Gareth and I took the train to Common Ground Games in Stirling for our last Malifaux event of 2017. As is my habit, I’ve swapped from Neverborn to play a new faction for the coming year or so; in this case I’m picking up Resurrectionists. I’ve long noticed that despite Molly being a common enough sight I have never seen anyone use the Spirit version. So I decided to start with her and see how I get on with this option. I will admit that I looked at the strategies and schemes and the ‘try hard’ part of me considered playing Neverborn for one last event since they are mostly not very friendly to a master who summons in models on low wounds near the enemy crew, but in the end I figured it would be an interesting pressure test.
Game 1: Resurrectionists (me) vs Neverborn (Ian Gemmell)
Strategy: Collect the Bounty, close deployment
Pool: Claim Jump, Recover Evidence, Search the Ruins, Dig Their Graves, Eliminate the Leadership
Resurrectionists: Search the Ruins, Eliminate the Leadership
Neverborn: Claim Jump, Eliminate the Leadership
Resurrectionists: Molly Squidpiddge (Forgotten Path, Take Back The Night, Wronged Spirits), Izamu the Armour, Datsue Ba, Anna Lovelace, Goryo, Onryo, Dead Doxy, Grave Spirit
Neverborn: Collodi (Fated, Strum The Threads, Aether Connection), Mannequin, Shadow Effigy, 2 Stitched Together, 3 Marionettes, Baby kade, Burt Jebsen
The crew above is more or less the ones I’ve used to get used to Resurrectionists. When I pick up a new faction I usually start with a couple of masters but will run a few games with a pretty much fixed list approach until I see what works for me and what doesn’t. Since I’m still in that learning process I’m just making minor changes to the core here. In summary, Molly goes toward the biggest patch of the other crew and bombs Black Blood ghosts into them as allowed by my hand. The Doxy gives her a nice push forward at the start, and Izamu, Datsue Ba and Anna are there to do actual work until I can get the attrition rolling in my favour (I almost always lose one or more of these three by the end of turn two). The Goryo and Onryo are there for a bit of all-round hitting or scheming as needed, and also because I like the models. I’ve preferred the Grave Spirit over the Necrotic Machine mainly because it seems to fit the theme. For this match up I picked Search The Ruins as it would suit my attrition plans and Eliminate the Leadership because, having played Collodi, I knew that I would have to deal with it before the game was out.
Turn 1: The Shadow Effigy gets us underway by giving Collodi Blend Into Shadow; Collodi kindly shares this out to its minions. The Doxy pushes Molly forward. We jockey for position a bit and eventually I send Izamu forward to poke a Marionette. A Stitched comes forward and manages to land severe damage on the Ancestor. Molly moves up further and summons a Hanged which somehow manages to get the Stitched to Reactivate; it then hurts Izamu a bit more. Collodi makes one of the Marionettes a Personal Puppet, My Wills the Stitched to finish off Izamu and Slows Molly.
Turn 2: Molly summons another Hanged and companions the other one to hurt the untouched Stitched. The wounded Stitched together Gambles Your Life with Molly but loses. Datsue Ba kills a Marionette to turn it into a Gaki and Collodi hurts Molly rather badly. It also attacks the Hanged and makes the Spirit attack Molly but luckily Molly doesn’t take the hit. The Hanged puts Whispers From Beyond on Collodi who blows up its Personal Puppet to avoid the damage. We ruled that Collodi still got the Glimpse The Inevitable condition as it didn’t seem to be related to the damage. The Gaki misses the Mannequin and a Marionette goes Fast to charge Molly, helpfully dying to Black Blood in the process. The Stitched puts more damage onto Molly (scoring Ian a VP for Eliminate the Leadership) and is killed by Anna in return. Kade charges into Molly and top decks the Red Joker on damage to kill her (I didn’t have any cards left to use Masterful Dead), scoring the rest of the points for Eliminate the Leadership in the process. My Goryo pokes Kade after the Onryo failed to get Adversary onto him as usual. Burt moves around and drops a scheme marker. We end up drawing on the strategy.
Turn 3: The Hanged kills the Effigy, then Collodi kills the Grave Spirit and hurts my Goryo. Anna kills Baby Kade then the Onryo and Burt drop scheme markers around the place. The Goryo drops the Mannequin mainly to get it out of my hair, and Datsue Ba starts the long process of pinning Collodi down long enough to kill. I score for the strategy and Ian gets Claim Jump.
