Posts Tagged With: Neverborn

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

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

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

Strategy: Headhunter, close deployment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strategy: Stake a Claim, standard deployment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strategy: Squatter’s Rights, corner deployment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strategy: Interference, standard deployment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strategy: Interference, standard deployment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strategy: Squatter’s Rights, corner deployment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strategy: Head Hunter, standard deployment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strategy: Interference, standard deployment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strategy: Headhunter, corner deployment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strategy: Extraction, flank deployment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strategy: Reconnoiter, standard deployment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strategy: Squatter’s Rights, corner deployment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strategy: Extraction, close deployment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Malifaux tournament report: 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.

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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: Gaming Faux Laura (50SS); 29May2016

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

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

Strategy: Reconnoitre, flank deployment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strategy: Extraction, normal deployment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strategy: Collect The Bounty, close deployment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Malifaux tournament report: ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas (50SS); 13Dec2015

Furycat, Dave, Joe, Andrew and I drove over to Common Ground Games in Stirling for my final Malifaux event of the year: ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas. I chose to predominantly use Jack Daw to widen my experience with Outcasts; I find him quite good fun as he, like Tara, is not a predominantly killing master and I am trying to learn to play with more shenanigans and less just wiping out the other crew as quickly as possible.

This was a story event, so each round was (somewhat loosely) linked to an overall story of the Krampus doing various things related to present delivery etc. The Strategy for each round was set up as attacker versus defender; the attackers’ role was the same for all crews in that round but the defenders could get 4 different victory conditions based on a card flip. In general the Strategies were quite reminiscent of those from Malifaux 1.5. For the first 3 games, the Krampus (who is a raging murder machine) would be part of the attacker crew; the defender got a paltry 3 additional Soulstones to make up for this. Once in the event it was allowed to choose the faction scheme instead of A Line in the Sand, but since the Outcast scheme is awful I didn’t bother.

Game 1: Outcasts (me) vs Guild (Martyn Nicol)

Strategy: Twas the jail break before Christmas (Attacker: interact with a jail terrain piece to free the Krampus, then get it back to their deployment zone; Defender: kill the Krampus)

Schemes
Pool: Line in the Sand, Make Them Suffer, Bodyguard, Cursed Object, Breakthrough
Outcasts: Bodyguard (Rusty Alyce), Cursed Object
Guild: Line in the Sand (announced), [I forgot to note the second scheme]

Crews
Outcasts: Jack Daw (Writhing Torment, Twist and Turn, Firing Squad Injustice, Guillotine Injustice, Drowning Injustice), Freikorps Librarian, 2 Freikorps Trappers, Freikorpsman, Guilty, Rusty Alyce, Johan
Guild: Perdita Ortega (Trick Shooting, Aura Ancestral), Francisco Ortega (Wade In), Nino Ortega (Hair Trigger), Enslaved Nephilim, 2 Hunters, Watcher, Guardian, Krampus

My opponent, Martyn, turned out to be almost brand new to Malifaux. In fact so much so that he didn’t own a crew and was being brought along by a friend who had managed to misplace the crew that was going to be loaned to him. Luckily I had my Guild with me and, with some discussion with Martyn, constructed a crew that would be OK for the 4 games to play even if it was not optimised. I talked him though the simple interactions of the pieces he wasn’t familiar with and it was agreed that if he wanted to change any of the pieces then we could discuss it between rounds. So it was (at least for Martyn) probably not ideal that we met in round one [for anyone wondering about the lack of Austringers, mine were at home in the painting queue and I had previously returned Joe’s]. Of course, I picked Jack Daw and his usual set up of upgrades first. I took a Guilty to make other cool things Tormented for extra use with Jack’s various interactions, and then a suite of Freikorps as I find them excellent toolkits to get points scored. I love Alyce as a big damage dealer; with the additional pushes available when Tormented she is very hard to hide from. Similarly Johan can deliver some serious punch for his cost and also brings some helpful condition removal.

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Turn 1: Perdita walks up and charges a Trapper that I’ve foolishly left too advanced but improbably he survives. My Guilty makes Johan Tormented. Francisco uses El Mayor on Nino who was surprisingly not deployed via From The Shadows. My Trapper on the right misses a Focussed shot at the Nephilim and Johan gratefully takes his push from Jack and charges Perdita, bonking her mightily with his hammer. The Trapper who survived Perdita’s attentions hands her a Cursed Object, pushes out of melee and plinks a Hunter. Jack Daw makes Alyce Tormented but fails to do anthing else. She pushes and walks forward then misses the Hunter anyway. Half of Martyn’s crew are bunched up behind the prison. I score for Cursed Object.

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Turn 2: Johan Flurries Perdita, helpfully top-decking the Red Joker for damage on the first swing and killing her straight off. That was unexpected, but it’ll make my life much simpler. Francisco refreshes El Mayor on Nino and opens the jail; one Trapper shoots him to little effect. The Krampus, free of his prison, saunters over and smites most of the wounds off my poor Freikorpsman before receiving a Cursed Object in return. The Guardian Protects the nearby Watcher. Rusty Alyce Rapid Fires and blows away the Hunter who evaded her last turn. The Librarian hurts the Krampus, and my other Trapper shoot another couple of wounds off the Francisco so Nino guns him down in revenge. My Guilty ineffectually pokes the Watcher mainly to tie it up, then Jack Daw (slightly to my suprise) kills the Krampus by dropping Firing Squad Injustice on it, the ripping the upgrade right off again. Sadly, this does stop me scoring for Cursed Object this turn, but on the other hand it does pretty much guarantee me the win by getting me 4 VP for the Strategy and stopping Martyn from scoring it at all.

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Turn 3: Johan kills the Guardian and Francisco heals himself and takes a Focused shot into Jack Daw. The Librarian misses the Hunter twice and it misses her right back. The Guilty passes a Cursed Object to the Watcher. Nino Rapid Fires Jack Daw and I nearly lose my master to a Headshot which would have been quite embarrassing. I guess I need to be very careful about attackers with built-in positive flips. On a roll with Nino, the Nephilim tries to Influence him for another shot but can’t make it. My Freikorpsman, glad to be alive after the mauling the Krampus gave him, charges Francisco and hurts him quite badly and Jack follows him in, killing the Nephilim as an incidental attack. I score for Cursed Object.

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Turn 4: The Hunter kills my Librarian and Jack polishes off Francisco and Nino. The Watcher escapes from the Guilty’s clutches, but only into the waiting arms of Johan, who turns it into scrap. The Trapper hands a Cursed Object to the Hunter. Martyn has seen enough so we call it there. Outcasts win 10 – 1 (full score for me; 1 for Line in the Sand).

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Martyn was a really nice opponent, and he only revealed after we finished that he isn’t really a gamer as such at all, and was just coming along to keep his friend company. Considering that, I have to say that he really impressed me with his familiarity with the rules. I hope that he gets bitten by the Malifaux bug and starts joining in with more of our events as I think he has the potential to become quite good if he gets to grips with the game a bit more. From my side, it was the easiest possible start to the event, playing against a crew that I knew inside out (and indeed had picked myself) piloted by a highly inexperienced player. It was quite nice to be able to try Jack Daw out with his various upgrades, though I think I need to be a little bit less aggressive with him. It seems that he should perhaps be played slightly more passively as his surprising mobility makes it quite easy to move to far to support his Tormented crew (spoiler alert: I don’t learn that lesson in this event).

Game 2: Outcasts (me) vs Resurrectionists (Kai Young)

Strategy: While Visions of Treasure Chests Danced In Their Head (Attacker: pick up the treasure in the centre of the board, then get it back to their deployment zone; Defender: keep the treasure out of anyone’s hands and keep two models near it)

Schemes
Pool: Line in the Sand, Deliver a Message, Distract, Frame For Murder, Breakthrough
Outcasts: Frame For Murder (Nothing Beast), Breakthrough (announced)
Resurrectionists: Frame For Murder (Bete Noir), Distract

Crews
Outcasts: Jack Daw (Writhing Torment, Twist and Turn, Firing Squad Injustice, Guillotine Injustice, Drowning Injustice), Freikorps Librarian, 2 Freikorps Trappers, Rusty Alyce, Johan, Nothing Beast (Void Shield), Void Wretch
Resurrectionists: Seamus (Redchapel Killer, Mad Haberdasher, Bag of Tools), Madame Sybelle (Corpse Bloat, Bleeding Tongue), 2 Dead Doxies, Rotten Belle, Copycat Killer, Nurse, Bete Noir, Krampus

Since Kai and I both won our previous game, we flipped to see who was the attacker and Kai got to have the big chap in his crew. Careful readers will note the lack of a Guilty in my crew; this was an accident as I was trying to work out how to make use of my additional 3 Soulstones and I must have put the card away again. Oh well, it is interesting to try things out without our usual crutches. I took double Trappers as this open board makes it really easy for them to knock wounds off things almost anywhere. My general idea was to sit a couple of tough things on the treasure and hopefully delay Kai long enough before he could get anything to pick it up to allow me to rack up a few points. I put Frame For Murder on the Nothing Beast since it is not too hard to kill but can be very dangerous if left unchecked (and conveniently has Ca attacks to fight the incorporeal Krampus); I thought that would combine to get Kai to commit to killing it. The Void Wretch was included specifically to work on Breakthrough.

