Tournaments

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.

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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

Malifaux tournament report: Scottish GT 2017 (50SS); 22-23Jul2017

Javier kindly gave me a lift to the two-day Malifaux extravaganza that is the Scottish GT, held at the magnificent Common Ground Games in Stirling. Every year I think that this event can’t get any better but then organiser Kai keeps on proving me wrong. This time we were all served a treat in the form of a six-round event with a mighty 58 players; this must put it as one of the largest [non-UK GT] Malifaux events ever run.

Game 1: Neverborn (me) vs Arcanists (James Doxey)

Strategy: Turf War, standard deployment

Schemes
Pool: Claim Jump, Frame for Murder, Leave Your Mark, Set Up, Search the Ruins
Neverborn: Frame for Murder (Hungering Darkness), Leave Your Mark
Arcanists: Leave Your Mark, Set Up (Hungering Darkness)

Crews
Neverborn: Jakob Lynch (Endless Hunger), Hungering Darkness, 2 Waldgeists, Spawn Mother (Hexed Among You), Bad Juju (Eternal Fiend), McTavish, Will O’ The Wisp
Arcanists: Rasputina (Cold Nights, Arcane Reservoir, Armour of December), Snow Storm (Imbued Energies), Ice Gamin, Arcane Effigy, Malifaux Raptor, Performer, Mannequin, Carlos Vasquez (Practiced Production, Stunt Double)

I had been hoping to have a reasonably straightforward first round match-up, so a pairing against the highly skilled and experienced Mr Doxey was not on the list! Still, James is a great person to play at Malifaux and certainly knows his way round a tournament. Probably he felt the same about me. I’d been discussing planned crews on the way over with Javier and had intended to run Pandora for this game but I had an inkling that James might predict that and so went with Jakob Lynch instead. I’ve used this Swampfiend crew in a few previous events and found it excellent at holding strategies. In addition, having Frame For Murder in the scheme pool allows me to select (or bluff) that it is on either Lynch or Hungering Darkness in order to offer up the horrible choice of killing something that will unbury Bad Juju or giving me VPs. After some consideration of Search The Ruins (because I’d be in the right place anyway) I selected Leave Your Mark with the idea of sending a summoned Gupps base off to score it and Frame For Murder on Hungering Darkness.

Turn 1: The Spawn Mother and Wisp combine to summon Gupps on my side of the board while on the other side the Ice Gamin puts up Bite of Winter and Snow Storm pulls Rasputina forward. The new Gupps rush over to engage her and make life as awkward as possible while the Waldgeists also move up and Germinate to cover as much as possible and reduce the options for Ice Mirrors. Lynch drops a scheme marker for McTavish to eat but he ends up Black Jokering a long-range shot on the Ice Gamin. Rasputina Paralyses my Gupps and Hungering Darkness makes Snow Storm smack the Ice Gamin. The Malifaux Raptor unburies in my right corner.

Turn 2: Rasputina somehow fails to Paralyses the Waldgeist and Hungering Darkness due to terrible cards on James’ part. I throw Hungering Darkness at her to keep the pressure on and engage a big chunk of the crew. The Ice Gamin puts up Bite of Winter again before the left Waldgeist kills it. Carlos pokes the Gupps rather uselessly before getting charged equally ineffectually by the Spawn Mother. The Wisp hatches another egg and Snow Storm kills the first Gupps as James cleverly boxed it in to avoid Bad Juju having space to unbury. McTavish guns down Rasputina and the Performer and Mannequin combine to lay more scheme markers next to Hungering Darkness. We both score for the strategy and James gets one for Leave Your Mark and three for Set Up.

Turn 3: Hungering Darkness and Carlos trade blows, then most of my crew spend their activations trying to kill him before McTavish finally puts the dancer down. The Performer and Mannequin both helpfully fail Horror checks against Hungering Darkness. The Gupps head off to start putting down scheme markers but the Arcanists haven’t put enough out to stop the one next to the Raptor being taken away again. We both score for Turf War again and I score Leave Your Mark.

Turn 4: James theorises out that he won’t score any more points as I can certainly kill the Performer and the Effigy, and he won’t concede anything for Frame For Murder as he’d be purely defensive. Neverborn win 7 – 6 (4 for Turf War and 3 for Leave Your Mark for me; 2 for Turf War, 3 for Set Up and 1 for Leave Your Mark for James). And we get a nice long lunch break.

That was a really tricky game and I was glad to be able to squeak through with a narrow win against an opponent of James’ calibre. He played a really great game of managing who he killed to avoid letting Bad Juju come into play, but having to work around that threat meant that he ended up running out of models to score the strategy. He could have probably got a draw if he had remembered to put down a scheme marker with the Performer instead of trying to Siren Call Hungering Darkness in turn 3.

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

Strategy: Headhunter, flank deployment

Schemes
Pool: Claim Jump, Eliminate The Leadership, Accusation, Leave Your Mark, Last Stand
Neverborn: Claim Jump, Eliminate The Leadership
Resurrectionists: Eliminate The Leadership, Accusation

Crews
Neverborn: Pandora (Fears Given Form, The Box Opens), Beckoner, 2 Illuminated, Black Blood Shaman, Barbaros (One Thousand Faces), 2 Terror Tots
Resurrectionists: Reva (Spare Parts, Litany Of The Fallen, Decaying Aura), Anna Lovelace (Corpse Bloat, My Little Helper), Carrion Emissary (My Little Helper), Chiaki The Niece, 2 Rotten Belles, Nurse

I was thinking about taking Collodi here and using Pull The Strings to pick up Head markers, but decided instead to use Pandora. The basic plan was to throw her and Barbaros into the middle of the Resurrectionist crew, drain their resources while generally being a pain to deal with. Then use the Beckoner to pull in one miniature a turn and kill it with Illuminated and the Black Blood Shaman. When I saw David’s crew I realised that he had more or less the same plan with the Luring, except that he had two Rotten Belles to my one Beckoner (in retrospect, this was so obviously a likely strategy for David that I don’t know how it didn’t occur to me that it might happen) so I opted for plan B, which is to rush him. I took Eliminate The Leadership because it was something that I would have to do anyway and then Claim Jump thinking that I could maybe send the Tots out to score it as the opportunities arose. Now that I think about it, Leave Your Mark might have been a better choice as I’d only have needed one scheme marker. Anna was going to be a problem for Pandora.

Turn 1: Anna uses My Little Helper then pulls two corpse markers out of herself. The Nurse does Take Your Meds to heal her and then Chiaki removes the Paralyse. The Shaman stabs both Illuminated to give them Black Blood. The Carrion Emissary flies over a wall to drop Shards and the retreats; the Shards weren’t anywhere useful so I assume that David wanted the Mindless Zombie out for some reason. Barbaros picks up Fears Given Form. The Belles Lure the Beckoner in (the irony…) and Reva pokes her once then summons a Guild Autopsy. Pandora pushes herself round and into the most annoying position I can find, engaging half of David’s crew.

Turn 2: The Emissary uses My Little Helper. The Beckoner Lures the Guild Autopsy forward and tags a Belle with Brilliance; it then Accuses Pandora. Barbaros kills the Autopsy and the Nurse Paralyses Pandora. Reva kills the Beckoner and hurts Barbaros; I activate Pandora to get her engagement range back. The Emissary drops more shards in seemingly inconsequential positions and the further back of my Illuminated picks up a head. The other one smacks the Brilliant Belle but can’t finish her off so the Shaman uses Pustule to deal the final wounds. Anna fails her horror check against Pandora which is quite a let off for me. The Tots put down scheme markers and the Corpse Candle gives Reva Disguised. I score Headhunter and Claim Jump; David scores Accusation.

