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Friday, May 27, 2016

MERCS Terrain WIP - Novus Design Building

Hey all!

So I've recently done some work on the Novus Design building I featured a while back. I also bought another one of those buildings between now and then. I said it before and I'll say it now, I love these buildings.

This is the state it's at right now. I sprayed it black with rattle-can primer so I wouldn't take all day and waste airbrush primer. I then took a light olive color (can't remember the name) and mixed it with Wolf Grey. I messily airbrushed it over the black. Then I took Cold Grey and sprayed the ground. 

It still needs plenty of work but I was amazed how in essentially an hour it became playable. Of course I had to pose my little toys in it.

I also couldn't help setting up a quick table. In the back you see the other Novus Design building, one that's more standard in design but still very cool. I don't know what color I want to paint it yet, but after working with this one I know it should be a breeze.

Due to the large footprint of the buildings not many more terrain elements are necessary to fill the table. Some crates block long lanes of LOS, and some scatter provide cover for vulnerable approaches. With this set up the road becomes a valuable lane to cover or bound through. The center becomes a close range firefight with hardly any covering fire to support without being close up, and the opposite table edge becomes a race to get there first. I think it would be an interesting fight with this set up, although elevation isn't a huge element outside of climbing on the crates.

The great thing is that you can shift the buildings around to create some vastly different set ups. Since they're essentially just a series of walls you don't lose any playing surface. A closed off building that's, say, a foot squared means that the foot of space is unusable. With these buildings you block off long lanes of LOS but the game opens up once you enter them. For the price they are a great bargain and look awesome.

I believe they were designed with WWII games like Bolt Action in mind, but they're generic enough to fit in most games of that scale. I know this wouldn't look out of place in both Infinity and 40k, and I wouldn't feel weird about using them in Malifaux. 

I think I'll keep the base/ground colors fairly dark so it helps blend into the mat's surface more. Although they're obviously different colors they don't look out of place together. I usually brighten up my paintjobs with some highlights but I think I may leave these buildings more muted and muddy.

I can't wait to get a game of MERCS with these, it's a really cool addition and really gets you immersed. It can fit in well with the MERCS fluff as an area in the Lost Margin, where the FCC House 9 members reside. I imagine using the scenarios with objectives to represent data drop zones with opposing squads trying to intercept them, or a place for the Ambush scenario for the FCC to stage against a KemVar last stand. 

If anything painting this has gotten me aching to get more MERCS stuff done! Also reading Sync's blog gets me pumped. You should check it out, it's a great place to see another MERCS fan's work. Maybe one day I can get off my lazy butt and paint my whole FCC squad and my other stuff so I can do a proper demo!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Arena Rex Stuff!

Howdy ya'll!

So recently I received the majority of my Arena Rex order. I'm only waiting on the Ludus Magnus starter to be sent after it's been cast. Red Republic Games got hit for tons of orders during Adepticon, both due to their online sale as well as doing very well in their booth for sales there. I emailed one of their representatives, Chelsie, in seeing if it was possible to mail the rest of the order as it was ready and they did! Not only that, when a mistake was sent (in my favor) they were extremely helpful and gave me free expedited shipping when I reordered the miniature! For a company that is relatively small in the table top community, as well as extremely busy in recent months, they have gone above and beyond in service for just one individual customer. I am truly impressed.

Vargr's pose truly gives the impression that he's chopping you down, there's a very good flow of motion that makes it seem much more real than usual sculpts

I ordered quite a bit of stuff during their sale, including almost every single Ludus Magnus model short of Urbicus. I got the Legio XIII and the Zephyri starters as well and one miniature from each to give them four models each. Essentially I got enough for 4 players to have 4 gladiators each from their own ludi. Whether I ever get 4 players together for a game is another story, but essentially even if I never get to play I got my hands on some sweet miniatures.

Gaius Pallidus from Legio XIII

And sweet they are! Man, these casts are great. The detail is phenomenal, the poses are dynamic and it just oozes style. They are so different than the stuff I usually have, it's going to be a fun challenge to paint them all.

Sven, my favorite sculpt, from Zephyri

There are plenty of unboxings and reviews of the miniatures on the web so I won't go into great detail there. I did run into issues of taking models of the sprue, particularly with Viatrix. She has one eety beety teeny contact point on her feet that is supposed to be glued to the base. Due to the way she's cast there is almost no chance you're going to get her off the sprue intact. My very careful attempt still left her without any toes. It's fine, as I can bury it in sand, but it's a shame as she was one of my most anticipated models and she doesn't have toes now. This also led to having a slightly angled flat space to attach to the base, making her lean a lot more than intended.

