Posts Tagged With: Gremlins

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

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

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

Strategy: Guard The Stash, standard deployment, 40SS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strategy: Interference, close deployment, 45SS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strategy: Collect The Bounty, flank deployment, 50SS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strategy: Extraction, standard deployment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strategy: Guard the Stash, flank deployment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strategy: Reconnoitre, close deployment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strategy: Interference, standard deployment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strategy: Squatter’s Rights, corner deployment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strategy: Head Hunter, standard deployment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Painted Rooster Riders

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

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

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Next on the painting table: Viktoria of Blood.

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

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: OctFAUXber (50SS); 22Oct2016

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

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

Strategy: Collect The Bounty, standard deployment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strategy: Interference, flank deployment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strategy: Stake A Claim, corner deployment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Malifaux tournament report: Autumn’s End 2016 (50SS); 24Sep2016

I have been lucky enough to have two tournaments in Scotland on consecutive weekends on dates that I can actually attend, so Gareth and I headed to Common Ground Games in Stirling for Autumn’s End 2016. I was thinking of using Gremlins again, but decided against it for two reasons. Firstly, I have hardly any Gremlins assembled, so I’d end up running pretty much the same crews I did at The Governor General’s Wake last weekend. Secondly, and most importantly, I recently got the cool Kickstarter Hannah miniature and wanted to use her (as a Mercenary I could do that in Gremlins anyway of course, but she is at home in the Outcast faction).

Game 1: Outcasts (me) vs Gremlins (Ross)

Strategy: Guard The Stash, corner deployment

Schemes
Pool: Convict Labour, Hunting Party, Detonate the Charges, A Quick Murder, Take Prisoner
Outcasts: Hunting Party, A Quick Murder (McTavish)
Gremlins: Detonate the Charges, A Quick Murder (Hannah)

Crews
Outcasts: Viktoria of Ashes (Sisters in Spirit, Sisters in Fury, Synchronised Slaying), Viktoria of Blood (Oathkeeper, Mark of Shezuul), Malifaux Child, Johan, Freikorpsman, Freikorps Librarian, Freikorps Trapper, Hannah (I Pay Better)
Gremlins: Zoraida (Crystal Ball, Hex Bag, Tarot Reading), Burt Jebsen (Dirty Cheater), McTavish (Dirty Cheater, Stilts), Trixibelle (Hide In The Mud, Quality Mash Liquor), The First Mate (Where The Captain Can’t See), Bayou Gremlin

Needless to say, I put Hannah in my crew first. I picked the Viktorias with the intention of using them to clear out anyone coming in to the Stash markers using my usual upgrade loadout. The Freikorpsman was included as a cheap piece to sit near a Stash marker and stay as safe as possible; I also thought that Wong might be a strong choice for Ross so the immunity to blasts and auras could be handy. I did think about swapping him and the Trapper for another Henchman to take Hunting Party off the table, but decided that the activations were more valuable even considering the risk of giving up points. Seeing McTavish on the board I figured I would have to kill him at some point so took A Quick Murder, and Hunting Party seemed very do-able considering only a single Bayou Gremlin and maybe some summonings of the Voodoo Doll.

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Turn 1: Trixibelle pushes the Trapper back from his advanced position and he shoots back at her for a little damage. The Child casts Sisters in Fury before McTavish moves up and puts down a Hunting Screen in the gap between two buildings. Zoraida summons and Voodoo Doll which Hems Hannah; Johan focuses via I Pay Better and top decks the needed card to remove the condition with Rebel Yell (this might be the first time that this has ever happened to me). The Viktorias move up and I restrain my urge to fire them directly into McTavish; there is no rush at this point.

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Turn 2: The Doll Hems Viktoria of Blood. I’m worried that some shenanigans are about to ensue that will stop me using her at all, so I move Viktoria of Ashes up, put up Sisters in Fury and slingshot Viktoria of Blood into McTavish and Zoraida. Sadly, after some fairly rubbish flipping, both are still alive and well. Zoraida Curses the Voodoo Doll, Obeys McTavish to attack Viktoria of Blood with his gator and the Bayou Gremlin to drop a scheme marker. McTavish then eats the scheme marker and cheats the flip so he gets a free attack; he puts some fairly beefy damage into Viktoria of Blood. Johan removes the conditions from her then Trixibelle heals and moves into scoring range of the right Stash marker. My Freikorpsman moves over to make sure I’m scoring both markers. The First Mate uses Menacing Croak to push Hannah into range of him and swipes at her; she eventually smacks him back. The Bayou Gremlin drops another scheme marker, presumably for McTavish to use later and the Librarian kills the Voodoo Doll to score Hunting Party. We both score for the strategy.

