Posts Tagged With: Ten Thunders

Malifaux tournament report: Broken Promises; 24Mar2018

As is our custom, Gareth and I took the train over to Common Ground Games in Stirling for another excellent feast of Malifaux laid on for us by Kai Young, this time in the form of the four round Broken Promises event.

Game 1: Resurrectionists (me) vs Resurrectionists (Stewart Herbert)

Strategy: Public Executions, Close Deployment

Schemes
Pool: Eliminate the Leadership, Dig Their Graves, Undercover Entourage, Vendetta, Public Demonstration
My Resurrectionists: Eliminate the Leadership, Dig Their Graves
Stewart’s Resurrectionists: Dig Their Graves, Public Demonstration (Hannah with Kentauroi and both Necropunks)

Crews
My Resurrectionists: Molly Squidpiddge (Forgotten Path, Take Back The Night, Wronged Spirits), Izamu the Armour (Unnerving Aura), Hannah (Unnerving Aura), Anna Lovelace, Onryo, Dead Doxy, Graveyard Spirit
Stewart’s Resurrectionists: Reva (Guises of Death, Decaying Aura, Litany of the Fallen), Kentauroi, Carrion Emissary (Conflux of the Reaper), Anna Lovelace, 2 Necropunks, Chiaki the Niece

I picked Molly going into this match-up as I’ve found that she can afford to give up a point of Public Executions during turn 2 in order to get her engine running, then overwhelm the other crew in turns 3 to 5. Public Demonstration in the pool also adds to this as it encourages a certain amount of clustering from the other crew if picked. Seeing Reva across the board I realised that I probably wasn’t going to get much use of Izamu as he’s such an easy target for her, so I decided to take Eliminate the Leadership and use Izamu as bait to get her to activate early. Plus, I need to deal with Reva to stop her bossing the engagement range and scoring the strategy unopposed. Dig Their Graves seemed to fit well with the general plan of killing everything.

Turn 1: A Corpse Candle appears in front of Izamu, walks forward and sacrifices itself. The Doxy pushes Molly forward and the Carrion Emissary puts down Shards in one of the two choke points across the centre to keep me off Stewart’s crew. Reva summons another Corpse Candle but, to my huge surprise, doesn’t immediately vaporise Izamu; instead she puts down a scheme marker in midfield. Anna misses a shot at Reva but pushes the Corpse Candle back a bit. Hannah copies her sister’s attack and sticks it on Reva to start chipping through her wound pool. The Necropunks Leap toward Hannah and start dropping scheme markers and the Kentauroi follows suit. Molly moves around the wagon in the middle and drops a Goryo into the middle of the other crew; it then hurts Reva and, crucially, Slows her. Stewart reveals his Public Demonstration for three VPs.

Turn 2: Molly summons another Goryo and but fails to achieve anything else attacking the Carrion Emissary (I was hoping to get the push trigger to move to a better position but the cards didn’t work out). Hannah Chain Activates and drops a Focus attack on the Corpse Candle. This causes a pleasing raft of Horror checks, Paralysing one of the Necropunks, scoring a VP for Eliminate the Leadership and draining Stewart’s hand quite effectively. Reva Focuses and hurts Hannah right back. The Goryo from the previous turn Slows both the Kentauroi and Reva again, critically stopping the Kentauroi from just charging off into the sunset; meanwhile the Emissary puts Shards in Izamu’s way then kills the unactivated Goryo for Dig Their Graves. My Anna finishes off Reva (for the rest of the points on Eliminate the Leadership) and drains the rest of Stewart’s hand with the Horror pulse; I do paralyse my own Goryo in the process but that doesn’t matter as the Kentauroi kills it in the next activation anyway. I’m doing quite a lot of damage simply by spraying Black Blood about the place in the massive scrum. The Onryo knocks the Kentauroi down to a couple of wounds left and is wounded in turn by Stewart’s Anna. The Doxy pushes Izamu back toward the centre and Chiaki fails to remove the strategy condition on Hannah. Izamu shows his worth by dropping a Mindless Zombie and the last Corpse Candle pokes Molly, dying to Black Blood in the process. We draw on Public Executions.

Turn 3: Stewart uses the Emissary cleverly to put down Shards stopping the Onryo from getting Black Blood from Molly, then hurts Izamu. Molly summons a pair of Hanged (probably not really needed but I had the cards, felt that the game was in hand and enjoy summoning Hanged when I can) and misses yet another attack on the Kentauroi. She does make one of the Hanged hit it to force another card out for the Horror check. I chain activate Izamu who finally contributes by killing Anna Lovelace. The surviving Necropunk Leaps clear and drops a scheme marker. Hannah finishes the Kentauroi, drops a scheme marker and copies from Anna to shoot the Emissary; the Doxy then Takes the Lead to push Molly out of her way then charges in to kill the Emissary and score me a VP for Dig Their Graves. Chiaki fails to deal with the Onryo, who pokes her back equally ineffectively. I score for Public Executions.

Turn 4: Chiaki kills the Onryo (for Dig Their Graves). The Hanged drops a scheme maker then Molly kills Chiaki to score Dig Their Graves for me. I should have left it there, but I forgot (again) how Public Executions is scored and so have Molly finish the Necropunk and hence not get the Shed Blood condition. Oops. My Resurrectionists win 6 – 5 (1 for Public Executions, 3 for Eliminate the Leadership and 2 for Dig Their Graves for me; 3 for Public Demonstration and 2 for Dig Their Graves for Stewart).

As always it is a pleasure to face Stewart; his skill is constantly improving and I think that he’s really only hampered by the relatively small and inexperienced Malifaux scene in Aberdeen not getting him the opportunities to test his mettle against stronger opponents so often. I felt that I had the game in control and then let a couple of points slip through my fingers right at the end; that could have been costly but fortunately I was still able to squeak out a narrow victory. I’m not sure why Stewart didn’t just go in for wiping Izamu straight away in turn one; he had all the tools with Reva to do so and unless his hand was catastrophically bad it would have been very possible to force through.

Game 2: Resurrectionists (me) vs Ten Thunders (Michael Arnott)

Strategy: Ply for Information, Standard Deployment

Schemes
Pool: Surround Them, Covert Breakthrough, Dig Their Graves, Inescapable Trap, Show of Force
Resurrectionists: Covert Breakthrough, Dig Their Graves
Ten Thunders: Covert Breakthrough, Dig Their Graves

Crews
Resurrectionists: Kirai Ankoku (Wronged Spirits, Unforgiven, Maniacal Laugh), Asura Roten, Anna Lovelace, Rotten Belle, Dead Doxy, 3 Shieldbearers
Ten Thunders: Shenlong (Peaceful Waters, Yang, Wandering River Style), Peasant, Tengu, Yasunori (Recalled Training), Yamaziko, 2 Ten Thunder Brothers, Monk of Low River, Monk of Wandering River

I chose to try Kirai for this match-up, not because I think that she is especially good for the strategy, but because the board here was wide open in the middle and I was expecting a lot of ranged attacks to come in. I was hoping that Kirai’s ability to bring Ikiryo into play might be a bit of a deterrent to this. With that in mind, I took a crew with mainly Living or Undead characteristics to force the issue. The Rotten Belle (and, to a lesser extent, the Dead Doxy) were there intending to bring Michael’s pieces to me so that I could Ply them effectively from my side of the board. With that in mind, I chose Dig Their Graves, so that once I had completed sufficient Plying, I could kill the model in question for another VP. Covert Breakthrough felt like the least bad of the rest of the bunch; hopefully I’d be able to get an attrition lead with Kirai’s summoning and score at the end. Michael did put down Shenlong, but slightly to my surprise he didn’t include much in the way of long ranged force projection. On the other hand, Yasunori in that crew was going to be able to reliably delete one of my key pieces within turn one if Michael chose to pull the trigger.

