Malifaux tournament report: Vapnartak (50SS); 05Feb2017

I always love traveling down to Vapnartak (or Vappa as it is generally known) for the Malifaux event. Most importantly, it is a really smoothly organised tournament which is big enough to bring players from far across the country, giving me a big chance to meet new opponents. The event also takes place within a wargames show and the round times are always set up to allow a long break to wander round and see the demonstration games and stalls set out. Joe and I decided that it would involve too much driving to go there and back in one day so we found a cheap place to stay nearby on the Saturday night and arranged only to drive back after the event.

Game 1: Neverborn (me) vs Ten Thunders (Dan Haslam)

Strategy: Interference, standard deployment

Schemes
Pool: Claim Jump, Eliminate the Leadership, Dig Their Graves, Leave Your Mark, Hidden Trap
Neverborn: Claim Jump, Dig Their Graves
Ten Thunders: Claim Jump, Dig Their Graves

Crews
Neverborn: Lilith (Beckon Malifaux, On Wings of Darkness), Barbaros (Rapid Growth, One Thousand Faces), Nekima (Mimic’s Blessing, One Thousand Faces), 3 Terror Tots, Young Nephilim, Cherub
Ten Thunders: Lucas McCabe (Promises, Badge of Speed, Glowing Sabre), Shadow Emissary (Conflux of Exploration, Strangemetal Shirt), Kang (Equality), Lone Swordsman (Recalled Training), Luna, Guild Hound, Obsidian Oni

I picked up the Lilith box recently and have really been enjoying using her. After several test games it became apparent that I was terrible a positioning around Black Blood so the crew gradually mutated into variations on the current list where everything has the ability. The Tots are great with Dig Their Graves here as I can Sprint them forward, drop a scheme marker then Tangle Shadows to swap in Nekima and be horrible to something. One Thousand Faces on Barbaros and Nekima are intended to change into Fears Given form, mainly as a hand-drain rather than with the idea of actually causing much damage. Barbaros can make it really hard to deal with Nekima by putting up Challenge and positioning neatly. Rapid Growth is something that I find amusing and is relevant often enough that I don’t begrudge spending a soulstone to have it on Barbaros. Finally, the Cherub allows me to drop markers for a (0) action in some places which is obviously useful for my schemes. It also has an amazing ranged attack for a bit more control. I figured that Claim Jump would be a good option as I could place my minions near the centre line and hop from one side to the other as demanded by the strategy; in addition it synergises nicely with Dig Their Graves in that anything coming in to deny Claim Jump risks being killed and giving me the points for it instead.

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Turn 1: The Emissary pushes the Lone Swordsman forward and uses the Shirt while McCabe fails to Black Flash the Oni; instead he gives the Badge to the Oni and the Sabre to the Hound. We both spend a few activations moving our cheap stuff around somewhere near the centre, and in my case dropping a couple of scheme markers with Sprinting Tots. Eventually, Nekima gets swapped for the Young in the middle using Tangle Shadows as I can see an opportunity to deal with the Lone Swordsman before he uses Recalled Training and cuts his way through my stuff. Before this, the Hound charges a Tot who has helpfully dropped a scheme marker to let it do so for 1AP, killing it with a single swing of the Glowing Sabre (the image of Hounds using the Glowing Sabre always entertains me) and scoring Dig Their Graves. Both Barbaros and Nekima swap One Thousand Faces for Fears Given Form. Nekima charges the Lone Swordsman, killing him with Blood For Blood, engaging both Luna and the Hound and scoring for Dig Their Graves in the process.

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Turn 2: Barbaros charges the Shadow Emissary for no real effect other than to engage it and the Oni; he also puts up Challenge as the main point is to be in the most annoying place possible. The Oni has similarly little impact hitting Barbaros in return. The Cherub hits McCabe with its fantastic arrows, Slowing him in the process. He then wastes his activation failing to get round Challenge (as most of Dan’s good cards were used keeping Barbaros off the Emissary). The Tots continue to drop scheme markers and the Emissary hurts Barbaros a little and pushes Kang into a nice place and makes him fast. Ever one to oblige, Lilith Roots Kang in place, so the big chap is obliged to spend his activation throwing hot coals into the melee nearby (and hitting the Oni twice). The Hound pokes another Tot and Luna explodes thanks to Fears Given Form on Nekima, scoring me another point for Dig Their Graves. Nekima polishes off the Hound and moves to engage McCabe. I score for Claim Jump and Interference.

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Turn 3: Kang charges Barbaros, who issues his own Challenge and bops Kang away so he’s on the line between quarters for the strategy. The Shadow Emissary and the Oni continue to flail at Barbaros but he’s hanging on with a few wounds left. Nekima pokes McCabe off his horse and kills Kang. McCabe successfully Black Flashes the Oni so Lilith charges in to kill it for Dig Their Graves. The Cherub kills McCabe with a lucky moderate damage. I score for the strategy and Claim Jump.

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Turn 4: The Emissary finally kills Barbaros (Dig Their Graves) before Nekima cuts the dragon in two. Neverborn win 10 – 2 (full score for me; 2 for Dig Their Graves for Dan).

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That was a fun game and Dan was a pleasure to play with. We spoke a bit after the game about other things he could have done; the biggest one was handing me the Lone Swordsman in turn 1 for nothing. I’m not sure how I feel about losing the Tot in turn 1. On the one hand, if I hadn’t dropped the scheme marker I would not have been charged by the Hound, but on the other hand having that scheme marker let me get started scoring on Dig Their Graves early. And it did leave both dogs in a place where Dan had to worry about Fears Given Form and be potential victims for Nekima.

Game 2: Neverborn (me) vs Neverborn (Ross Hill)

Strategy: Squatter’s Rights, corner deployment

Schemes
Pool: Claim Jump, Accusation, Leave Your Mark, Undercover Entourage, Tail ‘Em
My Neverborn: Accusation, Tail ‘Em
Ross’s Neverborn: Undercover Entourage (Collodi), Tail ‘Em

Crews
My Neverborn: Collodi (Strum The Threads, Fated), Arcane Effigy, Brutal Effigy, Lazarus (One Thousand Faces), Marionette, 2 Bunraku, 2 Stitched Together
Ross’s Neverborn: Collodi (Strum The Threads, Bag of Props, On Wings of Darkness), Arcane Effigy, Brutal Effigy, 2 Bunraku, 3 Marionettes, Doppelganger, Widow Weaver

I decided that Collodi’s ability to spread his AP around and let things go Fast would be useful with this scheme pool and strategy, so I took a big crew of minions and hoped to just swamp the other crew off the Squat markers. To my surprise, Ross apparently took the same approach. After having only played once (that I can think of) against a Collodi crew previously, I now found myself in a mirror match. Even more interestingly, Ross to the other Limited upgrade (Bag Of Props) so I was looking forward to seeing how that worked out for him. With the Widow Weaver and Collodi itself as possible targets of Tail ‘Em it felt like a good option, and I selected Accusation on the basis that I had a lot of AP and not a lot of killing power.

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Turn 1: We both spread out; I realise that I’m not going to get to the corner markers quickly enough to matter as Ross’s Bunraku are so much faster than mine thanks to the Widow Weaver. His Effigies are mainly just using Focus to hand to Collodi throughout the game. I’m (needlessly, in retrospect, I think) concerned about losing my Collodi to Ross’s so I’m trying to be cautious about placement. He makes really good use of Collodi, dispatching one of my Stitched by getting the My Bidding trigger and making it Gamble Your Life on one of my other pieces. For my part, I put Collodi’s efforts into killing the Doppelganger. I gt greedy and use my hand really badly; on the third AP I got a cheatable damage flip but only flipped weak when the Doppelganger had four wounds left. I had a severe card in hand that I should have used while I had the opportunity; instead I tried to save it. I flipped low on the last attack and had to use the card anyway, then flipped the Black Joker for damage leaving the mimic alive. Lesson: use your cards while you have the opportunity.

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Turn 2: Lazarus misses a focused shot at Collodi, then Assimilates My Will to make Collodi finally deal with the Doppelganger. My Collodi hurts his (bearing out my theory that maybe I didn’t need to have worried so much about losing my own Collodi), then takes a shot at the Widow Weaver where we both flip the Black Joker. Ross’s Collodi kills one of my Bunraku and puts Slow on the other one and the Brutal Effigy. My Marionette and Stitched Together claim Squat markers (the latter having to take damage to go Fast to do so) but my placement is bad on the centre marker and Ross sends in a Marionette to take it back. His Bunraku take both corner markers and something uses Tail ‘Em on my Collodi. Ross scores for Tail ‘Em and Squatter’s Rights.

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Turn 3: My Brutal Effigy shoots a Marionette. The Arcane Effigy goes fast, charges into the Marionette. His Collodi kills the other Stitched and a Bunraku. My Marionette puts Tail ‘Em on the Widow Weaver and Accuses a Marionette; the latter pushes out of melee and removes it. I realise that I need to start thinning out the tide of minions; Lazarus starts shelling Marionettes. One of them Tails Collodi who kills two Marionettes and badly mauls a Bunraku. I could use one of Collodi’s AP to hide (and not give up Tail ‘Em) but I also need to consider board position for next turn and decide against it… probably this was a bad move. The Arcane Effigy goes fast, charges into the Marionette in the centre and takes back the Squat marker. The Widow Weaver hides. We both score for the strategy and Ross scores for Tail ‘Em.

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Turn 4: My Arcane Effigy goes Fast, races across the board and Accuses Ross’s Arcane Effigy. His Collodi hurts my Brutal Effigy and hides. Lazarus makes Collodi hurt the left Bunraku more and then it finishes the job and uses My Will to move my Marionette which eventually makes it to the corner marker and claims it for me. His Arcane Effigy successfully polishes off mine but it takes two attempts so it can’t remove Accusation. I score for Squatter’s Rights and Accusation.

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Turn 5: My Brutal Effigy moves round and tags Ross’s Collodi with Tail ‘Em. The Widow Weaver drops another Web and Paralyses my Collodi, then his Collodi races off into my deployment zone. Lazarus marches up to stand on the Squat marker near the rest of Ross’s crew and we call it there. My Neverborn lose 6 – 7 (3 for Squatter’s Rights, 2 for Tail ‘Em and 1 for Accusation for me; 2 for Squatter’s Rights, 2 for Tail ‘Em and 3 for Undercover Entourage for Ross).

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Wow, what a game! It was really great to see how Collodi feels from the receiving end, and Ross played a good game. He used Collodi really well to control my options and it is something I really need to learn from. Having said that, I made a lot of mistakes which hopefully I can use to improve my game in the future. Firstly, it turns out that Collodi isn’t quite as vulnerable as I expected: I really thought that I would be in danger of having one Collodi erase the other in a single activation. I used my cards badly against the Doppelganger and had terrible target priority with Collodi in turn 2; I shouldn’t have even wasted the effort attacking Collodi and set instead about controlling Ross’s incoming minions. Most tellingly, I played the final turn really badly. I should have given up on catching Collodi with the Brutal Effigy and instead sent it the other way round the tent to put Tail ‘Em on the Widow Weaver. I could then have chain-activated Collodi to Accuse her and control her to keep her in sight. That alone might have been enough to get me a draw. Finally, somewhere around turn 4 I realised that I hadn’t even swapped One Thousand Faces for Retribution’s Eye on Lazarus; not that it mattered as he couldn’t hit anything all game anyway.  Oh well, Ross got a deserved win and I got some valuable lessons.

Game 3: Neverborn (me) vs Gremlins (Dimitrios Mourtzouchos)

Strategy: Head Hunter, standard deployment

Schemes
Pool: Claim Jump, Frame For Murder, Leave Your Mark, Hunting Party, Set Up
Neverborn: Frame For Murder (Nekima), Hunting Party
Gremlins: Frame For Murder (Piglet), Hunting Party

Crews
Neverborn: Lilith (Beckon Malifaux, On Wings of Darkness), Barbaros (Rapid Growth, One Thousand Faces), Nekima (Mimic’s Blessing, One Thousand Faces), 3 Terror Tots, Young Nephilim, Cherub
Gremlins: Mah Tucket (Know The Terrain, Dirty Cheater), Old Cranky, Trixibelle, Gracie, Burt Jebsen (Dirty Cheater), Slop Hauler, Piglet, 2 Bayou Gremlins

The crew I selected is probably not the optimal one, but I was feeling a bit tired out so I just chose to use the exact same crew as in game 1. There are quite a few potential Hunting Party victims in it, but none of them are particularly easy to kill and (except the Cherub) can occasionally get a functional heal by growing to the next size of Nephilim. I don’t think that I’ve ever faced Mah Tucket in a tournament previously so I was really interested to see what she did. I figured I should take Frame For Murder on Nekima; with Hunting Party in the pool and Barbaros as my only other Henchman, I thought Dmitri would be almost forced into killing her somehow. For my other scheme I chose Hunting Party of my own; the Gremlin minions are quite cheap but I felt that they would need to put themselves in harm’s way if they were to contribute to the game.

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Turn 1: We both start by moving the cheaper minions forward to set up positions. Trixibelle Gremlin Lures Gracie twice toward my lines, the pig then gets Reactivate and moves in to threaten the Young Nephilim I’ve already moved up. Lilith swaps it for Nekima so Mah pulls Gracie away and kills a Tot. Barbaros moves to be annoying with Challenge and charges Gracie (for trivial damage) engaging her outside her own range; he also takes Fears Given Form. Nekima smites Gracie and I realise that, while I could get her with Blood For Blood, I also have the cards to ensure the pig dies and notice that Dmitri has none of his own left. So I take a chance on Teach Them Fear and get rewarded by Mah failing the resulting Horror duel.