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Turn 3: McTavish discards the nearby scheme marker and finally polishes off Viktoria of Blood. The Malifaux Child puts up Sisters in Fury as I’m not in a rush to take activations this turn. Trixibelle fails a Gremlin ‘Lure’ on Viktoria of Ashes and heals some more wounds. Viktoria of Ashes throws herself into McTavish, but Black Jokers the first damage flip and forces the discard of Stilts for the second attack so I don’t even get a Whirlwind out of it. Burt Jebsen comes back round and hits Viktoria of Ashes and Zoraida Obeys him to kill her, Obeys McTavish to take a shot at the Librarian and fails to Obey Trixibelle. Hannah finishes killing The First Mate and the Trapper blows away the Bayou Gremlin to sort me out for Hunting Party. Johan, the Freikorpsman and the Librarian all fail to kill Trixibelle. I score Guard The Stash and Hunting Party.

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Turn 4: The Librarian kills Trixibelle. Zoraida Obeys Burt and McTavish to walk forward, realising that the strategy is getting away from her, then Obeys the latter to attack the Freikorpsman. Johan kills McTavish to finally score two VP for A (not very) Quick Murder. Burt gets stuck into Hannah but can’t kill her; she kills him in return with the last attack being a copy of the Librarian’s Ancient Words. I score again for Hunting Party and the strategy.

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Turn 5: Zoraida moves and drops a scheme marker; I opt not to go near it as I sense Detonate the Charges. I score again for Guard the Stash; Outcasts win 9 – 1 (4 for Guard the Stash, 3 for Hunting Party and 2 for A Quick Murder for me; 1 for Guard the Stash for Ross).

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Ross was a really nice chap and it was terrific to meet him and play for the first time. I liked his crew a lot, and I’m particularly impressed with Burt and McTavish; I am certainly considering getting them for my own Gremlins at some point. I think Ross was a bit optimistic going for A Quick Murder on Hannah as she can be tricky to dispatch and doesn’t really need to put herself too much in harm’s way. Although I was a little disappointed at how the Viktorias bounced off the Gremlin crew it did have the effect of pinning them all back almost in their own deployment zone so it was quite effective in giving me control of the strategy.

Game 2: Outcasts (me) vs Neverborn (Steve)

Strategy: Reckoning, flank deployment

Schemes
Pool: Convict Labour, Show of Force, Exhaust Their Forces, Catch and Release, Frame for Murder
Outcasts: Show of Force, Frame for Murder (Viktoria of Blood)
Neverborn: Show of Force, Frame for Murder (Teddy)

Crews
Outcasts: Viktoria of Ashes (Sisters in Spirit, Sisters in Fury, Synchronised Slaying), Viktoria of Blood (Oathkeeper, Mark of Shezuul), Malifaux Child, Johan, Freikorps Librarian, Hannah (I Pay Better), Taelor (Oathkeeper, Tally Sheet)
Neverborn: The Dreamer (Restless Dreams, Dreams of Pain, On Wings of Darkness), Teddy (On Dreaming Wings), Nekima (Mimic’s Blessing), Doppelganger (Mimic’s Blessing), 2 Daydreams

Despite knowing Steve for a couple of years and meeting him at almost every tournament in Scotland, we had previously never been paired up in a game. Reckoning is an easy choice for the Viktorias again, especially with Frame For Murder in the pool. I put it on Viktoria of Blood and consider it a win either way – either she dies and I score points, or she’s left to rampage about the opponent’s crew. I put Taelor in with Tally Sheet since she’s good at killing stuff and hard to dispose of in her own right; Tally Sheet was to give me options (along with I Pay Better on Hannah) for Show of Force. As it happened, Taelor was an especially good pick against the summoning from The Dreamer; I have to admit that I thought it a strange choice of master from Steve for Reckoning. With Frame For Murder in the pool against me I always just accept that I’m losing three VP somewhere.