Turn 3: Pandora hurts Anna and then the Incited Mindless Zombie explodes thanks to Fears Given Form. Barbaros puts up Challenge and stabs Anna a couple of times. The Shaman Pustules Barbaros to heal him fully and get Anna to her last wound. She pushes Barbaros back and pokes Pandora. Reva Accuses the nearby Illuminated and misses an attack on Pandora; the Illuminated start hitting her back. Chiaki pushes my stuff around and hurts the Terror Tot. Neither of us pick up a head but David scores for Accusation again.

Turn 4: The Nurse stops Pandora from taking anything other than Ml actions and prevents one of the Illuminated from attacking at all. Barbaros stabs Reva who finishes off the nearby Tot. The Shaman uses Pustule to make the Illuminated bleed all over Reva, killing her and getting me the remaining points for Eliminate The Leadership. Anna finally falls to the endless Fears Given Form checks. One Illuminated picks up her head and the Belle Lures in the other one to stop me getting away for Claim Jump. Over in the other corner the Tot is also denied Claim Jump by a clever play using the Emissary to drop Shards close enough for the Mindless Zombie to stop me scoring. We run out of time for another round. Neverborn win 6 – 3 (2 for Headhunter, 1 for Claim Jump and 3 for Eliminate The Leadership for me; 3 for Accusation for David).

That was a really nice game, and I was very happy to get a game against a player I’d never met before. This was actually my first game against Reva and David had me sweating a few times about her damage output and threat range, which are certainly very scary. I felt that he didn’t really make the most of the Carrion Emissary as there was a tight choke point that I was really expecting him to keep blocked with Shards and hamper my opportunities to get to his crew. Pandora worked even better than I’d hoped as she held up the Resurrectionist crew very effectively but also turned out to be much more survivable than I had any right to expect. The all-star here was the Black Blood Shaman who dealt a ridiculous number of wounds out with his Pustules and also brought back Barbaros from the brink of death.

Game 3: Neverborn (me) vs Gremlins (Conor McNama)

Strategy: Interference, close deployment

Schemes
Pool: Claim Jump, Frame for Murder, Dig Their Graves, Mark for Death, Inspection
Neverborn: Frame for Murder (Nekima), Inspection
Gremlins: Claim Jump, Frame for Murder (Francois LaCroix)

Crews
Neverborn: Dreamer (Dreams of Pain, Otherworldly), 2 Daydreams, Nekima (One Thousand Faces), Barbaros (One Thousand Faces), 3 Terror Tots
Gremlins: Wong (Ooh Glowy), Iron Skeeter, Francois LaCroix (Do Over, Dirty Cheater), Old Cranky, 2 Stuffed Piglets, 2 Bayou Gremlins, Swine Cursed, Gracie (Saddle)

The final game of day one was against the mighty Conor. I was almost certain what crew he’d use here but even after a couple of games against Joe I couldn’t think of any foolproof way to stop it with counter-picking so just went with my original plan to use the Dreamer. After all, what better way to use my first summoning master than in Interference after all? I put Frame For Murder on Nekima in the hope that she’d be enough of a threat that Conor would feel obliged to deal with her. Inspection was chosen as I thought that I could either summon Insidious Madnesses to stand in the right spots or otherwise use the Tots accordingly. Francois is Glowy.

[Edit] It is probably worth mentioning here that when Conor and I came over to this table it was clear that we were both thinking the same thing: where is all the terrain? The forests in the below photos were absent and the rocks were pushed out to the edges. Rather than spar across a bowling green we called over TO Kai to ask if more could be added. The board is still a touch sparse (probably due to having to spread the store terrain across about 30 tables) but we agreed it was playable. If you’re at an event and there is clearly not enough terrain on the board then I suggest to speak with the other player and TO to see if anything can be done to resolve it. Playing on an empty board is dull even if you’re playing a full Shen Long gunline, never mind if you have to face such a monstrosity.

Turn 1: The Iron Skeeter makes Francois Fast and drops him right in front of the Dreamer. He chain activates, goes Reckless and charges into the Dreamer. The first two attacks are pawned off onto the Daydreams (killing them of course) and my master barely survives the second two, only by luck of cards getting me through. I nearly lost my master before I even managed to activate a single model! The Dreamer summons an Insidious Madness and two Daydreams which are all I have the cards for after that mauling. Nekima hurts Francois who squeals away before I surround him with Daydreams. I have no doubt that Francois has Frame For Murder on him but I can’t take another round of attacks like that. The Insidious Madness moves up to get engage Gracie and limit the movement options on that side; the Swine Cursed attacks it and gets the trigger to charge into a Tot. The other Tot kills off the Stuffed Piglet on the right.

Turn 2: The Dreamer summons Lilitu and a Daydream to turn into Lord Chompy Bits. Francois goes Reckless, strolls away from the Daydream and starts shooting into Lord Chompy Bits but is denied by the Black Joker on a crucial damage flip. I activate the big guy and he eats the Swine Cursed, then Wong kills Lord Chompy Bits and splashes a blast over Lilitu (bad positioning on my part there. Nekima kills the Iron Skeeter and moves to claim a quarter while Barbaros pushes Old Cranky around a bit. Bayou Gremlins eventually hit the Dreamer enough that I can’t keep the little boy alive any more. I score for Inspection and Interference.

Turn 3: Francois walks up to the bottom of the cliff where Nekima is standing and shoots her so that he dies to Black Blood, giving Conor 3 VP for Frame For Murder. Nekima kills a Bayou Gremlin and Old Cranky. Wong finally kills the Insidious Madness (it lasted much longer than I expected) and moves toward the surviving Tot on the right. The Piglet Bacon Bombs and get the right suit to do 4 damage and kill the Tot on the left, denying me Inspection. Gracie puts down a scheme marker and I move Daydreams into the most annoying places I can find. I score for Interference again.

Turn 4: Barbaros kills the second Bayou Gremlin. Gracie Reactivates and eats the Daydream. Wong fails to kill another one thanks to Barbaros, and Nekima is used as a glorified scheme runner to move for Inspection. I’ve given up any hope of Frame For Murder by this point. I score the strategy and Inspection.

Turn 5: Barbaros gently pokes Gracie. She moves to Saddle Wong free and he kills the another Daydream and the Tot, which finally opens up Conor’s scheme markers. Conor scores for Claim Jump. Neverborn win 5 – 4 (3 for Interference and 2 for Inspection for me; 3 for Frame For Murder and 1 for Claim Jump for Conor).

What a game! Conor is a really nice chap to play, but that crew he uses is absolute murder to face. I had to think about every single activation and play the best game I possibly could and I still only held on because of good cards for me and bad cards for Conor. I probably should have put Frame For Murder on the Dreamer as I knew that Conor was going to go for him, but it didn’t occur to me at the time. Considering how open the board was I’m not even sure I could have kept Dreamer safe by starting him right at the back as Francois could just as easily have shot him to death.

