Saturday, 26 January 2013

Malifaux Tournament Report - Cancon Day 1 - Wins, Losses & Draws

With the four games that made up the tournament under my belt, how did I do?, well lets see.

This post is being typed up a couple of days after the event (I was too busy having fun) so details may not be entirely accurate.

Game 1 - Jason - Misaki vs Seamus
Shared Reconnoiter

My schemes
Claim Jump
Frame for Murder (graveyard spirit)

My opponents schemes
Claim Jump

Seamus, Graveyard Spirit, Belle, 2 Night Terrors, 2 Crooked Men, Canine Remains, Drowned

Misaki, Yamaziko, Ototo, Shang, 2 Torakage

Game Summary & Outcome
Misaki and Co are incredibly fast and downright lethal in close combat, but I think my strategy of avoiding combat worked to a degree. We spent a couple of turns dancing round each other with Toros burying before an ambush almost caught a raised dead doxy and two night terrors from getting near my stake a claim. I could see Misaki and Yamaziko would be in charge range next turn and I found the doxy was just out of melee range, so she took a walk backwards and fired her derringer into the combat. It hit the night terror but failed to wound, but it had the desired result because now my night terrors could use their action 'attracted to noise' to push out of combat and regroup before flock hopping their way over to my claim.

With the majority of the Misaki crew now activated I chose to activate Seamus, walk and shoot Yamaziko with his flintlock. I cheated up my total, got a straight flip and then cheated that with a red joker to inflict a severe and weak for 11 wounds. Not even her ability to use soulstones could save her and I used the resulting corpse to raise a rotten belle.

It didn't all go my way however, with a crooked man and drowned dying pointlessly to ninja combats and Shang making it very difficult for me to maintain my stake a claim.

I had no choice but to send Seamus scurrying after Misaki in the last couple of turns, but I was relatively confident she couldn't kill me. I think Jason had expended his cache at that point, and Seamus had 5 or so stones left. I regretted not having the belle pursue, as a lure on Misaki might have stopped her getting into contact with her stake a claim and I just couldn't do enough damage, or get close enough, with Seamus.

In the end it was a 6-3 loss to me, but the result i think belies how close the game was.

- Misaki can cover a lot of ground, giving her something like a 15" charge range
- Shang is a nice little totem, he has respectable damage on both ranged and close combat attacks and is not to be underestimated
- The toro bury tactic gives them the ability to pop up in the start closing phase within 6 of another friendly. This is a fantastic ambush tactic and one to be avoided. I was very lucky that it was my night terrors that got ambushed!
- I think I missed out on a lot of what Misaki is capable of, as Jason put almost everything he had, after that initial contact, into movement to own the board.
- The graveyard spirit being insignificant cost me control of one table quarter on count back, although on reflection I'm sure Seamus got off Excessive Bleeding on one of Jason's crew and I forgot to action it

Game 2 - Andre - Seamus vs Perdita
Shared Destroy the Evidence

My schemes
Breakthrough (not announced)
Grudge (Exorcist)

My opponents schemes
Grudge (Copycat Killer)

Seamus, 2 Night terrors, 4 canine remains, Bette Noir, Copycat Killer.

Perdita, Peacekeeper, Exorcist, Santiago, Watcher, Judge

Game Summary & Outcome
This was the Gencon variant of DtE, so no destroying counters in turn 1.

The canine remains and Seamus ran up the centre, dodging a building and a forest to make a start on the closest objective. We had the majority of our objectives centred on the board and it was obviously going to be a blood bath. Andre advanced Perdita and the peacekeeper but the sudden movement of my night terrors on the right flank made him stop from committing his Exorcist and Santiago to the fight. In the centre I traded up one dog for a belle and sent the remaining three to keep the peacekeeper busy. Seamus and the belle got bogged down by Perdita and it was only when the dogs started dying the I got an opportunity to raise Bette and go at the peacekeeper with groin strikes. It took a couple of turns but I finally felled the behemoth, which is just as well, as Andrew had just wandered the peacekeeper into range of the copycat killer and was in danger of getting his grudge off.

Perdita broke away from combat and used her actions to walk clear into my deployment zone. I had no choice but to pursue with Seamus and a true Mexican standoff with the flintlock and a soulstone proved to fast for Perdita.

Meanwhile my night terrors, clearly outclassed by Santiago and the exorcist, settled for hunkering down in Andre's deployment zone and missing out on the last evidence marker.

In the end a 3-1 win to me.

