Painted Wicked Dolls

Here are some iconic Wyrd miniatures to go in my Malifaux Neverborn crews. Wicked Dolls have the Puppet keyword and hence have some slight synergy with their master, Collodi, who can also summon them. But I have to admit that I have been unable to get much value out of mine, so if anyone has any clever idea about what to do with the cute little dolls then I’d be happy to read it. They are a cheap activation, but they’re in the same cost bracket as the Effigies, Terror Tots and Gupps who I’ve had much more success with. Indeed, if I only wanted cheap activations (and was playing Collodi) I’d probably take Marionettes as they are even cheaper.

For painting I wanted a sack-cloth look with brighter point colours. So these Wicked Dolls have mainly ended up brown and purple, with their cute button eyes picked out in primary colours for more contrast. They were quick to paint (even for me) and it’s nice to get them out of the queue, even if I am not really sure how best to utilise them.

Next on the painting table: Black Blood Shaman

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

Painted Kade

Here is Kade (formerly known as Baby Kade for obvious reasons) for the Malifaux Neverborn faction. Kade is the ultimate ‘glass cannon’ in that he can hit ridiculously hard with that knife, reaching minimum damage 5 in some cases, but has few wounds or defences. He’s pretty fast considering his short legs and seems to principally have two roles. Firstly, to go in and shank something that the other crew would rather didn’t die, then take a few resources to be killed in return. Alternatively, to use his Pounce ability to have things pushed into him and stab them without even needing to activate. Actually I have very little experience with Kade, not because I think he’s bad but rather because there always seems to be something else that I’d put in the crew first.

Painting Kade was very simple as he is mostly bare skin (and not much of that really) plus a nappy and a knife. He got to the front of the painting queue on the grounds that he represents something of a ‘low-hanging fruit’ for me to move from the ‘to be painted’ pile.  That’s a 30mm base, in case you’re interested in scale.

Next on the painting table: Wicked Dolls.

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

Painted Cherub

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

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

Next on the painting table: Kade.

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

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

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

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

Strategy: Reckoning, corner deployment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strategy: Turf War, standard deployment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strategy: Collect The Bounty, flank deployment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strategy: Headhunter, close deployment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strategy: Reconnoitre, close deployment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strategy: Reckoning, standard deployment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strategy: Turf War, corner deployment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Painted Terror Tots

These little chaps are Terror Tots for my Malifaux Neverborn crews. They have the Nephilim keyword and synergise with some other Nephilim to be able to grow into larger and scarier forms, specifically the Young Nephilim which are still in my painting queue. In this form, they are fast scheme runners with a fairly dire attack; the main defense for a Tot (apart from its stats, which are not terrible for the cost) is that they will damage nearby models with Black Blood when wounded so in desperate times I have used them as small bombs to finish off wounded enemies.

I picked white skin mainly because I’d used it previously for the Enslaved Nephilim, and because I think it looks quite reasonable at tabletop distance. The clothes are purple mainly for contrast, though it is also the case that purple is the ‘official’ colour for Neverborn. I’m not sure if I’ll use it across all models in the faction.

Next on the painting table: Cherub

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

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

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

Strategy: Guard The Stash, standard deployment, 40SS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strategy: Interference, close deployment, 45SS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strategy: Collect The Bounty, flank deployment, 50SS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Painted Stitched Together

It’s been a long time since I picked up a paintbrush. But here we are again with some Stitched Together from the Neverborn faction of Malifaux. Many of their abilities have a penalty for failure, and presumably due to this risk element, are therefore rather strong when they actually work. I’ve mainly tested them with the master Collodi, with whom they share the Puppet keyword and they seem to work pretty well with it. In particular, they combine with the Threads of Fate upgrade on Collodi (allowing them to go Fast at the cost of two wounds) and Fear Not The Sword from the Brutal Effigy shared via the Fated upgrade (also on Collodi). Due to the high risk nature of their attack I’m much more likely to cheat to win the duel so it is more often that they will be able to heal. And 3 AP on a Stitched Together can be rather nasty. Stitched Together can also generate an aura of soft cover which can be very useful in certain match-ups.