Viatrix doesn't like it when you stare at her feet

Overall, though, the models weren't tough to deal with. You have to be extra careful when working with them, as they're resin and certain pieces will be brittle. Otho Mentulus' head had a crack from the stress placed on him while removing it from the sprue, but it's not noticeable at all. Frigge has an insanely tiny ponytail with a feather that goes on her head. When I cut it from the sprue it flew away and I didn't find it for a while, but if I didn't find it that would have been extremely tragic.

Hermes from Ludus Magnus. He reminds me of Crixus, but he was a Murmillo rather than Thraex as Hermes is

Only one model needed a soap bath to get rid of the layer of film usually associated with Resin miniatures. A few of the weapons need to be bent back into shape using heat, but not all of them did - surprisingly Iason's spear came out perfectly straight. All the other spears came out bent or extremely bent or hot damn, and Otho's sword was like a cartoon sword from Roger Rabbit. Hermes' sword was bent as well, but I just bent it back without any heat and it stayed straight. These are all things that anyone who's worked with resin should be familiar with, though.

Iason from Ludus Magnus, he uses the awesome Hoplomachus style of fighting

Otho Mentulus of Ludus Magnus, he is huge. I didn't put his tower shield on yet. Notice his sword pointing to the sky.

Having received and built most of my models I had to build a suitable environment for them to spill blood on. This has been something I've pondered for a very long time, since I last mentioned Arena Rex here.

There are a few things to think about, namely its size. The game was designed with a 30" diameter arena in mind, but they deliberately did not put an official size in the game so players could experiment with different arenas and sizes. This was a great move on their part honestly, and this way you have a ton of freedom to explore whatever you want to build.

There are hardly any mats you could buy for the arena. Most games use a square or rectangle play area, and the gladiator games that do use arenas use hexagons for their games. I found a few but none that satisfied me, and the official mat was only available to Kickstarters.

Of course my original plans were very grand, but after a ton of thought I scaled it back to something I knew I could knock out while being passable for demos. I also had to think of transportation, as being the only player I'd definitely have to provide the terrain myself. I knew worst case, though, you could use a 2x2 mat for the play surface and do fine.

In the end I scoured the forums to get inspiration and found this. It was simple and effective, something that can be easily done in a few hours without going insane. It didn't have the desert arena look I wanted but that's easy to do, the stones are what motivated me to follow its footsteps.

I got a 2x2 square sheet of pink insulation foam as the base. I already had it lying around, and it was a good way to give a solid foundation while keeping it light for transport. The only thing I have to worry about is chipping/damage, but it's not something I'll lose sleep over if damaged. I then got some foam bricks for cheap to build the arena walls.

Kristy helped me lay down a circle using a pen and some string. Then we used Tacky Glue and put each brick down one by one. It wasn't hard or time consuming at all, I'd say in an hour it was all done, tops.

Here it is with 3 rows of bricks

Once I got it as high as I liked I made some individual column out of the foam bricks. These things are pretty nifty, you can roll them to create rounded shapes, or you can cut them to fit what you need. I haven't tried pinching them to make shapes like trapezoids but it seems fairly easy to do.

I put columns on the walls in 8 places. This improved the look but it also functions as a deployment reference. For two players you obviously use the North/South orientation, add East/West for 4 players, and for 3 players you can use North for one and the middle of East/Southeast for player two, and middle of West/Southwest pillars for player three.

With the columns, miniature for scale

Up close

So it was extremely easy to build, and super cheap. The bricks were maybe $10, and I didn't use a whole box of them, and the insulation foam was less than $5. 

I plan on painting it up soon, and also using the Vallejo Desert Sand Gel paint to add the desert texture. It's playable for now though, and it's super light. It's not perfect, the bricks aren't uniform in size and resulted in a few bumpy parts, but it does the trick. 

Of course I had to put some minis down for a battle scene.

Hopefully soon I can get this all painted up to show off and demo! Give it a try, the rules are free at and the miniatures are simply stunning.

Monday, May 2, 2016

4/30/16 Malifaux Tournament Success!

Howdy ya'll!

