Saturday, January 27, 2018

Mali Gras: Pre-Tournament Planning

               This week’s topic…is something I’m saving for next week. I am going to introduce a new type of post taking a look at particular crews that are powerful in the meta and how best to approach them. However, the fellow I was going to interview about it is a bit busy with UK Masters this weekend, so I’m taking a detour. Let’s have a quick convo about a tournament that’s coming up, and something that occurred to me for how I can approach it.


               On the third, I’m taking a trip up to Bristol, TN for a tournament at DeWayne’s World Comics and Games. I’ll be able to do this in part because of funding that you, the MM community have delivered through our Patreon account. Oh, what’s that? You don’t know about Patreon?
               First of all, I know you’re lying, because I’ve written about it on here before. But I’ll do the spiel anyways. Patreon is a way for fans like you to support content creators like Malifaux Musings by donating some money every month. In exchange, you get to unlock individual and group rewards levels. Higher donations mean higher rewards, but all I really want from you, humble reader is $1 a month. I know you’re good for it. If you feel like chipping in more, that’d be great, but let’s get start with $1. Just head over to
               Ahem. Spiel over.
               Anyways, as far as I know this upcoming tournament is going to be Gaining Grounds 2018 with standard rotation. I’m pushing to get rid of the close deployment in Round 1, but for the time being let’s assume it’s staying. That makes the three round tournament 1) Close Deployment + Public Executions, 2) Standard + Ply for Information 3) Corner Deployment + Ours. I don’t believe we have scheme pools yet, but let’s take a look and do some pre-planning.

Round 1

               So, obviously this first round game is going to be about applying a bit of the old ultraviolence, as they say. I’ll probably be playing Collodi a lot this tournament, and this round will be no exception. It’s the killiest Neverborn crew I have, and the one with which I’ve had the most experience. They’re pretty close to finished being painted, and fittingly it’s almost Mardi Gras season. They’ll be able to bring a bit of the festive fun to Bristol this round.

Just point them towards the second line.

               I think the main thing here will be to stay back a bit from the front lines, depending on my opponents. I don’t want to get charged straight off the bat. I can handle a bit of melee, but there are limits. It’s possible I may just deploy per a normal game’s range. In any case, the point of this game will be to bring in the hard hitters and leave the opponent with a trio of unpleasant options to face. Nekima is the first threat. Normally I would pair her up with the Hooded Rider as the other hitter, but we’re going to be in combat early on here and I don’t want to risk losing him early. This may be a good game to break out the Mysterious Emissary, as his condition removal can help to knock some of the Blood off of the enemy crew’s hands to balance out the numbers. Maybe some Stitched can go in that slot instead, or Graves. I’ll have to look closer for what works best when the game comes around. If I do use Stitched I’ll stick with Fated, but if not this may be a game to think about using Bag of Props instead. The Marionettes handing out some Focus to Collodi may help with wrecking the opponents’ crew.

Round 2

               This round’s more about activation control and scheme running than round 1, but a healthy dose of killing is important for defense as well. Killing a model with Ply (or dealing severe damage) knocks the condition off, so that’s a good way to even things up if I fall behind. Getting a few more activations in here than my opponent will be important. The Emissary’s summoning of Changelings (hopefully, though every time I want to summon with him the cards are not there) will help with this, and he can clear the condition with his attack. I’m going to try and come out shooting here, but this one will require playing cagily and killing models before they can get over to me. It’ll be much more about out-activating the opponent early on, then surgically swinging the strategy around with the latter turn activations. So, yeah, more Collodi. Not much else to say. Let’s move on to the next one.

Round 3

               Now, I’ve got a couple of ideas here. One of them is to just keep playing Collodi. There’s nothing specifically about this that he’s not good for, though without Vasilisa or some speed I’ll have a harder time spreading up field and attacking. On the other hand, I have an idea to come at it from a different angle. One of the quirks that happened between later in the playtest process to the final version of GG2018 was the reintroduction of 0SS henchmen counting as 10ss for the purpose of this strategy. That means that a Jacob Lynch crew gets a free 10 stones in Ours. Plus, since he can be buried and then return after being killed, that makes it even tastier. Seems like a pretty good option to me. So, it’s time for some more…

I will literally use any opportunity to put this banner back out.