Luckily for my frazzled nerves that was the end of day one and we (almost) all decamped to the pub for beer and dinner. It’s great to get to chat with other enthusiasts from different areas about their experience of the game, to trade tales of what happened in day one and to speculate about how the pairing for the next morning would play out.

Game 4: Neverborn (me) vs Resurrectionists (Mark Elwood)

Strategy: Extraction, corner deployment

Schemes
Pool: Claim Jump, Dig Their Graves, Accusation, Covert Breakthrough, Show of Force
Neverborn: Claim Jump, Dig Their Graves
Resurrectionists: Claim Jump, Dig Their Graves

Crews
Neverborn: Jakob Lynch (Endless Hunger), Hungering Darkness, 2 Waldgeists, Spawn Mother (Hexed Among You), Bad Juju (Eternal Fiend), McTavish, Will O’ The Wisp
Resurrectionists: Amelia Bathory [Nicodem] (Love Thy Master, Maniacal Laugh, Undertaker), Mortimer (My Little Helper, Corpse Bloat), Philip and The Nanny (My Little Helper, Haunting Cries), Archie (Corpse Armour, Hulking Leap), Necropunk, Malifaux Child

Right from the start I was planning to use the same Lynch crew as I had done for game one here as it plays Extraction so well. In particular, Hexed Among You is extra useful for the slow Swampfiends with corner deployment. Interesting, Mark told me that he would predict my crew so he wrote it down while we were choosing. He didn’t even get one choice correct; so there is probably some value in trying out something that your opponent doesn’t expect. I was planning to send summoned Gupps down the long centreline for Claim Jump and if Mark didn’t contest the centre quickly enough then I would lay down a load of marker there to either score Claim Jump or Dig Their Graves. I was expecting Mark to start out quite far back and flood the area with summons, so my plan was to pin his crew as far back as possible for as long as possible.

Turn 1: The Spawn Mother and Wisp work together again to summon Gupps and Mortimer uses My Little Helper to pull two corpse markers out of himself so that the summoning engine can get going in earnest. The Necropunk puts down two scheme markers and Philip eats them for cards, then the Child makes Archie Fast. Lynch moves up cautiously and puts down a scheme marker for McTavish but in the end I send McTavish round the long way to give the benefit of cover against Lures and so on. Bathory uses Arise to bring up Mindless Zombies then summons two Hanged and a Rotten Belle off them. The Waldgeists advance and Germinate; one of them goes forward as bait. The Hanged hurts it and then Archie comes over and kills it, pushing it back at the same time. Bad Juju falls out and is in range to charge the Belle, but I’m not even interested in the Belle, I just want to get into the most irritating position possible.

Turn 2: Bad Juju walks into the middle, shrugging off the various horror duels, and kills Mortimer. The surviving Waldgeist, the Gupps and Necropunk all put down scheme markers, but the Necropunk’s are eaten by Philip again. The Child again makes Archie Fast while McTavish polishes off the Belle. Bathory casts Arise again and summons a pair of Necropunks. The Hanged start whittling down Bad Juju’s wounds so I throw Hungering Darkness in to keep Mark busy. Archie buries Bad Juju but fails his horror check against Hungering Darkness. The new Necropunks move to position for Extraction so we both score it and I get Claim Jump too. I move the Extraction marker back.

Turn 3: Archie doesn’t make any mistake the second time to kill Hungering Darkness. The Gupps keep putting down scheme markers and McTavish kills one of the Hanged. The Spawn Mother top decks the needed card to lay another egg by pure luck, but I don’t feel so bad after Bathory does the same for a Doxy. She also summons another Hanged, so my respite didn’t last long on that front. The Necropunks move off to start scoring for Claim Jump and I throw both the Wisp and new Gupps forward. The Hanged hurts the Wisp so Lynch Plays For Blood to bring Bad Juju back out. The Mire Golem kills a nearby Necropunk that was in scoring position. The Doxy pushes Archie into scoring range and the other Hanged has to move to score too instead of doing horrible stuff to my crew. We both score for the strategy and Claim Jump, and I move the Extraction marker even further away from Bathory and her summons.

Turn 4: Archie kills Bad Juju again. Lynch moves up, puts down a scheme marker and kills the Hanged for Dig Their Graves. The Gupps and Necropunks both continue putting down scheme markers and time is called. We both get another point each for Extraction and Claim Jump. Neverborn win 7 – 5 (3 for Extraction, 3 for Claim Jump and 1 for Dig Their Graves for me; 3 for Extraction and 2 for Claim Jump for Mark).

That was another very tight game and I felt very glad to have been able to hold on for the win. I think that Mark made a mistake by having his hired Necropunk put down scheme markers for Philip to eat instead of going right out for Claim Jump. It was an interesting game pulling back away from the summons with the Extraction marker and I would have liked to see what might have happened if we had time to go for the full game. As always, Mark was a gentleman to play against.

Game 5: Neverborn (me) vs Ten Thunders (Joe Jackson)

Strategy: Stake a Claim, close deployment

Schemes
Pool: Claim Jump, Frame for Murder, Leave your Mark, Tail ‘Em, A Quick Murder
Neverborn: Frame for Murder (Nekima), A Quick Murder
Ten Thunders: Frame for Murder (Yasunori), A Quick Murder

Crews
Neverborn: Collodi (Strum The Threads, Fated), Brutal Effigy, Barbaros (One Thousand Faces), Nekima (One Thousand Faces), 3 Terror Tots, Black Blood Shaman
Ten Thunders: Misaki (Stalking Bisento, Misdirection, Servant Of Five Dragons), Shang, Ohaguro Bettari (Peaceful Waters), Monk Of Low River, Shadow Emissary (Conflux Of Thunder), Yasunori (Smoke Grenades), Wandering River Monk

I picked Collodi here with the idea that I might be able to either slow Joe’s crew to stop them putting down Claim markers, or move my own crew around to get good positioning to do it myself. In all honesty I wasn’t really sure how to approach this game; historically I’ve always found Stake a Claim to be really hard. I know that Silurids are meant to be the Neverborn answer to the strategy but I’ve almost never used them (indeed, I’d only assembled mine in the week leading up to the event) and felt that this was not the time to start. So in the end I went with a crew that was familiar to me even if it wasn’t ideal for the job. With both A Quick Murder and Frame For Murder in the pool I took both thinking that at least that would allow me to concentrate on the strategy with most of my crew.

Turn 1: We both jockey for position a little with our cheap stuff. The Emissary makes Yasunori Fast and kills a Tot. Barbaros charges Shang and gets killed by Yasunori for his trouble. This was a really bad move from me here; I should have kept him central so that I could at least bait Joe’s killers into range of my own. Collodi uses the My Bidding trigger twice on Nekima to move her forward. Misaki hurts the Shaman who Collodi has made its Personal Puppet, receiving Black Blood in return. Nekima kills Yasunori, trading points between Joe’s Frame For Murder and my Quick Murder.

Turn 2: The Tot on the left Stakes a Claim. Misaki shanks Collodi; on the first go he pushes into her and the Shaman heals it and hurts her with Pustule. On the second go I’m forced to sacrifice the Shaman so that Collodi gets away; Misaki then walks to engage the Brutal Effigy and Collodi (presumably to make use of Misdirection). The Emissary kills the Tot on the right. The Effigy walks away from Misaki’s clutches and Collodi pushes free, hurts her a bit then puts down a Claim marker. The Monk of Low River moves to engage Nekima so she hits him with her melee expert and kills him with Blood For Blood. She then charges Misaki and makes short work of her. The Wandering River Monk Leaps and Stakes a Claim and Bettari moves into my side of the board. I score for the strategy.