- A pack of canine remains is quite effective in close combat. Three managed to pick off something like 5 wounds from a peacekeeper and the debuff they do to defence when they pack together is quite effective
- Perdita can be very fast on her feet if she sacrifices her shooting she can move 15"
- Perdita's faster n you is triggered by charges or ranged shots, simply walking up to her and then using subsequent actions to melee strike bypasses her ability
- Bette Noir with a canine remains deployment system is quite effective, her groin strike did in a peacekeeper quite effectively and it can sometimes be safe to leave her in a combat but I still believe its safest to ensure you have the bury card in your hand before deciding if its time to summon her.
- I'm not sure I'd go with four dogs in one list again for this scenario. Sure they can destroy evidence (when there's two of them) but you must keep them huddled together, making them susceptible to a blast. Had they all died to a blast, Seamus isn't a good summoner and he would have struggled to recover the crew strength

Game 3 - Steve - Seamus vs Zoraida & Collodi
Shared Slaughter

My schemes
Assassinate (Collodi)

My opponents schemes
Assassinate (Seamus)

Seamus, Avatar Seamus, 3 Drowned, Graveyard Spirit, Bette Noir

Zoraida, Collodi, Lilitu, Lelu, 4 marionettes, 1 wicked doll

Game Summary & Outcome
Playing on a t-clips sewers board was a first and we had to work out what affect the sewage had in game terms on movement, opting to play it as severe we got down to it. I hunkered down waiting whilst Collodi and his dolls pushed and pulled their way over to me in two turns. I could see the twins were looking to outflank me, but I thought I could do enough damage to the dolls with my drowned and it almost worked. The drowned only got rip tide off once or twice before they were being swamped with dolls. The slaughter score just kept going up when I was forced to sacrifice the drowned to get bursting spray off on the killer dolls, but it was still fairly even.

Seamus went avatar after killing Lilitu and just managed to finish Lelu before being finished off by dolls. Again the laughter score was pretty even. Zoraida, who had been on doll production duties, chose that point to raven over although her presence wasn't necessary.

Bette appeared, through the death of Seamus, and finished off a couple of dolls but then got knifed in the back to give Steve the slaughter result and to completely table me.

Result 6-0 loss to me.

- I got carried away with the runaway success I'd had with Bette in the last game and wasted 9ss here. She could only be raised by Seamus or Zoraida dying and whilst she did get vengeance for Seamus's death, a couple of crooked men, or better yet, some punk zombies, would have been a lot nicer.
- Drowned were quite effective at killing wicked dolls but the three wounds on a marionette saved them from instant death and then Collodi would just heal them up before sending them right back at me again.
- Pulses don't go through walls. It sounds obvious but when you're hoping to kill dolls and they are hunkered down in an adjacent room, that wall is going to get in the way!
- When you can't find an effective scheme, buy yourself five extra soulstones by dropping it. Another minion here might have helped bolster the defence and stop me from being tabled

Game 4 - Peter - Kirai vs Lady J
Shared Treasure Hunt

My schemes

My opponents strategies
Holdout (not announced)

Kirai, 5 Seishin, 2 Night Terrors, Gaki, Lost Love, Datsu-Ba

Lady J, Watcher, Austringer, Judge, 2 Witchlings, Desperate Merc

Game Summary & Outcome
When I saw the board and realised where the treasure was I immediately thought of Kirai. This board had one central street, which the treasure would be placed smack bang in the middle of. The buildings all ran down the street and I figured, if I went up the street in broad daylight I'd get cut to ribbons, so why not walk straight through those walls and stay in cover for as long as possible.

I flock hopped two night terrors, with the Gaki for support, up the right and took a more cautious summoning route on the left with Kirai, bringing up an Onryo and moving it and Datsu up on point to support the Terrors when they made their move.

Peter imarched most of his crew down the road and sent the Austringer and watcher up to higher ground.

We advanced and in turn 2 one of judges denied my terrors the treasure, so I swarmed it it with the terrors and brought up the Gaki. Lady J felled the Gaki and Peter started to reinforce his position around the treasure.

The Austringer fired off a couple of eagles, with those birds flying in doors and windows to get at my crew, but didn't do too much damage.

I summoned another Onryo and an Ikiryo and went out in the open to duke it out. We traded blows with Peter killing a Gaki and an Onryo and me killing a Witchling and hurting a judge.

Whilst this was going on, I could see the desperate merc advancing down a parallel street but I couldn't see it's purpose so I ignored it, figuring it would die at the end of turn 3. Peter proved me wrong when he burnt two soul stones to keep the merc alive and ran him clear into my deployment zone.

With Kirai near the back I launched her and her remaining Seishin at the merc but I was too far off to do anything. Meanwhile the centre of the board had become a bloodbath, denying us both the treasure.

In the end it was a 2-1 win to me.

- Austringers ignore LOS and can be hitting you in turn two from 20 inches away if they want.
- If you're playing the Gencon version of treasure hunt, where you can't pick up the treasure in turn 1, then expect a pitched battle. I debate if using fast moving units like night terrors or canine remains is worth it. The ensuing brawl in the middle for the treasure needs some heavy hitters and your fast moving units are best left at home.
- Desperate Mercs can be more than a three turn wonder. In our game the merc was bolstered by two soulstones to keep him in the game and make him significant. This was used very effectively as I'd completely ignored the merc, believing it would die, instead it ran clear into my deployment zone to deny me holdout.

Tournament Roundup
So in the end two small wins and two quite large losses. Even so it was enough to place me 16th, so I accomplished my goal of not coming last.

It was a fantastic event and I'm really happy I attended. That said, day 2 was looming and with it my first brawl and two bigger games. How I did there will be the subject of my next post.

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