               I’m thinking a crew with four smashy models is going to be pretty clutch in the current version of GG2018, and this crew’s got it. We’re talking Nekima. We’re talking Hooded Rider. Throw in Lynch and Hungering Darkness for flavor, and it’s gonna be a rough time for whoever comes up against it. I’m planning on working in some cheap activations to get the model count up a bit. Depleted may be a good choice for this, as they count towards the strategy and give us more ways to get Brilliance into the crew. And, of course, Changelings are always a good inclusion. Plus, with this many big beaters, there will be a lot of models to borrow nasty attacks from in my crew.

               So, that’s the game plan. We’ll see how much of it survives the crew building portion of the tournament, but it’s a start. 

Monday, January 22, 2018

Dreamer v. Asami Battle Report: Summoning's good for Ours, right?

Today's post (well, technically Friday's post. I'm late. Sue me) will be a battle report from Vassal where Phiasco and I continued working through Gaining Grounds 2018's January-March rotation, playing Ours. As an aside, we meet regularly for Vassal games Tuesday. You should come join us!

First, some cool Mini-Musings!


-Alt Lazarus is here! Sort of! You can't buy him though! But it gives you a new thing to spend your Guilders on! Exclamation marks!!! I want one!!!!

-We mentioned the Wyrdscapes line in a previous post, showing an image of a building they were going to do. Now, they've sent us an image of a much larger span of stuff that could be used to make a whole board. Hopefully it's modular, as this board might be a bit sparse on terrain for an average game, but it definitely looks cool! And expensive. Very, very expensive.

-Fire in the Sky released as a PDF on Drivethru RPG for $15. I recommended it before, and I think I'll do a review of it in the near future, but I like this module a lot. First of all, it takes you Earthside to San Francisco in 1906, integrating a significant incident that happened in the real Earth with The Other Side's fluff in a very cool way. Also, this module has by far the coolest Ongoing Skill Challenge of the game's history, which I cannot recommend enough. It's so cool. Check it out! 

First game of 2018

Strategy: Ours
Deployment: Corner
Schemes: Guarded Treasure, Covert Breakthrough, Show of Force, Search the Ruins, Take One for the Team.

My Crew
Dreamer-Dreams of Pain, Otherworldly, On Wings of Darkness, 7SS
Serena Bowman
Mr. Tannen
Hooded Rider-Warped Reality
Theory-While summoned models don’t count for Ours, their deaths don’t hurt our side either. As such, I can send them as sacrificial troops, while I use my stuff to score and lay some hits down. The Hooded Rider with Warped Reality makes for a good backfield defender early on and attacker on later decisive turns. Bultungins work well with D and Empty Night, and can make for good cheap flankers on their own. Tannen is there not for the Teddies (though, we’ll see how that goes)
My schemes: Guarded Treasure, Take One for the Team on Tannen

Phiasco’s Crew
Asami Tanaka-A Heavenly Design, Nef. Pact,
Amo No Zako
Ohagaru Betari-A Taste for Flesh
Sun Qiang
2x Ten Thunders Brothers

T1-My opening hand is pitiful. I’m going to have to use Tannen’s ability just to summon a single Stitched Together. Serena made the Hooded Rider and a Bultungin have Black Blood. We spent most of the first turn positioning and setting up for trouble in later turns. I’ll just throw in the screenshot.
Now, that's what I call a control hand.