Turn 1: As if by magic, the Peasant reproduces by binary fission. Asura puts down a scheme marker and summons a Mindless Zombie to get my ghost factory rolling. The Doxy pushes Kirai and the Zombie moves to be just within range to summon from. Moving the Zombie just wastes another activation and I can always hope that Michael would fall for over extending to kill it early in the hope of slowing down the summoning; of course he’s far too good a player to fall for this. Meanwhile, the Peasants hand Focus to Shenlong and poke Yasunori to move him forward a little; eventually the Monk of Low River heals the rider too. The opening moves are quite cautious and I realise that with the threat range on Yasunori so large (especially once Shenlong inevitably makes him Fast) I’m going to have commit pieces. The Shieldbearers move up to be just within range to get Fast from Kirai when she uses a Soulstone for summoning. The Belle Lures Anna forward and Shenlong pushes Yasunori up and gives him Fast as expected. Kirai summons a Hanged off the Mindless Zombie and then a Downed and a Shikome off one of the Shieldbearers. Yasunori uses Recalled Training and comes in to kill Kirai; I do summon Ikiryo off the first attack so at least it is on the board. Yamaziko kills the Hanged and sets up Brace in an annoying position. The rest of my crew beat up Yasunori and eventually he dies of Poison. I’m left with the uncomfortable feeling that trading Kirai for Yasunori might not have been in my favour.

Turn 2: Yamaziko kills one of the Mindless Zombies. Anna shoots her down to a single wound and pushes her back to remove Brace, then Shenlong swaps in Low River Style and heals Yamaziko right back up. The Drowned puts some damage into the Wandering River Monk (I’m trying to deal with him before he Leaps off into my backfield and starts dropping scheme markers everywhere). The Doxy pushes Ikiryo forward a little and uses Grasping Hands on Yamaziko. The Ten Thunder Brother on my left kills my Drowned, scoring Michael a VP for Dig Their Graves, then Ikiryo uses her ludicrous charge range to kill Yamaziko to get me a VP for my own Dig Their Graves. The Tengu hurts Ikiryo and even a Peasant charges in. The Belle Lures the left Ten Thunder Brother over and one of the Shieldbearers kills it after Plying for Information. The others hurt the Wandering River Monk and Peasant. I score for the strategy.

Turn 3: Shenlong picks up Fermented River Style in the Shenlong Phase. Ikiryo kills the Tengu (another VP for Dig Their Graves) and the nearby Peasant. The Wandering River Monk Leaps away from the Shieldbearer and runs for the board corner. The Shikome takes advantage of Shenlong having Poison on him to charge in, but fails to actually achieve anything useful. In return, Shenlong kills it (scoring Dig their Graves in the process) and Ikiryo. The central Shieldbearer plies the Monk of Low River for information and the Doxy pushes Anna around. The Monk of Low River puts down a scheme marker by healing Shenlong. I realise that I need to drain Michael’s hand if I am to deal with the Wandering River Monk; luckily I have a couple of decent crows in hand so the Belle Lures the Ten Thunder Brother to her, getting the discard trigger both times. A Shieldbearer knocks him down to a single wound and Anna kills the Wandering River Monk now that he can’t Butterfly Jump to safety. I score again for Ply For Information.

Turn 4: The Ten Thunder Brother flees and drops a scheme marker, presumably for Covert Breakthrough. A Shieldbearer Plies Shenlong for Information but is immediately killed by him. Asura and another Shieldbearer move up and put down scheme markers for my own Covert Breakthrough. The Doxy Plies Shenlong, and the Belle Lures the Ten Thunder Brother back, killing him with a Pounce to get Dig Their Graves. I score again for the strategy.

Turn 5: The Doxy Plies Shenlong again, so he kills her. Anna Plies him instead. The Monk of Low River removes one of my scheme markers and my Shieldbearer puts down another to replace it. Resurrectionists win 10 – 5 (full score for me; 3 for Dig Their Graves and 2 for Covert Breakthrough for Michael).

That was a tough game right from the start; I thought I was in for a very rough ride when I lost Kirai in turn one. I had considered trying to leave Yasunori alive at the end of turn one so that I could possibly Ply him at the start of turn two, but on balance I think that was probably too risky. I was able to hang on for the rest of the game, but I think that Michael might have forgotten that Peons can be Plied For Information which would probably have impacted the margin if not the result. Michael’s game is getting better and better, but I do slightly wonder about some of his crew picks; notably the Tengu didn’t really seem to serve much purpose here.

Game 3: Resurrectionists (me) vs Guild (Lewis Philips)

Strategy: Ours, Corner Deployment

Schemes
Pool: Guarded Treasure, Set Up, Take one for the Team, Recover Evidence, Hold up their forces
Resurrectionists: Guarded Treasure, Take one for the Team (Dead Doxy)
Guild: Guarded Treasure, Set Up (Asura Roten)

Crews
Resurrectionists: Reva (Maniacal Laugh, Beyond Death, Decaying Aura), Asura Roten, Carrion Emissary (Carrion Conflux), Guild Autopsy, 3 Shieldbearers, Dead Doxy
Guild: Nellie Cochrane (Guild Funds, Misleading Headlines, Delegation), Printing Press, Phiona Gage (Wrath of the Guild, Debt to the Guild), Alison Dade (Transparency), Executioner (Ready to Work), Big Jake, Thallarian Queller, Guild Guard

I have very little experience playing Ours, but I decided that a summoner would probably be wasted here since Lewis is too experienced not to just leave my summoned models alone and instead kill the scoring pieces. So with that and the corner deployment I decided to try out Reva as she can project damage a long way across the board. I went for both Asura and Carrion Emissary not only to summon Mindless Zombies but also to give them something to do once they were suitable gumming up the Guild crew. I didn’t like any of the schemes here and it showed. I chose Guarded Treasure but I read the rules wrong and didn’t realise until we were part way through the game that I was making it very hard for myself to score on it. After a bit of indecision I also picked Take One For The Team on the Dead Doxy; it was nearly on the Guild Autopsy instead and I got mixed up about which I’d chosen.

Turn 1: The Press gives Nellie Evidence, the Doxy pushes Reva forward and the Queller drops a Suppression marker in the middle of the board. Nellie makes both Phiona and the Executioner Fast and passes some activations so that she can get the drop on me. The Emissary puts Shards down in the middle of the board and eventually Lewis decides that he won’t get the alpha strike he’s looking for and moves up the Executioner rather more cagily.

Turn 2: The Executioner drops a Mindless Zombie who has wandered in to engage him then charges the Emissary leaving my big bird feeling rather poorly. Reva fails to kill Phiona thanks to a timely Black Joker on her last attack. The Press again gives Nellie Evidence and she chain activates; I’m forced to use my good cards to stop her from making the Executioner kill the Emissary. In fairness I’d somehow forgotten that she could do that or I might have used the Emissary earlier. We move our cheaper models around to score and I start to get a weight of Mindless Zombies into annoying positions. Big Jake saunters over into a corner and starts dropping scheme markers. Phiona eventually spends her activation mowing down Corpse Candles and Mindless Zombies. We both score for Ours and Lewis scores Guarded Treasure but I don’t because I didn’t read all the requirements… oops!

Turn 3: Reva finally kills Phiona. The Press again gives Nellie Evidence and she kills the Emissary between her own attacks and free swings from the Executioner. The Executioner kills the Doxy and I forget to announce Take One For the Team (I’d got in my head that it was instead on the Guild Autopsy); more on this below. Asura and one of the Shieldbearers gang up to kill the Executioner in return. Once again both score for Ours and Lewis scores Guarded Treasure.

Turn 4: A Shieldbearer makes a start attacking Nellie, mainly in the hope of draining Lewis’s hand. Reva completely fails to do anything at all to her. The rest of the turn is just moving our models about to try to score Ours, which we both do and Lewis gets his third VP for Guarded Treasure.

Turn 5: As usual, the Press gives Nellie some Evidence and she scoots over to my right corner of the board. Reva kills the Guild Guard and the Shieldbearers kill the annoying Printing Press. I score for Ours and, finally, Guarded Treasure. With the last action of the game, Nellie drops a scheme marker near Asura to pick up a point for Set Up on her.

