I attended my first Malifaux tournament on Saturday. Although I didn't do as well as I wanted I did get to bring home the prize I wanted most: Best Hobby!
Okay, so it was a really small tournament with only 8 people, and of those 8 people 4 of them are in my local meta, so it's not like a ground breaking achievement or anything. Still, I love painting and it's nice to get some validation every once in a while.
I didn't do awful in my games, but I didn't do great either. I won my first one against a Perdita crew 7-6. I lost my second game against a really good Colette crew 5-6 and lost my final game against Lilith 7-4. I think I got 4th overall, but they didn't announce all the results short of placeholders.
I didn't take a lot of pictures, and none of them are good either, as I was focused on playing. In this first game I got my first taste of the Latigos, and it was a tough lesson. Francisco paired with Perdita is just obnoxious, her defense and will power were sky high, making her nearly untouchable until Frank was dealt with. I think I only got rid of two models, Abuela and a Peacekeeper (the latter being removed in one activation was a shock to my opponent), but still managed to get the win by denying him table quarters with the Mechanical Rider. That thing is awesome, even with the Metal Gamin nerf, purely for the mobility and minion summoning for the strategy Interference.
Lessons learned from this game: The desolation engine is not a good anchor. It gets shot to pieces and is only okay for melee for its points. Also, never expect to be able to bring it back, as any player worth their salt will not let 4 abominations get together, and it's really hard to get that many moving parts working together.
Also, I need to shoot Francisco before he gets close. He's much too dangerous to leave alone. I need to learn my biggest threats and anticipate their movements by placing my waifs there.
I was much too conservative in this game, and I worried about the table quarter with Santiago and a pathfinder too much. I could have just left them alone and moved my Mechanical rider to assist with the flank with the majority of the Latigos. Luckily the rider helped negate some strategy points in time to make a difference, but if I had moved her to the other side I could have possibly stopped another two scheme points my opponent got as well as still stop the Interference points.
The overall lesson for this game was to not be intimidated by the presence of high damage dealers and do not overestimate my staying power, especially when placed with a Desolation Engine.
My second game was against Travis' Colette crew, which I hadn't faced before but knew it was trouble. It had a lot of crazy tech in there that I wasn't ready for even though I knew what it could do. Silent ones can hit pretty hard, are extremely resilient and can heal. I learned a lot of lessons in this one.
Lessons learned: Just because Neutralize the Leader is out doesn't mean I can't take Leveticus. A lot of people are moaning about this scheme, which is a replacement for Assassinate but punishes leaders who bury and stuff, and it has gotten a lot of discussion among our group. We've talked about just ignoring it and using Leve anyway since he's good, and if you don't go below half wounds you technically deny a point anyway. Although I've agreed with this sentiment, I decided against my judgement to use the Viks as I would already be struggling to score against Travis as he's the much better player, and I didn't want to start off already giving him 2-3 VP. Well, that plan went down the tubes on turn two as he essentially one-shot killed my leader anyway.
It was an uphill fight for me from the start. The strategy was Squatter's Rights, a strategy I would never want to choose the Viks over Leve for. I chose to try Neutralize the Leader as well thinking her scheme marker effects were a bury and not a placement. So another lesson is never take NtL against Colette. Don't even think about it.
In the end I didn't give up even after losing my leader early on. Vik of Blood managed to wipe off three models in an activation and evened the playing field, while my Trapper - who I switched from Johana at the last minute - managed to do a good job of popping the occasional shot off on models to soften them up while interacting with the furthest Squat marker to ensure I have at least one. Using the push trigger he has built in he also was moving back and forth to place a scheme marker for Convict Labor, a scheme I took every game. I think I like this model again, as I'm realizing now that the last 5-6 times I used him and didn't like him was because I deployed him in a terrible spot.
I did however get to use an idea I had with Hannah and Ancient Tomes - after Vik of Blood did her Whirlwind and lived through an activation I had Hannah bury her to keep her safe, which was a really good way to keep her safe from retaliation. I think it made a big difference as she stayed alive and threatening for the rest of the game and took out most of the crew on her own.
I did a lot better than I thought I would and it came close, so overall I'm pretty proud of how it went despite being the inexperienced player.
Major lesson: The Hodgepodge Effigy does NOT work on non-leaders! I skipped this important part of the rule when I decided to change up the list and found out the hard way he's not able to give Loyalty to the Coin to Viktoria of Blood. He managed to still prove to be a great asset with his walk value of 6, as he was able to get a squat marker and pop scheme markers consistently before dying. I'll need to replace him in this list with something better, possibly go back to Desperate Mercenaries to match the points cost.
Lessons learned: I hate the new scheme Inspection. I took it and misunderstood what it meant. I thought it meant only one non-peon needed to be on the center line and edge when it needed one on each end. That is a terrible scheme to take. It's not impossible, simply highly improbable to pull off.
The strategy was headhunter and there were plenty of markers around. I learned again that the Desolation Engine isn't nearly as hardy as it seems to be, as Hard to Wound isn't that great on its own as a deterrent. Popping out two Abominations isn't nearly the speed bump as it seems to be and only created more headhunter markers.
Dreads also informed me that I could have had the game if I had attacked Lilith more with Leveticus, as she was down to 4 wounds left and he had a shot at her. I thought since he Desolation Engine was in melee with her it would be too risky, but those are risks I have to take as all it would need was one to two hits in to take her out. That would have severely swung the game in my favor. Instead I went for dumb targets like Primordial magic in order to make more Abominations and go for more secure targets, which in hindsight was dumb as well as he had hard cover. If I had killed Lilith I would have placed third.
I did learn how to deny Convict Labor really well and was getting those points consistently thanks to the Mech Rider.
I learned I need a better anchor than Hannah, as she's not quite as tanky as I want her to be. I'm currently going through some changes with his list.
Another thing I learned was that I burn through stones too fast. I need to figure out a way to ease up on that, as I really need to only use them when they are really necessary. The first attack with Leveticus is one need, while using them to get a crow and possibly summon an Abomination isn't always as necessary as I think it is. It doesn't disrupt very much and they don't do much on their own.
Overall the tournament was a great learning experience even though I only played one new person outside our meta. It was pretty fun and I hope to play in other tournaments more often. I won't be playing a lot of games any time soon as I'll be unable to attend the weekly meet for Malifaux for at least 5 weeks, but in that time I should be able to get some good painting sessions in!