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Turn 1: A Daydream pushes Teddy about and sacrifices itself for The Dreamer; the Malifaux Child puts up Sisters in Fury. The Dreamer summons a Stitched Together and Lelu then uses Empty Night to make Nekima Fast. Fast Nekima is definitely on my list of Things I Don’t Want To See. Most of my crew move up, careful to stay outside move plus charge range of Nekima. Somewhere around this time I realise that I haven’t asked Steve my standard ‘have you faced the Viktorias before?’ question’; it turns out that he hasn’t so I explain the theory. Despite this, the Stitched Together, Lelu and Teddy all end up bunched together within slingshot range, so Viktoria of Blood discards Oathkeeper and blends all three of them. I wanted to make sure that I only had to deal with one of Teddy and Nekima so I think it was worth doing this even in turn one where it didn’t score me points. Indeed, it actually cost me points as killing Teddy gives Steve his points for Frame For Murder. Nekima flies over and makes pretty heavy work of smiting Viktoria of Blood; she survives and Hannah copies Healing Energy to heal her via her sister.

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Turn 2: I helpfully flip high enough on initiative that Steve doesn’t Ill Omens to go first. So Viktoria of Ashes casts Sisters in Fury and companions her sister who carves up Nekima quite thoroughly but fails to hurt the Doppelganger. The Doppelganger copies Masamune and swings it into Viktoria of Blood. The Malifaux Child heals the Viktorias as I luckily have the right card in hand. The Dreamer summons a couple of Daydreams and an Alp, then turns into Lord Chompy Bits who kills Viktoria of Blood and gives me three VPs for Frame For Murder finally. Taelor uses Oathkeeper and kills Lord Chompy Bits. I score for Reckoning and Show of Force.

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Turn 3: Taelor focuses via I Pay Better and charges the Doppelganger. I needed the Focus to get round the negative flip from Mimic’s Blessing but she Black Jokers the first swing and of course misses the second due to the negative flip. It attacks back using Taelor’s own Relic Hammer against her. The Malifaux Child puts up Sisters in Fury. The Dreamer summons Lelu and makes him Fast, being careful to put him out of reach of Taelor’s Welcome To Malifaux ability. The Librarian discards a card to focus and fires at a nearby Daydream; I have 11 of tomes in hand to get the blasts and wipe out a whole pile of Daydreams and the Alp standing next to each other but Steve cheats in 13s on both attacks to so I can’t even land a single hit. Lelu charges into the Librarian for some nasty damage and is in turn killed by Johan. Viktoria of Ashes charges into the scrum, slightly hurting The Dreamer but taking two Daydreams, the Alp and the Doppelganger out with a Whirlwind. I score for Reckoning and Show of Force again.

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Turn 4: Taelor swings twice at the Dreamer; the first is put onto the last Daydream (killing it) and the second I am able to cheat in the Red Joker to end the small child with a massive magic hammer. Outcasts win 10 – 3 (full score for me; 3 for Frame For Murder for Steve).

It was wonderful to get a game against Steve as he’s one of the last of the regular Stirling players I hadn’t previously played. Obviously his unfamiliarity with the Viktorias was a big factor in the game, and I feel a bit bad for not discussing it with him before we started. Having said that, I am really surprised that he hasn’t played against them before as Steve is quite a frequent tournament-goer. Steve’s choice of The Dreamer seemed quite strange as he’s best known as a summoner which is not really ideal in Reckoning. However, I’m not really familiar with The Dreamer so perhaps he also has a lot of options as support; of course the threat of Lord Chompy Bits is quite strong too.

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

Strategy: Headhunter, normal deployment

Schemes
Pool: Convict Labour, Show of Force, Leave Your Mark, Undercover Entourage, Public Demonstration
Outcasts: Show of Force, Undercover Entourage (Jack Daw)
Guild: Show of Force, Public Demonstration (Brutal Effigy, Warden, Guardian)

Crews
Outcasts: Jack Daw (Writhing Torment, Twist and Turn, Firing Squad Injustice, Guillotine Injustice, Drowning Injustice), Freikorps Librarian, Guilty, Rusty Alyce (Desolate Soul), Hannah (I Pay Better), Johan, Hodgepodge Effigy
Guild: Lady Justice (Implacable), Brutal Emissary (Conflux of Justice), The Judge (Debt To The Guild, Unrelenting Leader), Nino Ortega (Hair Trigger), Brutal Effigy, Warden, Guardian

For the third time, Hannah was the first model in my crew. I was quite close to just putting down the Viktorias again, but in the end went for Jack Daw as he is so good for Headhunter with the pushes and not-quite-Obeys from his upgrades. I took Rusty Alyce as I thought I might be able to gun down a few minions and summon in Abominations with her to gum up the Guild crew. I originally had Taelor in the crew but felt that I was lacking in activations so I swapped her out of Johan and the Effigy. Again, Show of Force seemed like a good choice out of a fairly uninspiring scheme pool; I also took Undercover Entourage on Jack Daw as he is hard to pin down, mobile and likely to survive to the end of the game. I appear to have failed to take a picture of our deployment.

