Once again Kai organised a Malifaux event at Common Ground Games, so once again Gareth and I boarded the train to Stirling to take part. This event was low key and not really highly attended, and I got the impression that a lot of people were trying out something bit new after the Scottish GT in July. Indeed, I took Neverborn but picked up some toys for the Resurrectionists during the day.
Game 1: Neverborn (me) vs Gremlins (David Hamilton)
Strategy: Turf War, standard deployment
Pool: Claim Jump, Frame for Murder, Dig Their Graves, Inspection, Last Stand
Neverborn: Frame for Murder (Hungering Darkness), Claim Jump
Gremlins: Frame for Murder (Burt Jebsen), Inspection
Neverborn: Jakob Lynch (Endless Hunger), Hungering Darkness, 2 Waldgeists, Spawn Mother (Hexed Among You), Bad Juju (Eternal Fiend), McTavish, Will O’ The Wisp
Gremlins: Zipp (The Gift of the Gab, Airship Spotlight, Rambling Diatribe), Earl Burns, Iron Skeeter (Hovering Airship), Iron Skeeter (Poorly Handled Explosives), Burt Jebsen (Dirty Cheater), The First Mate (Treasure Map, Where The Captain Can’t See), Mechanical Porkchop, Sparks
I was originally considering playing the Dreamer in all three rounds for the event since I can’t quite seem to get the performance out of the little chap that I feel is possible. But when David announced Gremlins I had a feeling that I would be seeing Zipp or Wong, both of whom I think would make pretty short work of the Dreamer (and Pandora, another likely option for this strategy), so I went with the old faithful crew of Lynch plus Swampfiends. Actually crew might have been an interesting one to use for Last Stand as it has plenty of Henchmen, but I still think that it is a terrible scheme since I don’t generally aim to lose all my pieces (at least, not faster than the other crew). Instead I went for the slightly predictable combination of Claim Jump and Frame For Murder (on Hungering Darkness as it’s so easy to kill and doesn’t bring out Bad Juju).
Turn 1: Earl Burns hands out Tomes to everyone nearby and Sparks makes the Mechanical Porkchop Fast. On my side of the board, the Spawn Mother lays an egg and the Wisp hatches it. The left Iron Skeeter makes Burt Fast and taxis him up into range, so one of my Waldgeists moves to hurt it, then Black Jokers the Germinate that would have allow it to cover Burt and Sparks also within melee range. Zipp attacks the Waldgeist with Up We Go (I really hate how that attack ignores pretty much every defense in the game) and the Mechanical Porkchop pushes it around some more. Eventually Burt kills it in such a position that I can’t bring out Bad Juju. The other Waldgeist moves over to block the same choke point as its predecessor and the First Mate uses Menacing Croak to push the Spawn Mother back toward me. Lynch drops a scheme marker for McTavish to eat, and the latter guns down an Iron Skeeter. Hungering Darkness uses Heed My Voice to make Sparks move away from the action.
Turn 2: Hungering Darkness takes three attacks to kill off the other Iron Skeeter despite it being only on two wounds at the start. Zipp zaps it to push it back toward me, then flies over and shoots the Spawn Mother to stop her laying eggs, or doing anything else at all useful. The Gupps drops scheme markers and the First Mate comes over to eat one of them. McTavish shoots Burt and then Sparks gives him armour. An armoured Burt is all kinds of horrible, as the Waldgeist demonstrates by flailing uselessly at him. Lynch gently tickles Zipp with Play For Blood; I really wanted to deal with the First Mate but the combination of armour and Perfect Camouflage meant that would be really hard to do. The Mechanical Porkchop and Earl move to the board edges and score for Inspection; we both also score for Turf War.
Turn 3: Zipp shoots both McTavish and the Spawn Mother to stop them taking (0) actions. Hungering Darkness attacks Burt but Black Jokers the first attack then David flips the Red Joker on the second, killing my Henchman with All In The Reflexes. Still, at least I get some points for Frame For Murder. The First Mate takes his turn and Black Jokers his Leap. Sparks makes Burt a Construct again and hands out Fast, the Burt walks over to Lynch and kills himself on Lynch’s Hold ‘Em trigger (for some reason it didn’t occur to me to just not declare this) giving David three points for Frame For Murder. Lynch, the Spawn Mother and McTavish kill Zipp. David scores again for Inspection and we both score for the strategy.
Turn 4: McTavish hurts Earl so the First Mate Leaps over to guarantee the Inspection points. Lynch kills Sparks. We run out of time even with me passing all my remaining models, and unfortunately there isn’t time for one more turn. I do score Claim Jump this time, David gets the last point for Inspection and I take Turf War. Neverborn lose 6 – 8 (3 for Turf War, 2 for Frame For Murder and 1 for Claim Jump for me; 2 for Turf War, 3 for Frame For Murder and 3 for Inspection for David).
