Posts Tagged With: Tournaments

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.

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: Malfunctional (50SS); 10Jun2017

I took the train all alone over to Common Ground Games in Stirling for the Malfunctional Malifaux event. The regular tournaments run by 2G1P attract folks from across Scotland and go from strength to strength thanks to organiser Kai and the others from the club. After some discussion within the FB group this event was increased to four rounds as the number of players meant that it would be unlikely to generate a clear winner after three. This is good news from me; the more Malifaux the better as far as I’m concerned.

Game 1: Neverborn (me) vs Arcanists (David Kerr Smith)

Strategy: Reckoning, corner deployment

Schemes
Pool: Claim Jump, Eliminate The Leadership, Leave Your Mark, Recover Evidence, Mark For Death
Neverborn: Claim Jump, Eliminate The Leadership
Arcanists: Leave Your Mark, Mark For Death

Crews
Neverborn: Pandora (The Box Opens, Fears Given Form), Barbaros, Nekima (One Thousand Faces), 2 Illuminated, Beckoner, Primordial Magic
Arcanists: Ramos (Under Pressure, Arcane Reservoir, Field Generator), Joss (Warding Runes, Bleeding Edge Tech), Soulstone Miner, Brass Arachnid, Firestarter (Imbued Energies, Imbued Protection), Arcane Effigy, Steam Arachnid

David was the first person I ever played in a Malifaux tournament game, all the way back the Blood, Steel and Stones event. Lately, after a long lay-off from Malifaux, he’s been getting back into the game and has joined our regular gaming night to get his hand back in. I took a small and somewhat tough crew to try to avoid giving up Reckoning points too easily; Pandora was picked quite arbitrarily and I could just as easily have favoured Lilith here. I was rather surprised to see that David picked Ramos for this strategy and had been expecting him to take Kaeris (another favourite) instead as I feel that Ramos’s biggest strength is his summoning; which of course is less useful in Reckoning. None of the schemes really appealed so I took Claim Jump on the basis that at least it would be in my control and eventually settled on Eliminate The Leadership thinking that, as tough as Ramos is to kill, I might somehow get to him as I waded through his crew.

Turn 1: The Steam Arachnid scuttles forward, followed by Joss who carves it neatly into two scrap counters. Ramos duly turns this into a trio of Steam Arachnids which themselves eventually form a Steam Arachnid Swarm. Pandora triple walks across the table (the indignity!) and Incites both the Arcane Effigy and Joss to begin Operation: Get In The Way. The Soulstone Miner appears behind a tree on the left side of the board.

Turn 2: Joss is forced to go first while he has the Swarm blocking his charge on Pandora so he misses a Focused shot at her. The Beckoner Lures the Firestarter in and makes him Brilliant, then the Illuminated smites him while the Arcane Effigy is obliged to activate and achieve nothing. Finally free to actually activate according to David’s wishes, Ramos summons another three Steam Arachnids. Pandora scoots into the middle of the neat cluster of Arcanists that has formed and I introduce David to the pleasure of three Inflict actions. This eventually kills the Brass Arachnid and one of the newly summoned Steam Arachnids, but more importantly mills most of the good cards out of David’s hand. Nekima kills the Fiestarter, Barbaros and the other Illuminated drop scheme markers and the rest of David’s crew flail uselessly at Pandora. I score for Reckoning and Claim Jump.

Turn 3: Barbaros puts up Challenge and charges into the Swarm for minimal effect. The Incited Effigy mucks about a bit then the Beckoner Lures the Miner toward her. Joss misses a couple of attacks on Barbaros and Pandora uses Inflict to eventually finish off the Effigy and put a few wounds on most of the crew. Ramos summons another three Arachnids and Black Jokers a shot at Barbaros. Nekima carves up the Soulstone Miner and the right Illuminated kills one Steam Arachnid while the rest of them completely fail to land a hit on Barbaros. I score again for Reckoning and Claim Jump.

Turn 4: Barbaros pushes Joss back to keep him away, then kills another of the endless Steam Arachnids. Ramos summons two more of them and puts up Arcing Screen. Pandora Inflicts a few more times as the damage starts to mount up. Steam Arachnids continue to bounce ineffectually off Barbaros, who is living a charmed life; the Swarm helpfully Black Jokers damage on him at some point too. This is the last turn, so Nekima and one Illuminated head off to deny points for Leave Your Mark. I score for the strategy and Claim Jump one more time. Neverborn win 6 – 0 (3 for Reckoning and 3 for Claim Jump for me; nothing for David).

David is a very fun person to play with, and he’s getting better with each game. I think that here he had fundamentally the wrong approach though, as summoning piles of cheap minions just let me kill them off a couple at a time for Reckoning. I don’t know Ramos well, but presumably there is a way to play him that doesn’t focus so much on the summoning; if not, another master was probably indicated. From my side, of course it was indeed a mistake to consider Eliminate The Leadership on Ramos; I probably had the tools to deal with him in Nekima, but in the end I pinned Ramos right on one board edge and all my fighting stuff was far away and busy. I’m not really sure what I would have taken as another option though.

[Edit: David has posted his thoughts about the event in general and our game in particular on his own excellent blog here].

Game 2: Neverborn (me) vs Resurrectionists (Stewart Herbert)

Strategy: Turf War, standard deployment

Schemes
Pool: Claim Jump, Frame For Murder, Leave Your Mark, Undercover Entourage, A Quick Murder
Neverborn: Frame For Murder (Hungering Darkness), Leave Your Mark
Resurrectionists: Frame For Murder (Shikome), A Quick Murder

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: Dr Douglas McMourning (Moonlighting), Zombie Chihuahua, Sebastian (Transfusion, These Are Not Ours), Anna Lovelace (My Little Helper), Shikome, Flesh Construct, Nurse, 2 Canine Remains

Stewart is really stepping up his tournament appearances lately, having traveled down both for this event and Cry Havoc last week where we met in round one. Turf War felt like a a great option to use this highly entertaining Lynch crew. Having Hexed Among You means that my Waldgeists can start right where I need them, and if they (or almost anything else) gets dislodged then they get Bad Juju to deal with. The Spawn Mother would combine with the Wisp to generate Gupps to score Leave Your Mark, and McTavish is intended to play a sort of sweeper role and take out anything that gets stuck into my front line. Frame For Murder on Hungering Darkness feels like a good option in this crew since it is almost the only thing that can be killed without releasing Bad Juju. Big thanks to Michael for lending me his Lynch and Hungering Darkness as it turned out that mine are still in Gareth’s case while he’s been playing Ten Thunders.

Turn 1: The Spawn Mother lays an egg and the Wisp hatches it. Meanwhile, the Flesh Construct walks up and gets charged by the Nurse, ending on something like Poison +1000. Both Canine Remains shoot up the table, obligingly ending up with 4″ of the left Waldgeist which Germinates next to itself then kills one of them. Lynch guns down the Chihuahua and puts down a scheme marker for McTavish to eat later. Sebastian summons another Canine Remains from what was left of the first one. Hungering Darkness uses Heed My Voice to move the Flesh Construct away, then McMourning pushes it back into my face and charges Hungering Darkness.

Turn 2: Hungering Darkness smites McMourning and heals a little damage, then the doctor kills it off, giving up 3VP for Frame For Murder. The Spawn Mother charges the Shikome for depressingly little impact while the Flesh Construct and Waldgeist poke each other ineffectually over on the right. Anna and the Shikome somehow fail to kill the Gupps, then McTavish puts a couple of bullets into the Shikome. The left Waldgeist kills the other Canine Remains and Lynch puts a bit of damage into McMourning. We both score for Turf War.

Turn 3: Jakob Lynch guns down McMourning and pumps some bullets into the massive damage sponge that is the Flesh Construct. The Nurse pumps up the Flesh Construct with better melee attacks. The Spawn Mother hits the Shikome, but something in the way Stewart is Cheating Fate makes me suspect Frame For Murder so her second attack is on Sebastian. The morgue assistant hits her back and the Waldgeist luckily polishes off the Flesh Construct with a Red Joker on damage. Anna somehow again fails to kill the Gupps which run off to drop a scheme marker. McTavish kills another Canine Remains but misses attacks on the Nurse while the other Waldgeist pokes at Sebastian. We both score for the strategy and I score Leave Your Mark.

Turn 4: The Waldgeist kills the Shikome, handing 1VP for Frame For Murder to Stewart. Anna misses shots at the Waldgeist and the Spawn Mother kills Sebastian. The Nurse Paralyses Lynch with Take Your Meds. The Waldgeist kills the Nurse; the Rooted trigger turned out to be very useful here. McTavish shoots Anna and the Gupps put another scheme marker down. I score for the strategy and Leave Your Mark again.

Turn 5: McTavish focuses and kills Anna Lovelace. Neverborn win 10 – 3 (full score for me; 2 for Turf War and 1 for Frame For Murder for Stewart).

Stewart is getting much more experience as a player as he attends more events outside his local area. He played his strategy to keep Bad Juju off the table really well (indeed, I didn’t get the Mire Golem out at all) but the end result of this was that while I was able to whittle down Stewart’s crew, he never killed any of mine apart from Hungering Darkness. I was quite surprised that the Gupps at least didn’t get killed off by Lovelace, but most of Stewart’s good cards were dedicated to keeping his own crew alive, and as the momentum snowballed in my favour I simply had too many AP to spend on attacks against him. Perhaps a better approach would have been to allow Bad Juju to Unbury, then keep it Paralysed with the Nurse for as long as possible.

Game 3: Neverborn (me) vs Arcanists (Joe Taylor)

Strategy: Collect The Bounty, flank deployment

Schemes
Pool: Claim Jump, Eliminate The Leadership, Dig Their Graves, Covert Breakthrough, Tail ‘Em
Neverborn: Dig Their Graves, Covert Breakthrough
Arcanists: Claim Jump, Covert Breakthrough

Crews
Neverborn: Lilith (Beckon Malifaux), Nekima (One Thousand Faces), Doppelganger, 3 Waldgeists, Lilitu, Cherub
Arcanists: Colette Du Bois (Arcane Reservoir, Cabaret Choreography, Practiced Production), Howard Langston (Imbued Energies), Mechanical Rider (Imbued Energies), Hoarcat Pride, Large Arachnid, 3 Mechanical Doves

For this round, I got to have another crack at the Nicest Man In Malifaux after his sound thrashing of me last week. Funnily enough, Joe and I played this exact strategy and scheme combination earlier in the week (though with completely different crews) and came to the conclusion that it was quite horrible to pick a crew that could do well at both schemes and strategies. I considered all the masters I had access to and finally settled on Lilith as her board control could help me to isolate enemies and concentrate them down to kill them on my terms without exposing myself to too much of a reprisal. The Waldgeists were taken on the basis that nobody counter-picks Neverborn with anti-armour technology and so they would hopefully be a big problem to deal with efficiently. I borrowed Lilitu from Steve as her Lure is better than a Beckoner, and I didn’t need the other options that Beckoners bring. Covert Breakthrough feels like it should be quite achievable in flank deployment as you don’t have to cover much ground to put markers near the other zone. I considered both Claim Jump and Dig Their Graves (or both) and settled on the latter as it combined better with what I’d be trying to do anyway, i.e. kill everything in Joe’s crew.

Turn 1: To my great surprise, Howard activates early and just moves across the board. I suspect a trap and check in case Frame For Murder is in the scheme pool, but decide that I can’t pass up on an opportunity to deal with him so early. Lilitu Lures the big guy in and a Waldgeist charges for a couple of points of damage but mainly to position for a Tangle Shadows point for Nekima. Lilith swaps Nekima in and kills a nearby Dove, then puts an Illusory Forest in the most annoying place I can see. Another Dove gives Howard positive defensive flips, but it doesn’t help against Nekima who carves the Steamborg Executioner down. Colette places the Large Arachnid forward with Disappearing Act and summons another Dove. She then Prompts the Mechanical Rider to kill my Cherub. The Large Arachnid eats one of my scheme markers and attacks the nearest Waldgeist.