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Turn 2: Trixibelle cheats to win the initiative and the Piglet runs in to tickle Barbaros. Lilith Tangles Shadows to get it away from my Henchmen, then uses Wicked Vines on Burt. He kills a Tot anyway with his gun (scoring for Hunting Party) and the blast knocks the other one down to a single wound. I decide that I’ll have to deal with the (probable) Frame For Murder on the Piglet eventually so I send the wounded Tot in to kill it, getting a Young Nephilim and giving up two VPs for Frame For Murder. Trixibelle Lures Mah back to safety. Barbaros charges the Slop Hauler and it Squeals away. Nekima gets in and kills Old Cranky (got my Frame for Murder) and does Blood For Blood twice to finish the Slop Hauler before it can get better. The Young picks up a head and the Cherub takes an opportunistic shot at Burt and ends up killing him with moderate damage plus the extra from the push after being Rooted. I score for Head Hunter and Hunting Party; Dmitri also scores for Hunting Party.

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Turn 3: Barbaros drops a Bayou Gremlin to score my Hunting Party. Mah comes in and beats up Nekima to get my hopes up about Frame For Murder and Trixibelle rushes up to have some hope of scoring more for Hunting Party. The Bayou Gremlin and my Young Nephilim collect heads and the other Young heads toward the Bayou Gremlin but Black Jokers the first shot to let it Squeal away. Lilith hurts Trixibelle and Nekima smites Mah (but not too hard because I need her to live long enough to get my Frame For Murder). We both score Head Hunter; I score Hunting Party.

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Turn 4: Mah Pushes Nekima away and picks up a head. The Young Nephilim charges the Bayou Gremlin but Black Jokers the first shot to let it Squeal away. Nekima kills Trixibelle and the Bayou Gremlin runs away. It doesn’t help as Lilith Tangles Shadows to bring it back and then cuts the little blighter down, thereby guaranteeing my final points for Hunting Party. We both score for Head Hunter.

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Turn 5: Dmitri has only Mah left. The Young Nephilim picks up a head and tries to keep Mah from having a landing zone to collect one herself. She charges the Young Nephilim but can’t deal damage quickly enough to clear it from the head, so in the end Mah can’t handle it. Neverborn win 7 – 5 (4 for Head Hunter and 3 for Hunting Party for me; 2 for Head Hunter, 2 for Frame For Murder and 1 for Hunting Party for Dmitri).

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It was a pleasure to play against Dmitri; he really seems to know a lot of cool tricks with Mah Tucket. One really interesting thing about Malifaux is how scoring and attrition are not linked; I lost only a couple of Tots in the game and wiped out the Gremlin crew (technically we called it with Mah still alive, but with only a couple of wounds left I’m pretty sure she would have died if we played it out) yet the score was very close. In general I was quite pleased with how things went. For some reason it hadn’t occurred to me that Rooting Burt in turn 2 would just mean he would use his gun to kill the Tot. I might need to reconsider using Nekima as a Frame For Murder target so often; not only is she quite an obvious pick but I often find that I do enough damage getting work out of her that there isn’t anything strong enough in the other crew to actually put her down in the end.

Once all the scores are counted up I come in seventh place (not bad out of 36 players). Most impressively, Joe (the nicest man in Malifaux) has won the event overall Well done to Joe, especially as he was telling me on the drive down to York that he’d never won any event before despite playing since Malifaux 1.5. As always, I had a wonderful time at Vappa and I recommend it to anyone interested in events. Thanks to Dan, Ross and Dmitri for three fun games of Malifaux and especially to Chris for running a lovely event. I already plan to be back next year.

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

Malifaux tournament report: December’s End (50SS); 21Jan2017

Gareth, Jonny, Joe, V and I traveled up north to Aberdeen to attend probably the northernmost Malifaux event venue in the UK: ABZ Games. The scene in Aberdeen is still growing but numbers were bolstered by travelers from various locations so there was a good mix of players attending. December’s End was a fixed master event which suited me fine as I’ve only used Collodi so far in Neverborn; probably Lilith will get a try next. In the end there was a late cancellation so the TO, Martin, got to play and I was drawn against him in round one.

Game 1: Neverborn (me) vs Guild (Martin Cairns)

Strategy: Interference, standard deployment

Schemes
Pool: Claim Jump, Frame For Murder, Dig Their Graves, Hunting Party, Search The Ruins
Neverborn: Claim Jump, Frame for Murder (Marionette with mirror)
Guild: Claim Jump, Frame for Murder (Guild Pathfinder)

Crews
Neverborn: Collodi (Strum The Threads, Bag of Props), Arcane Effigy, Brutal Effigy, 2 Marionettes, Beckoner, 2 Illuminated, Lazarus (One Thousand Faces)
Guild: Perdita Ortega (Trick Shooting, Aura Ancestral), Phiona Gage (Debt to the Guild), Francisco Ortega (Wade In, Hermanos De Armas), Austringer, Witchling Stalker, Guild Rifleman, Field Reporter, Guild Pathfinder

My preference so far has been to use the Fated upgrade for Collodi but that favours a ‘ball of death’ approach which isn’t really compatible with Interference. So I tried out the Bag of Props limited upgrade with the idea that the two Effigies could follow Collodi around and generate Focus or Defensive as needed for it. The Marionettes were initially included to simply sit in a corner and count for the strategy but I realised that I could get some work out of them for Claim Jump too. Since they had to be forward, I took a gamble on Frame for Murder on the left Marionette too. The Beckoner and pair of Illuminated are a solid team that can handle most cases unless they are really out-matched so my plan was to use them on one side and Collodi, the Effigies and Lazarus on the other.

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Turn 1: The Pathfinder summons a Clockwork Trap and double walks suspiciously forward. I’m going to have to deal with him eventually, so the Beckoner Lures the woodsman forward and applies Brilliance. The Illuminated make rather heavy work of killing the Pathfinder but eventually he goes down and scores 2VP for Frame For Murder to Martin. Meanwhile, Collodi receives power-ups from the Effigies who also hit it to trigger Run Away Home and start its advance up the table. Most of Martins crew are hiding behind the forest in the centre but for some reason Phiona edges into it so that my crew can see her. Perdita gets El Mayor and Relocates to Francisco to shoot Collodi so it pushes out of range. That massive firing lane down the right side of the board might be a bit of a problem for me. Collodi applies a load of damage and conditions to Phiona and Lazarus helpfully makes it do some more; in the end Phiona has a single wound remaining. Lazarus swaps One Thousand Faces for Mimic’s Blessing.

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Turn 2: The Witchling Stalker and my Marionette on the left drop scheme markers; my Marionette also moves to block the Guild marker from scoring Claim Jump. Phiona uses her single AP to move into the middle of the board and the Austringer delivers orders to get another scheme marker. The Rifleman shoots the Marionette on the left, leaving it on Hard To Kill and the Beckoner polishes off Phiona. After the Rifleman’s failure, Francisco takes care of the Marionette which scores me 3VP for my Frame For Murder. I had to cheat high on one attack to make sure that the Rifleman didn’t get the job done alone. On the right, my other Marionette drops a marker and moves across the centreline. One Illuminated shoots the Stalker and the other moves up to take the place of the Marionette; Perdita pumps some bullets into him. The Reporter moves up and drops another scheme marker so Collodi creeps across the board to make her pick it up and, later, die to Burning. It kills the Stalker too. I score for Claim Jump and Interference.

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Turn 3: The Guild win initiative and Perdita has a clear shot at Collodi. Even after using Run Away home to get out of the line of fire after the first shot, the end result is a lot of lead coming from Perdita and a lot of splintered wood on my side of the table. The Illuminated charges Francisco to keep him busy and receives a Flurry in return. Lazarus Focuses to fire a grenade at the Austringer, who throws birds at the Marionette before my totem drops another scheme marker. The Rifleman moves forward, being careful to stay out of Lazarus’s range but the Beckoner Lures him forward anyway. The other Illuminated tries to hide from Perdita, then my Effigies either drop scheme markers or get in the way of Martin’s Claim Jump as needed. I score for the strategy and Claim Jump again.

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Turn 4: Francisco finishes the Illuminated off and companions to Perdita who makes short work of my Brutal Effigy. The Marionette drops a final scheme marker before being killed by the Austringer. Lazarus blows up the Rifleman; I might have been better going for the Austringer, but preferred the activation control of killing the Rifleman before it got to do anything this turn. The Illuminated moves up to engage Francisco and Perdita and the rest of my crew move to control quarters and put down scheme markers where needed. I score the last Claim Jump point and another for Interference.

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Turn 5: The Illuminated fruitlessly pokes Francisco before being killed in return. The Austringer fails to deal with the Arcane Effigy which quickly hides from Perdita. The Guild master rushes over to try to drop the Beckoner but can’t go far enough to get the needed number of attacks. The Beckoner and Lazarus take some speculative shots at Perdita but can’t kill her either. Martin scores for Claim Jump and neither of us can get anything for Interference. Neverborn win 9 – 3 (3 for Interference, 3 for Claim Jump and 3 for Frame For Murder for me; 1 for Claim Jump and 2 for Frame For Murder for Martin).

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That was a very fun game; I’m always really pleased to play with people I’ve never faced previously and Martin was a lovely opponent. I am still getting to grips with how to use Bag Of Props Collodi and I’m not sure I learned much about it here except that I need to be much more careful with positioning and to remember to actually use the Focus / Defensive when I’ve built it up. Indeed, I feel like the exact same crew but with Fated instead of Bag Of Props would probably have been more useful. Overall I was in control for most of the game, partly because the early demise of the Pathfinder and more particularly Phiona for no real loss on my side built up a big enough attrition advantage that even when Martin did get on with killing my crew I already had scored most of the points needed. Full credit to Martin for doing a great job leveraging Perdita’s ranged power to good effect to bring the crew counts back to level. In retrospect I’m not sure why he didn’t pick Hunting Party as he had plenty of Henchmen to score it. The table could probably have benefited from a bit more scatter terrain on my right.

Game 2: Neverborn (me) vs Guild (Callum Palin)

Strategy: Headhunter, corner deployment

Schemes
Pool: Claim Jump, Frame For Murder, Accusation, Show of Force, Hidden Trap
Neverborn: Claim Jump, Frame for Murder (Stitched Together)
Guild: Show of Force, Frame for Murder (Nino Ortega)

Crews
Neverborn: Collodi (Strum The Threads, Fated, Threads Of Fate), Arcane Effigy, Brutal Effigy, Lazarus, Barbaros, 2 Bunraku, Stitched Together
Guild: Lucas McCabe (Glowing Sabre, Badge of Speed, Promises), Luna, Brutal Emissary (Conflux of Exploration, Elixir of Life), Executioner (Ready To Work), Nino Ortega (Hair Trigger), Austringer, Mounted Guard

This strategy felt much more comfortable for having a ball of fighty puppets and just keeping them topped up on wounds with Collodi while using my master for a spot of control. I also took Barbaros with some kind of plan for just sitting him behind the line of engagement with Challenge up to draw cards. I’ve enjoyed Bunraku for their high speed and ability to pull pieces to where I want them to be, though after several games I think I have yet to manage to get even a single trigger out of them. Stitched Together are hilarious with Fear Not The Sword (from the Brutal Effigy) as they can go Fast thanks to Strum The Threads then heal the wounds caused by hitting stuff with Gamble Your Life; because of the damage they take if the attack is missed I am generally inclined to cheat to win. Even if they lose, there is a change to pick up reactivate then heal with subsequent attacks. Having written all that, I chose to put Frame For Murder on the Stitched Together. My other scheme was Claim Jump as I didn’t fancy Show of Force at all (indeed, I didn’t even pick for it, which may have been a mistake) and the other schemes involved a lot of messing about with the other crew when I wanted to focus on just killing them and picking up their heads. As you can see, my deployment is terrible: Barbaros is perfectly placed to spray Black Blood over half of my crew.

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Turn 1: Nino Rapid Fires into Barbaros. I cheat high to dodge one shot and stone away the damage from another but there is still a bit of Black Blood damage splashed around; overall a needless waste of my resources which was completely avoidable. The Brutal Emissary passes the Elixir of Life to the Mounted Guard so that they can all get past the mess of forests in the Guild deployment zone. The Effigies power up Collodi and poke it to move my master forward. A Bunraku takes Fast then moves and charges Nino to put a couple of points of damage on him. McCabe reactivates the Mounted Guard, passes the Sabre and Badge to the Executioner and the Elixir to Nino; the latter is pushed back out of the Bunraku’s grasp. I can see that the Executioner is being primed to get flung into the centre of my crew (or worse, to kill Collodi) with the Mounted Guard, so Barbaros, the Stitched Together and a Bunraku move to make the needed movement tricky. Eventually Callum gets cold feet and the Executioner ends up just passing his activation without coming for me. Lazarus Assimilates My Will from Collodi to make the Bunraku pull Nino back with Snatch. Collodi then puts Nino down to a single wound remaining with Burning on him (Callum was out of cards to prevent it) as I think that Frame For Murder is either on him or the Executioner; helpfully the Ortega burns to death.

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Turn 2: The Brutal Effigy gives Collodi Fear Not The Sword (who shares it out) and drops a scheme marker, then chain activates the Stitched Together. The Stitched Together does some nasty damage to the Mounted Guard. McCabe misses a shot at Barbaros, heals the Mounted Guard and passes the Elixir to the Austringer and the Sabre to the Mounted Guard. My Arcane Effigy picks up Nino’s head then chains to Barbaros who charges the Mounted Guard for some fairly trivial damage; my main goal was to gum up the Guild crew with Challenge. Stupidly I forgot about the Brutal Emissary’s abilities and Barbaros is promptly buried. Oh well. The Mounted Guard charges into the Brutal Effigy for little effect, pulling the Executioner with him. Collodi slows the big chap and generally makes sure that neither the Guard nor the Executioner will do much of any consequence. The Bunraku on the right goes Fast and charges Luna, killing her with two lucky moderate damage flips. In the end, nothing at all dies in the scrum in the centre even though I get all trigger-happy with Lazarus and have him lob grenades into the middle of the mess. Callum does manage to deny my Claim Jump but I score for the strategy.