Turn 1: Hannah, Alyce and Johan get made Tormented by various means and our crews advance; the Guardian puts Protect on Lady Justice. For reasons that are still not clear to me I leave Alyce right in the open so Nino eagerly Rapid Fires into her, drawing some soulstones out of me. She Rapid Fires him right back but can’t do enough to kill the sniper. Lady Justice, to my great surprise, triple walks directly toward me, leaving her crew behind her. Johan pushes thanks to being near Jack Daw and charges Lady Justice, hurting her rather badly.

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Turn 2: Johan Flurries Lady Justice taking her down to just a couple of wounds. The Brutal Effigy races up and puts Fear Not The Sword on Lady Justice who then chain activates and kills Alyce. The Librarian finishes off Nino and the Judge hurries over to pick up the poor chap’s head. The Emissary fires off a few shots into my crew. Hannah finishes off Lady Justice and the Guilty collects her head. Jack Daw charges in to hurt The Judge, giving him Firing Squad Injustice and then puts Guillotine Injustice on the Guardian. Lewis duly discards the cards to keep the construct in play and charges back at Jack Daw for no effect. Sadly I have moved Jack Daw into the perfect place for Lewis to score Public Demonstration for the full three VPs; he also score for Show of Force and we both score on Headhunter.

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Turn 3: Johan kills the Warden and is killed in turn by the Emissary. Hannah focuses with I Pay Better and smites The Judge for severe damage and the trigger; this not only takes him down to his Hard to Kill wound but also does some hefty damage to the Guardian and Effigy and paralyses the latter. The Guardian walks away from Jack Daw to collect a head.  This was good focusing on the victory conditions from Lewis; it’s easy to get distracted by such a brawl in the centre. Unfortunately, this also means the Guardian is out of combat so the Librarian Rapid Fires to kill it. The Guilty picks up another hand head and The Judge repositions; with Firing Squad Injustice and only a single wound left he couldn’t afford to make any attacks. My Effigy puts Loyalty To The Coin on Jack Daw and ineffectively stabs the Emissary a couple of times. Jack Daw finishes off The Judge and the Brutal Effigy, handily turning a couple of the trash cards I was holding into tasty soulstones. We both score for the strategy again and I score for Show of Force.

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Turn 4: Hannah attacks the Emissary. It moves to a better position and puts a bullet into most of my crew with the built-in trigger on Never Bluff A Six Gun; I forgot that Nether Flux on Hannah would have stopped this cold but it didn’t matter. The Guilty and the Effigy combine to put the killing blows into the Emissary and the Librarian picks up a head. With no more work left to do, Jack Daw heads off to score Undercover Entourage. Outcasts win 10 – 6 (full score for me; 2 for Headhunter, 3 for Public Demonstration and 1 for Show of Force for Lewis).

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As usual, Lewis ran me hard in that game; he’s a really nice opponent who is getting better every time we play. I think I probably could have controlled Lady Justice better in this game; Firing Squad Injustice would have been lovely on her. But Lewis made (in my opinion) quite a big mistake just throwing Lady Justice at me on turn 1; possibly he hadn’t accounted for the extra mobility the Jack Daw afforded Johan. It gave me the chance to really hurt his master while she was isolated from the rest of her crew and ultimately take her out of the game very early. Hannah did some great work in this game; previously I hadn’t really appreciated how much value she gets from Jack Daw’s pushes extending her tiny threat range. Lewis did make a good scheme choice with Public Demonstration as I didn’t see it coming at all and indeed moved Jack Daw right into position to give up maximum points.

So once all the scores are in I am very pleased to get first place, just ahead of Ian’s Neverborn on points difference. I was amazed by the number of people at the event; Kai is well-known for running a great tournament and so it is fantastic to see that the word is spreading and we’re seeing more and more Malifaux players coming out. With so many players I’d like to see us moving to four round events more regularly but of course this has its own practical considerations. Thanks to Ross, Steve and Lewis for three great games of Malifaux, and to Kai for continuing to be a wonderful tournament organiser.