Turn 3: Bettari puts down a Claim marker before Nekima kills her. The Monk Leaps and Stakes again. Collodi moves the Effigy then moves to the right. I’ve no idea why I did that as it allowed the Shadow Emissary to easily kill my master. What a terrible bit of positioning. We draw on the strategy.

Turn 4: The Emissary moves to make a nuisance of itself and our crews continue to move around and put out Claim markers. We draw for Stake a Claim.

Turn 5: The claiming continues but neither of us can get ahead so it is another draw. Neverborn win 4 – 3 (1 for Stake a Claim and 3 for a Quick Murder for me; 3 for Frame For Murder for Joe).

That was an enjoyable but rather strange game; I don’t think either of us really made an attack at all in the last two turns. My positioning play was generally quite poor, notably giving away Barbaros in turn 1 and Collodi in turn 3 for no gain at all. I think I probably need to play this strategy a few times again as it has been a long time since I’ve seen it in a tournament. I might possibly never have played it at all using Neverborn. Anyway, Joe made the whole experience very enjoyable and I’m really glad to have met him over a game of Malifaux.

Game 6: Neverborn (me) vs Resurrectionists (Josh Leak)

Strategy: Collect the Bounty, flank deployment

Schemes
Pool: Claim Jump, Eliminate the Leadership, Accusation, Undercover Entourage, Recover Evidence
Neverborn: Eliminate the Leadership, Undercover Entourage (Lilith)
Resurrectionists: Eliminate the Leadership, Accusation

Crews
Neverborn: Lilith (Beckon Malifaux), Nekima (One Thousand Faces), Doppelganger, 3 Waldgeists, Lilitu, Cherub
Resurrectionists: Dr Douglas McMourning (Moonlighting, Plastic Surgery, Decaying Aura), Zombie Chihuahua, Archie (Corpse Armour, Hulking Leap), Sebastian (Those Are Not Ours), 3 Rotten Belles, Canine Remains

I decided that my best option here lay with Lilith to control the board position and hopefully limit Josh’s options for attacking my crew. To the same effect, I chose Lilitu and the Doppelganger to give me more Lure options. The Cherub is a cheap activation with a possibility to cause Slow, and the Waldgeists bring a bit more control and are hard to remove due to their armour. When I saw Josh’s crew though, I realised that I would be in for a lot of trouble. With 3 Belles he could ‘out-Lure’ me easily, and McMourning would have no difficulty ignoring armour. I thought that if I could pressure McMourning a bit I could possibly force Josh to commit him which might allow me to score for Eliminate The Leadership, and after some consideration I chose Undercover Entourage on Lilith and intended to keep her on the fringes of the fight.

Turn 1: The Canine Remains flips the Black Joker trying to Dig Up A Bone. The Chihuahua puts some Poison onto McMourning and the Belles start Luring a Waldgeist toward them. Lilith Tangles Shadows to put Nekima there instead and creates a Forest in Sebastian’s way. Archie bounces off Nekima to my great surprise, and I decide to go for all out aggression as I’m not going to win a positioning game here. Nekima moves in and smites the unactivated Belle, Paralysing the other two. Sebastian summons a Canine Remains from the corpse of the Belle and Lilitu Lures him to me. McMourning makes short work of Nekima and turns her into a Flesh Construct. Somewhere after this I needlessly cheat away my last card which gives the Flesh Construct Reactivate and it has the range to charge Lilith, hurting her and giving Poison. Josh declares Eliminate The Leadership.

Turn 2: McMourning Expunges Lilith into another Flesh Construct, scoring the rest of the points for Eliminate The Leadership and (though Josh didn’t know it at the time) preventing me from getting Undercover Entourage. Two Waldgeists gang up to kill Sebastian and a Flesh Construct Accuses the Doppelganger. Archie drops one of the Waldgeists and the Cherub fails a horror duel against the big chap. The Doppelganger removes Accused thanks to Don’t Mind Me. Josh scores Collect The Bounty.

Turn 3: The Cherub Slows both McMourning and Archie, and pushes them back. The Canine Remains Accuses a Waldgeist. I have pretty much run out of options here, so Lilitu flails uselessly against a nearby Flesh Construct which kills the Doppelganger. A Waldgeist with Poison on it explodes on activation due to the presence of McMourning, who hurts the Cherub and pushes Archie back into the fray. Archie, even with Slow, has no trouble dealing with Lilitu. Josh scores on Accusation and the strategy.

Turn 4: The Waldgeist pokes the Canine Remains (just activated it first to stop Accusation) and then McMourning kills it and the Cherub. Neverborn lose 0 – 8 (nothing for me; 4 for Collect The Bounty, 3 for Eliminate The Leadership and 1 for Accusation for Josh).

That was a much more one-sided game than I’d hoped for, and I’m sorry to Josh for not giving him a rougher ride. Nonetheless I very much enjoyed it, and Josh is a very pleasant chap to play against. Looking back at the game, I think that Josh had done a very good job constructing his crew and that I was going to be on the back foot right from the start. And of course he played it without mistakes while capitalising on those that I made, so he well deserved his win. The majority of my errors were in turn one, probably because after that I didn’t have enough crew left for any mistakes to matter. The biggest one was giving the Flesh Construct Reactivate; I can’t remember now why I used my last card, but it was nothing that was critical and I really paid for it by getting the Flesh Construct in Lilith’s face. Once Archie had bounced off Nekima, I probably should then have Lured her back to safety and forced Josh to expose McMourning if he wanted to go after her. It isn’t evident from the report (because I don’t take detailed notes on card usage), but I squandered some good cards attacking the Belle too; I probably would have been better saving them for defense. [Edit: in case you would like to know how this all felt for Josh, listen to this episode of the excellent Arcane Reservoir podcast.]

[Edit: For further reading about the event, you could also check the Loyalty To The Coin blog or this other episode of Arcane Reservoir.]

One thing that I particularly enjoyed about this game was that even though we were both trying our best to win (and hence win the whole event) there were smiles and jokes throughout. If you’re reading this and have only heard about how tournaments are full of cut-throat, win-at-all costs-players and that the top tables are Serious Business only, then I can say that this is not my experience at all in the UK Malifaux scene. Fun is the primary goal for most players; winning is just an added bonus.

So once all the scores come in I get 4th place and I’m really pleased with how I played all weekend. I had a wonderful time against some really tough players; 4 of my opponents finished in the top 10 I also got 6 delicious bottles of purple-labelled beer for being best Neverborn player, and I’m very much looking forward to drinking those. Thanks to James, David, Conor, Mark, Joe and Josh for 6 terrific games of Malifaux, and to Kai and his team for another wonderfully organised event. One day I’m going to win this thing!

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

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

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

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

Strategy: Reckoning, corner deployment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strategy: Turf War, standard deployment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strategy: Collect The Bounty, flank deployment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strategy: Headhunter, close deployment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strategy: Reconnoitre, close deployment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strategy: Reckoning, standard deployment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strategy: Turf War, corner deployment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Malifaux tournament report: A Scottish Som’er (40SS, 45SS, 50SS); 20May2017

Gareth and I took the train up to ABZ games in Aberdeen for another of Martin’s tournaments. This time we were able to convince our long-time gaming friend Justin to accompany us. Justin has hardly played Malifaux since 1.5, so we gave him a largely fixed crew of Viktoria plus friends and spent a few weeks doing a Rocky-style training montage to bring him up to speed with debatable success. A lot of the other Scotland tournament regulars were not playing in this event as they had entered the ITC, but I still got a round one match-up against a fairly experienced player in Callum.