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Turn 3: The Arcane Effigy charges and kills the Executioner (who was looking rather poorly after the mauling he got last turn); the Brutal Effigy chain activates to pick up the head. The Brutal Emissary fails to hurt a Bunraku and the Stitched Together goes Fast and does some nasty damage to McCabe but is also knocked to a single wound itself. Callum can’t let me have another go with the Stitched Together so kills it with the Mounted Guard to score my 2VP for Frame For Murder; of course I was hoping that he would use McCabe to do the job. McCabe does throw himself into the mess in the middle of the board. The Bunraku in the centre finishes off the Mounted Guard and Lazarus Auto-Fires into the big mess but only succeeds in hitting Barbaros twice. Collodi kills the Emissary; I consider finishing off McCabe too (since he has only one wound remaining) but decide not to let Callum have another activation this turn. Barbaros Nimbles round McCabe and stabs the Austringer to push it away from the centre of the board and therefore avoid it scoring for Show Of Force, but only after it has picked up a head. We both score Headhunter and I score for Claim Jump.

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Turn 4: Barbaros pokes at McCabe and throws up his Challenge. McCabe make a bit of a meal of attacking the Bunraku thanks to Callum’s terrible cards (he Black Jokered one of the Challenge checks and needed to cheat another despite being on positive flips from Promises). Collodi kills the Austringer, and Callum has seen enough to end it. Neverborn win 9 – 1 (4 for Headhunter, 2 for Frame For Murder and 3 for Claim Jump for me; 1 for Headhunter for Callum).

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As always, Callum was a classy opponent and made me work probably harder than the scoreline suggests. This game really hinged on two moments, both in the first turn. The first was when Callum found that Nino would die to burning and therefore not score any points for Frame For Murder, which really knocked the wind out of his sails. The second was when, after spending almost the whole of his first turn AP turbo charging the Executioner to come and kill Collodi, he realised that the positioning of the rest of my crew would not make it possible and he aborted the whole process. One of the interesting parts about Malifaux is AP efficiency and the upshot of this was that Callum had wasted almost his entire crew to set something up. From my side, I was obviously quite pleased with the way things worked out. My biggest errors were both with Barbaros, a piece that I love but can’t quite seem to ever get right. As mentioned above, the deployment of Barbaros was absolutely dreadful and could easily have ended up costing me much more dearly in turn 1. Then in turn 2, I really gave him away to the Brutal Emissary; slightly more clever positioning could have probably have at least forced Callum to waste an AP moving into position.

Game 3: Neverborn (me) vs Outcasts (Ali Fergusson)

Strategy: Extraction, flank deployment

Schemes
Pool: Claim Jump, Eliminate the Leadership, Leave Your Mark, Recover Evidence, Tail ‘Em
Neverborn: Leave Your Mark, Tail ‘Em
Outcasts: Leave Your Mark, Recover Evidence

Crews
Neverborn: Collodi (Strum The Threads, Fated), Arcane Effigy, Brutal Effigy, Barbaros (Rapid Growth), 3 Terror Tots, Lazarus, Bunraku
Outcasts: Tara (Knowledge of Eternity, Obliteration Symbiote, Survivalist), Nothing Beast (Void Shield, Tally Sheet), Freikorps Librarian (Oathkeeper), Johana (Scramble), Big Jake, Void Wretch, Ronin, Malifaux Child

Finally a game in which killing all my stuff wasn’t a primary goal for the other crew. I wanted to try a Nephilim-heavy crew for a change as I feel like Tots should be good for gumming things up and also have the speed to get markers down for Leave Your Mark. Since I had the Tots I decided to put Rapid Growth on Barbaros; the idea was not particularly to focus on getting Young / Mature Nephilim but simply to have the possibility to do so if the opportunity came up. For one soulstone it felt worth it. The Bunraku was a late addition to the crew as I felt that a bit more speed might be useful. I chose Leave Your Mark partly as a result of having the Tots and partly just to be a change from Claim Jump; the two schemes are remarkably similar, at least superficially. Tail ‘Em was chosen despite Ali having only two targets because I had so many minions that I was sure I’d be able to keep some scoring going.

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Turn 1: Tara Reactivates the makes the Nothing Beast Fast and buries it. My Effigies power up and push Collodi. The Child makes Johana fast and our crews generally converge but respect each other’s threat ranges. I’m really concerned about the Nothing Beast getting unburied, focusing and tearing up Collodi so some of my moves are to check the movement options on that side of the board. Lazarus Assimilates My Will from Collodi, making it take a Pull The Strings attack against him with the My Bidding trigger so I can move Lazarus into firing range of the Librarian who is out of normal range but also not in cover. The actual firing is not hugely effective, missing twice, but I do get a straight flip on one so cheat in severe damage to land some wounds on Tara. The Bunraku goes Fast and charges Tara, mainly to try to pin her in place; Johana steams over and smashes the little puppet into matchwood. This has the effect of dropping the Nothing Beast out. Collodi puts considerable effort into hampering the Nothing Beast but only manages to draw some soulstones and the Void Shield out of the big monster. Slightly to my surprise, the Nothing Beast charges Lazarus for minimal effect; it would have been tricky but not impossible to get it onto Collodi I think. Tara herself moves round the forest.

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Turn 2: The Nothing Beast focuses then handily flips the Black Joker on an attack on the Lazarus. It does splat the nearby Tot in a single hit though. The Brutal Effigy shoots the Librarian, killing her, then chain activates to Barbaros who moves up to tickle Big Jake and put up Challenge. Tara fails to bury Lazarus. The Terror Tot furthest up the table Sprints then drops a scheme marker. Johana hurts Barbaros and the Arcane Effigy puts Tail ‘Em on the Nothing Beast. Collodi spectacularly fails to do anything substantial to Tara and the Ronin moves to deny my Leave Your Mark from the Tot. We both score for Extraction and I score Tail ‘Em.

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Turn 3: Ali reveals Recover Evidence so I put the markers on my most inaccessible pieces. Johana flurries Barbaros so I cheat the Red Joker on the first swing to push her away with the Knock Aside trigger. Collodi kills the Nothing Beast and Barbaros pokes Big Jake again. Tara runs away to the far end of the board so I can’t possibly catch her for Tail ‘Em. The Ronin polishes off my Tot before it can run away and drop more markers. Lazarus focuses and fires at Barbaros, then cheats in moderate damage to kill Big Jake. Finally, the Void Wretch drops a scheme marker. Ali scores for Leave Your Mark and I score for Extraction.

Turn 4: Collodi sidles across the board and kills the Void Wretch. Tara takes Reactivate and starts running back to where she was last turn. Lazarus moves to engage her simply on the basis that Ali must have a plan for her to do something and I might as well try to stop it from happening. Johana charges Barbaros and gets another go of the Knock Aside trigger; the Arcane Effigy kills her. The Ronin removes my scheme marker and does Seppuku. Barbaros moves up to drop another scheme marker and the Child disentangles itself from the Tot and stands there to deny me Leave Your Mark again. This is where my attrition has come to work for me as I can just have the Tot drop a marker instead. Tara fails to disengage from Lazarus. I score for the strategy and Leave Your Mark.

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Turn 5: We’re pretty much out of time and last activation could be called at any minute. Big Jake reappears next to Tara and recovers some Evidence. The Terror Tot puts down a scheme marker. Tara finally gets away from Lazarus and runs off to drop a scheme marker so the robot follows to deny Leave Your Mark. The Brutal Effigy applies the condition for Tail ‘Em to Tara and the game ends. We both score for the strategy; I score for Leave Your Mark and Tail ‘Em. Neverborn win 8 – 4 (4 for Extraction, 2 for Leave Your Mark and 2 for Tail ‘Em for me; 2 for Extraction, 1 for Leave Your Mark and 1 for Recover Evidence for Ali).

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That was a terrific game; Ali is really improving at Malifaux as he plays it more often. I was impressed particularly with the good way that Ali used his resources to keep the Nothing Beast alive and well in turn 1 though I as mentioned I was quite surprised to see Lazarus as the choice of charge target as I would say that he must be one the least vulnerable miniatures to the Nothing Beast in the entire game. Of course I was trying to make it unappealing to get the Nothing Beast into Collodi but I think it would probably have been possible and I would have been facing a very uphill struggle if Collodi had been killed early in the game. Rapid Growth on Barbaros didn’t end up doing much but I think it was worth the cost to have the possibility to get a Young Nephilim; better flips could have seen me get one from the Malifaux Child in turn 3 but it was not to be. Barbaros in general ended up just doing what he does best: standing in the middle of a crew a forcing them to deal with him. Based on previous games I find he does usually die (he especially hates it when anyone ignores armour) but the idea is to make the other crew expend a lot of AP to do it. One interesting thing that I discussed with Gareth in the pub later was Ali’s choice to move Tara right back to deny me a point for Tail ‘Em. I feel that the opportunity cost of not having any contribution from your master is generally not worth it to save a VP, though I can see that there are some cases where it would be correct move. In this case it allowed me to get a big leg up on attrition by dealing with the Nothing Beast, Johana and Big Jake in close succession.

So once the scores are all counted, I am pleased to see that I get first place. Even more pleasing was the positions of my not-actually-a-team team mates as Joe got second, Gareth third, V sixth and Jonny eighth, so very well done to all of them. I had a great time and the trip to Aberdeen always results in a fun event. Thanks to Martin, Callum and Ali for three fun games of Malifaux, and to Martin again for running everything.

Categories: Battle reports, Malifaux, Tournaments | Tags: , , , , , | 6 Comments

Painted Rooster Riders

These are the first Malifaux Gremlin miniatures I got round to painting. I used Rooster Riders a lot during my brief time playing Gremlins, but I won’t write much about them here because the rules have changes since I last did so. Gremlins as a faction just didn’t really excite me after a dozen games or so and since then I’ve moved on to a different faction for my gaming pleasure.

Rooster Riders are an absolutely lovely concept and I really enjoyed the idea of crazed Gremlins frantically clinging onto the back of the giant chickens and just hoping for the best while steering them in roughly the correct direction. I’ve seen a lot of vividly coloured Roosters but I preferred to keep a rather darker tone for the mount in order to make the green of the Gremlin skin stand out more.

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Next on the painting table: Viktoria of Blood.

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

Painted Jack Daw

Here’s another painted master for my Malifaux Outcasts; this time it is the tormented spirit Jack Daw. Jack is mainly a control master, handing out the Tormented condition by various methods and using it to push friendlies and enemies alike around as seen fit. Enemies who get the Tormented condition by means of Jack’s not-really-an-upgrade cards also have penalties when they try to take certain actions. His main defense is that all attack actions against him are at negative flips; for this reason Jack Daw really hates anyone with a built-in positive flip, or any player who remembers to use the Focus action. In particular there are a lot of these in Ten Thunders and I find him a really risky pick against that faction. I love to play Jack Daw in Headhunter where his ability to push friendly models around is great for picking up heads. He is also pretty nice in any scenario where pieces need to be in particular spots around the centre (for example in Extraction) as it this allows him to keep his own crew within his control auras while disrupting the other crew.

Jack Daw was a bit fiddly to paint as I had to work around the rope coiled about him. But overall I found the miniature to be rather satisfying to paint and not only characterful but a good representation of his appearance in the stories.  There isn’t a lot of scope for complex paint schemes with these large blocks of unbroken texture (i.e. skin, shirt, hood and trousers) which would probably have been highly frustrating for a skilled painter; luckily I do not have that problem.  Many have pointed out that he looks like he’s playing air guitar, and you can see a (much better painted) version by the highly skilled Maria taken to the next level here.

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Next on the painting table: Rooster Riders.

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

Painted Taelor

This is Taelor, the iconic Outcast henchman (henchwoman?) from Malifaux. She wields a massive hammer with great effect, and can activate an ability that lets her charge any summoned models in range. Not only that, be she is also extremely difficult to get rid of, having both hard to wound and hard to kill abilities. Taelor’s main weakness is that she is extremely slow; and spending so many points on a model that will probably spend her first few turns walking is occasionally quite frustrating. Still, Taelor brings a lot to the table, as long as all you really want is for things (especially constructs) to be hammered into the ground like tent-pegs.

The miniature is very nice and dynamic, posed partway into smashing her hammer down. I’ve seen one particularly nice conversion where she is astride Lazarus applying the hammer to his head. The observant might note that her pony tail is on upside-down as I knocked it off while gaming and reasoned that this way round was less likely to catch on things. I like the contrast of the light shirt and dark skin. Her hair is pink partly because I’ve put some pink on all of my Outcasts and partly because I like the way it ties her in with Rusty Alyce with whom she’s often competing for space.

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Next on the painting table: Jack Daw.

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

Painted Montresor

Here is Montresor, the thematic Henchman for the Outcast master Jack Daw in Malifaux. On the table, I’ve really struggled to get much use out of the big chap since his abilities all revolve around bringing pieces in close to him and keeping them there, but do nothing to stop them from simply killing him once they arrive. He can occasionally get a cheeky Paralyse off on non-Soulstone users but overall the opportunity cost for using Montresor is really high. For a single additional soulstone I could use Taelor, Rusty Alyce or Bishop, all of which I rate much higher than Montresor even with the cost difference. That said, Montresor does have a new free upgrade (i.e. functionally an errata fix) to improve him. I haven’t used it so I can’t comment on how effective it has been.

In contrast to how lacklustre Montresor is on the gaming table, the miniature is really nice. I think he’s meant to be part of the Hammer Horror style canon of creepy hangmen, but to me I can’t help but think of Lurch from the Addams Family. Despite his ragged appearance I deliberately kept the painting tidy as I think he looks a lot better that way. As usual for my Outcasts Montresor sports some pink attire; his tie in this case.

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Next on the painting table: Taelor.

