Posts Tagged With: Arcanists

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: 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

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

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

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

Strategy: Collect The Bounty, standard deployment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strategy: Extraction, corner deployment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strategy: Squatter’s Rights, standard deployment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strategy: Interference, flank deployment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strategy: Guard The Stash, close deployment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strategy: Head Hunter, standard deployment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strategy: Stake A Claim, corner deployment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Malifaux tournament report: Scottish GT 2016 (50SS); 23-24Jul2016

This weekend was the biggest Malifaux event of the calendar in Scotland, the Scottish GT. Each year surpasses the last with a record 44 players from across the UK and beyond signed up. Joe, Ben, Gareth and I drove out to Common Ground Games in Stirling and for perhaps the first time ever, actually managed to arrive on time. With so many players, it was not possible for the TO to keep people from regular gaming groups apart, so my first game was against my most regular opponent: Gareth.

Game 1: Outcasts (me) vs Ten Thunders (Gareth)

Strategy: Guard The Stash, corner deployment

Schemes
Pool: Convict Labour, Frame for Murder, Leave Your Mark, Undercover Entourage, Show of Force
Outcasts: Frame for Murder (Jack Daw), Show of Force
Ten Thunders: Frame for Murder (female Illuminated), Show of Force

Crews
Outcasts: Jack Daw (Writhing Torment, Twist and Turn, Firing Squad Injustice, Guillotine Injustice, Drowning Injustice), Freikorps Librarian, Freikorps Trapper, Taelor (Scramble), Guilty, Rusty Alyce (Desolate Soul)
Ten Thunders: Misaki (Recalled Training, Stalking Bisento, Hidden Agenda), Sensei Yu (Servant of Five Dragons, Wandering River Style), Oiran, 2 Illuminated, Yamaziko, Kang

Considering that there were 43 other players, it was a bit of a weird start to the day to get matched up with Gareth as we play each other very frequently. I had big doubts about this game as the strategy and scheme pool looked really good for Jack Daw, but I’m wary of playing him into Ten Thunders as they can kill him so easily with all their positive flips. In the end, I decided to go for it with a slightly elite crew to score on the strategy. Taelor got Scramble to get her through all those forests. When I saw Gareth’s crew, I knew I’d be losing pieces left and right to Misaki (he’s pretty good at killing my miniatures with her) so I went for Frame For Murder on Jack Daw – I might as well make the best of it. With upgrades on both Alyce and Taelor I opted for Show of Force as the other scheme.

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Turn 1: The Guilty makes Alyce Tormented. Sensei Yu fires Misaki across the board, making her Fast in the process. My Trapper guns down the Oiran. Jack Daw makes Taelor Tormented, she moves up and is promptly cut in half by Misaki. Ouch!

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Turn 2: Jack hurts Misaki, she pokes him back a bit. My Guilty kills Misaki off (no points for it, but it’ll be a short game if I can’t get her under control). The female Illuminated moves up and is eventually killed by Alyce, giving up 3VP for Frame For Murder. In retrospect I should have seen that coming, but I suppose I needed to kill her at some point. The other Illuminated moves up in clear sight of the Librarian; I opt to use Furious Casting for some minor damage instead of moving the Librarian up to actually score on the strategy. Yamaziko comes round the corner and smites Jack Daw a few times since I’d forgotten that she also got positive flips on masters. I guess I’m not going to have to fake Frame For Murder on him anyway. I score for Show of Force but neither of us get anything on the strategy.

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Turn 3: Yamaziko finishes off Jack Daw, scoring me the points on Frame for Murder, nimbles over to the Trapper and drops some damage on him and the Guilty. The Trapper pushes free and pings a couple of pointless shots off the Illuminated along with the Librarian but still fail to kill it; it charges in to keep the Librarian pinned away from the Stash markers.  The Guilty is unable to escape from Yamaziko and Alyce and Kang trade punches on the left.  Gareth scores for Guard the Stash and Show of Force.

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Turn 4: Kang kills Alyce. The Trapper shoots Yu a couple of time for minimal impact and the Illuminated makes much easier work of the Librarian the she was making of him. The Guilty moves to make sure I score the strategy and Yu Airbursts the Illuminated back into the fray. We both score for the strategy and Gareth scores Show of Force again.

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Turn 5: This’ll be short as all my stuff is dead! The Trapper misses Yu again; I was hoping for a lucky shot to drop him and deny Gareth the points for Show of Force at least. Yamaziko kills the Guilty and the Illuminated polishes off the Trapper. Gareth again scores for the strategy and Show of Force. Outcasts lose 5 – 9 (1 for Guard the Stash, 3 for Frame for Murder and 1 for Show of Force for me; 3 for Guard the Stash, 3 for Frame for Murder and 3 for Show of Force for Gareth).

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Gareth played a great game to deny me on what I needed. The funny thing is that although we play all the time, the record is very much in my favour and we’ve never met in a M2E event. So in the car, Gareth had joked that he wouldn’t go easy on me if this was the day we did get matched up… and indeed he did not. I probably should have selected a different master as Jack Daw is a bit too much at the mercy of Ten Thunders, but Gareth is pretty experience now at using the Misaki missile to kill whatever he wants dead. I made a big mistake with the Librarian in attacking the Illuminated; I should definitely have gone for the points in turn 2; in the end it might not have mattered but in a close game I couldn’t have afforded to let that go. So after a defeat, I was down the tables to meet Mark. Operation: Submarine was on.

Game 2: Outcasts (me) vs Arcanists (Mark)

Strategy: Turf War, standard deployment

Schemes
Pool: Convict Labour, Hunting Party, Mark for Death, Set Up, Show of Force
Outcasts: Hunting Party, Show of Force
Arcanists: Hunting Party, Mark for Death

Crews
Outcasts: Viktoria of Ashes (Sisters in Spirit, Sisters in Fury, Synchronised Slaying), Viktoria of Blood (Oathkeeper, Mark of Shezuul), Freikorps Librarian, 2 Freikorps Trappers, Johan, Malifaux Child, Taelor (Scramble, Oathkeeper)
Arcanists: Kaeris (Seize The Day, Blinding Flame, Purifying Flame), Firestarter (Imbued Energies), Howard Langston (Imbued Protection), Johana, Willie the Demolitionist, Gunsmith, Union Miner

I went for the Viktorias here in order to leverage Mark of Shezuul for the expected tide of Steam Arachnids, with Taelor and Johan in the crew for their powers against constructs. I’m not sure why I bothered with Scramble on Taelor as I don’t usually find the extra movement worth it without needing the Unimpeded too; probably I should have put Scout The Field up instead simply to score Show of Force. The Malifaux child is a handy option for activation control and sometimes can save an AP from Viktoria of Ashes by casting Sisters in Fury for her. The Trappers were in to take advantage of the relatively open board. In the end, I was quite surprised not to see Ramos here, but at least Langston would be worth trading Taelor for. Since Mark had only two minions I took Hunting Party (and anyway, Viktoria of Blood is pretty good at incidentally carving down minions via Whirlwind).

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Turn 1: We move up, the Trappers taking pot shots mainly at the Union Miner. Langston moves up and makes his steam cloud and Kaeris sets the Union Miner on fire so that he’ll heal up at the end of the turn. The Malifaux Child casts Sisters in Fury. When the Firestarter moves up quite close to Langston (to take advantage of the cloud I suppose) I realised that it hadn’t occurred to me that Mark might not have seen the Viks Slingshot before as he’s been a regular at tournaments since Malifaux 1.5. It’s a bit late now so I demonstrate the principle by launching Viktoria of Blood into Langston, killing him and the Firestarter and making Mark burn a few Soulstones fruitlessly trying to keep the latter standing. Lucky for me that Mark is such a cheery chap as it ended up being a bit of a ‘gotcha’ moment.

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Turn 2: Kaeris sets Viktoria of Blood on fire and the follow up attacks from the Union Miner leave her on one wound. That’s enough though as she vaporises the Miner (scoring for Hunting Party in the process) and puts a few wounds on to Willie. Willie closes up the distance to drop some blasts. The Trappers ping a couple of shots into Johana and the Gunsmith misses Taelor. The Malifaux Child puts up Sisters in Fur and , improbably, manages to cast Misplaced Sympathy on Viktoria of Ashes, thereby healing her sister. Johana uses Open Revolt to heal some nearby Arcanists before the Librarian kills the Gunsmith. Taelor uses Oathkeeper and smashes Kaeris; she’s followed by Viktoria of Blood who leaves the Arcanist master on one remaining wound. I score for Show of Force and Turf War.

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Turn 3: Willie Marks Viktoria of Blood for Death and hurts her a bit. Viktoria of Ashes blends Johana and Kaeris. The Librarian heals Viktoria of Blood (so she won’t die in the explosion when Willie dies), then the latter carves down the Demolitionist. Outcasts win 10 – 0.

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As always, playing Mark is a lovely experience as he’s always smiling and enjoying the game. He took the Viks Slingshot in his stride and, though I am still quite surprised he’s never seen it before, I should have offered to tell him about the crew before we started. There’s not a lot to be learned from this as an Outcast player I think. With one game of the first day still to go, I was happy to be drawn against Conor who had traveled up from England to take part. I love to play against new faces at tournaments; variety is the spice of gaming.

Game 3: Outcasts (me) vs Ten Thunders (Conor)

Strategy: Reckoning, flank deployment

Schemes
Pool: Convict Labour, Exhaust Their Forces, Leave Your Mark, Occupy Their Turf, Search the Ruins
Outcasts: Convict Labour, Search the Ruins
Ten Thunders: Leave Your Mark, Occupy Their Turf

Crews
Outcasts: Viktoria of Ashes (Sisters in Spirit, Sisters in Fury, Synchronised Slaying), Viktoria of Blood (Oathkeeper, Mark of Shezuul), Freikorps Librarian, 2 Freikorps Trappers, Johan, Malifaux Child, Rusty Alyce (Oathkeeper)
Ten Thunders: Lucas McCabe (Glowing Sabre, Badge of Speed, Promises), Kamaitachi, 3 Torakage, Yamaziko (Smoke Bombs, Smoke and Shadows), Lone Swordsman (Recalled Training)

I was very close to taking Jack Daw again here and playing a very defensive game but I learned from game 1 and went instead for a full on offensive approach with the Viktorias again. The terrain has some sparse areas so I put a pair of Trappers and Alyce in my list to abuse that; I only hoped not to face Shen Long and a pair of Katanaka Snipers. On seeing Conor’s list I assumed that he was planning to buy the Torakage and them gum me up with them while forcing me to deal with the Lone Swordsman cutting all my people to bits. Convict Labour and Search The Ruins felt like good choices here as I could score them without having to engage. Therefore if Conor played a stand-off kind of game then at least I could get on with laying scheme markers all over the place. Additionally, if I place the markers well and score Convict Labour in turns 2 to 4, then the same ones can also do for Search the Ruins in turn 5.

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Turn 1: The Torakage disappear in clouds of smoke, one of them taking a Trapper bullet to the face before this; the other Trapper misses a focused shot at Yamaziko. McCabe Black Flashes the Kamaitachi then uses a soulstone to give both the Badge and Sabre to the Lone Swordsman. He then saunters out into some cover on the left. For reasons I am still not clear on, the Kamaitachi then pushes him past a tent on the left to engage (but at more than 2″) the Trapper while also not being close enough to count the cover. Alyce, unable to believe her luck, Rapid Fires into him, drawing more soulstones, most of Conor’s good cards and still leaving him on a single wound. The Lone Swordsman Nimbles up and, to my astonishment, kills McCabe to dismount him (hilariously, he Black Jokered the first damage flip and had to try again). Viktoria of Blood, fully charged with Sisters in Fury, is launched into the Lone Swordsman, dropping him easily and polishing off McCabe and the last of the Ten Thunders soulstones via whirlwind. The Torakage pop out of thin air near to Viktoria of Blood.

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Turn 2: I win initiative. Viktoria of Ashes casts Sisters in Fury, blends two of the Torakage and companions to Viktoria of Blood who kills the last. Conor has seen enough and concedes 10 – 0.

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I felt rather sorry for Conor; he’d just finished a very hard game in round 2 and told me that he had not really managed to get his head right to play our game. I believe that his plan was to swamp my side of the board with Torakage and start scoring for his schemes, leaving the rest of the crew to pick off anything I left in range. But he ended up using too many resources burying the Torakage and was consistently a half inch out on his critical positioning throughout the game. I took Conor out for a couple of pints to commiserate him since we had almost the entire round time left by the time we got finished. Anyway, Conor was a total gentleman throughout this rather one-sided game and was quite apologetic that he’d capitulated so easily. Round 4 on the Sunday was against a contender for top Gremlin; a local I’ve never played before.

Game 4: Outcasts (me) vs Gremlins (Callum)

Strategy: Headhunter, standard deployment

Schemes
Pool: Convict Labour, Exhaust Their Forces, Inspection, Neutralize the Leader, Take Prisoner
Outcasts: Convict Labour, Inspection
Gremlins: Convict Labour, Neutralize the Leader

Crews
Outcasts: Jack Daw (Writhing Torment, Twist and Turn, Firing Squad Injustice, Guillotine Injustice, Drowning Injustice), Freikorps Librarian, 2 Guilty, Johan, Rusty Alyce (Desolate Soul), Hodgepodge Effigy, Void Wretch
Gremlins: Ophelia LaCroix (Jug Rocket), War Pig, Lenny (Hide in the Mud), Rami LaCroix, Gracie, Francois LaCroix (Hide in the Mud)

Headhunter is definitely a Jack Daw kind of game as I can push my own pieces around if I’m careful with deployment. Seeing Inspection in the pool I thought it would be worth taking a couple of really cheap minions (the Effigy and the Void Wretch here) and detail them just to sit and score for that scheme while also dropping two of the needed markers for Convict Labour. Guilty can be a bit of pain to deal with for Gremlins with decent defense and not much to challenge their terrible willpower; Hard To Kill is often relevant too. Seeing Callum’s crew I though he’d probably push right up the centre in one big ball of death around Lenny, so I was pretty surprised when he set up the War Pig and Gracie somewhat to my right and the rest on the far left.

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Turn 1: Rami starts us off by shooting the Librarian for weak damage. The Guilty make Alyce Tormented but fail to do the same to the Librarian. Lenny walks forward (I was really expecting him to Toss Ophelia and Francois) and Ophelia walks up next to him, Jug Rockets Francois forward and shoots a Guilty. Francois chain activates and kills the Void Wretch. So much for that plan. Alyce is moved forward by Jack, guns down Lenny (but critically, we forgot about Hide In the Mud) and summons an Abomination. I considered whether that was worth it or not as it would leave a pretty easy head marker right next to Ophelia, but I figured it was probably worth it to cost her AP.

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Turn 2: The Librarian shouts her Ancient Words at Francois. Ophelia kills the Abomination and shoots Alyce. She companions Francois who picks up Lenny’s head and shoots again at Alyce. She’s had enough of this, killing Francois and summoning another Abomination. The Guilty start to drop scheme markers for Convict Labour. The War Pig charges into the Effigy which survives and escapes to get in place for Inspection. Rami knocks the wounded Guilty down to its Hard To Kill wound. Jack Twists and Turns to make a Guilty pick up a head and puts down a scheme marker. Gracie moves further back from my crew. We both score for Headhunter and I score for both of my schemes.

Turn 3: Jack Daw charges and hurts Ophelia badly, giving her Firing Squad Injustice to keep her honest. Callum then notices a weird (but seemingly legitimate) rules interaction as Ophelia uses Plink! to get rid of it; she also shoots a good number of wound out of Jack Daw (scoring a point for Neutralise The Leader). I throw stuff at Ophelia until eventually a Guilty drags her down; the Librarian picks up her head. Johan charges Gracie, achieves almost nothing and is eaten in return. The War Pig continues to bounce off the Effigy which tries to stay safe. Alyce puts some bullets into Gracie. I score for the strategy, Inspection and Convict Labour.

