Posts Tagged With: Ten Thunders

Malifaux tournament report: Scottish GT 2017 (50SS); 22-23Jul2017

Javier kindly gave me a lift to the two-day Malifaux extravaganza that is the Scottish GT, held at the magnificent Common Ground Games in Stirling. Every year I think that this event can’t get any better but then organiser Kai keeps on proving me wrong. This time we were all served a treat in the form of a six-round event with a mighty 58 players; this must put it as one of the largest [non-UK GT] Malifaux events ever run.

Game 1: Neverborn (me) vs Arcanists (James Doxey)

Strategy: Turf War, standard deployment

Schemes
Pool: Claim Jump, Frame for Murder, Leave Your Mark, Set Up, Search the Ruins
Neverborn: Frame for Murder (Hungering Darkness), Leave Your Mark
Arcanists: Leave Your Mark, Set Up (Hungering Darkness)

Crews
Neverborn: Jakob Lynch (Endless Hunger), Hungering Darkness, 2 Waldgeists, Spawn Mother (Hexed Among You), Bad Juju (Eternal Fiend), McTavish, Will O’ The Wisp
Arcanists: Rasputina (Cold Nights, Arcane Reservoir, Armour of December), Snow Storm (Imbued Energies), Ice Gamin, Arcane Effigy, Malifaux Raptor, Performer, Mannequin, Carlos Vasquez (Practiced Production, Stunt Double)

I had been hoping to have a reasonably straightforward first round match-up, so a pairing against the highly skilled and experienced Mr Doxey was not on the list! Still, James is a great person to play at Malifaux and certainly knows his way round a tournament. Probably he felt the same about me. I’d been discussing planned crews on the way over with Javier and had intended to run Pandora for this game but I had an inkling that James might predict that and so went with Jakob Lynch instead. I’ve used this Swampfiend crew in a few previous events and found it excellent at holding strategies. In addition, having Frame For Murder in the scheme pool allows me to select (or bluff) that it is on either Lynch or Hungering Darkness in order to offer up the horrible choice of killing something that will unbury Bad Juju or giving me VPs. After some consideration of Search The Ruins (because I’d be in the right place anyway) I selected Leave Your Mark with the idea of sending a summoned Gupps base off to score it and Frame For Murder on Hungering Darkness.

Turn 1: The Spawn Mother and Wisp combine to summon Gupps on my side of the board while on the other side the Ice Gamin puts up Bite of Winter and Snow Storm pulls Rasputina forward. The new Gupps rush over to engage her and make life as awkward as possible while the Waldgeists also move up and Germinate to cover as much as possible and reduce the options for Ice Mirrors. Lynch drops a scheme marker for McTavish to eat but he ends up Black Jokering a long-range shot on the Ice Gamin. Rasputina Paralyses my Gupps and Hungering Darkness makes Snow Storm smack the Ice Gamin. The Malifaux Raptor unburies in my right corner.

Turn 2: Rasputina somehow fails to Paralyses the Waldgeist and Hungering Darkness due to terrible cards on James’ part. I throw Hungering Darkness at her to keep the pressure on and engage a big chunk of the crew. The Ice Gamin puts up Bite of Winter again before the left Waldgeist kills it. Carlos pokes the Gupps rather uselessly before getting charged equally ineffectually by the Spawn Mother. The Wisp hatches another egg and Snow Storm kills the first Gupps as James cleverly boxed it in to avoid Bad Juju having space to unbury. McTavish guns down Rasputina and the Performer and Mannequin combine to lay more scheme markers next to Hungering Darkness. We both score for the strategy and James gets one for Leave Your Mark and three for Set Up.

Turn 3: Hungering Darkness and Carlos trade blows, then most of my crew spend their activations trying to kill him before McTavish finally puts the dancer down. The Performer and Mannequin both helpfully fail Horror checks against Hungering Darkness. The Gupps head off to start putting down scheme markers but the Arcanists haven’t put enough out to stop the one next to the Raptor being taken away again. We both score for Turf War again and I score Leave Your Mark.

Turn 4: James theorises out that he won’t score any more points as I can certainly kill the Performer and the Effigy, and he won’t concede anything for Frame For Murder as he’d be purely defensive. Neverborn win 7 – 6 (4 for Turf War and 3 for Leave Your Mark for me; 2 for Turf War, 3 for Set Up and 1 for Leave Your Mark for James). And we get a nice long lunch break.

That was a really tricky game and I was glad to be able to squeak through with a narrow win against an opponent of James’ calibre. He played a really great game of managing who he killed to avoid letting Bad Juju come into play, but having to work around that threat meant that he ended up running out of models to score the strategy. He could have probably got a draw if he had remembered to put down a scheme marker with the Performer instead of trying to Siren Call Hungering Darkness in turn 3.

Game 2: Neverborn (me) vs Resurrectionists (David Wigley)

Strategy: Headhunter, flank deployment

Schemes
Pool: Claim Jump, Eliminate The Leadership, Accusation, Leave Your Mark, Last Stand
Neverborn: Claim Jump, Eliminate The Leadership
Resurrectionists: Eliminate The Leadership, Accusation

Crews
Neverborn: Pandora (Fears Given Form, The Box Opens), Beckoner, 2 Illuminated, Black Blood Shaman, Barbaros (One Thousand Faces), 2 Terror Tots
Resurrectionists: Reva (Spare Parts, Litany Of The Fallen, Decaying Aura), Anna Lovelace (Corpse Bloat, My Little Helper), Carrion Emissary (My Little Helper), Chiaki The Niece, 2 Rotten Belles, Nurse

I was thinking about taking Collodi here and using Pull The Strings to pick up Head markers, but decided instead to use Pandora. The basic plan was to throw her and Barbaros into the middle of the Resurrectionist crew, drain their resources while generally being a pain to deal with. Then use the Beckoner to pull in one miniature a turn and kill it with Illuminated and the Black Blood Shaman. When I saw David’s crew I realised that he had more or less the same plan with the Luring, except that he had two Rotten Belles to my one Beckoner (in retrospect, this was so obviously a likely strategy for David that I don’t know how it didn’t occur to me that it might happen) so I opted for plan B, which is to rush him. I took Eliminate The Leadership because it was something that I would have to do anyway and then Claim Jump thinking that I could maybe send the Tots out to score it as the opportunities arose. Now that I think about it, Leave Your Mark might have been a better choice as I’d only have needed one scheme marker. Anna was going to be a problem for Pandora.