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

Malifaux tournament report: Masters of the Path (50SS); 26Nov2016

Gareth and I took the train across to Stirling to join in the last (for us, anyway) Malifaux event of the year at Common Ground Games. I’ve been gradually moving from Outcasts to Gremlins lately as my habit is to change factions roughly every year, but I have to admit that the Gremlins just weren’t making me excited to play them. So with the very kind help of Lewis and Steve I arranged to borrow some Neverborn for the event. My only previous experience playing Neverborn was a sound thrashing at Gareth’s hands a week ago but I was very keen to test out Collodi in tournament play and see how he fares against options other than Ten Thunders. The result of all this is that my games are probably strewn with even more errors than usual and that I won’t add much insight as to why took any particular piece (basically, the answer is always either ‘it looked fun’ or ‘I played it the previous round and felt that there might be some danger of remembering the rules’)

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

Strategy: Reconnoiter, standard deployment

Schemes
Pool: Convict Labour, Leave Your Mark, Exhaust Their Forces, Detonate the Charges, Frame for Murder
Neverborn: Leave Your Mark, Frame for Murder (Nekima)
Guild: Exhaust Their Forces, Frame for Murder (Executioner)

Crews
Neverborn: Collodi (Strum The Threads, Fated, Threads Of Fate), Arcane Effigy, Brutal Effigy, 2 Marionettes, Beckoner, Illuminated, Terror Tot, Nekima (Mimic’s Blessing)
Guild: Lucas McCabe (Glowing Sabre, Badge of Speed, Promises), Luna, Brutal Emissary (Conflux of Exploration, Elixir of Life), Executioner (Ready To Work), Nino Ortega (Hair Trigger), Austringer, Witchling Stalker

The crew is a mish-mash of things I thought might be useful with Collodi. Notably the Marionettes seemed useful for sitting in table quarters cheaply, and the Effigies are neat with Fated Collodi and are similarly cheap. I picked up an Illuminated partly for familiarity from my time using them in Ten Thunders and partly because they seemed to have a helpful interaction with Collodi’s Personal Puppet rule. The Beckoner went in to provide a Lure and to threaten to light things up with Brilliance for the Illuminated. The Terror Tot is fast enough to really threaten areas of the board for Leave Your Mark if I commit masks for Sprint, and I finally I used Nekima because she’s a threat that can’t be ignored for Frame For Murder.

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Turn 1: Nino realises that he’s deployed in ‘Lure to certain doom’ position and wisely opts to stroll back to safety on his perch. The Emissary passes the Elixir to the Executioner for the push, then later McCabe gets is back and passes it and the Sabre again to move the fat man right up the board. The Beckoner Lures the Emissary forward. The Executioner fires up and charges Nekima but has forgotten about Mimic’s Blessing so achieves nothing. Nekima smites the Executioner a couple of times but Black Jokers one flip so Collodi kills him, giving away 3 points for Frame For Murder. This was pretty poor play on my side as the Illuminated was right there and could have finished the job and saved me a VP. Collodi also puts Idle Hands and Slow on the Emissary, makes the Illuminated its Personal Puppet and My Wills it forward, but the resulting charge on the Emissary is quite ineffective.

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Turn 2: The Austringer finishes of a Marionette it attacked last round. The Terror Tot drops a scheme marker and the Stalker fails twice to remove Idle Hands from the Emissary. The Beckoner tags the Emissary and Luna with Brilliance. McCabe Black Flashes the Stalker then helpfully Black Jokers the Horror check to charge the Illuminated. On the second chance the Stalker does manage to remove Idle Hands from the Emissary, so Collodi reapplies it and also uses My Bidding to move Nekima forward. Nino pumps bullets into the Brutal Effigy but it holds up under the fire with a single wound left. Nekima charges in to swat McCabe off his horse and stab the nearby Emissary. The newly dismounted McCabe whips the nearby Marionette and gives the Elixir of Life to the now very poorly looking Emissary, so the Illuminated finishes it off. Luna moves over to deny my Leave Your Mark. I score for Reconnoiter.

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Turn 3: McCabe pokes the Marionette and Exhausts it, then passes the Badge and Sabre to the Stalker to push it away from me. The Brutal Effigy puts down a scheme marker and the Austringer fails to deal with the Effigy itself so moves to deny the scheme. The Illuminated tears Luna up and the Stalker kills the Tot. Nino finishes the Brutal Effigy and Collodi shuffles over to put some damage into McCabe. The Beckoner Lures Nino but Callum has positioned him really well so his move does not end in a long fall. Finally Nekima kills the Exhausted Marionette and charges over to kill the Stalker. I score for Leave Your Mark and Reconnoiter.

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Turn 4: Nino Rapid Fires to gun down the Beckoner (I wasted some cards needlessly here forgetting about the Precision trigger) and Nekima polishes off McCabe. The Austringer hurts my Illuminated which drops another scheme marker for Leave Your Mark. Collodi sidles across the board and uses My Bidding to make Nino jump to his death… it only took me four turns to get him. We call it there as the Austringer isn’t going to stop me scoring again for the last two turns and isn’t likely to kill Nekima. Neverborn win 7 – 3 (4 for Reconnoiter, 3 for Leave Your Mark for me; 3 for Frame For Murder for Callum).

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That was a very enjoyable way to start the day. I made numerous positioning mistakes and let Nino in particular get away with a lot that I could have avoided by positioning a bit more cleverly. I should have seen the Executioner coming with Frame For Murder on him and just used the Illuminated to finish him off, but I just got excited with the options for Nekima and Collodi and wanted to use them. I also realised quickly that with the Executioner dead and the Emissary neutralised by conditions that there was not much chance that Callum would be able to do anything substantial to Nekima. The funny thing was if I hadn’t put Mimic’s Blessing on Nekima then I probably would have lost her to the Executioner at some point and then scored some VP for my own Frame For Murder; overall the attrition advantage was probably worth giving up the points early. Anyway, the game was fun, and Callum is a very nice chap to game with so I was happy.

Game 2: Neverborn (me) vs Resurrectionists (Jamie Clark)

Strategy: Squatter’s Rights, corner deployment

Schemes
Pool: Convict Labour, Show of Force, Leave Your Mark, Undercover Entourage, A Quick Murder
Neverborn: Leave Your Mark, Undercover Entourage (Collodi)
Resurrectionists: Undercover Entourage (Seamus), A Quick Murder (Silurid)

Crews
Neverborn: Collodi (Strum The Threads, Fated, Threads Of Fate), Arcane Effigy, Brutal Effigy, Shadow Effigy, Marionette, Silurid, Beckoner, 2 Illuminated, Terror Tot
Resurrectionists: Seamus (Bag O’ Tools, Red Chapel Killer, Mad Haberdasher), Copycat Killer, Carrion Effigy (Conflux of Infamy), Genbu The Tortoise (i.e. Izamu The Armour), 2 Rotten Belles, Chiaki The Niece (Pull Of The Grave), Canine Remains

I decided in this game to put a bit more stock in Collodi’s personal killing power and use a really high activation crew. I wanted to use a Silurid since I see them as really strong options for this kind of game where mobility is important and otherwise just dropped Nekima in order to pad out my activations a little. I put Undercover Entourage on Collodi as it is so mobile and went again for Leave Your Mark. For the latter, I was planning to use the Silurid and Terror Tot just to run across the centreline (hopefully flipping Squat markers on the way) and start saturating the board with scheme markers. Observant readers will note that I’ve made A Quick Murder the easiest possible scheme to score for Jamie’s crew.

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Turn 1: The Canine Remains digs up a bone and one of the Belles walks forward to Lure Izamu. The Emissary puts down some Shards in the centre of the board. The Shadow Effigy has Collodi share out the Into Shadow condition. The Beckoner Lures in Izamu, then Collodi zaps him and My Wills the Beckoner to apply Brilliance; it also makes one of the Illuminated a Personal Puppet. Seamus summons a Belle, Back Alleys into the centre of the board and Focuses. He then misses the Arcane Effigy anyway because he forgot about Into Shadow; the Copycat Killer later misses a Focused shot due to bad flips. Both Illuminated charge into Izamu and leave the ghostly suit of armour standing with a single wound.

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Turn 2: The Shadow Effigy knifes Izamu to death. Seamus double Focuses and blows away the Silurid for the easiest Quick Murder ever, then summons another Belle. My Marionette moves to cover a marker on the right and is promptly Lured off it by a Belle. Over on the left, the Tot Sprints to claim the end Squat marker and is in turn Lured forward by a Belle. The Beckoner Lures the Emissary forward and it then blows away the nearby Illuminated (which has moved to cover a marker) away with a Red Joker damage flip. Collodi puts some control conditions onto the Emissary and My Wills the Brutal Effigy to flip the right marker. The Illuminated kills the newly summoned Belle. I score for the strategy.

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Turn 3: Collodi knocks Seamus’s hat off and Slows Chiaki. She misses a chance to slow the Marionette so the latter moves up to drop a scheme marker for Leave Your Mark. The Effigies move in to try to keep Seamus engaged and therefore unable to claim the central Squat marker. Belles Lure my pieces around into annoying positions and eventually I commit the Illuminated to keeping Seamus busy. Over on the left, the Belle pokes at the Tot and find that she doesn’t like it when one damage to it causes Black Blood to splash over her and the nearby Canine Remains. A Belle Lures the Canine Remains free of the Tot so it escapes the clutches of the Belle to engage it again. Seamus Back Alleys deep into my area and kills the Beckoner rather fittingly. I score for Squatter’s Rights and Leave Your Mark.

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Turn 4: This is called as the last turn. The Emissary runs to safety and puts up Shards to block off most of my crew; I think that Jamie thought that I had taken A Quick Murder on it. The Arcane Emissary, free of engagement since Seamus disappeared, flips the central Squat marker. Collodi chain activates, puts Idle Hands on Chiaki (to keep her busy) and runs into Jamie’s deployment zone. The Canine Remains finally gets away from the Tot and takes the left Squat marker. The Marionette moves further up and drops another markers for Leave Your Mark. The rest of the turn is Jamie working out if he can move Collodi (he can’t due to My Strings Are My Own), get to take over my Squat markers (too far away from his pieces or covered by something that is hard to deal with) or stop my Leave Your Mark (too far away from the nearest Belle, plus an Emissary and Illuminated move into keep it in place). Neverborn win 8 – 6 (3 for Squatter’s Rights, 3 for Undercover Entourage and 2 for Leave Your Mark for me; 3 for Undercover Entourage and 3 for A Quick Murder for Jamie).

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Overall I was quite satisfied by my performance there. I got a bit too bloodthirsty in turn 1 and spend too much effort dealing with Izamu when I could probably have stalled for another activation and then done the same trick much more effectively to the Emissary. Izamu was too far away to threaten much until Turn 3 anyway when I could have probably controlled him well with Collodi. Obviously, crew selection was a bit silly as it made A Quick Murder really simple for Jamie to score, though with Seamus around I’m not sure what I might have taken to avoid it. Maybe I should have swapped the Marionette and an Illuminated for Barbaros just to make him work a bit more. Jamie’s biggest mistake was getting bogged down with my cheap stuff in the middle so he couldn’t get any of the Squat markers. In particular, Chiaki had a clear run at the right marker on turn 2 but went infield instead. Full credit to Jamie though as he has about as much experience with Resurrectionists as I do with Neverborn, which is to say almost none. So we had a great game of continually trying to remember what our stuff did and consequently really enjoyed ourselves.

Game 3: Neverborn (me) vs Ten Thunders (Gareth Henry)

Strategy: Extraction, close deployment

Schemes
Pool: Convict Labour, Show of Force, Hunting Party, Inspection Catch and Release
Neverborn: Show of Force, Hunting Party
Ten Thunders: Show of Force, Hunting Party

Crews
Neverborn: Collodi (Strum The Threads, Fated), Arcane Effigy, Brutal Effigy, 2 Illuminated, Nekima (Mimic’s Blessing, Malifaux Provides), Lazarus (Mimic’s Blessing)
Ten Thunders: Misaki (Stalking Bisento, Servant of Five Dragons, Recalled Training), Kang (Servant of Five Dragons, Recalled Training), Yamaziko (Hidden Agenda), Yin The Penangalan (Servant of Five Dragons), Johan, Oiran, Katanaka Sniper

So, after a long while Gareth and I got matched up again for tournament play. We generally avoid each other at least for round one as we play against each other almost every week, so there was much joking about ‘not going easy’ on each other when the pairings were announced. With Hunting Party in the scheme pool I didn’t want to make things too easy for Gareth so I trimmed the minion contingent down to just a couple of Illuminated, who are generally tough to kill, plus the Effigies which are at least awkward to dispatch without dedicating a disproportionate amount of effort. Gareth very kindly agreed to let me proxy Lazarus and he borrowed my Johan so it was really just like our regular weekly game. I expected Gareth to take Show Of Force and Hunting Party and decided that I should do the same.

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Turn 1: The Sniper pings a couple of wounds into Lazarus, and the Effigies and Oiran muck about to waste activations; I don’t want to give Misaki an easy target and Gareth doesn’t want to let me unload Nekima on anyone. Johan walks round the corner and an Illuminated gets a Red Joker damage flip on him; the other one finishes him off. Misaki stalks Lazarus and charges over to knock half his wounds off. Collodi slows her and puts a lot of wounds in, burning the last soulstones already. It also makes an Illuminated its Personal Puppet. Lazarus fails to Assimilate My Will (mistake here as I should have healed since I had nothing good in hand) and pokes Misaki a couple of times. Nekima walks over to engage the Ten Thunders crew but fails a Horror duel for ending a walk engaged with Yin which was rather careless; I could have had her put a hit on Yamaziko.

