Posts Tagged With: Resurrectionists

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: UK Nationals (50SS); 12-13Nov2016

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

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

Strategy: Collect The Bounty, standard deployment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strategy: Extraction, corner deployment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strategy: Squatter’s Rights, standard deployment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strategy: Interference, flank deployment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strategy: Guard The Stash, close deployment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strategy: Head Hunter, standard deployment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strategy: Stake A Claim, corner deployment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strategy: Guard The Stash, corner deployment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strategy: Turf War, standard deployment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strategy: Reckoning, flank deployment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strategy: Headhunter, standard deployment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strategy: Extraction, close deployment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strategy: Guard The Stash, normal deployment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strategy: Extraction, normal deployment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strategy: Collect The Bounty, normal deployment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Malifaux tournament report: Sins of the North (50SS); 25Jun2016

Last year I had the pleasure to attend the Kings of the North festival held at the Moor House Adventure Centre (i.e. a Scout camp) near Durham for 2 days of Malifaux goodness. After some reorganisations, the equivalent event took place this weekend, this time under the banner of Fated Festival. This post is about the story encounter run by Connor Barker on the Saturday.

The event was structured with three sets of three tables and some match-making jiggery-pokery to ensure that each player got to play on each of the sets once. In addition to the schemes and custom strategy for each table, there were other things that could be done to earn clues to a mystery. Winning the game was worth one clue, as was playing a fully painted crew, taking a certain pre-specified scheme from the pool (and scoring at least two points from it). Each table also had a special condition that variously affected the game state and allowed one player to get another clue. Finally, each master had a list of things to do for clues; for example one of Leveticus’s was to keep his favourite waif alive for the whole game.

Game 1: Outcasts (me) vs Outcast (Maria)

Strategy: Shindig; Handbags and Gladrags (like Squatter’s Right, but instead of tagging the marker you could pick them up and wander off with them); random deployment

Schemes
Pool: Convict Labour, Hunting Party, Exhaust Their Forces, Catch And Release, Search The Ruins
My Outcasts: Hunting Party, Search The Ruins
Maria’s Outcasts: Catch And Release, Hunting Party
Story scheme: Interact with a remarkably tough neural Performer in the middle of the board to get her to your deployment zone.

Crews
My Outcasts: Leveticus (Tally Sheet, Desolate Soul), 2 Hollow Waifs, Rusty Alyce (Desolate Soul), Freikorps Trapper, Freikorps Librarian, Johan, 2 Ronin, Hodgepodge Effigy
Maria’s Outcasts: Hamelin (Infectious Melodies, Piper, Sewer King), Stolen, Ama No Zako (Oathkeeper), Nix (Oathkeeper), Hodgepodge Emissary (Conflux of Plague), Iggy (Oathkeeper), Crooligan

Maria and I had been out for a nice run before the event, but getting back a bit late resulted in our being paired together. Between the Shindig and random deployment I didn’t really have any idea what would be good, so I just figured to take a straightforward crew for Leveticus that I knew I could make work. The advantage of this crew is that there are so many anchors that it can be tough to get rid of Leveticus permanently. I chose Hunting Party thinking that I could easily drop the Stolen and Crooligan, and that would force Maria to keep summoning other options for me to kill off for points. Search The Ruins felt like a good fit since I’d have to be in the middle of the board anyway.

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Turn 1: Hmm, random deployment is a mess! My Ronin pushes the Performer my way. Nix tags her for Catch And Release. The other Ronin picks up a Squat marker on the right; the Emissary Blights her, tags her for the scheme and casually steals the marker off her. Johan picks up another Squat marker and Iggy sets him ablaze. Hamelin Obeys my Trapper to break the Shindig by shooting the Crooligan (scoring 2 points in the process), then Obeys the Crooligan twice to pick up a Squat marker and tag Johan. He finishes up by summoning a Stolen. Now that the gloves are off, Alyce guns down Iggy; Leveticus is foiled by bad cards trying to hurt the Emissary. Maria scores for Catch and Release.

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Turn 2: Johan smites the Crooligan to score Hunting Party and the Emissary kills a Waif to do the same. Nix disengages and collects another Squat marker. The Trapper kills both Stolen (this was a mistake; I should have left them be and hoped to pick them off later with Johan or Alyce). The Blighted Ronin bounces off the surprisingly resilient Emissary. Hamelin Obeys Ama No Zako twice to collect another Squat marker and the Librarian takes the last one. Alyce and Leveticus fail to finish Nix. We both score for the strategy, Maria scores again on Catch and Release.

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Turn 3: The Emissary hurts the Ronin and gives the Memento trinket to Nix; sadly it can’t push to within chain activation range. Leveticus polishes off Nix and knocks the Emissary down to a single wound. Ama No Zako drops Oathkeeper and charges in to kill the Trapper (Hunting Party). The right Ronin guts the Emissary and both Ronin do Seppuku (to stop Catch and Release). Hamelin Obeys Ama to collect the Squat marker dropped by Nix and flee; Johan charges in to put some big damage on her. We both score for the strategy again.