Turn 1: Anna uses My Little Helper then pulls two corpse markers out of herself. The Nurse does Take Your Meds to heal her and then Chiaki removes the Paralyse. The Shaman stabs both Illuminated to give them Black Blood. The Carrion Emissary flies over a wall to drop Shards and the retreats; the Shards weren’t anywhere useful so I assume that David wanted the Mindless Zombie out for some reason. Barbaros picks up Fears Given Form. The Belles Lure the Beckoner in (the irony…) and Reva pokes her once then summons a Guild Autopsy. Pandora pushes herself round and into the most annoying position I can find, engaging half of David’s crew.

Turn 2: The Emissary uses My Little Helper. The Beckoner Lures the Guild Autopsy forward and tags a Belle with Brilliance; it then Accuses Pandora. Barbaros kills the Autopsy and the Nurse Paralyses Pandora. Reva kills the Beckoner and hurts Barbaros; I activate Pandora to get her engagement range back. The Emissary drops more shards in seemingly inconsequential positions and the further back of my Illuminated picks up a head. The other one smacks the Brilliant Belle but can’t finish her off so the Shaman uses Pustule to deal the final wounds. Anna fails her horror check against Pandora which is quite a let off for me. The Tots put down scheme markers and the Corpse Candle gives Reva Disguised. I score Headhunter and Claim Jump; David scores Accusation.

Turn 3: Pandora hurts Anna and then the Incited Mindless Zombie explodes thanks to Fears Given Form. Barbaros puts up Challenge and stabs Anna a couple of times. The Shaman Pustules Barbaros to heal him fully and get Anna to her last wound. She pushes Barbaros back and pokes Pandora. Reva Accuses the nearby Illuminated and misses an attack on Pandora; the Illuminated start hitting her back. Chiaki pushes my stuff around and hurts the Terror Tot. Neither of us pick up a head but David scores for Accusation again.

Turn 4: The Nurse stops Pandora from taking anything other than Ml actions and prevents one of the Illuminated from attacking at all. Barbaros stabs Reva who finishes off the nearby Tot. The Shaman uses Pustule to make the Illuminated bleed all over Reva, killing her and getting me the remaining points for Eliminate The Leadership. Anna finally falls to the endless Fears Given Form checks. One Illuminated picks up her head and the Belle Lures in the other one to stop me getting away for Claim Jump. Over in the other corner the Tot is also denied Claim Jump by a clever play using the Emissary to drop Shards close enough for the Mindless Zombie to stop me scoring. We run out of time for another round. Neverborn win 6 – 3 (2 for Headhunter, 1 for Claim Jump and 3 for Eliminate The Leadership for me; 3 for Accusation for David).

That was a really nice game, and I was very happy to get a game against a player I’d never met before. This was actually my first game against Reva and David had me sweating a few times about her damage output and threat range, which are certainly very scary. I felt that he didn’t really make the most of the Carrion Emissary as there was a tight choke point that I was really expecting him to keep blocked with Shards and hamper my opportunities to get to his crew. Pandora worked even better than I’d hoped as she held up the Resurrectionist crew very effectively but also turned out to be much more survivable than I had any right to expect. The all-star here was the Black Blood Shaman who dealt a ridiculous number of wounds out with his Pustules and also brought back Barbaros from the brink of death.

Game 3: Neverborn (me) vs Gremlins (Conor McNama)

Strategy: Interference, close deployment

Schemes
Pool: Claim Jump, Frame for Murder, Dig Their Graves, Mark for Death, Inspection
Neverborn: Frame for Murder (Nekima), Inspection
Gremlins: Claim Jump, Frame for Murder (Francois LaCroix)

Crews
Neverborn: Dreamer (Dreams of Pain, Otherworldly), 2 Daydreams, Nekima (One Thousand Faces), Barbaros (One Thousand Faces), 3 Terror Tots
Gremlins: Wong (Ooh Glowy), Iron Skeeter, Francois LaCroix (Do Over, Dirty Cheater), Old Cranky, 2 Stuffed Piglets, 2 Bayou Gremlins, Swine Cursed, Gracie (Saddle)

The final game of day one was against the mighty Conor. I was almost certain what crew he’d use here but even after a couple of games against Joe I couldn’t think of any foolproof way to stop it with counter-picking so just went with my original plan to use the Dreamer. After all, what better way to use my first summoning master than in Interference after all? I put Frame For Murder on Nekima in the hope that she’d be enough of a threat that Conor would feel obliged to deal with her. Inspection was chosen as I thought that I could either summon Insidious Madnesses to stand in the right spots or otherwise use the Tots accordingly. Francois is Glowy.

[Edit] It is probably worth mentioning here that when Conor and I came over to this table it was clear that we were both thinking the same thing: where is all the terrain? The forests in the below photos were absent and the rocks were pushed out to the edges. Rather than spar across a bowling green we called over TO Kai to ask if more could be added. The board is still a touch sparse (probably due to having to spread the store terrain across about 30 tables) but we agreed it was playable. If you’re at an event and there is clearly not enough terrain on the board then I suggest to speak with the other player and TO to see if anything can be done to resolve it. Playing on an empty board is dull even if you’re playing a full Shen Long gunline, never mind if you have to face such a monstrosity.