Turn 4: The Goryo gets Collodi down to a single wound. It summons a Marionette to make it a Personal Puppet and then finishes off the Goryo. Datsue Ba puts a wound onto Collodi to force the Marionette to die to Decoy. The Onryo hurts Burt after he has put down some more scheme markers, then Anna drops Collodi. I score for Collect the Bounty. Ian has seen enough (and anyway only has Burt left on a single wound) and agrees to call it there. Resurrectionists win 8 – 4 (3 for Collect The Bounty, 2 for Eliminate the Leadership [in retrospect I think I should have had the full 3 here] and 3 for Search the Ruins for me; 3 for Eliminate the Leadership and 1 for Claim Jump for Ian).
I really enjoyed that game. Having played Collodi quite extensively myself recently I felt that I had an idea of how to handle it, but Collodi is such a versatile master that almost anything is possible. I gave away Izamu quite cheaply but two Stitched were always going to get something so probably it was best to try to blunt them on Izamu’s armour since they ignore all the defenses on the rest of my crew. Ian’s crew was quite interesting and I was rather surprised by the inclusion of Kade who doesn’t seem to gain much from Collodi (or vice versa). Burt seems to show up all over the place so it was not so unexpected to face him but I was quite glad that he wandered off to do Claim Jump rather than getting in my way.
Game 2: Resurrectionists (me) vs Ten Thunders (Gareth Henry)
Strategy: Extraction, corner deployment
Pool: Claim Jump, A Quick Murder, Inspection, Dig Their Graves, Leave Your Mark
Resurrectionists: A Quick Murder (Kang), Inspection
Ten Thunders: Claim Jump, Inspection
Resurrectionists: Molly Squidpiddge (Forgotten Path, Take Back The Night, Wronged Spirits), Izamu the Armour, Datsue Ba, Anna Lovelace, Onryo, Dead Doxy, Grave Spirit, 2 Night Terrors
Ten Thunders: Asami Tanaka (A Heavenly Design, Grasping Strands, Peaceful Waters), Amanjuku, 2 Ten Thunder Brothers, 2 Katanaka Snipers, Kang, Monk of Low River, Mr Tannen
A big majority of my games of Malifaux are against Gareth as he is my regular opponent for our little gaming group, so we came into this match-up with interesting expectations of what the other would bring. I took the same list as round one, swapping the Goryo for a pair of Night Terrors. I wasn’t too surprised to see Asami on the other side of the board though I did consider that Gareth might have picked Misaki instead. Not that Misaki is a strictly better pick for this strategy and scheme pool, but rather because Gareth is very effective at using her and I thought he might have decided to go all in on just killing all my stuff and picking up the pieces later. Kang would have to come into my clutches to get any work done so I decided I might as well score points for killing him with A Quick Murder. I love a pair of Night Terrors as cheap ways to collect points for Inspection, though when the Ten Thunder Brothers also telegraphed going for the same scheme I was a bit worried that they would simply kill the Night Terrors and leave me without a way to get anything to the corners.
Turn 1: The Snipers take pot shots at my crew for pleasingly little effect, then the Doxy fails to push Molly; I had a weird control hand with only low and high cards and didn’t want to cheat a really good card in simply to save Molly from walking. Asami teleports forward with A Heavenly Design, pulls Kang to her with Reaching Tendrils and summons a pair of Yokai. Molly advances and drops a Goryo into the middle of this scrum which then achieves nothing whatsoever attacking Kang, though it is tying up the Yokai. Kang helpfully misses the Goryo so Mr Tannen kills it off with Bore To Tears. Datsue Ba moves Izamu forward and moves into position herself. One of the Yokai charges Izamu who one-shots it in return and charges Kang. The Monk heals Kang to undo my good work and Anna puts some nice damage into the left Sniper. Meanwhile, The Night Terror and Ten Thunder Brothers start their long and obvious journeys to the corners.
Turn 2: Molly summons another Goryo and a Hanged, makes Izamu hit Kang and chain activates to really hurt the big chap. Then the Monk heals him again. Maybe I should actually deal with the Monk instead. The Onryo and Sniper on the left trade blows; the Sniper is left on a single wound and in Black Blood range. The Goryo makes Asami an Adversary; Asami then teleports away again and pulls Kang clear of the fray. She then summons a Jorogumo and an Obsidian Oni. The Doxy Takes The Lead on Izamu to push him into range to just engage Kang and the Obsidian Oni, then charges the other Sniper. This goes poorly and the Sniper cuts her down easily. Mr Tannen goes again with Bore To Tears on the new Goryo but doesn’t kill it this time. Datsue Ba kills the Yokai and the Hanged puts Glimpse The Inevitable on Kang. Ananjuku top decks the needed card to increase the Flicker on the Obsidian Oni and Kang kills the Goryo. Anna drops Kang to his Hard To Kill wound. I score Extraction and we both get Inspection.