Wow, what a game. Lewis is a really strong opponent and I’m always pleased to play him. He used Nellie to her strengths and had a clear plan to wipe out my big stuff early on with her, Phiona and the Executioner, then play defensively for the second half of the game to deny me any chance for Take One For The Team. I was especially impressed by his play of Set Up; he left it to the last minute to score it so that the threat of me handing over two or even three VPs for Take One For The Team was always there. From my side, my inexperience with Reva showed. I spent too much effort getting rafts of Mindless Zombies around and not enough time actually doing anything useful with them. I would have been better served focussing Reva’s attacks on the Executioner as his raw stats are worse than Phiona’s but I got too caught up in getting use out of Decaying Aura. The Shieldbearers were really good; nothing flashy but they were always an annoying threat to do a bit of damage and they are such a pain in the neck to remove without a really dedicated fighter that it just wasn’t worth the bother of anyone attacking them.

The big point of this game was my forgetting to declare Take One For The Team when the Executioner killed the Dead Doxy. When I realised at the end of the game I discussed this with Lewis as, obviously, I wanted to have the VP for it. We agreed to ask Kai as TO and he ruled in my favour. Having had time to think on this now, I believe that actually Kai should have ruled in favour of Lewis in this case; the rules clearly state that the scheme should be revealed once it is scored. And while I don’t think that there was any big impact on the rest of the game play (Lewis didn’t have anything that could really have killed my stuff by that point so it wasn’t like he had to work hard to avoid killing anything else and risking me having the scheme still active) it still meant an unpleasant surprise for Lewis at the end as he thought that he had the game in the bag. Lewis took this frustration admirably and we’ve spoken since so that I could apologise for this. I think that Kai ruled in my favour partly because he understood that it was a genuine mistake on my side but also because he didn’t want to be seen to favour his club-mate; I’m very grateful to him to have made a ruling at all. Fate restored itself as Lewis went on to win his last game and take first place overall.

Game 4: Resurrectionists (me) vs Ten Thunders (Dave Laing)

Strategy: Symbols of Authority, Standard Deployment

Schemes
Pool: Punish the Weak, Set Up, Inescapable Trap, Take Prisoner, Public Demonstration
Resurrectionists: Punish the Weak, Take Prisoner (Kamaitachi)
Ten Thunders: Set Up (Izamu), Public Demonstration (Izamu with all three Yokai)

Crews
Resurrectionists: Molly Squidpiddge (Forgotten Path, Take Back The Night, Wronged Spirits), Izamu the Armour (Unnerving Aura), Hannah (Unnerving Aura), Anna Lovelace, Rotten Belle, Dead Doxy, Graveyard Spirit
Ten Thunders: Asami Tanaka (Nefarious Pact, Borrowed Time, A Heavenly Design), Katanaka Crime Boss (Equality), Monk of Wandering River, Ten Thunder Brother, Tanuki, Kamaitachi, 3 Yokai

I was feeling quite tired here so I chose to pick my round one crew (except removing the Onryo for a Belle) simply on the basis that I might be able to autopilot my way to some VPs due to familiarity. The main plan was to push up the centre then send summoned models out to pick off the side Symbols. I picked Take Prisoner on the Kamaitachi as I figured it would be something that I could safely not attack, then summon something to it at the end. Punish The Weak was chosen since it plays into my normal style of killing things first and asking if anyone has any questions later on.

Turn 1: The Doxy pushes Molly forward and the Wandering River Monk puts scheme marker precisely in the middle of the semicircle of Yokai. This is so that when they activate they’ll also pick up a Poison from the Tanuki and therefore enable extra jank with their end-of-turn placing. The Kamaitachi pushes Asami forward. Molly moves up and drops a Goryo near Asami who kills it with a Focus attack and summons a Yokai. The hired Yokai crowd round Izamu, placing here and there due to the Poison and scoring Public Demonstration for an easy three VP.

Turn 2: A Yokai hurts Hannah. Molly summons a Goryo and Hanged then chain activate Izamu who fails to kill the Katanaka Crime Boss when I flip a Black Joker on the second attack. This turns out to be quite important as I’d forgotten that they have Calls Unto The Chi, so most of that good work is immediately undone and Izamu takes a thorough beating for his troubles. The Doxy kills one of the Yokai and pushes Hannah, but Asami teleports over and kills Hannah in a single go. Anna shoots at the Ten Thunder Brother on her side and the Yokai flail rather ineffectively at the Hanged. Somewhere in there the Ten Thunders dropped a few scheme markers and score Set Up on Izamu for two VPs.

Turn 3: The Katanaka Crime Boss finishes both Izamu and the Goryo. Molly drops Whispered Secret on Asami to make her a bit more manageable and summons a second Hanged which chain activates to Paralyse Asami. Sadly, the Kamaitachi dies as a result of all of Molly’s summoning (and probably some incidental Black Blood). A Yokai collects my Symbol in the middle. The Doxy drops a second Yokai and the other Hanged kills the Crime Boss. Even the Graveyard Spirit gets in to stack a few wounds on Asami. My notes confirm that I score Punish The Weak here but I can’t work out how.

Turn 4: Molly puts Whispered Secret on Asami again and hurts the Tanuki. The Hanged kills Asami and the Tanuki stabs the Hanged, dying to Black Blood in the process (I think that this was deliberate to avoid giving up Punish the Weak). The Hanged and Ten Thunder Brother get Symbols.

Turn 5. The Ten Thunder Brother hides so that Anna can’t kills him for Punish The Weak, then the Dead Doxy and Wandering River Monk both remove a Symbol each. Resurrectionists lose 3 – 9 (2 for Symbols of Authority and 1 for Punish The Weak for me; 4 for Symbols of Authority, 3 for Public Demonstration and 2 for Set Up for Dave).

A well-deserved win for Dave who outplayed me quite thoroughly. As always we were joking and chatting through the game and I’m delighted for any opportunity to match up with him. I took the wrong crew for this encounter entirely as it was just too easy for Dave to spread out and deny my summoning. I didn’t have anything fast to go for the outer Symbols and should have realised that I would be held up in the centre for too long to go for them after mopping up. I don’t own any Necropunks but perhaps I should have tried Crooligans to work the edges (though I don’t have any experience with Horror Molly). Or maybe even just hired a pair of Goryo to make use of their crazy speed and gone up the flanks; they could have probably outfought the Ten Thunder Brother and Wandering River Monk on the way if needed. Clearly the Kamaitachi was a poor choice for Take Prisoner so that is a lesson that I can learn.

So once we’re all done I come in 8th place (of 20) which feels quite good considering that I don’t think I played particularly well in any of the matches. Thanks as always to Stewart, Michael, Lewis and Dave for four fun games of Malifaux and of course to Kai for his tireless work to promote the game here and run the events.

I’ve been feeling a bit unenthusiastic about Malifaux for the last few months (probably this is why it’s taken me so long to write up this tournament report) and I’m not sure if I’m burned out on the game or the competitive aspect. I’ve also had the feeling lately that the current edition is quite bloated with confusing rules and could probably benefit from another round of flattening such as the way that the ME1.5 to ME2 was handled; it is quite hard to teach the game to new people in my gaming group as there are so many moving parts for them to learn. In the short term I’m going to take a bit of a break from events and play a couple of other good systems with friends so we’ll see if my mojo comes back. I already have my ticket for the Scottish GT so I’ll surely be there.

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Malifaux escalation event report: Gaining Force; 13Jan2018

The first Malifaux event of 2018 at Common Grounds was Gaining Force. It was described as a story event but I would say it is more like an escalation since the story didn’t go further than ‘an Enforcer went for a walk and gradually found friends while being attacked’. The format was to select one Enforcer and play two Enforcer Brawls, then add that Enforcer to a Henchman Hardcore crew and play two games of that. The entire Henchman Hardcore crew was then to be included in a regular 50SS Malifaux crew for one final game using the new Gaining Grounds 2018. I will admit that I’m not a big fan of Henchman Hardcore but Kai’s events are always excellent so I wanted to attend anyway.

I selected Izamu as my Enforcer for the highly tactical reason that he is the only Enforcer I have available (the Carrion Emissary is still part-built on my painting tray and Ikiryo isn’t eligible anyway). Izamu’s Warrior’s Death ability does mess with the scoring in a fairly amusing way so it’s not like I would have chosen anyone else.