Turn 2: A Dove turbo-charges the Large Arachnid which Chain Activates to hurt the Waldgeist and knock its armour off. The other Waldgeist puts some damage into the Mechanical Rider. It burns Imbued Energies, summons a Mannequin to push away from Lilith and shoots her three times. The unarmoured Waldgeist pokes at the Large Arachnid and the furthest forward Dove runs as far to my table corner as possible. Lilith Tangle Shadows Nekima and the Doppelganger and puts some damage into the Mechanical Rider, though this is foiled once by the Black Joker. Lilitu Lures the Dove back toward me so I don’t have to deal with a scheme marker so far up, and pulls the back Waldgeist toward the action. Colette fires the Hoarcat Pride at me with Disappearing Act and Prompt. The Waldgeist at the back kills the Dove that Lilitu Lured; this was a mistake as I should have dealt with the Hoarcat Pride which eats my injured Waldgeist. The Doppelganger copies Nekima’s sword and makes short work of the Hoarcats, the Nekima herself kills the Mechanical Rider. I score Collect The Bounty and Joe scores Claim Jump.

Turn 3: The Waldgeist puts a scheme marker near the Large Arachnid, so Colette does various shenanigans to get it away from my crew. Lilitu Lures it in, then it walks away. Finally Lilith Tangles Shadows to bring it to me, then kills it for Dig Their Graves. Nekima kills the last Dove and stands next to Colette, who is admittedly surrounded by scheme markers. I score for the strategy.

Turn 4: Colette proves to be remarkably killy, and nearly finishes off Nekima from a standing start. Lilith Tangles Shadows to get Colette away from her scheme markers, then kills her for Dig Their Graves. Neverborn win 9 – 1 (4 for Collect The Bounty, 2 for Dig Their Graves and 3 for Covert Breakthrough for me; 1 for Claim Jump for Joe).

I love to play Malifaux with Joe, and he’s really improving his skill levels lately. The game really turned on Joe’s early mistake with Howard Langston; it is probable that he forgot about Lilitu (who admittedly was slightly tucked slightly under a balcony) though I did point it out before we started. My gamble with the Waldgeists was reasonably effective, though the presence of the Large Arachnid made short work of one of them. Being able to Lure and Tangle Shadows meant that I was able to engage on my own terms for the most part, and the concentration of force was enough to make sure I killed the right number of Arcanists each turn to score.

Game 4: Neverborn (me) vs Outcasts (Ali Ferguson)

Strategy: Headhunter, close deployment

Schemes
Pool: Claim Jump, Dig Their Graves, Accusation, Recover Evidence, Last Stand
Neverborn: Claim Jump, Recover Evidence
Outcasts: Claim Jump, Last Stand

Crews
Neverborn: Collodi (Strum The Threads, Fated), Brutal Effigy, Barbaros (One Thousand Faces), Nekima (One Thousand Faces), 3 Terror Tots, Black Blood Shaman
Outcasts: Viktoria of Ashes (Sisters in Spirit, Sisters in Fury, Synchronised Slaying), Viktoria of Blood (Mark of Shezuul, Oathkeeper), Nothing Beast (Void Shield, The Bigger They Come), Ashes & Dust, Vanessa (Oathkeeper), Malifaux Child

Since I had already played the other three Neverborn masters I have access to, it felt fitting to use Collodi for this final round. The Nephilim list is really quite effective, and for Headhunter it has a nice mix of heavy hitting power to kill the enemy crew and cheap minions to pick up their heads. Collodi also can pass out AP to the crew as needed for collecting Heads. The Brutal Effigy goes wherever Collodi goes of course, as the doll combines so nicely with the puppet master. Seeing the Viktorias across the table in close deployment is quite scary, though I heartily approved of Ali’s choice of upgrades on the sisters as they’re exactly what I prefer. Again I swithered between Claim Jump, Dig Their Graves or both and eventually selected the first option as it gave me an option to send a Tot round to the far side of the outermost buildings if Ali’s small crew clustered in the centre. Recover Evidence seemed quite a good option as with such a small crew Ali would be hard pressed to keep the markers away from where I could get to them. I was quite interested in the match-up to see if my experience playing with the Viktorias would translate into success playing against them.

Turn 1: The Malifaux Child casts Sisters In Fury while I waste activations with the Brutal Effigy and Terror Tots. Vanessa Commands Construct to move Ashes & Dust to my left and zaps Barbaros, so Barbaros takes Rapid Growth and charges her right back. The Nothing Beast commits to the right side and Ashes & Dust to the left, presumably to counter the Tots I have there, while Nekima picks up Fears Given Form and smacks Vanessa now that the only counter charge is from Viktoria (and there is no staying out of her threat range). Ali elects to hold the Viks back to threaten me for next turn and I see my chance to control them before my whole crew gets blended. The Shaman gives Collodi Black Blood and pushes it forward before becoming the Personal Puppet. Collodi Pulls The Strings on Viktoria of Blood a couple of times, critically getting the My Bidding Trigger to attack her sister. Ali flips the Black Joker for the master’s defense, and I have the Red Joker in hand, so that is the end of Viktoria of Ashes. At the end of the turn Ali reveals Last Stand.

Turn 2: I reveal Recover Evidence since Ali has only 5 pieces left on the board. Barbaros kills Vanessa and there is a Tot in range to Grow, but I decide that the Tot will be more useful to me than a Young Nephilim at this point and elect not to Grow. The Nothing Beast Focuses to attack Barbaros but flips the Black Joker for damage, then Ashes & Dust kills the Tot on the left and picks up its Head. Collodi finishes Viktoria of Blood and picks up a nearby head. One Tot and the Brutal Effigy drop scheme markers while the other picks up an Evidence token. Nekima hurts the Nothing Beast and gets hit back for her troubles. I score for Claim Jump and we both score for Headhunter.

Turn 3: Nekima Kills the Nothing Beast while Ali has a hand full of cards. Ashes & Dust collects another Head. The Effigy and a Tot put down scheme markers and Collodi drops Ashes & Dust to 2 wounds remaining (I deliberately left it alive so I could have a chance to deal with it properly next turn) then picks up some Evidence. Barbaros collects more Evidence and the other Tot gets a Head marker. We both score Headhunter again and I get Claim Jump.

Turn 4: Collodi breaks up Ashes & Dust then kills the Dust Storm. The rest of my crew throw attacks at the Ashen Core, as long as they’re not busy with Heads or scheme markers. I score for Claim Jump and Headhunter. There are no Heads left, Ashen Core won’t drop one and can’t move to pick any up, so we call it there. Neverborn win 9 – 2 (3 for Headhunter, 3 for Recover Evidence and 3 for Claim Jump for me; 2 for Headhunter for Ali).

All games with Ali are fun and this was certainly no exception; he just has such a nice attitude to gaming that one can’t help but smile along as we play. In general I think that his approach of using the Viktorias as an area denial threat is quite good, but in this case the large threat range on Collodi plus the low number of AP generated by the Outcast crew combined perhaps make the immediate alpha strike a better option. Once Viktoria of Ashes went down for essentially no impact on the game, this was really over as a contest and it was just a matter of letting my bigger number of activations carry the day. This was doubly the case in Headhunter where Ali had to choose between using his expensive pieces to kill my crew or score points.

Once the scores were calculated I came in first place as the only player on four wins. I was particularly pleased to see three of my opponents, Joe, Stewart and Ali, come in third, fourth and fifth having only lost one game each (i.e. to me). As always I had a terrific time and would thank David, Stewart, Joe and Ali for four fun games of Malifaux and Kai and Callum for doing the work to run the tournament in the first place.

Categories: Battle reports, Campaigns, Malifaux, Tournaments | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Malifaux tournament report: Cry Havoc 2017 (50SS); 03Jun2017

Cry Havoc is a regular date in the regional wargaming calendar, and lately it has featured a Malifaux tournament, so Gareth and I headed over the Forth Bridge to Dunfermline to take part. It ended up being a fairly small event (at least, compared to the Age Of Sigmar tournament sharing the hall) but most of the Malifaux-playing areas of Scotland seemed to provide at least one player to test their mettle.

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

Strategy: Reconnoitre, close deployment

Schemes
Pool: Claim Jump, Dig Their Graves, Leave Your Mark, Covert Breakthrough, Last Stand
Neverborn: Leave Your Mark, Covert Breakthrough
Resurrectionists: Leave Your Mark, Covert Breakthrough

Crews
Neverborn: Pandora (The Box Opens, Fears Given Form), Barbaros (One Thousand Faces), Nekima (One Thousand Faces), 3 Terror Tots, Black Blood Shaman, Primordial Magic
Resurrectionists: Seamus (Sinister Reputation, Redchapel Killer), Copycat Killer, Dead Doxy, Night Terror, Rotten Belle, Forgotten Marshal, Necropunk, Rogue Necromancy, Philip and the Nanny (The Haunting)

With close deployment I decided to pick a Pandora crew since it would mean that I could hopefully get her in about the Resurrectionist crew before they could split up and therefore keep a big chunk busy. I find that she’s really good at draining cards and since I was partly expecting Nicodem here I was intending to expend Pandora as a distraction piece. The rest of my crew is a Nephilim list that is pretty mobile and threatens to Grow opportunistically. I find that it is quite hard to rely on Grow in a crew, but having the option can force people to respect the threat of it. More importantly, it is highly amusing when it actually works. I’ve used more or less the same crew with Lilith and Collodi at the helm in previous events and it appears to work well regardless of the chosen Master. With close deployment it was a simple choice to pick both Leave Your Mark and Covert Breakthrough since any markers touching the centre line would be good enough to score it. When Stewart revealed his crew with Sinister Reputation on Seamus I was quite worried and knew I would have to play Pandora somewhat cagily to keep her safe from him.

Turn 1: Seamus starts off by using Back Alley to get behind my lines, then helpfully flips really low on a shot at a Tot, allowing me to cheat to avoid it. The Copycat Killer moves to him and tries the same, with similarly ineffective results, much to both our surprise. The Doxy uses Take The Lead to move the Rogue Necromancy up on the right, so Pandora pushes over to it (Inciting the Belle and Doxy in the process) and beats its hard enough to drop the Three Headed rule. The Belle Lures it back to relative safety. Barbaros swaps in Rapid Growth and moves to cover Pandora on the right, and the Necromancy comes forward and misses an optimistic ranged attack at Barbaros. Nekima picks up Fears Give Form and double walks over to smite the Forgotten Marshal and engage the Necropunk. The latter predictably Leaps away and is eventually stabbed by the Black Blood Shaman. The Forgotten Marshal rather obligingly not only fails his Fears Given Form check (which kills him) but also Black Jokers the check to see what was hidden in his coffin.

Turn 2: The Black Blood Shaman polishes off the Necropunk. The Doxy pushes Pandora around and gives her the Confused Feelings condition. Sensing that this could be rather bad news with Seamus in view, Pandora scoots round the building and kills the Rogue Necromancy. The Copycat Killer misses the Tot again, and Barbaros charges into the Doxy to tie up Seamus. The Belle fails a Horror Duel trying to Lure Pandora around and a Tot joins in the mix to attack the Doxy. Philip and my other two Tots drop scheme markers, as does Seamus (to my great surprise) after walking out of Barbaros’s clutches. I score for the strategy and we both score for Leave Your Mark.

Turn 3: The Copycat Killer finally lands a hit on something, knocking the Primordial Magic down to a single wound. The Tot eats the Doxy and Grows into a Young Nephilim. Seamus drops another scheme marker and Barbaros charges into him. Philip drops another scheme marker and Nekima barrels into him vaporising the poor chap with a lucky Red Joker. The Belle makes some desultory attacks on Pandora, who completely fails to do anything in return to her. The new Young picks up a scheme marker near Nekima (in retrospect, I think that I shouldn’t have been able to do this as it had only been summoned that turn). The Tot charges the Night Terror and the Black Blood Shaman uses Pustule to finish it off. I score for Reconnoitre and Leave Your Mark again.

