Tuesday, February 2, 2016

A Few Test Scheme Pools with the New 2016 Gaining Grounds

So if you’re a Malifaux player who lives under a rock, you may not be aware that Wyrd released the new Gaining Grounds 2016 document with a new scheme pool. Most of the podcasts out there have covered it in detail, so I’ll just briefly mention the highlights: 1) All the schemes are unrevealed 2) Models like Leveticus or The Dreamer that bury instead of dying are now less of a way to “hide” from the scheme pool, since these types of schemes now score when you leave play 3) The suited schemes pull you in very different directions and reemphasize the roles of enforcers and henchmen rather than masters.

Rather than do my own analysis, I thought I would flip a few scheme pools and look at how I would address them with a master I know relatively well, Jacob Lynch. First, the disclaimers: I am not good at Malifaux, so I am not an authority on how best to approach these. I can (and likely will) be wrong at least once, so please don’t hoist me on the petard of this article. I’m new to these schemes too.
Ok, that out of the way, let’s get started.

Opponent: Resurrectionist Flank, Extraction, Convict, Show of Force, Exhaust Their Forces, Mark for Death, Neutralize the Leader

Lynch: Rising Sun, Woke up with a Hand, On Wings of Darkness, 7SS; Sillurid; Doppleganger: Useless Duplication; Hungering Darkness: Addict, The Mimic’s Blessing; Illuminatedx2; Lilitu: Mimic’s Blessing;

For this one I would try to see what the opponent has hired to better make a decision between Show of Force or Mark for Death based on opponent’s upgrade selection. If they have more than me, I may have issues pulling it off. This one will be an ugly pile in the middle which the Sillurid will take advantage of by leaping in and Exhausting the enemy.

Arcanists. Squatter’s Rights, Standard Deployment. Convict, Exhaust, Leave Your Mark, Covert Breakthrough, Set Up

Lynch: Endless Hunger, Hand, On Wings of Darkness, 5SS; 3xTerror Tots; Doppleganger: Mimic’s Blessing; Hungering Darkness; Mr. Tannen; Siluridx2
Set Up is trickier unless the crew very obviously has a hitter that you know will be flying to your face (Howard, for instance.) Scramble and throw markers everywhere. If the opponent has fewer models, then Leave Your Mark will be easier. If its Ramos or a spam list of some kind maybe don’t because it’ll be tough. Find the ace of masks, obviously. Tannen’s there to protect the eligible people from Set Up. Hungering Darkness hunts scheme runners and/or takes down the flank Squatter’s Rights markers.

Resurrectionists. Interference. Corner Deployment. Convict Labor, Show of Force, Leave Your Mark, Covert Breakthrough, Undercover Entourage.

Lynch: Rising Sun, Woke Up With a Hand; Hungering Darkness: Addict; Lilitu: Mimic’s Blessing; Doppleganger: Useless Duplication; Terror Tot; Illuminatedx2;

And the best part of this one was…I got to play it in person!

Opponent’s List: Seamus: Habberdasher, Unnerving Aura, Willpower Limited Upgrade; Sybelle: Bleeding Lash, Not Too Banged Up; 3xRotten Belles; Yin: Unnerving Aura; Nurse

The board was set up with a good mix of scatter terrain, some blocking and some severe. The middle of the table had a hill with a blocking crystal of some kind and some trees to force us to move around it. Corner deployment was really not optimal for Covert Breakthrough, but with Belles I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to get separation enough to do Leave Your Mark. My gameplan thus became flooding the board with sprinting Tots (and Doppleganger) to cross the board and go drop off markers to in the enemy’s deployment zone and to be able to bounce back and forth between zones for the strategy and to get to the centerline for show of force, though I was also unsure of that one when I saw how many upgrades the other crew was using.

The game didn’t start out that well for my side, as I lost a Terror Tot and an Illuminated early (Illuminated are tough, but they don’t hold up well to shots from Seamus and the Copycat.) Thus my activation advantage went away quickly, particularly when the Illuminated stood up and put on a dress. The Hungering Darkness went up the left flank and tied up Sybelle and another Belle before Yin jumped into it to knock him down. In the meantime, a Terror Tot and the Doppleganger copying its sprint went bolting past the action into the backfield. However, Yin jumped after them and tied them up. Seamus moved into the heart of the crew to use his Unnerving Aura and try to put us into a tough place. Things were looking bad for the drug dealing card player.

Where it started to swing was when a Belle and Sybelle ran to go try and kill the other Illuminated. Lynch saw an opening and put Brilliance on the Belle before dropping her with Final Debt, springing HD back into action. He then proceeded to pummel Sybelle over successive turns, drop her, and get within 6” of the centerline. Meanwhile Lillitu was on the other side, tying up several Belles (now there’s a mental image) and getting her own upgrade to the centerline, to allow the crew to start scoring from Show of Force. One Terror Tot managed to sprint into the enemy deployment zone and get a marker down before being lured away by Belles, leading to them pouncing on him, and them bleeding all over two of them. There was an amusing series of attacks where they did more damage to themselves than to the Tot through blackblood before finishing him. Also, there was another amusing exchange on turn 3 when the Copycat Killer and Lynch unloaded on each other and neither could hit. Meanwhile, on the other side of the board, one Tot suicided into Yin while the Doppleganger put down a second marker and ran away. The key moment came when, on a turn when Seamus had a bad control hand, he discarded a corpse marker to backdoor away but failed the flip and didn’t have the card to cheat. He was caught from that point by Hungering Darkness and, when he backhanded the critter away, opened him up for Lynch to drop a 9-point Final Debt on him followed by some ram trigger gun shots to kill Seamus off. This ended up being pretty important, as I found out later that Seamus had Covert Entourage and this denied him three points.

Neither of us scored much in the way of points from the strategy, and the final score was 5-3 for Lynch. I think, in retrospect, Leave Your Mark would have been a better call for this, as the Tots had a lot more room to scramble and hide than I initially thought. Show of Force is still pretty tough to do when the other side has more upgrades than you, but drawing Yin away and unburying HD saved me there.  Additionally, while I like Useless Duplication there weren’t enough Mimics to warrant taking it here instead of Mimic’s Blessing, which is just a good all-around upgrade.

So yeah, hopefully that was interesting to someone. As usual, feel free to comment below.