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Turn 1: One Trapper Focusses and kills the Copycat Killer and the other does the same to one of the Dead Doxies. Sybelle whips Seamus to Comply him to Focus (*whip* ‘Pay attention!’ *whip*), he fails to summon a Belle from the remains of the Copycat Killer, then Back Alleys forward and seriously (but not fatally) inconveniences the Trapper on the left with his massive gun. The Krampus legs it towards the Treasure Chest and Jack Daw races up to slap Firing Squad Injustice on it and do some big damage. The Nothing Beast is sadly not quite able to finish the job.

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Turn 2: The Nothing Beast kills the Krampus and hurts the Dead Doxy. The Belle Lures Jack Daw forward and she and the Doxy do some damage by Pouncing on him. Both Trappers shoot the Nurse but one Black Jokers the damage; she then keeps the chain of incompetence going by failing to Paralyse the Nothing Beast (she was going for Jack Daw initially until I pointed out that he is immune to it). Alyce also misses the Nurse who is living a very charmed life so far. Seamus somehow fails to kill the Trapper. Jack kills the nearby Belle causing Bete to pop out; she hurts him rather nastily. I score on the Strategy.

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Turn 3: Bete kills Jack Daw. Dang, he really hates attackers with positive flips. The Trapper shoots at the Nurse and the Librarian finally kills her. Sybelle sensibly takes up hard cover but misses a Focussed Shriek at the Librarian which could have been nasty with my bunched up crew. Seamus finally finishes beating the Trapper to death and shoots Johan, who charges in and smacks the nasty little chap with his hammer; Alyce adds some bullets to Seamus’s day. The Nothing Beast kills the Dead Doxy and forces Bete to bury. Somewhere in the far corner all alone, the Void Wretch starts dropping markers for Breakthrough. I score again for having models close to the treasure.

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Turn 4: Sybelle detonates one of the many corpse counters but it doesn’t affect the Nothing Beast or the Librarian. Johan knocks Seamus down to 3 wounds left with no hat and no Soulstones; he hits one last time but Black Jokers the damage. Seamus in return drops Johan to his Hard to Kill wound but Black Jokers the damage on his own killing blow. I don’t bother to attack much so as to avoid bringing Bete Noir back, but Sybelle takes a bit of a pasting anyway. I score again for the strategy.

Turn 5: Seamus kills Johan (releasing Bete again) and hurts the Nothing Beast. The Librarian kills Sybelle and the Void Wretch drops yet more scheme markers. I score one last time for the Strategy.

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Turn 6: I asked Kai if he was OK to finish up at the end of turn 5, but he said he had more to do so we flipped and got an extra turn. Seamus kills the Nothing Beast, scoring me for Frame For Murder. I should have just let Bete get on with it here, but in the interest of making it a game I had Alyce kill her… giving Kai the points for Frame For Murder. It was a funny end to a funny game. Outcasts win 9 – 2 (4 for the Strategy, 3 for Breakthrough and 2 for Frame For Murder for me; 2 for Frame For Murder for Kai).

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Every game against Kai is a pleasure and this was no exception. I got a perfect hand for the Trappers in turn 1 and made the most of it to get a big activation advantage. Jack and the Nothing Beast were, as planned, perfect for killing the Krampus (but I still think it is worth more than 3 Soulstones!). Once I got my crew on top of the Treasure chest there was pretty much no way that Kai was going to be able to score the Strategy, and not making any attempt to Distract my crew or deal with the Void Wretch cost him even more. I was expecting Rusty Alyce to do a lot of work in this match up since she ignores Hard to Wound but she was surprisingly ineffective. Relatively speaking anyway; I still really like to use Alyce.

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

Strategy: Soon Gave Me To Know You Have Something To Dread (Attacker: get the Krampus into the other half of the board, more points to get it back to their deployment zone; Defender: interact with the Krampus twice)

Schemes
Pool: Line in the Sand, Entourage, Breakthrough, Cursed Object, Bodyguard
Outcasts: Entourage (Jack Daw), Cursed Object
Neverborn: Entourage (Zoraida), Breakthrough (announced)

Crews
Outcasts: Jack Daw (Writhing Torment, Twist and Turn, Firing Squad Injustice, Guillotine Injustice, Drowning Injustice), Freikorps Librarian, 2 Freikorps Trappers, Rusty Alyce, Johan, Void Wretch, Guilty, Krampus
Neverborn: Zoraida (Animal Shape, Hex Bag, Crystal Ball), Bad Juju (Hexed Among You, Eternal Fiend), 2 Silurids, 2 Waldgeists, Coppelius

This time I was the winner of the flip to determine the attacker so I got to be the one with the Krampus in his crew. I did remember to include a Guilty; my plan was to make the Krampus Tormented and use the push from Writhing Torment and the ‘extra’ action from Twist and Turn to get the it up the board in good time. Jack can be hard to pin down with disengaging strikes and had been getting around the board surprisingly quickly so Entourage seemed sensible. I knew that keeping Zoraida from scoring Entourage would come down to being able to kill her.

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Turn 1: The Waldgeist on the left pokes the Trapper and Germinates right in my way. The other does the same to a Void Wretch that I’ve foolishly moved too close. The Guilty makes Alyce Tormented. Zoraida uses Animal Shape to get way up the board and Obeys the Walgeist on the left to slap its Trapper again, handing out Entrench this time. The Trapper on the right pushes out of melee and puts a couple of bullets into the Waldgeist there. Coppelius moves up but is unwisely out of cover so Alyce pushes forward and Rapid Fires him stone dead. Did I mention I love Alyce? The Silurids leap around. Jack Daw has another ineffective turn, making the Krampus Tormented on his third attempt, then making it walk forward. It pushes and walks then misses an opportunistic swing at Zoraida. The Trapper on the left gives its Waldgeist a Cursed Object from which I score this turn.

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Turn 2: The Librarian kills the Silurid in my deployment zone which causes Bad Juju to pop out. The other Silurid Leaps and interacts with the Krampus for 2VP and the Waldgeist over there does the same, getting Lewis all the Strategy points wrapped up. Johan misses a couple of optimistic swings at Zoraida; she summons a Voodoo Doll, Hems Johan then Obeys him to smite the Doll into splinters for big damage to himself. The Krampus Focusses and beats most of Zoraida’s wounds out of her in a single swing. The Waldgeist on the right kills the Void Wretch and Alyce and the right Trapper shoot some wounds off it. Bad Juju drops a scheme marker and the left Trapper Curses the Walgeist again. Finally Jack kills a Silurid. I score for Cursed Object.

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Turn 3: Zoraida flies to the corner to stop the Krampus from mauling her and Obeys Bad Juju to drop a scheme marker. The Librarian shoots a few wounds off Juju. The Waldgeist on the left swipes at the Trapper again; Alyce shoots a few more wounds off Bad Juju then the Mire Golem charges and kills the Librarian. Lewis was trying some quite clever moves here to try to drain my hand so that the Trappers would be less likely to blow Zoraida away… but I knew that I didn’t need the Librarian but I do need to kill Zoraida. Indeed, the next activation I do drop Zoraida with a Focussed Trapper shot from right across the board. The Guilty passes a final Cursed Object to the right Waldgeist and Johan, the Krampus and Jack Daw kill the one on the left. Finally, the left Trapper starts running for my own corner to try to pick up Lewis’s scheme markers. I score for Cursed Object for the last time.

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Turn 4: The Guilty kills the last Waldgeist. Bad Juju and Alyce wrestle and Johan strolls down to help out. The Krampus and Jack Daw head for the Neverborn deployment zone.

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Turn 5: Bad Juju Flurries to kill Rusty Alyce and is killed (or at least buried) in return by Johan. My Trapper removes the scheme marker in the corner. Outcasts win 10 – 5 (full score for me; 4 for the Strategy and 1 for Breakthrough for Lewis).

Another lovely game against Lewis, who keeps getting smarter in his plays. I’ve managed to go the whole year without losing to any of the Stirling folks, but I think that they are all really improving together and I look forward to the first time one of them can beat me. Lewis could possibly have taken this to a draw if he’d been a bit more careful with Zoraida but taking a massive hit from the Krampus in turn 2 meant that he was always in danger of losing her and therefore any chance at Entourage.

