So last Saturday I attended a Malifaux tournament hosted by our good friends in Austin and had a blast!
I had decided to really try to have fully painted crews in time for the tournament, even if they aren't fully up to my finished standard. I went to work all throughout last week...
I had already shown you how I started the Abominations, this one is my favorite so far. He was pretty easy to complete, although I did take shortcuts on his skin as I had only painted with washes and a small amount of highlights. I figure being a summon he doesn't have to be a focal point but I did make sure to not skimp on the NMM. He's such a creepy cool model! Sorry the picture's dark, I took it in haste. Soon I should have better pictures of the entire group.
Here's the other Abomination, painted in an assembly line with the others. The NMM was done nicely, I did shortcuts for everything else including his tank but overall pretty darn cool.
I finished up a half painted Flesh Construct exactly as I had done before. I even left the brass areas incomplete so they'd match! I converted this particular one as I hate the fact that they are carrying a body. It's a cool pose, but the victim is completely out of scale and having more than one with that exact same pose looks cheesy. I gave this guy stabbing hands from the GW Ghouls kit as I have plenty of spare parts from it, and it turns out that GW's heroic scale hands are perfect for the larger scale of Malifaux. I even put GW's new technical blood paint to make it look like he's recently shanked someone.
And here are the ones I just absolutely cranked these bad boys out on Friday night. These guys, except for the Dust Storm, were all not primed or based when I started them at 7PM. With some assembly lines and absolute focus while watching Legend of the Seeker for background noise I got them to tabletop standards by 2AM. Although my airbrush was giving me issues from the start I'm still pretty happy with how most of these turned out. I've still got to line and highlight all of them, but it's a promising start. Note how I'm using a Puppet Wars miniature as my Brutal Effigy, he looks the part and is an official Wyrd model, he just has a different base - but so does Sue.
So late in the night I went to bed, I'd already packed up my stuff so that I only have to do the usual morning stuff before heading out. Turns out that I forgot to plug my phone in and it died before the alarm went off. Running extremely late (two hours!) when I woke up I rushed to meet my ride Dreads to head out. I felt absolutely terrible for causing him to run late as well, but we arrived at the tournament in time for him to play in the first round while I got the bye.
So in the second round I got paired up against Travis, Malifaux extraordinaire, and he was using Asami. The Strategy was Interference with Flank deployment, with Schemes like Convict Labor, Leave Your Mark, Neutralize the Leader, Show of Force and Public Demonstration. I decided to use Leveticus as it's my better crew against Asami and picked Convict Labor/Leave Your Mark.
I had my opponent deploy first and saw that he had most of his crew going toward my left side with Graves/Ama No Zako on the right, so I placed Leve/Ashes/Brutal/Johana on the left to oppose his strongest elements while putting one Flesh Construct and Waif team in the middle and one at the right near the center of the table, along with the Necropunk.
Well early in the game he decided to shift gears and moved almost his entire squad toward my right flank. Once he started to commit to this he realized a lot of his synergies were going to go away and maybe he had made a mistake, but he had a good idea to neutralize the Necropunk and keep me from easily gaining VP from schemes while claiming an easy table quarter.
This stupid Henchman is the cause of all my headaches
I had my right side placing markers for Convict Labor on turn one and hope for the best, they really need to stick around long enough so that Leve can sweep his side and assist the right.
Ashes and Dust also placed a marker near the center line and was used for Leve's (0) teleport to shoot a Yokai off the table and make an Abomination. Now that little minion is able to put pressure on Travis as he is in perfect position to run Leave Your Mark for the rest of the game if he's not dealt with. At worst he'll make a scrap marker for Ashes and Dust to push to later in the game.
The Necropunk tries to hold his side long enough for help
Once we got into the thick of things I had stopped taking pictures, as I needed to conserve battery since I didn't get much of a charge that morning.
Essentially the game had been extremely close the entire time, with every turn ending in a tie between us. I'd get either Convict Labor or Leave Your Mark, but Travis was doing a good job at denying at least one of those a turn. We'd also tie for Interference, but he was gaining on me in terms of quarter control. I took the top left quadrant easily but he'd hold the top right and take over my bottom right, luckily I'd have the Brutal Effigy claiming the Bottom Left.
Because Neutralize the Leader was on the board I made sure to be very conservative with Leve's health. The Brutal Effigy healed him up every turn while using Leve's (0) to teleport to Ashes and Dust ensured I wouldn't leave the table and give up points. This turned out to absolutely save me because Travis picked Neutralize the Leader as well as Leave Your Mark! I figured he would, but with the way the game was going and with how conservative I was with Leve's ranges he wasn't able to attack Leve without committing a lot of resources for it.
In the very last turn I managed to gain a VP over Travis and won 7-6! It was an extremely close game but it was very fun.
So lastly in round three I was currently in Second place and was paired against Doug and his Sandeep crew. I had been dreading this for two weeks.
Lately Doug has been terrorizing Malifaux with this master and no one has beaten it yet. The master is just solid and he made a very good list along with it. In anticipation of meeting this crew for the first time I had done extensive brainstorming, and even wrote down every ability and synergy for the crew in a document for me to study. I tend to retain information a lot better if I rewrite everything and make a list myself rather than simply reading the cards. If you haven't tried or read Sandeep I highly suggest you do, that crew is absolutely bonkers.