Enforcer Brawl 1:

For the first round I was set up with Gareth, Martyn and Mark. We got the rules slightly wrong; killed Enforcers should be able to return to the game at their own initiative step and not just at the end of each round. Also, to make the overall event scoring practical we were capped at 5VPs at any one time.

Me: Izamu the Armour
Gareth Henry: Yin the Penangalan (Unnerving Aura)
Martyn Nicol: Lone Swordsman (Recalled Training)
Mark Watson: Ice Golem (Armour of December)

Turn 1: The Lone Swordsman charges into the Ice Golem and declares that it Shall Not See Another Sunrise. This doesn’t help as the Ice Golem swats him and Yin polishes him off. Izamu kills the Ice Golem.

Turn 2: Izamu smacks the newly-returned Lone Swordsman but incredibly the Ice Golem fails to kill the plucky chap. Yin, who is left too far away to participate, floats back toward the action. The Lone Swordsman declares (again) something about Ice Golems and Sunrises, and kills the big construct. The resulting explosion is fatal for the Lone Swordsman too.

Turn 3: The Ice Golem moves up and is gently tickled by Izamu’s Dadao. Yin puts Gnawing Fear on Izamu and hurts him.

Turn 4: Izamu smacks the Ice Golem again. The Lone Swordsman uses Recalled Training but Black Jokers one attack on Yin. To keep up with the action, the Ice Golem Black Jokers an attack on her too. Yin attacks the Golem.

Turn 5: Yin kills the Lone Swordsman. The Ice Golem attacks Izamu and is killed in return.

Turn 6: The Lone Swordsman uses Recalled Training (such a good upgrade when you can use it all the time!) and kills Yin. Izamu and the Ice Golem are too far apart to do anything meaningful.

The final scores are:
Me: 5
Gareth: 2
Martyn: 5
Mark: 0

Enforcer Brawl 2:

The second Enforcer Brawl sees the model I expected in abundance in this format. I just had to hope that the Langston players didn’t get too lucky with their Decapitate triggers, then counter-punch them. Note that the photos are a bit weird for this one; the big buildings were constantly in the way of one model or another so some were taken from different angles.

Me: Izamu the Armour
Andy Bush: Howard Langston (Imbued Energies)
Jamie Clark: Howard Langston (Imbued Energies)
Martyn Nicol: Lone Swordsman (Recalled Training)

Turn 1: Andy’s Langston comes in for Izamu but can’t kill him so Izamu stabs the big construct right back. Jamie’s Langston fails to drop the Lone Swordsman in one go and is easily taken down in return during the second activation after declaring that he Will Not See Another Sunrise.

Turn 2: Jamie’s Langston appears and immediately ends the Lone Swordsman who reappears on the far side of the board. Andy’s Langston kills Izamu and Nimbles away from his imposter. Izamu gently tickles Jamie’s Langston.

Turn 3: Jamie’s Langston kills Izamu. The Lone Swordsman declares Sunrise on Andy’s Langston but is killed in return before getting a second activation. Izamu helpfully reappears on the edge of the board furthest from anything, and girds himself for a long walk.

Turn 4: After flipping an ace for the previous two turns of initiative, I flip the Red Joker for this turn, ensuring that Izamu can get straight on to the business of double walking toward the action. The Lone Swordsman reappears and kills Andy’s Langston having declared Sunrise on him. Jamie’s Langston shows up but fails to off the Lone Swordsman, and is shanked back to death immediately by Andy’s copy.

Turn 5: Andy’s Langston kills the Lone Swordsman and hurts Jamie’s Langston badly. Jamie then fails the horror duel for his Langston to attack back. Izamu trudges across the board.

Turn 6: Jamie’s Langston recovers his wits and kills Andy’s Langston before being murdered in turn by the Lone Swordsman. Andy Langston reappears in range to come and try his luck with Izamu, but after 3 turns of nothing but hand sculpting Izamu easily survives and kills him in return.

The final scores are:
Me: 5
Andy: 0
Jamie: 2
Martyn: 5

Henchman Hardcore 1: Resurrectionists (me) vs Ten Thunders (Martyn Nicol)

Crews
Resurrectionists: Anna Lovelace, Izamu the Armour (Unnerving Aura), Dead Doxy, Graveyard Spirit
Ten Thunders: Sensei Yu (Low River Style), Lone Swordsman, 2 Monks of High River

I realised that I could approach this whole event by either picking a Henchman Hardcore crew that I thought was good, and then hoping that it would lead nicely into a 50SS crew in the end, or largely pre-select my 50SS crew and pick the Henchman Hardcore models as a subset of that. In the end, I took the latter approach mainly because I vastly prefer 50SS Gaining Grounds as a format, especially over Henchman Hardcore. Nonethless, I did put some thought into it. With Eliminate the Leadership as the always scheme I decided that Anna Lovelace’s preference for range, good stats and armour would be a good selection; I had considered Datsue Ba instead but thought that she would be too easy to kill in this format. The Dead Doxy can get a chance at a third attack if she Pounces after Take The Lead, and while one of my main criticisms of Henchman Hardcore is the decreased importance of positional play, her ability to move things around is never not useful. Finally, the Graveyard Spirit was added simply because it fit the points. Being able to add Armour is useful but I did think that only having 3 non-Peons to score for the strategy would be a concern. I expected Sensei Yu to move my models out of scoring position, and then the Lone Swordsman to come in and try to kill Izamu by ignoring armour on one of his triggers.

Turn 1: The Monks move up and take Defensive Stance and the Dead Doxy pushes Izamu forward. Yu Airbursts him back but not far enough and I’m able get a swing on the right Monk (though it misses anyway) and Anna fires a barrage of ghosts at Sensei Yu which scores me the first point for Eliminate the Leadership. We both score for the strategy.

Turn 2: Sensei Yu realised that if he doesn’t heal himself, he’ll not get another try, so he punches himself better. The Doxy pushes Izamu into the guts of Martyn’s crew, then charges the right Monk for no effect whatsoever. The Monk then kills her straight out in return, not even needing the huge stack of Burning he had applied. Izamu smacks Sensei Yu a little, allowing him to pick up a few Defensive conditions when I missed. The Lone Swordsman declares the Izamu Will Not See Another Sunrise but can’t kill the big chap even with a second activation and kills himself to expunge the shame. Anna misses a couple of shots at Sensei Yu. We both score again for Extraction.

Turn 3: Sensei Yu heals himself again. Izamu again fails to do anything useful to him and instead switches attention to the Monks. One of them Focuses but misses Izamu and in desperation I throw in the Graveyard Spirit which kills the wounded Monk (only had to do one damage due to the Unnerving Aura). Anna continues to attack Sensei Yu who Soulstones all the damage away. We both score for Extraction once again.

Turn 4: Sensei Yu heals himself. Izamu kills the second Monk and Anna finally finishes off Yu to get me the rest of the Eliminate the Leadership points. I score for Extraction too. Resurrectionists win 7 – 3 (full score for me; 3 for Extraction for Martyn).

I always have a nice time playing Martyn as he is just such a cheerful gentleman. He had me worried here with his crew selection and I thought that the combination of Sensei Yu pushing my models away from the scoring area plus the threat of the Lone Swordsman just carving through Izamu would have been possibly a winning strategy. As it happened, the high minimum damage on Anna’s ranged attack forced Yu to play passively to stay alive for almost the whole game, and Martyn just didn’t get the cards he needed for the Lone Swordsman’s Perfect Cut. I was really impressed with the Monks of High River at their new cost.

Henchman Hardcore 1: Resurrectionists (me) vs Resurrectionists (Gareth Henry)

Crews
Resurrectionists: Anna Lovelace, Izamu the Armour (Unnerving Aura), Dead Doxy, Graveyard Spirit
Resurrectionists: Valedictorian (Unnerving Aura), Yin the Penangalan (Unnerving Aura), 2 Rotten Belles

I knew what was coming here as Gareth and I had been discussing crews on the train to Stirling, but it didn’t make this easier to deal with. Gareth basic game plan was to apply crippling conditions with Yin, put one model per turn where he needed it with the Belles (and Slow everything else as needed) and then kill it with the Valedictorian. Having one model locked down by Yin each turn would be a big problem with only four in my entire crew (and one of them a fairly useless Totem). My plan was to throw Izamu up as aggressively as possible, using the Doxy to push him into melee if Yin gave him the No Escape condition, and then hit things with him and Anna until they went away. Weak damage of three can solve a lot of problems.