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Turn 4: Jack Saw uses the Ghost Of Malifaux trigger to get up to Rami, killing him with a couple of swings. Gracie picks up Johan’s head and my Abomination picks up Francois’. The War Pig drops a scheme marker for a belated attempt at Convict Labour. Alyce kills Gracie, summoning another Abomination simply because I can. I score for the strategy and get the last points for my schemes.

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Turn 5: The War Pig fails to kill the Effigy. One of the Guilty picks up one of the many heads lying around the place. Outcasts win 10 – 3 (full score for me; 2 for Headhunter and 1 for Neutralise The Leader for Callum).

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Callum was really fun chap to play with, always with a smile on his face and a witty comment. He even brought a prop: a tube of lube; apparently my reputation precedes me. Obviously, forgetting about Hide In The Mud on Lenny was important, but I think I had the advantage. Callum seemed overcautious with Gracie; considering that I didn’t have any good way to get round armour he could possibly have benefited from ramming her into my crew and taking advantage of the confusion. I felt that the Gremlin crew was a bit too elite as there was nothing that wanted to spend its AP picking up heads dropped by the LaCroix.

Game 5: Outcasts (me) vs Resurrectionists (Josh)

Strategy: Extraction, close deployment

Schemes
Pool: Convict Labour, A Quick Murder, Covert Breakthrough, Hunting Party, Show of Force
Outcasts: A Quick Murder (Valedictorian), Hunting Party
Resurrectionists: A Quick Murder (Taelor), Covert Breakthrough

Crews
Outcasts: Viktoria of Ashes (Sisters in Spirit, Sisters in Fury, Synchronised Slaying), Viktoria of Blood (Oathkeeper, Mark of Shezuul), Freikorps Trapper, Johan, Malifaux Child, Rusty Alyce (Oathkeeper), Taelor (Oathkeeper)
Resurrectionists: Dr Douglas McMourning (Decaying Aura, Plastic Surgery, Moonlighting), Zombie Chihuahua, Valedictorian, Sebastian, Flesh Construct, 2 Rotten Belles, 2 Canine Remains

Close deployment in a game where the other crew can’t afford to hang back has Viktoria written all over it, especially with that scheme pool saying ‘come into the middle and be blended’. I put Oathkeeper on both Alyce and Taelor figuring that I could possibly use them to deny Show of Force if I hadn’t burned the upgrade by then. Taelor is a good bet against Resurrectionists as there is always the threat of Welcome to Malifaux spoiling their day. The board was ridiculously open but I felt that I’d be better served with a ‘take and hold’ approach to the centre rather than using Trappers to force the other crew into my arms. Nevertheless, I picked up one Trapper to act as spot removal of anything awkward that was left on a few wounds. I set up first and put everything right at the front (except the Child, who was hiding to avoid giving up Hunting Party if picked). Josh took the most cautious possible approach, lining up his crew almost on his own board edge.

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Turn 1: The Trapper has line of sight and range to the Chihuahua and blows it off the table. The Belles respond by Luring him forward. The Canine Remains come in and poison the poor chap too. Viktoria of Ashes moves forward, puts up Sisters in Fury (the Child had previously failed to cast it) and places Viktoria of Blood in a threatening position. It works well as an area denial tool as Josh is careful to measure her threat range whenever he moves anything. Unfortunately this distract him from the rest of my crew. Sebastian moves into the open so Alyce drops Oathkeeper, walk up and Rapid Fires him, burning some good cards and soulstones out of Josh’s hand. In the end, Viktoria of Blood just drops a scheme marker to fake starting Convict Labour. Playing those good cards to keep Sebastian alive costs McMourning as he is unable to connect with an Expunge on the Trapper.

Turn 2: Sebastian is clearly sick of being shot so he puts up Undercover and moves to get more of the Resurrectionist crew under it. I think that Josh had forgotten about the changed threat range on the Viks slingshot now that I could activate them both again; Viktoria of Ashes casts Sisters in Fury, walks over and places her sister in contact. Viktoria of Blood chain activates, drops Oathkeeper and walks to line up a charge on McMourning. She blends McMourning himself, Sebastian and an incidental Canine Remains (scoring me for Hunting Party in the process). The Flesh Construct finishes the Trapper and Alyce puts down the other Canine Remains. Johan hurts the Flesh Construct and the Belles Slow Viktoria of Blood and Taelor. The Valedictorian comes forward but Taelor can’t get to her. We both score for the strategy; I move the Informant marker toward my board edge.

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Turn 3: Taelor puts some big dents in the Valedictorian; the Flesh Construct hits her back. The Malifaux Child fails again to cast Sisters in Fury though at least this time it does draw the Black Joker out. The Valedictorian Flurries to take Taelor down to a single wound with poison on her. Viktoria of Ashes puts Sisters in Fury up and finishes the Flesh Construct. She companions to Viktoria of Blood who walks over and one-shots a Belle (another point for Hunting Party). Johan hits the last Belle and Alyce Rapid Fires to finish the Valedictorian and score my points for A Quick Murder. Taelor soulstones away the poison damage. I score for Extraction.

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Turn 4: Viktoria of Ashes finishes the last Belle. Outcasts win 10 – 1 (full score for me; 1 for Extraction for Josh).

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Josh was a very nice opponent, always very clean and clear about what he was doing. I think that he was too cautious in his approach (or didn’t out activate me by enough) to get a win in the game; his deployment alone gave me a massive positional advantage that he would always have to work to overcome as the game went on. As it turned out, he made a mistake in his estimation of Viktoria of Blood’s threat range in turn 2 that allowed me to get such a big attrition advantage that the game was pretty much over by the time she was finished. From my side, of course, everything went swimmingly and I was quite happy with my positioning.

When the final scores are in, I have successfully submarined my way into second place and top Outcast. I had a wonderful time playing the games and socialising with some very lovely people during, between and after the gaming. Thanks to Gareth, Mark, Conor, Callum and Josh for five terrific games of Malifaux and thanks again to Kai and his team for their hard work to make the event the huge success that it has been.

As a small addendum to the weekend, I accidentally packed Mark Elwood’s winners trophies in my bag when leaving, so I also had an unexpected bonus night out to go into Edinburgh to find him and return them.

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Malifaux tournament report: Crumpetfaux (50SS); 26Jun2016

The second part of Fated Festival was a much more straightforward 50SS Gaining Grounds event, probably just as well after the mind-bending mystery of Sins of the North.

Game 1: Outcasts (me) vs Arcanists (Marcus)

Strategy: Guard The Stash, normal deployment

Schemes
Pool: Convict Labour, Take Prisoner, Leave Your Mark, Search The Ruins, Public Demonstration
Outcasts: Convict Labour, Search The Ruins
Arcanists: Take Prisoner (Taelor), Public Demonstration

Crews
Outcasts: Leveticus (Tally Sheet, Desolate Soul), 2 Hollow Waifs, Taelor (Oathkeeper), Freikorps Trapper, Freikorps Librarian, Johan, 2 Ronin, Hodgepodge Effigy
Arcanists: Marcus (Feral Instincts, Trail of the Gods), Cassandra (Practiced Production), Cerberus (Imbued Energies), The Firestarter (Imbued Energies), 2 Molemen, Dawn Serpent, Malifaux Raptor

Yes, I did find myself playing against a man called Marcus, using the Malifaux master Marcus. With Guard the Stash and a lot of blocking hard cover I was expecting to see Ramos and a lot of Steam arachnids here so I took Taelor to try to keep on top of the summoning (or at least force activation order decisions). Leveticus has felt strong for me against Arcanists as they have plenty of pieces that rely on armour to keep them safe; this crew has a lot of ways to ignore armour. Given that I was expecting to fight in the centre, I decided to go back to my Guild roots of ‘kill everything, then drop scheme markers’ approach and took Search the Ruins. I thought that I could use the Ronin to go wide and drop a marker each away from the fight for Convict Labour, then swing into the centre as a sort of ‘second wave’ to keep me scoring on the strategy. If I was quite surprised to find myself not facing Ramos, I was astonished to see Marcus set up his entire crew in the far left corner as far away as possible from the Stash markers.

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Turn 1: The Cerberus Leaps up staying out of the Trapper’s line of sight. Cassandra uses Practiced Production to help the Molemen advance more quickly. Leveticus, devoid of targets, walks up and drops a scheme marker. Marcus increases his walk, advances and takes Defensive Stance before the Trapper shoots him.

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Turn 2: The Cerberus uses Imbued Energies, Leaps (flipping the Red Joker to Marcus’s irritation) and eats the left Ronin. Taelor uses Oathkeeper and beats it to death. The Molemen both sidle shiftily up to her and Marcus eventually Alphas the Dawn Serpent to join them for Public Demonstration. The Raptor moves right up into my deployment zone so the Librarian Focuses and shouts the bird to death. The Trapper Black Jokers a shot on Marcus, the surviving Ronin and the Effigy drop scheme markers and Leveticus knocks a few wounds off the Dawn Serpent. Marcus gets three points for Public Demonstration and I score for the strategy and Convict Labour.

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Turn 3: The Dawn Serpent hurts Taelor and Leveticus expends a silly amount of effort to kill one of the Molemen, failing even to summon an Abomination in the process. Taelor swats the Dawn Serpent out of the sky. Marcus continues to lurk around the edge of the battle with Defensive Stance and the Librarian fails to deal with the last Moleman. Meanwhile, Cassandra and the Firestarter continue to run about behind the building at the back of the board to no discernible purpose, and the rest of my crew drop a load of scheme markers. I score again for Guard The Stash and Convict Labour.

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Turn 4: Marcus Alphas Leveticus. Despite his dismal showing under my control, the old chap apparently has a lease of life now that he’s fighting for the Arcanists, charging the Librarian and killing her then one-shotting the Effigy before disappearing into the void. Taelor kills the second Moleman, and the Trapper and Johan combine to drop Marcus down to a few wounds left. Johan is denied the kill by the Black Joker. I score Convict Labour and the strategy again.

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Turn 5: Marcus takes extra melee damage and beats up Leveticus, but the old man survives by eating Soulstones. In return he kills off Marcus and has enough AP left to deal the last wounds to the Firestarter. I score for Guard the Stash; Outcasts win 10 – 3 (full score for me; 3 for Public Demonstration for Marcus).

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Marcus was a lovely opponent, and we were both really impressed with Marcus Alpha-ing Leveticus in the fourth turn. Marcus did make a big error in making no attempt to score Guard The Stash; he couldn’t afford to give up 4 points to me without a fight at all. I was quite surprised, considering the board and the presence of a Malifaux Raptor and Practiced Production, that Marcus hadn’t picked Leave Your Mark. Lunch was preceded by an excellent sword-fighting demonstration, then we were on to the second round.

Game 2: Outcasts (me) vs Resurrectionists (Martin)

Strategy: Extraction, normal deployment

Schemes
Pool: Convict Labour, Hunting Party, Show Of Force, A Quick Murder, Occupy Their Turf
Outcasts: Hunting Party, A Quick Murder (Carrion Emissary)
Resurrectionists: Show Of Force, Occupy Their Turf

Crews
Outcasts: Leveticus (Tally Sheet, Desolate Soul), 2 Hollow Waifs, Rusty Alyce (Desolate Soul, Oathkeeper), Taelor (Oathkeeper), 2 Freikorps Trappers, Johan, Hodgepodge Effigy
Resurrectionists: Nicodem (Maniacal Laugh, Love Thy Master, Undertaker), Mortimer (Corpse Bloat), Philip and the Nanny (Take Back The Night, Necrotic Preparation), Nurse, Carrion Emissary (Carrion Conflux), Chiaki (Pull Of The Grave)

I knew that this would be a tough game with Martin as he’s really strong with Resurrectionists. I hoped that I could keep the expected summoning under control with Taelor and also make some use of Desolate Soul to possibly do a little summoning myself. When I saw the crew I thought my best option would be to try to swamp the Informant marker early on and then try to escort it back away from Nicodem’s summoning while staving off the inevitable swarm of Punk Zombies. I hoped to use my large number of henchmen and enforcers to score Hunting Party against the summoned minions. The Emissary was going to need to die early on anyway so I picked A Quick Murder against it.

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Turn 1: The Nurse and Chiaki drop scheme markers which Philip eats for cards. Mortimer throws out a couple of corpse markers and a Trapper Black Jokers a shot at Nicodem (hoping to drain some resource). Nicodem raises Mindless Zombies then turns them into a Rotten Belle and a Hanged, making the former Fast. The Nurse Lures Johan in and the Hanged and the Emissary put him down to his Hard To Kill wound.

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Turn 2: Leveticus fails to put even a single wound on the Emissary. Chiaki fails to finish off Johan so I activate him to kill the Mindless Zombie from the Shards (scoring a point for Hunting Party). One Trapper kills Chiaki and the other puts some damage into the Emissary. Nicodem summons a Punk Zombie and uses it to hurt Alyce. Taelor kills the Emissary for A Quick Murder. The Belle Lures the right-hand Trapper into the open. We both score for Extraction and Martin scores Show Of Force; I move the Informant marker back towards my board edge.

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Turn 3: Taelor kills the Punk Zombie (for Hunting Party) and puts up Welcome To Malifaux. The Nurse stops Leveticus from doing anything but walking. The Hanged does its Whispers on Taelor, the Belle Lures her and Mortimer puts her down to a single wound. Philip even attacks her, but flips the Black Joker. The Trappers put shots into the Nurse and Nicodem and Alyce Rapid Fires at Nicodem to try to force some resources out of him. Nicodem heals himself with corpse counters, finishes Taelor himself and summons another Hanged and Punk Zombie. The latter kills a Waif and the former finishes Alyce. We both score for the strategy, I move the marker again, and Martin gets another point for Show Of Force.

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Turn 4: Leveticus finally shows what he can do by killing both Hanged and the Belle, summoning an Abomination from the Belle to try to pin Nicodem back a little. The Punk Zombie polishes off one Trapper. Mortimer makes short work of the Abomination and my surviving Trapper runs round to act as an Anchor for Leveticus. Nicodem summons a Punk Zombie and nearly kills the Trapper with it. We score again for Extraction and Martin gets the last point for Show Of Force.

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Turn 5: One Punk Zombie smacks Leveticus, who walks away and kills the Nurse. Nicodem summons a Doxy which pushes the Punk Zombie away from the centreline; they are joined by the other Punk Zombie to score Occupy Their Turf. The Effigy is unable to keep Mortimer or Philip away from the Informant Marker so Outcasts lose 9 – 10 (4 for Guard The Stash, 3 for A Quick Murder and 2 for Hunting Party for me; full score for Martin).

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Wow, what a great game! I gave my best shot there, trying to force a high engagement line and then fall back with the Informant marker in order to force Nicodem (or his summons) to use his AP for walking toward the scoring zone rather than just killing all my stuff. Still, a 10 – 9 defeat to a player of Martin’s calibre is still no mean feat. Looking back, I should have put a bit more priority into killing the Nurse before the Emissary as the threat of her Take Your Meds (and the actuality of it in turn 3) was quite significant. I also tried to spend some effort making sure that Nicodem was on the back foot by putting Trapper and Alyce bullets into him, but Martin is very canny about where he needs to spend cards and where he can save them.