So on 4/30/16 I attended the local Malifaux tournament, hosted by the excellent Montag's games. It was the third I've attended, and the largest so far at 12 players. Also, I placed second! That's pretty validating for me, as the competition is pretty stiff with the regulars in our group all being in attendance short of our neighborhood Gremlin player who was attending to his little Gremlin at home.

The games were very fun, and got off to a rocky start for me but I managed to pick up my last two. I was lucky enough to play against folks I've had experience against, but it was no picnic.

My first game was against Devin, who plays Ten Thunders and generally sticks with Misaki. I didn't bring my notes with me for the blog, so I'll try to recall the Scheme Pool as best as I can. The Strategy was Reconnoiter with Flank Deployment. The Schemes were Convict Labor, Leave Your Mark, Show of Force, Hunting Party (I Think), and I can't recall the other one. 

I heavily debated using my Viktoria list featuring RatJoy for this table. There were clear lanes of walking, hardly anything to impede movement, and LOS can be drawn from each others' deployment zone. Couple this with the fact that my opponent most likely hasn't seen RatJoy on the table as well as having only seen one iteration of the Viks from his wife/girlfriend (I don't know which, apologies to Devin!) it would have been a good time to spring the surprise - as these sort of tricks only work once reliably then the opponent is ready for it. I opted not to use it, one reason being that I had not practiced it myself yet, and the second reason knowing what he likes to bring to the table, meaning his forces are most likely going to separate from the master considerably. I really wanted to, especially as he had 3 models going for the center via the bridges making the Vik Missle and Killjoy especially potent in a confined area and have hard cover/LOS blocked from elevation. Alas, my fear of the unknown quantity of not practicing a relatively complex mechanic got the better of me. Before I made my decision I also realized that with the strategy being Reconnoiter should I fail to perform the bomb correctly I'd be left in the wind struggling to recover and score VP.

With that panicked thought process I chose my Leve crew, completely unchanged from my last two games. Currently it is thus:

  • To the Earth Return
  • Desolate Soul
  • Pariah of Iron

Hollow Waif x2
Ashes and Dust
  • Scramble

Mechanical Rider
  • Oathkeeper

Hodgepodge Effigy
Flesh Construct

This is my most current iteration of my Leve list, and it works very well with my play style. If I had my notes with me I'd be able to tell you how many games I've played using this (almost) exact same list for every scheme pool, but I'd estimate it's close to 10 games in a row at least. There's a stigma in the Malifaux community that preaches, "it depends on strats and schemes," which in our group isn't the best way to look at list building. We go into it at great length from our podcast "Flippin' Jokers," but it's a philosophy that I had believed in well before meeting these guys after reading the rules for the first time (Not building to strats and schemes). Considering that all models short of insignificant can perform interacts for schemes, and with the relative similarity among certain scheme categories, you can make anyone a scheme runner should you need it. Taking multi-purpose models capable of handling several scenarios as well as excelling at some should be a priority, and a good list should be able to handle any scheme pools that pop up, short of a tech piece or two.

Anyway, I digress, that can be a whole other entry. I should also revisit my previous entry on my Leve list with what I've changed and learned.

So my opponent declared Ten Thunders, and used Misaki as I figured he would. The last time I played him he used a list he admitted he didn't like, so I figured I'd see some different models on the table short of a few key ones like Sensei Yu. From what I remember he took the following:

  • Recalled Training
  • Misdirection
  • Stalking Bisento

Sensei Yu
  • Wandering River Style

Katanaka Sniper
Lone Swordsman (He may have had Recalled Training on him, don't think he used it)
Convict Gunslinger

I think that was it, but it seems a bit short on models - I can't remember any more, and he very well may use only 6 models although I doubt it.

The scheme pool makes it easy for my choices, as any time Leave Your Mark comes up I take it regardless of any other factors. It's just such an easy scheme to get going (usually, this game will prove otherwise). I almost always take Convict Labor as it's always in the pool and I generally get 3 VP from it consistently.

So with deployment I had him deploy first so I could see where he stacked his models and react accordingly. He deployed the sniper in the middle on the bridge, as I figured he would as it's one of the better placements on the board for him. He wisely places it not too far up, about 8-10 inches from the center, as to deny simply walking up the bridge to him. He places the majority of his crew to my right and nothing left of the center of the board.