Turn 1: The Belles Lure and Slow Izamu, and the Doxy Takes The Lead to push him into melee with the left one. Yin gives Izamu both Gnawing Fear and No Escape, but he’s able to drop the Belle in two hits which felt quite fortunate. The Valedictorian comes in and puts a bit of damage onto Izamu, then Anna hits her twice with the Swirling Damned. I trigger Screaming From The Aether once and Gareth helpfully fails the resulting Horror duels for both Yin and the Valedictorian. This stroke of luck pretty much ensures that I’ll win the game right there. I score Extraction.

Turn 2: Izamu smites the Valedictorian, scoring me a point for Eliminate the Leadership, then the Belle Lures him to my right and Slows him again. Anna kills the Valedictorian to get the rest of the points for Eliminate the Leadership and I score for Extraction again. I do rather unwisely keep pulling the marker back toward my table edge even though I would have been better served leaving it in the middle.

Turn 3: Izamu Black Jokers his chance to Reform, the misses a speculative swing at Yin. She kills him (though she does flip the Black Joker herself on my Warrior’s Death attack so some damage does get stacked up) then puts various conditions on Anna. I waste some Soulstones to get round all the negative flips attacking Yin with Anna and miss the shot anyway, apparently because Gareth has a truly heroic control hand this turn. The Belle Lures Anna and Pounces on her. No score for the Strategy.

Turn 4: The Belle Slows Anna. The Doxy Focuses and lands Take The Lead on Yin, getting me the Confused Feelings trigger. With us both on negative flips it just comes down to luck whether I can actually do anything to Yin, but have the better stat and only need to draw. Between the pounce and the second AP, Yin goes down and I breathe a big sigh of relief. Anna pushes the Belle away and shoots her. Neither of us score for the Strategy.

Turn 5: Anna fails to kill the Belle who hurts her back, but not by enough to get a point for Eliminate the Leadership. My Resurrectionists win 5 – 0 (2 for Extraction and 3 for Eliminate the Leadership for me; nothing for Gareth).

Gareth is my main opponent at Malifaux (and indeed, all wargames) and it’s always a fun experience. I think that we were both a bit sad that this one was pretty much decided by luck in turn 1, but I guess if Gareth hadn’t been so keen to fire all his good cards into locking Izamu down with Yin he would have had something left to pass the Horror duels on Yin and the Valedictorian. My main error was to move the Extraction marker way back then commit my crew too far forward to actually score from it.

Game 5: Resurrectionists (me) vs Arcanists (Jamie Clark)

Strategy: Public Executions, close deployment

Schemes
Pool: Eliminate the Leadership, Dig Their Graves, Undercover Entourage, Show of Force, Take One For the Team
Resurrectionists: Dig Their Graves, Show of Force
Arcanists : Dig Their Graves, Take One For the Team (Wind Gamin)

Crews
Resurrectionists: Molly Squidpiddge (Forgotten Path, Take Back The Night, Wronged Spirits), Izamu the Armour (Unnerving Aura), Hannah (Unnerving Aura), Anna Lovelace, Onryo, Dead Doxy, Graveyard Spirit
Arcanists : Viktor Ramos (Arcane Reservoir, Philosopher’s Stone), Joss (Open Current), Howard Langston (Imbued Energies), Mobile Toolkit, Metal Gamin, Wind Gamin, Brass Arachnid, Arcane Effigy

I extended my Henchman Hardcore crew to be lead by Molly with my preferred Spirit build. I’ve been trying Hannah lately with Molly, partly because I just love to use her, partly because of the amusing theme of having both Lovelaces in the same crew, partly because of Arcane Reservoir and partly because she doesn’t have to worry about Black Blood thanks to her Freikorps suit. Having Anna around also means that Hannah is never short of something useful to copy with Make A New Entry. I considered taking a Belle instead of the Onryo but the latter won out because we defined the canals as difficult terrain, and I decided that Lures would be a bit less critical in close deployment. The two copies of Unnerving Aura were specifically for Show of Force, and I have to admit that I forgot about them for much of the game otherwise (to be fair, Jamie mentioned at the end that he had forgotten about his Arcane Reservoir for some of the turns). Jamie surprises me with a very cautious deployment.

Turn 1: The Doxy pushes Molly and the Toolkit turns Langston up before Joss kills it to get the spider engine going for Ramos. I was expecting to get Langston right in Molly’s face instead of Joss activating, so I take advantage of still actually having my Master unmolested by moving her forward and summoning a Goryo and a Drowned. I had the card to have a Hanged instead of the Goryo but I felt that the larger base of the Goryo made it a better option considering the board state. Molly makes the Goryo hit Langston and then chain activates to do it again, Slowing the big chap in the process. Ramos summons a pair of Steam Arachnids then kills both the Goryo and the Drowned which leaves Molly feeling again a bit exposed to Langston, though the Drowned does leave a scheme marker in quite a nice place. The Graveyard Spirit moves to Molly to make the inevitable arrive of Mr Langston a little less unpleasant. The Brass Arachnid Reactivates Langston and Hannah moves up to copy her sister’s ranged attack but it misses Joss. Langston gets stuck into Molly but between armour from the Graveyard Spirit and having milled all teh good cards out of Jamie’s hand earlier, I get away with only a relatively mild beating.

Turn 2: Langston fails to kill Molly. She summons another Goryo and kills Langston to score for Dig Their Graves, pushing back to relative safety in the process. Hannah chain activates to kill a Spider and again copies Anna’s Swirling Damned attack which draws a lot of Jamie’s cards avoiding the resulting Horror duel in his bunched up crew. Joss misses a couple of attacks on the Goryo and my Onryo totally fails to land anything on the right-most Steam Arachnid. Ramos summons three more Steam Arachnids then the Goryo misses Joss who gets Reactivated by the Brass Arachnid. The Doxy pushes Izamu forward then charges in to kill one of the Steam Arachnids. Joss goes again and kills the Goryo, this time scoring for Dig Their Graves. Izamu charges into Joss; I’m thinking that if I can get him down to one wound it won’t trigger the Reactivate again since each model can only get that condition once per turn, but it doesn’t matter and the attacks are not particularly effective. The Spiders chip away at Izamu and Anna continues to miss shots at Joss. I score for Public Executions and Show of Force.

Turn 3: The Arcanist crew have very conveniently formed a crowd around where the Goryo was just standing, so Molly summons in another Goryo and a Hanged, getting the former on full wounds and the latter on six. I’m not sure that was the best play, but it is not everyday that one gets an opportunity to do that so I wanted to take advantage while I could. She makes the Goryo stab Joss down to his last wound then chain activates Izamu who kills Joss and 2 Steam Arachnids. A highly effective couple of activations if I do say so myself. Jamie is getting sick of the Graveyard Spirit but only has the Effigy in a good spot to deal with it, resulting in a fight between two of the least effective combatants in the entire game. The Goryo kills the Brass Arachnid, mainly to get it out of my hair. Ramos summons a pair of Steam Arachnids to replace the ones despatched by Izamu, magnetises to one of them just to get clear of the scrum and shoots the Goryo. Anna kills the Wind Gamin, giving up 2VP for Take One For The Team and Hannah gently tickles the Metal Gamin which has finally completed its epic run round the side of the building. I throw everything I have left at the Effigy and finally kill it with the Hanged to score Dig Their Graves. I also pick up points for Public Executions and Show of Force.