Game 4: Outcasts (me) vs Resurrectionists (Connor Barker)

Strategy: To The Top Of The Wall, Now Dash Away (Attacker: stay close to the wagon marker and get it to your own side of the board; Defender: have more pieces on the opponents side of the board than they have on yours each turn)

Schemes
Pool: Line in the Sand, Plant Evidence, Assassinate, Spring The Trap, Breakthrough
Outcasts: Plant Evidence (announced), Breakthrough (announced)
Resurrectionists: Assassinate, Breakthrough (announced)

Crews
Outcasts: Jack Daw (Writhing Torment, Twist and Turn, Firing Squad Injustice, Guillotine Injustice, Drowning Injustice), Freikorps Librarian, Freikorps Trapper, Freikorpsman, Rusty Alyce, Johan, 2 Guilty
Resurrectionists: Yan Lo (Reliquary, Fortify Spirit), Soul Porter, Carrion Emissary (Ancestral Conflux), Toshiro the Daimyo (Corpse Bloat, Command The Graves), Datsue Ba (Spirit Whispers), 3 Gaki

Happily, there was no Krampus in this scenario. Instead, the player with the most pieces near the wagon marker at the end of each turn got to push it around. We actually both announced which master we were planning to play here instead of only faction since I think that we had both decided already to play this event as a single master. I mainly stuck with the same rough crew as my previous games, getting rid of one of the relatively static Trappers in favour of another Guilty to make use of the additional mobility afforded by Jack Daw. I seriously considered taking Assassinate but in the end decided that it wasn’t reliable against Yan Lo as he can really get his defenses going over a game. I decided to try to flood the centre to get hold of the wagon and just drop scheme markers where possible.

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Turn 1: The Trapper Focusses and kills the Soul Porter. Toshiro moves up, drops a corpse counter and turns it into an Ashigaru. The Guilty make Johan and Alyce Tormented and move up. Datsue Ba summons a Seishin on the right. Johan moves up to engage the lead pieces and try to keep some chance of keeping control of the wagon, so Yan Lo Lightning Dances him away. Sadly for Connor he Black Jokers one attack leaving the old man very exposed. Alyce pushes to get a clear shot at Yan Lo and Rapid Fires most of his Soulstones out of him. Jack Daw uses Twist and Turn to make her do it again then charges in and leaves Yan Lo clinging to his life by a shred. The Carrion Emissary kills Johan. Connor moves the wagon toward his side of the table.

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Turn 2: Yan Lo, to my great surprise, goes fully Defensive. Jack kills him anyway then uses the Ghost of Malifaux trigger to move to the Mindless Zombie and hand Firing Squad Injustice to Toshiro. This was a mistake as there was no need to be so aggressive and it left Jack very exposed. Various minions, all getting positive flips from standing near Toshiro, take turn at attack Jack. Toshiro summons another Ashigaru then War Fans a Gaki; I try to kill it with the Trapper (to make the effort on War Fan wasted) but can’t quite do the deed. The Librarian hurts another Gaki and Alyce shoots one of the Ashigaru and the Guilty kills it again. The Seishin moves to annoy Alyce. The Freikorpsman drops a scheme marker and is easily killed by Datsue Ba.

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Turn 3: Jack kills Toshiro. The Emissary attacks Jack but can’t make it stick. The Guilty kill a Gaki each. Datsue Ba summons another Seishin and I’m not doing a good job of keeping them in check. There is a big and fairly ineffective scrum in the centre which ends with me moving the wagon back to its starting point.

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Turn 4: The Emissary Focusses and kills Jack Daw, scoring for Assassinate in the process. The Guilty on the right drops a scheme marker as does the Librarian. Everything move in on the wagon and eventually Connor has slightly more around it and so move it back to his side of the board, mainly due to the swarm of Mindless Zombies and Seishin hanging around. Outcasts lose 3 – 4 (3 for Plant Evidence for me; 3 for Assassinate and 1 for Plant Evidence for Connor). Sadly, I forgot to take a photo of the end state before we tidied up.

I had a terrific game against Connor; he is such a gentleman to play with. I think one of the reasons I love to play Connor is that we feel quite evenly matched so every game we both need to play our best if we are to win. I certainly learned a lot about Jack Daw today; probably the biggest thing I need to learn is to use him less aggressively since he isn’t that tough to kill against a determined crew. Hopefully I can improve on this. I think that I’m always going to be an aggressive player so it’s not like I’m going to change that but I need to take more care of where I’m sending Jack Daw.

The story pack was really good fun overall. There were a few minor gripes from me, but I think that part of this is being spoiled by the good balance on the Gaining Grounds strategies. Although I had no particular problem killing the Krampus I think that the other crew only getting 3 soulstones compensation was a bit low and I know that other players found the Krampus a bit of a handful. There were also a few sections of the rules pack that I felt would have benefited from the ‘non-Peon’ clause, but maybe that is just sour grapes on my side after Connor swamped me with Seishin.

When all the scores are added up, I’m in third place which I am very pleased with. I had a terrific time playing Malifaux with old and new friends, just as I always do. The tournament community for Malifaux in Scotland and the North of England (and the other bits of the UK from which I’ve encountered players, even though I don’t venture so far myself) is so universally friendly that I would recommend it to anyone. Even if you’re not-a-tournament-player, I advise you to get out and reach out to your local community and see for yourself. Hopefully others have had the same experience gaming. Thanks to Martyn, Kai, Lewis and Connor for four fun games of Malifaux, and to Andrew for the hard work he put into making this such a successful event.

Since this is the last event for me in 2015, I thought it would be interesting to add up my results over the year. I’ve managed to play 52 tournament games over 13 events (counting the two Kings of the North events separately), mostly with Guild but a few with Outcasts. I have 42 tournament games with Guild: 30 wins, 3 draws and 9 losses. Breaking these down by master I used Sonnia most (18 wins and 7 losses), then Perdita (12 wins, 2 draws and 2 losses) with only a single game using Lady Justice (a draw). My few events with Outcasts have yielded 8 wins, 1 draw and 1 loss; these are Tara (5 wins and 1 draw) and Jack Daw (3 wins and 1 loss). Overall, a pretty good Malifaux year.

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

Malifaux tournament report: UKGT 2015 (50SS); 21-22Nov2015

After much anticipation, 7 Scotland-based gamers climbed into the War Rig on Friday evening and drove down to York for the Malifaux UKGT 2015. We made a proper weekend of the thing, arriving for a delicious dinner and beer before sleeping in our surprisingly luxurious hostel on the night before the event. Saturday morning saw us up and registered early, among the 88 like-minded players converging on York from around the country and beyond.

Game 1: Guild (me) vs Ten Thunders (Graham Bursnell)

Strategy: Stake A Claim

Schemes
Pool: Line in the Sand, Protect Territory, Distract, Cursed Object, Assassinate
Guild: Protect Territory (announced), Cursed Object
Ten Thunders: Protect Territory (announced), Assassinate

Crews
Guild: Perdita Ortega (Trick Shooting), Francisco Ortega (Wade In), Nino Ortega (Hair Trigger), 2 Hunters, Austringer, Enslaved Nephilim, Watcher, Brutal Effigy
Ten Thunders: Misaki (Stalking Bisento), Shang, Shadow Effigy, 2 Ten Thunders Brothers, Yamaziko, Sensei Yu (Wandering River Style), Shadow Emissary (Conflux of Thunder)

With seven games to play I was hoping to start off with something reasonably straightforward to get me warmed up, so I think that Graham and I both had the same thought when we were paired in the first round: why you? Still, with a field as tough as the UKGT you can’t avoid other good players for long. I find my Guild can sometimes be a bit slow to get moving so I picked Perdita pretty much solely in order to have access to the Enslaved Nephilim. I took Nino to make Graham either play around him for the Strategy, Distract and Cursed Object, or to force him to send something over to drop Nino. Thinking that I might as well go for a bit more Family if I was going to take advantage of Spotter I also took Francisco; of course it is obvious in retrospect that he would spend most of his time next to Perdita. Protect Territory is a simple scheme to score so I chose that first. I did consider picking Assassinate on Misaki as she would surely be coming to get me, but eventually I felt that Cursed Object would be a better option. Not a great photo to begin with!

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Turn 1: Yu Airbursts the Emissary forward and Mighty Gusts Misaki to make her Fast. Nino Rapid Fires a few wounds off the Emissary and the double Focussed return attack flips the Black Joker; the Emissary scuttles back behind a rock. The Nephilim Shackles the Austringer and a Hunter forward. Misaki Stalks the latter, charges and kills both it and Nino. Perdita fails to do much of anything to the Emissary in return. At some point I realise that I’ve forgotten to do El Mayor.

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Turn 2: Perdita ignores cover and blows away the Emissary in two shots; she puts a bullet into Shang for good measure. Even though there was no reason not to do it, I only notice partway though the activation that I could have used the Brutal Effigy first to pick myself up a card. The Shadow Effigy moves to engage the Watcher. Misaki kills the Austringer and hurts Francisco. The Nephilim Shackles Francisco towards my Hunter; Sensei Yu Airbursts him right back so he activates and swings wildly in Misaki’s general direction. The Watcher gives the Effigy a Cursed Object then flies away. Yamaziko Nimbles into my half of the board and drops a Claim marker. The Hunter on the left charges one of the Brothers and kills him; the other moves to engage. Graham scores for the Strategy and I score for Cursed Object.