Turn 4: Seamus walks away from Barbaros, focuses and shoots into the melee with the Copycat Killer. Amusingly, he randomises onto the little guy and blows away his own totem. Pandora finally deals with the Belle and Nekima chops Seamus into a fine red mist. Neverborn win 10 – 1 (full score for me; 1 for Leave Your Mark for Stewart).

The cards in turn 1 favoured me a bit; whenever Stewart wanted to take a shot at anything with Seamus or the Copycat Killer I always seemed to be able to get to one higher than him. I was able to put the pressure on quite early by using Pandora to turn the Rogue Necromancy’s nasty damage track against it and by dropping the Forgotten Marshal in turn one. This meant that Seamus had to worry about dropping scheme markers rather than blowing up my crew with his horrible gun. Stewart took it all in his stride and was a gentleman throughout.

Game 2: Neverborn (me) vs Gremlins (Joe Taylor)

Strategy: Reckoning, standard deployment

Schemes
Pool: Claim Jump, Frame For Murder, Accusation, Hunting Party, Hidden Trap
Neverborn: Frame For Murder (Barbaros), Hunting Party
Gremlins: Claim Jump, Hunting Party

Crews
Neverborn: Pandora (The Box Opens, Fears Given Form), Barbaros, Nekima (One Thousand Faces), 2 Illuminated, Beckoner, Primordial Magic
Gremlins: Wong (Ooo Glowy), Gracie (Saddle), Burt Jebsen, Iron Skeeter (Do Over), Swine Cursed, Old Cranky, 2 Bayou Gremlins, 3 Stuffed Piglets

Joe had been talking about using this crew all morning, so I had some idea of what was coming, but sadly I couldn’t think of any really good counter so I ended up putting down a crew with some decent stats and hoping to ride out the horrible alpha strike that it can put out, then counter punching my way through with whatever I had left. I took Frame For Murder, expecting only 2VP since there are no Henchmen to worry about, and Hunting Party since I figured I might have some opportunity to take out the Swine Cursed, then would have to see if any opportunities arose to handle the rest of the Minions and Peons. Wong makes Burt Glowy.

Turn 1: I get hopelessly out activated, since between the Bayou Gremlins, Stuffed Piglets and Old Cranky (total 16 Soulstones) there are six activations. Pandora fires forward into an aggressive position, Inciting a couple of Stuffed Piglets in the process. I was hoping that I can abuse the Fading Memory push and her high stats to reduce retaliation, and then I could threaten a bigger chunk of Joe’s crew next turn. Similarly, Nekima goes forward on the far left and Black Jokers a swing at a Stuffed Piglet that had come up too far; the intention was to thin out the activations a bit. The rest of my crew huddle up a bit with Barbaros in the middle to abuse Challenge. The Iron Skeeter discards Do Over and moves Burt forward, making him Fast in the process. Gracie Reactivates and pulls the Swine Cursed forward four times. Burt kills Pandora, cheating in above me each time. Then the Swine Cursed kills Nekima with similarly little fuss. Wong misses a speculative shot at an Illuminated. This looks bad.

Turn 2: The Illuminated knocks the Iron Skeeter down to one wound. Barbaros kills a Stuffed Piglet to score Hunting Party and the Beckoner Lures Gracie forward so that she’s engaged with Barbaros but outside her own melee range, then fails to finish the Iron Skeeter with Despicable Promises. Now that Joe can use his crew in the order of his choice, Burt wipes out Barbaros (scoring me 2 VP for Frame For Murder) and Gracie kills the nearby Illuminated to score for Hunting Party. The Swine Cursed somehow misses the other Illuminated three times in a row and Wong shoots the Beckoner. We both score for Reckoning and Joe scores for Claim Jump.

Turn 3: The Swine Cursed finally hits the Illuminated, who kills it in return. Burt kills him in turn, scoring Hunting Party again. The Beckoner fails again to kill off the Iron Skeeter, then Gracie Saddles it toward the Beckoner. The Iron Skeeter fails to hit her somehow, so Wong does the job. With only the Primordial Magic cowering behind a tree, I’m happy to concede the rest of the points. Neverborn lose 4 – 10 (1 for Reckoning, 2 for Frame For Murder and 1 for Hunting Party for me; full score for Joe).

Ouch, that was quite brutal! Joe was, of course, a perfect gentleman all the while he was thrashing me soundly; one would expect nothing less of The Nicest Man in Malifaux. In retrospect, the choice to be really aggressive with Nekima and Pandora was probably wrong and I should have considered keeping them all in Barbaros’s Challenge Aura. But it would have been quite hard to position such that the aura couldn’t have been blocked by some good positioning on Joe’s part, and with the extreme threat range on Burt and the Swine Cursed I would have struggled to keep it relevant. Indeed, Joe could also have just killed Barbaros first. In fact, even if I’d played my own pieces much better, I’m not certain I could have avoided the devastating first turn here. The threat range on the Gremlin fighters is enough to get into my deployment zone so unless I huddle at my own table edge then I’m going to receive the attacks eventually, and even doing so means that Joe can spend turn one setting up as he pleases then pull the trigger on turn 2 instead. Also, Joe’s control hand on turn one was quite unholy: after cycling away an 8 with Old Cranky and drawing two cards with Do Over his lowest card was an 11 and three of them were 13s. I had nothing to match that so it was perhaps inevitable that I was going to lose something important.

The good thing about being beaten so thoroughly was that we had time to re-rack and try again with the same match-up after Joe and I had discussed a few options I could consider for the second game. So in a three round event, we got to play four games. However, I didn’t bother to note the details of the second game for your reading pleasure.

Game 3: Neverborn (me) vs Guild (Dave Laing)

Strategy: Turf War, corner deployment

Schemes
Pool: Claim Jump, Accusation, Leave Your Mark, Undercover Entourage, Set Up
Neverborn: Leave Your Mark, Undercover Entourage (Bad Juju)
Guild: Accusation, Set Up (Bad Juju)

Crews
Neverborn: Jakob Lynch (Endless Hunger), Hungering Darkness, 2 Waldgeists, Spawn Mother (Hexed Among You), Bad Juju (Eternal Fiend), McTavish, Will O’ The Wisp
Guild: Lucius (Secret Assets, Legalese, Surprisingly Loyal), Master Queeg (Promises, A Debt To The Guild), Captain Dashel (Arrest Them, Numb To The World), Witchling Thrall, Guild Pathfinder, Terracotta Warrior, The Scribe, Clockwork Trap

In a rare event for me, I had decided to use this list for this round long before the day of the tournament. It’s a bit of a gimmick list, or maybe a theme list, but the bits all fit together quite well and the whole thing is terrific fun to play. To summarise, the Spawn Mother and Will O’ The Wisp combine to summon Gupps at (sometimes) a rate of one per turn. Everything in the crew apart from Lynch and the Hungering Darkness (and including any Gupps I can summon) is a Swampfiend, so killing any of it will let me bring Bad Juju into play. McTavish synergises really nicely with other Swampfiends, both improving their cover and using them for his own amazing gun. The crew turns out to be quite independent of the Master; I’ve tried variations of it with Lilith and Pandora too for reasonable effect. In this case, Lynch brings the potential to abuse the ace of Masks for Gupps leaping, the badness that is Hungering Darkness and an AP he doesn’t always know how to use; I put this last part to good effect by dropping scheme markers for McTavish to eat. Various people have quite reasonably pointed out that I could go even further down this rabbit hole by putting Rising Sun on Lynch instead, but I’m more familiar with Endless Hunger and haven’t really tried the burying version of Hungering Darkness; anyway, the threat saturation of the crew is huge and often Hungering Darkness seems to be too much trouble to kill off so has survived the games anyway. Leave Your Mark was picked as I planned to summon Gupps and send them out of the Turf War area to score it, and I eventually chose Undercover Entourage on Bad Juju, figuring I could kill my own model near the Guild deployment zone if it was buried and I needed to bring the walking compost heap back into play.

Turn 1: The Spawn Mother moves up and lays an egg, which the Wisp hatches. The Terracotta Warrior puts Ancient Protection on the Witchling Thrall, who moves up centrally. The Gupps move to engage the Thrall, either to be killed and get Bad Juju out early, or to tie up the Thrall until I could deal with it. To my immense surprise, Dave takes the bait and Lucius walks to make the Thrall kill the Gupps. He Issues Command to make the Thrall hit Bad Juju, then uses What Lackeys Are For to swap places with the Pathfinder. Bad Juju pokes the Thrall which removes Ancient Protection, then moves to cover the Pathfinder and Terracotta Warrior and fires off Landslide which slows the Pathfinder and Thrall. Dashel moves and fails to summon a Guard. Lynch also moves up (fittingly, into the swamp) and drops a scheme marker for McTavish. Queeg pushes the Terracotta Warrior around and puts down a scheme marker, as does the Pathfinder. The Waldgeist and Hungering Darkness poke the Thrall for not much effect. McTavish pushes up to the scheme marker and takes a shot which kills the Clockwork Trap. Dave reveals Set Up on Bad Juju, scoring 2 VP.

Turn 2: The Pathfinder summons a Clockwork Trap in a rather annoying position. This was a mistake from Dave as he should have used the Terracotta Warrior to reapply Ancient Protection to the Thrall. I take advantage by having Hungering Darkness kill off the Thrall. Dashel puts enough wounds on Bad Juju to bury it and the Waldgeist hurts the Pathfinder. Lucius Issues Command to move the Pathfinder over to the unactivated Waldgeist, then has him Accuse it. He puts a Focused Hidden Sniper shot into Lynch. Lynch Plays For Blood to finish the Pathfinder. Queeg engages the Accused Waldgeist to stop me from simply removing the condition, and McTavish puts some bullets into him. The Spawn Mother lays another egg and engages the Terracotta Warrior, then the Wisp hatches the egg and the Gupps move off toward Dave’s deployment zone. We both score for the strategy and Dave scores for Accusation.

Turn 3: Queeg uses A Debt To the Guild and then accidentally kills the Waldgeist by flipping 2 severe cards on a negative flip so Bad Juju unburies. The Hungering Darkness finishes off Master Queeg. Dashel Accuses the surviving Waldgeist and fails again to summon a Guild Guard. The Spawn Mother totally misses her swings at the Terracotta Warrior and completes her shame by Black Jokering to lay an egg. The Scribe puts Red Tape on Hungering Darkness so Bad Juju kills him. Lucius misses a shot at Lynch with the Hidden Sniper, then moves up and Black Jokers a Commanding Presence on himself; suddenly I don’t feel so bad about the Spawn Mother’s abject failure. The Wisp and Terracotta Warrior bounce ineffectually off each other. Lynch puts another scheme marker down and takes a shot at Lucius with Play For Blood; for some reason it didn’t occur to me that it would be perfect for Dave to put me on a negative flip to hit, thereby causing some free damage to Lynch. McTavish then guns down Lucius with some very lucky flips; I twice got double moderate damage on negative flips. Lucius also really hurts Dashel and the Trap with Devil’s Deal to try to stay alive. The Waldgeist pokes at Dashel. We both score for Turf War, I score for Leave Your Mark and Dave scores for Accusation again.

Turn 4: Dashel finally manages to summon a Guard then Accuses the Waldgeist. The Spawn Mother again fails to hit the Terracotta Warrior which kills my Wisp. Lynch finishes off the Trap and hurts the Guard; Hungering Darkness kills her and hurts Dashel some more. McTavish, getting tired of the Spawn Mother’s ineptitude, ends the Terracotta Warrior. I score Turf War and Leave Your Mark again and Dave gets the final point for Accusation.

Turn 5: Dashel summons another Guard. The Hungering Darkness fails to kill it, so McTavish does so. The Waldgeist finally lands a hit on Dashel to kill him and Bad Juju shambles into Dave’s deployment zone. Neverborn win 10 – 7 (full score for me; 2 for Turf War, 2 for Set Up and 3 for Accusation for Dave).