Turn 4: One of the Steam Arachnids and my Onryo both drop scheme markers. This is one of the many things I love about Malifaux: that sometimes a decision has to be made between activating a big fighter and just stabbing stuff versus using the smaller models to do things that will score points. A Steam Arachnid bites the Goryo. Izamu hurts Ramos, who summons a single Steam Arachnid, blows up the old one and magnetises to the new one. Anna and Hannah combine to kills the Metal Gamin which took a lot more work than I would have liked. The Goryo kills Ramos for Dig Their Graves and the Hanged kills the last Steam Arachnid. I score for the strategy and Show of Force again, and I won’t be able to get Public Executions next turn as there is nothing left. Resurrectionists win 9 – 3 (3 for Public Executions, 3 for Dig Their Graves and 3 for Show of Force for me; 1 for Dig Their Graves and 2 for Take One For the Team for Jamie).

Jamie is a really top chap to play against, he know his Malifaux really well (apart from his inexplicable failure to remember Arcane Reservoir) and all in all I had a very enjoyable game. We were both joking and laughing together at various happenings on the table and with the card flips, while at the same time playing a tight game and trying to win. In other words, how Malifaux should be, in my opinion. I think that Jamie made a mistake with a very defensive deployment that gave me access to control the choke point on the bridge and as a result his pieces were very clumped together while he tried to deal with the models I sent in. Clumped up opponents are what Molly loves to see. I liked the addition of Hannah instead of Datsue Ba [and 3SS of other stuff] and I certainly plan to try her in similar crews again.

Once the scores are all counted, I’m in first place (based on VP for as otherwise the Enforcer Brawl messes things up, though I think it would have been the same based on other measures). I still prefer standard 50SS games but this was an enjoyable change of pace and I think it could be a good format for introducing new players, at least as long as no-one is too abusive on the Enforcer Brawls. Thanks to Gareth, Mark, Martyn, Andy and Jamie for the fun games, and as always to Kai for doing all the work of running the whole show.

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

Malifaux tournament report: Masters of the Path (50SS); 25Nov2017

Gareth and I took the train to Common Ground Games in Stirling for our last Malifaux event of 2017. As is my habit, I’ve swapped from Neverborn to play a new faction for the coming year or so; in this case I’m picking up Resurrectionists. I’ve long noticed that despite Molly being a common enough sight I have never seen anyone use the Spirit version. So I decided to start with her and see how I get on with this option. I will admit that I looked at the strategies and schemes and the ‘try hard’ part of me considered playing Neverborn for one last event since they are mostly not very friendly to a master who summons in models on low wounds near the enemy crew, but in the end I figured it would be an interesting pressure test.

Game 1: Resurrectionists (me) vs Neverborn (Ian Gemmell)

Strategy: Collect the Bounty, close deployment

Schemes
Pool: Claim Jump, Recover Evidence, Search the Ruins, Dig Their Graves, Eliminate the Leadership
Resurrectionists: Search the Ruins, Eliminate the Leadership
Neverborn: Claim Jump, Eliminate the Leadership

Crews
Resurrectionists: Molly Squidpiddge (Forgotten Path, Take Back The Night, Wronged Spirits), Izamu the Armour, Datsue Ba, Anna Lovelace, Goryo, Onryo, Dead Doxy, Grave Spirit
Neverborn: Collodi (Fated, Strum The Threads, Aether Connection), Mannequin, Shadow Effigy, 2 Stitched Together, 3 Marionettes, Baby kade, Burt Jebsen

The crew above is more or less the ones I’ve used to get used to Resurrectionists. When I pick up a new faction I usually start with a couple of masters but will run a few games with a pretty much fixed list approach until I see what works for me and what doesn’t. Since I’m still in that learning process I’m just making minor changes to the core here. In summary, Molly goes toward the biggest patch of the other crew and bombs Black Blood ghosts into them as allowed by my hand. The Doxy gives her a nice push forward at the start, and Izamu, Datsue Ba and Anna are there to do actual work until I can get the attrition rolling in my favour (I almost always lose one or more of these three by the end of turn two). The Goryo and Onryo are there for a bit of all-round hitting or scheming as needed, and also because I like the models. I’ve preferred the Grave Spirit over the Necrotic Machine mainly because it seems to fit the theme. For this match up I picked Search The Ruins as it would suit my attrition plans and Eliminate the Leadership because, having played Collodi, I knew that I would have to deal with it before the game was out.

Turn 1: The Shadow Effigy gets us underway by giving Collodi Blend Into Shadow; Collodi kindly shares this out to its minions. The Doxy pushes Molly forward. We jockey for position a bit and eventually I send Izamu forward to poke a Marionette. A Stitched comes forward and manages to land severe damage on the Ancestor. Molly moves up further and summons a Hanged which somehow manages to get the Stitched to Reactivate; it then hurts Izamu a bit more. Collodi makes one of the Marionettes a Personal Puppet, My Wills the Stitched to finish off Izamu and Slows Molly.

Turn 2: Molly summons another Hanged and companions the other one to hurt the untouched Stitched. The wounded Stitched together Gambles Your Life with Molly but loses. Datsue Ba kills a Marionette to turn it into a Gaki and Collodi hurts Molly rather badly. It also attacks the Hanged and makes the Spirit attack Molly but luckily Molly doesn’t take the hit. The Hanged puts Whispers From Beyond on Collodi who blows up its Personal Puppet to avoid the damage. We ruled that Collodi still got the Glimpse The Inevitable condition as it didn’t seem to be related to the damage. The Gaki misses the Mannequin and a Marionette goes Fast to charge Molly, helpfully dying to Black Blood in the process. The Stitched puts more damage onto Molly (scoring Ian a VP for Eliminate the Leadership) and is killed by Anna in return. Kade charges into Molly and top decks the Red Joker on damage to kill her (I didn’t have any cards left to use Masterful Dead), scoring the rest of the points for Eliminate the Leadership in the process. My Goryo pokes Kade after the Onryo failed to get Adversary onto him as usual. Burt moves around and drops a scheme marker. We end up drawing on the strategy.

Turn 3: The Hanged kills the Effigy, then Collodi kills the Grave Spirit and hurts my Goryo. Anna kills Baby Kade then the Onryo and Burt drop scheme markers around the place. The Goryo drops the Mannequin mainly to get it out of my hair, and Datsue Ba starts the long process of pinning Collodi down long enough to kill. I score for the strategy and Ian gets Claim Jump.

Turn 4: The Goryo gets Collodi down to a single wound. It summons a Marionette to make it a Personal Puppet and then finishes off the Goryo. Datsue Ba puts a wound onto Collodi to force the Marionette to die to Decoy. The Onryo hurts Burt after he has put down some more scheme markers, then Anna drops Collodi. I score for Collect the Bounty. Ian has seen enough (and anyway only has Burt left on a single wound) and agrees to call it there. Resurrectionists win 8 – 4 (3 for Collect The Bounty, 2 for Eliminate the Leadership [in retrospect I think I should have had the full 3 here] and 3 for Search the Ruins for me; 3 for Eliminate the Leadership and 1 for Claim Jump for Ian).

I really enjoyed that game. Having played Collodi quite extensively myself recently I felt that I had an idea of how to handle it, but Collodi is such a versatile master that almost anything is possible. I gave away Izamu quite cheaply but two Stitched were always going to get something so probably it was best to try to blunt them on Izamu’s armour since they ignore all the defenses on the rest of my crew. Ian’s crew was quite interesting and I was rather surprised by the inclusion of Kade who doesn’t seem to gain much from Collodi (or vice versa). Burt seems to show up all over the place so it was not so unexpected to face him but I was quite glad that he wandered off to do Claim Jump rather than getting in my way.