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Turn 3: Francisco uses Finesse, forgets once again to do El Mayor (I am bad at this today) and cuts a few wounds out of Misaki. Misaki wafts her bisento in Perdita’s direction but doesn’t achieve much. The Watcher Stakes a Claim; the Shadow Effigy does likewise. The Nephilim Shackles my Effigy and Francisco in the hope of getting them into the right half of the board. The Brutal Effigy uses Fear Not The Sword on Perdita and hands the surviving Brother a Cursed Object since he’s inconveniently sitting with a 4″ melee range stopping me from dropping Claims. Perdita guns Misaki down to a single wound. The Hunter makes a break for the top of the board but is Airbursted once again back to the scrum by Sensei Yu. I score for Cursed Object and Graham scores Stake a Claim.

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Turn 4: I get initiative; Francisco finally remembers El Mayor and cuts Misaki to bits, chewing through her last Soulstones on the way. Yamaziko charges into Perdita but can’t make anything hit. My Effigy Curses Sensei Yu. The Hunter finally finds itself free to drop a Claim Marker. Shang hilariously charges the Nephilim and kills it, dying to Black Blood in the process. Perdita guns down the last Brother. I score a final point for Cursed Object and the Strategy is a draw.

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Turn 5: Perdita shoots Yamaziko down. Everything rushes around dropping scheme markers; neither of us can manage to get a Claim marker down so the Strategy is a draw again. Guild win 6 – 5 (3 for Cursed Object and 3 for Protect Territory for me; 2 for Stake a Claim and 3 for Protect Territory for Graham).

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A very fine, close game against a very fine and fun opponent. I was glad to win against a player of Graham’s skill, especially considering the basic errors I kept making (notably forgetting to do El Mayor repeatedly). My positioning and target priority was OK, and I had a spot of luck when I needed it.

Game 2: Guild (me) vs Neverborn (Scott Weldon)

Strategy: Head Hunter

Schemes
Pool: Line in the Sand, Protect Territory, Breakthrough, Plant Explosives, Deliver a Message
Guild: Protect Territory (announced), Plant Explosives
Neverborn: Protect Territory (unannounced), Plant Explosives

Crews
Guild: Perdita Ortega (Trick Shooting, Aura Ancestral), Nino Ortega (Hair Trigger), 2 Hunters, Death Marshal, Austringer, Enslaved Nephilim, Watcher, Brutal Effigy
Neverborn: Lilith (Wings of Darkness, Living Blade, Beckon Malifaux), Primordial Magic, Baby Kade (Depression), Teddy (Retribution’s Eye), Silurid, 2 Illuminated

I love Head Hunter. It’s probably my favourite Strategy with a really interesting mix of killing and interacting; I think it exemplifies Malifaux at its best. I picked Perdita again, partly because she excels at single target damage and partly because the Enslaved Nephilim is beautiful in Head Hunter. The Austringer was included for similar reasons; a push and interact is great in this Strategy. I picked Aura Ancestral as it can be handy against certain Neverborn crews. I can’t even remember why I picked the Death Marshal; probably I wanted a cheap activation for picking up schemes that wouldn’t drop its own head without a fight. I considered Breakthrough but discounted it; not only is it quite hard to score in corner deployment but I also had no intention of crossing the board anyway.

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Turn 1: The Silurid Leaps right up into the centre of the board and drops a scheme marker. Nino can’t resist the opportunity to Rapid Fire into it. The Nephilim Shackles the top Hunter and the Austringer forward. Teddy lumbers up the middle and Kade teleports to him. The Austringer plinks another couple of wounds out of the Silurid. Lilith Tangle Shadows my Effigy into the central melee, leaving an activated Illuminated hanging around just outside my deployment zone. Perdita Relocates to Nino then shoots the Illuminated; the Hunter kills it. The top Hunter Chain Harpoons the Illuminated to make it Slow. At the end of the turn the bottom Hunter pushes onto the Illuminated’s head.

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Turn 2: The Hunter at the top vapourises the Illuminated with a timely Red Joker on damage. Teddy kills the Effigy and I’m trying to think of ways to stop everything moving away from the dropped scheme marker. The Watcher schemes to buy me some time; Kade helpfully spends his activation picking up the Effigy’s head. On the right, the Death Marshal picks up another. The Silurid Leaps and drops a scheme marker near my Death Marshal (looking back, I think that Spotter should have stopped that); Nino kills it. The second Hunter Slows Lilith, who uses the Red Joker to Tangle Shadows to put Perdita in melee and send the Primordial Magic to me. Perdita hurts Teddy. I attack the Primordial Magic with the Austringer, which was quite silly since I could have Delivered Orders to the Death Marshal to pick up the scheme marker near him. We both reveal Plant Explosives and score three; we also both score for Head Hunter.

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Turn 3: Perdita cold-bloodedly drops Teddy then Kade and hurts Lilith for good measure. Lilith hits her back to limited effect. The Austringer polishes off the Primordial Magic. Both Hunters close in on Lilith and bite her. The Death Marshal picks up another head and the Watcher, satisfied that all is going well, drops another marker and moves to sit between two of them. I score for Head Hunter.

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Turn 4: Scott declares his new objective: kill Perdita Ortega. Sadly I win initiative and one of the Hunters mauls Lilith to death. Guild win 10 – 4 (full score for me; 3 for Plant Explosives and 1 for Head Hunter for Scott). I apparently forgot to take a final picture, but the only change was removing Lilith and putting yet another head marker in the centre.

I was much more comfortable throughout that game; I think that Scott is relatively inexperienced. I hope to meet him again when he has played a few more games as he was very enthusiastic about his Malifaux. I did make quite a big mistake in wasting the Austringer’s activation on turn 2 messing about with the Primordial Magic instead of making the Death Marshal pick up the nearby scheme marker and therefore save me from conceding 2 points (Perdita was still in range of the one in the centre).

Game 3: Guild (me) vs Resurrectionists (Paul Hansell)

Strategy: Squatter’s Rights

Schemes
Pool: Line in the Sand, Bodyguard, Breakthrough, Frame For Murder, Power Ritual
Guild: Breakthrough (announced), Power Ritual (announced)
Resurrectionists: Breakthrough (announced), Power Ritual (announced)

Crews
Guild: Sonnia Criid (Reincarnation), Papa Loco Ortega (Hermanos De Armas), Guardian, Austringer, Hunter, Watcher, Death Marshal, 2 Guild Hounds, Brutal Effigy
Resurrectionists: Nicodem (Love Thy Master, Undertaker, Manical Laugh), Mortimer (Corpse Bloat, My Favourite Shovel), Datsue Ba (Spirit Beacon, [another upgrade that I forgot to write the name of]), 2 Necropunks, Bete Noir, Rotten Belle

Looking at the field, I decided to run Sonnia for a change. In general I like her for crowd control, but she is particularly weak against Kirai. I decided to risk it and was pleased when Paul chose Nicodem. The Guardian was there with the idea of using that lovely big melee range to engage a pair of Squat marker. The Hounds and Watcher would be on Power Ritual duty; if the opportunity presented itself to take a Squat Marker on the way then I would do that. We both picked Breakthrough and Power Ritual. I didn’t have anything worth using for Bodyguard and I didn’t expect Nicodem, Mortimer or Datsue Ba to be focussing on killing things directly.

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Turn 1: We both drop scheme markers in our own corners. Datsue Ba moves up but fails to summon a Seishin. Papa Loco give Sonnia his dynamite and pulls her forward with Hermanos De Armas. Mortimer advances and puts out a pair of corpse markers. The Death Marshal charges and Pine Boxes Papa Loco. Nicodem uses Maniacal Laugh then summons a Dead Doxy and Punk Zombie. The latter charges the Brutal Effigy but can’t land a hit. Sonnia hits Mortimer with some Flame Bursts, dropping the Punk Zombie to a single wound in the process. I summon a Witchling Stalker when it burns to death in the end phase and Bete Noir also appears.

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Turn 2: The Necropunk on the left takes a Squat marker. The Brutal Effigy does the same and gives Sonnia Fear Not The Sword. She blows up Mortimer and the Doxy, forces Bete Noir to bury and hurts Nicodem. The other Necropunk picks up the right hand Squat marker. On the left, the Hunter Slows Datsue Ba. Nicodem advances into the sea of corpse counters, turns them into Mindless Zombies then summons another Doxy and a Necropunk. The Doxy pushes the Necropunk and kills the Stalker to bring Bete back out. One of my Hounds charges her to stop Bete from getting stuck into Sonnia, which I definitely don’t want. The selfless act of loyalty does cost the poor dog its life. The Guardian pokes at the Necropunk on the left; the Death Marshal runs for a marker and the Austringer makes him claim it. The new Necropunk charges the lonely Hound and gets eaten in return. We both score on the Strategy.

