Sunday, 22 January 2012

046 - UK Masters Tournament Report: Part 1

As I posted about at the end of last year, I was fortunate enough to be invited to play in the first ever Malifaux Masters event for 2011, where the top players in the UK Rankings would gather for a weekend of Malifaux madness. Now I've had a bit of time to recover from an epic weekend, I'm going to write up a short series of posts with my recollections of the games and some of the highlights of the weekend for me.

Since the strict time limits meant there wasn't time to make any notes during play, I'll be giving a summary of the game (which will be heavily weighted towards my perspective on things) rather than a complete blow by blow. I think I'll be using this Battle Report format going forwards to, as it's a bit less resource intensive during play. Please forgive the shocking quality of my iPhone photos, which were hastily snapped during the game with no thought to how they might turn out.

All 16 players had had to submit 3 fixed lists that they had to use at least once each over the weekend (over 5 games). I decided to bring three different masters for a bit of variety.

List 1:
Seamus, Grave Spirit, Madame Sybelle, 3 Rotten Belles, Bete Noire, Canine Remains, 7ss

A relatively standard Seamus list. The plan was for Seamus and Bete to spam Insignificant at enemy minions in the games that required significant models.

List 2:
Pandora, 2 Sorrows, Doppelganger, Insidious Madness, Lelu+Lilitu, 8ss

Another standard Pandora list, although I hadn't had chance to try out the Doppelganger in many games yet. Pandora was another mobile master that I hoped to use in Shared Distract.

List 3:
Dreamer/Chompy, 2 Daydreams, 2 Stitched Together, Lelu+Lilitu, Insidious Madness, 8ss

I'd rushed to get Chompy and the Daydreams painted in the week before the tournament, because both my other two masters lacked punch for Slaughter, or a reliable way to reach the neutral evidence marker in Destroy Evidence. I'd had 3 practise games with him, but in hindsight not enough to be comfortable enough with him to compete in a Masters tournament. The Madness was mainly in there to sacrifice for a reflip on inititive in Turn 1 of Destroy the Evidence if it was required.

All games were shared strategies that were announced well in advance, and the first draw had been done ahead of the day, so I knew I'd be facing James Doxey in the first game, and I was fully expecting a Chompy mirror match.

Game 1: Shared Slaughter

Dreamer vs. Dreamer

Opponent: MythicFox

Game Type: Tournament

James' Slaughter list included 3 Stitched Together, Teddy, Insidious Madness and 3 Daydreams. He announced Bodyguard and Exterminate Woes, while I chose Kill Protege on Teddy and Eye for an Eye.

I won initiative but played cautiously, deciding not to dive in for an attack straight away. This proved to be both a blessing and a curse, as in James' activation he slingshotted Chompy forward and killed a Daydream (exactly as I would have done), but later confessed that this was a massive mistake and that he was very lucky I didn't capitalise on it at the time. I should have brought out my own Chompy who would have been able to activate before James' companioned Daydream could pull his master out of trouble, and do some serious damage and perhaps even win the game right there and then. Unfortunately I missed the trick and Chompy retreated back to James' deployment zone.

Difficult to see my tiny Chompy behind the bulk of Nightmare Chompy
I advanced my own Dreamer and killed a Stitched Together, but some time around Turn 3 I mismanaged my masters' bury mechanic and LCB was stranded with no support. James' bigger, meaner Nightmare LCB jumped at the chance to chew up his tiny diminutive cousin, and that was just the start of my troubles.

James wisely kept Teddy buried in reserve so he was safe and not giving me easy VPs, and the bear made his first appearance in Turn 5 when most of my models had been eliminated and there was nothing to threaten him. I wasn't as careful with my minions, as both Lelu and Lilitu had died by this point. In the final turn, LCB chased down my Insidious Madness (I underestimated how far he could reach without Daydreams) to secure a 7-3 win. I only had 1VP from the Slaughter for reducing his crew below 50%, and 2 points for Eye for an Eye as there wasn't much left on the table by this point.

Apart from that first mistake, James played flawlessly, using only his Stitched Together and Chompy hit and runs to wear me down before bringing his other models onto the table. It was a fun game and an education in how to get the most out of The Dreamer. It seems that The Dreamer plays quite different to his normal tactics when facing a mirror match and, as James commented, a big advantage is usually gained by the person who commits second.

Part of my plan was to use Dreamers Daydream to summon a replacement Daydream to the table mid-game if required. I had pulled this off in Turn 2, but I hadn't realised the cost of doing so (a high suited card) and in hindsight I think I'd have done better including the Daydream in the starting list and taking a slightly smaller SS pool.

Game 2: Shared Destroy Evidence

Dreamer vs. Hamelin

Opponent: Serigala

Game Type: Tournament

The second game was more or less a straight refight of a practice game I'd had a couple of weeks before in LCB School where I'd been learning how to use him - same opponent, same strategy, similar crews. For schemes I chose Stake a Claim (feeling that I'd easily be able to drop a model on the table next to one of the large buildings, and the safe option of Bodyguard. Ian selected Hold Out and Hamelin's personal scheme, both of which surprised me since it meant he'd need to kill four of my (limited number of) models within 6" of Hamelin, and stop me finishing in his deployment zone, despite my obvious speed advantage.

Winning initiative I slingshotted Chompy to the center evidence, but had to use two companioned Daydreams to pull him back to my side of the board as he was unable to use the All Done trigger to allow instant teleportation. Unfortunately, and in my second massive mistake of the weekend, this allowed Hamelin to get a bead on The Dreamer by moving forwards twice and positioning so that only the Dreamer was within range for a Pipes attack using his Fast action. Ian cheated and Soulstoned high, and I did the same to resist but came up short (little boys are only Defense 2 apparently!), so you can imagine my relief when he flipped the Black Joker for damage!

Ian took initiative on the second turn and tried the same spell again, but unfortunately his flips weren't up to the task and the Dreamer managed to escape, flying up field to a) drop some Nightmares in the centre of the board to slow Hamelin down, and b) position Chompy on the evidence in Ian's deployment zone. With Chompy stuck on the table, Nix moved into position to bring my master into his Emptiness aura, but Ian had nothing else nearby to capitalise on the negative flips debuff.

Lelu & Lilitu look down on Hamelin from above
The bulk of Hamelin's forces were approaching the center of the board, so I deposited a Stitched Together on each of Ian's target Evidence markers to make a bit of work for him before they could be destroyed. Lelu and Lilitu engaged Hamelin in the middle building and Lelu duly took a stick to the face and died - I'd put them in there more as a distraction for Hamelin as Chompy ran along the back of the table, destroying some evidence for 2VP and finishing in base contact with my Stake a Claim objective. We'd only reached Turn 3, and the risk of Hamelin running back and making LCB insignificant was the only thing worrying me, so a well timed Lilitu's Lure meant he was too far away to deprive me of those points.

Time was called around that point, which was a shame for Ian as he'd not really had chance to get started. The rat swarms were still in play and in a position to give me a steamrollering in the next couple of turns, and Hamelin had cleared up the Nephilim pests in the center and was free to make a mess of the rest of my crew. I'd been unable to shift the swarms from my two objectives in the center and so I hadn't even tried, leaving the final result as 7-0 to me.

The lunch call went up at this point, and a buffet spread was kindly provided by Maelstrom Games free of charge. Loaded up with egg mayonnaise sandwiches and sausage rolls, it was onto Round 3....


Victoria said...

I was hoping you would recap this tournament! Hooray!