Game 3: Outcasts (me) vs Arcanists (Graham)

Strategy: Collect The Bounty, normal deployment

Schemes
Pool: Convict Labour, Exhaust Their Forces, Show Of Force, Catch and Release, Detonate The Charges
Outcasts: Convict Labour, Detonate The Charges
Arcanists: Exhaust Their Forces, Detonate The Charges

Crews
Outcasts: Leveticus (Tally Sheet, Desolate Soul), 2 Hollow Waifs, Taelor (Oathkeeper), 2 Freikorps Trappers, Johan, 2 Ronin, Hodgepodge Effigy
Arcanists: Marcus (Feral Instincts, Hunger Cry, Trail of the Gods), Myranda (Imbued Energies), 2 Canine Remains, Howard Langston (Imbued Energies), Mechanical Rider (Imbued Energies), Jackalope

By this point in the weekend I was tired out and didn’t want to go for anything too complex, so I went with my default Leveticus crew and put Taelor in it for Alyce in case of a lot of summoning. There were a few good points to put Trappers so I took two; if the lines engaged on a wide front I planned to use them to drop markers for Convict Labour, otherwise I dedicated that job to the Ronin and Effigy. I picked Detonate The Charges partly because I didn’t really fancy the other schemes and partly because I figured if I was dropping markers for Convict Labour anyway then I might be able to get some of Graham’s stuff to blunder into them.

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Turn 1: The Canine Remains both bite Langston and the Mechanical Rider to turn them into beasts. The Trappers take pot shots at the Mechanical Rider and Myranda heals it a bit. Otherwise we just jockey for position a bit.

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Turn 2: Johan hurts Langston and is Decapitated by the first part of a return Flurry. Leveticus kills Langston and summons an Abomination (I’m in doubt about whether the annoyance value I could get out of the Abomination was worth the risk of giving up Bounty points for it) and the Jackalope just to get it out of my face. Marcus races across the board and turns both Taelor and the Ronin into beasts, then domesticates them both. The Rider shoots at the left Trapper, dropping a scheme marker into the middle of a clump of my crew and summons a Metal Gamin. The Trappers both put a few shots into the Mechanical Rider then the Gamin and Abomination poke each other ineffectually. Myranda becomes a Cerberus which takes a cagey approach and the Ronin and Taelor both fail to escape Marcus’s clutches. The rest of my crew on the right drop scheme markers I score for Convict Labour.

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Turn 3: Marcus Howls, make Taelor a beast and kills the Ronin. He then Domesticates and hits Taelor and companions to the Cerberus. It charges Taelor but I manage to flip two severes on prevention flips to avoid her taking any damage at all. The Trapper on the left drops a Canine Remains before being shot again by the Mechanical Rider, which summons another Metal Gamin. Leveticus kills the Rider and the new Metal Gamin. The old Metal Gamin kills my Abomination and the other Trapper kills the second Canine Remains. We both score 2 for Detonate The Charges and I also score for Collect The Bounty and Convict Labour.

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Turn 4: Taelor hurts the Cerberus which jumps up and eats the wounded Trapper. The Ronin, finally making into the action from the far right flank, kills the Metal Gamin. Marcus smacks Taelor around and Leveticus and the Trapper join forces to kill the Cerberus. I score again for Collect The Bounty and Convict Labour.

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Turn 5: Marcus takes extra damage and melee expert then kills Taelor and rushes over to make the Ronin a beast. The Ronin Flurries him back and does Seppuku to stop Marcus from passing damage on to her. Leveticus nearly kills Marcus and the Effigy finishes him off. I score for the strategy. Outcasts win 9 – 2 (4 for Collect The Bounty, 3 for Convict Labour and 2 for Detonate The Charges for me; 2 for Detonate The Charges for Graham).

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I had a great time playing against Graham and I always find it a challenge when I’m up against Marcus as he has so many cool tricks. I gave up swinging at Marcus too easily on turn 2; I should have forced some Soulstones out of him at least with a focused attack from Taelor. I think that Graham made a poor choice of schemes as he was never in a position to score on Exhaust Their Forces; even if he did get enough extra bodies out there to make it a reasonable proposition I would have had a lot of ways to ensure scoring Collect The Bounty with all the armour-ignoring things in my crew. I’m still undecided about the value of summoning nuisance pieces (i.e. the Abomination in this case) in Collect The Bounty; on the one hand it’s a free Bounty point but on the other hand it wastes some valuable AP which could allow my heavy hitters to swing the game my way elsewhere.

Once all the scores are in, I have achieved a creditable second place behind Martin and ahead of Maria on VP difference. As with all Nate’s events this was superbly run with everything being handled smoothly. Thanks to Nate for the great organisation, and to Marcus, Martin and Graham for 3 fun games of Malifaux.

Categories: Battle reports, Malifaux, Tournaments | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

Malifaux tournament report: Gaming Faux Laura (50SS); 29May2016

This month’s tournament was a charity event held in Common Ground Games in Stirling in aid of Beatsons. Michelle Dallas and Alastair Crowe organised a day of gaming to raise money which included a Malifaux event allowing various arrangement to pay extra to charity to reflip etc. Additionally, I did offer to let people choose my crews, schemes etc for me for a suitable charity donation but in the end we mostly ended up either not bothering, or just putting in a donation at the start and enjoying a normal game of Malifaux. Furycat, Joe and I drove over in the morning; Furycat and I to play Malifaux and Joe to take part in the simultaneous Guild Ball event.

Game 1: Outcasts (me) vs Neverborn (Ian)

Strategy: Reconnoitre, flank deployment

Schemes
Pool: Convict Labour, Hunting Party, Exhaust Their Forces, A Quick Murder, Occupy Their Turf
Outcasts: Hunting Party, Convict Labour
Neverborn: Exhaust Their Forces, Occupy Their Turf

Crews
Outcasts: Leveticus (Tally Sheet, Desolate Soul), 2 Hollow Waifs, Rusty Alyce (Desolate Soul), Freikorps Trapper, Freikorps Librarian, Johan, 2 Ronin, Hodgepodge Effigy
Neverborn: Zoraida (Animal Shape, Hex Bag, Hexed Among You), Insidious Madness, 2 Silurids, 2 Waldgeists, Iggy, Hans (Mimic’s Blessing)

Reconnoitre (and Extraction) without Neutralise The Leader in the pool feels like a job for Leveticus. My crew is chosen to have the maximum number of possible anchors to give flexibility on Waif positioning (more importantly, I’m quite bad at predicting where I need Leveticus to be) and cover a lot of options in terms of melee, shooting and casting. Leveticus has Tally Sheet to combine well with Loyalty To The Coin from the Effigy, and of course because he can quite reliably kill off one thing per turn. Both Alyce and Leveticus carry Desolate Soul to gum up the other crew with Abominations; in general I don’t care if they die without achieving anything more than wasting AP on the other side of the table. With so many minions on the other side of the board I went with Hunting Party and then decided to use my expected activation advantage to drop scheme markers in places where I would need to be anyway.

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Turn 1: Hans shoots the Trapper down to a single wound; the Trapper pushes away from the Waldgeist and caps a Silurid with two Critical Strike shots. The Waldgeist Germinates but fails to actually kill the wounded Trapper. Meanwhile, Zoraida Obeys Hans to take the Focus action but a run of bad cards means that he can’t actually be Obeyed to take the second shot. Iggy Incites a Waif and sets the Effigy on fire before the surviving Silurid finally polishes off the Trapper and Leaps back to its original place. Leveticus unburies from the Incited Waif to clear the condition.

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Turn 2: Zoraida summons the Voodoo Doll, Hems it to Alyce and Hexes it to start the Burning going. She also Obeys Iggy to put some more Burning on the Doll, setting Alyce nicely ablaze. Leveticus makes a bit of a meal of killing the Insidious Madness but does bring an Abomination out of it to get in the Waldgeist’s way. The other Waldgeist moves to engage the Ronin at maximum range and Entrenches her. Hans drops Alyce down to a single wound after she suicidally guns down the Voodoo Doll (bringing out another Abomination in the process). Iggy gets clear of the first Abomination and Incites it; the Waldgeist Exhausts it. The Librarian uses Furious Casting to kill the Silurid. I score for Reconnoitre, Convict Labour and Hunting Party; Ian scores for Exhaust Their Forces.

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Turn 3: The Waldgeist moves, Germinates and engages both Leveticus and the Ronin, Entrenching the latter. An Abomination bounces ineffectually off the other Waldgeist, which eventually Exhausts it. Hans Black Jokers a shot on one of my Waifs. Zoraida summons another Voodoo Doll and Hems this one to Johan. She then Obeys the Abomination away so that she can use her (0) action and Hexes some damage onto the Doll and Johan. Iggy puts yet more burning onto the Voodoo Doll. Leveticus kills the Exhausted Abomination using Rebirth to move over to the Waldgeist (and also to remove the Exhaust condition), then kills it in melee with a cheated Red Joker for damage. This does leave me in the unusual position of having Leveticus on the board and wounded at the end of the turn. I score again for the Strategy and Convict Labour.

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Turn 4: Hans Black Jokers a second shot, this time to fail to kill Leveticus. An Abomination chews the last wound off Iggy, then Zoraida Obeys Hans first to Focus and second to gun down Leveticus. The Ronin finally kills the Waldgeist that has been annoying her for most of the game. I score Hunting Party (no Minions left alive), Convict Labour and Reconnoitre.

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Turn 5: Zoraida Exhausts an Abomination, then Johan Flurries to kill Hans. Leveticus uses Rebirth to kill my Abomination and prevent Ian from scoring. Outcasts win 10 – 1 (full score for me; 1 for Exhaust Their Forces for Ian).

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A lovely way to start the event. We didn’t end up putting money in for charity for reflips; in my case because I didn’t need it and in Ian’s case presumably because he didn’t think they’d do enought to help. It was interesting using Rebirth with Leveticus as I usually would just kill something then bury again with Sanguine Evocations; I need to be a lot more choosy about when to Channel if I do that in future. In general I think Ian was too passive and allowed me to keep pushing his crew back. Indeed, I actually had to make an effort to keep a couple of pieces back to score for my own sections of the board; in other games I’d have thrown the Ronin at the far side of the board and the Librarian much more actively into the fray.

Game 2: Outcasts (me) vs Arcanists (Michael)

Strategy: Extraction, normal deployment

Schemes
Pool: Convict Labour, Exhaust Their Forces, Leave Your Mark, Undercover Entourage, Frame For Murder
Outcasts: Undercover Entourage (Leveticus), Convict Labour
Arcanists: Undercover Entourage (Marcus), Frame For Murder (one of the December Acolytes)

Crews
Outcasts: Leveticus (Tally Sheet, Desolate Soul), 2 Hollow Waifs, Taelor (Oathkeeper), Freikorps Trapper, Freikorps Librarian, Johan, 2 Ronin, Hodgepodge Effigy
Arcanists: Marcus (Seize The Day, Arcane Reservoir, Trail of the Gods), Jackalope, 2 Silent Ones, 3 December Acolytes, Cassandra (Practiced Production, Imbued Protection)

Since this strategy and scheme pool didn’t penalise having lots of cheap chaff, I used almost the same crew as last time. I swapped out Rusty Alyce for Taelor as I was expecting that Ramos would be a strong option to flood the centre with Arachnids. With Taelor and Johan getting bonuses against Constructs and the Ronin also ignoring armour I think that this crew would have fitted well there. So I was a bit surprised to see Marcus and a load of Frozen Heart models across the board from me. Maybe Michael knew my well-publicised feelings about December Acolytes and loaded up on them against me; it is also true that I have a pretty rough time against Marcus crews in general. I again took Convict Labour as I wanted to push the game line up aggressively and keep Michael’s crew back away from the Informant marker. Undercover Entourage on Leveticus felt quite easy as the old chap is very mobile. Luckily I was able to flip high enough for Michael to deploy first so he had to be a bit cagey about deploying his Acolytes.

Turn 1: The Trapper takes a shot at one Acolyte and pushes back behind the building to safety. The Silent One on the right heals him up, so all we did was waste all our AP. On the left, the Acolyte and the other Silent One team up to kill a Waif that I couldn’t get to cover.

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Turn 2: The Acolyte on the left nearly kills the Ronin. I possibly should have used her to drop a scheme marker and Seppuku, but instead I went with the Effigy and Leveticus. The old man turned the Jackalope into an Abomination and only an unfortunately timed Black Joker on damage prevented one of the Silent Ones from suffering the same fate. The middle Acolyte walks into the centre of the street and returns the favour by Black Jokering a shot into the summoned Waif. The saved Silent One finishes off the Ronin on the left. Taelor burns Oathkeeper and charges in to smack the Acolyte in the street; the other Silent One heals it and the Trapper takes a shot at him after dropping a scheme marker. Cassandra charges the Librarian and Marcus makes very heavy work of killing off the Abomination that erupted from his pet. I score Convict Labour and Extraction; I move the Informant marker back a little to make Michael’s life a bit trickier. Somewhere in here the Silent Ones also did some damage to Johan and Taelor but I didn’t note it clearly.

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Turn 3: Cassandra nearly kills the Librarian. Leveticus kills the Acolyte in the centre, summoning an Abomination and giving up three points for Frame For Murder. The Silent One kills off the Abomination and Marcus tanks round the corner of the building to punch the Trapper ineffectively. Johan and Taelor both charge up the middle to very slowly chip away at the middle Silent One. The Librarian puts a big hit onto Cassandra and the surviving Ronin runs to give me options on Undercover Entourage later with the Waif in tow. I score again for the strategy and Convict Labour.

Turn 4: The Librarian uses Furious Casting on Cassandra, failing to kill but drawing some great cards out of Michael’s hand. Marcus uses Darzee’s Chaunt on himself but still fails to get the Trapper. The Acolyte shoots into the melee with Taelor, Johan and the Silent One and gets Taelor both times; Taelor uses her single AP to finally drop the Silent One. Cassandra polishes off the Librarian and the surviving Silent One kills Johan. Leveticus himself takes out the last Silent One, turning it into an Abomination despite Black Jokering the last attack (Michael flipped an ace and had nothing to cheat). The Trapper pushes away from Marcus in order to be in range to score for the strategy, and shoot the Professor a couple of times just to keep some pressure on. I score for Convict Labour and Extraction again.

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Turn 5: Marcus runs to score for Undercover Entourage. Taelor moves to engage the Acolyte on the left who eventually kills her off. Cassandra hurts the Effigy but can’t get the kill she’d need to stop me scoring for Extraction. The Abomination gums up the other Acolyte and is also eventually killed off. Leveticus saunters into the Arcanist deployment zone. We both score Undercover Entourage and I get Extraction one last time. Outcasts win 10 – 6 (full score for me; 3 for each scheme and nothing for the strategy for Michael).

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That was a very fine game and it felt very much like we were giving each other tit-for-tat with damage. As soon as I saw that Michael wasn’t making any attempt to score on the strategy I felt confident that I could lock in all my own points and keep him from getting the full ten. The board, although it looks very nice and thematic, is actually quite annoying to play on as the cover is all-or-nothing and the main street has very few places to stay out of shooting range. I basically had to just run Taelor and Johan right up the middle and hope that the Silent Ones and Acolytes couldn’t do enough damage before they arrived. This was a game where the ability to summon Abominations was useful just to force Michael to spend his activations clearing them out rather than shooting at anything I actually cared about.

Game 3: Outcasts (me) vs Arcanists (Lewis)

Strategy: Collect The Bounty, close deployment

Schemes
Pool: Convict Labour, Hunting Party, Show of Force, Neutralise the Leader, Catch and Release
Outcasts: Hunting Party, Neutralise the Leader
Arcanists: Hunting Party, Show of Force

Crews
Outcasts: Jack Daw (Writhing Torment, Twist and Turn, Firing Squad Injustice, Guillotine Injustice, Drowning Injustice), Freikorps Librarian, Freikorps Trapper, Johan, Taelor, Guilty, Rusty Alyce
Arcanists: Marcus (Hunger Cry, Feral Instincts, Trail of the Gods), Jackalope, Cassandra (Practiced Production, Smoke and Mirrors), Cerberus (Pack Leader), Myranda (Imbued Energies), Howard Langston (Imbued Energies)

Lewis and I discussed before the game if we were going to mess about with charity donations for flips, but Lewis decided that he was still hungry to beat me fair and square so we agreed to stick some money in the charity box at the start of the game and play it straight from there onward. I was intending to play Leveticus all day, but it seemed to be a bit to easy giving Lewis three free VP for Neutralise The Leader. Jack Daw can provide some nice damage and is tricky to kill if the other crew don’t bring the right tools (i.e. anything with baked in positive twists). I took a mix of each station; I didn’t want to give up Hunting Party too easily but I knew I had to take care not to also let Lewis score for the strategy without working for it. In retrospect I should have taken something on Taelor or Alyce to at least challenge for Show of Force. I took a risk for Hunting Party; Lewis could deny it by keeping the Jackalope right back and not using it at all so I had to gamble the he would need the extra threat. Arguably, taking Neutralise the Leader was a similar risk, but Marcus doesn’t really support enough to keep him totally safe. I deployed first so I kept my crew back; there was no reason to advance and I was the one bringing guns.