-Serena and a Bultungin move around a flank away from where the combat is brewing to go and set up for Guarded Treasure. More positioning happens, as I’m trying to cagily avoid the devastating 1 turn charges that Asami’s crews can dish out. I did, however, have an amazing hand including the Red Joker and the 13 of Masks. Dual Teddy summoning? I mean, when was I ever going to have a chance again? Turns out it was probably the wrong choice, however, as Ohagaru Betari then proceeded to charge through both of them and maul them to death before I could heal them up. Whoops. We both score for Ours, so it’s 1-1

Not pictured, 2 Teddies. Sad face.
T3-The Nightmare Bultungin is in a good spot to eat a scheme marker, but can’t do that since the Ten Thunders Brother is there to block it, reaffirming to me how absurdly powerful they are. Bettari wins initiative and attacks my Hooded Rider, causing me to hold my breath in terror before he, instead, threw my Rider away and charged Tannen (clearly trying to make sure that I didn’t summon any more Teddies.) He kills Tannen. I score 2 for Take One for the Team. The Hooded Rider charges the aforementioned Ten Thunders Brother standing in the middle of the scrum, but fails to kill him on the first swing, so I can’t pick up a scheme marker to remove him. The 2nd attack flips a Red Joker, however, so then the scheme marker gets tossed. I congratulate myself on blocking his Guarded Treasure scheme, which I figure is probably a good and useful thing (I was only partially right.) The Dreamer hauls ass to get away from Betty and drops a scheme marker next to the center line for Guarded Treasure. At the end of the turn, only I score for Ours, so I go up 5-1.

We take a one week break. Over the break, I convince myself he’s trying to complete Search the Ruins and Guarded Treasure. I’m half right, as I’ll find out.

T4-The plan for bringing Serena Bowman takes effect (which is good, because I felt kinda dumb for sending her off on her own to score Guarded Treasure uncontested but also not use any abilities. Whoops.) Dreamer now starts using Empty Night to control the Dead Rider and the Bultungin, followed by accomplishing into the Rider, to devastating effect. The two of them take down Amo No Zako and Sun Qiang. Asami, no longer required for handing out 1 AP charges, summons ac ouple of Yokai and uses one of them to bounce Bettari up onto a rock, to prepare for more charging on my master and/or beaters. To try and block him, I walk the Bultungin up onto the rock to engage him (and prevent him from charging away. Some more fiddling happens. Jon opens markers for Search the Ruins, confirming my prediction of his schemes (in my mind.) We both score Ours, so it’s 6-2.

T5-The Dreamer summons Lelu and Lilitu (probably what I should have done instead of the Teddies.) I then Accomplice the Hooded Rider to charge Asami and knock her onto her Hard to Kill and remove a pair of Search the Ruins Markers. Bettari, however, proves that I am wrong about his schemes and escapes from the Bultungin to go drop markers for Covert Breakthrough, rather than Guarded Treasure. I should have seen this coming, since he had 2 Ten Thunders Brothers for scheme runners.) Lelu and Lilitu were summoned in a way to try and block the Guarded Treasure I thought he was doing, so their attempts now to Lure and Pounce on her to finish her is no longer relevant. Jon’s other 10T Brother runs into the backfield to drop another marker. When we total the points up, we see that he’s managed to catch up to me, and the game ends in an 8-8 tie. So, yeah. That kinda sucked.But it's Phiasco and I, so who was surprised? Not me. This is what happens when we play.

But, but...Guarded Treasure?


-Summoning Teddies is cute. And super greedy (if you’re familiar with CCG terminology.) It’s not the most efficient use of cards, though. Lelu and Lilitu summons would probably have been better on that turn, and in general.

-The experiment of whether Tannen’s ability to smooth out the “mana curve” of summoning by buffing masks is ongoing. I wouldn’t have been able to summon at all on turn 1 without him, and it let me summon two stupid Teddies. Both are outliers, and the experimentalist in me says that means I should throw those results out. More testing is needed.

-Trying to spot the enemy’s scheme choices mid-game are what you need to do. However, don’t marry yourself too hard to your prediction, as you can be wrong. There was literally a space of this game where it legit looked like Phiasco was going for Guarded Treasure (it was a Search marker and I misread his intent.) And, if you don’t know what the enemy’s schemes are, no lead is safe. Be prepared. Hood

Friday, January 12, 2018

January 2018 Errata Initial Overreactions

Science joke!