As always, playing Dave was a real pleasure. He’s such a student of the game that you always know that his crews will contain some entertaining synergy. In this case, the game hinged on his activation order error at the start of turn 2 which allowed me to finish off the Witchling Thrall quite painlessly rather than failing uselessly at it and suffering another series of attacks from it throughout the turn. From my side, the pieces generally did as expected. The Waldgeists got in the way and were quite frustrating to dislodge. McTavish was a superstar though he was probably helped by some really lucky flips on my side. In contrast, the Spawn Mother couldn’t do anything correctly, though in fairness the two Gupps she did summon (with help from the Wisp) both had a pretty big impact on the game.

So when the scores are in I’m in 4th place which I am quite pleased with. I got four good games of Malifaux, including an unexpected bonus game after round two… though perhaps I would have preferred not to have capitulated quite so quickly against Joe. Thanks to Stewart, Joe and Dave for more fun games, and to Michael and Andy for their parts in running this.

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

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: Spring Breach 2017 (50SS); 22Apr2017

Gareth and I took the train to another Malifaux event; this time the 3rd Spring Breach run by Kai in Common Ground Games in Stirling. Despite the huge attendance, this was set up as only 3 rounds so there was no need for an early start (though I prefer more rounds over more time to arrive). I had some idea for a Pandora crew so Lewis very kindly loaned me a couple of miniatures that I don’t own yet. Round one I was drawn against tournament regular Jamie; we’ve somehow never managed to play each other in an event despite both attending most that are run in central Scotland.

Game 1: Neverborn (me) vs Gremlins (Jamie Gemmell)

Strategy: Extraction, standard deployment

Schemes
Pool: Claim Jump, Eliminate The Leadership, Leave Your Mark, Mark for Death, Tail ‘Em
Neverborn: Claim Jump, Tail ‘Em
Gremlins: Claim Jump, Leave Your Mark

Crews
Neverborn: Pandora (Fears Given Form, The Box Opens), Nekima, Barbaros (One Thousand Faces), Primordial Magic, 3 Terror Tots, Lust
Gremlins: Wong (Explosive Solutions, A Gremlin’s Luck), Sammy LaCroix (Ooh Glowy), Francois LaCroix (Stilts), Burt Jebsen (Dirty Cheater), Merris LaCroix (Hide In The Mud), Old Cranky, 2 Bayou Gremlins, 2 Stuffed Piglets

This (or some similar variation on it) is an entertaining Pandora crew that I’ve been thinking of for a while. The idea is that Pandora floats around the middle of the enemy crew distracting everyone and pinging Misery damage. Barbaros, Nekima and Lust force a load of willpower duels that either drain cards or force minor damage on each failure, and Nekima of course also kills things. Lust can additionally use Now Kiss to put things back close to Pandora. I probably would have chosen this crew regardless of the strategy but it felt like it should be well suited to Extraction in particular. With a wide choice of Henchmen who would have to be close to my crew I thought that Tail ‘Em would be a good option, and took Claim Jump as a default other one since I didn’t fancy the rest. Burt Jebsen was made Glowy, and I seem to have forgotten to take a picture of the start.

Turn 1: We move our cheap pieces up somewhat cagily. Barbaros moves up aggressively and swaps in Rapid Growth then Lust pushes Pandora forward. Pandora Incites a Stuffed Piglet and Bayou Gremlin and kills off Old Cranky while engaging as much as possible. Merris and Burt come up on my left to drop scheme markers. Wong zaps Lust rather ineffectively. Francois goes Reckless, Focuses and charges Pandora to drop a Dumb Luck Red Joker on her, then abandons Stilts to avoid the return damage. Oh dear, my master is dead in turn one; that is rarely a good thing. I realised (but only much later) that I could have avoided this by simply using a Soulstone on defense since it was obvious from the use of Focus that Jamie was wisely aiming to land one big hit on Pandora.

Turn 2: Barbaros pokes Francois and puts up Challenge in the most annoying place I can find. The Incited Piglet moves to Lust so she uses Now Kiss to push away, first to Wong and then to Francois. By luck I get the trigger for damage both time but Jamie elects not to blow it up since both Francois and Sammy are in the blast zone now. Burt kills a Tot and drops another scheme marker. Nekima kills the other Stuffed Piglet and a Bayou Gremlin then moves to score for the strategy. Francois misses Barbaros and Sammy successfully disengages from him to get in range for Extraction; she also turns one of my scheme markers into a Stuffed Piglet (which I admit that I’d forgotten she could do). Wong shoots the new Stuffed Piglet and hurts Lust then moves up to scoring range. We both score Extraction and Jamie scores Leave Your Mark and Claim Jump.

Turn 3: Nekima kills the other Bayou Gremlin and nearly gets Sammy, but she survives on a single wound after using Soulstones. Sammy summons another Stuffed Piglet and Jynxes Barbaros and a Tot to stop them moving. She companions Francois who kills Barbaros with another massive Dumb Luck shot and dies himself from the backlash. Lust moves Burt to be engaged with Nekima and moves the Stuffed Piglet away. Wong misses Lust with his Fan and the Tot Tails Sammy. Merris drops two scheme markers. One Piglet uses Bacon Bomb and gets a Joker, so there is carnage in the centre including the other Piglet exploding. We both score for the strategy and both of our schemes.

Turn 4: Sammy Jynxes Nekima to keep her in place and kills another Tot. Nekima fails to kill Burt due to the Black Joker on one damage flip and Wong kills the other Tot. With no way to score further I’m happy to concede it there. Neverborn lose 4 – 10 (2 for Extraction, 1 for Claim Jump and 1 for Tail ‘Em for me; full score for Jamie).

It was a real pleasure to finally get in a game with Jamie and we had plenty of laughs as various piglets exploded. I feel like I gave the game up very early by letting Francois kill Pandora right at the start and I was kicking myself when I remembered that I could have avoided it with a Soulstone. I also failed to use Lust well as I kept activating her early in the turn, thus removing her Manipulative ability and totally forgot her aura throughout. Jamie for his part did just what he needed to do, efficiently dropping my pieces where they were affecting his plans. Overall I think that the core of my crew has some promise, but perhaps I will reconsider my choice of scheme runners.

Game 2: Neverborn (me) vs Crossroads Seven / Outcasts (Lee McLean)

Strategy: Guard the Stash, flank deployment

Schemes
Pool: Claim Jump, Accusation, Dig Their Graves, Hunting Party, Inspection
Neverborn: Claim Jump, Dig Their Graves
Crossroads Seven: Dig Their Graves (I think; I didn’t note this at the time), Hunting Party

Crews
Neverborn: Collodi (Strum The Threads, Fated), Hannah, Lazarus, 2 Stitched Together, Bunraku, Arcane Effigy, Brutal Effigy
Crossroads Seven: Wrath (Deal At The Crossroads), Lust, Envy, Pride, Greed, Gluttony, Sloth, Malifaux Child

So after my defeat to Jamie I moved all the way down to the bottom table to face Lee. I was really excited to get in a game against the Crossroads Seven as I’ve never faced them before, and doubly so in the case of Lee’s gorgeously painted crew. I’m not actually sure if it is correct to announce faction as Outcasts or Crossroads Seven, but Lee told me both when we started. I decided to try an amusing Collodi crew using Hannah and Lazarus to bump Collodi up to a potential six actions per turn. The rest of the crew after that expensive core is just some Puppets to benefit from Collodi’s support abilities. I love the combination of Claim Jump and Dig Their Graves so I eventually chose that; I had considered Hunting Party but thought that the Malifaux Child might not come close enough for me to kill, and in any case I had no particular plans to cross the centreline.

Turn 1: The Arcane Effigy pokes Collodi a couple of times to move him forward, the Malifaux Child pushes Envy using Just Like You. I get nervous about Envy’s gun so go with Collodi to control Envy and also put an attack on Sloth, flipping the Black Joker on the latter. The Stitched Together hurts Sloth with Gamble Your Life and Greed heals some of the damage that Envy has taken. The Bunraku moves up to drop a scheme marker and Wrath, to my great surprise, pushes Envy further into my crew. Hannah is too far away to copy Assimilate from Lazarus so she charges in to Sloth, missing both attacks, then copies Gamble Your Life and loses to Sloth. Good work Hannah! I make Envy shoot Lust but he misses, and Lazarus then misses Envy and makes Collodi Slow him again.

Turn 2: Wrath charges Collodi, who takes the hit and pushes back to safety, then punches the Bunraku. Lazarus Focuses to kill Envy (scoring Dig Their Graves) and Assimilates My Will to make Collodi finish Sloth. Greed nearly kills the Bunraku. Gluttony puts A Rhythm For Those Who Hunger on Hannah, taking the trigger to drop a scheme marker nearby and push her into it for some damage. One of my Stitched Together goes Fast from Strum The Threads and kills Gluttony with Gamble Your Life. Pride drops a scheme marker to move Hannah over due to the condition and hurts her. Hannah hits back and copies Game of Chance in the hope of doing something other than being a punching bag but fails on that too so Lee gets to draw some cards. Lust uses Now Kiss to move Collodi behind Lazarus and make them both Slow, so the Arcane Effigy removes it from the both. The other Stitched Together finishes Pride and Collodi kills Greed and hurts Lust. I score Guard The Stash and Dig Their Graves.

Turn 3: The Bunraku stabs Wrath to make sure I actually get to activate it before it dies. Wrath kills it to score for Hunting Party. Lust drops a Red Joker damage flip to kill Collodi. Hannah moves back to the action, copies Gamble Your Life and hurts Wrath; a Stitched Together finishes the leader off to score Dig Their Graves. Lazarus pokes Lust. I score for the strategy and both of my schemes while Lee scores Hunting Party.

Turn 4: The Arcane Effigy puts down a scheme marker and Lust pulls it in to kill it (Hunting Party). The Child heals Lust but it doesn’t help and eventually Lazarus kills her and Hannah drops the Child. Neverborn win 10 – 2 (full score for me; 2 for Hunting Party for Lee) though I only noted down 10 – 1 so I think that we might have missed that Lust scored Hunting Party here.

Lee was a real gentleman to play against and I’m very grateful that he didn’t get sick of me constantly having to be reminded of which parts of his crew had which name (I especially kept mixing up Pride and Greed), which ones were Manipulative at any particular time, and what horrible things would happen if I ended an activation near any part of his crew. I didn’t actually get to do the trick with six actions for Collodi since Hannah was needed at the other side of the board, but otherwise everything seemed to go very smoothly for me. I could have used Jakob Lynch since he would easily get round all the ‘discard a card or something bad happens’ that comes in the Crossroads Seven but thought that would be less fun and a bit too much like counter-picking.

Game 3: Neverborn (me) vs Neverborn (Ian Gemmell)

Strategy: Reconnoitre, close deployment

Schemes
Pool: Claim Jump, Frame For Murder, Leave Your Mark, Undercover Entourage, Search the Ruins
My Neverborn: Frame For Murder (Barbaros), Search the Ruins
Ian’s Neverborn: Leave Your Mark, Undercover Entourage (Zoraida)

Crews
My Neverborn: Pandora (Fears Given Form, The Box Opens), Nekima, Barbaros (One Thousand Faces), Primordial Magic, 3 Terror Tots, Lust
Ian’s Neverborn: Zoraida (Aetheric Connection, Animal Shape), 2 Silurids, Iggy, Aionus (One Thousand Faces), Will O’ The Wisp, Sorrow, Insidious Madness

I decided that this would be an interesting test for the Pandora crew I used in game 1 since the strategy and scheme pool were a bit less favourable. I also know that Ian plays a fair bit of Pandora so he might be able to counter her in an interesting way that I could learn from (I figured he would probably not also take Pandora for a mirror match due to the schemes and strategy). Finally, I wanted to use Lust and the Primordial Magic again before handing them back Lewis. I’m always worried about Frame For Murder against Zoraida but decided to put in on Barbaros thinking that he might be annoying enough to want to kill, but not so annoying that all the Voodoo Doll tricks would be applied to him (I expected Nekima to bear the brunt of that). For my other scheme, I love Search The Ruins as it goes well with my overall strategy of killing all the things as soon as possible. Ian deployed his entire crew in the back right-hand corner.