Turn 2: Misaki takes a stab at Lazarus, triggering Assassinate but helpfully Black Jokering the damage flip. She then launches herself at Nekima and really hurts my henchwoman. I have to activate Nekima now or I’ll lose her, so she Focuses to stab Yin and misses an attack on Misaki. Kang drops Recalled Training and beats the left Illuminated to death (scoring for Hunting Party) and engaging Lazarus. Collodi makes him walk away with My Bidding and puts My Will on him, then Slows Misaki. Gareth doesn’t want me to let Lazarus fire into the scrum in the centre, so Yamaziko charges him for a small amount of damage. Yin puts Gnawing Fear on Nekima and knocks a few more wounds off her before the Sniper drops the big Nephilim. Finally, the Illuminated kills Misaki. Gareth scores for Extraction and Show Of Force (actually I thought I’d scored for Extraction too but when we came to count up the scores at the end it wasn’t clear so I let it go).

Turn 3: Yamaziko pokes Lazarus again; Gareth was going to activate Kang but it was clear that with My Will on him that wouldn’t be very helpful. The Brutal Effigy improbably guns Kang down ad chain activates to Collodi. It kills Yin with a Focuses attack and hurts the Oiran. The Sniper puts a couple of wounds onto the Illuminated, then Lazarus Assimilates My Will to make Collodi knock the Oiran down to a single wound before doing the same himself to Yamaziko. The Arcane Effigy finishes her off. The Illuminated can’t do the same for the Oiran which has gone defensive with its only remaining AP. We both score Extraction and I score Show Of Force.

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Turn 4: The Sniper kills Lazarus, annoyingly flipping double severe on a negative flip with Critical Strike to do exactly enough damage to kill my robot. Collodi kills both the Oiran and the Sniper, using My Bidding to make the latter jump from his balcony as part of the damage. This means that I get the remaining Hunting Party points at least. Neverborn win 6 – 4 (3 for Extraction, 2 for Hunting Party and 1 for Show Of Force for me; 2 for Extraction, 1 for Hunting Party and 1 for Show Of Force for Gareth).

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Well, that was a bloody game. I guess that is fitting as we are definitely both from the ‘Play It Like Beatdown’ school of Malifaux, and we both love it that way. I made some pretty big positional mistakes, especially Nekima in turn one letting her get stranded where she couldn’t even force the Sniper to randomise into melee with her. I would have been better off going to 1″ away from Yin and Yamaziko and splashing some Black Blood over them for the trouble of attacking her. I got very lucky in turn 3 with the Brutal Effigy finishing off Kang but with My Will on him I felt that he was under control.

So in the end I come in second behind Javier after the second tie breaker; obviously I’m delighted with that results considering that these were games two to four with Neverborn for me. I had a wonderful time and I hope that I wasn’t too annoying for the other players as I constantly had to reference my cards to remember what anything in my crew actually did. In fact, I enjoyed it enough that I think I will be picking up Collodi and some more Neverborn in the very near future. Thanks to Lewis and Steve for lending me their Neverborn; it was much appreciated. Thanks to Callum, Jamie and Gareth for another three terrific games of Malifaux, and of course thanks to Kai for running the whole event so smoothly.

Categories: Battle reports, Malifaux, Tournaments | Tags: , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Malifaux tournament report: UK Nationals (50SS); 12-13Nov2016

It was the magical time of year again for the Malifaux UK Nationals, so Gareth and I travelled down to Battlefield Hobbies in Daventry to join in the biggest Malifaux ever in the world ever. I had been complaining that it was inconvenient that the event had been moved a couple of hundred miles south (i.e. away from my house) of its previous location in York, but that eventually seemed rather churlish considering that there were enthusiastic fellow gamers coming much further than us from all across Europe. By the time we arrived at the venue everything was set up so we went through the very smooth registration process and chatted with old friends until the time came to begin the games.

Game 1: Outcasts (me) vs Arcanists (Graham Allington)

Strategy: Collect The Bounty, standard deployment

Schemes
Pool: Convict Labour, Exhaust Their Forces, Inspection, Show of Force, Occupy Their Turf
Outcasts: Convict Labour, Inspection
Arcanists: Convict Labour, Exhaust Their Forces

Crews
Outcasts: Jack Daw (Twist and Turn, Writhing Torment, Guillotine Injustice, Drowning Injustice, Firing Squad Injustice), Freikorps Librarian, The Guilty, 2 Freikorps Trappers, Ronin, Johan, Taelor
Arcanists: Colette Du Bois (Seize The Day, Shell Game, Cabaret Choreography), Cassandra (Practiced Production), Howard Langston (Imbued Energies), 2 Performers, Myranda (Imbued Energies) Malifaux Raptor

With a relatively open board and few likely options in Arcanists for positive attack flips (apart from the inevitable Myranda / Cerberus) I opted for Jack Daw. My hope was to Torment some of my crew and keep them in a nice bubble around Jack, then kill anything that came into it. Against Arcanists I’m always keen to try out some Relic Hammers, and neither Johan nor Taelor are bad choices even if there are not any constructs to beat up. The Ronin went in for her handy tool box of ignoring armour, being hard to kill and being able to just disappear without giving up Bounty point. With Inspection in the scheme pool and a lot of open fire lanes I took a Trapper for each side of the board, figuring that they could possibly cause a bit of mayhem in turn 1 then drop scheme markers for Convict Labour in turn 2 and then just sit there scoring Inspection for as long as Graham didn’t send something to deal with them. Graham’s crew was actually the Mr Cooper Dark Carnival stuff, but I’m using the ‘normal’ names for simplicity.

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Turn 1: Cassandra Prompts Colette to Prompt Langston to Vent Steam. The Guilty Torments Johan. Colette drops a scheme marker to be her ‘get of jail free’ card, then Prompts Myranda and a Performer to go Defensive. The Trappers combine to blow away one of the Performers, which I think was worth it for the activation advantage later despite missing out on the Bounty point. Langston just stays where he is and Vents Steam to my great surprise. Myranda gently tickles the Trapper on the left then turns into a Cerberus which finishes him off. Jack Daw Torments Taelor and moves up making sure to stay out of range of the Cerberus for next turn.

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Turn 2: Cassandra uses Understudy to Siren Call Johan. The Ronin cuts the Cerberus and Colette Prompts the surviving Performer to Siren Call Johan two more times then Prompts Langston out of range of the suddenly-very-close Relic Hammer. I figure I’ll have to use Johan now or lose him, so he Focuses (to get round Southern Charm) and drops a Red Joker onto Cassandra. Sadly, she does not get weak on her prevention flip so she survives on a single wound. Not surprisingly, Langston makes short work of Johan. The Cerberus and the Raptor team up to kill off the Ronin while the Guilty and the Librarian drop scheme markers for Convict Labour. Taelor smacks the Cerberus a bit and Jack Daw pushes some of my pieces about and drops another scheme marker. Graham scores Collect The Bounty (or should it be ‘Colette The Bounty’?) and I score Convict Labour.

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Turn 3: Jack Daw makes heavy work of it but does kill Cassandra. The Cerberus Leaps over to Taelor but fails to hit her after some awful flips so the Guilty polishes it off. The Raptor Buries itself and my surviving Trapper puts a couple of wounds into Langston. Taelor ends up moving over to the left Inspection point since she’s the only thing I can get there. Colette Prompts Langston to Focus then again to hit Jack Daw, then the big guy does it himself too. It hurts quite a lot. The Librarian heals him but there is not much left of my master at this point. I do score the strategy, Inspection and Convict Labour though.

Turn 4: Colette again Prompts Langston to Focus and hit Jack Daw. He tries to fight back but the cards are against it and I don’t even land a single hit, so Langston easily cuts him down. I made a mistake in my notes somewhere because I also have Langston getting prompted by Colette to deal with the Librarian this turn, but it doesn’t matter. I score both of my schemes and Graham scores Collect the Bounty.

Turn 5: The Trapper puts a desultory couple of shots in Howard Langston before being mauled by the big chap; to add insult to injury the Raptor finishes him off. Graham scores again for Collect The Bounty. Outcasts win 6 – 3 (1 for Collect The Bounty, 2 for Inspection and 3 for Convict Labour for me; 3 for Collect The Bounty for Graham).

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Every time I play Graham he runs me a bit closer and I always look forward to games against him. I am not sure if I had the right idea using the Trappers for Inspection; they made quite easy targets (though I guess one of them did survive almost to the end) and the game in general didn’t particularly favour bunching up so there was no advantage in forcing Graham to split up to deal with them. I felt Graham was a bit too cautious at the start of turn 1, spending activations to do almost nothing at all; the result was that he never got close to dropping scheme markers for his own Convict Labour.

Game 2: Outcasts (me) vs Gremlins (Lukas Rozanski)

Strategy: Extraction, corner deployment

Schemes
Pool: Convict Labour, Exhaust Their Forces, Leave Your Mark, Neutralise The Leader, Undercover Entourage
Outcasts: Convict Labour, Leave Your Mark
Gremlins: Leave Your Mark, Neutralise The Leader

Crews
Outcasts: Viktoria of Ashes (Sisters in Spirit, Sisters in Fury, Synchronised Slaying), Viktoria of Blood (Mark of Shezuul, Oathkeeper), Freikorps Trapper, Freikorps Librarian, Malifaux Child, Rusty Alyce (Desolate Soul, Oathkeeper), Johan, Hodgepodge Effigy
Gremlins: Som’er Teeth Jones (Show Off, Family Tree), Slop Hauler, Lightning Bug, Burt Jebsen (Dirty Cheater), Francois LaCroix (Dirty Cheater), Pigapult, Stuffed Piglet, 3 Bayou Gremlins

As soon as I saw the big building in the corner I expected some Pigapult shenanigans with it parachuting a couple of Bayou Gremlins into the scoring area each turn. I initially was going to use Leveticus and just aim to turn as many Bayou Gremlins as possible into Abominations, but I got cold feet when I saw that Neutralise The Leader was in the scheme pool. In the end, I selected the Viktorias with the hope that I could use them to clear myself a bit of space each turn and instead took Alyce to possibly turn Bayou Gremlins into Abominations. Likewise, Johan (who I admittedly love to use anyway) is much easier to get work out of when the other crew has to come to him rather than him trudging his pitifully slow self across the board. I was thinking about taking Neutralise The Leader but Som’er is such a tricky master to kill that I decided to take some scheme marker options instead.

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Turn 1: I’ve been far too greedy with the Trapper hoping to put some early shots into the middle of the Gremlins, and pay for it when Francois tanks out and shanks him, shrugging off the Red Joker damage flip with stilts. Observant readers will also note that I managed to put the poor Trapper in the only place on the whole board where it would have been impossible for him to push free of combat, assuming that he had survived Francois’ attentions. Alyce scares the LaCroix with some tasty gunfire into him, burning a good few soulstones out of Lukas’s hand. Meanwhile, my crew moves forward while the Gremlins waste activations. Som’er summons another trio of Bayou Gremlins after using Do It Like Dis for Masks, the Slop Hauler heals a load of them up. Finally, the Pigapult launches the Lightning Bug and one of the Bayou Gremlins off into the corners of the board.

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Turn 2: Alyce puts some more shots into Francois but he survives on a single wound and runs back to the waiting embrace of the Slop Hauler. The Pigapult eats the Stuffed Piglet to fire at Viktoria of Ashes and Som’er gets a couple more Bayou Gremlins into his crew. The Librarian helpfully Black Jokers a healing flip on Viktoria, who is feeling a bit peaky after her run in with falling piglets. I fire Viktoria of Blood out to kill Burt Jebsen and she uses the extra AP from Oathkeeper to return to cover round the building. Various Gremlins take potshots at Viktoria of Ashes, eventually scoring a VP for Neutralise The Leader. The remaining Bayou Gremlins ping shots into Som’er to push him out into the open for next turn; crucially one of them does actually knock a wound off him. The Bayou Gremlin who had been fired into my left corner drops a scheme marker and some of the rest of my crew do the same. I score on the strategy and Lukas scores Leave Your Mark.

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Turn 3: I win initiative and realise that I need to kill Som’er or I was going to get done ugly with his Boomer. I unleash a fully loaded Viktoria of Blood into him, conveniently having drawn the Red Joker onto my hand to kill off Som’er in a single go after the help from a Bayou Gremlin last turn. The Whirlwind also puts down two Bayou Gremlins and the Slop Hauler. A Bayou Gremlin pings Viktoria of Ashes and then Francois charges in to finish her off (another 2 VP for Neutralise The Leader). Alyce shoots at the Lightning Bug but can’t do enough to kill it so it hides and drops another scheme marker. Johan and my Effigy throw down some scheme markers, then one Bayou Gremlin strolls up to deny me from scoring it and the Pigapult parachutes two more in to the middle for Extraction. We both score for Extraction and Lukas scores Leave Your Mark.

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Turn 4: Viktoria of Blood kills the Pigapult then Francois kills her and dies to Dumb Luck (I think that Lukas was expecting me to have Undercover Entourage at this point). Most of my crew get to work swatting Bayou Gremlins and in the end there are only a couple left, but they are in the right positions to deny me Convict Labour and to score Extraction. We both score a point for Extraction and Leave Your Mark. We add up the points and look at the board state and agree to call it there, assuming that I can kill the remaining Gremlins (almost a certainty) which would mean I get both schemes and Extraction in turn 5. Outcasts lose 7 – 8 (4 for Extraction, 1 for Convict Labour and 2 for Leave Your Mark for me; 2 for Extraction, 3 for Neutralise The Leader and 3 for Leave Your Mark for Lukas).

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I had an absolutely wonderful time playing against Lukas and I will have to hope for another opportunity to do so; one of the many great things about an event this size is playing against folk from outside your normal group. The game was flip-flopping back and forth with good and bad flips on both sides, and even at the end of turn 3 I think that neither of us could be sure how it would end. I made poor choices with my schemes; I should have picked Neutralise The Leader even with Som’er’s great ability to avoid being killed on the simple basis that I needed to deal with him anyway. Having said that, I’m not sure that I’d have dropped Convict Labour and Lukas did a terrific job of firing in sacrificial Bayou Gremlins to stop me scoring it. Worse than the scheme choice was my truly awful positioning of the Trapper; almost anywhere else on the board would have been more useful than his actual position.