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Turn 1: The Trapper shoots Marcus and Lewis gives me the opportunity to cheat in a Red Joker with Critical Strike; this nets me an immediate point for Neutralise The Leader. The Guilty makes Alyce Tormented and moves up to bait Howard Langstrom, which he successfully does at the cost of being vapourised. Alyce Rapid Fires half of Langston’s wounds off and I forget yet again about the range on Alpha. So Marcus strolls forward and makes Langston take another activation; he uses it to kill the Trapper, thereby guaranteeing Lewis all the Hunting Party points. Taelor kills Langston in return. From a strategy perspective it would be preferable to leave the killing until turn 2, but I can’t risk losing initiative and giving Langston another try at mangling my crew. Myranda heals Marcus and Jack floats up to hurt Cassandra and give her Firing Squad Injustice.

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Turn 2: I got my measurements wrong and Jack Daw is indeed within Leap plus charge range of the Cerberus. I get very lucky, top-decking the Red Joker on the second attack and surviving the first with only weak damage. Johan charges Cassandra who cheats in the Red Joker to get the trigger to push away. Marcus Alphas the Cerberus and uses Darzee’s Chaunt on it but the previous actions have seemingly cost Lewis all his good cards and Jack again gets away without too much further harm. Taelor smites the big cat, then Alyce puts a bullet into Myranda. Cassandra uses her activation to flip down the Firing Squad Injustice. Jack Daw kills the Cerberus and zaps Cassandra to give her Drowning Injustice; it doesn’t matter though as the Librarian shouts her to death. I score for the strategy and Lewis scores for Hunting Party and Show of Force.

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Turn 3: Taelor charges Myranda but can’t kill her off; Marcus picks up melee expert and extra damage, then returns the favour and drops Taelor. He accomplices to Myranda who heals them both. The Librarian shoots at Marcus. Johan smacks Myranda. Alyce Rapid Fires at Marcus, dropping the Jackalope in the process (I think that Lewis had moved it up to act as a damage soak for Marcus but it did get me a point for Hunting Party). Jack Daw uses Twist and Turn to make Alyce put another bullet into Marcus; it would kill him so after some deliberation Lewis passes the hit onto Myranda, killing her instead. Jack piles in to Marcus but can’t do enough damage stick to drop him; having the extra cards from Myranda’s death really helps here. Neither of us score for the strategy, we both score for Hunting Party.

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Turn 4: Marcus chooses to increase his damage profile, focuses and hits Jack Daw. He makes Jack into a Beast, then puts all Beasts onto negative flips. With only 4 wounds left on Jack and both of us on negative flips, it’s just a question of whose deck is luckiest (with a stat advantage to Marcus of course)… the blow lands and Jack Daw is killed. Alyce blows Marcus away in revenge, scoring me the rest of the points for Neutralise the Leader, and the Jackalope reappears and runs away. This was a bit of a mistake on my part as I used Rapid Fire but got the kill on the first shot; I should have fired single shots and possibly had the option to pick off the Jackalope with a second AP. Nothing I have is quick enough to catch the Jackalope, nor will they be next turn, so we end the game there. Outcasts win 5 – 4 (1 for Collect the Bounty, 1 for Hunting Party and 3 for Neutralise the Leader for me; 1 for Show of Force and 3 for Hunting Party for Lewis).

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That was a terrific game and Lewis played very well to keep it close right up to the end. Lewis agonised quite a lot about whether to let Myranda or Marcus die at the end of turn 3; I think that he made the right choice as this way only cost him the point from Show of Force whereas if Marcus died it would have gained me a point for Collect the Bounty and Jack might have been able to kill her anyway without the cards from Imbued Energies. From my side, I got very lucky to keep Jack Daw alive when the Cerberus attacked him in turn 2; I had mistaken the threat range on the big cat and it could easily have changed the game.

After all the raffles and so on are done, the event has raised a terrific £1200 or so for Beatsons – you can give too by going here. I take first place in the event and Furycat has a terrific run coming in second, behind me only on VP difference, using the same Ten Thunders Yan Lo crew each time (there was an achievement list which included using the same crew in each game). Thanks to Michelle and Alastair for setting up the gaming day, and to Kai for his wonderful smooth running of the tournament.

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

Malifaux tournament report: Spring Breach (50SS); 23Apr2016

Joe, Furycat and I drove over to Common Ground Games in Stirling for another one of Kai’s excellent Malifaux events. The format was the basic game at 50SS, no doubles or anything. The only twist was that Steve had graciously offered to run the actual event, thereby allowing Kai a rare opportunity to play in his own tournament. Strategies and schemes were announced ahead of time (which I approve of) but I don’t usually give them more than cursory thought until I know who I’m playing against and have seen the table.

Game 1: Outcasts (me) vs Arcanists (V West)

Strategy: Reconnoitre, flank deployment

Schemes
Pool: Convict Labour, Covert Breakthrough, Public Demonstration, Leave Your Mark, Exhaust Their Forces
Outcasts: Covert Breakthrough, Convict Labour
Arcanists: Public Demonstration, Leave Your Mark

Crews
Outcasts: Leveticus (Tally Sheet, Desolate Soul), 2 Hollow Waifs, Rusty Alyce (Desolate Soul), Freikorps Trapper, Freikorps Librarian, Johan, 2 Ronin, Hodgepodge Effigy
Arcanists: Colette Du Bois (A Lady’s Secret, Practiced Production, Arcane Reservoir), Cassandra (Smoke and Mirrors, Imbued Protection), 2 December Acolytes, 2 Gunsmiths, Union Miner

Funnily enough, despite having known V ever since meeting her at my very first tournament, we had never actually played a proper game of Malifaux together until 2 weeks ago. However, the strategies and schemes that day were pretty similar to these, so we ended up playing largely similar crews. I chose Leveticus partly because he’s good for Reconnoitre as he’s good at destroying an enemy piece and replacing it with one of mine, and partly because I’m trying to get to grips with the interesting positioning he seems to need. Alyce comes in with Desolate Soul in order to get more Abominations out, and the rest of the crew are generalists who can act as anchors, thereby making it less likely that I accidentally strand myself out of Waif range. Tally Sheet combines well with the Hodgepodge Effigy; it means that I can use a soulstone for a crow (if needed) on the killing shot and then immediately get it back. Covert Breakthrough seemed quite easy in flank deployment since I’d have to get my pieces out there anyway, and I thought that Convict Labour could be an simple one to complete simply because I’d be starting so close to the centreline.

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Turn 1: An Acolyte shoots Leveticus… how I hate those guys. I use one of my two Soulstones to prevent a second card discard. The Effigy puts Loyalty To The Coin and then chain activates Leveticus. He attacks the unactivated Acolyte, but for some reason I think that they have 7 wounds (they really have 8) and waste my last Soulstone on a crow when I can’t possibly kill him. Leveticus creates a Waif and disappears. Cassandra charges the Trapper and gives him a fairly effecting stabbing, so I take advantage of the delay in Acolyte activation to kill the wounded one with a focussed shot from the Librarian. The Trapper blows away a Gunsmith with a remarkably lucky first shot (double severe plus Critical strike on my first attack). The Union Miner does some False Claims and is then Prompted by Colette to do it some more, liberally scattering scheme markers around. A Ronin double walks to engage the surviving Acolyte.

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Turn 2: The Acolyte stabs the Ronin a couple of times and pushes away on the second attack. Leveticus kills Cassandra to make me very relieved man. Rusty Alyce guns down the Miner and summons an Abomination from him. Colette uses Disappearing Act to get right in my face (and surrounded by scheme markers, so tricky to kill), Sabre Tricks the unwounded Ronin down to Hard To Kill and Prompts the Acolyte to take a couple of ineffective shots at the Librarian. The Trapper finishes the Acolyte and Johan pulverises the Gunsmith. The rest of my crew drop scheme markers. I score for the strategy and Convict Labour.

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Turn 3: Colette Sabre Tricks Leveticus to death and polishes off the Ronin for good measure. Some of my stuff heads for the backfield to drop scheme markers for Covert Breakthrough, the rest flails uselessly at Colette. The game is already over, but it’s fun to see how long Colette can last; I score again for Convict Labour and Reconnoitre.

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Turn 4: Leveticus fails to kill Colette, so she runs off to drop a scheme marker. The Librarian finally kills her so we agree that I can rack up the remaining points; V scores one for Leave Your Mark. Outcasts win 10 – 1 (full score for me; 1 for Leave Your Mark for V).

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That was a highly entertaining game, and I think that we both had fun with Colette as an action hero at the end. V is only just getting back into the game after a long absence and I’m sure that she’ll soon be back to her old powers.

Game 2: Outcasts (me) vs Arcanists (Jamie Clark)

Strategy: Extraction, normal deployment

Schemes
Pool: Convict Labour, Detonate the Charges, Occupy Their Turf, Hunting Party, Exhaust Their Forces
Outcasts: Hunting Party, Convict Labour
Arcanists: Detonate the Charges, Occupy Their Turf

Crews
Outcasts: Leveticus (Tally Sheet, Desolate Soul), 2 Hollow Waifs, Taelor, Freikorps Trapper, Freikorps Librarian, Johan, 2 Ronin, Hodgepodge Effigy
Arcanists: Ramos (Arcane Reservoir, Under Pressure), Howard Langston (Imbued Protection), Joss (Bleeding Edge Tech), Arcane Effigy, Mechanical Rider, Steam Arachnid

I was really pleased to get an opportunity to play Jamie as I’ve dodged him for pretty much the whole of last year; he had predicted earlier that this would be his chance to play me. I guessed that Jamie would pick Ramos for this strategy (flooding the centre with Steam Arachnids is quite an effective way to work) so I chose Leveticus again. Not only is Leveticus an effective counter-summoner, but he also ignores most Arcanist defensive abilities. I swapped Alyce out for Taelor so that I could threaten Welcome To Malifaux occasionally but also make use of her tasty Relic Hammer. When I saw that Jamie’s plan would indeed be to summon Arachnids I picked Hunting Party (pretty easy to score with Taelor here) and then also chose Convict Labour on the grounds that it would give me most freedom to operate without worrying about Jamie’s moves.

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Turn 1: Joss smacks the Steam Arachnid into scrap, and Ramos turns it into a pair of new Steam Arachnids (we discussed afterward that Jamie could do this slightly more effectively by moving the Arachnid up first then charging with Joss; probably people who play Ramos can give better suggestions). One of them advances into Leveticus’s range and is duly vapourised and turned into an Abomination. The Mechanical Rider, apparently concerned about Johan’s Relic Hammer, takes the unusual step of heading into the centre and therefore within range of Taelor’s. The Trapper shoots the Rider to get started on dropping it before the defensive trigger gets going.

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Turn 2: Ramos summons another two Steam Arachnids. Taelor stonks across and smites the Rider into scrap with a timely cheated Red Joker. Langston kills the Waif on my left and the nearby Ronin pokes him gently in retaliation. I start dropping schemes on the centreline, but sadly forget to drop the third one (was going to do it with Johan but moved him to engage instead). The Librarian fails to kill one of the many Steam Arachnids, thereby preventing me from scoring on Hunting Party. Leveticus, aided by the Hodgepodge Effigy, turns the Arcane Effigy into an Abomination but Black Jokers a chance to do the same to an Arachnid. We both score for the strategy but I get to move the marker back toward my table edge.

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Turn 3: Langston somehow fails to kill the pesky Ronin. Johan squashes an Arachnid to score me Hunting Party. Ramos summons three more Arachnids and shoots Johan. A huge scrum erupts in the middle with big chunks of each crew involved. The Ronin stabs a few more wounds out of Langston and commits Seppuku to clear a shot for Leveticus to kill him, which he duly does (and turns him into an Abomination, not because it would be useful out there but because it is entertaining to do it). The Trapper and Librarian take shots of opportunity at Ramos. I score on Extraction and Convict Labour while Jamie scores two points for Detonate the Charges.

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Turn 4: Taelor beats two more Arachnids back into scrap (for Hunting Party, and also just to keep them in check) then Joss kills Johan. Ramos summons another two Arachnids; the Librarian kills another. I score again for Extraction and Convict Labour and we run out of time. Outcasts win 7 – 3 (3 for Extraction, 2 for Convict Labour and 2 for Hunting Party for me; 1 for Extraction and 2 for Detonate the Charges for Jamie).

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That was another really fun game; it felt like whack-a-mole trying to keep the Arachnids under control. I was happy to keep the dog-pile in the centre going as I was able to move the Informant marker back far enough that Jamie could only score on turn 2. I should really have picked up Convict Labour in turn 2; in a 5 round game I would have probably been able to get the last points in the final round but it was a little sloppy anyway.

Game 3: Outcasts (me) vs Arcanists (Lewis Philips)

Strategy: Collect The Bounty, close deployment

Schemes
Pool: Convict Labour, Catch and Release, Undercover Entourage, Hunting Party, Leave Your Mark
Outcasts: Hunting Party, Undercover Entourage (Tara)
Arcanists: Hunting Party, Leave Your Mark

Crews
Outcasts: Tara (Knowledge of Eternity, Obliteration Symbiote), Killjoy, Malifaux Child, Johan, Rusty Alyce, Freikorps Trapper, Nothing Beast (Void Shield)
Arcanists: Marcus (Hunger Cry, Trail of the Gods, Feral Instincts), Myranda (Imbued Energies), Cassandra (Practiced Productions), Cerberus (Pack Leader), 2 Malifaux Raptors, Jackalope, Blessed of December

I’ve played Lewis a few times lately and he’s getting really good. I was quite surprised to see that he’d moved to play Arcanists now as I think I’ve previously only seen him using Neverborn. Still, I change factions from time to time, it’s quite nice to have a change. Close deployment and Collect The Bounty feels like it could be a good call for the Viktorias but I’m pretty bad at using them so I decided to use Tara for this one (also, I’d be quite worried at shipping so many Bounty points on them as they’re not hard to finish off). I planned to throw Killjoy at a few big things and hope to keep enough stuff distracted while the rest of my crew picked off any stragglers. Undercover Entourage would be good for Tara since she can cover plenty of ground when she needs it, and I was hoping that I could do enough damage to the Raptors and Jackalope that I could score easily on Hunting Party.

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Turn 1: Tara makes the Nothing Beast and Alyce fast. The Trapper shoots a few wounds out of Marcus. The Blessed moves up toward the centre and the Nothing Beast charges it and Red Jokers the damage to end it in one go. I’d planned to soften it up a bit for the next turn. Marcus gets stuck into Johan, making him a beast and Domesticating him. Alyce beats him up and inconveniently also drops double severe damage onto one attack that it passed over to Johan. Tara unburies Killjoy, drops (some good) cards to make everyone nearby fast, then chain activates into Killjoy. He charges into the Cerberus but makes a total mess of his attacks. This was a massive play error on my side. Firstly, I dropped 3 good cards (my last in hand) to get a few more AP; I was hoping to get lucky off the deck but didn’t. The right move was definitely to make use of the cards to have an impact on the actions I actually did use. I also dithered about finishing off Marcus; he was vulnerable but it would have cost me Johan and also possibly my ability to score on the strategy in the following rounds. I’m still on the edge about the bounty points, but I’m currently thinking that it would have been worthwhile to just let Johan go and probably finish Marcus while the opportunity was there. Anyway, Myranda turns into another Blessed which Leaps in to finish Johan anyway. A Raptor lands near Marcus too so he has both it and the Blessed to pass attacks off to.