Turn 1: Ian moves his speedy stuff over to my left. Zoraida Obeys the Wisp to summon a Voodoo Doll which Hems Lust. Barbaros moves up aggressively and swaps in Fears Given Form. The Doll swaps Hem to Barbaros, then Iggy sets it ablaze to the tune of six Burning and the Sorrow Paralyses it with Doldrums. A single manly tear rolls down Barbaros’s Paralysed cheek; he uses up a couple of Soulstones to survive on a single wound. So much for my expectation that Nekima would be the primary target. Meanwhile, Pandora is pushed forward by Lust, Incites both Silurids and pulses Inflict a couple of times to annoy the Silurids and Aionus (who has picked up Fears Given Form by this point).

Turn 2: Both Silurids get activated and Leap / run away from Pandora. Nekima blends the Wisp to cause Horror duels (all passed) for the clump of Ian’s crew still in their back corner and cuddles in nice and close to them for Black Blood purposes. Pandora kills the Insidious Madness and does nothing to Aionus, who is equally useless in return. The Primordial Magic pokes the Silurid and gets it down to a single wound. Zoraida summons another Doll which fails to Hem Nekima, then fails to Obey it to try again (Ian’s hand is drained due to the static duels I keep making him take). Iggy Incites Nekima, then Lust pushes Nekima fractionally toward Iggy purely so that she’ll fail the Willpoer duel, take damage from the Sorrow’s Misery ability and splash Black Blood all about the place. Lust then kills the Sorrow with a lucky trigger on Now Kiss. I score for the strategy.

Turn 3: Nekima focuses to hurt Zoraida (Ian does remember to use a Soulstone on defense, perhaps in part because we’d just been talking about my failure against his cousin in game 1) then drops Iggy. Zoraida takes off with Raven Form. On the far left, my Tot kills the wounded Silurid; all credit to Ian here for letting me take back the charge when he reminded me about Perfect Camouflage. The other Silurid Leaps off to drop a scheme marker. Lust pushes Barbaros back to my side and chases after Zoraida. Aionus does a cool trick to move one my scheme markers which is down for Search The Ruins into a place that it’ll make it almost impossible to score full points, then bounces off Pandora again. The Doll finally Hem Nekima, then pokes her and eventually dies to a flood of Black Blood damage which was quite amusing. Pandora continues to whittle down Aionus, taking wounds from Fears Given Form in the process. Barbaros and the nearby Tot take their chances on negative flips to attack Zoraida and do manage to extract her last Soulstone. I score for Reconnoitre and Ian gets one for Leave Your Mark.

Turn 4: Lust Focuses and cheats in the Red Joker to kill Zoraida with Heartbreaker. The Silurid puts down two scheme markers, Barbaros moves to cover one and the Tot Sprints twice to stand on the other. Pandora finally kills Aionus and Ian has seen enough. The Primodial Magic moves to be the needed extra scheme marker for Search The Ruins. My Neverborn win 7 – 1 (4 for Reconnoitre and 3 for Search The Ruins for me; 1 for Leave Your Mark for Ian).

As always, I had a great game against Ian with plenty of entertaining moments. The score flattered me a bit; if Ian won initiative in turn 4 he could have easily gotten Zoraida to safety and scored some points for Undercover Entourage. I had slightly expected to struggle to score Frame For Murder, though I suppose I could have run Barbaros in to suicide on Aionus’s Fears Given Form if necessary. But he was quite helpful in dealing with Zoraida and stopping Leave Your Mark at the end, so perhaps that wouldn’t have really helped me. The strategy didn’t really suit Pandora that well, but I felt that her mobility was quite effective and she did keep Aionus busy for the whole game so that is probably worth something.

When the scores are counted up I’ve come in 5th place, which I’m very happy about especially considering that I was on the bottom table for game 2. The overall winner is Ben, of Arcane Reservoir fame, and my big regret of the event is that I didn’t get a chance to test my luck against him. Big thanks to Jamie, Lee and Ian for three very good games of Malifaux, and particularly to Kai and Steve for running the event.

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

Malifaux tournament report: Broken Promises (50SS); 04Mar2017

Gareth, Joe, Jonny and V headed (separately) over to Common Ground Games in Stirling to put up another Team Brutal Sensei try at a Malifaux event. Broken Promises was meant to be a two day doubles event which was fun last year (link) but I couldn’t make both days… apparently no-one else could either so Kai very kindly changed it to a one day fixed-faction event. Amazingly this was the first event run by Kai that I had been to in 2017; I believe that I speak for the whole Scotland community when I write that we are all really appreciative of the work that he and his team put in to run these tournaments.

Game 1: Neverborn (me) vs Arcanists (Andy Bush)

Strategy: Headhunter, close deployment

Schemes
Pool: Claim Jump, Frame For Murder, Accusation!, Undercover Entourage, Mark For Death
Neverborn: Claim Jump, Frame For Murder (Nekima)
Arcanists: Claim Jump, Mark For Death

Crews
Neverborn: Collodi (Strum The Threads, Fated), Brutal Effigy, Barbaros (One Thousand Faces), Nekima (One Thousand Faces), 3 Terror Tots, Black Blood Shaman
Arcanists: Rasputina (Shattered Heart, Cold Nights, Armour of December), Wendigo, Snow Storm (Sub Zero), 2 Silent Ones, December Acolyte, Ice Dancer, Ice Gamin

I’ve been playing around with a Collodi and Nephilim grow list lately with mixed success. Actually getting the Nephilim to grow or mature has been rather hit-and-miss, but the crew as a whole seems to work quite well as long as I don’t get obsessed with using Rapid Growth to the exclusion of scoring points. The notable addition to the list is the Black Blood Shaman which, thanks to the recent errata, now actually plays the way it should always have done (i.e. allowing it to apply Black Blood, then using Black Blood Pustule on its victim). In theory, I would put Personal Puppet on the Shaman so that I can Pustule Collodi if it takes any damage but sometime I have not had the opportunity to get this to work as I need the extra push on turn 1 to get somewhere. I was really worried about how open this board was, and this was doubled when Andy revealed his Rasputina crew. I had two options; either sit back, let my stuff die and then pick up my own heads at my leisure, or rush Rasputina to keep her and any relevant mirrors engaged. Those who know me will already know that I preferred the latter option. Reasoning that there were a lot of Arcanists that would be able to deal with Nekima I put Frame For Murder on her (I’ve had problems in some games where I’ve tried this and then killed off any threats to her) and then chose Claim Jump as it would be quite controllable and didn’t need me to get too far into the open ground. I thought I was in even more trouble when I had to deploy first, but Andy surprised me by refusing my left side entirely and castling up on my right.

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Turn 1: The Acolyte Focusses and one-shots the Tot on my far right, which was inconvenient. Luckily, it allows Nekima to fly forward thanks to Brood, so I go with her next. Fears Given Form is swapped in for One Thousand Faces then she charges into Snow Storm and beats it rather harshly. Critically, she’s gumming up much of the Arcanist crew with Fears Given Form and Black Blood. A Silent One marks Nekima for death and heals Snow Storm. I decide I might as well go as deep as I can, so Barbaros triple-moves up and Challenges, covering about half of the Arcanists; he also takes Rapid Growth for One Thousand Faces. Snow Storm walks over and hits Barbaros, then pulls Rasputina out of engagement. Over on my side, the Brutal Effigy gives Fear Not The Sword to Collodi and shoots it, annoyingly hitting for some minor damage and allowing Collodi to push right. The Black Blood Shaman charges Collodi, who relents on the first hit to get Black Blood then gets hit anyway on the second shot but continues to push toward the action. Ideally, Collodi only takes one wound from this process and pushes somewhere around 8 – 9″ (depending on placement and where I’m trying go) but the cards just didn’t fall right. The Ice Dancer moves bases to base with Nekima and gets Paralysed by the Wendigo; this of course had no effect on the Dancer but worked on Nekima. Collodi puts some trivial damage into Snow Storm but does manage to put Slow on it. Rasputina puts some pillars in my way and drops a scheme marker.

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Turn 2: Snow Storm hits Barbaros for a couple of points of damage (we actually had him make a second swing that Red Jokered damage to kill Barbaros, but luckily Andy remembered that Snow Storm was Slow and took the action back), then Barbaros hits back for similarly little effect and Challenges after moving to the most annoying possible place. The Ice Dancer, who is feeling a bit sad at this point after suffering Fears Given Form and Black Blood damage last turn, pokes Nekima again. Nekima un-Paralyses so I can get that tasty Fears aura back in play. A Silent One heals the Ice Dancer and my Tot on the right picks up the head marker dropped by its sibling. The other Silent One finally polishes off Nekima (giving me 2VP for Frame For Murder, and 1VP to Andy for Mark For Death) and the Wendigo picks up her head. Collodi kills Snow Storm and uses the My Bidding trigger on Pull The Strings to make Barbaros move into an even more irritating position, engaging Rasputina, then kills the Ice Gamin which conveniently blows up to finish off the Ice Dancer. Rasputina pushes away from Barbaros then kills him and finally the Acolyte drops a scheme marker. We both score for Claim Jump and the strategy.

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Turn 3: The Wendigo picks up a head, then Collodi kills both Silent Ones. Rasputina Black Jokers a Focused shot at Collodi then drops a scheme marker. Much of my crew also focuses on scheme markers; one Tot Sprints to pick up a head marker. We both score for Headhunter and Claim Jump again.

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Turn 4: Rasputina hurts a Tot and picks up a head. Collodi totally fails to hit the Wendigo (I had a terrible hand, and Andy flipped three kings in a row on defense) which eventually drops a scheme marker. One of my remaining Tots charges it for trivial damage (but mainly to deny Claim Jump) and the other Sprints to get another head. The rest of my crew happily drop scheme markers unopposed. I score for Claim Jump, we both score for Headhunter.

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Turn 5: The Black Blood Shaman Pustules the Tot to finish off the Wendigo, so Rasputina marks it for death and kills it easily. I make a massive mistake and rush Collodi (who has 2 wounds remaining) over to the Acolyte to deny Claim Jump, so the Acolyte gratefully marks my master for death and kills it. I then do what I should have done before, picking up a head with the surviving (unwounded) Tot and Sprint to stand on where Collodi just died. In fairness, I was banking on one of my 3 actions with Collodi being able to at least Slow the Acolyte, but it was not to be. I score again for Headhunter; Andy gets two for Mark For Death. Neverborn win 9 – 8 (4 for Headhunter, 3 for Claim Jump and 2 for Frame For Murder for me; 3 for Headhunter, 2 for Claim Jump and 3 for Mark For Death for Andy).

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Wow, what a close game! From the start, I felt like I would be in really big trouble facing this crew on this board, but Andy castling up in one tiny area allowed me to really drain his hand with Fears Given Form and Challenge covering much of his crew. If not for Collodi’s failure to do anything except die on turns 4 and 5 I think I might have had a slightly more comfortable ride, but sometimes the cards don’t give you what you need. I did needlessly give up a point for Mark For Death right at the end by putting Collodi in a position to be marked and killed by the Acolyte; I could have played it much safer by sending in the Tot instead (it could still have died, but probably it would need moderate damage on a negative flip so was more likely than Collodi who died to weak damage).