I mean, what else could we be talking about this week than the errata? Let’s just get to the mini-musings and then we can talk about the new stuff.

 But first, did you know we're supported by Patreon? Yeah, dude, we totally are! Thanks to our patrons, I was able to actually buy the first Malifaux mini I've picked up in almost a year. Every person my Iggy Incites will be thanks to you guys! And the best part is, I just want $1 a month from you. So why don't you go join in?!?Punctuation!?!?


-There’s a new PDF available for Through the Breach. It’s a Penny Dreadful collecting the story from the previous year’s time travelling world event, A Stitch in Time. A terrible accident has happened, and your characters are tossed into Malifaux’s past, into the days of the first breach. You have to find a way to get back without significantly changing the future, battling an infamous necromancer from the city’s history and facing a terrible threat that still menaces the city today. It’s $15. Go get it.

-Wyrd’s also getting into the terrain business, starting with their Wyrdscapes line. There was a preview posted about a month ago. It looks like this.

-Aaron’s looking for a new moderator for the forums. PM him if you want to throw your name in. If you need me to give you a link to the thread...maybe you aren't right for the job.

-Results from the Iron Painter are in. The Bronze finalists joined with everyone who completed the painting to be entered into a raffle, resulting in the winners argailwall, Annanas, Zanna, Nathillien, Dlenok, beergod, Reservoir Dog, sycorax, Citames, and Senya1987. The silver tier winners were sleepwalker, Demonn Agram, icatsai, and glamage, while the runners up were TheArtofWargaming, Joe Cool, Hellogre, and neveroddoreven. And finally, in the duel for first place, Octavus came out ahead of Whirler. Congrats to them, and to everybody who made it through to the end!

Overreaction Theater!

               So, if you weren’t around for the silly story behind it, about a week ago an update pushed for the Bad Things Happen app that contained what we would later discover was the updated stats for the cards. It was an odd sort of glitch and feels like it wasn’t intended, as it also kinda broke the thing. About a day later, the errata document released (along with Gaining Grounds 2018. Keep an eye on next month’s Wyrd Chronicles for my thoughts on that.) And, of course, people went a little nuts. Not as nuts as one tends to expect from gamers when you mess with their toys, but there were certainly pockets of people losing their collective shit. It happens, not a big deal.

               So what changed? Actually, surprisingly little. Some folk were expecting quite a bit more (your humble Bloggist among them). Nicodem crews were essentially untouched, for instance, despite the collective wailing and tooth gnashing of seemingly the entire UK. Nothing was done about the seemingly unintended first-turn-unburying of a Viktoria by the Scion of the Void, though this could just be a matter of "wait and see." Most of the changes came in the form of soulstone adjustments, usually 1 stone up or down. That may not seem like much, and in a lot of cases it isn’t really that big of a deal, but in some others it is a huge difference. I've found it’s useful to think of it in terms of overall percentage of the soulstone cost that was changed. So, while a one stone increase on Yasunori might not make that huge of a difference, reducing the cost of a Hoarcat Pride by a stone brings it down by 20%. That’s a big deal. In some cases, these soulstone changes are exactly what the doctor ordered, as the problem with an otherwise good model was just the cost. In some other cases, changing soulstone cost can’t fix a model that flat out needs a redesign. The Ice Golem is probably the posterboy for this. It’s an awesome model. People want to play with the thing, but it has Defense of 2. No number of reduced soulstones will make up for that.

