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
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)
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
Pool: Claim Jump, Eliminate The Leadership, Accusation, Leave Your Mark, Last Stand
Neverborn: Claim Jump, Eliminate The Leadership
Resurrectionists: Eliminate The Leadership, Accusation
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
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)
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
Pool: Claim Jump, Dig Their Graves, Accusation, Covert Breakthrough, Show of Force
Neverborn: Claim Jump, Dig Their Graves
Resurrectionists: Claim Jump, Dig Their Graves
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
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
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
Pool: Claim Jump, Eliminate the Leadership, Accusation, Undercover Entourage, Recover Evidence
Neverborn: Eliminate the Leadership, Undercover Entourage (Lilith)
Resurrectionists: Eliminate the Leadership, Accusation
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!