Game 2: Neverborn (me) vs Guild (Chris Blakey)

Strategy: Stake a Claim, standard deployment

Schemes
Pool: Claim Jump, Frame For Murder, Dig Their Graves, Hidden Trap, Tail ’em
Neverborn: Claim Jump, Dig Their Graves
Guild: Claim Jump, Frame For Murder (Phiona Gage)

Crews
Neverborn: Lilith (Beckon Malifaux, On Wings of Darkness), Barbaros (Rapid Growth, One Thousand Faces), Nekima (One Thousand Faces), 3 Terror Tots, Black Blood Shaman, Cherub
Guild: Nellie Cochrane (Delegation, Misleading Headlines, Guild Funds), Phiona Gage (Wrath of the Guild, Transparency), Francisco Ortega (Wade In), Master Queeg (Promises), Printing Press, Watcher, 3 Field Reporters

Facing off against Guild I felt a little bit worried that Collodi would be shot to splinters so I went with Lilith instead. She’s also a pretty nice choice for Stake A Claim because the Cherub makes it easier to drop Claim markers, and Lilith can Tangle Shadows if I really need to get an unactivated piece onto the far side of the board. The crew is otherwise largely the same as game one for the simple reason that I find Nephilim highly entertaining to play at the moment. Actually when I saw that Nellie was the other master my choice of master felt a bit less clever since she could target Lilith’s terrible willpower. I love the combination of Claim Jump and Dig Their Graves as it forces a no-win situation on the other crew. They can either come in to deny Claim Jump and risk being killed for Dig Their Graves, or they can just let me have the points for Claim Jump.

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Turn 1: The Watcher zaps Nellie so that she can build some Evidence. My Tots Sprint up and put down scheme markers while Nellie spends some cards to pass activations. Fransisco puts El Mayor on Nellie and moves up. Lilith Tangles Shadows to swap Nekima with the Tot on the right then puts an Illusionary Forest in the way of Queeg and Phiona. Barbaros swaps Fears Given Form in for One Thousand Faces, moves to the centre and puts up his Challenge. The Printing Press gives Evidence to Nellie and she moves up to make Francisco Fast. Nekima notes that there is a neat semi-circle of Nellie, Francisco, the Press, the Watcher and two Reporters within her range (at this point, Dave, playing at the next table, happens to look over and comments on the beauty of this positioning for me). She swaps in Fears Given Form, charges Francisco and eventually kills him (scoring for Dig Their Graves), using the Blood Beauty trigger to drag some of her victims in closer for some Black Blood action. Queeg moves up and one-shots a Tot, allowing my crew in the centre to move up even further.

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Turn 2: The Printing Press Slows Nekima and gives Evidence to Nellie. She chain activates and kills another Tot after making Phiona Fast. The Cherub shoots Phiona to knock off the Fast and push her to within 3″ of Nekima; in return a Reporter pushes Nekima away. Nekima kills Phiona (giving up 3VP for Frame For Murder) but Paralysing the Watcher and both Reporters with Teach Them Fear. Barbaros misses the nearby Reporter and the Shaman drops a scheme marker then Pustules Barbaros to hurt the Reporter anyway. Lilith moves up, drops another scheme marker (thanks to the Cherub) and polishes off the Reporter to score Dig Their Graves. The surviving Tot is able to drop both a Claim marker and a scheme marker due to the presence of the Cherub. I score for Stake a Claim and Claim Jump.

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Turn 3: Once again, the Printing Press Slows Nekima and gives Nellie Evidence. Nellie then repeatedly bumps Nekima off a building, causing her own damage plus another one each time from the Printing Press’s ability which seemed pretty cool. She then Incites the Cherub, which rather helpfully one-shots the Watcher with a Red Joker on damage. Nekima flies back into kill the reporter and Paralyse the Printing Press. Barbaros kills Master Queeg for Dig Their Graves and grows the last Tot into a Young Nephilim. Lilith hurts Nellie. I score for Claim Jump and the strategy.

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Turn 4: Nellie fails to finish off Nekima, who in turn vapourises both the Printing Press and the last Reporter. The rest of my crew gang up to kill Nellie but it takes a while. Neverborn win 10 – 3 (full score for me; 3 for Frame For Murder for Chris).

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Chris was a really nice opponent; despite his playing up his inexperience (which, admittedly did show a little with his positioning in turn 1) I think he was quite a skilled player. If he carries on playing Malifaux at regular tournaments he has the potential to become very strong and I look forward to that happening. From my side, the game went quite smoothly. One downside with a crew like this is that it is really easy for the other player to suicide a Frame For Murder sucker onto Black Blood or Fears Given Form. Since I tend to play quite an aggressive game, I’ve tended to accept that if Frame For Murder is in the scheme pool then I’ll be giving up some points for it at some point.

Game 3: Neverborn (me) vs Arcanists (Joe Taylor)

Strategy: Squatter’s Rights, corner deployment

Schemes
Pool: Claim Jump, Leave Your Mark, Accusation!, Mark For Death, A Quick Murder
Neverborn: Claim Jump, A Quick Murder
Arcanists: Leave Your Mark, A Quick Murder

Crews
Neverborn: Lilith (Beckon Malifaux, On Wings of Darkness), Barbaros (Rapid Growth, One Thousand Faces), Nekima (One Thousand Faces), 3 Terror Tots, Black Blood Shaman, Cherub
Arcanists: Sandeep Desai (To Behold Another World, Arcane Reservoir, Enlightened Soul), Howard Langston (Imbued Energies), Carlos Vasquez (Practiced Production, Stunt Double), Arcane Effigy, 3 Wind Gamin, Malifaux Raptor

Joe and I are fairly frequent opponents at Malifaux so we both have a reasonable idea of what the other is likely to take. In this case, I correctly predicted pretty much the whole crew except for Howard Langston. I took Lilith thinking that I might be able to deny the points from Leave Your Mark by Tangling in either Carlos or the Raptor since there was no way that Joe wouldn’t take that scheme (it is close to 3 free VPs for Arcanists if they take Raptors and Practiced Production. I ended up using the same crew as last time, partly because I felt that familiarity with my crew would be priceless in a close game like this, and partly because I thought that the combination of Cherub and Tots could work for the strategy. I chose A Quick Murder because I would need to deal with Langston anyway and I might as well get points for it. Claim Jump was picked mainly because I didn’t fancy any of the others too much.

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Turn 1: The early turn is mostly moving our crews toward the markers; one Wind Gamin and Terror Tot head for each corner. Lilith eventually Tangle Shadows to bring Carlos to her and puts an Illusionary Forest in Langston’s way. Sandeep makes Carlos Incorporeal (how does that ability not have a range?) and summons a couple of Wind Gamin in the centre. Nekima bounces ineffectually off Carlos and my Tot finds that the Illusionary Forest doesn’t do enough to stop him from being murdered by Langston. Both Barbaros and Nekima swap One Thousand Faces for Fears Given Form.

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Turn 2: The Arcane Effigy uses Sandeep’s fireball but Black Jokers the damage on Barbaros; Sandeep takes the opportunity to summon yet another Wind Gamin. Barbaros pushes one of the Gamin off Squat marker. Terror Tots and Wind Gamin claim up various Squat Markers. Nekima again fails to do anything useful to Carlos. Lilith Tangles one of the Gamin threatening to take a Squat marker into her (and to jam Nekima right into the centre of the board) and hits Carlos for a tiny amount of extra damage. Sandeep zaps the Black Blood Shaman and Howard Langston find himself relegated to claiming the last marker. Somewhere in there a Practiced Production marker was dropped by the Raptor which is, of course, right in my corner. We both score for Squatter’s Rights; Joe also scores for Leave Your Mark.

Turn 3: Lilith Roots Langston and drops an Illusionary Forest in front of him, then tries to Root Carlos but is denied by the Red Joker. One of the endless Wind Gamin borrows Sandeep’s push effect to free Langston from his condition. Nekima continues to beat Carlos; he’s looking a bit less well now. Barbaros pushes Langston back and Challenges. Nekima gets blasted by fireballs from Sandeep and his minions. One Wind Gamin suicides on Lilith’s Black Blood and the Shaman finally ends Carlos, though not before he has managed to get another Practiced Production scheme marker down by the Raptor. Over on the left, I make a huge mistake and charge the Tot off the Squat marker to make some pointless attacks on the Wind Gamin; it promptly Leaps over to get the Marker. Oops. In the centre, Langston really wants to get into Nekima but his Wind Gamin are in the way. Eventually he kills one himself and charges in but can’t do enough to kill her. Joe scores Leave Your Mark and Squatter’s Rights.

Turn 4: Nekima kills Langston, getting me 2 VPs for my (not very) Quick Murder. The Wind Gamin on my right finally continues to Leap and move deep enough into my half to drop a scheme marker for Leave Your Mark. Barbaros drops the Arcane Effigy and the cumulative effects of Black Blood and Fears Given Form are finally starting to thin out the herd of Wind Gamin in the centre. Sandeep summons a Wind Gamin but fails to hit Nekima thanks to Barbaros’s Challenge. Eventually Lilith kills Sandeep; she also takes back one of the Squat markers on the way thanks to the Cherub. I score Claim Jump and we both score for the strategy.

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Turn 5: Nekima kills the central Wind Gamin and the Raptor (it felt so good to kill off those accursed things!). The other Wind Gamin manages to top deck a Red Joker on a single hit on Nekima to leave her on one wound before succumbing to Black Blood. The rest of my crew take back the Squat markers and drop scheme markers, scoring me for the strategy and Claim Jump. Neverborn win 8 – 6 (3 for Squatter’s Rights, 3 for Claim Jump and 2 for A Quick Murder for me; 3 for Squatter’s Rights and 3 for Leave Your Mark for Joe).

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That was an amazing game of Malifaux! All the way it was so close and even right at the end it could have gone either way. Joe made a couple of activation order mistakes that led to me being able to keep Nekima alive; she was down to a single wound twice but I was able to get her back to healthy enough to fend off more attacks. In the first couple of turns I was really getting overwhelmed in the centre, especially as I needed to keep an eye on Howard Langston, and the activation control from the sheer number of Wind Gamin was hard to work around. Around turn 4, the tide turned and the Wind Gamin in the middle started to succumb to all the Black Blood and Fears Given Form which allowed me to start fighting stuff that actually was going to do stuff. Wind Gamin still get a ‘they do what?’ response from me every time I find out something new about them.

Game 4: Neverborn (me) vs Guild (Lewis Philips)

Strategy: Interference, standard deployment

Schemes
Pool: Claim Jump, Eliminate the Leadership, Leave Your Mark, Show of Force, Search The Ruins
Neverborn: Claim Jump, Search The Ruins
Guild: Eliminate the Leadership, Show of Force

Crews
Neverborn: Lilith (Beckon Malifaux, On Wings of Darkness), Barbaros (Rapid Growth, One Thousand Faces), Nekima (One Thousand Faces), 3 Terror Tots, Black Blood Shaman, Cherub
Guild: Nellie Cochrane (Delegation, Misleading Headlines, Guild Funds), Phiona Gage (Wrath of the Guild, Debt to the Guild), Allison Dade (Transparency), Big Jake, Printing Press, 2 Guild Hounds, 3 Field Reporters

On the same basis as my game against Chris, I picked Lilith to play Guild. She’s good for Interference as there is no particular benefit to keeping my crew close together and of course can either Root enemy models to keep them in one quarter, or Tangle Shadows to move things to where I want them. After three games I decided to keep it simple and just took the same crew again; ease of use would be more useful here than a finely-optimised crew that I was less familiar with. I decided to use Claim Jump as it would allow me to keep some pieces back in my own quarters and control them while dropping scheme markers, and Search The Ruins on the basis that if I was going to score from it I might have some dominance by the end of the game and be able to spend some of my final AP dropping markers for it.

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Turn 1: We move forward. The Printing Press gives Nellie some Evidence and she moves forward and kills a Tot. I Tangle Shadows to move Nekima forward (replacing the Cherub, as Nellie had rather unobligingly killed the Tot I was planning to use for the purpose. Sadly, I had never previously noticed Nellie’s rule about pushing nearby models that fail attack duels, so Nekima charges Phiona and promptly gets moved back out of range. Against a player of Lewis’s skill, that isn’t a mistake I could afford to make and I genuinely thought that it might end up costing me the game. To add insult to injury, Allison Dade puts Under Investigation on her. Both Barbaros and Nekima swap One Thousand Faces for Fears Given Form.