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Turn 2: Alyce punches Marcus who uses Soulstones to pass the damage around and avoid dying. He turns Killjoy into a beast, domesticates him and moves out of Black Blood range and hurts both Alyce and the Trapper. He then accomplices to the Cerberus who takes a few bites out of Killjoy. The Nothing Beast kills his second Blessed of December and one Raptor swipes at the Trapper. The other is sitting far off in a corner to have scheme markers thrown at it by Cassandra. The Trapper pushes out of melee and shoot Cassandra. Tara Slows Marcus but he stubbornly refuses to be buried (it does draw some cards out of Lewis’s hand though). Killjoy heals himself and takes an ineffectual focussed swing at the Cerberus. Cassandra drops a scheme marker and misses a stab at the Trapper. I score on the strategy; Lewis scores Leave Your Mark.

Turn 3: Marcus again makes Killjoy a beast, Domesticates him and kills him before stabbing Alyce. The Cerberus chain activates and finishes her off. Cassandra kills the Trapper (scoring for Hunting Party) and drops another scheme marker, while Practiced Production lets another fall out of a Raptor. Tara buries Marcus who has one wound left and no soulstones. The Nothing Beast kills the Jackalope (scoring for me on Hunting Party) which causes Marcus to fall out of the Void; the Nothing Beast kills him too (finally!). The Malifaux Child makes a run for it. Lewis scores for both Collect the Bounty and Leave Your Mark.

Turn 4: Tara finishes the Cerberus and starts running for the far side of the board. Cassandra drops a final scheme marker and manages to get the child (double moderate damage on a negative flip for the single attack she could make; I tried my best to keep the little chap alive!) to collect all the remaining Hunting Party points. The Nothing Beast swings fruitlessly at her. I score Collect the Bounty and Lewis gets the last point for Leave Your Mark with the Raptors staying nice and safe.

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Turn 5: The Nothing Beast eats Cassandra. The game ends in a draw at 7 – 7 (3 for Collect the Bounty, 1 for Hunting Party and 3 for Undercover Entourage for me; 1 for Collect the Bounty and 3 for each scheme for Lewis).

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That was a very close game, and very enjoyable too. Lewis is becoming a really strong player and making good use of his experience at tournaments in the wider community now and it’s a big challenge now to play him. That said, I’m annoyed with myself for my poor play in turn 1. It might have been the right decision not to kill off Marcus (but I’m currently feeling like the game control would have been worth it even if it ended up denying me a Collect the Bounty point) but it certainly wasn’t the right decision to pitch 3 good cards to give out fast. Still, this is the reason that I write these things – they make me think about what I should have done differently.

Game 4: Outcasts (me) vs Resurrectionists (David McGuire)

Strategy: Reckoning, corner deployment

Schemes
Pool: Convict Labour, Exhaust Their Forces, Take Prisoner, Covert Breakthrough, Inspection
Outcasts: Convict Labour, Inspection
Resurrectionists: Take Prisoner (Freikorps Trapper), Inspection

Crews
Outcasts: Tara (Knowledge of Eternity), Taelor, Johan, Rusty Alyce, Bishop, 2 Freikorps Trappers
Resurrectionists: Molly Squidpiddge (Forgotten Life, Terrible Knowledge), Philip and the Nanny (Take Back The Night), Madam Sybelle (Bleeding Tongue), 2 Night Terrors, 2 Dead Doxies, 2 Crooligans

With Reckoning I decided to go with a very small crew (something I don’t normally play well); Outcasts are spoiled for great options at 10 soulstones so it feels like a bit of treat to be able to take 3 in the same game. I went with Tara again thinking that I could possibly use her to leverage the best out of my elite models. I picked the Trappers with the idea of just sitting them in the corners for Inspection, dropping scheme markers for Convict Labour in turn 2 and generally just taking shots at targets at they presented themselves. I was quite surprised at David’s crew as I thought that quite a few of his models could end up presenting cheap kills, and Molly is usually played as a summoner of disposable minions too. On the other hand, I knew that David was too canny to give up strategy points too easily.

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Turn 1: Tara makes Johan, Taelor and Alyce fast. Both Crooligans take double Defensive Stance, a Doxy pushes Philip around and he eventually does some card cycling at the cost of some scheme markers. The Trappers shoot at a Doxy to soften it up a little. Sybelle moves forward and Calls Belle on Molly, who moves up and summons a Punk Zombie out of Taelors sight. She fails to Paralyse Johan with Obscene Truth.

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Turn 2: Molly summons a pair of Punk Zombies and makes one of them Slice and Dice in the middle of my bunched up models, doing nasty things. It also hurts the other one to start Black Blood splashing around. She chain activates the one from last turn which kills Johan. Alyce Rapid Fires into Sybelle, hurting her badly and using up most of David’s soulstones. A Doxy pushes Sybelle forward then Taelor smites the two newest Punk Zombies before they activate (but getting more Black Blood everywhere). Tara Slows Molly and Sybelle, then discards the trash out of my hand for a lot of Fast. Sybelle puts Attend To Personally on Bishop, and he’s only too happy to oblige, beating her to death (again) and getting covered in more Black Blood for his trouble. The Trappers drop scheme markers in the corners then the Night Terrors and Crooligans jump on one of them to make it a waste of time. I score Reckoning and Inspection.

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Turn 3: Taelor charges Molly and kills the last Punk Zombie. Molly uses Terrible Truth on Bishop then Paralyses him. Philip continues to cycle cards. The Trappers shoot at Doxies with varying results and Tara finishes them both off with Sympathetic Echoes (more Black Blood though). I score for Reckoning and we both score Inspection.

Turn 4: Taelor hits Molly, finishing Bishop with the Black Blood splash. Molly then kills Taelor, Alyce and Tara, who were all on only a few wounds after the bathing they’d been doing in Black Blood. David scores for Reckoning and Take Prisoner; we both score for Inspection again. Outcasts lose 5 – 6 (2 for Reckoning and 3 for Inspection for me; 1 for Reckoning, 3 for Take Prisoner and 2 for Inspection for David).

However, when we’re discussing the game afterwards, David rechecked some rules and realised that he’d accidentally made an important error in how we’d played Black Blood (I think that it was that Sybelle actually shouldn’t get it but I may have misunderstood). He was really embarrassed at the time and I hope he won’t mind me mentioning it – after all it was a simple mistake. We discussed with the Tournament Organiser and David offered to reverse the score to 6 – 5 to me on the basis that Bishop could have Haymakered Molly without dying (I had the needed cards in hand), denying his point for Reckoning and allowing my crew in the centre to get on with the business of dropping enough scheme markers to score me a point for Convict Labour.

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As always, I had a wonderful time playing against David. It’s a particular treat when he’s using Molly since he’s also her creator and it makes me smile to think of how cool it must be to play a character that you wrote yourself. I need to get much better at spreading out against Molly crews as I always get suckered by the combination of summoned Punk Zombies, Black Blood and Slice and Dice. Or maybe I just need to play more Freikorps. As it turned out, taking Crooligans and Night Terrors didn’t harm David at all in Reckoning since I didn’t manage to kill any of them.

So once the (revised) scores are added up, I came in first place. For my troubles, I got one of the new Mystery Boxes, but it wasn’t for a faction I play so I gave it to Joe; hopefully he’ll get plenty of use and fun from it. I had a wonderful time, and I have to thank V, Jamie, Lewis and David for four fun games of Malifaux, Kai for organising the event and Steve for running the show on the day.

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

Malifaux tournament report: Scottish Doubles GT 2016 (2x25SS); 05-06Mar2016

Furycat and I headed along to Common Ground Games in Stirling again, this time for a Malifaux doubles tournament. I’ve never played doubles before, but it seemed like an excuse to be silly and not worry too much about the game balance; the main Malifaux rules don’t really cover doubles so there are some odd cases of things not working as normal. Furycat and I took Ten Thunders Misaki and Outcast Tara respectively for the simple reason that those were the masters we were in the mood for playing when we drove over.

Game 1: Outcasts / Ten Thunders (us) vs Outcasts / Ten Thunders (Greg and Maria)

Strategy: Interference

Schemes
Pool: Convict Labour, Take Prisoner, Leave Your Mark, A Quick Murder, Inspection
Our Outcasts / Ten Thunders: A Quick Murder (Bishop), Convict Labour
Their Outcasts / Ten Thunders: A Quick Murder (Rusty Alyce), Inspection

Crews
Our Outcasts / Ten Thunders: Tara (Knowledge of Eternity), Freikorps Trapper, Johan, Rusty Alyce; Misaki (Stalking Bisento, Recalled Training), Sensei Yu (Wandering River Style), Katanaka Sniper, Monk of the Low River
Their Outcasts / Ten Thunders: Misaki (Stalking Bisento), Sensei Yu (Wandering River Style), Mr Graves, Shadow Effigy; Viktoria of Ashes (Sisters in Fury, Synchronised Slaying, Oathkeeper), Viktoria of Blood (Mark of Shezuul, Oathkeeper), Bishop (Oathkeeper), Hodgepodge Effigy

So, game one and we come up against the strongest pairing in the event. Not the straightforward start I was hoping for to get a feel for how doubles play would work out in practice. Still, it did at least mean that (in theory) every game after this one would be easier. I don’t think we even put a lot of thought into our crews; the masters got our favourite upgrades and the rest were selected mainly with a view to being able to put damage out at range. Clearly with the amount of pushing available in the other crew we would be facing a turn 1 onslaught. Seeing the schemes, we figured to drop Bishop quickly (for a Quick Murder) and hope to have anything live long enough to score Convict Labour. We planned to put some shooting downrange in turn 1 with the Trapper and Sniper then brace for impact, hopefully deploying our own Misaki missile at some point.

Turn 1: The two Effigies do their things on the masters and head off in cover. Tara makes Alyce Fast. Our long range shooters put some damage into Viktoria of Ashes, drawing a couple of Soulstones to prevent damage, while Sensei Yu fails to Stalk the Sniper but does push Misaki up and make her fast. She then crashes into the Sniper and does a little damage. Mr Graves pushes both Viktorias forward (due to one of the many doubles quirks about friendly models). Our Yu pushes Alyce, stalks Viktoria of Blood and makes Misaki Fast. The Viktorias then power up and Viktoria of Blood wades in to kill Misaki and Johan. Alyce bounces some bullets off Viktoria of Blood in return and Tara charges in and ends up burying her.

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Turn 2: Tara makes Alyce Fast again and Slows Viktoria of Ashes. Misaki offs the Sniper, bringing Viktoria of Blood back, then Alyce guns down Bishop (scoring our Quick Murder). Viktoria of Blood kills the Trapper then the Monk climbs up to engage her and Misaki. Our Yu hides behind the building (there was nothing useful to do with him) and their Yu has a terrible run of cards and fails to do anything whatsoever. Mr Graves charges Viktoria of Ashes and pushes her into range to swing on Tara and Alyce. Greg and Maria score on Interference and Inspection.

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Turn 3: Alyce kills Viktoria of Ashes; Viktoria of Blood kills the Monk. Tara Slows Misaki and makes Alyce Fast. Their Yu pushes Mr Graves forward and Stalks Tara. Miaski then kills her. Greg and Maria score on Interference and Inspection again.

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Turn 4: Misaki kills Alyce for a not-especially Quick Murder. We have Sensei Yu left but there is nothing left he can do so we concede the rest of the game. Our team loses 3 – 9 (3 for Quick Murder for us; 4 for Interference, 3 for Inspection and 2 for Quick Murder for them).

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As always, games against Greg and Maria are terrific fun, so getting them both in a single game was excellent. We made some pretty big mistakes here; probably the biggest was not revving up Misaki with Sensei Yu earlier in the turn so that we could have the option to drop them onto the Viktorias after they’d been pushed forward by Mr Graves (though there were other options available to Greg and Maria so they didn’t need to walk into that trap). Anyway, the game was over so quickly that we could go out for lunch, have a wander round the shop and still come back to find that the other teams weren’t finished at all.

Game 2: Outcasts / Ten Thunders (us) vs Outcasts / Resurrectionists (Ali and Dave)

Strategy: Squatter’s Rights

Schemes
Pool: Convict Labour, Hunting Party, Show Of Force, Detonate The Charges, Public Demonstration
Outcasts / Ten Thunders: Hunting Party, Show Of Force
Outcasts / Resurrectionists: Hunting Party, Public Demonstration (Hodgepodge Effigy, Dead Doxy, Student of Viscera)

Crews
Outcasts / Ten Thunders: Tara (Knowledge of Eternity), Rusty Alyce (Desolate Soul), Taelor; Misaki (Stalking Bisento, Recalled Training), Yin the Penangalan, Illuminated, Katanaka Sniper
Outcasts / Resurrectionists: Von Schill (The Shirt Comes Off), Hodgepodge Effigy, Johan, Convict Gunslinger (Oathkeeper), Freikorps Trapper; Molly Squidpiddge (Forgotten Life), Student of Viscera, Dead Doxy, Rogue Necromancy

Needless to say, the thrashing we received in game 1 sent us right down to the bottom table for the second game. This one had a much more favourable scheme pool from my point of view. I took Alyce with an upgrade with the idea of dominating the centre and Taelor in the hope that one day I would actually get to use Welcome To Malifaux against Molly. Furycat notably took Yin as our plan was to take firm control of the centre with Misaki and my Outcasts, then harass anything sent to the flanks with the rest of our crews. With the other crew packing minions and likely to summon more we selected Hunting Party, and had picked Alyce specifically to give us the option of Show Of Force. We deployed second and had no hesitation in parking the Sniper in melee with the Trapper, being careful not to give him space to push free without either going off the tower or remaining in melee.

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Turn 1: Molly Imbues Vigour onto the Doxy then Tara makes Misaki, Taelor and Alyce Fast. The Doxy uses Take The Lead twice to move the Student toward the corner marker. The Sniper pokes gently at the Trapper and Misaki charges in to generally make no impact on the poor Freikorpsman.

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Turn 2: The Gunslinger Rapid Fires Alyce to burn a good number of our Soulstones away keeping her well. Yin moves to cover the corner marker and puts Gnawing Fear on the Student. The Doxy pushes it forward again. Tara makes Alyce Fast again. The Rogue Necromancy shoots Alyce and Stalks her. The Sniper continues to trade blows with the Trapper, and some fantastic cards from Ali has the Trapper coming out ahead. Alyce shoots the Effigy (trying to score Hunting Party) but completely fails to do anything significant; she flips her marker. Misaki kills the Gunslinger and pushes into Molly who attacks her for no meaningful effect. Taelor and Tara flip the other two markers in the middle. Von Schill misses a couple of shots at Alyce, then we score Squatter’s Rights and Show of Force.

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Turn 3: Tara makes Alyce Fast and fails to Slow Von Schill. The main moustache charges and hurts my master a lot. Alyce guns down the Rogue Necromancy, summoning an Abomination which is then killed bt Johan for Hunting Party (oops!). Misaki and Molly continue to flap at each other. The Doxy fails a horror duel on Yin, then Taelor steams over to smite the Student of Viscera (scoring a point for our Hunting Party). Yin pokes the Doxy a bit while the Sniper finally manages to win his sword fight with an unarmed man, dispatching the Trapper on his 6th attack (and after help from Misaki). Tara buries Von Schill. We score again for Show of Force and the strategy; they reveal Public Demonstration to score a point from the Dead Doxy.

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Turn 4: Yin finishes the Dead Doxy for Hunting Party, bringing out Von Schill who wastes no time polishing off Taelor. Misaki drops Molly and Johan misses the Illuminated which kills the Effigy. This guarantees us the final Hunting Party point in turn 5 since it was the last minion. Everything we have left pours attacks into Von Schill, leaving him on a single wound left. We score for the strategy and pick up the last Show of Force point.