Turn 1: The Iron Skeeter makes Francois Fast and drops him right in front of the Dreamer. He chain activates, goes Reckless and charges into the Dreamer. The first two attacks are pawned off onto the Daydreams (killing them of course) and my master barely survives the second two, only by luck of cards getting me through. I nearly lost my master before I even managed to activate a single model! The Dreamer summons an Insidious Madness and two Daydreams which are all I have the cards for after that mauling. Nekima hurts Francois who squeals away before I surround him with Daydreams. I have no doubt that Francois has Frame For Murder on him but I can’t take another round of attacks like that. The Insidious Madness moves up to get engage Gracie and limit the movement options on that side; the Swine Cursed attacks it and gets the trigger to charge into a Tot. The other Tot kills off the Stuffed Piglet on the right.

Turn 2: The Dreamer summons Lilitu and a Daydream to turn into Lord Chompy Bits. Francois goes Reckless, strolls away from the Daydream and starts shooting into Lord Chompy Bits but is denied by the Black Joker on a crucial damage flip. I activate the big guy and he eats the Swine Cursed, then Wong kills Lord Chompy Bits and splashes a blast over Lilitu (bad positioning on my part there. Nekima kills the Iron Skeeter and moves to claim a quarter while Barbaros pushes Old Cranky around a bit. Bayou Gremlins eventually hit the Dreamer enough that I can’t keep the little boy alive any more. I score for Inspection and Interference.

Turn 3: Francois walks up to the bottom of the cliff where Nekima is standing and shoots her so that he dies to Black Blood, giving Conor 3 VP for Frame For Murder. Nekima kills a Bayou Gremlin and Old Cranky. Wong finally kills the Insidious Madness (it lasted much longer than I expected) and moves toward the surviving Tot on the right. The Piglet Bacon Bombs and get the right suit to do 4 damage and kill the Tot on the left, denying me Inspection. Gracie puts down a scheme marker and I move Daydreams into the most annoying places I can find. I score for Interference again.

Turn 4: Barbaros kills the second Bayou Gremlin. Gracie Reactivates and eats the Daydream. Wong fails to kill another one thanks to Barbaros, and Nekima is used as a glorified scheme runner to move for Inspection. I’ve given up any hope of Frame For Murder by this point. I score the strategy and Inspection.

Turn 5: Barbaros gently pokes Gracie. She moves to Saddle Wong free and he kills the another Daydream and the Tot, which finally opens up Conor’s scheme markers. Conor scores for Claim Jump. Neverborn win 5 – 4 (3 for Interference and 2 for Inspection for me; 3 for Frame For Murder and 1 for Claim Jump for Conor).

What a game! Conor is a really nice chap to play, but that crew he uses is absolute murder to face. I had to think about every single activation and play the best game I possibly could and I still only held on because of good cards for me and bad cards for Conor. I probably should have put Frame For Murder on the Dreamer as I knew that Conor was going to go for him, but it didn’t occur to me at the time. Considering how open the board was I’m not even sure I could have kept Dreamer safe by starting him right at the back as Francois could just as easily have shot him to death.

Luckily for my frazzled nerves that was the end of day one and we (almost) all decamped to the pub for beer and dinner. It’s great to get to chat with other enthusiasts from different areas about their experience of the game, to trade tales of what happened in day one and to speculate about how the pairing for the next morning would play out.

Game 4: Neverborn (me) vs Resurrectionists (Mark Elwood)

Strategy: Extraction, corner deployment

Schemes
Pool: Claim Jump, Dig Their Graves, Accusation, Covert Breakthrough, Show of Force
Neverborn: Claim Jump, Dig Their Graves
Resurrectionists: Claim Jump, Dig Their Graves

Crews
Neverborn: Jakob Lynch (Endless Hunger), Hungering Darkness, 2 Waldgeists, Spawn Mother (Hexed Among You), Bad Juju (Eternal Fiend), McTavish, Will O’ The Wisp
Resurrectionists: Amelia Bathory [Nicodem] (Love Thy Master, Maniacal Laugh, Undertaker), Mortimer (My Little Helper, Corpse Bloat), Philip and The Nanny (My Little Helper, Haunting Cries), Archie (Corpse Armour, Hulking Leap), Necropunk, Malifaux Child

Right from the start I was planning to use the same Lynch crew as I had done for game one here as it plays Extraction so well. In particular, Hexed Among You is extra useful for the slow Swampfiends with corner deployment. Interesting, Mark told me that he would predict my crew so he wrote it down while we were choosing. He didn’t even get one choice correct; so there is probably some value in trying out something that your opponent doesn’t expect. I was planning to send summoned Gupps down the long centreline for Claim Jump and if Mark didn’t contest the centre quickly enough then I would lay down a load of marker there to either score Claim Jump or Dig Their Graves. I was expecting Mark to start out quite far back and flood the area with summons, so my plan was to pin his crew as far back as possible for as long as possible.

Turn 1: The Spawn Mother and Wisp work together again to summon Gupps and Mortimer uses My Little Helper to pull two corpse markers out of himself so that the summoning engine can get going in earnest. The Necropunk puts down two scheme markers and Philip eats them for cards, then the Child makes Archie Fast. Lynch moves up cautiously and puts down a scheme marker for McTavish but in the end I send McTavish round the long way to give the benefit of cover against Lures and so on. Bathory uses Arise to bring up Mindless Zombies then summons two Hanged and a Rotten Belle off them. The Waldgeists advance and Germinate; one of them goes forward as bait. The Hanged hurts it and then Archie comes over and kills it, pushing it back at the same time. Bad Juju falls out and is in range to charge the Belle, but I’m not even interested in the Belle, I just want to get into the most irritating position possible.