Game 3: Outcasts (me) vs Guild (Liam Coupland)

Strategy: Squatter’s Rights, standard deployment

Schemes
Pool: A Line In The Sand, Bodyguard, Protect Territory, Cursed Object, Power Ritual
Outcasts: Protect Territory (announced), Cursed Object
Guild: Protect Territory (announced), Cursed Object

Crews
Outcasts: Tara (Knowledge of Eternity, Obliteration Symbiote), Void Wretch, Hodgepodge Effigy, Malifaux Child, Johan, Killjoy, Freikorpsmann, Freikorps Trapper, Freikorps Librarian
Guild: Perdita Ortega (Trick Shooting), Enslaved Nephilim, Brutal Emissary (Conflux of the Hunt), Francisco Ortega (Wade In, Debt To The Guild), Abuela Ortega, Executioner (Ready To Work), Austringer

It certainly felt like a bit of throw-back to use the regular rulebook schemes after a year of the Gaining Grounds 2016 options; I actually had to look up in the book to remind myself what they were and I’m sure I was not the only one. I picked Tara here as I feel in general that she’s quite good against Guild. The ‘Through the hole’ trigger lets you be a bit less cautious with her positioning sometimes and having Obliteration Symbiote is a massive middle finger to anyone who wants to try to Pine Box Papa Loco. I took Killjoy because he’s hilarious with Tara and, looking at the terrain and considering how slow Guild can be to get started, I thought that I could pin them back away from the Squat markers. The rest of the crew was really designed to be cheap so I could spread out and cover most of the markers with enough resilience and speed that I could interact with some of the markers and then just ride out the storm. I picked the two obvious schemes, because one of the big problems with rulebook schemes is that some of them are just much easier to score than others; Cursed Object and Protect Territory being very easy to get points out of. I was expecting Perdita here because the Nephilim can give the otherwise quite slow-moving Guild crews a big advantage getting where they need to be. To my great surprise, Liam deploys almost entirely on one side of the board, seemingly ceding 2 of the Squat markers to me unopposed.

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Turn 1: Francisco starts us off with El Mayor on Perdita. Tara gives herself Reactivate and moves up aggressively. The Austringer pushes Francisco and he takes the first Squat marker. The Malifaux Child fails to make Johan Fast. The Emissary joins Francisco and Abuela order the Executioner to join him. The Nephilim Shackles the Executioner again and fails to make the Emissary claim another Squat marker. The Executioner goes into Tara but Liam seems to have used up anything good out of his hand and nothing much happens. Tara unburies Killjoy in such a way that he can charge the Executioner, hopefully kill him and have enough AP to get right in to gum up the whole Guild crew. Sadly, I have Tara ping Slow onto the Executioner and he fails the Pull The Void duel and Buries; I was hoping to just draw a decent card out of Liam. So now Killjoy is only left with the Df9 Perdita as a target. He goes in anyway, managing a little damage, but it is as futile as you might imagine.

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Turn 2: Tara reburies Killjoy then fires him out again at Francisco for disappointingly little effect. The Emissary hurts Killjoy and companions into Perdita to put more damage into the big chap but between with inconvenience of trying to minimise the effects of Black Blood Killjoy somehow survives. Johan comes in to the death ball to hurt Francisco badly, and more importantly keep everyone in the scrum nicely busy fighting rather than interacting. Francicso finally polishes off Killjoy and does some nasty damage to Johan, then the Freikorpsmann guns down Abuela. The Librarian shoots into combat, hurting Perdita and Francisco who are both looking decidedly unwell now. The Austringer Delivers Orders to Francisco who hands Johan a Cursed Object and the Void Wretch returns the favour to the Emissary. The rest of my crew happily interact with Squat markers and drop scheme markers then finally Tara kills Perdita with her (highly underrated) sword. I score on the strategy and we both get Cursed Object.

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Turn 3: The Emissary puts up its aura then kills Johan and the Void Wretch. He companions to Francisco who hurts Tara; in return she slows the Executioner, Francisco and the Emissary. The Nephilim Shackles the Executioner into poking range of Tara. The Trapper drops the Austringer with a Focussed shot and Tara finishes the turn by passing Francisco another Cursed Object. I score Squatter’s Rights and Cursed Object

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Turn 4: The Executioner kills Tara with a Red Joker on damage and eats one of my scheme markers then companions Francisco who charges the Librarian. The Nephilim pushes the Emissary up to get another Squat marker. The Trapper and Freikorpsmann gang up to kill the Emissary and the Librarian kills Francisco. We both score for the strategy.

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Turn 5: The Freikorpsmann retakes the Squat marker on the far right. The Executioner gives the Librarian a Cursed Object and she give him one right back and runs away. I pump a few shots to try to kill her off but Black Jokers the last damage flip to leave the Librarian alive on a single wound. I score on the strategy and we both get a point for Cursed Object. Outcasts win 10 – 4 (full score for me; 1 for Squatter’s Rights, 2 for Cursed Object and 1 for Protect Territory for Liam).

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It was a fun and instructive game to go back to playing with the old schemes and Liam was a lovely chap to play with. Overall, I think I allowed myself to be a bit unfocussed with my attacks in the early game; at one point I think that Francisco, Perdita and the Emissary were all alive with only about ten wounds between them and I could have been far more effective killing one of them entirely. In general, I felt in control of the game as Liam pretty much just let me have the two left Squat Markers, and with the range on the Trapper I could sit one without any real loss of effectiveness. Being able to tie up so much of the Guild crew with just Killjoy and Johan let me really get on with the rest of the scoring.

Game 4: Outcasts (me) vs Resurrectionists (Mike Hill)

Strategy: Interference, flank deployment

Schemes
Pool: Convict Labour, Hunting Party, Leave Your Mark, Covert Breakthrough, Detonate The Charges
Outcasts: Convict Labour, Hunting Party
Resurrectionists: Convict Labour, Detonate The Charges

Crews
Outcasts: Viktoria of Ashes (Sisters in Spirit, Sisters in Fury, Synchronised Slaying), Viktoria of Blood (Mark of Shezuul, Oathkeeper), Freikorps Trapper, Malifaux Child, Rusty Alyce (Desolate Soul), Johan, Taelor
Resurrectionists: Dr Douglas McMourning (Moonlighting, Plastic Surgery, Decaying Aura), Carrion Emissary (Carrion Conflux), Sebastian (These Are Not Ours), Zombie Chihuahua, Rotten Belle, 2 Necropunks, Rafkin

The Viktorias are probably not ideal for Interference, but I was in the mood for using them so out they came. I also figured that they would make Mike play a bit more cautiously to stop me firing them into anything important early in the game as flank deployment can sometime leave a first-turn whirlwind as an option. Alyce went in the crew to hopefully pick off some isolated piece and summon an Abomination to swing the strategy for me and Taelor got picked because of Welcome To Malifaux. I have to admit to being a bit surprised to see McMourning here; I was expecting to see Nicodem or Kirai. Considering the crew builds, Hunting Party was an obvious choice and I took Convict Labour for my other scheme simply because I was going to have to pass the centreline somehow anyway if I was going to get anything other than a draw on strategy. Probably of note is that the ramps on this board were really slippy and we often had to just declare how far things were up them. I think that there was nothing contentious between us but sometimes it might look on the photos like some pieces have moved much further than they actually did.

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Turn 1: The Trapper shoots McMourning to get his attention and is duly Lured over by the Belle. The Malifaux Child casts Sisters in Fury to ready the slingshot. The Emissary attacks the Trapper and puts up Shards somewhere fairly inconsequential. I should note that, before we started playing, I did ask Mike if he knew what the Viks did and offered to demonstrate, but he assured me that he’d seen them in action before. You’ll note that most of the Ressurectionist crew is gathered in a crowd right across from the Viktorias. I fire Viktoria of Blood across the table, blending McMourning and leaving Rafkin and Sebastian clinging on to life (actually, I got greedy and didn’t stone for Masks on two of the attacks, thinking that I would need to cheat in the 13 of Masks from my hand at some point; anyway the damage was done). Taelor pokes the Emissary and Alyce shoots one of the Necropunks down. Rafkin gently tickles Viktoria of Blood.

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Turn 2: Rafkin kills Viktoria of Blood, Taelor kills the Emissary in return. Sebastian summons a Canine Remains and the surviving Necropunk thinks better of heading anywhere near Alyce’s gun and turns back toward his own corner again. Johan and Alyce end up dropping scheme markers; I’ve actually placed Johan really badly here as I need him to head back to my ‘home’ table quarter since only the Child is there. Viktoria of Ashes gets stuck into Sebastian and everyone else loitering around the corpses of McMourning and Viktoria of Blood; apparently they are slow to learn that women with swords are best avoided in Malifaux. Still, she can’t actually kill any of them. I score for Interference and Convict Labour.

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Turn 3: The Chihuahua poisons Viktoria, then she blends it, the Belle, Sebastian and Rafkin out of existence. Lesson: don’t stand next to unactivated Viktorias. The Canine Remains almost kills her. I score again for the strategy and Convict Labour.

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Turn 4: Alyce finally catches up to the Necropunk and kills it for Hunting Party. The Canine Remains finishes off Viktoria and is rewarded with Taelor’s Relic Hammer to the skull. Mike has seen enough (and run out of models anyway). Outcasts win 9 – 0 (4 for Interference, 3 for Convict Labour and 2 for Hunting Party for me).

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Mike was a real gentleman to play against, but I think that his inexperience cost him a bit here. I think that you have to suffer the Viktoria Whirlwind bomb at least once before you can start to learn how to work around it. The board was quite bare too, which could have been a big factor if we had different crews (it certainly helped Alyce); I did mention that to the excellent Dave (owner of said board and general top bloke) and was pleased to see some more scatter terrain on it for day two.

Game 5: Outcasts (me) vs Gremlins (Joel Henry)

Strategy: Guard The Stash, close deployment

Schemes
Pool: Convict Labour, Take Prisoner, Show Of Force, Leave Your Mark, Frame For Murder
Outcasts: Show of Force, Frame For Murder (Viktoria of Blood)
Gremlins: Take Prisoner (Malifaux Child), Frame For Murder (Taxidermist)

Crews
Outcasts: Viktoria of Ashes (Sisters in Spirit, Sisters in Fury, Synchronised Slaying), Viktoria of Blood (Mark of Shezuul, Oathkeeper), Freikorps Librarian, Malifaux Child, Rusty Alyce (Desolate Soul, Oathkeeper), Johan, Taelor (Oathkeeper)
Gremlins: Zipp (Rambling Diatribe, Hovering Airship, Gift of the Gab), The First Mate (Treasure Map, Where The Captain Can’t See), Burt Jebsen (Dirty Cheater), Taxidermist (Dirty Cheater), Earl Burns, Ronin, 4 Stuffed Piglets

I knew I would be in for a really tough game here against a player of Joel’s reputation; in some ways I’m quite surprised that we haven’t played each other before as we’ve met at plenty of previous events. I felt that the Viktorias in close deployment would give me a good chance, and took Desolate Soul again on Alyce in case there were any nice targets of opportunity to turn into Abominations; obviously Bayou Gremlins are ideal for this. Frame For Murder is an obvious choice on Viktoria of Blood; I did consider doing something else as it is arguably too obvious but ultimately decided that two VPs out of it would be fine. Show Of Force was my preference of the remaining options simply because I wouldn’t have to do anything other than stay in the middle and kill stuff.

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Turn 1: The Malifaux Child starts us off by casting Sisters in Fury and various Stuffed Piglets waste activations. Alyce Rapid Fires into the Taxidermist but can’t hit all three shots as would be needed to kill him. Johan kills a Stuffed Piglet and the Taxidermist summons it right back. Zipp drops a piano on Viktoria of Blood and casts Rambling Diatribe to make sure I have no Masks (which I don’t anyway). Viktoria of Blood goes in to hit him, letting the little Gremlin fly off with the defensive trigger. I’m not even sure why I thought it was a good idea to attack Zipp as I could probably have used Oathkeeper to kill Burt Jebsen much more usefully. Anyway, Burt shoots her and the Ronin shoots Johan.

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Turn 2: Burt kills Viktoria of Blood, giving me two points for Frame For Murder. Then Alyce guns down the Taxidermist, giving Joel three points right back for Frame For Murder; she does at least summon an Abomination for my trouble. The Libratian kills a Stuffed Piglet and Taelor hits Burt. Zipp throws Viktoria of Ashes right back away from the scoring area and Stuffed Piglets get right in her way. Johan and the Ronin trade blows on my right and finally the First Mate pushes Taelor away from the left marker. Joel scores for the strategy and I score Show of Force.

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Turn 3: Viktoria hurts the First Mate but my bad control hand doesn’t allow me to land the critical final blow. Piglets move into awkward positions for me to gum up any charges I might have planned. The Abomination and Earl trade ineffective hits. Zipp throws Alyce and Johan away from the markers. He also pushes Earl away from my Abomination, presumably expecting me to have Take Prisoner on him. The Librarian Furious Casts at the Ronin, hitting twice but leaving her on Hard to Kill as Joel top decks the Red Joker on the last shot. Burt kills Viktoria and Taelor follows Viktoria’s lead by failing to deal with the First Mate who eventually Menacing Croaks her miles away from the Stash marker. We both score for Guard The Stash.

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Turn 4: Zipp goes on a rampage with Up We Go, killing Johan and Alyce and dropping the Librarian far from anything relevant. She misses the Ronin anyway. We call it here, with Taelor nowhere near the action and no chance that I’ll score more points. Outcasts lose 4 – 10 (2 for Frame For Murder, 1 for Show Of Force and 1 for Guard The Stash for me; a full score for Joel).