Stitched Together are pretty obviously meant to be Oogie Boogie from The Nightmare Before Christmas, which makes me happy. I painted them in dull sack-cloth browns as it seemed fitting for their inspiration. I was also looking for something very simple to paint so that I could get back into the feel of it, and it doesn’t get much simpler than almost entirely brown miniatures.

Next on the painting table: Terror Tots.

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

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

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

Strategy: Extraction, standard deployment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strategy: Guard the Stash, flank deployment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strategy: Reconnoitre, close deployment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Malifaux tournament report: Broken Promises (50SS); 04Mar2017

Gareth, Joe, Jonny and V headed (separately) over to Common Ground Games in Stirling to put up another Team Brutal Sensei try at a Malifaux event. Broken Promises was meant to be a two day doubles event which was fun last year (link) but I couldn’t make both days… apparently no-one else could either so Kai very kindly changed it to a one day fixed-faction event. Amazingly this was the first event run by Kai that I had been to in 2017; I believe that I speak for the whole Scotland community when I write that we are all really appreciative of the work that he and his team put in to run these tournaments.

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

Strategy: Headhunter, close deployment

Schemes
Pool: Claim Jump, Frame For Murder, Accusation!, Undercover Entourage, Mark For Death
Neverborn: Claim Jump, Frame For Murder (Nekima)
Arcanists: Claim Jump, Mark For Death

Crews
Neverborn: Collodi (Strum The Threads, Fated), Brutal Effigy, Barbaros (One Thousand Faces), Nekima (One Thousand Faces), 3 Terror Tots, Black Blood Shaman
Arcanists: Rasputina (Shattered Heart, Cold Nights, Armour of December), Wendigo, Snow Storm (Sub Zero), 2 Silent Ones, December Acolyte, Ice Dancer, Ice Gamin

I’ve been playing around with a Collodi and Nephilim grow list lately with mixed success. Actually getting the Nephilim to grow or mature has been rather hit-and-miss, but the crew as a whole seems to work quite well as long as I don’t get obsessed with using Rapid Growth to the exclusion of scoring points. The notable addition to the list is the Black Blood Shaman which, thanks to the recent errata, now actually plays the way it should always have done (i.e. allowing it to apply Black Blood, then using Black Blood Pustule on its victim). In theory, I would put Personal Puppet on the Shaman so that I can Pustule Collodi if it takes any damage but sometime I have not had the opportunity to get this to work as I need the extra push on turn 1 to get somewhere. I was really worried about how open this board was, and this was doubled when Andy revealed his Rasputina crew. I had two options; either sit back, let my stuff die and then pick up my own heads at my leisure, or rush Rasputina to keep her and any relevant mirrors engaged. Those who know me will already know that I preferred the latter option. Reasoning that there were a lot of Arcanists that would be able to deal with Nekima I put Frame For Murder on her (I’ve had problems in some games where I’ve tried this and then killed off any threats to her) and then chose Claim Jump as it would be quite controllable and didn’t need me to get too far into the open ground. I thought I was in even more trouble when I had to deploy first, but Andy surprised me by refusing my left side entirely and castling up on my right.

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Turn 1: The Acolyte Focusses and one-shots the Tot on my far right, which was inconvenient. Luckily, it allows Nekima to fly forward thanks to Brood, so I go with her next. Fears Given Form is swapped in for One Thousand Faces then she charges into Snow Storm and beats it rather harshly. Critically, she’s gumming up much of the Arcanist crew with Fears Given Form and Black Blood. A Silent One marks Nekima for death and heals Snow Storm. I decide I might as well go as deep as I can, so Barbaros triple-moves up and Challenges, covering about half of the Arcanists; he also takes Rapid Growth for One Thousand Faces. Snow Storm walks over and hits Barbaros, then pulls Rasputina out of engagement. Over on my side, the Brutal Effigy gives Fear Not The Sword to Collodi and shoots it, annoyingly hitting for some minor damage and allowing Collodi to push right. The Black Blood Shaman charges Collodi, who relents on the first hit to get Black Blood then gets hit anyway on the second shot but continues to push toward the action. Ideally, Collodi only takes one wound from this process and pushes somewhere around 8 – 9″ (depending on placement and where I’m trying go) but the cards just didn’t fall right. The Ice Dancer moves bases to base with Nekima and gets Paralysed by the Wendigo; this of course had no effect on the Dancer but worked on Nekima. Collodi puts some trivial damage into Snow Storm but does manage to put Slow on it. Rasputina puts some pillars in my way and drops a scheme marker.