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

Malifaux tournament report: The Governor-General’s Wake (50SS); 17Sep2016

Joe, Gareth and I took the early train up to Aberdeen for a Malifaux event run by the new local Henchman. Our last visit to Aberdeen had only 6 players including us, so I was really pleased that good organisation this time managed to get a highly respectable 18 players turning out this time. We were met from the train by one of the players which was a really nice personal touch and much appreciated since we were probably going to get lost on the way to the new shop in Aberdeen. I was really excited for this event since it marks my first competitive run-out for my Gremlins. As it turned out, my first round game was against the chap who greeted us.

Game 1: Gremlins (me) vs Gremlins (Ben)

Strategy: Interference, normal deployment

Schemes
Pool: Convict Labour, Show of Force, Leave Your Mark, Undercover Entourage, Frame For Murder
My Gremlins: Convict Labour, Frame For Murder (Rooster Rider)
Ben’s Gremlins: Convict Labour, Frame For Murder (Rooster Rider)

Crews
My Gremlins: Ophelia LaCroix, Lenny, Whisky Golem (Barrel Up), 2 Young LaCroix, 2 Lightning Bugs, 2 Rooster Riders, Slop Hauler
Ben’s Gremlins: Wong (Gremlin’s Luck, Dirty Cheater), McTavish, Trixibelle, Sammy LaCroix (Ooo Glowy on McTavish), Old Cranky, 2 Rooster Riders, 2 Stuffed Piglets

My first game in a tournament with Gremlins, and it is a mirror match. My crew selection is highly limited by what I own and have assembled, so my masters came down to a choice between Wong and Ophelia. I picked the latter somewhat arbitrarily; both masters appeal to my preference for damage dealers. I like Lenny for the additional mobility and free ram for Ophelia, and the Whisky Golem is basically the reason I’m playing the faction at all (I won the Nightmare version at a previous event). Of the rest, I love everything about Rooster Riders from the concept, through the miniatures and right up to the rules. The remainder of the crew are pieces I like but are pretty much entirely selected because I happen to own them. Frame For Murder on a Rooster Rider was a simple choice since they can’t be left to run around and much of Ben’s crew was made up of henchmen. Convict Labour has been quite incidental to score in friendly games thanks to Reckless on the Lightning Bugs and Rooster Riders and Nimble on the Golem.

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Turn 1: Both of my Young LaCroix Reload Ophelia, not so that I can actually use the attacks but so that they can be Plinked off if needed later on. My Lightning Bugs drop scheme markers for Convict Labour. Trixibelle pushes McTavish toward me. On the right, Ben’s Rooster Rider moves up and drops a scheme marker; my Rooster Rider over there charges in and hurts it badly. Lenny Tosses Ophelia and the Slop Hauler forward and Ben’s other Rooster Rider charges into her. Ophelia Squeals out of the way after the first attack but still takes severe damage on a negative flip, which hurts. My other Rooster Rider charges the Stuffed Piglet on the left, blowing it up and Stampeding into McTavish and getting my own back by dropping severe damage on a negative flip to him. McTavish makes a bit of a meal of fighting the Rooster Rider so eventually it falls to Wong to kill it, thereby scoring me full points for Frame For Murder. Apparently it didn’t dawn on me quite how obvious this play was, as immediately afterwards Ophelia guns down the Rooster Rider who attacked her and gives Ben all three points for his Frame For Murder. The Slop Hauler heals Ophelia.

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Turn 2: McTavish blows away my central Lightning Bug; the other Bug kills Ben’s last Rooster Rider. Ophelia shoots McTavish with My Threatenin’ Gun, forcing some good cards out of Ben’s hand and paralysing Sammy. She finishes off McTavish then misses an opportunistic shot with the Jug Rocket at Trixibelle (I was out of range to just shoot her). So much for using the upgrades for Plinking purposes! Wong moves into sight and targets Lenny. I cheat to keep him on negative flips but the Red Joker comes up to nearly kill Lenny, actually kill the Slop Hauler and badly wound Ophelia. The surviving Stuffed Piglet charges my Rooster Rider, eventually being killed in return. The Whisky Golem charges into Wong to tie him up but can’t actually land a hit. Trixibelle kills Lenny. I score for the strategy and for Convict Labour.