Turn 3: The Monk of Low River removes Glimpse The Inevitable from Kang and heals him. Molly Black Jokers a Whispered Secret on Asami then summons a second Hanged and a Drowned. She chain activates Izamu to kill Kang (scoring me 3VP for A Quick Murder). Izamu also walks over to engage the Sniper. Datsue Ba hurts Asami who teleports away and charges into Izamu for minimal effect. The Onryo polishes off the Sniper while the Night Terror and Ten Thunders Brothers poke at each other gently. The Drowned gets double severe on a negative flip to kill the Monk of Low River in one go, then the Hanged and Anna get Asami down to a single wound. I score Extraction, Gareth scores Claim Jump and we both get Inspection.
Turn 4: Molly does Whispered Secret and Revelation to finish off Asami, then chain activates Izamu to deal with the Sniper. Mr Tannen puts some wounds onto the Hanged while the Night Terror and Ten Thunder Brothers continue to flail at each other. The Hanged kills Amanjuku. I score Extraction and we both get Inspection. Looking at the board state we agree that Gareth will certainly get Claim Jump next turn and I’ll get the last point for Extraction so we call it there. Resurrectionists win 10 – 5 (full score for me; 3 for Inspection and 2 for Claim Jump for Gareth).
I always have a great time playing Gareth and this was no exception. We play each other so often that there are sometime little games-within-games to play around taking expected pieces or counter-picking and I think that this adds an interesting extra dimension to our encounters. The game went well for me; it was the only strategy and scheme pool that I felt really comfortable with coming into the event. This allowed me to do the things I think that Molly does well: flood the centre of the board with disposable but dangerous chaff. I’m still working on the relative benefits of using a good card to summon compared to using it to make an attack land but hopefully this will come with experience.
Game 3: Resurrectionists (me) vs Guild (Lewis Philips)
Strategy: Reckoning, standard deployment
Pool: Claim Jump, A Quick Murder, Show of Force, Leave Your Mark, Eliminate the Leadership
Resurrectionists: A Quick Murder (The Jury), Eliminate the Leadership
Guild: A Quick Murder (Izamu the Armour), Show of Force
Resurrectionists: Kirai Ankoku (Wronged Spirits, Spirit Beacon, Unforgiven), Izamu the Armour, Datsue Ba, Anna Lovelace, Madame Sybelle (Bleeding Tongue), 2 Rotten Belles
Guild: Perdita Ortega (Aura Ancestral, Trick Shooting, Fastest Draw In Malifaux), Francisco Ortega (Debt To The Guild, Wade In), Nino Ortega (Hair Trigger), The Jury (Debt To The Guild, Numb To The World), 2 Monster Hunters
This was the round that I really had no good plan for. Theorising with Gareth on the way over I had planned more-or-less the crew above, but with Molly at the helm. But when Lewis declared Guild as his faction I started to expect either Sonnia or Perdita and decided that maybe with Kirai I could leverage Ikiryo to give me a bit of time to close the range. The plan was to Lure in whatever I could using the Belles and then kill it. If anything looked particularly vulnerable on my side then I had intended to summon something healthier off it with Kirai. For schemes I decided to go all in on the killing and chose A Quick Murder (on The Jury as she looked a bit more vulnerable than Francisco) and Eliminate The Leadership. The latter scheme is sometimes really hard against Perdita but with only six models in Lewis’s crew I figured I would probably have to deal with her somehow anyway.
Turn 1: The Monster Hunters Stalk Madame Sybelle. One Belle Lures the other forward; it then Lures the activated Monster Hunter towards me. Kirai eventually kills it; not that it was helpful for scoring but I felt that a bit more activation control might help me. The rest of our movement is very cagey. Perdita Obeys Izamu to walk out of cover.
Turn 2: I figure I’ll have to go all in with Izamu if I want to get any work done so I throw him into The Jury for not much impact. Nino and Perdita join forces to kill him. The Belles Lure in the other Monster Hunter and after some Pounces and Madame Sybelle’s impact it is left on a single wound. Kirai moves up and knocks Nino down to one wound too. Lewis scores for Show of Force.
Turn 3: The Monster Hunter Stalks then kills a Belle, healing himself to full. If I’d known that they could do this (on top of their improbable list of other abilities) I would have made a bit more of an effort to deal with him last turn. Ikiryo does come out to hurt him again before Sacrificing with On The Wind. Anna shoots the Jury and I get lucky and Paralyse Perdita with the resulting horror duel. Francisco returns fire and is rewarded with Ikiryo again. The Belle kills the Monster Hunter and The Jury hits Ikiryo, which hits her right back and disappears again. I throw everything else I have but can’t deal with either Nino or The Jury. Lewis gets Show of Force again.