I react by placing Ashes and Dust as far right as I could. Being that the majority of the opposing models on that flank would be easily denied by Ashes being so close to a table edge it seemed like an even match. I deployed the Necropunk as far left and forward as possible, being that he's very mobile and relatively unopposed on that flank should be an easy scheme run for him. Any models that move toward him due to his movement will easily deny a turn or two of use as they will most likely cross the center bubble and not help with the strategy and spend those turns only moving.

The Mechanical Rider and a Waif deployed next to him for any support, and her mobility also helps her quickly aid the other side if in need. The Flesh Construct and a Waif will weather the storm of walking up the bridge, as he should be able to deny the sniper's damage with his Hard to Wound and healing abilities, while the Waif gives me options for Leve's reappearance. The Hodgepodge Effigy is right behind, as from the middle he is able to double walk and give Leve Loyalty to the Coin whenever necessary. Granted, I forgot to deploy him, but seeing as how when I remembered him it was still early in the game and his activation would have been inconsequential, my gracious opponent allowed me to put him back on. Lastly Leve was deployed center-right, waiting for any models to get within range on turn one for a pot shot.

Some of these details are out of order as I'm only recalling them, but I'll try to make them as accurate as possible...

Turn one had us moving around mostly, with his Sniper failing to do any significant damage. He moved his Tengu and Lone Swordsman directly toward Ashes, who moved as far right as possible and placed a scheme marker near the center line for Convict Labor. Sensei Yu pushed Misaki to my left in reaction to my Necropunk, who leapt forward and placed another Scheme Marker for Convict Labor behind the safety of a building. She then ran toward him after Stalking my Flesh Construct. The Convict Gunslinger moved left as well to stay near the sniper and got on the bridge. My Flesh Construct inched his way forward with a Waif in tow, and Leve walked forward and popped a shot off on someone (I can't remember who, possibly the missing model) then summoning a Waif behind the safety of a center building. The Hodgepodge Effigy ran up behind the Waif.

Misaki going hunting...

With turn two came some significant moves. Hodgepodge gave Loyalty to the Coin to Leve, who then Accompliced to activate. Leve killed the mystery model and summoned an Abomination for a speed bump, then summoned a Waif to hide behind the building. Misaki walked in order to get my Hodgepodge in LOS, discarded Recalled Training, then charged him trying to get blasts on my Waif. He managed to damage the Waif once, and would have killed my Effigy had it not been for Hard to Kill, and was stuck in melee (he keeps forgetting to use his Next Target trigger, which I constantly remind him is built in).

Ashes and Dust got hit by the Lone Swordsman but weathered it well. In retaliation he charges him back, catching the Tengu as well. He damages him down to 2 wounds left. The Tengu says, "Screw this..." and flies out of melee directly toward the Necropunk on the other side. The Sniper kills the summoned Abomination.

My Necropunk activates last, mostly so that he's protected during the turn and can pop the scheme marker in the best place for him while avoiding whatever models that are coming his way. Unfortunately through my zeal I spent the card I was saving for his Leap and failed it. He had to walk to place a marker, which is okay but really puts a hamper in things as he isn't as far away from the Tengu as he wants to be.

We ended up both scoring for Reconnoiter, as we had two table quarters each. I scored for Convict Labor as well.

Quite a predicament I'm in...

Turn three seemed pretty explosive. Misaki charged up the platform to the Mechanical Rider, with the Waif not far behind. Luckily the rider had some good damage reduction by then and only took 4 damage in total. Hodgepodge gave Loyalty to Leve, who then proceeded to obliterate the Convict Gunslinger. I completely forgot to buy a Crow for his last shot so I didn't get another Abomination, which would have been great for keeping the sniper in place for a bit. He summoned a waif behind the bridge to keep up with the Flesh Construct while another Waif got shot by the sniper. Ashes finished off the Lone Swordsman after taking another hit while he pushed away, then Ashes pushed back to his original spot where the scrap marker from the Abomination was. The Flesh Construct walked forward to position himself on their table quarter to deny VP and set up next turn where he'll place a marker.

The Tengu flew all the way to my Necropunk and discarded both of his scheme markers with his (0) ability, which put me in a bind. I couldn't score Convict Labor now, so I decided that he will Leap out and walk to place a marker for Leave Your Mark. He failed his Leap and I had spent his card on something else again. Ugh. Maybe I should be activating him a bit earlier. 

I ended up using my last activation with my Mech Rider terribly. I pushed her out of combat with Misaki after discarding Oathkeeper, then walked her up to shoot my own guy to get the Scheme Marker trigger, without realizing I couldn't do that on friendly models. If I had just double walked and placed a marker I would have won 4-3 regardless of my Necropunk failing his leap.

A bit earlier before the end of the turn and game

At the end of the turn I deployed Leve near Misaki to deny/gain Reconnoiter. He got Frame for Murder from the Lone Swordsman but nothing else. Being that time was up we ended the game 3-3 in a draw.

Had I remembered to save a card for Leap twice it would have definitely been in my favor, probably 5-3 as I would have had a better position for Convict Labor to score and started on Leave Your Mark unopposed. That's the lesson I took from this game for sure. I was just mostly in fear of the sniper getting off a shot on him that I didn't want to activate him early and ended up using his card for another duel, but it was most likely a duel that wouldn't have significantly altered my VP acquisition like the Necropunk would have. If I also didn't screw up the Rider's activation it would have ended between 4-3 or 6-3 with the Necropunk. Oh well... on to the next game.

Deployment for the second game

So after lunch I made sure to keep my mistakes in mind for my second attempt. I was paired up against Parker, who I've played a few times. He's a regular at Montag's and runs a solid few Arcanist crews. The table was perfect for Leve, although I did try to see if Viks would do well enough. I knew that he used two masters consistently, Colette and Rasputina. With the chance that he may take Raspy I decided against Viks, as she literally stops them cold. He also is familiar with RatJoy, and may be able to stop it even though he hasn't seen it on the table - he's a knowledgeable player overall so this trick isn't suited to use against him. Plus with this table he'd be forced to be exposed out in the open to be shot to bits and charged aggressively. 

The pool from what I can recall: Standard deployment, Extraction as the Strategy, Convict Labor, A Quick Murder, Set Up, and I can't recall the rest right now.

He took Rasputina, which I'm very glad I didn't use the Viks on. I don't know of the upgrades as I didn't ask, but they're usually standard fare. He took Snow Storm, an Ice Gamin, December Acolyte, Angelica with Imbued Energies (I think), 2 Silent Ones and a Wendigo.

I took Convict Labor and A Quick Murder. I was afraid of using AQM as in order to score full VP you have to kill their most expensive model by turn 3, which is not always easy depending on the opponent. I took it mostly because I could easily identify his most expensive model as Snow Storm without having to ask him, and the rest of the pool consisted of schemes I'm not comfortable with (read: don't like at all). The strategy seemed very easy, as it started in the middle on top of a LOS blocking terrain piece, once I got it moving it would be hard to deny, and with summoning I tend to outnumber the other crew.

So I made him deploy first, and he kept all his models in the center of the board. I deployed almost all my models in the center as well, short of Ashes to the far right and the Necropunk to the far left. Keeping AQM in mind I figured should he be attacked heavily he can bail out and run really far back again while the Necropunk finishes Convict Labor, and Ashes can lend any melee support toward getting Snow Storm killed if needed.

Early in turn one

A close up of his models from turn one

A close up of mine before most of the action begins, the sunlight made them dark

He moves most of his models slowly forward, being cautious of Leve's attacks. He does move his Wendigo to be exposed, however. After activating everything else Leveticus manages to kill the Wendigo and summon an Abomination, which was promptly killed before he activated - which is no problem, as it puts a scrap marker really close to them. Everything else cautiously advanced, with the Mechanical rider and two Waifs hiding behind trees and the Flesh Construct walking up the middle with everyone else. Ashes went far up the right and the Necropunk far up the left, armed with a card should he fail this time. Both models placed markers for Convict Labor.

The Turn 2-3 Scrum... notice Snow Storm is not there.

So turns two and three were a blood bath, really. I didn't take many pictures between the two as I was pretty absorbed in what was happening, but I will give you the highlights.

Leveticus lit up Snow Storm and left him with 2 wounds left due to the Black Joker. Here's a story for you: 

(Long sideboard thought about Leve's triggers and when to use them, should you want to skip this then go to the next section!)