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Turn 3: Trixibelle cheats to win initiative. Wong hits the Golem with his Fan to Poof into the clear, takes a shot at Ophelia which she uses to Squeal back into engagement with him and then hits her with his Fan too. My Rooster charges Trixibelle to keep her busy. Sammy Jynxes the Whisky Golem with Twisted Legs so it sadly drops another scheme marker and takes Iron-bound. Cranky fires into the melee between Ophelia and Wong and luckily gets Ophelia with both shots, killing her. The Young LaCroix get revenge by killing the old Gremlin. Trixibelle remarkably fails to deal with the Rooster Rider. The Lightning Bug knocks Sammy down to a single wound. Neither of us score for Interference since we’re all in a massive scrum in the middle of the board, but I score again for Convict Labour.

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Turn 4: Trixibelle uses Ill Omens again to win initiative. Sammy kills the Rooster Rider then turns one of my scheme markers into a Stuffed Piglet. The Whisky Golem moves to engage as much as possible of Ben’s crew, then Wong uses his Fan to Poof away again and drop a scheme marker. My Lightning Bug finishes off Trixibelle and puts down a replacement scheme marker (I love Reckless!). The new Piglet moves over to stop me scoring Convict Labour and my Young LaCroix does the same for Ben. No-one scores at all.

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Turn 5: The Whisky Golem kills Sammy and the Stuffed Piglet; the latter explodes and kills my Lightning Bug.  In retrospect, I’m not sure why I didn’t do the Piglet first as the explosion would have seen off Sammy anyway, and thereby had a ‘spare’ AP to use.  Wong uses Boom to cleverly remove my scheme markers, then moves to kill off my Young LaCroix parked next to his other marker. Ben scores for Convict Labour. My Gremlins win 6 – 4 (1 for Interference, 2 for Convict Labour and 3 for Frame For Murder for me; 1 for Convict Labour and 3 for Frame For Murder for Ben).

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Wow, what a close game; a perfect first tournament game for my Gremlins. I was too enthusiastic to kill Ben’s Framed Rooster with Ophelia; I think I could have done the job with the Slop Hauler almost as effectively. Of course, I would still have given up some points but not so many. Both of us ended up committing pieces to the no-scoring zone in the centre of the board and I think that we could both have positioned better there. Otherwise, I was quite happy with my play. I have to say that in addition to being a lovely opponent, Ben had chosen a really nice crew. Everything fitted together neatly and had a role to play, and everything seemed to add a bit of synergy to the rest of the crew. There are certainly some pieces that I might have to consider getting (especially Old Cranky and McTavish) once I have finished assembling all the stuff I have already.

Edit: this is what it looked like from Ben’s side.

Game 2: Gremlins (me) vs Neverborn (Ewan)

Strategy: Collect The Bounty, close deployment

Schemes
Pool: Convict Labour, Hunting Party, Public Demonstration, Exhaust Their Forces, Neutralise The Leader
Gremlins: Hunting Party, Neutralise The Leader
Neverborn: Hunting Party, Neutralise The Leader

Crews
Gremlins: Ophelia LaCroix, Lenny, Whisky Golem (Barrel Up), 2 Young LaCroix, Mancha Roja, 2 Rooster Riders, Slop Hauler
Neverborn: Zoraida (Animal Shape), Hooded Rider, Teddy (Retribution’s Eye), Nurse, Iggy (Enraged Tantrum), Doppelganger, Insidious Madness

I’ve never faced Neverborn with Gremlins, so I just stayed with more or less the same crew as game one. The only change was swapping out the Lightning Bugs for Mancha Roja, partly to avoid giving up too many points for Collect The Bounty and partly because I didn’t really think that I’d need to ignore armour or scoot around with Reckless so much. Looking back, I wonder if Wong might be a better option here as he’s quite tricky to kill and has better willpower than Ophelia. On the other hand, it’s hard to argue with the sheer damage output of Ophelia. Since Ewan only had the two minions, one of which I expected to be slung through my crew quickly and the other which I would need to deal with early on, I picked Hunting Party as I not only had three options to score it but also could expect to drop both minions regardless of the source of damage. Zoraida could summon the Voodoo Doll and just hide it to deny me points but that would hamper her damage output and with an open board and good mobility I could possibly catch it anyway. I thought twice about Neutralise the Leader, but went for it as Ophelia has positive flips to get round proper manners, my henchmen and enforcers have good damage in case they focus and Rooster Riders can pick up positive flips when they Rampage.