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Turn 3: Datsue Ba fails to hurt the Hunter then summons a Seishin. The Effigy Focuses and shoots Nicodem then companions to Sonnia who clears out the middle but is just short of killing Nicodem. She does draw an impressive number of cards thanks to Fear Not The Sword though. Nicodem heals himself with Chime of Sorrows, summons another Punk Zombie and makes a nearby Necropunk Fast. The Watcher makes it to the far corner and drops a scheme marker. The Punk Zombie kills the Effigy. Papa Loco frees himself from the box and tries (but fails) to blow up Datsue Ba and the Necropunk after the Death Marshal has moved off to drop a scheme marker. My Hound hurts the fast Necropunk then it Leaps to take the last neutral Squat marker and return to poke the Hound. The Guardian could choose to take a Squat Marker but instead kills Datsue Ba. This brings Bete back; she kills my Hunter. We both score on Squatter’s Rights.

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Turn 4: Sonnia finally kills Nicodem. The Necropunk on the right continues to flail uselessly at my Hound. The Guardian moves to engage Bete Noir; the Seishin moves over to stand on a Squat Marker. The Death Marshal Focusses and hurts the Seishin. The Necropunk on the left Leaps and takes one of my Squat markers. Everything runs around scheming; Bete can’t manage to get free of my Guardian. Guild lose 8 – 9 (I get 3 for each scheme and 2 for the strategy; Paul scores 3 for everything).

What a game. I really enjoyed every part of that match and Paul was a warm and friendly opponent. It felt extremely satisfying having Sonnia clearing out swathes of the undead from the centre while Nicodem was constantly raising them back up. I made a mistake in attacking Datsue Ba with the Guardian instead of taking the Squat marker in turn 3. But looking back at the game, I think I still could have scored if I’d thought properly. The Austringer could easily have killed the Seishin and let Papa Loco take that Squat marker instead. Or even I could have done it the other way round by using Deliver Orders. Anyway, for whatever reason I didn’t think of it at the time. It could have been a very interesting game to take to turn 5 too, but we ran out of time; it was a very busy game (I probably wrote about 50% more noted than usual).

Game 4: Guild (me) vs Arcanists (Martin Wodehouse)

Strategy: Interference

Schemes
Pool: Line in the Sand, Distract, Breakthrough, Assassinate, Take Prisoner
Guild: Breakthrough (announced), Distract
Arcanists: Breakthrough (announced), Take Prisoner (Perdita)

Crews
Guild: Perdita Ortega (Trick Shooting), Nino Ortega (Hair Trigger), Guardian, 2 Hunters, Austringer, Enslaved Nephilim, Watcher, Brutal Effigy
Arcanists: Marcus (Hunger Cry, Feral Instincts, Trail of the Gods), Myranda (Imbued Energies), Sliurid, Canine Remains, 2 Molemen, 2 Night Terrors, 3 Malifaux Raptors, Jackalope

I was really unsure what kind of crew to take here. On the one hand, I like Sonnia in theory against Arcanist due to her excellent crowd control and access to Disrupt Magic. But on the other hand, she really suffers against the kind of hard-hitting mobility that Arcanists can bring, like the Cerberus in particular. The board was covered in line-of-sight blocking terrain that would make almost any form of ranges attacks tricky too. In the end I selected Perdita so that I could ignore some cover if needed, or ignore armour if something heavy was deployed. I hoped to use the Guardian to tie up multiple enemies with its big melee range, and Nino to cover the central square. Seeing Martin’s crew I was glad not to have picked Sonnia as she would have been almost their perfect prey. I picked Distract hoping to tag the Night Terrors early if possible, and Breakthrough because it is nice and easy to score in flank deployment.

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Turn 1: The Raptors all waste activations by Taking to the Sky. The Austringer puts some damage on the Canine Remains sneaking up the right. The Jackalope charges in and hurts Nino; he Red Jokers a damage flip in return after pushing out of combat to blow it to bits. Dang thing’ll be back soon enough. Perdita Relocates to Nino, kills the Canine Remains and drops a scheme marker. Myranda advances and turns into a Cerberus, which fails to Leap. Marcus steams over and kills the Austringer. The Raptors reappear in a corner.

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Turn 2: Marcus makes Nino a Beast, put him on negative flips and makes him Prey before offing the Brutal Effigy. The Hunter on the right kills a Moleman and the Jackalope pops back up. The Siluris fails to kill my Watcher. The other Hunter hurts the Night Terror. The Cerberus eats the Nephilim. Nino shuffles out of Perdita’s way and she charges Marcus, acheiving little except to draw some soulstones for Tomes; she also Distract him and the Watcher does the same to the Silurid. The rest of the Arcanists shuffle to score and the Raptors come in to engage anything I have that might be close to scoring (which is nothing anyway). Martin scores Interference, I score Distract.

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Turn 3: Perdita hurts Marcus. Nino pushes out of melee, misses the Jackalope and is eventually eaten by the little monster. The Hunter at the top Distracts its Night Terror; the other misses a Chain Harpoon into the Cerberus. One of the Raptors is finally killed by the Guardian (how I hate that weak damage of 1) and another finishes off the Watcher. Marcus beats Perdita suspiciously gently. The little Beasts move to score again. I score Distract and Martin scores on the Strategy.

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Turn 4: Perdita kills Marcus and the Jackalope. The Cerberus moves toward Perdita, confirming my belief that Martin had Take Prisoner on her. The rest of both of our crews flail uselessly at each other; the Silurid takes the opportunity to remove Distract. I am again swamped with Raptors at the end of the turn. Martin scores on Interference again.

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Turn 5: The Hunter kills a Raptor but misses a critical Chain Harpoon into the Cerberus. Perdita makes a run for it, but the Cerberus is able to Leap and catch up to her. Martin scores again for the Strategy and also picks up all the points for Take Prisoner. Guild lose 5 – 10 (2 for Distract and 3 for Breakthrough for me; full score for Martin).

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That was a really interesting game. I don’t have a lot of experience playing against Marcus or a crew like that and it probably showed. I wasn’t able to whittle down the activations fast enough to make any difference and in the end there were still a lot of the little Beasts moving about in places where I would never be able to reach them. I’m still thinking about how I would handle such a match-up in the future and I’m not certain I have a good answer yet. The Raptors are a very strong pick in Interference as they can get into position to stop me scoring and then Take to the Sky again before I have much of an opportunity to retaliate.  Overall I was quite comprehensively outplayed through the match. Martin was a lovely chap to play against; one of the draws of such an event is that it is big enough to pull in players from further afield than I normally encounter.

After the conclusion of day one there were some folks settling down for card games and so on, but I was a bit too tired of gaming to partake much. I enjoyed a chance to catch up with some of my friends whom I only see at tournaments, then my group headed back to the centre of town for some beer and a very fine curry. After a refreshing rest we were back even earlier for another three games.

Game 5: Guild (me) vs Guild (Paul Butler)

Strategy: Turf War

Schemes
Pool: Line in the Sand, Bodyguard, Assassinate, Plant Evidence, Vendetta
My Guild: Line in the Sand (announced), Plant Evidence (announced)
Other Guild: Plant Evidence (announced), Assassinate

Crews
My Guild: Sonnia Criid (Reincarnation), Francisco Ortega (Wade In), Papa Loco Ortega (Hermanos De Armas), Austringer, Hunter, Watcher, Death Marshal, Witchling Stalker, Brutal Effigy
Other Guild: Perdita Ortega (Trick Shooting, Os Veo), Hunter, Francisco Ortega (Wade In), 2 Guild Hounds, Abuela Ortega, Enslaved Nephilim, Brutal Emissary (Conflux of the Hunt)

I have surprisingly little experience playing Guild vs Guild games and I had no idea what Paul might choose here. In the end, I opted for Sonnia Criid with the idea that I might be able to blast stuff coming in for Turf War. I was expecting some amount of shooting incoming so picked Francisco to make Sonnia herself a slightly less appealing target. I didn’t really fancy any of the schemes much so I picked Line in the Sand and Plant Evidence pretty much entirely with the idea that I was in full control of them.

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Turn 1: Papa Loco give Sonnia some dynamite and pulls her forward. This was a bit of a mistake; I should have put Hermanos De Armas on Francisco instead so that he could use El Mayor. Papa Loco is later tucked away into the Death Marshal’s Pine Box. The other Francisco does indeed use El Mayor on Perdita. Abuela Shotgun Weddings the Emissary into the Family (actually I’m a bit surprised that Conflux of the Hunt doesn’t do that anyway) and it eventually Buries the Hunter. The Nephilim pushes it and Abuela forward. Perdita Relocates to Francisco and guns down my Witchling Stalker which I have stupidly left wide open (though I guess she could have ignored any cover anyway). Sonnia walks up and hurts Abuela; the other two Ortegas Soulstone away their damage.