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Turn 2: Snow Storm hits Barbaros for a couple of points of damage (we actually had him make a second swing that Red Jokered damage to kill Barbaros, but luckily Andy remembered that Snow Storm was Slow and took the action back), then Barbaros hits back for similarly little effect and Challenges after moving to the most annoying possible place. The Ice Dancer, who is feeling a bit sad at this point after suffering Fears Given Form and Black Blood damage last turn, pokes Nekima again. Nekima un-Paralyses so I can get that tasty Fears aura back in play. A Silent One heals the Ice Dancer and my Tot on the right picks up the head marker dropped by its sibling. The other Silent One finally polishes off Nekima (giving me 2VP for Frame For Murder, and 1VP to Andy for Mark For Death) and the Wendigo picks up her head. Collodi kills Snow Storm and uses the My Bidding trigger on Pull The Strings to make Barbaros move into an even more irritating position, engaging Rasputina, then kills the Ice Gamin which conveniently blows up to finish off the Ice Dancer. Rasputina pushes away from Barbaros then kills him and finally the Acolyte drops a scheme marker. We both score for Claim Jump and the strategy.

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Turn 3: The Wendigo picks up a head, then Collodi kills both Silent Ones. Rasputina Black Jokers a Focused shot at Collodi then drops a scheme marker. Much of my crew also focuses on scheme markers; one Tot Sprints to pick up a head marker. We both score for Headhunter and Claim Jump again.

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Turn 4: Rasputina hurts a Tot and picks up a head. Collodi totally fails to hit the Wendigo (I had a terrible hand, and Andy flipped three kings in a row on defense) which eventually drops a scheme marker. One of my remaining Tots charges it for trivial damage (but mainly to deny Claim Jump) and the other Sprints to get another head. The rest of my crew happily drop scheme markers unopposed. I score for Claim Jump, we both score for Headhunter.

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Turn 5: The Black Blood Shaman Pustules the Tot to finish off the Wendigo, so Rasputina marks it for death and kills it easily. I make a massive mistake and rush Collodi (who has 2 wounds remaining) over to the Acolyte to deny Claim Jump, so the Acolyte gratefully marks my master for death and kills it. I then do what I should have done before, picking up a head with the surviving (unwounded) Tot and Sprint to stand on where Collodi just died. In fairness, I was banking on one of my 3 actions with Collodi being able to at least Slow the Acolyte, but it was not to be. I score again for Headhunter; Andy gets two for Mark For Death. Neverborn win 9 – 8 (4 for Headhunter, 3 for Claim Jump and 2 for Frame For Murder for me; 3 for Headhunter, 2 for Claim Jump and 3 for Mark For Death for Andy).

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Wow, what a close game! From the start, I felt like I would be in really big trouble facing this crew on this board, but Andy castling up in one tiny area allowed me to really drain his hand with Fears Given Form and Challenge covering much of his crew. If not for Collodi’s failure to do anything except die on turns 4 and 5 I think I might have had a slightly more comfortable ride, but sometimes the cards don’t give you what you need. I did needlessly give up a point for Mark For Death right at the end by putting Collodi in a position to be marked and killed by the Acolyte; I could have played it much safer by sending in the Tot instead (it could still have died, but probably it would need moderate damage on a negative flip so was more likely than Collodi who died to weak damage).