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Turn 5: Tara kills Von Schill. It had no impact on the game, but I wanted it for completeness. Johan fails to do enough damage to the Illuminated to score another Hunting Party. Our team wins 10 – 2 (full score for us, 1 each for Hunting Party and Public Demonstration for them).

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That was a hilarious game and we were all especially enjoying the epic duel on the rooftop between the Sniper and the heroic Trapper. From our point of view, everything went perfectly according to plan, so not much more to say. I think that Ali and Dave dithered a little too much, being unduly cautious with Molly and not committing Von Schill to the centre early enough on to matter.

Game 3: Outcasts / Ten Thunders (us) vs Ten Thunders / Ten Thunders (Callum and Dave)

Strategy: Headhunter

Schemes
Pool: Convict Labour, Exhaust Their Forces, Show Of Force, Neutralize The Leader, Catch And Release
Outcasts / Ten Thunders: Show Of Force, Neutralize The Leader (Lucas McCabe)
Ten Thunders / Ten Thunders: Show Of Force, Neutralize The Leader (Misaki)

Crews
Outcasts / Ten Thunders: Tara (Knowledge of Eternity), Johan, Freikorps Librarian, Freikorps Trapper, Hodgepodge Effigy; Misaki (Stalking Bisento, Recalled Training), Sensei Yu (Wandering River Style), Izamu the Armour (Recalled Training)
Ten Thunders / Ten Thunders: Lucas McCabe (Glowing Sabre, Badge of Speed), Luna, Shadow Emissary (Elixir of Life, Conflux of Exploration), Mounted Guardsman; Shenlong (Wandering River Style, Recalled Training), Sensei Yu (Smoke Grenades, Promising Disciple), Peasant, Katanaka Sniper

We went into this knowing that we were going to give up 3 points for Neutralise The Leader on Misaki, and resolved just to get on and enjoy doing what she does best (i.e. doing just the same thing to the other master); Lucas McCabe felt like an easier choice of victim than Shenlong, at least to score a point. Furycat took Sensei Yu to turbo-charge Misaki, score Show of Force and generally get our crew on to head markers as needed and Izamu to be a colossal roadblock that might not even surrender his head in the end. For my part, I took cheaper stuff that could pick up heads but didn’t need to commit too far forward. The Librarian was there to mitigate any Sniper shenanigans and the Trapper was there to provide our own. Johan was hungry to get a chance to swing that Relic Hammer at Shenlong, or otherwise just to be a handy second wave threat with Yu to push him around. Some of the cover options on the board aren’t very obvious, but we did pick some pieces to stop it being like playing on an empty field.

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Turn 1: The Shenlong phase starts with the Peasant reproducing by binary fission. Tara makes Yu and Misaki Fast and a Peasant makes the Sniper Focus. The Hodgepodge Effigy puts down some Mist to mitigate the incoming gun fire. The Sniper guns a pait of Focus shots into Misaki while our Trapper has only one shot at McCabe. The Emissary pushes their Yu forward while our Yu pushes Izamu up and makes him Fast. Their Yu then Airbursts Izamu forward and fails to Mighty Gust him back and Slow him. The attentive among you may notice that their Yu didn’t actually have Wandering River Style at that point; an activation or so later Dave realises this and we put the high card we cheated to avoid the Mighty Gust back into our hand. Izamu, barely able to believe that Yu’s clone was so helpful as to bring him even closer, happily charges in and beats the big chap to within an inch of his life, relieving the crew of all Soulstones in the process. McCabe Black Flashes the Sniper and charges Izamu, beating a Soulstone out of him in the process, then passed the Sabre to the Mounted Guard. The Librarian heals a couple of wounds off Misaki, then the Sniper shoots them right back off again. Shenlong heals some wounds on Sensei Yu, then Misaki tears off up the board and kills Yu anyway. She pushes into a clump of Ten Thunders models to keep the Mounted Guard off Izamu. The Guard does stab a few wounds off her to score a point for Neutralise The Leader.

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Turn 2: Shenlong narrowly fails to kill Misaki. She races over to knock McCabe off his horse (scoring a point for Neutralise The Leader) and eventually pushes further away from the bulk of their crew. The Emissary picks her off with a blast from an attack on Izamu (scoring the last points for Neutralise The Leader), who in turn smacks all but one of McCabes wounds off him. The Mounted Guard kills Izamu with the Sabre, but the Armour hits him back and doesn’t drop a head thanks to A Warrior’s Death. Tara fails to do anything to McCabe. The Sniper shoots Johan down to his Hard to Kill wound, then Yu pushes him around a wall and makes him Fast. Johan gets into the Mounted Guard, killing him and picking up a previously dropped head right at his feet. Tara, slightly sheepishly, finally drops McCabe with her gun to score our remaining Neutralise The Leader points. This Reactivates the Sniper who blows away a Peasant who had ended up engaged with Johan before killing the renegade steamfitter with the second shot. We score for Show of Force.

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Turn 3: Tara Slows the Sniper and Shenlong. The latter switches to Wandering River Style and picks up a head. Yu Airbursts him back and Mighty Gusts the Librarian forward. The Emissary passes the Elixir to Shenlong to push him back to the middle. Our Effigy picks up a nearby head. The Sniper knocks the Librarian to a single wound with one Focussed shot, the Black Jokers the damage on the second. She uses Furious Casting plus Fast to take the Emissary to 1 wound before Black Jokering the last shot in her own turn. Luna bites the Effigy, the Trapper finishes the Emissary and Tara vapourises Luna with a timely Red Joker. We score again on Show of Force.

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Turn 4: Shenlong changes to High River Style and hurts Tara. The Librarian picks up another head and we run out of time. Our team wins 9 – 4 (3 for Headhunter and 3 for each scheme for us; 1 for Headhunter and 3 for Neutralise The Leader for them).

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It was lovely to play against Dave and Callum, but once Dave had made his mistake with Sensei Yu they were right on the back foot for the whole game. Not just because it let us take Sensei Yu almost for free, but because it shook Dave’s confidence in his choices. We had an interesting quandary at the start of turn 2 with Misaki. We ultimately decided to go directly for points by throwing Misaki into McCabe, but we could have dropped three Thunder attacks over the crew which would probably have picked up the Sniper, both Peasant and Luna, with some nice damage on Shenlong and the Mounted Guard. That would have given us some interesting activation control for the rest of the game.

Game 4: Outcasts / Ten Thunders (us) vs Resurrectionists / Resurrectionists (Dave and Robert)

Strategy: Turf War

Schemes
Pool: Convict Labour, Exhaust Their Forces, Leave Your Mark, Occupy Their Turf, Take Prisoner
Outcasts / Ten Thunders: Exhaust Their Forces, Leave Your Mark
Resurrectionists / Resurrectionists: Exhaust Their Forces, Take Prisoner (female Illuminated)

Crews
Outcasts / Ten Thunders: Tara (Knowledge of Eternity), Taelor, Rusty Alyce (Desolate Soul); Misaki (Stalking Bisento), Kang, 2 Illuminated
Resurrectionists / Resurrectionists: Molly Squidpiddge (Forgotten Life), Valedictorian, Carrion Emissary (Conflux of Molly-ness), Graveyard Spirit; Seamus (Sinister Reputation), Bishop, 2 Rotten Belles, Copycat Killer

Our plan here was to accept that we’d be out numbered and Lured around and just go directly for the throat, trying to keep the line of combat far enough back that it would be hard to put two pieces into the Turf War area. I took Alyce’s upgrade thinking that Molly might summon some pieces that we could gun down into Abominations, and Taelor for her general utility, bad-ass-ness and possibility of getting off Welcome To Malifaux. Furycat’s plan was to apply early pressure with Misaki and then back it up with a wall of Kang-assisted Illuminated. None of the schemes looked very appealing, so we picked Exhaust Their Forces (thinking that there would be plenty of force to exhaust) and Leave Your Mark with the aim of dropping markers when we were right up the table.

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Turn 1: The Emissary flaps over the building and drops a pair of Shard Markers right in our way, then flaps back. Tara makes Misaki and Taelor Fast. We sacrifice an Illuminated to the inevitable chain Lure, and it is indeed pulled right into the death ball Misaki charges the Emissary for no effect at all. Molly summons a Punk Zombie, makes it attack Misaki then summons a Drowned. Eventually Bishop drops the Illuminated and Seamus Exhausts Misaki to score a point.

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Turn 2: We end up with a hand full of high crows and decide to try to burn their resources. She Stalks Seamus and Assassinates him three times. Sadly, we only get weak damage on all three flips and one of them is stoned away to nothing so ultimately we probably ended up hurting our own hand and cache more than theirs. Oh well. Molly puts Terrible Truth on Misaki and Bishop puts the final blow into her a few activations later of things poking at our Master. Tara Slows the Valedictorian. Taelor charges in and Hammerfalls to move a few things around. Alyce can’t get a clear shot on anything and ends up dropping a scheme marker. Kang smites Bishop and Seamus Exhausts Taelor. The Illuminated does kill off the Mindless Zombie though. Tara ends up burying the Valedictorian and a Belle Slows both Tara and Taelor. We score Leave Your Mark, they score Exhaust Their Forces and we both score Turf War.

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Turn 3: Kang kills Bishop, releasing the Valedictorian which Exhausts him in reply. Tara removes Slow from Taelor and Exhausts a Belle. Taelor fails a Hammerfall that would have caught almost the entire Resurrectionist crew (they flipped high and the highest card we’d drawn was a 7). The Illuminated charges the Belle, splashing Black Blood over just about everyone, so Seamus kills her to do a bit more. He companions to the other Belle who Lures Alyce into the scrum; she responds by Exhausting Seamus. Various things attack Tara who tries to disengage so she can put down a scheme marker, but fails. My notes fail me at this point, but somewhere in here Taelor died (possibly to Black Blood) and the Illuminated gets Lured right into the back of the crew. When time runs out, we both score Exhaust Their Forces and Turf War, and they reveal Take Prisoner on the surviving Illuminated. Our team loses 4 – 8 (2 for Turf War and 1 for each scheme for us; 2 for Turf War and 3 for each scheme for them).

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That was another really interesting game, and I always enjoy playing against a Malifaux legend like Dave. Our planning and strategy was completely wrong though; we should have taken more cheaper stuff and aimed for crowd control. Certainly Alyce was wasted, her job could have been done just as well by a 4 Soulstone Void Wretch. We also wasted more resources on Misaki in the middle of the mosh pit than we cost Dave and Robert; she’d have been better moving to force them to react and maybe taking out a few lesser pieces rather than going all in on Seamus.

Game 5: Outcasts / Ten Thunders (us) vs Arcanists / Arcanists (Andy and Michael)

Strategy: Stake a Claim

Schemes
Pool: Convict Labour, Hunting Party, Show Of Force, Search The Ruins, Public Demonstration
Outcasts / Ten Thunders: Show Of Force, Search The Ruins
Arcanists / Arcanists: Hunting Party, Search The Ruins

Crews
Outcasts / Ten Thunders: Tara (Knowledge of Eternity, Obliteration Symbiote), Killjoy, Freikorpsman, Hodgepodge Effigy; Misaki (Stalking Bisento, Recalled Training), Dawn Serpent, Sensei Yu (Wandering River Style)
Arcanists / Arcanists: Ramos (Seize The Day, Bleeding Edge Tech), Brass Arachnid, Large Arachnid, Howard Langston (Imbued Energies); Colette Du Bois (Arcane Reservoir, Shell Game, Nothing Up My Sleeve), Mechanical Dove, Myranda, Cassandra (Practiced Production, Imbued Energies)

We took one look at the scheme pool, terrain and close deployment here and decided to end the event by going all in for fighting. I picked Killjoy to aim for the first turn, or even first activation, beast bomb, and Furycat got Sensei Yu set up to do a full on Misaki missile. I took two cheap activations; the idea was to gum things up so much with Misaki and Killjoy that the Effigy and Freikorpsman would have a free reign on the fringe of the action. The Dawn Serpent was partly because Furycat loves it, and partly to avoid giving up 3 points on Hunting Party too easily. We picked Show of Force and Search the Ruins with the idea of getting Yu to score the former on his own and with Tara’s help for the latter if we could successfully push the Arcanists right back. As it turned out, they deployed too cagily for me to fire Killjoy in activation 1.

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Turn 1: The Large Arachnid kills the Dove for scrap. Tara makes the Dawn Serpent and Yu Fast. Ramos summons a pair of Steam Arachnids; the Dawn Serpent breathes fire over them. Sensei Yu charges Misaki with Fast and pushes her forwards, then Stalks Howard Langston. Langston drops Imbued Energies and attacks her, drawing some of our stones. Interestingly, I advise Furycat not to attack back this point as I’ve forgotten about Colette behind her wall, but luckily so has Andy so he makes the Brass Arachnid Stoke Langston instead. That mistake costs Langston his life as Misaki tears him apart then charges in to bounce off the Large Arachnid. Cassandra prompts Myranda to move, then advances herself. Tara moves up, unburies Killjoy, pulses Temporal Shift (catching one Steam Arachnid, Killjoy, Yu and the Dawn Serpent) and chain activates Killjoy. The big beastie lumbers into Ramos, positioning so any push away will leave him braced up against a monument. Colette Prompts the Large Arachnid to bite Misaki.

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Turn 2: Colette Prompts Ramos to summon 3 Steam Arachnids, then Prompts the Large Arachnid to attack Misaki until she has only a single wound remaining. Misaki stabs Ramos repeatedly and draws out all their cards and Soulstones; Ramos misses her back three times. The Dawn Serpent Focuses and clears out all the newly summoned Arachnids. Cassandra attacks the Effigy and Myranda attacks the Freikorpsman, then turns into a Cerberus to do it again; both survive. Sensei Yu Airbursts the Effigy free, drops a scheme marker from the Focus he gained, walks up and drops another scheme marker. Tara uses Temporal Shift again to speed up almost our whole crew, then drops another scheme marker to take control for Search the Ruins. The Large Arachnid hurts the Dawn Serpent then the Effigy puts down a Claim marker. Killjoy turns Ramos into a stain on the ground then saunters off to line up an Arachnid as its target. The rest of Andy and Michael’s crew improbably bounce off Misaki. We score Stake a Claim and Show of Force.

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Turn 3: Misaki hurts Colette and Cassandra kills the Effigy (scoring for Hunting Party) while the Cerberus finishes off the Freikorpsman. The Dawn Serpent heals and eats the Large Arachnid. Yu Airbursts the Cerberus back into its own half of the board. Tara buries a nearby Arachnid (actually I was just trying to burn a card out of their hand) and uses Temporal Shift again. Colette finally kills Misaki to cheers all round, so Killjoy kills her in return, and squashes the Brass Arachnid for good measure. Again, we score Stake a Claim and Show of Force.

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Turn 4: The plucky Steam Arachnid bites Killjoy. The Dawn Serpent charges into hurt Cassandra and she gets away from it on the second attempt. Yu fails to Airburst the Cerberus, so luckily gets through Southern Charm to Mighty Gust her back to the Dawn Serpent. The Cerberus fails to Leap over the centre line and walks sadly instead. Our team wins 9 – 1 (3 each for the strategy and both schemes for us; 1 for Hunting Party for them).

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That was a very funny game and we were all laughing and groaning as yet another attack bounced off Misaki’s seemingly perfect dance of death in turn 2 and 3. We could very easily have lost Misaki to prompted Langston attacks in turn 1 (I think we had the cards in hand to survive but it wasn’t a sure thing) but all of us missed the opportunity. After that, it was just clean up as Misaki and Killjoy effectively paralysed their entire crew apart from Myranda and Cassandra for three turns, allowing our crew to go about the business of scoring all the points.