               So, let’s get the pain out of the way now: Gremlins players are probably a little bummed, as they got by far the largest number of “cuddles.” Specifically, McTavish, Burt Jebsen, and Francois Lacroix all went up by a point. In exchange, there were relatively few reductions to models that most would classify as “good,” though expect to see a few more Bayou Bushwackers and Whiskey Golems on the board. Taken individually, none of the increases are debilitating. If you liked Francois, there’s nothing to stop you from still playing him, and he’ll work just as well as he always did, killing things worth way more points than he costs. And I honestly doubt that many people are going to argue that those models didn't need to have their value increased by 1 (especially Franc, who was pretty much in EVERY gremlin crew.) The thing is, though, if you were bringing all of them (which was not uncommon) then now that’s an increase of 3. That’s starting to hurt. That's a whole Bayou Gremlin. Additionally, Bert and McTavish’s value as mercenaries is probably in the tank, and Nellie crews (which often took the two of them) take a small hit as well. That’s where these nerfs hit hardest, when you’re selecting several models whose cost was increased. Now, how much of an effect will this have overall? I suppose it depends how reliant on these models your crews were, and how unwilling you are to experiment with something else. It’s painful to get your stuff nerfed, there’s no doubt about it, but you’ll survive. Maybe take this opportunity to try something new, a master you’ve had in your bag for a while and not tried or maybe even dip a toe into another faction for a little break before you come back to your greenskins. Ulix, Mah Tucket, and the Brewmaster all got some nudges in the good direction recently, so maybe consider giving them a shot. The crews you’re playing now will still be waiting for you when you decide to come back and figure out how best to make them run.

               The only non-soulstone cost changes were for Misaki’s Thunder Upgrade and Seamus’ Sinister Reputation. The former reduced the range at which her blast markers could be placed down to 8” from 12 and removed the clause that made the damage irreducible (arguably the bigger of the two nerfs.) This isn’t exactly unexpected, as the main feedback from the UK Grant Tournament were horror stories of her blasting nearly entire crews on the first and second turns. I haven’t had the pleasure of facing it in person, but those I’ve spoken to have let me know that, while it isn’t an unbeatable combination by any stretch, getting caught on the wrong side of it when not prepared is kind of a negative play experience and bad for Malifaux . So, while I’m sad that the Mistress of the Thunders is getting knocked back down right after finally starting to pull herself up, I’m glad to see things change in a way that’s better for the game. The Gremlin changes kinda fall into the same category, tbh, as it should promote diversity away from the more standard builds to some new ideas and some increased variety. One might be surprised that more wasn’t done to do the same for Outcasts (who have a similar problem), but I’m not a game designer. Sinister Rep, on the other hand, actually got a buff, in that it now is able to be used as a 1” close combat attack in addition to a ranged attack. 1) I think that this is a good change, though it probably makes Bag O’ Tools completely unnecessary and 2) I don’t understand why this needed to be done right now. There are other things that one would have expected to be more pressing and require more immediate attention, and I don’t recall hearing a great clamor in the community to buff Seamus. But, then again, he is kind of the face of the faction, and in addition to Teddy was probably one of the two main draws to pull people into Malifaux in the first place. Maybe this was a marketing move? I don’t know. In any case, it exists, so use it. The boogy man of Malifaux just got a lot...boogier? Sigh. Ignore me. 

Other factions were more of a mixed bag. Most of the Resurrectionist cost reductions really just translate to “now it’s easier to summon them” rather than increasing the likelihood of their hiring, and the Nurse going up by 1 hurts Zoraida more than anybody else. Hayreddin dropping by a point is interesting, though, as I’ve always thought there was something pretty good with that model. The Outcasts got probably the most even split of buffs and nerfs, as Johan, the Trapper, and Ashes and Dust all went up by 1 (making A&D the first 14 point model in the game) but reductions to Bishop, Hans, the Scramble upgrade, and Desperate Mercs (3 pt Mercs!) help them out in unexpected ways. The Ten Thunders models that went up in cost people will probably keep using anyways (Terracotta Warrior and Yasunori.) Yamaziko at 6SS is a bargain, so expect to see a lot of ninja granny in the future, particularly as she can carry the upgrade for the automatic 3 point score on public demonstration. The Dawn Serpent coming down by one is a welcome sight for McCabe players as well as Marcus. I don’t know if Ototo coming down by 1 is enough to warrant fielding him, but I hope so, as I like Ototo in general. The Guild are probably the biggest “Meh” of these changes, though given the fact that they got a lot of love in Book 5, maybe they didn’t need a lot of help. Guild Guards are now in the 3ss club. Lead Lined coat being a point cheaper means you’ll maybe have to stop and think if you want it versus a third Debt to the Guild. The Judge has always been overcosted, but moving him down one just puts him the same pile of 8ss hench’s that Guild’s always had, and he’s still not as good as Franc or Phiona. The rest is pretty forgettable.