On the drive there I was analyzing the optimal way to down a henchman with one activation using Leve. Assuming all three shots are available I pondered the use of To The Earth Return trigger - which lowers wounds by half rounding up, or Power Leech, which prevents Soulstone use. Henchmen generally have 10-12 wounds. So if you're attacking a 10 wound model using to Earth Return you're doing 5 wounds, 6 to a 11-12 wound model. They are naturally going to Damage Prevent, and I always assume the worst so they're preventing 3 of that damage. That's leaving them with 2 damage taken on a 10 wound model, or 10 left on a 12 wound model. That's a lot left, and if you used Power Leech with severe damage you would have done twice the damage guaranteed. If you continue that route then you'd want to use Earth Return once more on the 11-12 range model, getting about 5 damage again, but they get to Prevent once more, leaving it as only another 2 damage as well. This is the problem I kept running into when I first started Leveticus. Granted, the equal possibility is there that they only prevent one and you come out on top when compared to doing severe damage with Power Leech, but if you factor in them preventing 2 as well then there are more chances that you come out even or worse over Power Leech with Severe.

The problem with depending on Power Leech, however, lies in your control hand. In order to consistently achieve maximum damage you have to have 3 severe cards in hand. Against a 10 wound model you only need two and a moderate card, which is fairly easy enough and something to consider when you draw your opening hand - which may dictate stone usage for card draw. However, the damage becomes much more consistent against a Stone-using model. Should you have at least two severe cards in hand you can simply hit them as usual, generally not needing to tap in severe cards to hit since you only need to not tie in the attack duel, then you can cheat in the severe card for damage at least twice. There is a slight possibility you'll flip the severe for damage as well and not need to cheat. Against a 10 wound Henchman/Master that's two cheated severe cards with Power Leech for 8 damage, leaving only two left so that your final attack needs only weak damage to kill. Against an 11 wound model you'd only need moderate for your final attack. For a 12 wound model you need all of those to be severe to kill in one activation. It is also necessary to make sure those first two attacks are severe. If you should miss your final attack it isn't hard for any of your other models to finish the job, even with Hard to Kill on the model. This all hinges on your control hand, and usually if I plan on killing a high wound henchman I will stone for the cards to gather odds in my favor.

If you happen to be attacking a model who can use stones that has 13 damage or more then Earth Return for your first attack is always beneficial, as you'll be doing 7 damage. If he prevents max damage then you're still hitting your severe profile and he spent a stone. Should he prevent max he's down to 9, then it's debatable on which trigger to use.

The better part of Earth Return is that it's less resource intensive, as you only need a moderate card to do the large amount of damage. If you're hurt on cards then it becomes feasible as your opening attack, possibly your second attack. But most of the time you can obliterate large models using Power Leech alone.

(Long thought over! Thank goodness...)
So, long boring "story" aside, the story being that's what I thought of the entire 30 minute drive to the tournament, I utilized this thought process when I decided to attack Snow Storm. I had two severe cards in hand, all three attacks ready and waiting, and it was all working out perfectly. On the third attack I flipped the black joker, when all I needed was weak damage to finish him off. GAH!

Anyway, Ashes and Dust pushed to the scrap marker and finished the job with one swing getting AQM for 3VP, damaged the December Acolye, then proceeded to walk back to where he was. He still got shot to bits though and was separated as Ashen Core and Dust Storm, so the Dust Storm ran right back into base contact with the Core and reformed at the end of the turn. Parker didn't realize that the reform action was a (0) ability and thought it was a (1) action, so he thought I wouldn't be able to do so.

Mechanical Rider, who was hiding most of the game, took a shot at the Acolyte to finish him off while placing two scheme markers - an amazing ability! This ensured Convict Labor if needed, and she still acted as an anchor for two Waifs should the Flesh Construct fall.

Which he did, he fell to several concentrated shots from Silent Ones - those guys are just ridiculous. 

Sometime during the end of turn four he had placed Angelica on the left side of the center obstacle. Due to the action happening exclusively to the right of the obstacle he most likely didn't see an attack coming from the other side. I positioned Leve to shoot around the corner at her and killed her in one activation while popping out an Abomination. The summon quickly died, but it was definitely a good moment for me as every turn I was consistently taking out models.

Ashes reformed

Overall it was an awesome game for me. The Necropunk was left untouched to do what was needed. I was in control of the flow of the game the entire time and was never reactionary. Every attack he made I had anticipated and usually thought of a backup should his target die. This game definitely clicked for me and I won 10-1, the only point he scored was the second round from the strategy. After that I pulled the marker 3" to my side and he couldn't get models near enough to it.

He had made a few mistakes, one being not taking the right schemes. I assumed that he took AQM as well since Ashes and Dust is such an easy target to get VP from. When Ashes first went down I thought he was going to reveal his scheme, when I realized he didn't I asked him if he took it and he said he didn't. I believe he took Convict Labor and one of the ones I can't recall.

The Good, the Bad, and the Tiny

So my final game was against Doug on the Wild West table. The last time I played on this set up I ended up getting a draw against Jack Daw, mostly because I hadn't anticipated the firing lanes to screw me up. Since then I've had a lot of time to think about how I should have played it, with the possibility of finally using Viktoria as they would have been great in my last match up on the board. The problem was that Doug used Arcanists, and with them comes Rasputina which completely blocks the Viks from being effective. I thought long and hard and decided to use Leve again, mostly because of Close Deployment being in range for him and that it wouldn't be hard to stop the rat engine from that close. 

I think our last game might have affected his choice in master though, as the last time we faced off I used this (almost) exact same crew (switched out the Trapper for the Flesh Construct) and I got a solid win over Rasputina. He used Marcus, probably to be more aggressive against my crew as last time sitting back didn't work out - I'm only guessing this, though so I could be wrong.

With Marcus he brought Joss, Miranda, a Raptor, Dawn Serpent, and Rogue Necromancy. Six models in total, so it seemed a bit small to me. This is good news for me, as Leve only needs to take out one model and it can heavily affect their game.

I only faced Marcus once before, and it was against Doug, but he used him in a support role and my Viks beat that down fast. That was over a year or two ago, though, and now he's using him as a beat stick. Boy, it operates a lot differently!

The Deployment was Close, the Strategy was Collect the Bounty, and the schemes had Convict Labor, Inspection, Frame for Murder, and others I can't remember now. Obviously I remembered the two I took, though, and he took Inspection as well. Upon deployment we both knew the jig was up, it was obvious we both took Inspection. He also took Frame for Murder, and there's more to that story.

By the way, I really wish I didn't, because that scheme sucks hard. Super hard. I'm probably not going to take it ever again, unless the pool is that crappy. And only reluctantly will I take it.

Actually, it's probably not as bad as I make it to be, I just put myself in a bad spot to score from it.

Deploying first was probably a huge factor in this game being difficult for me, though. I placed Ashes and Dust on the left side fully up, so I was only 6" away from the center line. I put the Mech rider on the other side instead of the Necropunk, as being that Inspection was out I wanted to have some staying power there. I kept her further away, though, hoping to just chill for the first round then moving as a last activation in the second to score and stick around afterward. The rest of the models huddled the center, with Leve getting a bead of LOS to the center line on the right table edge, so that any model planning on sticking there was going to get shot off.

From here you can see Leve gets a perfect shot on anything that double walks to the center right, if they don't he can walk and get a shot off as well

So a few things came off the rails during the game. First off, he deployed Joss against Ashes and Dust, with Miranda and the Raptor in tow. Nothing was in the middle, which is fine by me as it completely separates his forces in half with no true support to one another. He then had his Rogue Necromancy, Marcus and Dawn Serpent for the left side, which was closer to Leve.

I knew that Ashes was going to have a tough time on his own. If it was just Joss, it might have been easier. But with Miranda as well things don't look so good, mostly because Joss can easily kill Ashes, then Miranda can possibly kill the Ashen Core afterward, leaving the Dust Storm on his own. In hindsight I shouldn't have feared this as much and just keep going at it with Ashes, perhaps leave him less than a base away from the edge so that the Dust Storm will always reunite, but that's hindsight. Man, I really should have done that and I only now just thought of that.

The other side I figured wouldn't be so bad. I was sure I was going to lose the Rider one way or another, as we'd both be fighting over the same semi-circle against a Marcus on steroids. I figured he'd get one good turn or two and then I'd come out on top if I played my cards right - the idea was that I can kill the necromancy one turn, then the serpent or Marcus the next, not uncommon.

