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Thursday, January 5, 2017

Malifaux Gaining Grounds 2017 - Battle Report (Viks vs. Asami)

Hello 2017!

So as the new year came along it brought with it Malifaux's annual tournament format packet, Gaining Grounds. Our group dissected the new pool of schemes and I got to have my first game yesterday using these new ones. My overall impression is that it has largely remained the same, with some of the new schemes appearing very interesting in terms of scoring.

I played against Travis' Asami crew, now working on all cylinders since he's recently added in the Yasunori.

I've been tinkering around with my Viktorias list and tried some new changes:
  • Viktoria of Ashes (6ss Cache)
    • Sisters in Spirit
    • Sisters in Fury
    • Synchronized Slaying
  • Viktoria of Blood
    • Mark of Shez'uul
    • Tally Sheet
  • Student of Conflict
  • Hannah
  • Strongarm Suit
  • Friekorpsmann
  • Winged Plague x2
I've liked having the Winged Plagues in the list to help with scheme running. I've recently decided to go back to the Student of Conflict, as I noticed the Malifaux Child has not been able to get past the activation order issues he's had and has simply been used as a healing option for Hannah (it's not a good option, by the way). I believed having another Sister to aid the Viktorias in teleporting and being in range for buffs should be more useful, along with the ability to hand out Fast to anyone, makes her less actiavation-order specific.

I also swapped out Aionus for the Strongarm Suit. I recently built this guy and have had him for quite a while, he's a great model for his points. Not only does he have more of a melee presence than Aionus, he sticks around longer with Armor 2 and gives a great option for Hannah in his (0) ability. He's cheaper as well, which is what I mainly swapped him for in order to fit in the Student of Conflict.

I also swapped back in Tally Sheet for Oathkeeper on Blood, as even though I like having Fast on command the ability to draw a ton of cards helps keep her alive longer. There's also the option of having the Student give Blood fast after she's activated so that she has it for the next turn, so it's like you're getting the best of both worlds.

The main issue I have with this list is the lack of upgrades outside of the Viks - I really wish I could fit in just one more Oathkeeper, or even The Bigger They Are, but I really need to have as many soul stones as possible due to so much need for damage prevention across the three soulstone users. In fact I'd feel much more comfortable with a 7ss cache instead, but there isn't anything I can trim for it.

Anyway, onto the scheme pool!

Standard Deployment
Strategy: Headhunter
Schemes: Claim Jump, Frame For Murder, Dig Their Graves, Hidden Trap, A Quick Murder

Schemes taken: Claim Jump, A Quick Murder (Yasunori)

I decided to take A Quick Murder, due to the fact that Viktorias make that scheme rather easy. I also wanted to try the new "Always Available" scheme Claim Jump. I will miss Convict Labor, but I need to see if I can take this new one no matter what crew or pool comes about. It seems a bit harder to maintain scoring as you'll always need models near the center line to continuously drop markers.

Turn 1
Initiative: Me (Given)

So Turn 1 I lost the initiative flip, which Travis gave to me anyway. I prefer not to activate first since I have an 8 model count and potentially less with Viktoria's chain activation. I started off with moving my Winged Plagues into scoring position on the flanks, the Friekorpsmann followed up as a backup but out of harm's way. He moved his models up the board as well. 

I also moved Hannah and the Strongarm right behind the statue in the middle, acting as a shield for my important twins. 

He then summoned an Obsidian Oni right next to Hannah and charged her. I ended up spending two soul stones on damage prevention to keep her at full health as I suspected she was his target for A Quick Murder. I knew that he'd more than likely score full points if he chose it, but decided it was worth the resources to try to delay Hannah's death.

Without LOS to the targets he wanted (Viks) Travis set up his Yasunori in the middle of his crew to prepare for a charge next round.

Both of us knew the game was pretty much going to come down to whoever won initiative next turn. If I won then Blood would wipe out at least 3 models or more, including his pivotal Yasunori - I would attempt to charge her in the right side of him to catch Asami, Graves and the Monk in her Whirlwind. If he won then he'd charge right in at Hannah and use his triggers to kill Ashes and cripple my ability to do insane damage, not to mention getting to use his Yasunori before it dies.

No VP Scored

Turn 2
Initiative: Travis

So of course I lost initiative.

I flipped over a 12 and thought, hey that's pretty darn awesome. Travis then flips over the Red Joker.

Soon after I shed a single tear

So he has the Yasunori charge Hannah and got her down to four wounds. With the stupid triggers he also got Viktoria of Ashes down to one wound (I got a lucky Black Joker for damage on her once). Did I mention he gets to charge for 1AP with Asami? Yeah, that guy gets a ton of attacks.

When I got to go I had Ashes buff for damage, swing to get a hit in on the Yasunori, and teleported Blood into the fray. Blood then chain activated and killed the Yasunori to score 3VP for A Quick Murder.

Viktoria of Ashes eventually succumbed to focus fire. The Strongarm attacked the Obsidian Oni with the help of Hannah and killed it. The Friekorpsmann picked up a Headhunter marker while the Winged Plagues dropped markers for Claim Jump. Asami also picked up a Headhunter marker.

VP Scored: Me (5) Travis (1)

Turn 3
Initiative: Me

Things started to go downhill around this point. Ohoguro killed Hannah to score 3VP on A Quick Murder, who also was next to a scheme marker that was dropped as part of an attack and scored for Dig Their Graves. Picking up a Head marker gave him full points for the turn, while I still managed to score for Headhunter and Claim Jump.

He also had Asami charge in and use Devour Whole to outright kill my Strongarm while he almost at full health due to my lack of cards in hand.

VP Scored: Me (7) Travis (6)

Turn 4
Initiative: Me

So I didn't have much left, although my Winged Plagues were still able to score for Claim Jump I only had the Student, Blood and a Freikorpsmann left to affect any change. I managed to get Blood to kill Ohoguro and a Low River Monk, but it wasn't enough to stem the tide.

Blood managed to live through most of the round but was slightly injured. Then Graves came in and killed her in one attack. I scored for Claim Jump and Headhunter. He scored Dig Their Graves and Headhunter.

VP Scored: Me (9) Travis (8)

Turn 5
Initiative: Travis

The last turn was where we called it, as I had no way of scoring additional VP since I was so far away from any Head markers. Travis continued to get his VP and got Dig Their Graves as well as Headhunter to score a full 10VP.

VP Final Score: Me (9) Travis (10)

After Game Thoughts

So it was a good, close game. One of the Viktorias' weaknesses is the dependence on getting initiative at the right moments, more often than not at Turn 2 where they can do the most damage. I've attempted to alleviate this by creating a more defensive list that tries to protect them by presenting big targets that can take damage well enough, and also having big bases to block off LOS. With this protection they aren't so vulnerable if they don't win initiative. It does a good job of this, but it's still vulnerable to models who have flight, or ignore LOS for attacking, and even placement effects. If anything, though, this game showed that I can still handle not getting the initiative on turn 2 if it comes down to it - I just have to be aware of those select models who work around my protections like Yasunori.

I've decided that I like using the Student of Conflict much more than the Malifaux Child for this crew. I also was hesitant on losing Aionus as his abilities are very fun and helpful in Gaining Grounds' schemes, but he just wasn't doing anything damage-related in relation to his cost. The Strongarm is a much more damage oriented model for a cheaper price, and it bumps Hannah up to respectable melee levels. Armor 2 is a really good deterrent as even minimum 3 damage dealers have a hard time getting through it - coupled with his ability to ignore damage reduction he can be very good at getting rid of pesky models like the Riders. He falls quickly to models who ignore armor, though, and there's plenty of that in the game so I can't rely on him too much. Augmented Jump will actually prove to be a very good ability when the situation arises, because it will allow him to reach models that would normally be safe in the back line. I've thought about using him for Scheme-Runner Hunting, but it will depend on how the game goes on.

Well that's all I have for you today, hope you enjoyed the battle report and good luck gaming in 2017!