Game 2: Neverborn (me) vs Guild (Chris Blakey)

Strategy: Stake a Claim, standard deployment

Schemes
Pool: Claim Jump, Frame For Murder, Dig Their Graves, Hidden Trap, Tail ’em
Neverborn: Claim Jump, Dig Their Graves
Guild: Claim Jump, Frame For Murder (Phiona Gage)

Crews
Neverborn: Lilith (Beckon Malifaux, On Wings of Darkness), Barbaros (Rapid Growth, One Thousand Faces), Nekima (One Thousand Faces), 3 Terror Tots, Black Blood Shaman, Cherub
Guild: Nellie Cochrane (Delegation, Misleading Headlines, Guild Funds), Phiona Gage (Wrath of the Guild, Transparency), Francisco Ortega (Wade In), Master Queeg (Promises), Printing Press, Watcher, 3 Field Reporters

Facing off against Guild I felt a little bit worried that Collodi would be shot to splinters so I went with Lilith instead. She’s also a pretty nice choice for Stake A Claim because the Cherub makes it easier to drop Claim markers, and Lilith can Tangle Shadows if I really need to get an unactivated piece onto the far side of the board. The crew is otherwise largely the same as game one for the simple reason that I find Nephilim highly entertaining to play at the moment. Actually when I saw that Nellie was the other master my choice of master felt a bit less clever since she could target Lilith’s terrible willpower. I love the combination of Claim Jump and Dig Their Graves as it forces a no-win situation on the other crew. They can either come in to deny Claim Jump and risk being killed for Dig Their Graves, or they can just let me have the points for Claim Jump.

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Turn 1: The Watcher zaps Nellie so that she can build some Evidence. My Tots Sprint up and put down scheme markers while Nellie spends some cards to pass activations. Fransisco puts El Mayor on Nellie and moves up. Lilith Tangles Shadows to swap Nekima with the Tot on the right then puts an Illusionary Forest in the way of Queeg and Phiona. Barbaros swaps Fears Given Form in for One Thousand Faces, moves to the centre and puts up his Challenge. The Printing Press gives Evidence to Nellie and she moves up to make Francisco Fast. Nekima notes that there is a neat semi-circle of Nellie, Francisco, the Press, the Watcher and two Reporters within her range (at this point, Dave, playing at the next table, happens to look over and comments on the beauty of this positioning for me). She swaps in Fears Given Form, charges Francisco and eventually kills him (scoring for Dig Their Graves), using the Blood Beauty trigger to drag some of her victims in closer for some Black Blood action. Queeg moves up and one-shots a Tot, allowing my crew in the centre to move up even further.

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Turn 2: The Printing Press Slows Nekima and gives Evidence to Nellie. She chain activates and kills another Tot after making Phiona Fast. The Cherub shoots Phiona to knock off the Fast and push her to within 3″ of Nekima; in return a Reporter pushes Nekima away. Nekima kills Phiona (giving up 3VP for Frame For Murder) but Paralysing the Watcher and both Reporters with Teach Them Fear. Barbaros misses the nearby Reporter and the Shaman drops a scheme marker then Pustules Barbaros to hurt the Reporter anyway. Lilith moves up, drops another scheme marker (thanks to the Cherub) and polishes off the Reporter to score Dig Their Graves. The surviving Tot is able to drop both a Claim marker and a scheme marker due to the presence of the Cherub. I score for Stake a Claim and Claim Jump.

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Turn 3: Once again, the Printing Press Slows Nekima and gives Nellie Evidence. Nellie then repeatedly bumps Nekima off a building, causing her own damage plus another one each time from the Printing Press’s ability which seemed pretty cool. She then Incites the Cherub, which rather helpfully one-shots the Watcher with a Red Joker on damage. Nekima flies back into kill the reporter and Paralyse the Printing Press. Barbaros kills Master Queeg for Dig Their Graves and grows the last Tot into a Young Nephilim. Lilith hurts Nellie. I score for Claim Jump and the strategy.