Turn 2: Bad Juju walks into the middle, shrugging off the various horror duels, and kills Mortimer. The surviving Waldgeist, the Gupps and Necropunk all put down scheme markers, but the Necropunk’s are eaten by Philip again. The Child again makes Archie Fast while McTavish polishes off the Belle. Bathory casts Arise again and summons a pair of Necropunks. The Hanged start whittling down Bad Juju’s wounds so I throw Hungering Darkness in to keep Mark busy. Archie buries Bad Juju but fails his horror check against Hungering Darkness. The new Necropunks move to position for Extraction so we both score it and I get Claim Jump too. I move the Extraction marker back.

Turn 3: Archie doesn’t make any mistake the second time to kill Hungering Darkness. The Gupps keep putting down scheme markers and McTavish kills one of the Hanged. The Spawn Mother top decks the needed card to lay another egg by pure luck, but I don’t feel so bad after Bathory does the same for a Doxy. She also summons another Hanged, so my respite didn’t last long on that front. The Necropunks move off to start scoring for Claim Jump and I throw both the Wisp and new Gupps forward. The Hanged hurts the Wisp so Lynch Plays For Blood to bring Bad Juju back out. The Mire Golem kills a nearby Necropunk that was in scoring position. The Doxy pushes Archie into scoring range and the other Hanged has to move to score too instead of doing horrible stuff to my crew. We both score for the strategy and Claim Jump, and I move the Extraction marker even further away from Bathory and her summons.

Turn 4: Archie kills Bad Juju again. Lynch moves up, puts down a scheme marker and kills the Hanged for Dig Their Graves. The Gupps and Necropunks both continue putting down scheme markers and time is called. We both get another point each for Extraction and Claim Jump. Neverborn win 7 – 5 (3 for Extraction, 3 for Claim Jump and 1 for Dig Their Graves for me; 3 for Extraction and 2 for Claim Jump for Mark).

That was another very tight game and I felt very glad to have been able to hold on for the win. I think that Mark made a mistake by having his hired Necropunk put down scheme markers for Philip to eat instead of going right out for Claim Jump. It was an interesting game pulling back away from the summons with the Extraction marker and I would have liked to see what might have happened if we had time to go for the full game. As always, Mark was a gentleman to play against.

Game 5: Neverborn (me) vs Ten Thunders (Joe Jackson)

Strategy: Stake a Claim, close deployment

Schemes
Pool: Claim Jump, Frame for Murder, Leave your Mark, Tail ‘Em, A Quick Murder
Neverborn: Frame for Murder (Nekima), A Quick Murder
Ten Thunders: Frame for Murder (Yasunori), A Quick Murder

Crews
Neverborn: Collodi (Strum The Threads, Fated), Brutal Effigy, Barbaros (One Thousand Faces), Nekima (One Thousand Faces), 3 Terror Tots, Black Blood Shaman
Ten Thunders: Misaki (Stalking Bisento, Misdirection, Servant Of Five Dragons), Shang, Ohaguro Bettari (Peaceful Waters), Monk Of Low River, Shadow Emissary (Conflux Of Thunder), Yasunori (Smoke Grenades), Wandering River Monk

I picked Collodi here with the idea that I might be able to either slow Joe’s crew to stop them putting down Claim markers, or move my own crew around to get good positioning to do it myself. In all honesty I wasn’t really sure how to approach this game; historically I’ve always found Stake a Claim to be really hard. I know that Silurids are meant to be the Neverborn answer to the strategy but I’ve almost never used them (indeed, I’d only assembled mine in the week leading up to the event) and felt that this was not the time to start. So in the end I went with a crew that was familiar to me even if it wasn’t ideal for the job. With both A Quick Murder and Frame For Murder in the pool I took both thinking that at least that would allow me to concentrate on the strategy with most of my crew.

Turn 1: We both jockey for position a little with our cheap stuff. The Emissary makes Yasunori Fast and kills a Tot. Barbaros charges Shang and gets killed by Yasunori for his trouble. This was a really bad move from me here; I should have kept him central so that I could at least bait Joe’s killers into range of my own. Collodi uses the My Bidding trigger twice on Nekima to move her forward. Misaki hurts the Shaman who Collodi has made its Personal Puppet, receiving Black Blood in return. Nekima kills Yasunori, trading points between Joe’s Frame For Murder and my Quick Murder.

Turn 2: The Tot on the left Stakes a Claim. Misaki shanks Collodi; on the first go he pushes into her and the Shaman heals it and hurts her with Pustule. On the second go I’m forced to sacrifice the Shaman so that Collodi gets away; Misaki then walks to engage the Brutal Effigy and Collodi (presumably to make use of Misdirection). The Emissary kills the Tot on the right. The Effigy walks away from Misaki’s clutches and Collodi pushes free, hurts her a bit then puts down a Claim marker. The Monk of Low River moves to engage Nekima so she hits him with her melee expert and kills him with Blood For Blood. She then charges Misaki and makes short work of her. The Wandering River Monk Leaps and Stakes a Claim and Bettari moves into my side of the board. I score for the strategy.

Turn 3: Bettari puts down a Claim marker before Nekima kills her. The Monk Leaps and Stakes again. Collodi moves the Effigy then moves to the right. I’ve no idea why I did that as it allowed the Shadow Emissary to easily kill my master. What a terrible bit of positioning. We draw on the strategy.

Turn 4: The Emissary moves to make a nuisance of itself and our crews continue to move around and put out Claim markers. We draw for Stake a Claim.

Turn 5: The claiming continues but neither of us can get ahead so it is another draw. Neverborn win 4 – 3 (1 for Stake a Claim and 3 for a Quick Murder for me; 3 for Frame For Murder for Joe).

That was an enjoyable but rather strange game; I don’t think either of us really made an attack at all in the last two turns. My positioning play was generally quite poor, notably giving away Barbaros in turn 1 and Collodi in turn 3 for no gain at all. I think I probably need to play this strategy a few times again as it has been a long time since I’ve seen it in a tournament. I might possibly never have played it at all using Neverborn. Anyway, Joe made the whole experience very enjoyable and I’m really glad to have met him over a game of Malifaux.

Game 6: Neverborn (me) vs Resurrectionists (Josh Leak)

Strategy: Collect the Bounty, flank deployment

Schemes
Pool: Claim Jump, Eliminate the Leadership, Accusation, Undercover Entourage, Recover Evidence
Neverborn: Eliminate the Leadership, Undercover Entourage (Lilith)
Resurrectionists: Eliminate the Leadership, Accusation

Crews
Neverborn: Lilith (Beckon Malifaux), Nekima (One Thousand Faces), Doppelganger, 3 Waldgeists, Lilitu, Cherub
Resurrectionists: Dr Douglas McMourning (Moonlighting, Plastic Surgery, Decaying Aura), Zombie Chihuahua, Archie (Corpse Armour, Hulking Leap), Sebastian (Those Are Not Ours), 3 Rotten Belles, Canine Remains

I decided that my best option here lay with Lilith to control the board position and hopefully limit Josh’s options for attacking my crew. To the same effect, I chose Lilitu and the Doppelganger to give me more Lure options. The Cherub is a cheap activation with a possibility to cause Slow, and the Waldgeists bring a bit more control and are hard to remove due to their armour. When I saw Josh’s crew though, I realised that I would be in for a lot of trouble. With 3 Belles he could ‘out-Lure’ me easily, and McMourning would have no difficulty ignoring armour. I thought that if I could pressure McMourning a bit I could possibly force Josh to commit him which might allow me to score for Eliminate The Leadership, and after some consideration I chose Undercover Entourage on Lilith and intended to keep her on the fringes of the fight.

Turn 1: The Canine Remains flips the Black Joker trying to Dig Up A Bone. The Chihuahua puts some Poison onto McMourning and the Belles start Luring a Waldgeist toward them. Lilith Tangles Shadows to put Nekima there instead and creates a Forest in Sebastian’s way. Archie bounces off Nekima to my great surprise, and I decide to go for all out aggression as I’m not going to win a positioning game here. Nekima moves in and smites the unactivated Belle, Paralysing the other two. Sebastian summons a Canine Remains from the corpse of the Belle and Lilitu Lures him to me. McMourning makes short work of Nekima and turns her into a Flesh Construct. Somewhere after this I needlessly cheat away my last card which gives the Flesh Construct Reactivate and it has the range to charge Lilith, hurting her and giving Poison. Josh declares Eliminate The Leadership.

Turn 2: McMourning Expunges Lilith into another Flesh Construct, scoring the rest of the points for Eliminate The Leadership and (though Josh didn’t know it at the time) preventing me from getting Undercover Entourage. Two Waldgeists gang up to kill Sebastian and a Flesh Construct Accuses the Doppelganger. Archie drops one of the Waldgeists and the Cherub fails a horror duel against the big chap. The Doppelganger removes Accused thanks to Don’t Mind Me. Josh scores Collect The Bounty.

Turn 3: The Cherub Slows both McMourning and Archie, and pushes them back. The Canine Remains Accuses a Waldgeist. I have pretty much run out of options here, so Lilitu flails uselessly against a nearby Flesh Construct which kills the Doppelganger. A Waldgeist with Poison on it explodes on activation due to the presence of McMourning, who hurts the Cherub and pushes Archie back into the fray. Archie, even with Slow, has no trouble dealing with Lilitu. Josh scores on Accusation and the strategy.

Turn 4: The Waldgeist pokes the Canine Remains (just activated it first to stop Accusation) and then McMourning kills it and the Cherub. Neverborn lose 0 – 8 (nothing for me; 4 for Collect The Bounty, 3 for Eliminate The Leadership and 1 for Accusation for Josh).

That was a much more one-sided game than I’d hoped for, and I’m sorry to Josh for not giving him a rougher ride. Nonetheless I very much enjoyed it, and Josh is a very pleasant chap to play against. Looking back at the game, I think that Josh had done a very good job constructing his crew and that I was going to be on the back foot right from the start. And of course he played it without mistakes while capitalising on those that I made, so he well deserved his win. The majority of my errors were in turn one, probably because after that I didn’t have enough crew left for any mistakes to matter. The biggest one was giving the Flesh Construct Reactivate; I can’t remember now why I used my last card, but it was nothing that was critical and I really paid for it by getting the Flesh Construct in Lilith’s face. Once Archie had bounced off Nekima, I probably should then have Lured her back to safety and forced Josh to expose McMourning if he wanted to go after her. It isn’t evident from the report (because I don’t take detailed notes on card usage), but I squandered some good cards attacking the Belle too; I probably would have been better saving them for defense. [Edit: in case you would like to know how this all felt for Josh, listen to this episode of the excellent Arcane Reservoir podcast.]

[Edit: For further reading about the event, you could also check the Loyalty To The Coin blog or this other episode of Arcane Reservoir.]

One thing that I particularly enjoyed about this game was that even though we were both trying our best to win (and hence win the whole event) there were smiles and jokes throughout. If you’re reading this and have only heard about how tournaments are full of cut-throat, win-at-all costs-players and that the top tables are Serious Business only, then I can say that this is not my experience at all in the UK Malifaux scene. Fun is the primary goal for most players; winning is just an added bonus.

So once all the scores come in I get 4th place and I’m really pleased with how I played all weekend. I had a wonderful time against some really tough players; 4 of my opponents finished in the top 10 I also got 6 delicious bottles of purple-labelled beer for being best Neverborn player, and I’m very much looking forward to drinking those. Thanks to James, David, Conor, Mark, Joe and Josh for 6 terrific games of Malifaux, and to Kai and his team for another wonderfully organised event. One day I’m going to win this thing!

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

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

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

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

Strategy: Guard The Stash, standard deployment, 40SS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strategy: Interference, close deployment, 45SS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strategy: Collect The Bounty, flank deployment, 50SS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strategy: Interference, standard deployment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strategy: Squatter’s Rights, corner deployment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strategy: Head Hunter, standard deployment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Malifaux tournament report: 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: OctFAUXber (50SS); 22Oct2016

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

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

Strategy: Collect The Bounty, standard deployment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strategy: Interference, flank deployment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strategy: Stake A Claim, corner deployment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strategy: Interference, normal deployment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strategy: Collect The Bounty, close deployment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strategy: Headhunter, flank deployment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strategy: Stake A Claim

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strategy: Head Hunter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strategy: Squatter’s Rights

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strategy: Interference

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strategy: Turf War

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strategy: Reckoning

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strategy: Collect The Bounty

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Malifaux tournament report: Middlefaux (50SS); 19Sep2015

Joe, Furycat and I drove down to Middlesbrough for the Middlefaux Malifaux tournament. We were part of a group of 8 travellers from the Scotland gaming scene which is probably the most people we’ve ever managed to drag to an event outside Scotland itself. After the usual nonsense to get us started (i.e. Joe picking me up half an hour later than planned) we arrived in time to chat with old and new friends and look around the rather nice venue.

Game 1: Guild (me) vs Ten Thunders (Stephen)

Strategy: Head Hunter

Schemes
Pool: Line in the Sand, Power Ritual, Assassinate, Plant Evidence, Protect Territory
Guild: Plant Evidence (announced), Power Ritual (announced)
Ten Thunders: Power Ritual (announced), Assassinate

Crews
Guild: Sonnia Criid (Reincarnation), Papa Loco (Hermanos De Armas), 2 Hunters, Brutal Effigy, Death Marshal, Austringer, Watcher, 2 Guild Hounds
Ten Thunders: Lucas McCabe (Glowing Sabre, Badge of Speed), Toshiro the Daimyo (Blot The Sky, Command The Graves), 2 Thunder Archers, 2 Punk Zombies, Pathfinder

I had been intending to try Sonnia out making more use of Flame Walls to protect myself from retaliation but with this board I figured that just getting line of sight to anything would be enough of a problem and shelved the idea. The Austringer is great for Head Hunter because of the push and interact from Deliver Orders. I had some kind of vague plan about sending the Hounds for one corner and the Watcher to the other and hoping that one of them would make it to score for Power Ritual. Plant Evidence was picked over Protect Territory on the grounds that in corner deployment I’d have to move about as far to put down the markers, but Plant Evidence didn’t require my pieces to stay there until the end of the game.

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Turn 1: McCabe reactivates one Punk Zombie and passes the Sabre to the other then races forward, presumably to get into the Thick Of It. My Hunter plinks the Pathfinder for Slow to stop it from getting any funny ideas about shooting my clumped up pieces early on. Papa Loco tells Sonnia to Hold This and pulls her through one of the only open channels on the board; a Death Marshal follows him and tuck him into his Pine Box. Sonnia then saunters into the edge of the wood so that she can see McCabe and knocks him off his horse with a timely cheated Red Joker. The rest of the crews slog into engagement range.

Turn 2: Sonnia finishes off McCabe, the Pathfinder and the nearby Punk Zombie. She summons a Stalker from the latter simply because I find it amusing to use Reincarnation even when it’s not especially useful. Toshiro War Fans one of the Archer then summons an Ashigaru from the remains of the Pathfinder. The Hunter nearby kills it off. The Fast Archer knocks the Effigy down to Hard To Kill and hands out Slow. The Watcher and Hounds, having made it to their corners, start dropping scheme markers and finally the Austringer makes the Effigy pick up the head of the Pathfinder. I score Head Hunter.

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Turn 3: The lead Archer fails to drop the Death Marshal then the Effigy collects the Ashigaru’s head (not sure what it was using since I already picked up the one from the Pathfinder earlier). Sonnia immolates both Archers and hurts Toshiro with the blast damage. The Hunter and Stalker gang up to finish the second Punk Zombie. Toshiro summons another Ashigaru and my Hounds kill it again. I score for the Strategy.

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Turn 4: Toshiro summons an Ashigaru, then Sonnia turns both of them into expanding clouds of ash. Guild win 10 – 1 (full score for me; 1 point for Power Ritual for Stephen).

That was a fun game and Stephen was a very nice person to play with, but by his own admission is quite new to the game. I hope I explained what I was doing clearly and gave some advice to help him out. From my side, everything went swimmingly so there isn’t much more to say.

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

Strategy: Turf War

Schemes
Pool: Line in the Sand, Entourage, Spring The Trap, Breakthrough, Assassinate
Guild: Line in the Sand (announced), Breakthrough (announced)
Resurrectionists: Breakthrough (announced), Assassinate

Crews
Guild: Sonnia Criid (Reincarnation, Counterspell Aura, Cherufe’s Imprint), Malifaux Child, Papa Loco (Hermanos De Armas), 2 Hunters, Brutal Effigy, Death Marshal, Austringer, Watcher
Resurrectionists: Molly Squidpiddge (Forgotten Life, Tear of the Gorgon), Madame Sybelle (Not Too Banged Up), Killjoy (Decaying Aura), Yin the Penangalan, 2 Rotten Belles

This was my time to try out the more defensive oriented Sonnia I’ve been thinking of. I’m normally very agressive with Sonnia and it often ends up with me losing her to a counterpunch because I spend all my resources attacking and not defending. The idea was to use the Flame Walls for stopping retaliation by putting them close to Sonnia to block line of sight rather than using them primarily for choke points. I took Counterspell Aura to keep Belles at bay.