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It was great to finally get to play Joel and he was a truly lovely person to game with. I made some big mistakes in positioning early on allowing Stuffed Piglets to dictate my movement, but the biggest simple error I made was wasting Viktoria of Blood on a single attack on Zipp in turn 1. She could have dealt with Burt Jebsen easily, and Zipp’s mobility allows him to avoid getting hit by more than one attack per model in melee which is obviously quite important against the Viktorias. There were also a few time, notably in turn 3, where I just couldn’t land important hits; up to that point I felt that I could have worked Joel a bit harder. Still, it was my first time against Zipp so now I have a better understanding of what he can do.

Game 6: Outcasts (me) vs Arcanists (Piotr Jawarski)

Strategy: Head Hunter, standard deployment

Schemes
Pool: Convict Labour, Exhaust Their Forces, Hunting Party, Public Demonstration, Catch and Release
Outcasts: Convict Labour, Hunting Party
Arcanists: Convict Labour, Hunting Party

Crews
Outcasts: Jack Daw (Twist and Turn, Writhing Torment, Guillotine Injustice, Drowning Injustice, Firing Squad Injustice), The Guilty, Freikorps Trapper, Ronin, Johan, Taelor, Rusty Alyce (Desolate Soul)
Arcanists: Marcus (Feral Instincts, Trail Of The Gods, Seize The Day), Myranda (Imbued Energies), Rogue Necromancy (Imbued Energies), Angelica (Practiced Production), Arcane Emissary (Raging Conflux), Jackalope, Malifaux Raptor, Wind Gamin

I love Jack Daw for Head Hunter and saw no reason not to use him for it here. I made sure to bring Taelor and Johan in case of any constructs and a Ronin to add a little to my capability to deal with armour if it came; I wasn’t particularly expecting constructs but some combination of Joss and Howard Langston was not out of the question. I selected Convict Labour thinking that I could possibly get down a few scheme markers in the early game and then hold them by pinning Piotr’s crew back, and also Hunting Party because I am apparently unable to read the words on Wind Gamin cards.

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Turn 1: The Guilty Torments Alyce. The Trapper shoots the Rogue Necromancy and Myranda heals it a couple of times. Jack Daw Torments Taelor and uses Driven By Injustice to move up to the Guilty. Angelica pushes the Rogue Necromancy and Emissary around a little. The Rogue Necromancy misses a shot at Johan and Stalks Alyce. She drops a Rapid Fire onto it and Marcus uses Alpha and Darzee’s Chaunt on the chimera. I must admit that I’d forgotten about Darzee’s Chaunt and was feeling relatively safe behind my cover; instead Taelor gets killed by the Rogue Necromancy. The Emissary also missed a shot at Johan.

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Turn 2: The Emissary picks up a head, then Jack Daw kills the Rogue Necromancy and hands Firing Squad Injustice to the Emissary. The Raptor, which has unburied next to the Trapper, pecks him a bit to get rid of my good cards in my deck. Alyce Rapid Fires into Marcus since he’s helpfully standing out of cover. Johan hits the Emissary and Marcus kills him, then moves to cover the head marker in the middle of my crew. Myranda moves up and becomes a Cerberus which eventually eats the Ronin (for Hunting Party). Piotr also scores on the strategy.

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Turn 3: Jack Daw hurts the Cerberus who is getting attacks passed over by Marcus; in the end I do land Drowning Injustice on Piotr’s master. Marcus misses a couple of swings at Alyce and companions to the Cerberus which picks up another head marker. The Guilty fails to do anything of substance to Marcus and Alyce guns down Angelica. The Emissary kills itself hurting the Guilty (I’m not actually sure if this is allowed at all, and if so whether the last attack is can be made or not, but we assumed that it was fine). Meanwhile the Wind Gamin has been busy dropping scheme markers on the left (with a bit of help from Practiced Production). Piotr scores for Head Hunter and Convict Labour.

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Turn 4: Marcus kills the Guilty and then dies from his Drowning Injustice. Jack picks up the head and kills the Cerberus. Alyce moves to deny Convict Labour, then we run out of time. Outcasts lose 1 – 5 (1 for Head Hunter for me; 2 for Head Hunter, 2 for Hunting Party and 1 for Convict Labour for Piotr).

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I was delighted to get a game in against someone who loves Malifaux so much that they would travel across a continent to play, and Piotr didn’t disappoint as he was a really great chap. This was the only game of the event where I felt a bit let down by the standard of my play. I chose the schemes so poorly that I might as well have just agreed to play six points down; I simply didn’t didn’t understand the implications of the Wind Gamin until it was too late. I was also needlessly aggressive on turn 1; Piotr’s crew had to come to me if they wanted to do anything and I could sit and fire at them on the way, then counter punch with Taelor and Johan. Most importantly I lost sight off what I needed to do in the mid game to score points and got bogged down in a midfield scrum instead of clearing the head markers and collecting them. Finally, I should have seen the danger the Raptor posed to the Trapper and either deployed him on ground level where I could support him with the rest of my crew, or at least put him in the middle of the building where he could have pushed clear of the first attacks rather than being stuck in a corner. None of this should take away from Piotr who played a really good game, clearly had a plan and stuck to it and in general did all the good stuff that I failed to do. I hope to get a rematch some time!

Game 7: Outcasts (me) vs Guild (Luca Pagliai)

Strategy: Stake A Claim, corner deployment

Schemes
Pool: Convict Labour, Show Of Force, Leave Your Mark, Search The Ruins, A Quick Murder
Outcasts: Search The Ruins, A Quick Murder (Francisco Ortega)
Guild: Search The Ruins, Show Of Force

Crews
Outcasts: Tara (Knowledge of Eternity, Obliteration Symbiote), Void Wretch, Hodgepodge Effigy, Malifaux Child, Killjoy, Freikorpsmann, 2 Freikorps Trappers, Freikorps Librarian
Guild: Nellie Cochrane (Guild Funds, Delegation, Embedded), Printing Press, Francisco Ortega (Wade In, Debt To The Guild), Phiona Gage (Transparency, Wrath Of The Guild), Burt Jebsen (Debt To The Guild), Johan (Debt To The Guild), Big Jake, Field Reporter

Partly I chose Tara because this game was against Guild and so for the reasons noted for game 3 against Liam, but in this case also because corner deployment Stake A Claim is about the worst possible arrangement for my rather slow and methodical Outcasts. Tara does at least have a couple of ways to speed things up, either by literally handing out Fast or by burying something so that it can be unburied in the right place. Having 6AP a turn is also rather useful in Stake A Claim of course. As it turned out, I used much the same crew as against Liam too; there was no need to get much fighting done so I limited my killing power to Killjoy and set the rest of the crew up to go for the strategy. The Trappers were positioned to make sure that they could drop Claim markers if they lived long enough to see turn 2; hopefully this would give the rest of my crew time to get into position to score. I took A Quick Murder on Francisco because I was sure I’d need to kill him to get anywhere in the game, and I was afraid if I took it on Phiona that she’s spend the entire game with El Mayor on her. Search The Ruins scores at the end of the game and therefore very much suits my style of ‘kill all the things, then score points’.

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Turn 1: Francisco puts El Mayor on Phiona then moves up and uses Enfrentate a Mi on the middle Trapper to engage him. Oh well; I guess I need to rethink how I place Trappers for safety as I genuinely didn’t see that one coming at all. Tara moves up and pings him for Slow. Nellie zaps the Trapper with Propaganda which allows Francisco to take a swing and finish him off. She also makes Burt Fast. The Child fails to make the Librarian Fast and my surviving Trapper Black Jokers a damage flip on Johan. Tara unburies Killjoy and Temporal Shifts to knock the Slow off Francisco but give Fast to half of my crew. Killjoy tanks over to eat Johan and leave the Reporter on a single wound; I was hoping that I could finish her off with Black Blood if needed.

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Turn 2: Phiona very helpfully Black Jokers her Horror duel on Killjoy, then companions to Francisco who uses Enfrentate a Mi to get Killjoy away from the Reporter, hurts the big chap and puts up Finesse. Tara reburies Killjoy (splashing some Black Blood on Francisco in the process) and Slows Francisco again. My Effigy, Burt Jebsen, the Trapper and the Void Wretch all drop Claim markers, the last one also remove Burt’s effort. Nellie uses ‘Hot Off The Presses’ on Tara to move her away from the action and set her ablaze, makes Phiona Fast and pushes by discarding a nearby marker. The Librarian Furious Casts on Francisco to bring him down to Hard To Kill. Tara slogs back to the action and unburies Killjoy who goes on a rampage. He eats Big Jake and the Reporter in short order and, with a single AP left takes a speculative swing at Francisco. Luca has no cards left and I get lucky with the negative flip, so down goes the Ortega too. I score for the strategy and for A Quick Murder.

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Turn 3: Tara reburies Killjoy and my Trapper misses a couple of shots at Nellie. Nellie puts Humiliation on Tara and and pushes my Effigy away. The Librarian doesn’t manage to land a single hit on Nellie with a Furious Casting then Burt kills Tara which causes Killjoy to fall back into reality. Killjoy makes short work of Phiona, and the rest of my crew drop scheme markers. I score again for Stake A Claim.

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Turn 4: Unbelievably, Nellie flips a Black Joker for her Horror duel to attack Killjoy. The Trapper misses the Printing Press. Burt Jebsen kills the Void Wretch and the Librarian softens him up for the Malifaux Child to stab the last wound off the Gremlin mercenary. Killjoy mangles Nellie and I score for the strategy.

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Turn 5: The Librarian finishes off the Printing Press and everyone else either drops or removes scheme markers as needed. Outcasts win 10 – 0.

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Luca was an absolute gentleman in rather trying circumstances throughout this game. I enjoyed the process of playing with him, but his deck really spoiled the whole thing for us both with two Black Jokers at critical times. Obviously from my side everything went quite swimmingly, apart from my continued bad positioning of Freikorps Trappers. I hope to play Luca again when luck is less of a huge factor.

Well, I absolutely loved everything about that event. It was truly wonderful to be in such an atmosphere of enthusiasm and shared fun. All my opponents were nice and I was especially pleased to be able to get games against people who had travelled so far across Europe to join in. The organisation was terrific and I have to thank Mike and his retinue of helpers for all the hard work they were doing so that all the rest of us could have fun playing with our toys. Thank you to Graham, Lukas, Liam, Mike, Joel, Piotr and Luca for seven super games of Malifaux; I hope you enjoyed them as much as I did. In the end, I came in 35th of 124 players which I was really pleased with. I’m already looking forward to next year!

Finally, there are a couple of other blogs out there covering the event. Dave C posts his on the excellent Play It Like Beatdown blog (here, here and here) and Lewis has put his thoughts up on his new blog (here).

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

Painted Von Schill

This is Von Schill, another Outcast master for Malifaux; he is thematically the leader of the Freikorps sub-faction. Funnily enough, despite being one the first masters I bought for Outcasts I have almost never played him. I don’t think he’s bad or anything (Joe has regularly demonstrated his power against me), but somehow I’ve just never really been excited to put Von Schill on the table.

I do really like the plastic version of Von Schill as it has a bit of the dynamism suggested by his rules; the old metal one was very static in comparison. I’d already laid out my colour scheme with the rest of the Freikorps earlier in the year, so this was a simple case of sticking with the plan of grey and pink. I like the way the old chap looks.

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Next on the painting table: Montresor

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

Malifaux tournament report: OctFAUXber (50SS); 22Oct2016

Gareth and I headed over to Common Ground Games in Stirling for another one of Kai’s excellent Malifaux events. I think that Kai was hoping to participate in this one, having arranged cover for his TO duties, but in the end there would have been an uneven number of players so he dropped out. I picked Gremlins since I have so little experience with them and wanted to run out another event, but my lack of assembled miniatures is quite limiting on what I can actually use. My first round saw me up against Callum; I think he was the last of the regular 2G1P team for me to play Malifaux with.

Game 1: Gremlins (me) vs Guild (Callum)

Strategy: Collect The Bounty, standard deployment

Schemes
Pool: Convict Labour, Exhaust Their Forces, Hunting Party, Frame For Murder, Detonate The Charges
Gremlins: Convict Labour, Frame For Murder (Rooster Rider)
Guild: Hunting Party, Frame For Murder (Nino Ortega)

Crews
Gremlins: Ophelia LaCroix, Lenny, 3 Young LaCroix, Rami LaCroix, 2 Lightning Bugs, 2 Rooster Riders, Slop Hauler
Guild: Lucas McCabe (Glowing Sabre, Badge of Speed, Promises), Luna, Brutal Emissary (Conflux of Exploration, Elixir of Life), Executioner (Ready To Work), Nino Ortega (Hair Trigger), Austringer, Brutal Effigy

I did consider using Wong here as he is also quite a good option for killing, but I decided that the single-target damage output of Ophelia would probably be more useful. Plus, I have more experience with her, having only played a couple of games with Wong. The board seemed quite open so I decided to give Rami a try in order to threaten damage (and hopefully Bounty points) right across the table. The rest of the crew is pretty much the stuff I’ve assembled. Nothing I own apart from the Whiskey Golem and Mancha Roja are very hard to kill, and I felt that against Guild I’d risk losing both of those to shooting before they became relevant. So in the end I probably didn’t really have the right crew for the job, but that is part of how the game is played. With my speed I chose Convict Labour; all the Reckless models make it quite easy to put down all the necessary markers in turn 1. Frame For Murder on a Rooster Rider also felt good; they’re too dangerous to be allowed to roam freely, though Callum didn’t have any Henchmen so I’d have to hope for McCabe to do the deed himself if I was to score all the points for it.