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Turn 4: Johan Flurries to kill Ama No Zako. Hamelin walks over to pick up both Squat markers. My entire crew throw what they have at him, but it isn’t enough. One surviving rat runs to escape my crew. We both score again for the strategy.

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Turn 5: Leveticus kills Hamelin but none of my crew can reach that rat who is denying me the points for Hunting Party. I do score for the strategy though. My Outcasts lose 8 – 9 (4 for the strategy, 1 for Hunting Party and 3 for Search The Ruins for me; 3 for the strategy, 2 for the Shindig, 2 for Hunting Party and 2 for Catch and Release for Maria).

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As with every game against Maria, I had an absolutely wonderful time. Every move Maria makes seems to make my own game plan harder to achieve and she is so focused and aware of how she’ll score or deny VPs at all times. The move from Hamelin to break the Shindig by using Obey on my Trapper was very clever and really set the tone. My biggest mistake was wasting shots from the Trapper to kill Stolen in turn 2; I should have put them into Hamelin to either eat resource or soften him up for later. That would have given me more targets of opportunity for scoring Hunting Party. Everything else worked reasonably well; there was no danger of losing Leveticus to a mis-placed anchor or Waif. I had hoped to use the Tally Sheet / Hodgepodge Effigy / Abomination summoning machine in this game but somehow I just couldn’t get it going at all.

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

Strategy: Headhunter, normal deployment

Schemes
Pool: Convict Labour, Mark For Death, Show Of Force, Hunting Party, Undercover Entourage
Outcasts: Hunting Party, Undercover Entourage (Leveticus)
Guild: Hunting Party, Undercover Entourage (Joss)
Story scheme: Pick a piece of terrain in the far half of the board, then end the game with two scheme markers next to it

Crews
Outcasts: Leveticus (Tally Sheet, Desolate Soul), 2 Hollow Waifs, Taelor (Scramble), Freikorps Trapper, Freikorps Librarian, Johan, 2 Ronin, Hodgepodge Effigy
Guild: Hoffman (Arcanist Assets, On Site Assimilation, Field Mechanic), Joss, Mechanical Attendant, Ryle, Guardian, Mobile Toolkit, Howard Langston

I took exactly the same crew as before, only swapping in Taelor for an extra Relic Hammer at the expense of Alyce. Partly the reason for keeping mostly the same crew was for story reasons, but a crew with a good number of minions has a chance to pick up heads while the elites make sure there are plenty of heads lying around. Undercover Entourage on Leveticus is not hard to score (though it is quite easy to see coming) and I chose Hunting Party as there were only three targets and I felt that I could take them all out.

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Turn 1: Hoffman is pulled forward by the Attendant. He Slows it, Power Loops Langston and the Guardian, then give Joss Hydraulics and Ryle Targeting Systems. Finally, he Machine Puppets both Ryle and Langston forward. The Trapper picks off the Mechanical Attendant. Ryle walks forward, pushes away from Joss and finds himself in range of two Waifs; he nearly guns them both down but they survive on one wound. The Toolkit puts armour on Langston who moves up right into my face (I was trying to tempt him in with Joss so I could apply Taelor but David didn’t take the bait); he pulls Hoffman with him. The Librarian shouts at Ryle.

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Turn 2: Langston moves in and Flurries Johan; I let him die to Decapitate on the first attack as it was probably not worth the needed resources to keep him alive. Leveticus fails to kill Ryle. Joss hurts a Ronin; the Librarian finishes Ryle off. The Guardian Protects Joss. Hoffman Loops Langston Machine Puppets Joss to kill the Ronin (scoring a point for Hunting Party) and picks up a nearby head. The Ronin on the left is too far away from Ryle’s head to get it. Taelor smashes the Guardian for my Hunting Party. David scores Headhunter.

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Turn 3: Langston bounces off Taelor; I was sympathetic for the big guy considering the effect that Leveticus had been making on the games so far. The Trapper drops the Mobile Toolkit to lock in the rest of my Hunting Party points and pushes to engage Hoffman. Hoffman Power Loops Joss, Slows him, Machine Puppets Joss a couple of times to kill the Trapper (scoring for Hunting Party) and picks up a head. My Effigy picks up Ryle’s head. Leveticus zaps a few wounds out of Joss, who runs for it. The Librarian and Taelor gang up to kill Langston. I get my Hunting Party point and we both score on the strategy.

Turn 4: Taelor kills Hoffman. Joss picks up a head and engages Leveticus, who hurts him but is careful not to give him Reactivate. The Effigy picks up another head. Leveticus reappears in David’s deployment zone as this is the last turn. Outcasts win 8 – 7 (2 for Headhunter, 3 for Hunting Party, 3 for Undercover Entourage for me; 3 for Headhunter, 2 for Hunting Party, 2 for Undercover Entourage for David).