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Turn 2: Sonnia kills Abuela, walks and hurts the Emissary. This was a mistake as I didn’t really need to expose Sonnia at that point; I’d have been much better off using the Hunter to attack Abuela and saved Sonnia for later. I also forgot to use the Brutal Effigy before activating Sonnia. Perdita kills my Hunter and Obeys Francisco next to the Emissary. The Brutal Effigy and Watcher drop scheme markers and both Hounds run for my half of the table. The Emissary Buries Francisco moves to within 6″ of the Turf marker and Unburies both Francisco and the Hunter; the latter next to the scheme marker I’d conveniently just dropped (looking back I’m not sure that Francisco should have been Unburied at this point as it was the same activation he’d been Buried). His Francisco charges Sonnia, doing some rather nasty damage and using Finesse. My Francisco Flurries the Hunter but can’t do enough damage to kill it. With no cards in either of our hands, Paul top decks high Rams on both attacks to trigger critical strike and kill Sonnia perfectly, scoring Assassinate in the process. The Death Marshal Pine Boxes the Hunter so that I can Unbury Papa Loco and hurt his Francisco. We both score for Turf War.

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Turn 3: Perdita Relocates to Francisco and kills Papa Loco who explodes and hurts the Death Marshal. She companions to Francisco who rather charges and rather easily kills the Death Marshal, Unburying the Hunter in melee with my Francisco. He stabs the last wound off the Hunter and guns down the imposter Francisco. The Hounds and Watcher drop scheme markers and the Nephilim Shackles itself to one of the Hounds in order to engage the Watcher. The Effigy continues to drop scheme markers and the Emissary Red Jokers a damage flip on Francisco. We both score again on the Strategy.

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Turn 4: The Emissary kills Francisco and does its Tyranny Lights The Way action. One Hound gently tickles the Watcher while Perdita improbably fails to kill the Austringer. The Effigy is runs round to be near the Turf marker and the Austringer Delivers Orders to get it close enough. We both score for Turf War.

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Turn 5: My Effigy engages a Hound to make it a bit harder to remove my scheme markers. Perdita makes no mistake this time killing the Austringer and removes a scheme marker; the Emissary removes another. The Watch takes double Defensive Stance and somehow survives. Paul scores on the Strategy again. My Guild lose 7 – 10 (3 for Turf War, 3 for Plant Evidence and 1 for Line in the Sand; full score for Paul).

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Paul was a lovely gentleman to play against; it was the perfect start to a second day of gaming. I’m a bit annoyed with my play overall here as I felt that I made things far to easy for him though. In particular I was needlessly aggressive with Sonnia in turn 2. I have gotten into the habit of using her (if possible) twice in a row, i.e. once at the end of turn 1 and then as soon as possible in turn 2. But in this case only Abuela was even in range to attack by Sonnia. A much stronger play would have been to put the Hunter into Abuela as she didn’t have many wounds left, then use Sonnia when more targets were available. Oh well, live and learn.

Game 6: Guild (me) vs Guild (Adam Hutchison)

Strategy: Reckoning

Schemes
Pool: Line in the Sand, Assassinate, Protect Territory, Outflank, Power Ritual
My Guild: Protect Territory (announced), Power Ritual (announced)
Other Guild: Protect Territory (announced), Power Ritual (announced)

Crews
My Guild: Perdita Ortega (Trick Shooting), Francisco Ortega (Wade In), Guardian, 2 Hunters, Austringer, Enslaved Nephilim, Watcher, Brutal Effigy
Other Guild: Hoffman (Arcanist Assets, Field Mechanic, On Site Assimilation), Brutal Emissary (Conflux of the Amalgamation), Peacekeeper, Ryle, Metal Gamin, Mobile Toolkit, Warden

I have to admit, I was hoping to face either Gremlins or Outcasts here as I had gone up against the other five factions already. Normally I’d be happy to put down either Sonnia or Perdita for Reckoning, but with close deployment in the mix and Assassinate on the cards I felt much more comfortable with Perdita. I’m not a fan of super-elite Reckoning crews with only a few activations so while I looked for tougher options I did make sure to get enough pieces in my crew to allow me to actually compete on the schemes too. In particular, Slowing big hitters with the Hunters can be very useful. I picked Protect Territory because it is a scheme that can often be scored once the dust has settled and Power Ritual because I was hoping to keep my Watcher out of harms way and score a cheeky 3 points. Looking at the horrifying wall of metal facing my crew I was very glad to have chosen Perdita.

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Turn 1: The Toolkit gives the Peacekeeper positive flips to melee attacks. The left Hunter Chain Harpoons it for Slow. Hoffman Loops the Metal Gamin, gives it Slow in exchange for Fast (not sure why Hutch didn’t use the Peacekeeper for this since it was already Slow) and knocks some scrap out of the Peacekeeper. He then puts Patchwork Plating on the Emissary and Targeting Systems on the Peacekeeper and Machine Puppets the Peacekeeper to Focus and lose Slow. Finally he Machine Puppets the Emissary to Bury the Peacekeeper and walk to my right. Francisco moves over to give Perdita a Relocation target that will allow her a straight shot at the Emissary. Perdita takes her shots at the big robot but can’t drop it. It moves further to the right and Unburies the Peacekeeper. The Hunter fails to Chain Harpoon it, so the Peacekeeper shows it how this is done by using the Focus to put Slow on my Hunter and then missing the Brutal Effigy. Ryle heals the Peacekeeper. The Effigy Focuses and shoot Slow onto the Peacekeeper yet again. The Austringer plinks a couple of wounds off the Toolkit and the Watcher and Warden both drop scheme markers and take the long walk across the board. Finally the Guardian charges the Peacekeeper, being careful to keep outside its melee range.

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Turn 2: Hoffman Power Loops the Metal Gamin and makes it Slow again before creating a scrap counter which is used to heal the Emissary and the Peacekeeper. He Machine Puppets the Emissary to push toward him then walk back so he could be dragged to it. Since Hoffman is now in range of the Peacekeeper he Machine Puppets it to push out of melee and shoot the Effigy. The Emissary is then Machine Puppeted to Bury Ryle. The Guardian charges the Emissary and re-engages both it and the Peacekeeper at maximum melee range. The latter just walks deep into my crew, engaging most of my constructs on that side. The Hunter on the left Slows the Emissary, then it walks and pokes at my Effigy, then Unburies Ryle. The Austringer kills the Toolkit and Ryle scraps the Hunter on the right. I use Francisco to set up a ridiculous Relocate option but then realise that I have only 1 card in hand and it is pretty good. Instead Perdita just walks then charges the Emissary, killing it after ignoring Armour. The Metal Gamin tries to finish the Effigy with Magnetism but, with no cards in hands, Hutch obligingly flips a 1. I score Reckoning.

Turn 3: The Peacekeeper Flurries the Guardian, dropping Targetting Systems in the process. Hutch has awful cards though and it survives easily. Perdita kills the Warden and puts some damage into Hoffman. He heals himself and Machine Puppets the Peacekeeper to keep hitting the Guardian but my robot just doesn’t want to go down. The Metal Gamin tries to Magnetise the Brutal Effigy again but flips the Black Joker this time. Ryle charges Perdita since I don’t have El Mayor up but he can’t land a hit. The Austringer and Hunter combine to kill the Metal Gamin and Francisco charges Hoffman and wafts his sword uselessly at him. I score for the Strategy again.

Turn 4: Francisco puts El Mayor on Perdita and prods a few more wounds out of Hoffman. Perdita Companions and guns down Ryle and hurts Hoffman. Hoffman Machine Puppets the Peacekeeper to kill the Effigy at last. The Guardian Protects itself, hitting the trigger to heal a couple of wounds, then the Peacekeeper bounces off it again. Hutch has seen enough so we agree that I’ll be able to pick up my schemes and stop him scoring his, but that I won’t be likely to score more Reckoning points. My Guild win 8 – 0 (2 points for Reckoning, 3 each for Power Ritual and Protect Territory).

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I had a very nice time playing Hutch but his deck really didn’t like him at all that game. I felt that I had things in control even allowing for the inexplicable failure of the Peacekeeper to deal with the Guardian. The Hunters did great work for me putting Slow on his big hitters and I was very pleased to get such good mileage out of them. I knew when the Warden got diverted from his job of scoring Power Ritual that I would win the game, though the margin was bigger than I expected. That is one good thing about Watchers: they have no offensive power so it is not easy to get distracted from their scheme running.