Game 1: Neverborn (me) vs Guild (Callum Palin)

Strategy: Guard The Stash, standard deployment, 40SS

Schemes
Pool: Claim Jump, Frame For Murder, Covert Breakthrough, Accusation, Undercover Entourage
Neverborn: Claim Jump, Frame For Murder (Brutal Effigy)
Guild: Frame For Murder (Francisco Ortega), Accusation

Crews
Neverborn: Collodi (Fated, Strum The Threads), Barbaros (One Thousand Faces), Brutal Effigy, Arcane Effigy, 2 Young Nephilim, Black Blood Shaman
Guild: Perdita Ortega (Trick Shooting, Aura Ancestral), Francisco Ortega (Diestro, Wade In), Nino Ortega (Hair Trigger), Abuela Ortega, 2 Guild Guard (proxied by Orderlies).

We realised a few days before this event that none of us ever really play at 40SS any more so it was an interesting exercise to pare down a crew to its essential parts to meet this target. I was expecting a lot of summoners as they’re really strong in a small game and I was very pleased when Callum announced he was playing Guild. I wanted a master that could get a lot of personal work done and so selected Collodi on the basis that putting Slow or similar on up to four models in a small crew might be very handy. However, I’m always concerned that Collodi is quite vulnerable to simply being shot to pieces. The Black Blood Shaman is intended to put Black Blood into Collodi then possibly heal it up with the Personal Puppet rules; being able to splash damage around can be very strong anyway in Guard The Stash as the other crew have to come to the markers. The Young Nephilim have great mobility due to Flight that can be very important in getting round the Stash markers. I was quite surprised to see Perdita and had expected McCabe with Promises. I put Frame For Murder on the Brutal Effigy hoping that Callum would remember how useful it is to Collodi and take pains to kill it early.

Turn 1: Nino Rapid Fires into the Black Blood Shaman for remarkably little effect. The Brutal Effigy shoots Collodi to push it up, then the Shaman charges Collodi who relents the first hit to receive Black Blood then dodges the second to get about 9″ of forward movement from the trigger. Francisco puts El Mayor on Perdita, who then pushes up to Nino and blazes wildly at the Arcane Effigy; all three shots are missed due to my good flips and Callum’s terrible hand. Abuela makes Fransisco engage Barbaros (who has Challenged and swapped in Rapid Growth) with Listen Up Young ‘Un then shoots into the melee. Collodi kills Nino.

Turn 2: The Brutal Effigy gives Collodi Fear Not The Sword and puts down a scheme marker near the centre and companions Barbaros. The gladiator puts up Challenge and pokes Francisco a few times. Abuela shoots at Barbaros, doing some damage but showering her grandson (?) with Black Blood in the process. Francisco chain actives, wisely steps back out of splash range and misses Barbaros anyway, getting pushed further away with the Knock Aside trigger. On the left, a Young flies into a nice place nestled up with both Guards and Francisco, then eats one of the Guards. Perdita unloads bullets into the Brutal Effigy, but Callum’s flips are so bad (and his hand depleted from dealing with Barbaros) that she only hits once and I can’t even cheat low to take the hits without it being obvious that the Brutal Effigy is my sucker. Collodi shows her how it is done, hurting her and setting her ablaze so that she’ll burn to death at the end of the turn. I do sense a cheeky opportunity to turn a Young into a Mature Nephilim and charge it into her, but it is not to be. I score for the strategy and Claim Jump.

Turn 3: Abuela does Listen Up Young ‘Un on Francisco to Enfrentate A Mi back into Barbaros, and between her shots and a chain activation Flurry from Francisco, Barbaros is no more. The Young on the left misses the Guild Guard who walks away to Accuse the Brutal Effigy. The Shaman puts Blood Curse on the Guard so that they’ll expire at the end of the round, then Collodi uses My Will to make it attack and kill Francisco (to get round the negative flips from Francisco’s Finesse). This gives Callum two points for Frame For Murder; I’m now resigned to not getting my points for it. Collodi also walks up and drops a scheme marker to guarantee Claim Jump this turn along with the Arcane Effigy. I score for Claim Jump and Guard The Stash again; Callum scores for Accusation.

Turn 4: Abuela Accuses the Young and I throw everything I have at her until she dies. I wasn’t sensible enough to use the Nephilim last so that I could remove Accusation though. Neverborn win 7 – 4 (4 for Guard The Stash and 3 for Claim Jump for me; 2 for Frame For Murder and 2 for Accusation for Callum).

Callum put up quite a good fight and I always enjoy playing him. In fairness the cards were not falling in his favour, especially when he used Perdita, so that didn’t help his cause at all. I was trying to keep the pressure on by continually ramming Black Blood into his pieces where their good defenses didn’t help at all and I don’t feel that he had a good answer to that. I evidently need to get better at picking my sucker for Frame For Murder. I nearly put it on Barbaros but he’s sometimes so annoying to deal with that people just give up on it and leave him alone. Collodi was as effective as I had hoped, dropping Nino in turn 1 and Perdita in turn 2 with minimal assistance… other than the Effigies of course.

Game 2: Neverborn (me) vs Ten Thunders (Stew Allen)

Strategy: Interference, close deployment, 45SS

Schemes
Pool: Claim Jump, Dig Their Graves, Leave Your Mark, Set Up, A Quick Murder
Neverborn: Leave Your Mark, A Quick Murder
Ten Thunders: [I forgot to take a note of Stew’s schemes]

Crews
Neverborn: Pandora (Fears Given Form, The Box Opens), Nekima (One Thousand Faces), Barbaros, Young Nephilim, 3 Terror Tots
Ten Thunders: Jakob Lynch (Rising Sun, Woke Up With A Hand), Hungering Darkness (Addict), Kang (People’s Champion), Illuminated, Lone Swordsman, Katanaka Sniper

This is probably not a very typical crew for Interference but I decided that with close deployment in the mix that I could afford to take a fairly killy pair in the form of Pandora and Nekima. Barbaros is hilarious with Pandora and I love playing him anyway, and the rest of the Nephilim are cheap, fast and fun to use. My general plan was to bog down as much of Stew’s crew as possible with those two and then spread everyone else out to pick up Interference points. Seeing Stew’s crew I felt that getting to Kang with Pandora or Nekima should be pretty doable since he’s much slower than them, so took A Quick Murder. Leave Your Mark is much more achievable in close deployment so I selected that as my other scheme.

Turn 1: The Sniper takes a shot at Nekima. Hungering Darkness uses Heed My Voice to bring a Tot into range; it promptly runs away again. The other Tots move up and stay hidden while the Young engages the Sniper. Somewhere around here both Kang and the Lone Swordsman have moved right into the middle of the table in easy reach of both Nekima and Pandora and I start to worry that perhaps Stew is rather less experienced than I had assumed, and that perhaps I should have spent a bit longer doing my usual pre-game run-down of what everything did. Pandora goes in to hurt the Lone Swordsman and positions for maximal annoyance between him, Kang and Hungering Darkness. Nekima follows her in, bouncing off Kang with surprisingly little impact but polishing off the Swordsman. Barbaros, seeing that his services in the centre would not be needed, swoops over and sticks a few wounds onto the Sniper.