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David a lovely chap to play against and it is great to see him out at events again. The score was close here, but I think that I could have made a bigger differential if we’d made it to turn 5 as Joss wasn’t going to get to the end of another turn on two wounds left without Soulstones and facing down Taelor and Leveticus. I was a bit too cautious with the Ronin on the left at the start (I was afraid of getting her gunned down by Ryle) but in retrospect I should have been more aggressive; if she got killed I could have picked up her head and if not she’d have been in a better position the pick up his head and score for Headhunter on turn 2.

Game 3: Outcasts (me) vs Resurrectionists (Andrew)

Strategy: Stake A Claim, normal deployment

Schemes
Pool: Convict Labour, Show Of Force, Catch And Release, Exhaust Their Forces, Mark For Death
Outcasts: Convict Labour, Show Of Force
Resurrectionists: Show Of Force, Mark For Death
Story scheme: Models with one of the scheme conditions push toward a marker in the centre at the end of each turn; at the end the player with the fewest models within 6″ of the marker gets a clue

Crews
Outcasts: Leveticus (Tally Sheet, Desolate Soul), 2 Hollow Waifs, Taelor (Scramble), Freikorps Trapper, Freikorps Librarian, Johan, 2 Ronin, Hodgepodge Effigy
Resurrectionists: Dr Douglas McMourning (Moonlighting, Evidence Tampering, Plastic Surgery), Nurse, Flesh Construct, Zombie Chihuahua, Guild Autopsy, Sebastian (Transfusion, These Are Not Ours), Mortimer (Corpse Bloat, My Favourite Shovel), Rafkin (Transfusion)

I find this board really tricky to play on as it is full of awkward places to move to, mixed with great places to hide if only you can get to them. Facing McMourning I thought that Taelor remained a good option (I kept Scramble as I needed it for Show Of Force; I’m not sure that the extra move was really that helpful and might have been better with something else). With so many places to hide I planned to use my numerous crew to spread out and drop markers for Convict Labour on the way to putting down Claim markers. I hoped to use the Trapper to drop a Claim marker at the start of turn 2 as I didn’t have anything else that was going to be able to make it across the halfway line in time.

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Turn 1: The Autopsy gets us underway by shooting the Trapper and flipping the Red Joker for damage, leaving him clinging to life. Rafkin throws yet more poison on the Flesh Construct, Mortimer drops various corpse markers and Sebastian summons a Canine Remains. The Nurse joins in the poison party on the Flesh Construct. The Trapper drops the Autopsy and the Librarian shoots the Flesh Construct. McMourning curses how awkward this board is to negotiate with pushes, and eventually kills the Trapper with scalpel to the face. Leveticus kills the Flesh Construct and summons an Abomination which moves in to annoy Rafkin and Mortimer.

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Turn 2: Rafkin kills the Abomination. Leveticus kills the Canine Remains to summon another Abomination and puts a good number of wounds on Mortimer. The latter throws some poison onto Taelor and McMourning, finding himself stuck in an awkward corner, fails to Rancid Transplant Taelor. The Librarian kills Sebastian as Andrew forgot about Soulstoning damage. Johan kills the Nurse, and Taelor nearly kills Mortimer and pushes him away from the centre to stop him from scoring Show Of Force. The Abomination dies to poison and turns into a Canine Remains which is immediately charged and killed by Taelor with Welcome to Malifaux. I score for Show of Force and Convict Labour.

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Turn 3: McMourning and Rafkin try to kill Taelor. Leveticus kills the Chihuahua and Mortimer, summoning Abominations from both. The Effigy puts down a Claim marker. Taelor and Johan kill McMourning and the Librarian kills Mortimer. Taelor eventually dies to Poison. I score for Stake A Claim and Convict Labour.

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Turn 4: Johan charges Rafkin who hits back before Leveticus finishes the last Resurrectionist off. Outcasts win 7 – 0 (3 for Stake A Claim, 3 for Convict Labour and 1 for Show Of Force; nothing for Andrew).

That game was a lot of fun as we both tried to negotiate the challenges of the board, but Andrew was got his crew tangled up with each other and let me pick them off without reprisal; notably I was able to kill the Flesh Construct and Nurse for no risk. On my side, it all went pretty much to plan although I think that perhaps I should have taken a one-point upgrade on each of Johan and Taelor instead of Scramble on the latter to make Show Of Force a bit more realistic.

So once all the scores were in, the clues were read and various baffled players took their guesses at the story mystery, I managed to get one of them and come in second in the story game. I was probably somewhere around 4th or 5th in gaming terms. Connor put on a great event and I had a lovely time; the sheer amount of preparation work he had put in really paid off. So thanks to Connor for his great organisation, and thanks to Maria, David and Andrew for three fun games of Malifaux.

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

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

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

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

Strategy: Reconnoitre, flank deployment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strategy: Extraction, normal deployment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strategy: Collect The Bounty, close deployment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strategy: Reckoning, corner deployment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strategy: Interference

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strategy: Squatter’s Rights

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strategy: Headhunter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strategy: Turf War

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strategy: Stake a Claim

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strategy: Extraction

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strategy: Head Hunter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strategy: Collect the Bounty

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strategy: Extraction

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strategy: Reckoning

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strategy: Stake a Claim

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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

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