Turn 2: Phiona puts Nekima on negative willpower duels. Barbaros kills a Hound and moves into the most annoying place possible for Black Blood, Fears Given Form and Challenge. The Printing Press gives Evidence to Nellie and she really hurts Nekima, getting various attacks out of Phiona in the process. However, the succession of Challenge duels drains Lewis’s hand really quickly and some of the attacks simply fail for that reason. Nekima moves in to engage a lot of Guild models and misses a shot on the Reporter thanks to the Black Joker (but she does splash some Black Blood around after Under Investigation goes off). Allison also attacks Nekima then the Cherub shoots her to push her into Nekima. A Hound charges the Cherub but does nothing, and Lilith charges Phiona for minimal effect (I was looking to get her into Nellie but couldn’t get it to work). On the left, the Tots drop scheme markers and one of the Reporters comes over to stop Claim Jump. We both score for Interference and Lewis scores for Show of Force.

Turn 3: Nekima kills Allison and Phiona thanks to a combination of Black Blood and big sword swings. The Printing Press Slows Barbaros and Nellie Slows Lilith and pushes her around. Barbaros hurts the nearby reporter and the Shaman kills off the Hound by casting Black Blood Pustule on the Cherub. My Totem misses a shot at the Reporter and Lilith starts to put some wounds into Nellie. One of my Tots gets severe damage on the Reporter and (to my surprise) she doesn’t move away so the other one hits its sibling to kill her with Black Blood. We both score for Interference and I get Claim Jump.

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Turn 4: Nekima beats Nellie down to a single wound; she cheats in the Black Joker on the last swing to save herself. Nellie Slows Lilith and pushes her around (Black Blood kills the Reporter) then the Cherub Black Jokers a hit on Nellie to keep her in the game. Eventually the Shaman uses Black Blood Pustule on Nekima to kill Nellie. Lilith kills the Printing Press and Barbaros runs over to the Reporter hiding on the left. I’m not sure what the Reporter can do, but figure that Barbaros can deal with her. I score Claim Jump and Interference, Lewis scores one VP for Eliminate the Leadership somewhere in there.

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Turn 5: Lilith runs away from Big Jake’s hatchet and drops two markers for Search The Ruins since the Cherub allows her to do one of them for a (0) action. Jake hits Nekima and Barbaros engages the Reporter. Neverborn win 10 – 4 (full score for me; 2 for Interference, 1 for Eliminate the Leadership and 1 for Show of Force for Lewis).

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That game was much closer than the final scoreline suggested and Lewis really pushed me all the way. I think that he hadn’t appreciated the impact of Challenge in turn 2 when he cycled about 6 cards just with Nellie’s attacks and triggered effects; the card drain was causing him big problems for the rest of the turn. I was really lucky to get away with wasting Nekima’s activation in turn 1; in another game against Lewis that might have been enough to cause defeat on its own. Big Jake didn’t take many actions but he consistently ensured that Lewis didn’t have to worry about holding that quarter.

So after all the results are in, I am in first place. Obviously, I’m delighted by the result, but I was particularly pleased with two other parts of the day. Firstly, on the train home Gareth and I noticed that all four of my opponents won their other three games. Secondly, Jonny had a really great result to get a hard-fought win against a very strong player in David Hamilton. Thank you to Andy, Chris, Joe and Lewis for four great games of Malifaux and again to Kai for organising the whole event in the first place.

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: December’s End (50SS); 21Jan2017

Gareth, Jonny, Joe, V and I traveled up north to Aberdeen to attend probably the northernmost Malifaux event venue in the UK: ABZ Games. The scene in Aberdeen is still growing but numbers were bolstered by travelers from various locations so there was a good mix of players attending. December’s End was a fixed master event which suited me fine as I’ve only used Collodi so far in Neverborn; probably Lilith will get a try next. In the end there was a late cancellation so the TO, Martin, got to play and I was drawn against him in round one.

Game 1: Neverborn (me) vs Guild (Martin Cairns)

Strategy: Interference, standard deployment

Schemes
Pool: Claim Jump, Frame For Murder, Dig Their Graves, Hunting Party, Search The Ruins
Neverborn: Claim Jump, Frame for Murder (Marionette with mirror)
Guild: Claim Jump, Frame for Murder (Guild Pathfinder)

Crews
Neverborn: Collodi (Strum The Threads, Bag of Props), Arcane Effigy, Brutal Effigy, 2 Marionettes, Beckoner, 2 Illuminated, Lazarus (One Thousand Faces)
Guild: Perdita Ortega (Trick Shooting, Aura Ancestral), Phiona Gage (Debt to the Guild), Francisco Ortega (Wade In, Hermanos De Armas), Austringer, Witchling Stalker, Guild Rifleman, Field Reporter, Guild Pathfinder

My preference so far has been to use the Fated upgrade for Collodi but that favours a ‘ball of death’ approach which isn’t really compatible with Interference. So I tried out the Bag of Props limited upgrade with the idea that the two Effigies could follow Collodi around and generate Focus or Defensive as needed for it. The Marionettes were initially included to simply sit in a corner and count for the strategy but I realised that I could get some work out of them for Claim Jump too. Since they had to be forward, I took a gamble on Frame for Murder on the left Marionette too. The Beckoner and pair of Illuminated are a solid team that can handle most cases unless they are really out-matched so my plan was to use them on one side and Collodi, the Effigies and Lazarus on the other.

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Turn 1: The Pathfinder summons a Clockwork Trap and double walks suspiciously forward. I’m going to have to deal with him eventually, so the Beckoner Lures the woodsman forward and applies Brilliance. The Illuminated make rather heavy work of killing the Pathfinder but eventually he goes down and scores 2VP for Frame For Murder to Martin. Meanwhile, Collodi receives power-ups from the Effigies who also hit it to trigger Run Away Home and start its advance up the table. Most of Martins crew are hiding behind the forest in the centre but for some reason Phiona edges into it so that my crew can see her. Perdita gets El Mayor and Relocates to Francisco to shoot Collodi so it pushes out of range. That massive firing lane down the right side of the board might be a bit of a problem for me. Collodi applies a load of damage and conditions to Phiona and Lazarus helpfully makes it do some more; in the end Phiona has a single wound remaining. Lazarus swaps One Thousand Faces for Mimic’s Blessing.

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Turn 2: The Witchling Stalker and my Marionette on the left drop scheme markers; my Marionette also moves to block the Guild marker from scoring Claim Jump. Phiona uses her single AP to move into the middle of the board and the Austringer delivers orders to get another scheme marker. The Rifleman shoots the Marionette on the left, leaving it on Hard To Kill and the Beckoner polishes off Phiona. After the Rifleman’s failure, Francisco takes care of the Marionette which scores me 3VP for my Frame For Murder. I had to cheat high on one attack to make sure that the Rifleman didn’t get the job done alone. On the right, my other Marionette drops a marker and moves across the centreline. One Illuminated shoots the Stalker and the other moves up to take the place of the Marionette; Perdita pumps some bullets into him. The Reporter moves up and drops another scheme marker so Collodi creeps across the board to make her pick it up and, later, die to Burning. It kills the Stalker too. I score for Claim Jump and Interference.

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Turn 3: The Guild win initiative and Perdita has a clear shot at Collodi. Even after using Run Away home to get out of the line of fire after the first shot, the end result is a lot of lead coming from Perdita and a lot of splintered wood on my side of the table. The Illuminated charges Francisco to keep him busy and receives a Flurry in return. Lazarus Focuses to fire a grenade at the Austringer, who throws birds at the Marionette before my totem drops another scheme marker. The Rifleman moves forward, being careful to stay out of Lazarus’s range but the Beckoner Lures him forward anyway. The other Illuminated tries to hide from Perdita, then my Effigies either drop scheme markers or get in the way of Martin’s Claim Jump as needed. I score for the strategy and Claim Jump again.

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Turn 4: Francisco finishes the Illuminated off and companions to Perdita who makes short work of my Brutal Effigy. The Marionette drops a final scheme marker before being killed by the Austringer. Lazarus blows up the Rifleman; I might have been better going for the Austringer, but preferred the activation control of killing the Rifleman before it got to do anything this turn. The Illuminated moves up to engage Francisco and Perdita and the rest of my crew move to control quarters and put down scheme markers where needed. I score the last Claim Jump point and another for Interference.

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Turn 5: The Illuminated fruitlessly pokes Francisco before being killed in return. The Austringer fails to deal with the Arcane Effigy which quickly hides from Perdita. The Guild master rushes over to try to drop the Beckoner but can’t go far enough to get the needed number of attacks. The Beckoner and Lazarus take some speculative shots at Perdita but can’t kill her either. Martin scores for Claim Jump and neither of us can get anything for Interference. Neverborn win 9 – 3 (3 for Interference, 3 for Claim Jump and 3 for Frame For Murder for me; 1 for Claim Jump and 2 for Frame For Murder for Martin).

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That was a very fun game; I’m always really pleased to play with people I’ve never faced previously and Martin was a lovely opponent. I am still getting to grips with how to use Bag Of Props Collodi and I’m not sure I learned much about it here except that I need to be much more careful with positioning and to remember to actually use the Focus / Defensive when I’ve built it up. Indeed, I feel like the exact same crew but with Fated instead of Bag Of Props would probably have been more useful. Overall I was in control for most of the game, partly because the early demise of the Pathfinder and more particularly Phiona for no real loss on my side built up a big enough attrition advantage that even when Martin did get on with killing my crew I already had scored most of the points needed. Full credit to Martin for doing a great job leveraging Perdita’s ranged power to good effect to bring the crew counts back to level. In retrospect I’m not sure why he didn’t pick Hunting Party as he had plenty of Henchmen to score it. The table could probably have benefited from a bit more scatter terrain on my right.

Game 2: Neverborn (me) vs Guild (Callum Palin)

Strategy: Headhunter, corner deployment

Schemes
Pool: Claim Jump, Frame For Murder, Accusation, Show of Force, Hidden Trap
Neverborn: Claim Jump, Frame for Murder (Stitched Together)
Guild: Show of Force, Frame for Murder (Nino Ortega)

Crews
Neverborn: Collodi (Strum The Threads, Fated, Threads Of Fate), Arcane Effigy, Brutal Effigy, Lazarus, Barbaros, 2 Bunraku, Stitched Together
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, Mounted Guard

This strategy felt much more comfortable for having a ball of fighty puppets and just keeping them topped up on wounds with Collodi while using my master for a spot of control. I also took Barbaros with some kind of plan for just sitting him behind the line of engagement with Challenge up to draw cards. I’ve enjoyed Bunraku for their high speed and ability to pull pieces to where I want them to be, though after several games I think I have yet to manage to get even a single trigger out of them. Stitched Together are hilarious with Fear Not The Sword (from the Brutal Effigy) as they can go Fast thanks to Strum The Threads then heal the wounds caused by hitting stuff with Gamble Your Life; because of the damage they take if the attack is missed I am generally inclined to cheat to win. Even if they lose, there is a change to pick up reactivate then heal with subsequent attacks. Having written all that, I chose to put Frame For Murder on the Stitched Together. My other scheme was Claim Jump as I didn’t fancy Show of Force at all (indeed, I didn’t even pick for it, which may have been a mistake) and the other schemes involved a lot of messing about with the other crew when I wanted to focus on just killing them and picking up their heads. As you can see, my deployment is terrible: Barbaros is perfectly placed to spray Black Blood over half of my crew.