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Turn 4: Nellie fails to finish off Nekima, who in turn vapourises both the Printing Press and the last Reporter. The rest of my crew gang up to kill Nellie but it takes a while. Neverborn win 10 – 3 (full score for me; 3 for Frame For Murder for Chris).

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Chris was a really nice opponent; despite his playing up his inexperience (which, admittedly did show a little with his positioning in turn 1) I think he was quite a skilled player. If he carries on playing Malifaux at regular tournaments he has the potential to become very strong and I look forward to that happening. From my side, the game went quite smoothly. One downside with a crew like this is that it is really easy for the other player to suicide a Frame For Murder sucker onto Black Blood or Fears Given Form. Since I tend to play quite an aggressive game, I’ve tended to accept that if Frame For Murder is in the scheme pool then I’ll be giving up some points for it at some point.

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

Strategy: Squatter’s Rights, corner deployment

Schemes
Pool: Claim Jump, Leave Your Mark, Accusation!, Mark For Death, A Quick Murder
Neverborn: Claim Jump, A Quick Murder
Arcanists: Leave Your Mark, A Quick Murder

Crews
Neverborn: Lilith (Beckon Malifaux, On Wings of Darkness), Barbaros (Rapid Growth, One Thousand Faces), Nekima (One Thousand Faces), 3 Terror Tots, Black Blood Shaman, Cherub
Arcanists: Sandeep Desai (To Behold Another World, Arcane Reservoir, Enlightened Soul), Howard Langston (Imbued Energies), Carlos Vasquez (Practiced Production, Stunt Double), Arcane Effigy, 3 Wind Gamin, Malifaux Raptor

Joe and I are fairly frequent opponents at Malifaux so we both have a reasonable idea of what the other is likely to take. In this case, I correctly predicted pretty much the whole crew except for Howard Langston. I took Lilith thinking that I might be able to deny the points from Leave Your Mark by Tangling in either Carlos or the Raptor since there was no way that Joe wouldn’t take that scheme (it is close to 3 free VPs for Arcanists if they take Raptors and Practiced Production. I ended up using the same crew as last time, partly because I felt that familiarity with my crew would be priceless in a close game like this, and partly because I thought that the combination of Cherub and Tots could work for the strategy. I chose A Quick Murder because I would need to deal with Langston anyway and I might as well get points for it. Claim Jump was picked mainly because I didn’t fancy any of the others too much.

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Turn 1: The early turn is mostly moving our crews toward the markers; one Wind Gamin and Terror Tot head for each corner. Lilith eventually Tangle Shadows to bring Carlos to her and puts an Illusionary Forest in Langston’s way. Sandeep makes Carlos Incorporeal (how does that ability not have a range?) and summons a couple of Wind Gamin in the centre. Nekima bounces ineffectually off Carlos and my Tot finds that the Illusionary Forest doesn’t do enough to stop him from being murdered by Langston. Both Barbaros and Nekima swap One Thousand Faces for Fears Given Form.

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Turn 2: The Arcane Effigy uses Sandeep’s fireball but Black Jokers the damage on Barbaros; Sandeep takes the opportunity to summon yet another Wind Gamin. Barbaros pushes one of the Gamin off Squat marker. Terror Tots and Wind Gamin claim up various Squat Markers. Nekima again fails to do anything useful to Carlos. Lilith Tangles one of the Gamin threatening to take a Squat marker into her (and to jam Nekima right into the centre of the board) and hits Carlos for a tiny amount of extra damage. Sandeep zaps the Black Blood Shaman and Howard Langston find himself relegated to claiming the last marker. Somewhere in there a Practiced Production marker was dropped by the Raptor which is, of course, right in my corner. We both score for Squatter’s Rights; Joe also scores for Leave Your Mark.