That was a game that I felt should have been closer, and I will admit that I was a bit irritated that we didn’t have time for a couple of activations of turn 5 since I could conceivable have pulled up for a tie. Still, it was great to get another game against such a nice and skilled opponent as David, and at the end of it he played the game more efficiently than I did. David did really well to play around the threat of Bad Juju, effectively controlling my pieces with Zipp rather than killing them. I am also quite pleased by the prospect of David returning to really regular play at tournaments as he has the ability to be among the strongest players in Scotland. I should have killed my own Gupps in turn 3 to bring out Bad Juju. I also made the mistake of giving away Frame For Murder by needlessly using Lynch’s defensive trigger, though the prospect of letting Burt just wander round attacking my stuff was also quite unappealing.
Game 2: Neverborn (me) vs Resurrectionists (David McGuire)
Strategy: Headhunter, flank deployment
Pool: Claim Jump, Eliminate the Leadership, Frame for Murder, Mark for Death, Tail ’em
Neverborn: Frame for Murder (Nekima), Claim Jump
Resurrectionists: Eliminate the Leadership, Mark for Death
Neverborn: Dreamer (Dreams of Pain, Otherworldly), 3 Daydreams, Nekima, 2 Teddies
Resurrectionists: Molly Squidpiddge (Forgotten Life, Tear of the Gorgon), Carrion Emissary (Carrion Conflux), Johan, 3 Rotten Belles, Nurse, Crooked Man
So now that I was out of the running to win, I decided to try out a fairly silly crew. I’m pretty sure I heard of someone else using this (maybe Greg P) so it’s certainly not my original idea, but it is really funny to play. The idea is to throw the Teddies into the other crew, then follow-up with Nekima. By the time that lot has been dispatched, I have hopefully summoned enough stuff to win the game. Optionally, Lord Chompy Bits is usually ready to work by the time my forward line has been handled, so I can also fire him up in to the other crew for more distraction. Teddy can be very easy to control again Resurrectionists due to its low stats, but the terrifying test can be quite an effective hand-drain. I picked Frame For Murder on Nekima as I planned for her to die early (could also have picked either Teddy for the same reason) and Claim Jump since I was hoping to pin David right back off the centre line. Thanks here to Jamie for lending me his very nicely painted Miss Ery.
Turn 1: My Daydreams push both Teddies forward aggressively; one of them sacrifices itself to give the Dreamer a mask for summoning. The Emissary comes up and puts Shards in the centre of the board and moves back, but there isn’t a choke point for this to be a big problem for me. The Dreamer summons Lelu, Lititu and a replacement Daydream, then Molly comes forward and summons a Punk Zombie between my Teddies and gives one of them Whispered Secrets. The Belles Lure her back to safety and bring the affected Teddy in with her. It Focuses and eats the Nurse; I’m glad to get her out of the way at least. Nekima kills the Punk Zombie and Lelu walks on to its head.
Turn 2: Molly puts a Teddy on negative flips with Whispered Secret. The other Teddy Flurries Molly, pushing towards my crew before a Belle Lures her back to relative safety. The Crooked Man Marks the de-buffed Teddy for Death and the Belles Lure it around, eventually killing the big cuddly beast off with a Red Joker pounce attack and scoring a point for Mark for Death; Johan picks up its head. Meanwhile the Daydreams push Lilitu forward and she then Lures Nekima forward to where she can attack the Emissary for depressingly little effect. Lelu picks up a head somewhere here and Dreamer just pushes my stuff around with Empty Night. We both score for Headhunter.
Turn 3: Molly Paralyses Nekima and gives the surviving Teddy Whispered Secrets. The Belles eventually pull Nekima down with Pounces after something Marks her (another point for Mark for Death for David, and two for Frame For Murder for me). The Daydreams move Teddy back into range of the Dreamer to remove the condition with Empty Night, then he summons Coppelius and an Insidious Madness and turns into Lord Chompy Bits. The Crooked Man unluckily Black Jokers a chance at Paralysing Teddy, which would have been annoying after I’d just removed Whispered Secrets from it. Lord Chompy Bits eats the Crooked Man and is Lured forward by a Belle; Teddy does some more damage to Molly. Somewhere in her I pick up a head (probably the Nurse’s) and get markers down for Claim Jump, scoring both.
Turn 4: We’re pretty much out of time. Lord Chompy Bits kills the Emissary and turns back into the Dreamer. Molly hurts the Dreamer and chain activates Johan who burns my cards and gets my master down to half wounds, thereby scoring a point for Eliminate the Leadership. I don’t have time to put down scheme markers or pick up heads. Neverborn win 5 – 4 (2 for Headhunter, 2 for Frame For Murder and 1 for Claim Jump for me; 1 for Headhunter, 2 for Mark for Death and 1 for Eliminate the Leadership for David).
That game was a lot of fun, and very instructive for me in terms of future use of Molly (as she is my next planned master). I’m always especially pleased to play against Molly when piloted by David since he is her creator in the fluff. Overall, I think that I had things well in hand in this game, but neither of us were playing very quickly so the scores were low on both sides. The game was also strewn with minor positioning errors on my side which is a bit sloppy, but David was out of practice so he didn’t capitalise on them as well as he might have done when he was playing more regularly.