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Turn 1: Nino Rapid Fires into Barbaros. I cheat high to dodge one shot and stone away the damage from another but there is still a bit of Black Blood damage splashed around; overall a needless waste of my resources which was completely avoidable. The Brutal Emissary passes the Elixir of Life to the Mounted Guard so that they can all get past the mess of forests in the Guild deployment zone. The Effigies power up Collodi and poke it to move my master forward. A Bunraku takes Fast then moves and charges Nino to put a couple of points of damage on him. McCabe reactivates the Mounted Guard, passes the Sabre and Badge to the Executioner and the Elixir to Nino; the latter is pushed back out of the Bunraku’s grasp. I can see that the Executioner is being primed to get flung into the centre of my crew (or worse, to kill Collodi) with the Mounted Guard, so Barbaros, the Stitched Together and a Bunraku move to make the needed movement tricky. Eventually Callum gets cold feet and the Executioner ends up just passing his activation without coming for me. Lazarus Assimilates My Will from Collodi to make the Bunraku pull Nino back with Snatch. Collodi then puts Nino down to a single wound remaining with Burning on him (Callum was out of cards to prevent it) as I think that Frame For Murder is either on him or the Executioner; helpfully the Ortega burns to death.

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Turn 2: The Brutal Effigy gives Collodi Fear Not The Sword (who shares it out) and drops a scheme marker, then chain activates the Stitched Together. The Stitched Together does some nasty damage to the Mounted Guard. McCabe misses a shot at Barbaros, heals the Mounted Guard and passes the Elixir to the Austringer and the Sabre to the Mounted Guard. My Arcane Effigy picks up Nino’s head then chains to Barbaros who charges the Mounted Guard for some fairly trivial damage; my main goal was to gum up the Guild crew with Challenge. Stupidly I forgot about the Brutal Emissary’s abilities and Barbaros is promptly buried. Oh well. The Mounted Guard charges into the Brutal Effigy for little effect, pulling the Executioner with him. Collodi slows the big chap and generally makes sure that neither the Guard nor the Executioner will do much of any consequence. The Bunraku on the right goes Fast and charges Luna, killing her with two lucky moderate damage flips. In the end, nothing at all dies in the scrum in the centre even though I get all trigger-happy with Lazarus and have him lob grenades into the middle of the mess. Callum does manage to deny my Claim Jump but I score for the strategy.

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Turn 3: The Arcane Effigy charges and kills the Executioner (who was looking rather poorly after the mauling he got last turn); the Brutal Effigy chain activates to pick up the head. The Brutal Emissary fails to hurt a Bunraku and the Stitched Together goes Fast and does some nasty damage to McCabe but is also knocked to a single wound itself. Callum can’t let me have another go with the Stitched Together so kills it with the Mounted Guard to score my 2VP for Frame For Murder; of course I was hoping that he would use McCabe to do the job. McCabe does throw himself into the mess in the middle of the board. The Bunraku in the centre finishes off the Mounted Guard and Lazarus Auto-Fires into the big mess but only succeeds in hitting Barbaros twice. Collodi kills the Emissary; I consider finishing off McCabe too (since he has only one wound remaining) but decide not to let Callum have another activation this turn. Barbaros Nimbles round McCabe and stabs the Austringer to push it away from the centre of the board and therefore avoid it scoring for Show Of Force, but only after it has picked up a head. We both score Headhunter and I score for Claim Jump.

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Turn 4: Barbaros pokes at McCabe and throws up his Challenge. McCabe make a bit of a meal of attacking the Bunraku thanks to Callum’s terrible cards (he Black Jokered one of the Challenge checks and needed to cheat another despite being on positive flips from Promises). Collodi kills the Austringer, and Callum has seen enough to end it. Neverborn win 9 – 1 (4 for Headhunter, 2 for Frame For Murder and 3 for Claim Jump for me; 1 for Headhunter for Callum).

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As always, Callum was a classy opponent and made me work probably harder than the scoreline suggests. This game really hinged on two moments, both in the first turn. The first was when Callum found that Nino would die to burning and therefore not score any points for Frame For Murder, which really knocked the wind out of his sails. The second was when, after spending almost the whole of his first turn AP turbo charging the Executioner to come and kill Collodi, he realised that the positioning of the rest of my crew would not make it possible and he aborted the whole process. One of the interesting parts about Malifaux is AP efficiency and the upshot of this was that Callum had wasted almost his entire crew to set something up. From my side, I was obviously quite pleased with the way things worked out. My biggest errors were both with Barbaros, a piece that I love but can’t quite seem to ever get right. As mentioned above, the deployment of Barbaros was absolutely dreadful and could easily have ended up costing me much more dearly in turn 1. Then in turn 2, I really gave him away to the Brutal Emissary; slightly more clever positioning could have probably have at least forced Callum to waste an AP moving into position.

Game 3: Neverborn (me) vs Outcasts (Ali Fergusson)

Strategy: Extraction, flank deployment

Schemes
Pool: Claim Jump, Eliminate the Leadership, Leave Your Mark, Recover Evidence, Tail ‘Em
Neverborn: Leave Your Mark, Tail ‘Em
Outcasts: Leave Your Mark, Recover Evidence

Crews
Neverborn: Collodi (Strum The Threads, Fated), Arcane Effigy, Brutal Effigy, Barbaros (Rapid Growth), 3 Terror Tots, Lazarus, Bunraku
Outcasts: Tara (Knowledge of Eternity, Obliteration Symbiote, Survivalist), Nothing Beast (Void Shield, Tally Sheet), Freikorps Librarian (Oathkeeper), Johana (Scramble), Big Jake, Void Wretch, Ronin, Malifaux Child

Finally a game in which killing all my stuff wasn’t a primary goal for the other crew. I wanted to try a Nephilim-heavy crew for a change as I feel like Tots should be good for gumming things up and also have the speed to get markers down for Leave Your Mark. Since I had the Tots I decided to put Rapid Growth on Barbaros; the idea was not particularly to focus on getting Young / Mature Nephilim but simply to have the possibility to do so if the opportunity came up. For one soulstone it felt worth it. The Bunraku was a late addition to the crew as I felt that a bit more speed might be useful. I chose Leave Your Mark partly as a result of having the Tots and partly just to be a change from Claim Jump; the two schemes are remarkably similar, at least superficially. Tail ‘Em was chosen despite Ali having only two targets because I had so many minions that I was sure I’d be able to keep some scoring going.

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Turn 1: Tara Reactivates the makes the Nothing Beast Fast and buries it. My Effigies power up and push Collodi. The Child makes Johana fast and our crews generally converge but respect each other’s threat ranges. I’m really concerned about the Nothing Beast getting unburied, focusing and tearing up Collodi so some of my moves are to check the movement options on that side of the board. Lazarus Assimilates My Will from Collodi, making it take a Pull The Strings attack against him with the My Bidding trigger so I can move Lazarus into firing range of the Librarian who is out of normal range but also not in cover. The actual firing is not hugely effective, missing twice, but I do get a straight flip on one so cheat in severe damage to land some wounds on Tara. The Bunraku goes Fast and charges Tara, mainly to try to pin her in place; Johana steams over and smashes the little puppet into matchwood. This has the effect of dropping the Nothing Beast out. Collodi puts considerable effort into hampering the Nothing Beast but only manages to draw some soulstones and the Void Shield out of the big monster. Slightly to my surprise, the Nothing Beast charges Lazarus for minimal effect; it would have been tricky but not impossible to get it onto Collodi I think. Tara herself moves round the forest.

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Turn 2: The Nothing Beast focuses then handily flips the Black Joker on an attack on the Lazarus. It does splat the nearby Tot in a single hit though. The Brutal Effigy shoots the Librarian, killing her, then chain activates to Barbaros who moves up to tickle Big Jake and put up Challenge. Tara fails to bury Lazarus. The Terror Tot furthest up the table Sprints then drops a scheme marker. Johana hurts Barbaros and the Arcane Effigy puts Tail ‘Em on the Nothing Beast. Collodi spectacularly fails to do anything substantial to Tara and the Ronin moves to deny my Leave Your Mark from the Tot. We both score for Extraction and I score Tail ‘Em.

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Turn 3: Ali reveals Recover Evidence so I put the markers on my most inaccessible pieces. Johana flurries Barbaros so I cheat the Red Joker on the first swing to push her away with the Knock Aside trigger. Collodi kills the Nothing Beast and Barbaros pokes Big Jake again. Tara runs away to the far end of the board so I can’t possibly catch her for Tail ‘Em. The Ronin polishes off my Tot before it can run away and drop more markers. Lazarus focuses and fires at Barbaros, then cheats in moderate damage to kill Big Jake. Finally, the Void Wretch drops a scheme marker. Ali scores for Leave Your Mark and I score for Extraction.

Turn 4: Collodi sidles across the board and kills the Void Wretch. Tara takes Reactivate and starts running back to where she was last turn. Lazarus moves to engage her simply on the basis that Ali must have a plan for her to do something and I might as well try to stop it from happening. Johana charges Barbaros and gets another go of the Knock Aside trigger; the Arcane Effigy kills her. The Ronin removes my scheme marker and does Seppuku. Barbaros moves up to drop another scheme marker and the Child disentangles itself from the Tot and stands there to deny me Leave Your Mark again. This is where my attrition has come to work for me as I can just have the Tot drop a marker instead. Tara fails to disengage from Lazarus. I score for the strategy and Leave Your Mark.

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Turn 5: We’re pretty much out of time and last activation could be called at any minute. Big Jake reappears next to Tara and recovers some Evidence. The Terror Tot puts down a scheme marker. Tara finally gets away from Lazarus and runs off to drop a scheme marker so the robot follows to deny Leave Your Mark. The Brutal Effigy applies the condition for Tail ‘Em to Tara and the game ends. We both score for the strategy; I score for Leave Your Mark and Tail ‘Em. Neverborn win 8 – 4 (4 for Extraction, 2 for Leave Your Mark and 2 for Tail ‘Em for me; 2 for Extraction, 1 for Leave Your Mark and 1 for Recover Evidence for Ali).

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That was a terrific game; Ali is really improving at Malifaux as he plays it more often. I was impressed particularly with the good way that Ali used his resources to keep the Nothing Beast alive and well in turn 1 though I as mentioned I was quite surprised to see Lazarus as the choice of charge target as I would say that he must be one the least vulnerable miniatures to the Nothing Beast in the entire game. Of course I was trying to make it unappealing to get the Nothing Beast into Collodi but I think it would probably have been possible and I would have been facing a very uphill struggle if Collodi had been killed early in the game. Rapid Growth on Barbaros didn’t end up doing much but I think it was worth the cost to have the possibility to get a Young Nephilim; better flips could have seen me get one from the Malifaux Child in turn 3 but it was not to be. Barbaros in general ended up just doing what he does best: standing in the middle of a crew a forcing them to deal with him. Based on previous games I find he does usually die (he especially hates it when anyone ignores armour) but the idea is to make the other crew expend a lot of AP to do it. One interesting thing that I discussed with Gareth in the pub later was Ali’s choice to move Tara right back to deny me a point for Tail ‘Em. I feel that the opportunity cost of not having any contribution from your master is generally not worth it to save a VP, though I can see that there are some cases where it would be correct move. In this case it allowed me to get a big leg up on attrition by dealing with the Nothing Beast, Johana and Big Jake in close succession.

So once the scores are all counted, I am pleased to see that I get first place. Even more pleasing was the positions of my not-actually-a-team team mates as Joe got second, Gareth third, V sixth and Jonny eighth, so very well done to all of them. I had a great time and the trip to Aberdeen always results in a fun event. Thanks to Martin, Callum and Ali for three fun games of Malifaux, and to Martin again for running everything.

Categories: Battle reports, Malifaux, Tournaments | Tags: , , , , , | 6 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: UK Nationals (50SS); 12-13Nov2016

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

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

Strategy: Collect The Bounty, standard deployment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strategy: Extraction, corner deployment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strategy: Squatter’s Rights, standard deployment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strategy: Interference, flank deployment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strategy: Guard The Stash, close deployment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strategy: Head Hunter, standard deployment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strategy: Stake A Claim, corner deployment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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