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Turn 1: The Young LaCroix hand Ophelia more guns. The Doppelganger moves forward into cover and uses Blend In to ward off any shooting at her. The Hooded Rider redeploys laterally behind the building on my left. Lenny Tosses Ophelia and the Slop Hauler forward, and the Insidious Madness walks to engage my master. I should have seen that coming, but got greedy with her movement. Mancha Roja barrels into the Doppelganger and knocks her down to a single wound. Zoraida summons the Voodoo Doll which Hems Mancha Roja, then Obeys Teddy to walk forward. The Rooster Rider takes one for the team, killing the Doppelganger and blocking Teddy from getting into Mancha Roja. The Nurse fails Take Your Meds on Ophelia and is attacked by another Rooster. Teddy tears the first Rooster into shreds, ending up engaged with Ophelia. With no cards left in hand, I soulstone for a positive flip on the horror duel for Ophelia to attack Teddy and succeed on the second card. That worrying business duly dealt with, Ophelia blasts Teddy into stuffing. The Whisky Golem makes a mess of attacking the Insidious Madness. Although it is slightly frustrating to have killed four Bounty points worth of crew on the first turn where it counts for nothing, I still consider it worthwhile to get rid of the Doppelganger and Teddy so early in the process.

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Turn 2: The Rooster Rider kills the Nurse and bounces off Iggy. The Insidious Madness Induces Phobia a couple of times and draws out some cards from my hand to avoid the effects, then the Whisky Golem focuses and smashes it into oblivion (scoring Hunting Party in the process). Ophelia shoots Zoraida for some good damage but her activation is ended with Regret after I end up doing moderate on a negative flip. Iggy puts five Burning onto the Voodoo Doll, much to Mancha Roja’s consternation, so the big chap charges the Voodoo Doll to make sure it definitely dies. Zoraida Bewitches Ophelia and Obeys the Whisky Golem to walk over and hit her. Mancha Roja burns to death. I score for the strategy and Hunting Party.

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Turn 3: The Rooster goes Reckless and activates Rampage. It charges back and forth between Iggy and Zoraida, killing both and picking up Neutralise the Leader for the latter. Did I mention how I love Rooster Riders? Ewan has seen enough, and has only the Hooded Rider left against almost my entire crew, so he calls it a day. Gremlins win 10 – 0.

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Every game against Ewan is a pleasure as he’s such a nice laid-back man who clearly enjoys his Malifaux. In this tournament he had decided to play the same crew regardless of strategies and schemes, which I suppose didn’t help him much here (though he evidently won his first match, so it must have worked well enough). I felt that he was too hesitant with the Rider, relying on not using it for two turns while it charged up, and that allowed me to take the rest of his crew piecemeal. From my side, of course, everything went well enough. I’m not sure that I have a good answer to the Voodoo Doll; I guess I need to start putting some condition removal in my crews.

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

Strategy: Headhunter, flank deployment

Schemes
Pool: Convict Labour, Take Prisoner, Hunting Party, Set Up, Inspection
Gremlins: Convict Labour, Hunting Party
Ten Thunders: Take Prisoner (bouncing Lightning Bug), Set Up (Lenny)

Crews
Gremlins: Ophelia LaCroix, Lenny, Whisky Golem (Barrel Up), 2 Young LaCroix, 2 Lightning Bugs, 2 Rooster Riders, Slop Hauler
Ten Thunders: Brewmaster (Binge, Running Tab), Shadow Emissary (Conflux of Shadow), Fingers (Drinking ‘Problem’, Smoke Grenades), Apprentice Wesley, Oiran, 2 Performers

I gave some thought to changing up my master to Wong here, but ultimately decided to stay with familiar territory and use the same crew as game one. It gives up heads quite easily, but most of the crew is quite aggressive so I can sometimes keep the pressure on anything on the front line and abuse Reckless to pick up heads behind it. Dave is a really strong player and I didn’t feel at all confident to beat him with Gremlins considering my lack of experience with them, but I was quite pleasantly surprised to find a rather non-killy crew facing me here. A more aggressive crew could really have punished my fragile minions. Still, using Fingers and the Performers is a really good move in this strategy as they can pick heads up even in the middle of my crew. I took Convict Labour again because it’s quite easy for mobile Gremlins to score while on the way to somewhere else. Hunting Party was chosen because all the Ten Thunder minions in the crew are quite killable so I would either dedicate effort from the Whisky Golem and Lenny, or just aim to exterminate all of them and score by default.

