Reader notice: This blog post is a combination of two blogs wrapped into one. It comprises pregame thoughts, which were written the day before the event as a way of trying to focus my thoughts on what to take at the event. Secondly, it includes post game thoughts. These were written in the week following the event and can be rather rambling at times.
Pregame note: I’m basing everything on the belief that games will get to turn 3, seeing as I struggle to get to turn 4 in a 2hr game.
Schemes: Claim Jump / Eliminate the Leadership / Leave Your Mark / Recover Evidence / Mark for Death
Pre-game thoughts on Round 1
This is a strategy that focuses on killing. The natural link with scheme selection would be Mark for Death. Depending on which faction/master my opponent is likely to take, Eliminate the Leadership may be a viable choice.
Mark for Death: may be a good way to discourage players relying on the bury mechanic. But it also means that anyone able to bury my models could chain together to mark, and then bury, gaining them a VP, and denying me a model. Need to pay attention to what models my opponent takes and prioritise for that.
Leave your Mark: Firestarter seems like the natural candidate for this. He’s not overly survivable, so I may supplement via Imbued Energies, and Imbued Defense. Soulstone Miner would be a good backup for this: start buried and unbury end of turn 1 behind some scenery and start dropping scheme markers turn 2. This would mean trying up 16 stones for 3VP. Corner deployment does restrict how much I space I have to move around in and means that interference from my opponent is more likely. Howard would be another candidate: with Imbued Energies, he’s 13SS, saving me 3SS for elsewhere.
Recover Evidence: Bit of a gamble. Early declaration of it means my opponent will place them as far away as possible and target the scheme runner models. Late declaration means that I could be caught in a meat grinder where the evidence is close to me, but I am unable to interact and pick them up.
Eliminate the Leadership: Well, at least I won’t be facing Levi as a master as this means my opponent is just giving me points. Otherwise highly dependent on who I am facing.
Ramos or Kaeris?
Ramos would seem to be the obvious choice if I was planning to take the combat heavy schemes. I would considering aiming for a max 3 summon from Ramos in the first turn to give me access to a spider swarm and the 4″ devouring pulse to remove scheme markers if my opponent takes either Claim Jump or Leave Your Mark. With Ramos however, I would be fueling the opponent’s VP scoring potential by bringing in 3 models a turn, which are, in all truth, easy enough to kill. If I can’t summon the 3 spiders to swarm together I would likely need to use the single spiders as a heal for the spider swarm. 9 wounds and a positive defence flip from Ramos will only keep things alive so long.
Kaeris: I’m just not confident with Kaeris. I need more game time with her and a tournament is just not the place to take a master you have insufficient understanding of. I don’t know how, but I seem to have thought myself into a place where I believe that I need a showgirl henchman and the Arcane Emissary to make her work. Can’t put my finger on how I have managed to reach that conclusion. However, if I had to take Kaeris, I would be inclined to go for the Claim Jump and Leave Your Mark schemes. Turn 1: give burning to as many models as possible. Wings of Flame everything up the board and drop as many scheme markers as possible on the centre line. Avoid head on combat and prioritise models with Don’t Mind Me.
Ramos seems the more survivable of the two masters. Opportunist gives a passive heal after a construct dies, which is likely to be a lot. I can use the combat mechanic upgrade for on command healing. Kaeris on the other hand can avoid combat via mobility, or Grab and Drop if I get cornered.
I got matched against Paul Campbell for this round. I’ve known Paul for about 5 years now and the first event that he attended was Blood, Steel, & Stones, a Mk1 event I ran back in 2012. This is our third game! Drawing against Paul, never mind beating him is worthy of a lap of honour round the car park. Not going to lie, I could have done without this as a first game match up.
Paul was playing Neverborn. I lumped for Ramos.
<Dave K-S Crew>
50 SS Arcanists Crew
Ramos + 7 Pool
– Arcane Reservoir (2)
– Field Generator (2)
– Under Pressure (2)
Brass Arachnid (4)
– Bleeding Edge Tech (1)
– Warding Runes (1)
The Firestarter (7)
– Imbued Energies (1)
– Imbued Defense (2)
Steam Arachnid (4)
Arcane Effigy (4)
Soulstone Miner (6)
<Paul Campbell Crew>
Pandora (The Box Opens, Fears Given Form),
Nekima (One Thousand Faces),
Paul won deployment and I had to deploy with my forces on the LHS of the board, I opted to separate them as a result of the severe terrain field of corn. What followed next was a lesson on annoyances.
Paul won the match 6-0. I got soundly beaten from pillar to post. We did however reach turn 4, so I’m claiming that as a very solid consolation prize. Didn’t think I’d manage to make it to turn 4 or further. Also, Paul achieved the least amount of VP against me when compared to his scores for other rounds.
Paul’s model selection vs my selection: Ok, I know that I have only really got back into playing in the last 2 months, where as Paul has been playing for a substantially longer time frame, but there was no thematic models with Pandora. I didn’t think much of it at the time, but I spent Saturday night after the event until 2am at Larbert Hospital with a family member and I started to think about crew selection.
In choosing to play M&SU, I had picked 3 masters because they went together thematically. I love the M&SU fluff and Kaeris is the master that got me into playing Malifaux back on 1st Edition, book 2. I had not really considered it, but regarding playing the actual game then thematic selection is a trap. There is no gameplay bonuses for playing with a certain crew selection, such as Warmachine/Hordes themed forces. Certainly keywords exist that interact with each other and build synergy, but these are printed on the card rules, not additional benefits for above and beyond card synergies. There is no reason for limiting yourself to only taking certain model in your crews, except the financial and aesthetic. I shall revisit my intended purchases in light of this new information and look at the masters from a gameplay point of view. Ben Harris and James Doxey pointed me towards Marcus as an anti Neverborn master after I mentioned my beating at the hands of Pandora on twitter. I had been considering purchasing this boxed set for Myranda as another scheme runner model, but not considered learning Marcus as a master.
Crew selection: I should have considered the scenery more when choosing a crew selection. This would not have been so much of an issue with other deployment types, but corner deployment essentially hamstrung my mobility. Kaeris would have been the better choice for this match, and Paul commented as much in his event write up (Paul’s Blog) I agree with this. If I had won deployment and chose to deploy on the RHS corner, I think things might have been different.
Lure: a powerful ability that I had not properly considered the implications of. Paul comboed the Beckoner and Illuminated nicely together to hamstring my attempts at flanking his crew.
Counterspell: Didn’t do a damned thing against Pandora.
Charge lanes: Not normally an issue as your can order your activations to make charge lanes clear, but worth identifying opposing models that can dictate my activation order.
Defences: I don’t have many models that can apply blasts or non-targeted damage auras/pulses. This would have been a great way of getting round Pandora’s nonsense.
Upgrades selection: I took the same upgrades on Ramos as I normally do. Looking back, I wonder how much of an impact the Electrical Creation would have had. It needs a 7 tomes, so is similar to the cost of summoning 2 spiders, but is a (0) giving Ramos another 1ap to be a bit more aggressive with electrical fire. Against Pandora this might have even been a discouragement to Paul as Pandora would could get caught in the blast from it when it would intentionally fail the (1) Inflict Wp duel Paul was so keen to spam.
Genuine bad ‘luck‘: Despite having Ramos, Joss, a Swarm, multiple latched on spiders, and the passive Overdrive buff, I managed to achieve a total of 6 wounds against Barbaros over the entire game. The black joker showed up at least twice on high damage attacks. Not much can be done about that, but it’s nice to think that it wasn’t through lack of trying on my part.
Strategy: Turf War
Schemes: Claim Jump / Frame For Murder / Leave Your Mark / Undercover Entourage / A Quick Murder
Pre-game thoughts on Round 2:
Ramos or Kaeris.
Ramos: Ball of death up the middle of the board and plant Ramos and Joss in the centre. Churn out spiders and eat anything that comes close.
Kaeris. Take Firestarter and Joss. Joss with support from constructs holds the middle while Kaeris and Firestarter zip around.