Game 7: Guild (me) vs Resurrectionists (Ant Hoult)

Strategy: Collect The Bounty

Schemes
Pool: Line in the Sand, Bodyguard, Protect Territory, Make Them Suffer, Spring The Trap
Guild: Protect Territory (announced), Make Them Suffer
Resurrectionists: Protect Territory (announced), Make Them Suffer

Crews
Guild: Sonnia Criid (Counterspell Aura, Cherufe’s Imprint), Papa Loco Ortega, Malifaux Child, Guardian, Austringer, 2 Hunters, Death Marshal, Brutal Effigy
Resurrectionists: Tara (Knowledge of Eternity, Obliteration Symbiote, Eternal Journey), Dead Rider, Void Wretch, Nothing Beast (Void Shield), Necropunk, Toshiro the Daimyo (Decaying Aura, Unnerving Aura)

I was quite pleased to get another try to beat Ant, who has comfortably beaten me every other time we’ve played. Neither of us were even close to in the running for winning, so in our own ways I think we both took our foot off the pedal a little. I decided to just go wild with the Flame Bursts and enjoy Sonnia setting the world on fire; Ant took, in his words ‘a fun and silly crew’. The funny thing is that I’ve generally avoided playing Sonnia into Outcasts all year in case I get Tara who can counter my usual play with Papa Loco; it didn’t occur to me even for a moment that I might see her here. I thought that I might have a chance to take out both minions early and so picked Make Them Suffer, and Protect Territory is a favourite of mine even in flank deployment (where, admittedly, it is harder than usual). It isn’t very clear in the photo but the whole Resurrectionist crew is hiding behind some buildings at the back of their deployment zone.

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Turn 1: The Necropunk fails to Leap, the shuffles around a bit. Tara Buries Toshiro after making him Fast. Papa Loco does Hold This and is buried by the Death Marshal. Yes, this was stupid; I know what Tara can do to Buried things. For some reason my mind just blanked on what I was doing. My stuff advances. I have a pretty awful hand so the Child fails to create a Flame Wall and Sonnia Black Jokers hers.

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Turn 2: Sonnia walks up, Flame Bursts the Nothing Beast who discards Void Shield to avoid a big first hit; I cheat in the Red Joker on the second to kill it anyway. The Dead Rider is badly hurt in the blasts and the Necropunk dies (scoring me a point for Make Them Suffer). Those paying more attention than I apparently was will note that I forgot yet again to activate the Brutal Effigy first. Tara Unburies Papa Loco and makes him fast. He then walks out and blows up, doing nasty damage to Sonnia and killing a Hunter. I am an idiot. The Dead Rider charges the other Hunter and drags it back towards the corner where Toshiro kills it for Make Them Suffer. I had tried to use the Malifaux Child to block the charge route with a Flame Wall but Toshiro’s Fast allowed him to reposition. Ant scores for the Strategy.

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Turn 3: Tara Buries Toshiro, making him fast, then Unburies him and fling him at Sonnia. She is not able to survive the onslaught. The Dead Rider is down to a single wound at this point. The Austringer Focuses and misses a shot at it. The Dead Rider attacks the Death Marshal but can’t make much of it. Almost everything I can muster attacks the Dead Rider but I can’t finish it off. In retrospect, I wasn’t going to score the Strategy anyway this turn so I might as well have attached Toshiro instead to try to bring his wounds down a bit. Ant scores for Collect The Bounty again.

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Turn 4: The Death Marshal kills the Dead Rider. We both have awful cards and everything flails uselessly around (all the good cards get flipped on defense); a few attacks do get through on Toshiro but he Soulstones most of the damage away. Tara Slows the Guardian and Effigy. I score on the Strategy.

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Turn 5: Ant rather unluckily Black Jokers the initiative flip having used his last Soulstone on Toshiro last turn. The Death Marshal kills Toshiro. Tara gives herself reactivate and runs to get in position to drop scheme markers. The Void Wretch gets pinned in place by the Guardian. The Death Marshal gets Delivered Orders by the Austringer so I have enough scheme markers down. Tara drops markers but doesn’t have enough AP to stand between them. I score for the Strategy and Guild win 6 – 5 (2 for Collect the Bounty, 3 for Protect Territory and 1 for Make Them Suffer for me; 2 for Collect the Bounty, 1 for Protect Territory and 2 for Make Them Suffer for Ant [writing this up I think I made some error in my notes as I can only see 1 point for Make Them Suffer for Ant but we were sure of it at the time]).

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That was a very pleasant way to end the tournament. I’m very glad to finally have a win against Ant, even if he was taking it a bit easy on me. My own play was quite sloppy, but I guess that I am in some ways quite pleased to be able to demonstrate why you should not Pine Box Papa Loco when playing against Tara.

Overall I had a fantastic time at the UK GT 2015. It was terrifically well run, everyone was a perfect gentleman or lady as applicable, and most importantly I had 7 terrific games of Malifaux. When the scores came in I was 31st out of 88 players which I happy with; the field was very strong. I feel like I was at least in with a chance of winning each game if only I’d played a little more cleverly and I did beat some good players in the process. I have only two disappointment for the event. Firstly, there were a group of Swedes who had travelled over to join in the fun but I didn’t get drawn against any of them. And secondly, after 5 games I had played against 5 different factions. It would have been wonderful to ‘complete the rainbow’. As you can tell with the trivial nature of my concerns, I have almost nothing bad to say about the event. Thanks to Graham, Scott, Paul H, Martin, Paul B, Hutch and Ant for giving me 7 fun games, and to Mike, Lee and Chris for their tireless work to make everything run smoothly.

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

Malifaux tournament report: So It Is Written (50SS); 22Aug2015

I like to take the opportunity to visit tournaments outside Scotland whenever possible, partly as I like to reciprocate the visits that other gamers give to my local scene, and partly because I love to play against a wide variety of opponents. Since Joe is so kind to drive when we make these road trips, it’s very pleasing to be able to just sit in his passenger seat and enjoy the ride even if we do all have to set off early. For this event, Dave L joined us in the car. Sunderland obviously makes quite an appealing location for an ‘away trip’ partly since it’s among the nearest possible destinations and partly because the local Henchman, Nate, runs terrific events.

Game 1: Guild (me) vs Arcanists (Graham)

Strategy: Turf War

Schemes
Pool: Line in the Sand, Distract, Assassinate, Plant Evidence, Entourage
Guild: Plant Evidence (announced), Line in the Sand (announced)
Arcanists: Plant Evidence (announced), Distract

Crews
Guild: Sonnia Criid (Reincarnation, Disrupt Magic), Papa Loco (Hermanos De Armas), 2 Hunters, Witchling Stalker, Brutal Effigy, Death Marshal, Austringer, Watcher
Arcanists: Ramos (Arcane Reservoir, Bleeding Edge Tech, Combat Mechanic), Brass Arachnid, Arcane Effigy, Electrical Creation, Howard Langston (Imbued Energies), Mechanical Rider, Metal Gamin

The board was quite open here so my basic plan was to either use Sonnia from further back to clear the centre each turn if Graham was aggressive, or take the centre myself and just blast anything that came near. There was nothing in the scheme pool that I fancied the look of much; Distract was going to make my plan for Turf War hard to execute, Entourage with Sonnia in corner deployment looked improbable and I didn’t really like my chances of catching Assassinate in Ramos if I was also going to keep the centre open. Tidying up Langston and the Mechanical Rider early was going to be the main challenge; then I would have to concentrate on dealing with the inevitable swarms of spiders.

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Turn 1: We start with the predictable set plays; the Metal Gamin using Protection of Metal on itself; Papa Loco using Hold This on Sonnia, pulling her forward and being Pine Boxed by the Death Marshal, and Ramos zapping the Electrical Creation. But then, to my great surprise, Ramos didn’t summon loads of Steam Arachnids. I had thought at the time that maybe Graham was wary of giving Sonnia targets out in the open, but actually it ws just that his hand was terrible. The Brass Arachnid fails to Stoke Langston, and the big chap uses his steam cloud and moves into some cover. Sonnia Flame Bursts him anyway (without the benefit of Confiscated Lore on the first shot since I’m an idiot and forgot to use it), splashing some damage over the Rider.

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Turn 2: I was expecting Langston to come racing over to kill my stuff, but instead he hides and creates another cloud of steam. My Effigy drops a scheme marker and Ramos summons a trio of Steam Arachnids before retreating to cover. Sonnia immolates 2 of the spiders and takes the opportunity to splash a couple more blasts over Langston. The Brass Arachnid fails again to Stoke Langston and my Death Marshal pops the last spider. On the far right, a Metal Gamin Magnetises over to my Hunter and is gently poked in return. The Rider summons another Metal Gamin and joins it in a slap fight with my other Hunter. The Austringer dinks a wound off the Gamin on the right. Somewhere in here my Watcher drops a scheme marker on my far left. I score for Turf War.