Turn 3: Lilith Roots Langston and drops an Illusionary Forest in front of him, then tries to Root Carlos but is denied by the Red Joker. One of the endless Wind Gamin borrows Sandeep’s push effect to free Langston from his condition. Nekima continues to beat Carlos; he’s looking a bit less well now. Barbaros pushes Langston back and Challenges. Nekima gets blasted by fireballs from Sandeep and his minions. One Wind Gamin suicides on Lilith’s Black Blood and the Shaman finally ends Carlos, though not before he has managed to get another Practiced Production scheme marker down by the Raptor. Over on the left, I make a huge mistake and charge the Tot off the Squat marker to make some pointless attacks on the Wind Gamin; it promptly Leaps over to get the Marker. Oops. In the centre, Langston really wants to get into Nekima but his Wind Gamin are in the way. Eventually he kills one himself and charges in but can’t do enough to kill her. Joe scores Leave Your Mark and Squatter’s Rights.

Turn 4: Nekima kills Langston, getting me 2 VPs for my (not very) Quick Murder. The Wind Gamin on my right finally continues to Leap and move deep enough into my half to drop a scheme marker for Leave Your Mark. Barbaros drops the Arcane Effigy and the cumulative effects of Black Blood and Fears Given Form are finally starting to thin out the herd of Wind Gamin in the centre. Sandeep summons a Wind Gamin but fails to hit Nekima thanks to Barbaros’s Challenge. Eventually Lilith kills Sandeep; she also takes back one of the Squat markers on the way thanks to the Cherub. I score Claim Jump and we both score for the strategy.

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Turn 5: Nekima kills the central Wind Gamin and the Raptor (it felt so good to kill off those accursed things!). The other Wind Gamin manages to top deck a Red Joker on a single hit on Nekima to leave her on one wound before succumbing to Black Blood. The rest of my crew take back the Squat markers and drop scheme markers, scoring me for the strategy and Claim Jump. Neverborn win 8 – 6 (3 for Squatter’s Rights, 3 for Claim Jump and 2 for A Quick Murder for me; 3 for Squatter’s Rights and 3 for Leave Your Mark for Joe).

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That was an amazing game of Malifaux! All the way it was so close and even right at the end it could have gone either way. Joe made a couple of activation order mistakes that led to me being able to keep Nekima alive; she was down to a single wound twice but I was able to get her back to healthy enough to fend off more attacks. In the first couple of turns I was really getting overwhelmed in the centre, especially as I needed to keep an eye on Howard Langston, and the activation control from the sheer number of Wind Gamin was hard to work around. Around turn 4, the tide turned and the Wind Gamin in the middle started to succumb to all the Black Blood and Fears Given Form which allowed me to start fighting stuff that actually was going to do stuff. Wind Gamin still get a ‘they do what?’ response from me every time I find out something new about them.

Game 4: Neverborn (me) vs Guild (Lewis Philips)

Strategy: Interference, standard deployment

Schemes
Pool: Claim Jump, Eliminate the Leadership, Leave Your Mark, Show of Force, Search The Ruins
Neverborn: Claim Jump, Search The Ruins
Guild: Eliminate the Leadership, Show of Force

Crews
Neverborn: Lilith (Beckon Malifaux, On Wings of Darkness), Barbaros (Rapid Growth, One Thousand Faces), Nekima (One Thousand Faces), 3 Terror Tots, Black Blood Shaman, Cherub
Guild: Nellie Cochrane (Delegation, Misleading Headlines, Guild Funds), Phiona Gage (Wrath of the Guild, Debt to the Guild), Allison Dade (Transparency), Big Jake, Printing Press, 2 Guild Hounds, 3 Field Reporters

On the same basis as my game against Chris, I picked Lilith to play Guild. She’s good for Interference as there is no particular benefit to keeping my crew close together and of course can either Root enemy models to keep them in one quarter, or Tangle Shadows to move things to where I want them. After three games I decided to keep it simple and just took the same crew again; ease of use would be more useful here than a finely-optimised crew that I was less familiar with. I decided to use Claim Jump as it would allow me to keep some pieces back in my own quarters and control them while dropping scheme markers, and Search The Ruins on the basis that if I was going to score from it I might have some dominance by the end of the game and be able to spend some of my final AP dropping markers for it.