So in the end we somehow come in 2nd place; seemingly Greg and Maria destroyed everyone else as easily as they did us, and the other teams in the top half of the table took results off each other. Playing doubles was quite an instructive experience as I had to be able to explain my reasoning for my choices to Furycat and have him make me understand why he chose various courses too. As a team we seemed to work quite smoothly together with general agreement on how to proceed and even which cards to cheat; by contrast some teams did appear to spend a lot more time discussing strategy. Thanks to Greg, Maria, Ali, Dave, Callum, Dave, Dave, Robert, Andy and Michael for 5 terrific games of Malifaux, and to Jamie and Kai for their great work organising and making the whole event run smoothly.

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

Malifaux tournament report: Vapnartak 2016 (45SS); 07Feb2016

I’ve had some good times at the previous Vapnartak events I’ve attended and so when tickets were on sale for the 2016 iteration I was very happy to buy one from Chris, the organiser, at some tournament we met at. Normally I’m very lucky that Joe drives me around to these far-flung locations, but this time Joe’s car broke down and I was obliged to drive. The effects of my driving can be seen in the results that Joe and Furycat managed at the tournament. Still, I was really excited for this, not only the first singles event of 2016 but my first ever games using the new Gaining Grounds 2016 schemes.

Game 1: Outcasts (me) vs Resurrectionists (Connor Barker)

Strategy: Extraction

Schemes
Pool: Convict Labour, Leave Your Mark, A Quick Murder, Hunting Party, Covert Breakthrough
Outcasts: A Quick Murder (Izamu the Armour), Hunting Party
Resurrectionists: A Quick Murder (Taelor), Hunting Party

Crews
Outcasts: Jack Daw (Writhing Torment, Twist and Turn, Firing Squad Injustice, Guillotine Injustice, Drowning Injustice), Freikorps Librarian, 2 Freikorps Trappers, Taelor, Guilty, Rusty Alyce [edit: as pointed out by Viefaux this is actually 48SS, so I cheated Connor here. I’ve already apologised to him, and as a true gentleman he’s accepted my apology]
Resurrectionists: Yan Lo (Reliquary, Fortify The Spirit), Izamu the Armour (Spirit Beacon), Toshiro the Daimyo (Command the Graves, Corpse Bloat), Soul Porter, Philip and the Nanny (Take Back The Night), Dead Doxy

So after 4 hours of driving South, my first round match up is exactly the same opponent and strategy as the first round of my previous event. Lucky for me that Connor is such a great chap to play against. I picked Jack Daw to hope that the pushes on Tormented pieces could allow me to keep my own models near the Marker and possibly push Connor’s away (but it didn’t; I forgot about it entirely on the other crew). Alyce and Taelrr are both very good for killing so I took Hunting Party, and I realised that I would have to drop Izamu at some point so took A Quick Murder on him so that I could score some points for doing so. It appears that I forgot to take picture of the start of the game.

Turn 1: The Guilty Torments Taelor. The Soul Porter pushes Yan Lo and Toshiro forward while keeping carefully out of sight of my Trappers. Toshiro brings up a corpse marker and summons an Ashigaru from it, then drops a scheme marker. Philip then discards the marker for some card cycling. Both Trappers put bullets into Yan Lo to put a bit of pressure on the old man. The Doxy pushes Yan Lo forward with Take The Lead, then he heals Toshiro and shoots a Trapper. Alyce, who has been made Tormented and moved forward by Jack Daw, puts another bullet into Yan Lo but he Red Jokers the prevention flip.

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Turn 2: Yan Lo double focusses and shoots Taelor, then picks up Spirit Ascendant. Luckily for me I flip like a champion on defense and stop Connor from cheating in the Red Joker. The Librarian uses Furious Casting on the Doxy, killing her and scoring me a point for Hunting Party. Izamu steams up the right side and smites the Trapper, starting Connor’s own Hunting Party and summoning a Seishin in the process. Alyce Rapid Fires to kill Toshiro who is helpfully standing out of cover. The Ashigaru charges into the Librarian and is charged right back by my Guilty. Taelor charges Izamu; luckily top-decking the Red Joker on the first swing so I stone in the Tome to make sure of the kill on the second; this scores me 3 points for A Quick Murder. Jack Daw puts Guillotine Injustice on the Ashigaru and lands Philip with Firing Squad Injustice (but I made a mistake and should have charged in to use the Noose instead of Suppressed Memories for the better weak damage; I was hoping to make use of the lower willpower on Philip). We both score on the Strategy; I move the marker a toward my board edge.

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Turn 3: Taelor charges into Yan Lo, missing one swing then Black Jokering damage on the second. The Ashigaru finishes off the Librarian while the Guilty pokes gently at Philip. The Soul Porter moves Yan Lo toward the Guilty. Alyce shoots the last wound off the Ashigaru for Hunting Party and Jack Daw charges in and drops a Red Joker damage flip to kill Yan Lo. I score on the strategy. We look at the board state and agree that either Alyce or Taelor will be able to drop either the Soul Porter or the Seishin next turn for a final Hunting Party point, and therefore that we can call this here and spend more time looking round the rest of the show. Outcasts win 10 – 2 (full score for me; one for Extraction and one for Hunting Party for Connor).

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All games against Connor are fun, and I was glad to get a win against him after a couple of defeats in a row. The board was quite open (not as much as it looked; we treated the cactus bases as forests to have a bit more line of sight blocking) and the Trappers and Alyce were able to get a lot of work done. We ended up picking the same schemes for the same reasons; I would have been quite interested to see what else was popular in the rest of the field. I met up with my old mate Rob and spent the rest of the lunch break looking round the show and catching up before we were onto round 2. [edit: obviously, winning is a bit easier when you field a bigger crew than your opponent. Probably not much to learn here apart from that I need to count better.]

Game 2: Outcasts (me) vs Outcasts (Maria Wieland)

Strategy: Head Hunter

Schemes
Pool: Convict Labour, Hunting Party, Catch and Release, Show of Force, Occupy Their Turf
My Outcasts: Show of Force, Hunting Party
Maria’s Outcasts: Convict Labour, Hunting Party

Crews
My Outcasts: Tara (Knowledge of Eternity), Freikorps Librarian, Rusty Alyce (Desolate Soul), Hodgepodge Effigy, Johan, Bishop (Scramble), Malifaux Child
Maria’s Outcasts: Hamelin (Piper, Infectious Melodies, Oathkeeper), Johan (Oathkeeper), Hodgepodge Emissary (Conflux of Plague), Stolen, Taelor (Oathkeeper, Scout the Field), Obedient Wretch

In theory I like Jack Daw a lot in Head Hunter since the pushes from Writhing Torment can make it quite easy to collect the head markers. In this case, I was worried that we would end up with a ridiculous ‘Jack Daw off’ where everyone gets pushed this way and that before any action takes place. So I decided to take Tara instead since being Fast can make quite a lot of difference too. On such an open board I’d normally be thinking about Trappers, but they would be counter productive in Head Hunter as they’d just end up showering heads around Maria’s deployment zone for her to score. Having Show of Force in the scheme pool made me deviate from my normal style too; I’m not really a fan of taking lots of upgrades but in this case I felt that I had to do so to avoid just giving up three points to Maria if she took some upgrades. Once I’d taken them, I felt that I might as well go all the way and select that scheme. With so many expected minions cycling through the Hamelin crew I thought that Hunting Party should be very achievable.

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Turn 1: Various combinations of vermin and children get thrown about and turned into each other; my notes don’t allow me to replicate the actual sequences. Tara makes Alyce Fast and my crew advance to hold the centre of the board. Hamelin uses a soulstone to summon a pair of Stolen, Obeys Taelor forward and Obeys the Emissary forward. The latter moves toward the centreline and drops a scheme marker.

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Turn 2: More rats and children waste activations. Tara taps both Alyce and Bishop for Fast; the Child does the same for Johan. Alyce Rapid Fires Johan down to his Hard to Kill wound and Bishop rushes over to finish him off then scramble back into the centre since Alyce is too far away to score Show of Force. The Effigy uses the Mist and drops a scheme marker to try and fake like I’m doing Convict Labour and not Hunting Party. Hamelin Obeys my Effigy toward Taelor’s waiting embrace and summons another Stolen (the previous ones are probably a Rat Catcher by now, certainly there is one around somewhere). Taelor smites the Effigy into matchwood (scoring Hunting Party in the process) and the Emissary picks up the head. I score for Show of Force.

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Turn 3: Tara makes Alyce, the Librarian and Bishop Fast. Johan picks up the head of his fallen twin and the Librarian shouts most of the wounds off the Emissary. Bishop kills a Rat Catcher who fell out of a Rat King at some earlier stage (scoring for Hunting Party) and Alyce puts a couple of bullets into Hamelin to keep him cautious. Hamelin Obeys Alyce to kill off my Child, getting round Manipulative cleverly. I actually cheated high enough to put her on a negative damage flip but the Red Joker blew the little chap away. If he’d survived on one wound I could have hidden him safely behind some rock pillars. Tara kills the Emissary and Taelor uses Oathkeeper to pick up its head. I score Show of Force again.

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Turn 4: Tara Slows Taelor and makes Alyce and Johan Fast. The Rat Catcher goes Fast, walks over to Bishop and picks up the head of his predecessor then rudely dies before Bishop could punch him. Alyce guns down a Rat King (Hunting Party) and summons an Abomination from it in the hope of making Maria work to score another Hunting Party point. Another child rushes over to pick up the head to stop me from collecting it and sacrifices itself. The Librarian shouts at Taelor and eventually Johan charges in to her, getting her down to Hard to Kill and knocking her out of range of the centre (because I still thought that Maria might have Show of Force herself). Hamelin repeatedly Lures my new Abomination over, eventually killing it. Maria scores for Hunting party at the end of the turn since I have no minions left again, and I score a final point for Show of Force.

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Turn 5: Tara finishes off Taelor. Hamelin kills his own last Rat with Useless Toys then runs off to the corner. I’m not really sure why Maria killed the rat herself since it scored me the last Hunting Party point for free. Johan picks up Taelor’s head and revels in wielding the last Relic Hammer on the table. My Outcasts win 8 – 6 (2 for Head Hunter and everything for the schemes for me; 3 for Head Hunter and 3 for Hunting Party for Maria).

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As always, that was a terrific game against Maria. On my side of the table, I felt that I managed to keep on top of the summoning cycle by forcing Maria to expend pieces from time to time just to keep me at bay. Scoring Hunting Party was much trickier than I expected since Maria played her crew very cagily, but I had the mobility and power to get some kills and some heads where I needed them. Having all schemes unrevealed at the start made the whole game very interesting because I wasn’t sure what to try to counter; having said that I think that maybe Convict Labour was not really the right strategy for Maria.

Game 3: Outcasts (me) vs Arcanists (Mark Shepherd)

Strategy: Collect the Bounty

Schemes
Pool: Convict Labour, Exhaust Their Forces, Leave Your Mark, Search The Ruins, Mark For Death
My Outcasts: Search The Ruins, Mark For Death
Arcanists: Leave Your Mark, Mark For Death

Crews
My Outcasts: Tara (Knowledge of Eternity), Freikorps Librarian, Rusty Alyce, Hodgepodge Effigy, Taelor, 2 Freikorps Trappers
Arcanists: Marcus (Hunger Cry, Feral Instincts, Trail of the Gods), Myranda (Imbued Energies), Rogue Necromancy (Imbued Energies), Sabretooth Cerberus (Imbued Energies), Waldgeist, Jackalope, Arcane Effigy

I was absolutely delighted to be drawn against Mark. We’ve spent most of the 2015 tournament playing at adjacent tables so it was lovely to finally get in a game with him. I chose Tara again for this to try to make the most of flank deployment and the central terrain. Basically I intended to use the middle for cover and shoot things as they came at me; Tara making things Fast or Slow means that I either have longer to do it or more shots per turn. The Trappers were intended to whittle things down and force the incoming Arcanists to spread out to get to them. I took Taelor in case I ended up looking at Joss, Howard Langston or some other equally nasty armoured construct across the table. Search The Ruins felt good since I was aiming to take the centre anyway, and I figured that Mark For Death was basically what I was aiming for in the first place; albeit with an additional step of marking the target first.

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Turn 1: The Waldgeist comes up and Germinates. One Trapper shoots it anyway and the other one shoots the Arcane Effigy, which spends the rest of the game hiding out of my line of sight. The Rogue Necromancy Stalks Taelor. Marcus takes his fast walk and rushes over to the cover of another building. Alyce Focusses and shoots some more wounds out of the Waldgeist. We finish the turn classily with the Cerberus failing to Leap and Tara missing a double Focus shot at the Necromancy.

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Turn 2: The Cerberus discards Imbued Energies, Leaps onto the roof, Marks the Trapper for death and duly eats him, scoring a point in the process. Tara Slows the Rogue Necromancy and runs away from Marcus who is sitting looking threatening in the corner; the construct shoots some nasty poison onto Taelor. The surviving Trapper misses the Waldgeist twice and Myrand heals it. The Effigy drops scheme markers, then Alyce shoots the Necromancy before Taelor rushes over to kill it. Marcus charges Taelor with melee expert and extra damage and I blow through my cards and soulstones to keep her alive on one wound. Tara moves even further away from Marcus and makes the rest of my crew Fast with Temporal Shift thanks to the Jackalope having come up too far. Taelor finally succumbs to the Poison but I do score for the strategy.

Turn 3: Marcus steams over with a load of extra powers and, to my great surprise, attacks the Librarian (I thought he’d just kill off Tara). She survives but is a Domesticated beast. Tara Marks Marcus, Slows him and pokes him gently with her sword, drawing a couple of cards from Mark to stop me Burying him. The Walgeist comes into the scrum, the Trapper misses Myranda (a terrible choice of target but I think the was the only option) who piles in as well. She heals Marcus a little and turns into a Blessed of December. The Librarian Focusses and hurts Marcus. My Effigy drops another scheme marker and is then charged ineffectually by the Jackalope. Alyce charges Marcus and eventually kills both the Librarian and the Walgeist with redirected attacks. The Cerberus moves well into my side of the board and drops a scheme marker which is later revealed for Leave Your Mark. Tara’s second activation has her slapping Marcus a bit with her sword. I score for Collect the Bounty.

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Turn 4: This is called as the last turn. Marcus Marks Alyce, takes melee expert and additional damage and swing at her. She’s unwounded so he needs better than weak damage on at least one swing. The second one brings out the Red Joker, vapourising the girl and scoring Mark For Death. Tara taps Mrarcus for Slow and he conveniently Black Jokers the resist for Glimpse the Void, thereby scoring me for Mark For Death finally. She also Slows the Jackalope and Blessed. The Cerberus schemes again. The Effigy Marks the Blessed, which Leaps away to remove a scheme marker. The Trapper takes a couple of shots at it and on the second I cheat low to get a triple negative flip, hoping to luck out and draw the Red Joker I’d need for the kill. I do indeed get lucky and gun down the Blessed for another Mark For Death point. The Jackalope blocks Tara so she kills it and drops a scheme marker. Mark scores on the strategy. Outcasts win 7 – 6 (2 for Collect the Bounty, 2 for Mark For Death and 3 for Search The Ruins for me; 1 for Collect the Bounty, 3 for Mark For Death and 2 for Leave Your Mark for Mark).

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The game did indeed live up to the expectation; Mark is a much of a gent to play as he is to chat with. My only gripe is to play a man called Mark when there were also two schemes in the pool with ‘mark’ in the name! I was in general quite happy with how I played; I gave Taelor away a little cheaply but being my main melee threat in this crew I was sure to lose her eventually. I clearly need to play more games against Marcus as I always struggle against his crews; the threat range is huge. The last turn of that game got quite silly with Red and Black Jokers coming up just at critical times.

When the scores are counted up I came in with second place which I am very pleased with in that field. Most importantly I got three fun games against three very strong players, so thanks to Connor, Maria and Mark for enjoying my day with me. Thanks too to Chris and his helper team for putting on a very smooth event and keeping everything running like clockwork.  I’m already looking forward to the next Vappafaux.