After extensive reading I had decided that Viktorias would be best suited against them. Sandeep's crew excel with Wp, and they can actually deal with Leve's attrition elements easily. I figured the Viktorias can capitalize on the fact that Sandeep's synergies require close ranges to certain elements, and with a clump of models it's ripe for Blood's Whirlwind. With my elements of attrition using Hannah and Sue they would be able to hold off the Banasuva for the game while the rest of the crew dies.
My crew, which has its blood frenzied and ready to see if theory can beat practice
It's about to be on like Donkey Kong...
So on turn one he does exactly what I anticipated. He moves everyone up in a small clump surrounding his Gamin models. The only thing I didn't anticipate was him summoning a Wind Gamin instead of a Metal Gamin. He used the safety of a rail car to hide Joss and company. I placed Hannah and Sue up furthest as a distraction target for his Banasuva, and he summoned and charged them as I expected. I made sure to place Viktoria of Blood directly behind Hannah to make sure the Banasuva goes to the opposite side of where I planned on going - he'd engage her to keep her from doing anything other than killing the Banasuva which is to his advantage. Luckily I foresaw all this and I couldn't believe it was going exactly as I had anticipated!
My biggest concern when I was thinking of this matchup was whether I charge Viktoria on turn one or two. She's completely capable of catching a group on turn one, and that certainly increases the pressure and pace on my opponent, but the situation has to be read very carefully as you rarely get to throw her in more than once. Because I figured I wouldn't be able to get more than two or three models in her range I decided to hold her back for round two as I anticipated him activating the Banasuva first, and even if he didn't it was still a good chance that she could live through a single activation (but very risky).
The risk payed off tremendously. I won initiative and Doug didn't see it coming. Not how many models he had close together near Sandeep on turn one in the picture above. I started with Viktoria of Ashes teleporting Blood to her side, then used Sisters in Fury and Sisters in Blood to buff her and chain activated Blood. Blood then charged Joss and got two other Oxfordian Mages in range, killing Joss and two Mages. I then used my third AP from Oathkeeper (I discarded it at the beginning of her activation) to walk into range of the remaining models and killed everyone except Sandeep.
Killing six models in one activation is absolutely beautiful
The table state was absolutely priceless. Before he activated a model he had lost almost every model in his list short of the Banasuva, Sandeep, Malifaux Raptor and Cassandra.
The Banasuva finished off Sue while Sandeep killed Blood. Ashes and Dust attempted to kill the Malifaux Raptor, but because I spent almost all my resources with Blood I was unable to damage it which proved to later cost me the game essentially. The Raptor flew off the board and Cassandra did her scheme running.
Viktoria of Blood left this world knowing her job was done, Sandeep took revenge
Over the next few turns I killed Sandeep and the Banasuva but Cassandra and the Raptor managed to almost score every point themselves.
Sandeep got a lot of eyes looking right at him...
...then he was gone
The problem was the scheme pool. I had studied the enemy crew extensively but knew I may have a problem with most schemes. The deployment was Corner, the strategy was Stake A Claim - one that gives me immense troubles regardless of crew because it's one I never practice and the interact action requires 2 AP. The pool was also not so much in my favor - Convict Labor, Hunting Party, Mark for Death, Exhaust Their Forces and I think Public Demonstration were in it. I foolishly chose Hunting Party and Mark For Death thinking my killy crew should be able to handle it. I didn't realize that I would be double dipping a lot of the times and it affected my ability to score - either I killed something that wasn't from my Henchman and didn't score from Hunting Party or Blood didn't have the AP to spare for Mark for Death. I ended up losing 7-4 despite Doug ending with only his Raptor alive because I couldn't catch up to it. Had I chose either Mark For Death or Hunting Party and Convict Labor I would have done much better and probably would have won. I couldn't score Hunting Party for the full points because I was never able to catch up to that stupid bird, and Peons count for Hunting Party. I would have easily been able to score Convict Labor. Ugh.
Oh well, lessons learned. I was disappointed in not getting the win but the silver lining is that I definitely was correct on how to beat the crew, I just need to anticipate the scheme pool a lot better. I also need to reorganize the crew to handle schemes better. I'd hate to replace Ashes and Dust as I really like how he interacts with the crew but my Viktorias are seriously lacking in the scheme department. Maybe it's time I give Void Wretches a try seeing as a lot of people like using them - I just can't see how the're truly effective. Ashes and Dust really do give me a lot of points to play around with though and would help with model count, we'll see how it goes!
In other news while I was at Dragon's Lair in Austin I saw that The Walking Dead - All Out War was on their shelves. Although I knew that they were on retail shelves I still complained about not receiving my pledge before others could buy it - and as soon as I did complain to my wife with a picture of the box she then notified me that I got a package and the picture showed it was from Mantic! I almost wanted to quit the tournament right then and there to open up my goodies!
Well I finally did as soon as I got home and it is so awesome. I wasn't a fan of the miniatures when I first saw them on the Kickstarter but was impressed with the gameplay and small scale enough to back it. The sculpts actually look a lot better in person and the exclusive components are well worth over the price. Once I get some pictures up I'll update you with my impressions!