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Turn 3: The Brutal Effigy shoots a Gamin on the left, killing it. The Mechanical Rider summons another and kills off my Watcher, dropping a couple of scheme markers in the process. Over on the right, the Hunter prods ineffectively at the Metal Gamin and the Austringer finally kills the dang thing. The Brass Arachnid Stokes Langston at the third time of asking and he sets off toward the centre with a murderous look in his eyes. So Sonnia vapourises him, and splashes the Brass Arachnid down to a single wound and on fire while she’s at it. Ramos summons three more spiders which swarm together and are pushes into a Pine Box by the Death Marshal. I score again for Turf War.

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Turn 4: On the left, my Hunter drops a scheme marker and shoots Slow onto the Rider. She summons a Steam Arachnid and scraps the impudent Hunter. Sonnia uses the newly-summoned Arachnid as a target from which to aim her blasts, killing it, the Rider and the nearby Arachnid. Ramos summons another trio of Arachnids and kills my Effigy. Papa Loco Focuses and shoots Ramos, cheating in severe damage to kill off all three spiders. The Death Marshal manages to keep the Swarm in his Pine Box and I start the slow process of plinking away at Ramos’ wounds. I score for the Strategy.

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Turn 5: Ramos kills my Hunter on the right and summons another couple of spiders. We look at the game and agree to call it as it stands. Guild win 10 – 1 (full score for me; 1 for Plant Evidence for Graham).

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Graham was a lovely chap to play against, and thanks to him I have a new-found understanding of the timing rules (hopefully I didn’t come across as too rude when we were discussing it). From my side everything went swimmingly, but the board was very much in my favour. Indeed, we did mention it to the TO and there was some scatter terrain added before the beginning of the next round. After a break for a delicious chilli, I was paired up with the Chosen One himself.

Game 2: Guild (me) vs Neverborn (Greg)

Strategy: Squatter’s Rights

Schemes
Pool: Line in the Sand, Breakthrough, Bodyguard, Deliver a Message, Murder Protegé
Guild: Murder Protegé (Nekima; unannounced), Line in the Sand (announced)
Neverborn: Murder Protegé (Guardian; unannounced), Breakthrough (announced)

Crews
Guild: Perdita Ortega (Trick Shooting, Aura Ancestral), Nino Ortega (Hair Trigger), Guardian, 2 Hunters, Austringer, Enslaved Nephilim, Watcher, Brutal Effigy
Neverborn: Lilith (Beckon Malifaux, Wings of Darkness), Primordial Magic, Doppelganger, Johan (Retribution’s Eye), Mr Graves, Mysterious Effigy, Nekima, Terror Tot

I’ve been in a habit of using Sonnia against Neverborn, but with Squatter’s Rights I decided that maybe the extra movement afforded me by Perdita and the Enslaved Nephilim would be more helpful. I had some kind of vague plan about keeping a couple of the markers covered by the Guardian’s massive melee range, but also I do find that Perdita plus Protect is quite entertaining. I was hoping to spread out with the Watcher and maybe one of the Hunters to pick up the outermost markers, then swing inward and keep the centre tied up in a huge scrum.

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Turn 1: Lilith fails to Tangle Shadows on Nino thanks to Aura Ancestral, she then drops an Illusory Forest in front of herself. Nino breathes a sigh of relief and pings a few wounds off the Effigy. Mr Graves pushes Nekima forward and she then scraps the lead Hunter. I knew I was going to lose something so I wasn’t too surprised that Greg pulled the trigger so early. Perdita shoots away about half of Nekima’s wounds.

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Turn 2: Greg takes the opportunity to cheat initiative and Nekima swats Nino, paralysing the Guardian with Teach Them Fear. The Watcher takes the right marker and drops a scheme marker and the Hunter follows suit on the right. Lilith charges the Austringer but Black Jokers one of her attacks to leave him alive. Johan scraps my Effigy, then the Austringer and Perdita gang up to finally drop Nekima (scoring me two VP for Murder Protegé in the process). The Doppelganger takes a Squat marker. I score on the Strategy.

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Turn 3: After cheating the initiative, Johan smites the Guardian for a couple of VP on Murder Protegé before being finished off by the Austringer. Perdita narrowly fails to kill off the Doppelganger (just one wound short!). She, or maybe it, moves to take the centre marker. My Hunter hurts Mr Graves and the Tot flips like a hero to kill off the Watcher. The Nephilim fails to Influence my Austringer to kill the Doppelganger, then Lilith kills the bird-man. The Mysterious Effigy reflips the right-most marker. Greg scores for the Strategy.

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Turn 4: Lilith kills Perdita after a lucky initial damage flip then some clever use of resources by Greg. The Hunter and Mr Graves bounce off each other. Looking at the board state, I call it here. Guild lose 3 – 8 (2 for Murder Protegé and 1 for Squatter’s Rights for me; 3 for Squatter’s Rights, 3 for Breakthrough and 2 for Murder Protegé for Greg).

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Greg is a tough match-up and I need to be at my very best to beat him, which was plainly not how I played this game. Still, I don’t think I made any catastrophic errors; a few instances of poor placement at the end of turn 1 and a couple of bad choices of activation order in turn 3 in particular. Greg got a bit unlucky in a couple of key points but I didn’t take advantage and in the end this was a pretty routine win for him. In many ways this was like playing against a better version of myself – Greg is particularly adept at killing off unactivated pieces for example to get a pseudo-activation advantage. The difference is that Greg is also great at denying retaliation which is an area that I need to work on a lot. Indeed after this game, I did get a few ideas about a different way to play Sonnia which I am looking forward to trying out to see it works out.

Game 3: Guild (me) vs Arcanists (Ant)

Strategy: Collect The Bounty

Schemes
Pool: Line in the Sand, Protect Territory, Breakthrough, Take Prisoner, Spring The Trap
Guild: Protect Territory (announced), Breakthrough (announced)
Arcanists: Protect Territory (announced), Breakthrough (announced)

Crews
Guild: Sonnia Criid (Reincarnation, Disrupt Magic), Papa Loco, 2 Hunters, 2 Witchling Stalkers, Brutal Effigy, Death Marshal, Austringer
Arcanists: Rasputina (Arcane Reservoir, December’s Pawn, Shattered Heart), Snow Storm (Imbued Energies, Warding Runes), Blessed of December (Imbued Energies), Myranda (Imbued Energies), Essence of Power, Ice Gamin

So after losing to the number 1 ranked player in my country, I got the ‘soft’ final round of playing against the reigning Masters champion. I went for Sonnia on the grounds that Disrupt Magic can be quite brutal against some Arcanists build, and the rest of the crew was mainly minions with the idea of giving up as few points for Collect the Bounty as possible. Protect Territory is a bit of pain in Flank deployment but I still preferred it over the other options, and anyway figured that I was heading over to that side of the board either way.

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Turn 1: Papa Loco does his usual thing and is put in a Pine Box. The Blessed heads one way out of the little frozen fortress and Myranda goes the other way. This is really good play from Ant as it puts a really high range attacker with leap on either side of me to box in Sonnia’s options. Rasputina softens up a Hunter and Stalker and Sonnia kills off the wounded Stalker to get another one a little further up.

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Turn 2: The Hunter on the left attacks Snow Storm, then Rasputina channels snowballs through the Blessed to kill off the Hunter (which you can clearly see I’ve managed to put in no cover whatsoever) and puts armour on Snow Storm. It then smites the other Hunter and Witchling that I’ve stupidly blundered into melee with it. Myranda turns into a Cerberus which the Austringer plinks away at. Sonnia splashes some damage onto the Effigy and Rasputina via the Effigy, which of course dies and drops a scheme marker. The Blessed Leaps and attacks Sonnia; the Cerberus does the same to close down the Austringer. Ant scores on the Strategy.

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Turn 3: I use a stone to beat a four on the initiative flip, and manage to replace my 2 with a 1. The Blessed doesn’t need to be asked twice and kills Sonnia. The Death Marshal moves up and unleashes Papa Loco, who blows up himself, the Death Marshal, another nearby Stalker and the Ice Gamin, not to mention some nice damage on Snow Storm and Rasputina. Sadly, that is pretty much it for my offensive capability. The Cerberus easily kills the Austringer and we call it there as Ant will have no trouble polishing off the remains of my crew and picking up all my scheme markers. Guild lose 10 – 0 (nothing for me and full score for Ant).

That could be the worst I’ve played in Malifaux second edition. Beating a player as good as Ant would have been a huge ask anyway, but I didn’t really do anything right in this game. Even basic stuff like using cover was entirely beyond me. Oh well, Ant was a gentleman and I still enjoyed the game despite my poor playing of it.

After all that, I think I came in 14th or so of 22 players (in retrospect that seems a bit generous considering my scores so maybe I noted it down wrong) and had a really enjoyable time. I really wish I could play against the likes of Ant and Greg more often; I learn more in general from a loss than a win and it hopefully did me good. Nate always puts on a good tournament and this was no exception. Thanks again to him and rest of the Worhamma folks for running the show and to Graham, Greg and Ant for three fun games.

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

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