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

Malifaux team tournament report: Breach Buddies (50SS); 09Jan2016

It’s a new year, but the Malifaux scene here in Scotland continues triumphantly onward. This event, held again at Common Ground Games in Stirling, was set up as a team format. We formed trios (Joe, Furycat and me in our case) and the team captains (Joe for our team) did some kind of jiggery-pokery to determine the match-ups. I deliberately stayed out of the process but it seemed to be smooth and clear to all involved. I’m happy to play anyone so I didn’t want to bias anyone’s choices.

Game 1: Outcasts (me) vs Resurrectionists (Connor Barker)

Strategy: Extraction

Schemes
Pool: Line in the Sand, Bodyguard, Murder Protegé, Protect Territory, Spring the Trap
Outcasts: Bodyguard (Librarian), Protect Territory
Resurrectionists: Murder Protegé (Rusty Alyce, announced), Spring the Trap

Crews
Outcasts: Jack Daw (Writhing Torment, Twist and Turn, Firing Squad Injustice, Guillotine Injustice, Drowning Injustice), Freikorps Librarian, 2 Freikorps Trappers, Hodgepodge Effigy, Guilty, Rusty Alyce, Johan
Resurrectionists: Molly Squidpiddge (Take Back The Night, Forgotten Life), Valedictorian, Philip and the Nanny, Madame Sybelle (Bleeding Tongue), 2 Dead Doxies, Rotten Belle, Necrotic Machine

In our first round we were drawn against one of the toughest teams and I ended up matching up against Connor’s Resurrectionists again. I decided rather arbitrarily to play Jack Daw, not because he has any special cleverness in Extraction but simply because I was in the mood. The board was quite open so I put a pair of Trappers in the list, the rest was just a load of cool stuff I could flood the board centre with. Hopefully Jack Daw would work fairly well in the close confines of the area around the Informant marker. I considered taking Murder Protegé against the Valedictorian but ultimately decided that she would be too mobile and hard to take down reliably. Instead, I swithered and eventually chose to Bodyguard the Librarian; it could easily have been Alyce but I was quite glad when Connor revealed that he had Murder Protegé on her.

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Turn 1: The Necrotic Machine moves up and pushes most of the crew towards me with Brethren. One Trapper misses shots on Molly; I was trying to put a little early pressure on her. The Belle and one of the Doxies drop scheme markers that Philip discards for the card draw before the other Trapper shoots him. The Valedictorian double moves into the right Trapper and attacks him via the trigger on Lecture Notes. On my side, the Guilty makes Johan Tormented, and Jack Daw does the same for Alyce before making the latter move up. Sybelle gets moved by the second Doxy’s Take The Lead and then advances and Calls Belle on Molly. In an effort to keep some control over Molly I throw Alyce into her for some trivial damage; forgetting of course that she was the Murder Protegé target. Molly puts Whispered Secret onto Alyce, Imbues Vigour onto the nearby Doxy and slaps Alyce with Revelation a couple of times. Johan charges the Doxy but can’t kill her before she reactivates and gently pokes Alyce.

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Turn 2: The Doxy move into Johan with Take The Lead and hurts him a little. Alyce Black Jokers an attack on Molly and the Valedictorian easily kills the Trapper. Jack Daw charges Molly knocking her down dangerously low on wounds and leaving her with Firing Squad Injustice for her trouble. Molly summons a Punk Zombie in the midst of my crew and makes it Slice and Dice with Whispers of Past Life. She spends the rest of her activation in Penance to flip the ‘upgrade’ from Jack Daw. Johan kills one Doxy and pushes the other out of range of the Informant. Sybelle charges Alyce but achieves nothing apart from drawing some of my soulstones. The Guilty Torments the Librarian and flaps uselessly at the Punk Zombie. The Necrotic Machine again pulls Connor’s crew towards the centre with Brethren. The Librarian takes the push for being Tormented near Jack Daw and kills Molly. Philip and the Belle drop scheme markers for Spring the Trap (scoring 3 VP at the end of the turn). We both score on the strategy but I move the marker towards my board edge.

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Turn 3: The Punk Zombie uses Slice and Dice twice for limited effect considering the amount of targets. Johan Flurries Sybelle leaving her with a single wound left; she hits Alyce down to a single wound and Complies her to hit Jack Daw (a clever way around Oldest Magic). The Trapper hurts the surviving Dead Doxy which kills Johan. The Guilty hurts the Punk Zombie and the Necrotic Machine kills Alyce (scoring Murder Protegé).  It was a mistake on my part here not to activate Alyce earlier since she was so clearly a target. The Hodgepodge Effigy drops a scheme marker and gives Jack Daw Loyalty to the Coin. My master then goes wild and kills Sybelle, the Doxy and the Punk Zombie. The Librarian hurts Philip but flips the Black Joker on the second damage flip to leave him alive and he remove my scheme marker. The Valedictorian swoops in to hurt the Librarian. We both score for Extraction.

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Turn 4: The Effigy drops a scheme marker then Jack Daw kills Philip and makes the Guilty drop a scheme marker. The Valedictorian kills the Effigy and the Librarian, before we run out of time. Outcasts lose 4 – 9 (3 for Extraction and 1 for Protect Territory for me; 3 for Extraction and both schemes for Connor).

I had a lovely time playing Connor, as usual of course. I think that the difference here was the good choice and clever application of schemes from Connor’s side compared to mine. I gave away Alyce quite cheaply, though I did use her to keep Molly busy for a couple of turns and save myself from being overrun by summons. I also should have been rather less aggressive with the Librarian since I had her as my Bodyguard choice, but again I felt that I needed her in action to keep other things in check.

Game 2: Outcasts (me) vs Arcanists (Michael Arnott)

Strategy: Reckoning

Schemes
Pool: Line in the Sand, Assassinate, Distract, Entourage, Vendetta
Outcasts: Assassinate, Entourage (Viktoria of Ashes, announced)
Arcanists: Assassinate, Entourage (Marcus, announced)

Crews
Outcasts: Viktoria of Ashes (Sisters in Spirit, Sisters in Fury, Synchronised Slaying), Viktoria of Blood (Oathkeeper, Mark of Shezuul), Freikorps Librarian, Johan, Malifaux Child, Bishop (Oathkeeper), Taelor (Oathkeeper)
Arcanists: Marcus (Arcane Reservoir, The God’s Domain, Seize The Day), Myranda, 4 Sabretooth Cerberuses (one has Pack Leader)

So despite Joe’s heroic victory in round 1, Furycat and I both lost so we were down already in the rankings. After the team captains picked the match-ups I was set up against Michael’s Arcanists. Seeing the frankly ludicrous bowling green of terrain my first thought was to use Alyce, 2 Trappers and Lazarus and just let my victims come into the teeth of my guns. I decided that was not really in the spirit of the team event and so picked out the Viktorias. I had only just assembled them but one test game earlier in the week made me think that they should be plenty of fun. Seeing Michael’s crew it was clear that he was taking the same approach. Considering the scheme pools I thought that Assassinate was an easy choice; Marcus was going to have to get his hands dirty if Michael wanted to win here. If I’d used a Trapper I would have been all over Vendetta but in the end I picked Entourage on my master.

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Turn 1: The Malifaux Child casts Sisters in Fury and our crews advance on each other from our corners. I advance Viktoria of Ashes too far and Marcus is able to Alpha and Darzee’s Chaunt a Cerberus. Only Michael’s terrible cards save me from losing my master in turn 1. Assassinate, Entourage (Viktoria of Ashes, announced)Blood, stranded far from her sister, has to use Oathkeeper to catch up. She does blend the offending Cerberus quite effectively upon arrival.

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Turn 2: I win initiative and power up Viktoria of Ashes with Sisters in Fury, advances and places her sister with Sisters in Spirit. Viktoria of Blood chain activates and charges into a perfect position between Marcus, Myranda and one Cerberus. Sadly, Michael flips the Red Joker to make the first attack miss and I Black Joker the second so the single Whirlwind I pull off is depressingly ineffective. Myranda heals the wounded Cerberus and companions it to miss Viktoria of Blood. Marcus misses her as well and one final Cerberus is able to get her down to a single wound. The rest of my crew are running to get involved. This was a very silly turn with all the good cards coming out on defense flips.

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Turn 3: Viktoria of Ashes again casts Sisters in Fury, moves round into companion range of Viktoria of Blood and swings once at the Cerberus engaging her. Viktoria of Blood kills Marcus (scoring Assassinate) and hurts Myranda and both Cerberuses nearby. Myranda heals a cat and transforms into a Cerberus herself. Taelor uses Oathkeeper and hurts yet another giant cat. It Leaps into Viktoria of Ashes, misses the first attack and then top decks the Red Joker on a negative flip for the second, scoring Assassinate in the process. So since we both have Assassinate in the bag and can’t score Entourage, this will now been decided by Reckoning score. Bishop kills a Cerberus, one of them finally polishes off Viktoria of Blood and the Librarian softens up yet another one. We both score for Reckoning.

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Turn 4: The left-most Cerberus Leaps and kills off the Malifaux Child. Taelor kills one Cerberus and Johan combines with Bishop to drop the second-last one. The survivor flees from Taelor and gets hurt by Furious Casting from the Librarian. I score Reckoning.

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Turn 5: The Cerberus is able to flee out of my range, so we call the game there. Outcasts win 5 – 4 (2 for Reckoning and 3 for Assassinate for me; 1 for Reckoning and 3 for Assassinate for Michael).

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That was a very silly game with ridiculous flips on both sides of the table. I don’t think I’ve played that badly with my positioning for a long while, but it was quite instructive in using the huge threat range of the Viktorias. I ended up with them engaged with the whole of Michael’s crew while the rest of my crew ran to keep up. My choice of schemes was quite silly too; with Assassinate in the pool I shouldn’t have put all my eggs in the same basket by taking Entourage on Viktoria of Ashes. Taelor would have been a far better option, partly since she’s much more survivable and partly because there were no Assassinate VPs riding on her too. I had a nice time and I was quite glad not to have taken a shooting crew against Michael’s hilarious cat crew.

Game 3: Outcasts (me) vs Gremlins (Kenny Hall)

Strategy: Stake a Claim

Schemes
Pool: Line in the Sand, Bodyguard, Breakthrough, Outflank, Plant Explosives
Outcasts: Breakthrough (announced), Plant Explosives
Gremlins: Bodyguard (Francois LaCroix), Breakthrough (announced)

Crews
Outcasts: Tara (Obliteration Symbiote, Knowledge of Eternity), Freikorpsman, Freikorps Librarian, Freikorps Trapper, Hodgepodge Effigy, Johan, Killjoy, Ronin
Gremlins: Ophelia LaCroix (Dirty Cheater), Old Cranky, Lenny, Francois LaCroix (Dirty Cheater), Rami LaCroix (Hide in the Mud), Slop Hauler, Merris LaCroix, 2 Bayou Gremlins

Despite my win in round two, both Joe and Furycat lost their games so we went further down to the bottom tables. I ended up paired with Kenny, a player returning from a hiatus since Malifaux 1.5, to take on his Gremlins. I took Tara for her large number of AP since there wasn’t really anything needing killing. Since we were using close deployment I took Killjoy hoping to catch the Gremlin crew unawares, perhaps as soon as the first activation with a Tara bomb. I fancied trying out a Ronin since I only just put them together the night before the event; from this choice you can see the highly tactical approach I was taking. Breakthrough is simplest in close deployment, and I thought that with my relatively un-killy crew (except Killjoy) that Plant Explosives would be the best option from the rest. I set up first and Kenny loaded his entire crew on one side, which put paid to my plans to launch Killjoy at them right at the beginning of the game.

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Turn 1: The Bayou Gremlins surprisingly don’t go Reckless, but do shoot my Ronin who takes the damage despite cover. Rami Focuses and blows away the Freikorpsman (on the left; not visible in my photo due to the terrain) with a Dumb Luck Red Joker; the Trapper drops him in return before he can be healed. There is some fairly ineffective shooting around the board. Ophelia moves up, uses Ooh a Girl to pull Lenny into a nice clump with Old Cranky, Francois and Bayou Gremlin before shooting the Ronin. Tara moves up, unburies Killjoy and makes him, Johan, the Librarian and a Bayou Gremlin Fast with Temporal Shift. Killjoy rockets into the Gremlin crowd but fails to kill Lenny thanks to Old Cranky’s aura. Lenny Tosses Ophelia upfield and pokes Killjoy. The Slop Hauler uses Reckless and moves up to heal some Gremlins.

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Turn 2: Tara pings Ophelia for Slow, gives Killjoy Fast and buries him, then unburies him again to companion for the charge. This time he kills Francois, fails to kill Old Cranky (due to Lenny’s aura of damage reduction) then finishes off Lenny. In retrospect I should have dealt with Lenny first. Ophelia kills the Ronin and shoots the Librarian. Johan kills Merris and the Slop Hauler makes a run for it to catch up with Ophelia. The Effigy deeper into Kenny’s half of the board and drops a scheme marker. Old Cranky, to my surprise, moves in and attacks Killjoy, killing himself with Black Blood in the process. The Librarian shouts a few wounds out of Ophelia with Ancient Words; the Gremlin Squeals into melee with her. One Bayou Gremlin escapes Killjoy’s clutches and wastes a couple of bullets shooting at Tara; the Trapper kills it in return. Tara Stakes a Claim, scoring me a VP for the strategy.

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Turn 3: Somewhere around here I realise that I’m meant to be doing Plant Explosives. Tara Slows Ophelia and makes Killjoy Fast, burying him in the process. Ophelia kills the Librarian and runs for my board edge. The Effigy and Slop Hauler put down Claim markers. Tara walks between the Slop Hauler and last Bayou Gremlin to put down a scheme marker which is immediately removed for Plant Explosives (2 VP). I score on the Stake a Claim.

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Turn 4: Tara misses two charge attacks at the Slop Hauler, but her main objective was to get far enough past him to deliver Killjoy into Ophelia. Good use of masks (for Squeal) and soulstones on Kenny’s side leave Ophelia alive with a couple of wounds after Killjoy is finished. Ophelia drops scheme and Claim markers. Johan kills the Slop Hauler, rather showing up Tara pitiful efforts from earlier in the turn. The Bayou Gremlin puts down a scheme marker and shoots Johan, killing itself with Dumb Luck in the process; Johan was saved by his Hard To Kill. The Trapper, who spent the whole of last turn walking, guns down Ophelia. Neither of us score for the strategy on turn 4, but since Kenny is out of Gremlins we agree that I spend turn 5 removing his scheme markers and putting down another Claim marker with Tara. Outcasts win 8 – 0 (3 for Stake a Claim, 3 for Breakthough and 2 for Plant Explosives).

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Kenny was a lovely chap to meet across a Malifaux table. I think his inexperience showed a bit here as I felt that he was a bit over-cautious when it came to things like Reckless and Dumb Luck. I did explain at the start of the game about the Tara / Killjoy bomb but I think it is the sort of thing that you need to have happen to you before you can counter it. On the one hand, concentrating his crew on one side did make it longer before I could deliver Killjoy, but on the other it meant that I could tie up half of his crew with a single piece. I really enjoy playing Tara; it always feels like I have options.

Joe also managed a win in the final round (Gareth got a hilarious Evidence Tampering sucker punch for a third narrow loss) so at least we as team managed one win. I think we were 6th or so out of 10 in the team rankings. Slightly to my surprise the TOs did put up individual ranking (surprising because I thought that the team format would make single rankings a bit weird) and I was somewhere in the upper third. Wherever we ended up, I had a great time out. I was really impressed with the turn out; 30 players for an unranked event right at the start of January is absolutely terrific. As always, it was terrific to catch up with old friends and new. Thanks to Connor, Michael and Kenny for three enjoyable games and to Kai and Jamie for their usual smooth organisation.

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