Game 2: Resurrectionists (me) vs Ten Thunders (Gareth Henry)

Strategy: Extraction, corner deployment

Schemes
Pool: Claim Jump, A Quick Murder, Inspection, Dig Their Graves, Leave Your Mark
Resurrectionists: A Quick Murder (Kang), Inspection
Ten Thunders: Claim Jump, Inspection

Crews
Resurrectionists: Molly Squidpiddge (Forgotten Path, Take Back The Night, Wronged Spirits), Izamu the Armour, Datsue Ba, Anna Lovelace, Onryo, Dead Doxy, Grave Spirit, 2 Night Terrors
Ten Thunders: Asami Tanaka (A Heavenly Design, Grasping Strands, Peaceful Waters), Amanjuku, 2 Ten Thunder Brothers, 2 Katanaka Snipers, Kang, Monk of Low River, Mr Tannen

A big majority of my games of Malifaux are against Gareth as he is my regular opponent for our little gaming group, so we came into this match-up with interesting expectations of what the other would bring. I took the same list as round one, swapping the Goryo for a pair of Night Terrors. I wasn’t too surprised to see Asami on the other side of the board though I did consider that Gareth might have picked Misaki instead. Not that Misaki is a strictly better pick for this strategy and scheme pool, but rather because Gareth is very effective at using her and I thought he might have decided to go all in on just killing all my stuff and picking up the pieces later. Kang would have to come into my clutches to get any work done so I decided I might as well score points for killing him with A Quick Murder. I love a pair of Night Terrors as cheap ways to collect points for Inspection, though when the Ten Thunder Brothers also telegraphed going for the same scheme I was a bit worried that they would simply kill the Night Terrors and leave me without a way to get anything to the corners.

Turn 1: The Snipers take pot shots at my crew for pleasingly little effect, then the Doxy fails to push Molly; I had a weird control hand with only low and high cards and didn’t want to cheat a really good card in simply to save Molly from walking. Asami teleports forward with A Heavenly Design, pulls Kang to her with Reaching Tendrils and summons a pair of Yokai. Molly advances and drops a Goryo into the middle of this scrum which then achieves nothing whatsoever attacking Kang, though it is tying up the Yokai. Kang helpfully misses the Goryo so Mr Tannen kills it off with Bore To Tears. Datsue Ba moves Izamu forward and moves into position herself. One of the Yokai charges Izamu who one-shots it in return and charges Kang. The Monk heals Kang to undo my good work and Anna puts some nice damage into the left Sniper. Meanwhile, The Night Terror and Ten Thunder Brothers start their long and obvious journeys to the corners.

Turn 2: Molly summons another Goryo and a Hanged, makes Izamu hit Kang and chain activates to really hurt the big chap. Then the Monk heals him again. Maybe I should actually deal with the Monk instead. The Onryo and Sniper on the left trade blows; the Sniper is left on a single wound and in Black Blood range. The Goryo makes Asami an Adversary; Asami then teleports away again and pulls Kang clear of the fray. She then summons a Jorogumo and an Obsidian Oni. The Doxy Takes The Lead on Izamu to push him into range to just engage Kang and the Obsidian Oni, then charges the other Sniper. This goes poorly and the Sniper cuts her down easily. Mr Tannen goes again with Bore To Tears on the new Goryo but doesn’t kill it this time. Datsue Ba kills the Yokai and the Hanged puts Glimpse The Inevitable on Kang. Ananjuku top decks the needed card to increase the Flicker on the Obsidian Oni and Kang kills the Goryo. Anna drops Kang to his Hard To Kill wound. I score Extraction and we both get Inspection.

Turn 3: The Monk of Low River removes Glimpse The Inevitable from Kang and heals him. Molly Black Jokers a Whispered Secret on Asami then summons a second Hanged and a Drowned. She chain activates Izamu to kill Kang (scoring me 3VP for A Quick Murder). Izamu also walks over to engage the Sniper. Datsue Ba hurts Asami who teleports away and charges into Izamu for minimal effect. The Onryo polishes off the Sniper while the Night Terror and Ten Thunders Brothers poke at each other gently. The Drowned gets double severe on a negative flip to kill the Monk of Low River in one go, then the Hanged and Anna get Asami down to a single wound. I score Extraction, Gareth scores Claim Jump and we both get Inspection.

Turn 4: Molly does Whispered Secret and Revelation to finish off Asami, then chain activates Izamu to deal with the Sniper. Mr Tannen puts some wounds onto the Hanged while the Night Terror and Ten Thunder Brothers continue to flail at each other. The Hanged kills Amanjuku. I score Extraction and we both get Inspection. Looking at the board state we agree that Gareth will certainly get Claim Jump next turn and I’ll get the last point for Extraction so we call it there. Resurrectionists win 10 – 5 (full score for me; 3 for Inspection and 2 for Claim Jump for Gareth).

I always have a great time playing Gareth and this was no exception. We play each other so often that there are sometime little games-within-games to play around taking expected pieces or counter-picking and I think that this adds an interesting extra dimension to our encounters. The game went well for me; it was the only strategy and scheme pool that I felt really comfortable with coming into the event. This allowed me to do the things I think that Molly does well: flood the centre of the board with disposable but dangerous chaff. I’m still working on the relative benefits of using a good card to summon compared to using it to make an attack land but hopefully this will come with experience.

Game 3: Resurrectionists (me) vs Guild (Lewis Philips)

Strategy: Reckoning, standard deployment

Schemes
Pool: Claim Jump, A Quick Murder, Show of Force, Leave Your Mark, Eliminate the Leadership
Resurrectionists: A Quick Murder (The Jury), Eliminate the Leadership
Guild: A Quick Murder (Izamu the Armour), Show of Force

Crews
Resurrectionists: Kirai Ankoku (Wronged Spirits, Spirit Beacon, Unforgiven), Izamu the Armour, Datsue Ba, Anna Lovelace, Madame Sybelle (Bleeding Tongue), 2 Rotten Belles
Guild: Perdita Ortega (Aura Ancestral, Trick Shooting, Fastest Draw In Malifaux), Francisco Ortega (Debt To The Guild, Wade In), Nino Ortega (Hair Trigger), The Jury (Debt To The Guild, Numb To The World), 2 Monster Hunters

This was the round that I really had no good plan for. Theorising with Gareth on the way over I had planned more-or-less the crew above, but with Molly at the helm. But when Lewis declared Guild as his faction I started to expect either Sonnia or Perdita and decided that maybe with Kirai I could leverage Ikiryo to give me a bit of time to close the range. The plan was to Lure in whatever I could using the Belles and then kill it. If anything looked particularly vulnerable on my side then I had intended to summon something healthier off it with Kirai. For schemes I decided to go all in on the killing and chose A Quick Murder (on The Jury as she looked a bit more vulnerable than Francisco) and Eliminate The Leadership. The latter scheme is sometimes really hard against Perdita but with only six models in Lewis’s crew I figured I would probably have to deal with her somehow anyway.

Turn 1: The Monster Hunters Stalk Madame Sybelle. One Belle Lures the other forward; it then Lures the activated Monster Hunter towards me. Kirai eventually kills it; not that it was helpful for scoring but I felt that a bit more activation control might help me. The rest of our movement is very cagey. Perdita Obeys Izamu to walk out of cover.

Turn 2: I figure I’ll have to go all in with Izamu if I want to get any work done so I throw him into The Jury for not much impact. Nino and Perdita join forces to kill him. The Belles Lure in the other Monster Hunter and after some Pounces and Madame Sybelle’s impact it is left on a single wound. Kirai moves up and knocks Nino down to one wound too. Lewis scores for Show of Force.

Turn 3: The Monster Hunter Stalks then kills a Belle, healing himself to full. If I’d known that they could do this (on top of their improbable list of other abilities) I would have made a bit more of an effort to deal with him last turn. Ikiryo does come out to hurt him again before Sacrificing with On The Wind. Anna shoots the Jury and I get lucky and Paralyse Perdita with the resulting horror duel. Francisco returns fire and is rewarded with Ikiryo again. The Belle kills the Monster Hunter and The Jury hits Ikiryo, which hits her right back and disappears again. I throw everything else I have but can’t deal with either Nino or The Jury. Lewis gets Show of Force again.

Turn 4: Sybelle finally puts down The Jury (scoring me 2VP for A Quick Murder). Francisco and Nino fail to kill Datsue Ba. I try my best to drop Perdita but can’t quite manage it. I even double focus with Kirai and eat the Seishin to have a go at Perdita, but Lewis (with an empty hand) top decks a queen and forces me to burn the Red Joker to hit at all. If he’d flipped a jack or less I could have killed Perdita and might have had a chance to take the game (probably only to a draw though). Oh well. He scores Show of Force for the last time.