Turn 2: Nekima kills of Kang, collecting 3VP for A Quick Murder. The Hungering Darkness misses Pandora and she pushes out of range of a second charge attack. Barbaros hits the Sniper again and kills him with Black Blood from the return hits. Pandora kills Lynch with Self Loathing and the Young Nephilim trades hits with the Illuminated. My Tots move to claim table quarters and one drops a marker for Leave Your Mark. With only the Illuminated and Hungering Darkness facing off against my entire, almost untouched, crew, Stew has seen enough and concedes. Neverborn win 10 – 0.

Stew was a very nice gentleman to play and took all this in his stride, but nonetheless I feel quite bad for the scale of the mis-match here. Since he’d seemingly won his first game by quite a big margin (indeed, he was ahead of me on VP differential going into the round) I had believed that he had rather more experience that was actually the case. I’m aware that I can anyway be quite a brutal player in terms of efficiently removing parts of the other crew [citation: almost every other battle report I’ve ever written] so I was concerned that this whole thing might have been a bit demoralising for Stew. We did have time for a long chat while everyone else finished their games and I hope that I can face Stew again in a non-tournament setting as I think that he could become quite a good player with a bit of guidance and experience. There is not really anything to learn from the actual game, other than that standing in front of an unactivated Nekima for two turns in a row can be bad for one’s health.

Game 3: Neverborn (me) vs Gremlins (Ross McGuiness)

Strategy: Collect The Bounty, flank deployment, 50SS

Schemes
Pool: Claim Jump, Eliminate The Leadership, Accusation, Show of Force, Inspection
Neverborn: Claim Jump, Eliminate The Leadership
Gremlins: Accusation, Show of Force

Crews
Neverborn: Pandora (Fears Given Form, The Box Opens), Nekima (One Thousand Faces), Barbaros, 2 Illuminated, Beckoner, Primordial Magic (proxied by a Wisp)
Gremlins: Wong (Explosive Solutions, A Gremlin’s Luck, Dirty Cheater), Sammy LaCroix (Ooh Glowy), Old Major (Saddle, Quality Mash Liquor), 2 Lightning Bugs, 2 Swine Cursed (proxied by Boars)

I decided to take a risk and go for a fairly low activation crew which focused on survivability and hitting power at the expense of mobility. Nekima can be quite simple to take down, but when paired with the threat of Pandora and Challenge from Barbaros she’s a bit less vulnerable to counter attack. The combination of the Beckoner and Illuminated allows me to charge up for weak damage of 4 on the latter, and the option of a Lure in this strategy felt quite helpful. I was pleased to see Wong without Glowy McTavish facing me (actually my worst fear would probably have been Zipp who really makes life hard for Pandora) and also that Ross had chosen a similarly small crew. For schemes I took Eliminate The Leadership on the basis that I’d have to deal with Wong at some point, even if he can be quite hard to deal with. My second scheme was Claim Jump because it meant that I could keep my crew in a nice ball of death in the middle; I was expecting to only have a chance to score it in turns 3 to 5. Wong made Old Major Glowy.

Turn 1: Old Major moves up, using the Saddle on Wong twice and his Old Pig Knows The Way to bring both Sammy and a Swine Cursed with him. The Beckoner Lures Old Major forward and Barbaros Nimbles up and charges him, partly to do some damage but mainly to get Challenge into an annoying place. Nekima swaps in Fears Given Form, walks twice to engage Wong and smites Old Major. Pandora Incites a Lightning Bug and Old Major to allow her to push up, then charges the pig and draws most of Ross’s soulstones out of him; in the end Old Major is down to one wound and Pandora is engaging a good chunk of Ross’s crew. The Swine Cursed hurts Nekima, and Wong fails two attempts to disengage with Nekima before finally getting away. He could have walked up and gone for the Poof! trigger on his Iron Fan, but the Black Blood damage would have finished Old Major.

Turn 2: Old Major heals up with Quality Mash Liquor. Nekima kills the nearby Swine Cursed and hurts the pig again. The Incited Lightning Bug puts Slow on Barbaros before Pandora blows it up with three goes of Inflict. This also draws some good cards out of Ross’s hand and puts a few wounds on the other Swine Cursed, Sammy and Old Major. The Swine Cursed, which was Incited by Pandora this turn, fails its Horror duel against Pandora. The nearest Illuminated double walks to engages Wong in order to stop him blasting into the melee; Wong fails three times to disengage as Ross’s hand is empty after avoiding Inflict and various other duels. The surviving Lightning Bug attacks Nekima and Barbaros finishes Old Major. Sammy moves to score Show Of Force and top-decks the needed card to turn my scheme marker into a Stuffed Piglet. I score for the strategy, Ross scores for Show Of Force.

Turn 3: Nekima kills Sammy and engages Wong again, who then Accuses the Lightning Bug and does nothing much else. Pandora kills the second Swine Cursed and fails to achieve anything against Wong. The Illuminated punches Wong, scoring a point for Eliminate The Leadership. The Beckoner Lures the Stuffed Piglet out of range of most of my crew and then kills it with Despicable Promises. Barbaros hurts Wong some more. I score Collect The Bounty and Claim Jump, Ross scores for Accusation.

Turn 4: I win initiative and Nekima easily dispatches Wong (scoring the rest of the points for Eliminate The Leadership) and the Lightning Bug. With nothing left on the table, Ross concedes the rest of the match. Neverborn win 10 – 2 (full score; Ross scores 1 for Accusation and 1 for Show Of Force).

Ross is a very nice, friendly chap to play against and I’m always happy to face him across a Malifaux table. I think that he wasn’t ready for the avalanche of my crew coming across the table so early, as it allowed me to keep Wong tied up in melee for almost the whole game. The constant succession of duels for Challenge, Incite, Fears Given Form meant that Ross was playing much of the games with effectively no control hand. As a result I was able to largely control which duels he won or lost and therefore took largely inconsequential damage across my crew rather than a concentrated damage on one individual. The Illuminated did almost nothing except drop scheme markers, but they weren’t really needed for their intended role as front line damage-soaks in this case.

When the scores are counted up, I am in first place; in fact due to a large number of draws in the upper tables I end up as the only player on three wins. I had a really good time, and I think that everyone else did too. I don’t think that Justin has caught the Malifaux bug but maybe we’ll be able to get a few more games in with him. Thanks to Martin for running the show, and to Callum, Stew and Ross for three fun games.

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

Malifaux tournament report: Spring Breach 2017 (50SS); 22Apr2017

Gareth and I took the train to another Malifaux event; this time the 3rd Spring Breach run by Kai in Common Ground Games in Stirling. Despite the huge attendance, this was set up as only 3 rounds so there was no need for an early start (though I prefer more rounds over more time to arrive). I had some idea for a Pandora crew so Lewis very kindly loaned me a couple of miniatures that I don’t own yet. Round one I was drawn against tournament regular Jamie; we’ve somehow never managed to play each other in an event despite both attending most that are run in central Scotland.