So turn one happens as expected. He made the Raptor attack Joss to become a beast. Miranda healed him, then they both made their way to the edge of the center line. Ashes and Dust charged Joss to start the grind early, any markers for Convict Labor would have been futile since his models would deny it. My Necropunk leapt forward and placed a marker for Convict Labor. I held the Rider and her Waif back, figuring there was no good in coming out of hiding as she can dash to the center line anyway. During the last activations he sent his Rogue Necromancy to sit on the center line, and just launched Marcus to hit the Rider from where she deployed. I think in the end he gave himself +3 walk and melee expert. So he double walked his Master within reach of the Rider and hit her twice. She had 2 wounds remaining in the end, which I thought she was done for. I almost wish she did die honestly, because that would have made Marcus vulnerable to Leveticus' shooting. But being that she only had 2 wounds left I couldn't risk shooting into combat. If she had one more wound I would have, as she could live through one attack and get a free melee swing on him and possibly draw a card. But with 2 if I hit her she's dead, no matter what. If she was Undead I would have sacrificed her to leap Leve over and shoot the crap out of Marcus, but I couldn't. So I just left him alone. Instead I shot the open Necromancy, who landed right in the lane I planned on, and got him down to two wounds. I figured if I win initiative I could push the Rider out, discard Oathkeeper, and just ram toward the Necromancy and finish it anyway, if I lost initiative I could shoot Marcus in the face, so I just positioned the Waifs to do so. No one scored this turn.

He won initiative turn two, and the first thing he did was run the Rogue Necromancy back into his deployment zone in the woods. Being that he didn't finish off the Rider first was a good opportunity for me. I discarded Oathkeeper on her, pushed her out of combat and summoned a weak Metal Gamin to stand next to Marcus, then she walked and charged the almost dead Rogue. She killed it with the first attack and drew a card. Marcus activated after that, killed the Gamin, then chased after the Rider to finish her off. This, however, left Marcus right in range of Leve, who proceeded to severely damage Marcus down to a few wounds. My Necropunk started dropping off schemes for Convict Labor. The Flesh Construct was doing some overtime, though, as he was anchoring all three Waifs with some crazy LOS angles in order to get good positioning for Leve later. He also doubled as a scheme runner to finish off Convict Labor, but not until the next turn. The Dawn Serpent tried killing Waifs but couldn't quite do it. His Raptor buried to come up later on, placing him to engage my Waif. Both of us killed Enforcers so we tied for the Strategy. With Marcus on one side and Joss on the other he scored Inspection. So at the end of Turn 2 I was trailing by one. I brought back Leve so that he was not engaged by the Raptor anymore.

The next turn worked a lot better for me. I had won initiative, so I promptly killed Marcus with Leveticus and summoned an Abomination for Inspection. This gave me a huge advantage in getting the Strategy VP and denying his. Joss ended up killing Ashes, so I summoned the Core and the Dust Storm 10" back in my deployment zone, hopefully minimizing the damage or keeping Miranda away. Miranda ended up going after the Dust Storm anyway, but I managed to get out of the Disengaging Strike and walk to score for Inspection. I managed to get the last marker for Convict Labor out as well. Toward the end he moved his Raptor in the middle of all my guys, which I killed him with the Flesh Construct. He then revealed Frame for Murder on him, but I asked if he was a Peon. After a big yell and face palm later he realized he made a huge mistake and couldn't score from the scheme.

So he couldn't score Frame for Murder, didn't score from Inspection and didn't score from Collect the Bounty. I got Collect the Bounty, Inspection and Convict Labor, ending the game 4-2 in my favor as the time ran out.

I also reread the Strategy and discovered that neither of us score if we tie, so the score was really 3-1 but the differential is the same, I don't know if that would change the outcome but I'll remember it for next time.

He was beating himself up very badly for not picking the right model for Frame for Murder, as it would have tied us up. But then, if we're taking back schemes, I definitely wouldn't have taken Inspection on this table. No siree.

Here's a lesson kids: if Inspection is on the table, and you see your opponent splitting his force in two on the edges, and you're smart and didn't take Inspection, just put YOUR ENTIRE CREW against his weakest side. Then just obliterate his models and watch as he's denied 3VP for the entire game, as well as having only half his crew working right and the other half slogging back to meet up with you. And that's why I don't want to take Inspection.

In the end, though, it all worked out. Dreads, a great Neverborn player with a stupid awesome Lilith list, got 1st. I got 2nd and Brandon, who played Neverborn using Colodi, got 3rd. It was great, and with the prize money I got a copy of the Descent board game to play at home.

I learned a lot from the tournament as well as implemented a lot that I had already learned to a degree of success. Sorry the post was long, hopefully you enjoyed it - more likely skipped it all! This is only my 3rd tournament in Malifaux ever, and getting placed is pretty huge for me. Hopefully it isn't a fluke and I can keep it up, but if not I am always willing to learn more. Also of note, I used the exact same crew for 3 different match ups with success, so let that be a lesson in Malifaux for you.

Let me know any comments or questions, and have fun with Malifaux!