Turn 5: Francisco Flurries to kill Datsue Ba then chain activates Perdita who guns down Anna with a timely Red Joker flip on damage. Kirai kills Perdita, getting me the rest of the points for Eliminate The Leadership. Nino thoughtfully kills Francisco to stop me from getting Reckoning, though I think it would have been quite unlikely anyway considering I’d have had to do it with just Sybelle at that point. Lewis scores Reckoning this turn. Resurrectionists lose 5 – 7 (2 for A Quick Murder and 3 for Eliminate the Leadership for me; 1 for Reckoning, 3 for A Quick Murder and 3 for Show of Force for Lewis).

Wow, so close… a really enjoyable game. Lewis played a really nice tight game to his strengths here and took great advantage of the terrain so that I was always having to react to him. I think that Kirai was still the right choice over Molly, though neither of them were really ideal I think. Perhaps a bit more familiarity with Kirai would have improved my chances (and actually, I’d never used Sybelle or the Belles before this game either) but to beat a player of Lewis’s skill I would need to be really on top of my game. If I had this match-up again I think I would stand by those scheme picks; none of the others looked very appealing. Perhaps the biggest mistake was that we played the central gallows as not blocking line of sight – as it was this provided a perfect place for the Guild guns to sit behind and pick my crew off while scoring for Show Of Force.

Game 4: Resurrectionists (me) vs Arcanists (Jamie Clark)

Strategy: Headhunter, flank deployment

Schemes
Pool: Claim Jump, Tail ‘Em, Show of Force, Accusation!, Frame For Murder
Resurrectionists: Claim Jump, Frame For Murder (Izamu the Armour)
Arcanists: Claim Jump, Show of Force

Crews
Resurrectionists: Molly Squidpiddge (Forgotten Path, Take Back The Night, Wronged Spirits), Izamu the Armour, Datsue Ba, Anna Lovelace, Onryo, Dead Doxy, Grave Spirit, Rotten Belle
Arcanists: Toni Ironsides (Warding Runes, Union President, Veteran Fighter), 2 Wind Gamin, 3 Oxfordian Mages (Nemesis Ward, Blood Ward and Doom Ward, plus a copy of Temporary Shielding each), Angelica (Practiced Production), Johan [Johana in this case] (Well Rehearsed), Arcane Effigy, Malifaux Raptor

Headhunter is my favourite strategy and I think that it really showcases all that is best of Malifaux; you need to kill the other crew but you can’t do it indiscriminately, and you need to have your own cheap pieces around to pick up their heads. I took again the same core Molly crew, this time losing the Night Terror (who are a total liability in Headhunter) for a Rotten Belle with the idea that if Jamie was very cagey I could bring a victim over and kill it at my leisure. With flank deployment I thought that Claim Jump could be quite useful since the line along which to lay the scheme markers is long. Izamu had been an easy victim in my other games this event so I thought that I might try to get some points out his inevitable (second) demise. With Molly liking to be in the thick of things plus two other Henchmen I was quite expecting to have Jamie pick Tail ‘Em so I planned to try to give him so much to do that he couldn’t afford to spend the AP on it (in retrospect he didn’t actually have many Minions so maybe it wasn’t so likely but that didn’t occur to me at the time).

Turn 1: There is a lot of very cagey moving around. The Doxy pushes Molly forward with Take The Lead while the Raptor Takes To The Sky. The Mages push each other around a bit. Eventually I realise that I’m not going to get a nice ball of enemies to summon off and resign myself to a single Goryo between Johana and a Mage. Ironsides moves so that the injured Mage is in Hand Picked Men range, then helpfully fails a Horror duel targeting Datsue Ba. The Mage does strip a few wounds from Izamu with Furious Casting.

Turn 2: The Mage Furious Casts again to kill Izamu and I pick up 2VP for Frame For Murder. The Goryo gets Johana down to her Hard To Kill wound, and the nearby Mage suicides by Black Blood to kill it. This also forces Johana to discard Well Rehearsed to stay in the game, so the Doxy pushes Molly again then kills Johana as there is no way I’m going to miss an opportunity like that. The Mage that killed Izamu is Lured closer to me so that it is in a better place for Molly to summon. The Raptor, which had unburied next to Anna, pecks her a bit. Molly summons a Hanged and Goryo, then makes the Hanged put Glimpse The Inevitable on Ironsides. She companions into the Hanged which kills the Mage and the resulting Horror duels Paralyses Ironsides as Jamie cheated his last card in to stop Angelica from failing from the same pulse. Anna pushes the Raptor clear so that she can shoot Angelica and gets another pulse of Horror duels which this time Angelica and the Effigy fail. It is better to be lucky than good. Datsue Ba picks up a head in midfield and the Onryo misses some attacks on Ironsides. Jamie scores Claim Jump thanks to the Wind Gamin which have flown off to the corners pretty much unopposed and I score Headhunter.

Turn 3: The Mage hurts my Goryo and fails to disengage. Anna kills Angelica and the Onryo gently tickles Ironsides. Interestingly Jamie often chose not to take her Good Shot, My Turn trigger, presumably because he didn’t want me to splash Black Blood all over Ironsides. Ironsides kills the Hanged, uses a trigger to push over to where its head lands and picks it up, then charges and hurts Molly. Molly summons a replacement Hanged, puts Ironsides on negative flips with Whispered Secret then Paralyses her with Revelation. The Doxy picks up a head and Datsue Ba turns the Raptor into a Gaki. We both score for the strategy and Claim Jump.

Turn 4: Datsue Ba charges into the Effigy but can’t quite kill it. The last Mage kills the Goryo and picks up its head. The Doxy picks up a head and hurts the Wind Gamin after giving it Confused Feelings. Molly makes the nearby Gaki poke Ironsides then hits the Gaki to splash Black Blood onto Ironsides and kill her. She then moves over and kills the Wind Gamin. The Onryo finishes the Effigy and the Hanged drops the final Mage. We both score Claim Jump and I get a point for the strategy too. With only a Wind Gamin left, we agree to end it there. Resurrectionists win 9 – 5 (4 for Headhunter, 3 for Claim Jump and 2 for Frame For Murder for me; 2 for Headhunter and 3 for Claim Jump for Jamie).

Every time I play against Jamie I enjoy it and I feel that our games are even more fun as Jamie has consistently improved his skill over the last year or so. This was a particularly interesting match-up as it was not only my first event playing Molly but Jamie was also playing his first event with Ironsides after swapping Masters with Joe (though of course he’s experienced with Arcanists in general). I was very fortunate with Jamie flipping low on some crucial Horror duels in turn 2, though I would say that I’d done some work to drain his hand so it wasn’t pure luck. The Belle didn’t really do a lot but it was an extra activation, Lure is always good and it was cheap enough that I didn’t really mind if it just dropped scheme markers anyway.

Once the scores are all in I get second place overall behind Lewis so I’m very pleased. I’ve really enjoyed playing Molly and will admit that I find Black Blood highly entertaining on Spirits. I’m planning to get in a few more games with Kirai so that I’m not telegraphing that I’m going to play Molly in every game. Thanks to Ian, Gareth, Lewis and Jamie for four fun games of Malifaux, and of course to Kai for his continued excellent running of events. I’m looking forward to 2018’s gaming experience already.

Since this is my last event of the year, I thought it would be interesting to see how my record breaks down. I feel like it was a comparably successful year with Neverborn as with my previous years of playing with Factions (roughly: 2013-2014 for Ten Thunders, 2015 for Guild, 2016 for Outcasts) which supports my general theory of tolerable inter-faction balance in Malifaux. I hope that anyone reading these enjoys them and gets as much benefit from it as I do from writing them, and in particular that this adds a bit of ‘actual-faux’ to the vast amount of ‘theory-faux’ on the Wyrd forums.
Overall: 34 wins, 6 losses
Neverborn: 31 wins, 5 losses (Collodi: 8 wins, 1 loss; Dreamer: 4 wins, 0 losses; Lilith: 7 wins, 1 loss; Jakob Lynch: 5 wins, 1 loss; Pandora: 7 wins, 2 losses)
Resurrectionists: 3 wins, 1 loss (Kirai Ankoku: 0 wins, 1 loss; Molly Squidpiddge : 3 wins, 0 losses)

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

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.

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