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Turn 1: We move forward. The Printing Press gives Nellie some Evidence and she moves forward and kills a Tot. I Tangle Shadows to move Nekima forward (replacing the Cherub, as Nellie had rather unobligingly killed the Tot I was planning to use for the purpose. Sadly, I had never previously noticed Nellie’s rule about pushing nearby models that fail attack duels, so Nekima charges Phiona and promptly gets moved back out of range. Against a player of Lewis’s skill, that isn’t a mistake I could afford to make and I genuinely thought that it might end up costing me the game. To add insult to injury, Allison Dade puts Under Investigation on her. Both Barbaros and Nekima swap One Thousand Faces for Fears Given Form.

Turn 2: Phiona puts Nekima on negative willpower duels. Barbaros kills a Hound and moves into the most annoying place possible for Black Blood, Fears Given Form and Challenge. The Printing Press gives Evidence to Nellie and she really hurts Nekima, getting various attacks out of Phiona in the process. However, the succession of Challenge duels drains Lewis’s hand really quickly and some of the attacks simply fail for that reason. Nekima moves in to engage a lot of Guild models and misses a shot on the Reporter thanks to the Black Joker (but she does splash some Black Blood around after Under Investigation goes off). Allison also attacks Nekima then the Cherub shoots her to push her into Nekima. A Hound charges the Cherub but does nothing, and Lilith charges Phiona for minimal effect (I was looking to get her into Nellie but couldn’t get it to work). On the left, the Tots drop scheme markers and one of the Reporters comes over to stop Claim Jump. We both score for Interference and Lewis scores for Show of Force.

Turn 3: Nekima kills Allison and Phiona thanks to a combination of Black Blood and big sword swings. The Printing Press Slows Barbaros and Nellie Slows Lilith and pushes her around. Barbaros hurts the nearby reporter and the Shaman kills off the Hound by casting Black Blood Pustule on the Cherub. My Totem misses a shot at the Reporter and Lilith starts to put some wounds into Nellie. One of my Tots gets severe damage on the Reporter and (to my surprise) she doesn’t move away so the other one hits its sibling to kill her with Black Blood. We both score for Interference and I get Claim Jump.

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Turn 4: Nekima beats Nellie down to a single wound; she cheats in the Black Joker on the last swing to save herself. Nellie Slows Lilith and pushes her around (Black Blood kills the Reporter) then the Cherub Black Jokers a hit on Nellie to keep her in the game. Eventually the Shaman uses Black Blood Pustule on Nekima to kill Nellie. Lilith kills the Printing Press and Barbaros runs over to the Reporter hiding on the left. I’m not sure what the Reporter can do, but figure that Barbaros can deal with her. I score Claim Jump and Interference, Lewis scores one VP for Eliminate the Leadership somewhere in there.

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Turn 5: Lilith runs away from Big Jake’s hatchet and drops two markers for Search The Ruins since the Cherub allows her to do one of them for a (0) action. Jake hits Nekima and Barbaros engages the Reporter. Neverborn win 10 – 4 (full score for me; 2 for Interference, 1 for Eliminate the Leadership and 1 for Show of Force for Lewis).

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That game was much closer than the final scoreline suggested and Lewis really pushed me all the way. I think that he hadn’t appreciated the impact of Challenge in turn 2 when he cycled about 6 cards just with Nellie’s attacks and triggered effects; the card drain was causing him big problems for the rest of the turn. I was really lucky to get away with wasting Nekima’s activation in turn 1; in another game against Lewis that might have been enough to cause defeat on its own. Big Jake didn’t take many actions but he consistently ensured that Lewis didn’t have to worry about holding that quarter.

So after all the results are in, I am in first place. Obviously, I’m delighted by the result, but I was particularly pleased with two other parts of the day. Firstly, on the train home Gareth and I noticed that all four of my opponents won their other three games. Secondly, Jonny had a really great result to get a hard-fought win against a very strong player in David Hamilton. Thank you to Andy, Chris, Joe and Lewis for four great games of Malifaux and again to Kai for organising the whole event in the first place.

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

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