Turn 4: Sybelle finally puts down The Jury (scoring me 2VP for A Quick Murder). Francisco and Nino fail to kill Datsue Ba. I try my best to drop Perdita but can’t quite manage it. I even double focus with Kirai and eat the Seishin to have a go at Perdita, but Lewis (with an empty hand) top decks a queen and forces me to burn the Red Joker to hit at all. If he’d flipped a jack or less I could have killed Perdita and might have had a chance to take the game (probably only to a draw though). Oh well. He scores Show of Force for the last time.
Turn 5: Francisco Flurries to kill Datsue Ba then chain activates Perdita who guns down Anna with a timely Red Joker flip on damage. Kirai kills Perdita, getting me the rest of the points for Eliminate The Leadership. Nino thoughtfully kills Francisco to stop me from getting Reckoning, though I think it would have been quite unlikely anyway considering I’d have had to do it with just Sybelle at that point. Lewis scores Reckoning this turn. Resurrectionists lose 5 – 7 (2 for A Quick Murder and 3 for Eliminate the Leadership for me; 1 for Reckoning, 3 for A Quick Murder and 3 for Show of Force for Lewis).
Wow, so close… a really enjoyable game. Lewis played a really nice tight game to his strengths here and took great advantage of the terrain so that I was always having to react to him. I think that Kirai was still the right choice over Molly, though neither of them were really ideal I think. Perhaps a bit more familiarity with Kirai would have improved my chances (and actually, I’d never used Sybelle or the Belles before this game either) but to beat a player of Lewis’s skill I would need to be really on top of my game. If I had this match-up again I think I would stand by those scheme picks; none of the others looked very appealing. Perhaps the biggest mistake was that we played the central gallows as not blocking line of sight – as it was this provided a perfect place for the Guild guns to sit behind and pick my crew off while scoring for Show Of Force.
Game 4: Resurrectionists (me) vs Arcanists (Jamie Clark)
Strategy: Headhunter, flank deployment
Pool: Claim Jump, Tail ‘Em, Show of Force, Accusation!, Frame For Murder
Resurrectionists: Claim Jump, Frame For Murder (Izamu the Armour)
Arcanists: Claim Jump, Show of Force
Resurrectionists: Molly Squidpiddge (Forgotten Path, Take Back The Night, Wronged Spirits), Izamu the Armour, Datsue Ba, Anna Lovelace, Onryo, Dead Doxy, Grave Spirit, Rotten Belle
Arcanists: Toni Ironsides (Warding Runes, Union President, Veteran Fighter), 2 Wind Gamin, 3 Oxfordian Mages (Nemesis Ward, Blood Ward and Doom Ward, plus a copy of Temporary Shielding each), Angelica (Practiced Production), Johan [Johana in this case] (Well Rehearsed), Arcane Effigy, Malifaux Raptor
Headhunter is my favourite strategy and I think that it really showcases all that is best of Malifaux; you need to kill the other crew but you can’t do it indiscriminately, and you need to have your own cheap pieces around to pick up their heads. I took again the same core Molly crew, this time losing the Night Terror (who are a total liability in Headhunter) for a Rotten Belle with the idea that if Jamie was very cagey I could bring a victim over and kill it at my leisure. With flank deployment I thought that Claim Jump could be quite useful since the line along which to lay the scheme markers is long. Izamu had been an easy victim in my other games this event so I thought that I might try to get some points out his inevitable (second) demise. With Molly liking to be in the thick of things plus two other Henchmen I was quite expecting to have Jamie pick Tail ‘Em so I planned to try to give him so much to do that he couldn’t afford to spend the AP on it (in retrospect he didn’t actually have many Minions so maybe it wasn’t so likely but that didn’t occur to me at the time).
Turn 1: There is a lot of very cagey moving around. The Doxy pushes Molly forward with Take The Lead while the Raptor Takes To The Sky. The Mages push each other around a bit. Eventually I realise that I’m not going to get a nice ball of enemies to summon off and resign myself to a single Goryo between Johana and a Mage. Ironsides moves so that the injured Mage is in Hand Picked Men range, then helpfully fails a Horror duel targeting Datsue Ba. The Mage does strip a few wounds from Izamu with Furious Casting.