Undercover Entourage: I have only 4 possible scoring models: Ramos, Kaeris, Joss, and Firestarter.
Ramos could do it via multiple (0) magnetism movements. I would be pushing it to shift the total of 24″ in 3 turns to score the max 3VP. I also take the lynchpin model from out of the centre. Ramos would be likely to survive due to crew construction and healing.
Kaeris has the movement range to be able to make a last turn dart for the deployment zone.
Joss: ha-ha, no.
Firestarter – Range and movement, but not the survivability. I could supplement via Imbued Defence, or burn SS to negate incoming damage.
Frame for Murder: This is a scheme I am quite likely to see played against me, going by experiences. It would be easiest to counter with Ramos by ensuring that I kill things off via buffed minion constructs.
A Quick Murder: Highly dependent on who I am facing.
Leave Your Mark: See round 1 comments.
Post game thoughts.
I was matched against Lewis Abbot on the bottom table. Following on from Round 1, I decided to take the same crew again. My plan from the outset was to run Ramos and Joss into the centre and fend off the horde of undead while Firestarter and Soulstone Miner try and claim a maximum 6VP from Leave Your Mark and Undercover Entourage.
Lewis took Kirai / Lost Love / Izamu / Anna Lovelace / Carrion Emissary / Chiaki
This match went more according to the intended plan. I ended up borrowing a 40mm base as I only have 1 arachnid swarm model. Joss, Ramos, and 2 swarms held the centre ground solidly against Izamu, Anna Lovelace, and Carrion Emissary. I also used Ramos in a more aggressive fashion this game casting Electrical Fire into the massive melee. Firestarter and Soulstone miner performed admirably, scoring a max 6VP. In the final turn of the game I just pulled out all the stops and hammered his forces to try and deny strategy vp and ended up giving Lewis a VP after he announced Frame for Murder on Izamu. Thankfully it was the spider swarm that took the killing blow under the combined weight of multiple overwhelm attacks. I thought it would have been on Anna seeing as she was the first into the fray. A pleasant surprise to get caught out by that. The match ended 9-4 after turn 4.
Firestarter: Got a hell of a fright when Kirai summoned a Hanged, who went after Firestarter. Turn 1 and ready to lose ½ my wounds with no ability to heal. Thankfully I had a RJ in hand to prevent that. In the later turns I tried to use the Soulstone Miner as a LOS blocker as Chiaki kept targeting it making it insignificant and slow. Still managed to score the max 6VP, but that could have turned out differently so very easily.
Arcane Effigy: continued to earn its points back by helping clear condition from Joss. I also used it as a magnetise point for Ramos in the late game. It’s not something that I would have normally considered but it was needed to get the max use of my AP. Joss’ regen aura helped keep it alive and it was relatively free from harm in the outside of the melee.
Obvious Frame for Murder target: I expected it, but not on Izamu. Anna was the first in so I made sure she died to arachnid swarms meaning 2/3 of the VP at max if it was the case. Good move by Lewis for not putting it on the obvious target as I had forgotten about the possibility of it being attached to other models that weren’t running full speed towards my master.
Turn 4: Again I managed to reach turn 4. Quite pleased with that.
Aggressive Ramos: As I was facing Kirai, I ended up using Ramos in a more aggressive role once I had got into position. Joss worked well as a finisher with his ability to ignore Armor, Hard to Kill, and Hard to Wound, but the incorporeal models would still cause a headache. This is another round where Electrical Creation may have been a benefit, but knowing how well Arcing Screen and Overdrive worked, I would find it difficult to drop those. I need to look into models that give some form of card draw mechanics.
Strategy: Collect the Bounty
Schemes: Claim Jump / Eliminate the Leadership / Dig Their Graves / Covert Breakthrough / Tail ’em
Pre-game thoughts on Round 3:
Eliminate the Leadership: See round 1 comments.
Covert Breakthrough: This seems strange. All other scheme marker schemes have the ruling regarding enemy models within 4. Yet this does not. This scheme is more in line with what I was used to in 1st, and early 2nd edition. As it is similar to Leave Your Mark, I am tempted to try this with the Firestarter and Miner combo previously mentioned.
Dig Your Graves: a natural match given the strategy. Have one of the single spiders drop the scheme marker and kill something close to it.
Tail em: This might be problematic. Both Joss and Ramos are by no means the fastest, and unfortunately spiders are all height 1. Might be viable against a slower moving crew of if the scenery is light. Kaeris would be the better master for this match as I can surely get her out of LOS if needed.
Post game thoughts.
As I previously mentioned, I just didn’t feel confident with Kaeris, so I took Ramos. I had a cracking headache at the start of round 3 and decided just to take the same crew as the 2 previous rounds for the sake of expediency.
My opponent for this round was Stewart Herbert. He was taking Seamus.
50 SS Resurrectionists Crew
Seamus + 4 Pool
– Mad Haberdasher (2)
– Red Chapel Killer (1)
– Sinister Reputation (1)
Copycat Killer (3)
The Valedictorian (10)
Datsue Ba (8)
– Spirit Whispers (1)
The Hanged (9)
The Hanged (9)
Rotten Belle (5)
Battleplan: Same as round 2 really. Firestarter and Soulstone Miner spam the area with scheme marker for Covert Breakthrough. Ramos and Joss go hunting.
It all went a bit pear shaped. Game ended up at 6-2 victory to Stewart. Lots of little issues here and there. Daitsu ba tied up Firestarter and the Valedictorian tied up the Soulstone Miner, meaning that I got only 1VP from Covert Breakthrough. I deployed to the RHS of the board with Ramos and Joss and just got tied up in a bottleneck against a Seamus and his would be gun-line of various ranged attacks. I had a great game though, despite the headache and Stewart was just fun to play against. With less than 10 min left on the clock Seamus attempted a second shot against Ramos who had decided that discretion was the better part of valour and had decided to make a swift exit from the board after discovering Stewart had Exterminate the Leader. After a bit of movement hi-jinks Seamus takes the shot and hits Ramos, but survives. At this point we agreed to end the game as there was nothing left that could make any impact on the game
Ramos: again I ended up using Ramos in a more aggressive fashion, and feel that an Electrical Creation would have been a significant benefit to me. The Electrical Fire worked well against the spirit models. Really need to look into models with card draw mechanics.
Firestarter: Got stuck in combat and just wasn’t able to burn down Daitsu ba, essentially sinking my chance to get 3VP. Imbued Energies and Defence managed to keep him alive though, but at 10SS, I’m not sure he was the best investment. Even after looking at his card several times I’m just not seeing any real power behind him. He did kill a Belle though to prevent any lure shenanigans.
Soulstone Miner: Also managed to get tied up at the start of turn 2 by the Valedictorian. On one hand I didn’t manage to score, but on the other hand if did prevent the Valedictorian from assisting Seamus, and by extension from killing Ramos. A silver lining to that cloud I think.
Dig Your Graves: With so much difficulty killing things my forces got reduced quickly, meaning that available AP to drop scheme markers was compromised.
Tail Em: Should have chosen this instead. It may have made Stewart use ap to deny me points, reducing his offensive power.
Positioning: I went the route on the RHS of the board, meaning that I was moving through an area with only 1 piece of LOS blocking terrain. I should have deployed on the LHS of the board (I can’t remember if Stewart or I won deployment) or more centrally. If I had deployed further back this may have lead to Stewart increasing the range between his forces and the Soulstone Miner, perhaps allowing me to do something with that model. This would also have given Firestarter two different hiding spots to start dropping scheme markers.
Schemes: Claim Jump / Dig Their Graves / Accusation / Recover Evidence / Last Stand
Pre-game thoughts on Round 4:
Claim Jump: Scheme marker spamming would be an interesting approach as everything can drop a scheme marker on turn 1.
Last Stand: I would need to take Joss, Firestarter, and Howard in my crew to enable me to score this. And then losing only 1 would stop any further VP scoring. So, no then.
Recover Evidence: Opposing models would certainly be closer. Worth keeping in mind rather than dismissing out of hand.
Accusation: Think I’d want to play this in a non-event setting first. Could be an issue due to my ability to out activate if spamming spiders. I might end up with no viable targets left.
Dig Your Graves: Same as round 3.
Post game thoughts
For this match, I played local Henchman Kai. He took Sandeep. Not sure of the exact list, but there was definitely Howard, Carlos, Oxford Mages and he summoned Gamin during the match, you get the idea what he had.
Round 4 – the end is in sight. I had a brutal headache at this point despite a substantial intake of water. Cheers to Paul C for suggesting that it was more to do with blood sugar levels and giving me a can of full sugar coke. It took a while to kick in, but by about turn 3 onwards I was able to do basic maths again. Thanks to Kai for being supportive as well.
This was a rather interesting board to fight over. There was no photos taken during the match, but you can see from the initial table shot that I took at the start of the day that it was a corridor running along the middle of the board with plenty of LOS blocking buildings. This would have been a fun board to fight Stewart in round 3 over.
Somehow I manage to miss Kai deploying Howard across from Ramos and get a face full of anger in turn 1. I push Howard back via repulsion on the first defence flip and stop him from doing any real damage. Ramos opens up on him and goes to town, even aggressively using magnetise to do an extra 2 damage. It’s not enough to kill him, but after the Soulstone Miner joins in and wears him down further the killing blow is delivered by the Brass Arachnid. Highlight of the event for me right there.
The rest of the game consisted of a massive punch up just round the corner from where I deployed. Both Kai and I had Claim Jump and Dig Your Graves. Another highlight was Ramos summoning 3 spiders into combat with Sandeep, who swarmed together and devoured his two nearby scheme markers. Kai scored 1 headhunter point by nabbing the head marker that I had generated by killing one of his Wind Gamin – Oi! I made a critical error in throwing Firestarter into the massive melee. If I had gone around the other side of the building I would have been within 4″ to deny him scoring Claim Jump turn 2.
After the dust settled.
After 4 rounds I ended up 15th out of 22. I was quite pleased with this overall. As I said, I turned up to the last event and just messed around, coming bottom of the table. If I had not made the error with the Firestarter in game 4, I feel that I may have been able to beat Kai, which would have put me at 10th. I’m not bothered about rankings, but it’s always nice to be able to gauge progress by results.
The biggest takeaway from this event was the clear separation in my mind from Malifaux fluff, and the actual table top game itself. I feel that this is a step forward in developing as a player. The next step is increasing my amount of games played. I’m part of a gaming group now that meets on a Thursday night. I don’t get along every time, but 2-3 games in a month more is better than none at all.
Next Master: Kaeris. As I have mentioned during this blog, I don’t feel confident with Kaeris. I think this is due to her not having (at least to me) an obvious role on the battlefield. Well, when compared to Ramos at least. Yes, this isn’t a large sample group to compare to but work with me here.
Model selection: The best way to increase my selection of available models is to purchase some Arcanist crew boxes. Previously I had intended to purchase the Ironsides box. From this event I feel that the best idea would be Colette and Marcus. Colette for the access to Cassandra and Performers. Marcus would give me access to Myranda and some beasts. I would like to learn both Colette and Marcus as Masters anyway but I don’t want to get side tracked on trying to learn 3 masters at the same time. Focus on Kaeris until I feel comfortable with her. The Arcane Emissary would be an additional desired purchase. I’ve picked up Willie the Demolitionist from Common Ground Games, and some Ice Dancers from Joe in exchange for my unused Hoffman box. I should be getting Aionus back from Dave Reekie after he has finished painting him soon.
After the event, I sat down with some of the KR Multicase print outs and planned how many models I could actually get into a single case. I can get the 5 desired crew boxes with plenty of room for extra 30mm models. Fitting the Arcane Emissary is a bit of a pain though and takes up 2 50mm model slots. I’m not keen on having to take multiple boxes, or buy a larger case at this stage.
Buff representation: Kai had some lovely base huggers made for his Sandeep crew. Other players had a variety of ways of representing buffs. I’ll have a look into it as a way of remembering what is active when playing as I found myself struggling during the later games.