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Turn 1: Sybelle moves forward and uses Call Belle to bring Molly to the very middle of the board. I think my suspicions were aroused here, but I didn’t do anything, partly because I don’t think that I could actually affect what I was expecting to happen (i.e. Killjoy to appear and maul me) and mainly because I forgot that Molly has Accomplice. Molly did indeed walk twice, summon a Necrotic Machine which died immediately to bring out Killjoy then use Whispers of Future Flesh to move the big lunk even further forward. Killjoy then chain activates and eats Sonnia (scoring Assassinate in the process) as not only is she pitifully easy to kill in melee but I couldn’t even prevent damage thanks to the Decaying Aura. Well, so much for that plan! A Belle Lures Molly back to relative safety. The other Belle Lures my Watcher up to Sybelle and the Austringer Delivers Orders to get it out of melee with her and drop a scheme marker. The Death Marshal puts Killjoy in his Pine Box.

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Turn 2: The Hunter on the left drops a scheme marker and Slows Yin. Molly summons a pair of Punk Zombies in the general area of Papa Loco, the puts the old man on negative flips. So he does the only thing his can do, which is blow up. All this achieves is knocking the Punk Zombies back to Hard To Kill; the Austringer kills both after one of them cuts the Death Marshal a little. Sybelle hurts my Watcher while my pieces run around trying to drop scheme markers all over the place. Meanwhile, the Belles Lure my Effigy back and forth but fail to do much to it. We both score for Turf War.

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Turn 3: Molly gives the Death Marshal the Terrible Truth, then kills him anyway. Both Belles charge the Effigy, who admittedly has led something of a charmed life up to this point, and eventually kill it off. The Austringer uses Distract a couple of times (I must remember to make more use of that trigger) to drain Martin’s hand, then improbably survives a charge from Killjoy. Both my Hunters drop scheme markers but Yin removes one on the left. Martin score for the strategy.

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Turn 4: Molly summons a Student of Steel near the Hunter and makes it mauls my robot close to scrap. One of the Belles finishes off the Austringer and my Watcher somehow escapes Sybelle’s attentions to continue showering scheme markers across the back of the board. My Child, who had rather rashly gone into melee with a Belle earlier on (I’m not sure what I had been thinking there, other than that it wouldn’t be able to help me much) fails to disengage; I had been hoping to drag Killjoy away from my deployment zone to stop him from dropping markers for Breakthrough (which he duly does). The Hunter knocks off the Student and drops another scheme marker; the Hunter on the left continues its ridiculous dance with Yin. Martin scores for Turf War.

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Turn 5: The Hunter attacks Molly in the hope of drawing some cards from her to slow the summoning. The Watcher, which has somehow survived up to this point, flies back toward the centre. Sybelle beats up the left Hunter but still fails to kill it; the Belle Lures it away so that Yin can remove the last of my scheme markers over there. At this point I have 2 scheme markers left for Line in the Sand. Molly makes a Belle Lure the Hunter engaging her away so that she can walk over and remove one of them. Killjoy, deprived of any charge targets, walks around and drops another marker for Breakthrough. We both score for the strategy. Guild lose 5 – 10 (2 for Turf War and 3 for Breakthrough for me; full score for Martin).

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Wow, that was quite a start to a game. I often lose Sonnia but I don’t think that I’ve ever lost her so early before – that was activation 3 of turn 1. It is such a clever move by Martin and he counterpicked me really well. Oh well, now that I’ve seen the trick I’ll be able to start thinking about how to avoid it happening again. Losing Sonnia, who I’ll admit was my main plan for firepower here, really put me on the back foot and made the game really interesting as I scrambled to pick up whatever points I could manage. Martin is always a lovely opponent and this game was just as enjoyable as previous times I’ve played him. We broke for lunch – a picnic on a tiny piece of grass in an industrial estate – then it was back to the gaming.

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

Strategy: Collect The Bounty

Schemes
Pool: Line in the Sand, Deliver a Message, Vendetta, Protect Territory, Bodyguard
Guild: Protect Territory (announced), Vendetta (Nino on the Acolyte who ended up being on my left)
Arcanists: Protect Territory (announced), Bodyguard (Mechanical Rider)

Crews
Guild: Perdita Ortega (Trick Shooting, Aura Ancestral), Austringer, 2 Hunters, Nino Ortega (Hair Trigger), Francisco Ortega (Wade In), Guardian
Arcanists: Rasputina (Cold Nights, December’s Pawn, Shattered Heart), 2 December Acolytes, 2 Ice Gamin, Malifaux Raptor, Mechanical Rider, Wendigo

I considered Sonnia here as I like her against Arcanists, but I thought that there was too much hard cover around to make her a great option. She’s also better at thinning out minions rather than dealing dealing with a smaller number of hard targets. More importantly, I decided that I wanted to try something that wasn’t Sonnia after the previous game’s demonstration of her vulnerability. Nino was mainly to dissuade Graham from taking Deliver a Message but I like him for opening up on Vendetta too if the right options are there.

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Turn 1: Nino Rapid Fires into one of the Acolytes to get me started on Vendetta. It’s just as well he does, as Rasputina then kills him with a focussed shot followed up by a really good attack on a negative flip. The Austringer plinks at an Ice Gamin. Perdita sees her chance to drop the Mechanical Rider early and takes it. She Relocates to Francisco then walks over, ignores cover with Trick Shooting and twice gets the Witched Bullet trigger on shots to allow me to cheat in severe damage. I had debated letting it go so I could count the bounty for turn 2, but I decided on balance that it was worth losing out potentially on a point for the strategy to get the Rider out of my hair so early while it was still vulnerable.

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Turn 2: Rasputina shoots Francisco for surprsingly little effect. On the right, my Hunter smites the Acolyte with a Red Joker damage flip, then on the left the surviving Acolyte does exactly the same to my other Hunter. The Raptor, which has landed next to the Austringer, rakes away at him for irony, then the Austringer knocks a couple more wounds off a Gamin. Francisco charges and kills the Raptor and Perdita polishes off the nearer Gamin. I score for Collect The Bounty.