Turn 2: The Mage Furious Casts again to kill Izamu and I pick up 2VP for Frame For Murder. The Goryo gets Johana down to her Hard To Kill wound, and the nearby Mage suicides by Black Blood to kill it. This also forces Johana to discard Well Rehearsed to stay in the game, so the Doxy pushes Molly again then kills Johana as there is no way I’m going to miss an opportunity like that. The Mage that killed Izamu is Lured closer to me so that it is in a better place for Molly to summon. The Raptor, which had unburied next to Anna, pecks her a bit. Molly summons a Hanged and Goryo, then makes the Hanged put Glimpse The Inevitable on Ironsides. She companions into the Hanged which kills the Mage and the resulting Horror duels Paralyses Ironsides as Jamie cheated his last card in to stop Angelica from failing from the same pulse. Anna pushes the Raptor clear so that she can shoot Angelica and gets another pulse of Horror duels which this time Angelica and the Effigy fail. It is better to be lucky than good. Datsue Ba picks up a head in midfield and the Onryo misses some attacks on Ironsides. Jamie scores Claim Jump thanks to the Wind Gamin which have flown off to the corners pretty much unopposed and I score Headhunter.
Turn 3: The Mage hurts my Goryo and fails to disengage. Anna kills Angelica and the Onryo gently tickles Ironsides. Interestingly Jamie often chose not to take her Good Shot, My Turn trigger, presumably because he didn’t want me to splash Black Blood all over Ironsides. Ironsides kills the Hanged, uses a trigger to push over to where its head lands and picks it up, then charges and hurts Molly. Molly summons a replacement Hanged, puts Ironsides on negative flips with Whispered Secret then Paralyses her with Revelation. The Doxy picks up a head and Datsue Ba turns the Raptor into a Gaki. We both score for the strategy and Claim Jump.
Turn 4: Datsue Ba charges into the Effigy but can’t quite kill it. The last Mage kills the Goryo and picks up its head. The Doxy picks up a head and hurts the Wind Gamin after giving it Confused Feelings. Molly makes the nearby Gaki poke Ironsides then hits the Gaki to splash Black Blood onto Ironsides and kill her. She then moves over and kills the Wind Gamin. The Onryo finishes the Effigy and the Hanged drops the final Mage. We both score Claim Jump and I get a point for the strategy too. With only a Wind Gamin left, we agree to end it there. Resurrectionists win 9 – 5 (4 for Headhunter, 3 for Claim Jump and 2 for Frame For Murder for me; 2 for Headhunter and 3 for Claim Jump for Jamie).
Every time I play against Jamie I enjoy it and I feel that our games are even more fun as Jamie has consistently improved his skill over the last year or so. This was a particularly interesting match-up as it was not only my first event playing Molly but Jamie was also playing his first event with Ironsides after swapping Masters with Joe (though of course he’s experienced with Arcanists in general). I was very fortunate with Jamie flipping low on some crucial Horror duels in turn 2, though I would say that I’d done some work to drain his hand so it wasn’t pure luck. The Belle didn’t really do a lot but it was an extra activation, Lure is always good and it was cheap enough that I didn’t really mind if it just dropped scheme markers anyway.
Once the scores are all in I get second place overall behind Lewis so I’m very pleased. I’ve really enjoyed playing Molly and will admit that I find Black Blood highly entertaining on Spirits. I’m planning to get in a few more games with Kirai so that I’m not telegraphing that I’m going to play Molly in every game. Thanks to Ian, Gareth, Lewis and Jamie for four fun games of Malifaux, and of course to Kai for his continued excellent running of events. I’m looking forward to 2018’s gaming experience already.
Since this is my last event of the year, I thought it would be interesting to see how my record breaks down. I feel like it was a comparably successful year with Neverborn as with my previous years of playing with Factions (roughly: 2013-2014 for Ten Thunders, 2015 for Guild, 2016 for Outcasts) which supports my general theory of tolerable inter-faction balance in Malifaux. I hope that anyone reading these enjoys them and gets as much benefit from it as I do from writing them, and in particular that this adds a bit of ‘actual-faux’ to the vast amount of ‘theory-faux’ on the Wyrd forums.
Overall: 34 wins, 6 losses
Neverborn: 31 wins, 5 losses (Collodi: 8 wins, 1 loss; Dreamer: 4 wins, 0 losses; Lilith: 7 wins, 1 loss; Jakob Lynch: 5 wins, 1 loss; Pandora: 7 wins, 2 losses)
Resurrectionists: 3 wins, 1 loss (Kirai Ankoku: 0 wins, 1 loss; Molly Squidpiddge : 3 wins, 0 losses)