Game 1: Neverborn (me) vs Gremlins (Jamie Gemmell)

Strategy: Extraction, standard deployment

Schemes
Pool: Claim Jump, Eliminate The Leadership, Leave Your Mark, Mark for Death, Tail ‘Em
Neverborn: Claim Jump, Tail ‘Em
Gremlins: Claim Jump, Leave Your Mark

Crews
Neverborn: Pandora (Fears Given Form, The Box Opens), Nekima, Barbaros (One Thousand Faces), Primordial Magic, 3 Terror Tots, Lust
Gremlins: Wong (Explosive Solutions, A Gremlin’s Luck), Sammy LaCroix (Ooh Glowy), Francois LaCroix (Stilts), Burt Jebsen (Dirty Cheater), Merris LaCroix (Hide In The Mud), Old Cranky, 2 Bayou Gremlins, 2 Stuffed Piglets

This (or some similar variation on it) is an entertaining Pandora crew that I’ve been thinking of for a while. The idea is that Pandora floats around the middle of the enemy crew distracting everyone and pinging Misery damage. Barbaros, Nekima and Lust force a load of willpower duels that either drain cards or force minor damage on each failure, and Nekima of course also kills things. Lust can additionally use Now Kiss to put things back close to Pandora. I probably would have chosen this crew regardless of the strategy but it felt like it should be well suited to Extraction in particular. With a wide choice of Henchmen who would have to be close to my crew I thought that Tail ‘Em would be a good option, and took Claim Jump as a default other one since I didn’t fancy the rest. Burt Jebsen was made Glowy, and I seem to have forgotten to take a picture of the start.

Turn 1: We move our cheap pieces up somewhat cagily. Barbaros moves up aggressively and swaps in Rapid Growth then Lust pushes Pandora forward. Pandora Incites a Stuffed Piglet and Bayou Gremlin and kills off Old Cranky while engaging as much as possible. Merris and Burt come up on my left to drop scheme markers. Wong zaps Lust rather ineffectively. Francois goes Reckless, Focuses and charges Pandora to drop a Dumb Luck Red Joker on her, then abandons Stilts to avoid the return damage. Oh dear, my master is dead in turn one; that is rarely a good thing. I realised (but only much later) that I could have avoided this by simply using a Soulstone on defense since it was obvious from the use of Focus that Jamie was wisely aiming to land one big hit on Pandora.

Turn 2: Barbaros pokes Francois and puts up Challenge in the most annoying place I can find. The Incited Piglet moves to Lust so she uses Now Kiss to push away, first to Wong and then to Francois. By luck I get the trigger for damage both time but Jamie elects not to blow it up since both Francois and Sammy are in the blast zone now. Burt kills a Tot and drops another scheme marker. Nekima kills the other Stuffed Piglet and a Bayou Gremlin then moves to score for the strategy. Francois misses Barbaros and Sammy successfully disengages from him to get in range for Extraction; she also turns one of my scheme markers into a Stuffed Piglet (which I admit that I’d forgotten she could do). Wong shoots the new Stuffed Piglet and hurts Lust then moves up to scoring range. We both score Extraction and Jamie scores Leave Your Mark and Claim Jump.

Turn 3: Nekima kills the other Bayou Gremlin and nearly gets Sammy, but she survives on a single wound after using Soulstones. Sammy summons another Stuffed Piglet and Jynxes Barbaros and a Tot to stop them moving. She companions Francois who kills Barbaros with another massive Dumb Luck shot and dies himself from the backlash. Lust moves Burt to be engaged with Nekima and moves the Stuffed Piglet away. Wong misses Lust with his Fan and the Tot Tails Sammy. Merris drops two scheme markers. One Piglet uses Bacon Bomb and gets a Joker, so there is carnage in the centre including the other Piglet exploding. We both score for the strategy and both of our schemes.

Turn 4: Sammy Jynxes Nekima to keep her in place and kills another Tot. Nekima fails to kill Burt due to the Black Joker on one damage flip and Wong kills the other Tot. With no way to score further I’m happy to concede it there. Neverborn lose 4 – 10 (2 for Extraction, 1 for Claim Jump and 1 for Tail ‘Em for me; full score for Jamie).

It was a real pleasure to finally get in a game with Jamie and we had plenty of laughs as various piglets exploded. I feel like I gave the game up very early by letting Francois kill Pandora right at the start and I was kicking myself when I remembered that I could have avoided it with a Soulstone. I also failed to use Lust well as I kept activating her early in the turn, thus removing her Manipulative ability and totally forgot her aura throughout. Jamie for his part did just what he needed to do, efficiently dropping my pieces where they were affecting his plans. Overall I think that the core of my crew has some promise, but perhaps I will reconsider my choice of scheme runners.

Game 2: Neverborn (me) vs Crossroads Seven / Outcasts (Lee McLean)

Strategy: Guard the Stash, flank deployment

Schemes
Pool: Claim Jump, Accusation, Dig Their Graves, Hunting Party, Inspection
Neverborn: Claim Jump, Dig Their Graves
Crossroads Seven: Dig Their Graves (I think; I didn’t note this at the time), Hunting Party

Crews
Neverborn: Collodi (Strum The Threads, Fated), Hannah, Lazarus, 2 Stitched Together, Bunraku, Arcane Effigy, Brutal Effigy
Crossroads Seven: Wrath (Deal At The Crossroads), Lust, Envy, Pride, Greed, Gluttony, Sloth, Malifaux Child

So after my defeat to Jamie I moved all the way down to the bottom table to face Lee. I was really excited to get in a game against the Crossroads Seven as I’ve never faced them before, and doubly so in the case of Lee’s gorgeously painted crew. I’m not actually sure if it is correct to announce faction as Outcasts or Crossroads Seven, but Lee told me both when we started. I decided to try an amusing Collodi crew using Hannah and Lazarus to bump Collodi up to a potential six actions per turn. The rest of the crew after that expensive core is just some Puppets to benefit from Collodi’s support abilities. I love the combination of Claim Jump and Dig Their Graves so I eventually chose that; I had considered Hunting Party but thought that the Malifaux Child might not come close enough for me to kill, and in any case I had no particular plans to cross the centreline.

Turn 1: The Arcane Effigy pokes Collodi a couple of times to move him forward, the Malifaux Child pushes Envy using Just Like You. I get nervous about Envy’s gun so go with Collodi to control Envy and also put an attack on Sloth, flipping the Black Joker on the latter. The Stitched Together hurts Sloth with Gamble Your Life and Greed heals some of the damage that Envy has taken. The Bunraku moves up to drop a scheme marker and Wrath, to my great surprise, pushes Envy further into my crew. Hannah is too far away to copy Assimilate from Lazarus so she charges in to Sloth, missing both attacks, then copies Gamble Your Life and loses to Sloth. Good work Hannah! I make Envy shoot Lust but he misses, and Lazarus then misses Envy and makes Collodi Slow him again.

Turn 2: Wrath charges Collodi, who takes the hit and pushes back to safety, then punches the Bunraku. Lazarus Focuses to kill Envy (scoring Dig Their Graves) and Assimilates My Will to make Collodi finish Sloth. Greed nearly kills the Bunraku. Gluttony puts A Rhythm For Those Who Hunger on Hannah, taking the trigger to drop a scheme marker nearby and push her into it for some damage. One of my Stitched Together goes Fast from Strum The Threads and kills Gluttony with Gamble Your Life. Pride drops a scheme marker to move Hannah over due to the condition and hurts her. Hannah hits back and copies Game of Chance in the hope of doing something other than being a punching bag but fails on that too so Lee gets to draw some cards. Lust uses Now Kiss to move Collodi behind Lazarus and make them both Slow, so the Arcane Effigy removes it from the both. The other Stitched Together finishes Pride and Collodi kills Greed and hurts Lust. I score Guard The Stash and Dig Their Graves.

