Monday, 7 November 2011

035 - GT Warm-Up Tournament Report

Last week I attended a tournament in Stockport organised by Craig (aka UKRocky), intended as practice for next week's UK Grand Tournament (EDIT: By the time this is published the GT will have been and gone). Although I'm not attending the GT, I'd been itching for some Malifaux action after not managing to get a game for the last month or so, and so I decided to go along for the day. There were 14 players there, including many of the UK tournament regulars, but a few new faces also.

The format was designed to emulate the GT, and there were 3 games, each of which had exactly the same conditions as one of the GT games due next week, allowing people to refine tactics and lists. Over the course of the day I played:

25ss Shared Treasure Hunt
35ss Shared Slaughter
45ss Shared Destroy the Evidence
Schemes were unique for the day.

I didn't remember to take any pictures, so I'll keep the battle reports short and sweet.

Game 1:
25ss Shared Treasure Hunt vs. Craig (UKRocky)

2 Belles
Punk Zombie
Grave Spirit
7ss cache
Hold Out, Frame for Murder (unannounced)

I decided to roll with my pretty standard Seamus crew, apart from adding in Sybelle with the intention of using her to get to the treasure counter first. I wanted a high cache, as in smaller games like this one the Master becomes even more important and I wanted Seamus to be the lynchpin of the crew, with enough SS to throw some into attacking and not just saving them for defense.

2 Silurids
Student of Conflict
Eye for an Eye, Steal Relic

I won Turn 1 initiative and, with a high mask in my hand, used Sybelle to catapult a companioned Belle close to the treasure counter. After a quick rulebook check we quickly both learned that the treasure counter can in fact be picked up in melee (something neither of us had realised), and Craig moved one of his Silurids in to contest the objective.
Marcus charged the Grave Spirit that had linked onto the Punk Zombie, but flipped Black Joker on the damage and had to retreat again causing no damage. Seamus moved to reinforce the developing combat in the center of the board, but was wary of Kaeris so didn't get too close. A .50 calibre gunshot wound to the face took down the other approaching Silurid, despite its camouflage. The first Belle on the scene picked up the treasure, but couldn't escape the melee, and was eventually killed by a Silurid bite and dropped the treasure back where she'd found it.
Marcus took another charge at the Grave Spirit and to Craig's exasperation again flipped Black Joker on damage. Determined to finish off his new nemesis, Marcus took a second Strike action which killed the spirit, but this left him dangerously close to the Punk Zombie.
Winning initiative again, the Punk Zombie obligingly used Flurry on Marcus, bringing him to the edge of death. Marcus killed the Punk, and Kaeris did some serious serious damage to Seamus (bringing him temporarily to just 1 wound!) before casting a Flame Wall to give her Master some cover. Seamus slit the jugular of the other Silurid and healed himself from the brink of death.
Undeterred by the wall of fire, Sybelle charged through, taking 3 damage in the process. Marcus was surprised to see a flaming zombie appear out of nowhere, and Sybelle stripped him of his last wound with an Iron Fan slice.
Kaeris picked up the treasure and stole the relic from Seamus, who hit her back with his Bag O'Tools, making her Insignificant and unable to gain VPs for the treasure. Craig's cunning plan was therefore to use the Student of Conflict to remove her Insignificant in the final turn "until her next activation", meaning she would be Significant at the end of the game and able to score points for the strategy. In another amazingly back luck clip he turned over another Black Joker and she was deprived of the 2VPs for carrying the treasure.

Final score 4-3 to Marcus - We'd both achieved our schemes but nobody got any points for the strategy.

I remembered after the draw for the second round had taken place, that Kaeris should have done a WP duel at the end of the game or count as dead, and that this would have affected Steal Relic and maybe given me a draw, but it was too late by that point. It's a shame to finish on a "what if" like this, as I'll forever wonder if I would be the first person to break Craig's 29-games-long winning streak with Marcus. It's worth mentioning that Craig is placed number 1 in the UK Malifaux Rankings, so I was very happy with the outcome of this game, and was extremely pleased when he remarked that this game was the best he had seen Seamus played.

Game 2:
35ss Shared Slaughter vs. Jo (Neverata)

2 Belles
Punk Zombie
Grave Spirit
Bete Noire
8ss cache
Kill Protégé (Ronin), Assassinate

I opted to use the same crew as the previous game, adding Bete Noire for her killing power and resilience - in my experience in a Slaughter she can kill 10+ SS of enemies without too much trouble, and very rarely gives up her own high SS cost to your opponent. An extra SS for Seamus meant he had the full cache and could be my other main damage dealer. My schemes were aimed to synergize with the Strategy, as I'd be gunning for the Masters anyway for the additional point (and to stop them slicing my own models into small chunks of dead meat)

6 Ronin
5ss cache
Hold Out, Eye for an Eye

4 of the Ronin advanced up my right flank, with the Viktorias and the other two Ronin (including my Kill Protégé target) moved forwards on my left. My plan was to keep my entire crew to the left, moving around the large obscuring building in the middle, and try to take on Jo's crew in two halves. Unfortunately my guys got bogged down in melee in the center, allowing the 4 additional Ronin to catch up to me on Turn 3 and meaning I had attackers on both sides.
A Belle lured one of the Ronin accompanying the Viks, attempting to split that group up too and prevent a massed charge, but even with the help of the Punk Zombie she was unable to kill the target due to Hard to Kill. One of the Viktorias became engaged in combat with Seamus, Sybelle and a Belle, and wounded them all, but she took heavy damage in return. She suffered a barrage of attacks from most of my crew in Turn 2, but she weathered the storm of blows by burning through her entire cache. She managed to hang onto her last wound before swapping places with her sister further back. I also faced a particular dilemma twice in a single turn - what do you do if you want to Flurry (requiring that you discard a card to make 3 strikes) but all three of the cards in your hand are 11+? I opted to just Strike twice, and I'm still not sure whether that was the right decision.
Jo sneakily committed Sepakku with the Ronin that was my Kill target, gaining herself another two soulstones and depriving me of two VPs.
The center melee was joined by four fresh Ronin, but Bete Noire appeared from the body of one and slit the jugular of another two in an impressive knife display, while the last Ronin failed her Terror test and ran away crying after trying to charge Seamus.
The fresh Viktoria managed to finish the job on Seamus, but was killed by my crew's counter attack. With only one Vik left (and on 1 wound), Jo opted to retreat, but my remaining models were unable to catch up to her. I made sure one of my Belle's sprinted forwards for the final two turns to end the game in the enemy deployment zone and deny Hold Out.

Final score 2-1 to Seamus - Neither of us had achieved any Schemes, but I managed to claw a few VPs in the very complicated Slaughter conditions, while Jo gained a point for killing Seamus.

For Jo and me, this was our 3rd competitive matchup to date. It seems that whenever we're both at a tournament we're guaranteed to get drawn against each other, but I'm not complaining as she's always fun to play. It was a nice surprise too to see her using a different master as I was expecting to be facing Lilith again. This game regains Seamus' honor (slightly anyway...) after she beat him with Lilith in the first Leeds tournament back in May, and I'm sure she'll be looking forward to get a game against my Pandora at our next clash to try and equalise that score too. Actually... maybe not. Nobody looks forward to playing against Pandora.

Game 3:
45ss Shared Destroy the Evidence vs. James (MythicFox)

3 Belles
Punk Zombie
Crooked Man
Grave Spirit
3 Canine Remains
6ss cache
Army of the Dead, Bodyguard

This was the first time I'd ever played a game above 35ss, and I was at a bit of a loss about what to take. I swapped out Sybelle and Bete for a Crooked Man (intended for objective denial), a Shikome (intended to objective capture) and an Onryo (an additional damage causing body). I brought the 3 Canines intending to use them to gather up Corpse Counters and send them to Seamus for the Army of the Dead scheme.

4 Marionnettes
1 Wicked Doll
Bad Juju
Mature Nephilim
Insidious Madness
5ss cache
Kidnap (Canines), Kill Protégé (Shikome)


I’ve found in the past that Shared Destroy Evidence can often come down to whichever player wins the first activation flip, as so many crews out there have enough movement tricks to get to the center Evidence on the first activation and begin the game with a 1-0 unrecoverable advantage. I knew Collodi was capable of some movement tricks but MAN is he fast! Winning initiative with a 13, James activated Collodi and his Marionettes, who proceeded to run up the board at incredible speed and destroy two Evidence markers (both requiring a (2) Interact action and being 8” apart and 12” from his deployment zone!) within the first activation of the game. They were part of the way towards destroying a third when their momentum ran out.

At a bit of a loss of where to go from there, and with Collodi rather close to my deployment zone, most of my crew moved up table slowly, being wary of Bad Juju who had popped up on my right flank. The Shikome declared the Insidious Madness as prey and began to stalk it, but it stayed put and the winged demon was denied any extra movement. Zoraida, with a vantage point on top of a pillar, cast Obey on the Mature Nephilim, and her summoned Voodoo Doll did the same thing, which meant it was close enough for a diving tackle into my lines. The Mature Nephilim made short work of the Shikome before getting mobbed by several of my crew in an attempt to stop it destroying move evidence markers. It wore them down though, including the last Canine Remains that had dived in the combat to try and pick up Corpse Counters to send to Seamus.

The Punk Zombie charged Bad Juju and with a fortunate Red Joker managed to put it down, in the uneasy knowledge that it would be back next turn. It did so, and parked itself on one of my evidence objectives. Zoraida watched over another evidence marker, casting Obey to make any of my models that tried to get close to it, to turn around and walk away.

In my deployment zone, Collodi made a dash for the last piece of evidence and destroyed it. I’d already marked him for death after his first turn escapades, but this took the biscuit and so, in the knowledge that I wasn’t going to come close to achieving my strategy in the few turns remaining, I decided that he needed to be taught a lesson. The Punk Zombie used Slice and Dice with another Red Joker to cut down all of his nearby Marionettes, and then Seamus finished off Collodi once he was unable to bump hits onto his puppets.

Final score 8-3 to Zoraida - The board was littered with corpse counters, mostly from my own crew, so I picked up 3 VP for my schemes but nothing for the Strategy, whereas James had completed all his objectives.

James is a pretty regular opponent of mine, being from the same locale, but this was only our second competitive matchup, putting us at 1-1. I’m not sure about whether I liked the larger scale of the game or not, It might just be that I’ve grown comfortable with 35SS, so I’m willing to play a few more larger Scraps and see how I get on, but it felt at times like the game got a little bogged down with the larger number of models on the table. James played exceptionally well and gave me no real mistakes to capitalize on (except maybe forgetting about the Punk’s AOE damage – but Collodi had served his purpose by that point), whereas I made a number of blunders. The Shikome should have had the Mature Nephilim as its prey instead of the Madness; Sybelle should have been in the crew to attempt the Turn 1 Belle Catapult tactic etc.

All in all a very enjoyable tournament! Thanks to all my opponents and to Craig for organising the day.