Game 3: Neverborn (me) vs Gremlins (Steve McVicar)
Strategy: Interference, close deployment
Pool: Claim Jump, Accusation!, Dig Their Graves, Covert Breakthrough, Hunting Party
Neverborn: Claim Jump, Dig Their Graves
Resurrectionists: Dig Their Graves, Hunting Party
Neverborn: Dreamer (Dreams of Pain, Otherworldly), 2 Daydreams, Nekima (One Thousand Faces), Barbaros (One Thousand Faces), 3 Terror Tots
Gremlins: Wong (Dirty Cheater, Ooh Glowy, Explosive Solutions), McTavish (Dirty Cheater), Old Cranky, 2 Swinecursed, 2 Lightning Bugs, Slop Hauler
I really wanted to try out a game with this Dreamer crew and utilising the Grow mechanic for Nephilim. The only other time I used this crew I never even got started since I was under such pressure right from the very first activation (game 3). So my idea was to send in the Nephilim and then use the Dreamer to summon in back-up pieces to cover the table for the strategy. As a bonus, two likely summons (Lelu and Lilitu) even have Black Blood so I could be a bit more relaxed in my positioning. I chose Claim Jump and Dig Their Graves for the obvious synergy, but I’m not sure why I didn’t pick Covert Breakthrough as it is really easy to score in close deployment. Probably I didn’t even look past those two that I selected. Steve makes McTavish Glowy to no-one’s surprise.
Turn 1: My hand is awful, even after using soulstones. It really hurts a summoner to have a terrible hand in turn 1. We’re both really cautious in positioning here. McTavish blows a hole in Nekima from across the board. The Dreamer summons a pair of Insidious Madnesses with my only two decent cards and then Black Jokers a Daydream summon. Nekima moves into the centre to capitalise on winning initiative next turn, or hopefully survive long enough to do anything useful if I don’t.
Turn 2: I don’t win initiative. The central Swinecursed goes into Nekima and gets a lucky Red Joker damage which really hurts, though she does survive. Unfortunately, the return swings are blunted by Steve top-decking two Kings in a row on defense, which I can’t match so I don’t even take out the Swinecursed never mind do anything else useful. McTavish comes in and kills Nekima easily. A Terror Tot kills the wounded Swinecursed, but unfortunately Steve points out (correctly) that I didn’t remember to change out One Thousand Faces for Rapid Growth on Barbaros. I do it now, and Barbaros charges into Old Cranky for minimal effect except to tie up a big chunk of Gremlins. Wong fails his Challenge duel three times in a row trying to shoot the Tot, meanwhile the other two put down scheme markers. Not much gets done as we’re both out of cards. The Dreamer does manage to summon a desultory Daydream. I score for Claim Jump and we both get the strategy.
Turn 3: Barbaros bounces of Old Cranky again but Nimbles over to tie up more stuff. McTavish kills the nearby Tot, scoring for Dig Their Graves (but not Hunting Party as Steve forgot that models counting for Dig Their Graves can’t count for anything else). The surviving Swinecursed, Wong and the Lightning Bug all attack Barbaros but the Nephilim hangs in there taking everything that Steve can throw at him. The Dreamer summons Lilitu and turns in Lord Chompy Bits, who finally deals with McTavish. I score for Interference and Claim Jump.
Turn 4: Barbaros finally kills Old Cranky and is eventually pulled down by the Slop Hauler somewhere near the end of the turn. The Swinecursed hurts Lord Chompy Bits and is eaten in reply, scoring my own Dig Their Graves; Dreamer reappears. Lilitu Lures the Left Lightning Bug right into the centre of the board and Dreamer Paralyses it then summons Lelu into the spot where Barbaros just fell. Lelu kills the Slop Hauler to heal up. I score for the strategy and Claim Jump again.
Turn 5: Lelu hurts the Lightning Bug next to him and is stabbed in return by Wong (this kills the Bug due to Black Blood). The Dreamer puts down a scheme marker then finishes off the other Lightning Bug for Dig Their Graves. I score for Interference; Neverborn win 9 – 2 (4 for Interference, 3 for Claim Jump and 2 for Dig Their Graves for me; 1 for Interference and 1 for Dig Their Graves for Steve).
That was another excellent game against Steve, who I felt did well considering his relative inexperience with Gremlins. On the other hand, he knows Dreamer pretty well, so probably had no problem knowing what to do to stymie me. My big mistakes were forgetting to change in Rapid Growth on Barbaros in turn 1, then failing to realise that it was a lost cause in turn 2 and going for it anyway; I would have been far better served taking Fears Given Form at that point. Playing so aggressively with Nekima was a risk worth taking, I think. If I’d stayed back and played more cagily I’d have been shot to bits by Wong and McTavish, and Nekima gave the rest of my crew the time to get into position.
Somewhat to my surprise, I get third place when the scores are announced; though positions two to six are only separated by very tiny amounts. I had a great day, and went home with a large pile of Resurrectionists to put together. Thanks to David, David and Steve for fun games of Malifaux, and to Kai as always for his great efforts running the event and generally being the focal point of Malifaux in Scotland.