Turn 3: The Bunraku stabs Wrath to make sure I actually get to activate it before it dies. Wrath kills it to score for Hunting Party. Lust drops a Red Joker damage flip to kill Collodi. Hannah moves back to the action, copies Gamble Your Life and hurts Wrath; a Stitched Together finishes the leader off to score Dig Their Graves. Lazarus pokes Lust. I score for the strategy and both of my schemes while Lee scores Hunting Party.

Turn 4: The Arcane Effigy puts down a scheme marker and Lust pulls it in to kill it (Hunting Party). The Child heals Lust but it doesn’t help and eventually Lazarus kills her and Hannah drops the Child. Neverborn win 10 – 2 (full score for me; 2 for Hunting Party for Lee) though I only noted down 10 – 1 so I think that we might have missed that Lust scored Hunting Party here.

Lee was a real gentleman to play against and I’m very grateful that he didn’t get sick of me constantly having to be reminded of which parts of his crew had which name (I especially kept mixing up Pride and Greed), which ones were Manipulative at any particular time, and what horrible things would happen if I ended an activation near any part of his crew. I didn’t actually get to do the trick with six actions for Collodi since Hannah was needed at the other side of the board, but otherwise everything seemed to go very smoothly for me. I could have used Jakob Lynch since he would easily get round all the ‘discard a card or something bad happens’ that comes in the Crossroads Seven but thought that would be less fun and a bit too much like counter-picking.

Game 3: Neverborn (me) vs Neverborn (Ian Gemmell)

Strategy: Reconnoitre, close deployment

Schemes
Pool: Claim Jump, Frame For Murder, Leave Your Mark, Undercover Entourage, Search the Ruins
My Neverborn: Frame For Murder (Barbaros), Search the Ruins
Ian’s Neverborn: Leave Your Mark, Undercover Entourage (Zoraida)

Crews
My Neverborn: Pandora (Fears Given Form, The Box Opens), Nekima, Barbaros (One Thousand Faces), Primordial Magic, 3 Terror Tots, Lust
Ian’s Neverborn: Zoraida (Aetheric Connection, Animal Shape), 2 Silurids, Iggy, Aionus (One Thousand Faces), Will O’ The Wisp, Sorrow, Insidious Madness

I decided that this would be an interesting test for the Pandora crew I used in game 1 since the strategy and scheme pool were a bit less favourable. I also know that Ian plays a fair bit of Pandora so he might be able to counter her in an interesting way that I could learn from (I figured he would probably not also take Pandora for a mirror match due to the schemes and strategy). Finally, I wanted to use Lust and the Primordial Magic again before handing them back Lewis. I’m always worried about Frame For Murder against Zoraida but decided to put in on Barbaros thinking that he might be annoying enough to want to kill, but not so annoying that all the Voodoo Doll tricks would be applied to him (I expected Nekima to bear the brunt of that). For my other scheme, I love Search The Ruins as it goes well with my overall strategy of killing all the things as soon as possible. Ian deployed his entire crew in the back right-hand corner.

Turn 1: Ian moves his speedy stuff over to my left. Zoraida Obeys the Wisp to summon a Voodoo Doll which Hems Lust. Barbaros moves up aggressively and swaps in Fears Given Form. The Doll swaps Hem to Barbaros, then Iggy sets it ablaze to the tune of six Burning and the Sorrow Paralyses it with Doldrums. A single manly tear rolls down Barbaros’s Paralysed cheek; he uses up a couple of Soulstones to survive on a single wound. So much for my expectation that Nekima would be the primary target. Meanwhile, Pandora is pushed forward by Lust, Incites both Silurids and pulses Inflict a couple of times to annoy the Silurids and Aionus (who has picked up Fears Given Form by this point).

Turn 2: Both Silurids get activated and Leap / run away from Pandora. Nekima blends the Wisp to cause Horror duels (all passed) for the clump of Ian’s crew still in their back corner and cuddles in nice and close to them for Black Blood purposes. Pandora kills the Insidious Madness and does nothing to Aionus, who is equally useless in return. The Primordial Magic pokes the Silurid and gets it down to a single wound. Zoraida summons another Doll which fails to Hem Nekima, then fails to Obey it to try again (Ian’s hand is drained due to the static duels I keep making him take). Iggy Incites Nekima, then Lust pushes Nekima fractionally toward Iggy purely so that she’ll fail the Willpoer duel, take damage from the Sorrow’s Misery ability and splash Black Blood all about the place. Lust then kills the Sorrow with a lucky trigger on Now Kiss. I score for the strategy.

Turn 3: Nekima focuses to hurt Zoraida (Ian does remember to use a Soulstone on defense, perhaps in part because we’d just been talking about my failure against his cousin in game 1) then drops Iggy. Zoraida takes off with Raven Form. On the far left, my Tot kills the wounded Silurid; all credit to Ian here for letting me take back the charge when he reminded me about Perfect Camouflage. The other Silurid Leaps off to drop a scheme marker. Lust pushes Barbaros back to my side and chases after Zoraida. Aionus does a cool trick to move one my scheme markers which is down for Search The Ruins into a place that it’ll make it almost impossible to score full points, then bounces off Pandora again. The Doll finally Hem Nekima, then pokes her and eventually dies to a flood of Black Blood damage which was quite amusing. Pandora continues to whittle down Aionus, taking wounds from Fears Given Form in the process. Barbaros and the nearby Tot take their chances on negative flips to attack Zoraida and do manage to extract her last Soulstone. I score for Reconnoitre and Ian gets one for Leave Your Mark.

Turn 4: Lust Focuses and cheats in the Red Joker to kill Zoraida with Heartbreaker. The Silurid puts down two scheme markers, Barbaros moves to cover one and the Tot Sprints twice to stand on the other. Pandora finally kills Aionus and Ian has seen enough. The Primodial Magic moves to be the needed extra scheme marker for Search The Ruins. My Neverborn win 7 – 1 (4 for Reconnoitre and 3 for Search The Ruins for me; 1 for Leave Your Mark for Ian).

As always, I had a great game against Ian with plenty of entertaining moments. The score flattered me a bit; if Ian won initiative in turn 4 he could have easily gotten Zoraida to safety and scored some points for Undercover Entourage. I had slightly expected to struggle to score Frame For Murder, though I suppose I could have run Barbaros in to suicide on Aionus’s Fears Given Form if necessary. But he was quite helpful in dealing with Zoraida and stopping Leave Your Mark at the end, so perhaps that wouldn’t have really helped me. The strategy didn’t really suit Pandora that well, but I felt that her mobility was quite effective and she did keep Aionus busy for the whole game so that is probably worth something.

When the scores are counted up I’ve come in 5th place, which I’m very happy about especially considering that I was on the bottom table for game 2. The overall winner is Ben, of Arcane Reservoir fame, and my big regret of the event is that I didn’t get a chance to test my luck against him. Big thanks to Jamie, Lee and Ian for three very good games of Malifaux, and particularly to Kai and Steve for running the event.

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