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Turn 1: Nino Rapid Fires at the Slop Hauler, flipping the Red Joker for damage on the first shot and easily dispatching the little chap. McCabe Reactivate the Austringer and passes the Badge and Sabre to the Executioner. Both of my Lightning Bugs go Reckless, advance and drop scheme markers for Convict Labour; the Austringer shoots at the one on my right. Rami shoots a couple of wounds of McCabe since I have so few other good targets. The Rooster on the right fires into the Austringer and bounces off to knock the Effigy down to Hard to Kill; the Emissary kills it and gives the Elixir to the Executioner. With all the pushes, the Executioner is already halfway up the board so he Nimbles and charges Lenny. Luckily for me, Callum has used up most of his hand on other stuff so Lenny gets away with a fairly gentle mauling in the end. Ophelia guns him down (conveniently removing all the relic upgrades from the game) and is Tossed forward by Lenny along with Rami. Finally, the left Rooster moves up and drops another scheme marker.

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Turn 2: McCabe uses his Net Gun to Paralyse Ophelia. How rude! The surviving Rooster mangles Luna and careens off into the Emissary who eventually kills it (scoring me two VP for Frame For Murder). Nino kills the wounded Lightning Bug and a Young LaCroix, scoring for Hunting Party in the process. Rami misses a shot at the Austringer and it then kills another Young LaCroix. My other Lightning Bug moves round to attack McCabe rather ineffectually. I score for Convict Labour and Callum scores Collect The Bounty.

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Turn 3: McCabe makes really heavy work of killing the Lightning Bug. Rami misses the Austringer again. The Emissary notices the Lenny’s willpower is only 1 and buries him on the charge. Callum made a mistake there as he should have used Nino to kill my last Young LaCroix since it is my only remaining target for Hunting Party. So the little Totem runs and hides behind a house. Nino shoots Ophelia instead, then she escapes from the Emissary’s melee range and shows Rami how it is done by dropping the Austringer then the Brutal Effigy. I score for Collect The Bounty and Convict Labour.

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Turn 4: Ophelia blows away Nino (giving up two points for Frame For Murder) and charges the Emissary to keep him busy. McCabe kills Rami and my Young LaCroix runs for the corner of the board. The Emissary makes a couple of half-hearted attacks at Ophelia. I score for Convict Labour again and neither of us score for the strategy.

Turn 5: Lenny and Ophelia gang up to kill the Emissary. McCabe legs it toward the Young LaCroix, Dismounts and charges to easily kill the little chap. I score for the strategy and Callum scores for Hunting Party. Gremlins win 7 – 5 (2 for Collect The Bounty, 2 for Frame For Murder and 3 for Convict Labour for me; 1 for Collect The Bounty, 2 for Frame For Murder and 2 for Hunting Party for Callum).

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That was a tough game against Callum and I thought that I was on course to lose it somewhere around turn 2 and turn 3. Callum made an error not picking off the last Young LaCroix with Nino in turn three and I was able to hang on by my fingernails after that. My crew was really not good for this strategy as they are almost all extremely easy to kill; I might need to look into getting some of the tougher models such as Gracie or McTavish. In retrospect I probably had the range on Callum’s forces so I might have been better served taking Hunting Party instead of Convict Labour and sitting back to let him come to me. On Callum’s side, he really amazed me getting the Executioner to charge into Lenny in my own deployment zone on turn one, but in the end having used up most of his cards and me having almost a full hand left cost him not only the Executioner in exchange for a few wounds on Lenny, but also all of McCabe’s upgrades.

Game 2: Gremlins (me) vs Outcasts (David)

Strategy: Interference, flank deployment

Schemes
Pool: Convict Labour, Hunting Party, Show Of Force, Catch And Release, Search The Ruins
Gremlins: Convict Labour, Search The Ruins
Outcasts: Hunting Party, Search The Ruins

Crews
Gremlins: Ophelia LaCroix, Lenny, 3 Young LaCroix, 2 Bayou Gremlins, 2 Lightning Bugs, 2 Rooster Riders, Slop Hauler
Outcasts: Parker Barrows (Crate of Dynamite, Coordinated Heist, Black Market), Mad Dog Bracket (Lucky Poncho, I Pay Better), Johan (Scout The Field), Freikorps Librarian (Scout The Field), Doc Mitchell, 3 Bandidos

Hunting Party was in the pool again for this one but I just resigned myself to giving up points for that scheme in exchange for a huge number of activations and cheap minions to lock down the strategy. The plan was to keep the two Bayou Gremlins safely in the back to secure the table quarters closest to me, then rush David’s crew with the whole of mine, hoping to get enough of an attrition advantage from early kills from Ophelia and the Rooster Riders. The way the board was set out I felt that I could get two scheme markers down for Convict Labour on my right without too much of pain, then I would have to put down only one on the further side of the board. I didn’t even try for Show of Force, figuring that I could probably afford to give up a couple of points there if David was willing to keep one of his upgraded miniatures from scoring on the strategy. For Search The Ruins I hoped to be able to re-use one or more of the markers from Convict Labour by turn 5 and otherwise have enough AP available that I could afford to drop the needed markers. I’ve never played against Barrows or the rest of that crew, so David was kind enough to give me a run-down on their abilities before we started.

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Turn 1: Most of the Outcast crew advance towards me before the game even begins. One Bandido on the right uses Run And Gun to miss a Young LaCroix, meanwhile the Youngs are busy reloading Ophelia with her guns ablative armour. Mad Dog puts a ‘Blow It To Hell’ marker right where I want my crew to shelter from his gun fire, but is left dangerously exposed as a result. On my left, one Lightning Bug zaps a Bandido and the other drops a scheme marker. Parker Barrows duly blows this up and pushes some of his own guys around. The left Rooster eats Bandido and bounces off the other nearby one. Lenny Tosses the Slop Hauler and Ophelia; the former covers Mad Dog and the Librarian in pig food. Ophelia blows away the Librarian and hurts Mad Dog, then the last Rooster comes in to finish him off and also take out a Bandido who was simply standing there minding their own business.

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Turn 2: The Rooster on the right bounces between Johan and Doc Mitchell, killing the latter and leaving the former on one wound. I had to be a bit careful with placement for the last AP to avoid having to send the Rooster in to charge my own models thanks to Rampage. Johan puts the Rooster out of its misery scoring for Hunting Party. The other Rooster finishes off the last Bandido and starts pecking ineffectively at Barrows himself; he guns it down, dropping a few scheme markers in the process which he then uses to re-attach one of his upgrades with Five Finger Discount. The Young LaCroix blaze wildly at Johan until one gets lucky enough to finish him off. The Slop Hauler makes Barrows Appetizing, and he then finds himself getting shot by a Lightning Bug and finally Ophelia. Needless to say, this is not good for his health. With nothing left on the table, David is happy to concede the rest of the points to me. Gremlins win 10 – 1 (full score for me, 1 for Hunting Party for David).

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David is always a happy, fun man to play Malifaux with, and this was no exception. I think that he underestimated the damage that I could deliver, and wasn’t careful enough to keep his models in cover. Of course, I could still have found a way to attack them, but it would have made me work a lot harder to do so. From my side, my only disappointment was that I got so little opportunity to play with the Bayou Gremlins that I had literally only assembled the previous night and never previously tried them on the table.

Game 3: Gremlins (me) vs Ten Thunders (Dave)

Strategy: Stake A Claim, corner deployment

Schemes
Pool: Convict Labour, Exhaust Their Forces, Hunting Party, Set Up, Mark For Death
Gremlins: Convict Labour, Hunting Party
Ten Thunders: Hunting Party, Mark For Death

Crews
Gremlins: Ophelia LaCroix, Lenny, 2 Young LaCroix, Whiskey Golem (Barrel Up), 2 Lightning Bugs, 2 Rooster Riders, Slop Hauler
Ten Thunders: Shen Long (Wandering River Style, Peaceful Waters), Shadow Emissary (Conflux of the Dawn), Lone Swordsman (Recalled Training), Samurai (Favour of Earth), Wandering River Monk (Death Contract), Wastrel (False Target), Peasant, Monk of Low River

So, the third Hunting Party game in a row was going to be trouble for me. I knew that, again, the lack of resilience in my crew could hurt me but I also needed to use fast pieces to cross the board and drop markers. I dropped out some of the very easiest to kill models for the Whiskey Golem which can get around quite nicely with Nimble and a fast walk speed. I think in the end that this is the exact same crew that I played against Dave the last time we met at The Governor General’s Wake. Nothing in the scheme pool really looked very appealing, so I went with Convict Labour on the basis that I was going to be heading for the middle anyway and Hunting Party in the hope that Dave would end up presenting some of his minions to me in the process of trying to score for Stake A Claim.

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Turn 1: The Young LaCroix all reload Ophelia to waste some activations, meanwhile the Peasants and the Monk of Low River muck about to stack some conditions on the latter so that the Emissary can hoover them all up later for cards. Shen Long Mighty Gusts the Wandering River Monk toward me and the Samurai off the my left. The Whiskey Golem moves to the centre of the table and puts up Ironbound as I’m expecting the Lone Swordsman to stonk out and smite whatever I put in the middle of the board. One of the Lightning Bugs that I positioned badly (not in cover, in full line of sight and not close enough to the board edge) gets gunned down to a single wound by the Samurai over in the corner. Lenny Tosses the Slop Hauler and Ophelia; the Slop Hauler and a Rooster Rider drop scheme markers in the middle. The Wandering River Monk kills the Slop Hauler at range and Leaps back to safety. The Lone Swordsman uses Recalled Training to attack the Whiskey Golem to minimal effect, and then Ophelia shoots into the combat for similarly little impact.

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Turn 2: The Lone Swordsman pushes away from the Whiskey Golem and kills a Rooster; the other one kills a Wastrel and hurts the Wandering River Monk badly. The latter Marks the Rooster and leaps away to shoot it. My Lightning Bug on my side of the table puts down a Claim marker. Shen Long Mighty Gusts the Emissary and Samurai around a little, then switches to High River Style. The Samurai charges in to finish off the Lightning Bug he’d shot last turn after it has dropped a scheme marker (I’d planned to use Reckless and do a Claim marker instead, but it had only a single wound on it). The Emissary kills the Rooster and Ophelia puts some bullets into Shen Long. Finally, the Whiskey Golem punches the Lone Swordsman. I score Convict Labour and Stake A Claim; Dave scores for Hunting Party and Mark For Death.

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Turn 3: Ophelia shoots Shen Long but he uses cards, Soulstones and his own wound pool to survive. The Emissary kills the Lightning Bug on that side for Hunting Party and the Monk of Low River heals Shen Long. The Lone Swordsman pushes out of combat with the Whiskey Golem and Stakes his own Claim; the Golem kills him. This was a mistake; I should have used Lenny to drop my own Claim marker at this point. Shen Long swaps for Fermented River Style and charges Lenny, nearly killing him; Lenny swaps him right back. The Samurai gets rid of my scheme marker in the corner and moves into my half of the board. The Young LaCroix start to run back to my corner of the board to avoid shipping more Hunting Party points. Dave scores Hunting Party.

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Turn 4: Lenny kills the Wandering River Monk to score Hunting Party for me (I pay cards to avoid Death Contract); Ophelia chain activates but fails to drop Shen Long again as I’m denied by the Black Joker on a critical flip. The Emissary engages the Whiskey Golem; later the Golem hits it back. I must note what a gent Dave was here as I was trying to get the Golem to disengage and walk round to drop a Claim marker as I thought I could make it to the correct side of the board in one (Nimble) action; Dave kindly measured and allowed me to take back the action when he demonstrated that the range wasn’t right. Shen Long Marks Ophelia, then kills Lenny. The Samurai puts down a Claim marker and Dave Scores on the Strategy.

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Turn 5: Ophelia finally kills Shen Long, then the Emissary Marks the Whiskey Golem and kills it. Dave scores again on Stake A Claim and Mark For Death. Gremlins lose 3 – 6 (1 for Stake A Claim, 1 for Hunting Party and 1 for Convict Labour for me; 2 for Stake A Claim, 2 for Hunting Party and 2 for Mark For Death for Dave).

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That was a terrific, close intense game. Dave played really well, especially with his positioning and efficiency of AP use. I actually felt that I was in a good position around the end of Turn 2 as I thought that the Ten Thunders crew hadn’t advanced enough to score anything on the Strategy, but Dave made brilliant use of his mobility from the pushes to catch me up. I made several notable errors. Most importantly, I had several opportunities to use my miniatures to drop Claim markers but instead did something else; notably Lenny in Turn 3 should have dropped a Claim marker instead of using the Whiskey Golem to attack the already-activated Lone Swordsman. I got too obsessed with wasting Ophelia’s AP attacking Shen Long when I should have given it up much early as a bad job; my first activation of turn 4 should have been to kill the Monk with Lenny then move him to block line of sight from Shen Long to Ophelia, thereby allowing her to drop another Claim marker. In turn 1, my positioning of the Lightning Bug on the left is terrible as it is a clear shot for the Samurai (actually I was quite lucky not to lose it outright that turn); even an inch or so to the left would have kept it safe.  Finally, I think I possibly could have killed the Emissary with the Whiskey Golem in turn 5 if I’d activated it first instead of Ophelia, and she might have been able to survive the attentions of Shen Long.  Anyway, those are all lessons for me to remember; I certainly don’t want to take away from Dave’s strong play to get the victory.

As a small aside, Dave has now become the first member of the 2G1P team to beat me in a tournament, almost two years after we first met (at A New Day Dawns). I’m really pleased as this milestone has been the subject of much banter with all of us, and Dave is a terrific player. So now the pressure is off on both sides. Good work Dave!

After all the scores come in I’m in 6th place, just behind Gareth by a single VP conceded. In addition to all the excellent work the Kai does to run these events, I should also mention that we were able to test a new bit of software for recording tournament results directly into the Malifaux Rankings system. Kai and the team are really doing great things for the Malifaux community with this hard work. Thanks again to Callum, David and Dave for three terrific games of Malifaux, and to Kai again for running another wonderful event.

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

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