Get your paws ONTO this damn dirty ape. No? I'll see myself out...

               Now let’s talk about fun stuff. A lot of interesting models had their costs reduced as well. Probably the biggest of these was the Arcanists’ favorite ape, Cojo, who got a whopping -2 reduction. Cojo’s abilities were always good, but at his old price tag he was just too expensive to be worth the buy. Not so, now. Expect to see lots of him throwing your scheme markers and models around soon. Additionally, the Hooded, Pale, and Dead Riders all saw their costs reduced by 2 as well. I don’t know enough about the other two to comment for certain on the viability of this, but I love the Hooded and often preferred him over Nekima when they were only two points different. I’ll take him at 10 all day every day. More generally, the Riders are some of the coolest models in the game, so anything that gets more of them on the table I support. My current faction, the Neverborn, probably saw the biggest spread of reductions to decent models in general, with Baby Kade, Bad Juju, the Beckoner, Lelu, and Bunraku all going down a point. The Arcanists are the other faction that could potentially make an argument for “most improved,” as the handful of good models that saw buffs from this saw significant improvements, including the aforementioned Cojo, the now spammable Hoarcat Prides, and The Captain+Patron’s Blessing getting a cumulative -2 cost as well. This helps offset the pain of Johan going up, and lets people use what most people thought was a very good but too expensive model. 

               What difference will all of this make overall? Tough to say, though I would put money on “not as much as you might think.” In the end, most of these changes were still just a stone. There were a reason a lot of these models weren’t being hired, and after an initial burst of experimentation, don’t be surprised if a lot of people just go back to using what they had before. Some, however, will definitely stick, and just the fact that it brings things closer to the middle and promotes diversity is likely better for the game overall. I can appreciate the philosophy behind sticking to soulstone cost modifications rather than rewriting rules in general, and the logic behind leaving book 4 and 5 alone for now is sound, but I do feel there were things that could (and maybe should) have been addressed that weren’t handled here. Maybe we’ll see some more tweaks over the summer. The next round of major tournaments (keep an eye on Winter Murderland in DC and the UK Masters) will tell us more.

               I’m sure you have a number of opinions that differ from mine. Feel free to comment and share them, and as always, thank you for reading! 

Friday, January 5, 2018

First Hobby Round-Up of 2018: Iron Painter 2017 Gold Finalists

We're still in the early stages of recovery from holiday break, so it's perhaps a blessing that today's post is a hobby roundup. To begin with, let's take a look at the Iron Painter. The last round's theme was Snowpocalypse, and has finished up. Voting is going on now. Congratulations to everyone who made it through to this point! I'm going to feature the entries of the two Gold finalists, but everybody who made it through to the end is a winner.

The first competitor for the final prize is Octavus, who submitted this entry, featuring an encounter between some gasmasked figures with a "Spirit of Christmas." The diorama is highlighted by photo-realistic images of missing people pasted to the board of the building behind them (click and blow it up to see them more clearly).

The second entry was submitted by Whirler. This diorama features a party of elves travelling through the snow, along with a Tolkein quote. The realism of the faces, particularly on the crouching woman, is stunning.

I don't envy the judges their choice between these two amazing entries. And, again, let me point out that these two are not the only entries. The Silver, Bronze, and even those who had been eliminated but continued to paint submitted some great work as well. