jamie surprises me with a very cautious deployment.

Turn 1: The Doxy pushes Molly and the Toolkit turns Langston up before Joss kills it to get the spider engine going for Ramos. I was expecting to get Langston right in Molly’s face instead of Joss activating, so I take advantage of still actually having my Master unmolested by moving her forward and summoning a Goryo and a Drowned. I had the card to have a Hanged instead of the Goryo but I felt that the larger base of the Goryo made it a better option considering the board state. Molly makes the Goryo hit Langston and then chain activates to do it again, Slowing the big chap in the process. Ramos summons a pair of Steam Arachnids then kills both the Goryo and the Drowned which leaves Molly feeling again a bit exposed to Langston, though the Drowned does leave a scheme marker in quite a nice place. The Graveyard Spirit moves to Molly to make the inevitable arrive of Mr Langston a little less unpleasant. The Brass Arachnid Reactivates Langston and Hannah moves up to copy her sister’s ranged attack but it misses Joss. Langston gets stuck into Molly but between armour from the Graveyard Spirit and having milled all teh good cards out of Jamie’s hand earlier, I get away with only a relatively mild beating.

Turn 2: Langston fails to kill Molly. She summons another Goryo and kills Langston to score for Dig Their Graves, pushing back to relative safety in the process. Hannah chain activates to kill a Spider and again copies Anna’s Swirling Damned attack which draws a lot of Jamie’s cards avoiding the resulting Horror duel in his bunched up crew. Joss misses a couple of attacks on the Goryo and my Onryo totally fails to land anything on the right-most Steam Arachnid. Ramos summons three more Steam Arachnids then the Goryo misses Joss who gets Reactivated by the Brass Arachnid. The Doxy pushes Izamu forward then charges in to kill one of the Steam Arachnids. Joss goes again and kills the Goryo, this time scoring for Dig Their Graves. Izamu charges into Joss; I’m thinking that if I can get him down to one wound it won’t trigger the Reactivate again since each model can only get that condition once per turn, but it doesn’t matter and the attacks are not particularly effective. The Spiders chip away at Izamu and Anna continues to miss shots at Joss. I score for Public Executions and Show of Force.

Turn 3: The Arcanist crew have very conveniently formed a crowd around where the Goryo was just standing, so Molly summons in another Goryo and a Hanged, getting the former on full wounds and the latter on six. I’m not sure that was the best play, but it is not everyday that one gets an opportunity to do that so I wanted to take advantage while I could. She makes the Goryo stab Joss down to his last wound then chain activates Izamu who kills Joss and 2 Steam Arachnids. A highly effective couple of activations if I do say so myself. Jamie is getting sick of the Graveyard Spirit but only has the Effigy in a good spot to deal with it, resulting in a fight between two of the least effective combatants in the entire game. The Goryo kills the Brass Arachnid, mainly to get it out of my hair. Ramos summons a pair of Steam Arachnids to replace the ones despatched by Izamu, magnetises to one of them just to get clear of the scrum and shoots the Goryo. Anna kills the Wind Gamin, giving up 2VP for Take One For The Team and Hannah gently tickles the Metal Gamin which has finally completed its epic run round the side of the building. I throw everything I have left at the Effigy and finally kill it with the Hanged to score Dig Their Graves. I also pick up points for Public Executions and Show of Force.

Turn 4: One of the Steam Arachnids and my Onryo both drop scheme markers. This is one of the many things I love about Malifaux: that sometimes a decision has to be made between activating a big fighter and just stabbing stuff versus using the smaller models to do things that will score points. A Steam Arachnid bites the Goryo. Izamu hurts Ramos, who summons a single Steam Arachnid, blows up the old one and magnetises to the new one. Anna and Hannah combine to kills the Metal Gamin which took a lot more work than I would have liked. The Goryo kills Ramos for Dig Their Graves and the Hanged kills the last Steam Arachnid. I score for the strategy and Show of Force again, and I won’t be able to get Public Executions next turn as there is nothing left. Resurrectionists win 9 – 3 (3 for Public Executions, 3 for Dig Their Graves and 3 for Show of Force for me; 1 for Dig Their Graves and 2 for Take One For the Team for Jamie).

Jamie is a really top chap to play against, he know his Malifaux really well (apart from his inexplicable failure to remember Arcane Reservoir) and all in all I had a very enjoyable game. We were both joking and laughing together at various happenings on the table and with the card flips, while at the same time playing a tight game and trying to win. In other words, how Malifaux should be, in my opinion. I think that Jamie made a mistake with a very defensive deployment that gave me access to control the choke point on the bridge and as a result his pieces were very clumped together while he tried to deal with the models I sent in. Clumped up opponents are what Molly loves to see. I liked the addition of Hannah instead of Datsue Ba [and 3SS of other stuff] and I certainly plan to try her in similar crews again.

Once the scores are all counted, I’m in first place (based on VP for as otherwise the Enforcer Brawl messes things up, though I think it would have been the same based on other measures). I still prefer standard 50SS games but this was an enjoyable change of pace and I think it could be a good format for introducing new players, at least as long as no-one is too abusive on the Enforcer Brawls. Thanks to Gareth, Mark, Martyn, Andy and Jamie for the fun games, and as always to Kai for doing all the work of running the whole show.

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

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

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

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

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