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Turn 1: The Oiran Lures one of my Lightning Bugs, Brewmaster brings him closer with One For The Road, then hits him with Binge and Swill. The Bug uses Reckless and drops two scheme markers for Convict Labour, sensing its doom. A Performer Siren Calls it closer still and Fingers loads about one hundred poison onto the poor happy chap. Finally the other Performer explodes him with the Sip of Wine trigger on Siren Call before using Seduction to remove one of the markers. A good sequence of moves, but it’s been pretty much the whole crew’s activations simply to kill a five soulstone minion and get his head into their deployment zone. Meanwhile, the Young LaCroix reload Ophelia and Lenny Tosses her and the Slop Hauler toward the Ten Thunders. The Shadow Emissary, realising the danger, pushes Fingers back into cover. Ophelia shoots Brewmaster, hitting moderate damage on the first shot and top-decking a critical Red Joker on the second to blow the drunken Gremlin away; Dave is unable to flip the Red Joker on damage prevention that would have been needed to keep him alive. Even worse, Apprentice Wesley is too far away to take up the mantle. Both Rooster Riders charge into the Ten Thunders, mainly to keep them occupied but not really doing a great deal other than some incidental damage.

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Turn 2: Fingers heals himself and stacks a load of poison onto the left Rooster Rider. It activates and kills the Oiran, then the Emissary kills the other Rooster Rider. Lenny Tosses Ophelia again. Wesley picks up a head and bravely moves to intercept Ophelia, so the Whisky Golem smashes him into the floor and scores Hunting Party. On the right, the Performer fails to Siren Call Ophelia and is riddled with bullets for her troubles in return. The other Performer kills the poisoned Rooster Rider with the Sip of Wine trigger. My Slop Hauler picks up a head; actually not my first choice of head but the original candidate was covered by Fingers’ Chatty aura. We both score for Headhunter; I also score for Convict Labour and Hunting Party.

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Turn 3: The Lightning Bug misses attacks on Fingers and the Performer. Ophelia companions and takes the Emissary down to Hard to Kill. The Emissary responds by charging the Whisky Golem, which ignores it in return, focuses and drops a Red Joker for damage onto Fingers. The ultimate drinker, killed by a robot made of whiskey barrels; we agreed that it was how he would have wanted to go. The Performer picks up a nearby head and puts enough poison onto the Whisky Golem that it will die at the end of the round thanks to the Emissary’s aura. Almost my entire crew fails to hit the Emissary, then Lenny charges the Performer but can’t quite kill her. The Slop Hauler picks up another head for me. We both score again for the strategy and I score for Convict Labour.

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Turn 4: The Lightning Bug finishes the Performer, then Ophelia chain activates to charge and kill the Emissary. Gremlins win 10 – 2 (full score for me; 2 for Headhunter for Dave).

It is a real treat to play Dave any time as he is among the strongest players in Scotland. This game was a very interesting match up as my crew is very aggressive (relying on getting enough activation superiority to have a ‘spare’ option around to pick up a head) compared to Dave’s very reactive crew (note the amount of effort required simply to kill a Lightning Bug in the first turn; however thanks to Chatty and Don’t Mind Me it is hard to score points against and scores them itself quite easily). While it is true that the Red Joker kill on Brewmaster in turn 1 was important, I had another shot to take at him that round and might have taken initiative on round two so he was at a big risk of dying to Ophelia.  Overall, I felt that I had enough of a ranged threat to handle the Brewmaster without worrying unduly about the Drinking Contest, and enough of a threat to get heads dropped in places I could actually reach.

When the scores are in, I get first place; ahead of Gareth only on VP difference. It was really fun to play Gremlins at a tournament and I’m looking forward to putting enough of them together to have a bit more choice in crew composition. Learning a new faction is really exciting as it feels like so many avenues are open to explore. Thanks to Martin for being a responsive and helpful organiser, and to Ben, Ewan and Dave for three fun games of Malifaux. Also, special thanks to Steve for swapping his raffle prize of a War Wabbit for my winning voucher; I’m looking forward to putting that big chap together and trying it out.

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 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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