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Turn 3: Rasputine fires away at the Guardian but between hard cover and armour she might as well throw snowballs. The Austringer finishes the Acolyte (scoring me the second point for Vendetta in the process) and Francisco kills the second Ice Gamin. The Hunter finally gets a bead on the Wendigo and slows it. Perdita starts shooting at Rasputina. I score for the Strategy.

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Turn 4: Rasputina continues to throw ice ineffectually at the Guardian. The Hunter kills the Wendigo and Perdita finishes things by gunning down Rasputina. Guild win 9 – 0 (4 for Collect The Bounty, 2 for Vendetta and 3 for Protect Territory for me; nothing for Graham).

That was a very funny board for shooting; there was line of sight all over the place but almost all models were in hard cover all the time. Of course, that was why I took pieces that could ignore cover. It was a funny comparison to the last game a played against Graham where there was very little cover at all. I think that Graham might have been expecting Sonnia; certainly I think that the Raptor was for her. Anyway, Graham was a gent throughout and it is a pleasure to be drawn with him.

Game 4: Guild (me) vs Arcanists (James)

Strategy: Reckoning

Schemes
Pool: Line in the Sand, Make Them Suffer, Murder Protegé, Bodyguard, Breakthrough
Guild: Make Them Suffer, Bodyguard (Sidir Alchibal)
Arcanists: Breakthrough (announced), Murder Protegé(announced; The Judge)

Crews
Guild: Lady Justice (Last Stand), Francisco Ortega (Wade In), The Judge (Lead-Lined Coated), Sidir Alchibal (Promises), Austringer, Guardian, Brutal Effigy
Arcanists: Rasputina (Cold Nights, Arcane Reservoir), Snow Storm (Imbued Energies), 2 Ice Gamin, Wendigo, Sabretooth Cerberus, Myranda (Imbued Energies)

I’ve never actually played a single game with Lady Justice before, but I have been looking for an opportunity to play some variation on this list. The idea is to use the Brute Squad and keep them together to benefit from Promises; The Judge can bring the otherwise rather slow Sidir along for the ride with Stand For Judgement. Playing against a strong opponent like James with a master I’ve never used before isn’t really a brilliant idea from the perspective of winning games, but when you’re in the mood for something it’s better to go with it for hobbies. We ended up declaring all the hedges as height 1 dense to make it practical to actually traverse the board. Hence a lot of these photos have my miniatures lying down because we couldn’t get them to stand nicely in the hedge.

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Turn 1: Snow Storm uses Ice Tornado to shuffle the Frozen Heart stuff together; most of the rest of the turn is just James positioning to kill all my guys and not let me into his while I try to close the gaps without letting Rasputina kill my whole crew. Rasputina does eventually get a couple of shots at Lady Justice (who rather pointlessly had used Covering Fire instead of just getting into cover) and then raises some Ice Pillars to keep herself safe.

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Turn 2: I win initiative and decide to throw Lady Justice at Myranda. She’s about the worst target in the crew but it’s better than standing in the middle of a field being shot by Rasputina. Sadly, I don’t get the dose of luck that would have been needed to drop Myranda, so she steps back a little and becomes a Blessed of December. The Guardian applies Protect to Lady Justice and heals her a little. Francisco takes a pot shot at Rasputina to keep her busy. Rasputina demonstrates that she doesn’t care by Paralysing Lady Justice, killing the Effigy and hurting The Judge. Sidir uses Empty The Magazine but only ends up hurting and putting Slow on the Wendigo; still, that could be enough to save Lady Justice from being eaten. The Judge Focusses and kills the little blighter (scoring for Make Them Suffer in the process). The Austringer gently tickles the Cerberus and Snow Storm can’t manage more better on Lady Justice.

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Turn 3: The Cerberus continues its advance toward my deployment zone. Francisco charges the Gamin on the left but an unfortunate Black Joker keeps it alive. Sidir opens fire on Rasputina and the other Gamin and The Judge finishes the latter for Make Them Suffer. Rasputina shoots The Judge down to a single wound; the Guardian Protects him but I can’t get the trigger to heal him. My robot also pokes at Snow Storm a little. The Blessed finishes off The Judge for Murder Protegé and finally the Austringer knocks the Gamin down to a single wound.

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Turn 4: Francisco kills the Gamin to score me the rest of the points for Make Them Suffer. Rasputina Paralyses Lady Justice again, then the Austringer and Sidir gang up to kill off Snow Storm. The Guardian finishes Rasputina and the Blessed and Cerberus drop scheme markers for Breakthrough. Sadly, we run out of time at this point so it is a draw at 6 – 6 (1 for Reckoning, 2 for Bodyguard and 3 for Make Them Suffer for me; 3 for Murder Protegé and 3 for Breakthrough for James).

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That was a really enjoyable game; James is such a gentleman to play Malifaux with I would love to play him more often. If only we’d had time for another turn I could finally have racked up a win against James; I’ve never managed to beat him yet. Anyway, the game itself was quite an interesting experience. Lady Justice didn’t really do a great deal as she was Paralysed for 2 of the turns that actually mattered but I suppose that she did provide a good distraction for my Henchmen. The Judge in particular felt really effective despite dying in the end; in the past I think that perhaps I haven’t really used the resources on him that he wants. Overall I liked the way that the crew played and I think with a bit of practice I got get to grips with the peculiarities of positioning it requires. I’ll try to get a few more games in with Lady Justice and see where they take me.

I didn’t actually make a note of where I finished, but I think it was around 8th of the 24 players which is a result I’m very happy with. We’ll certainly be back if there is more Middlefaux. Thanks to Stephen, Martin, Graham and James for 4 fun games of Malifaux, and also to Andrew for being a great tournament organiser.

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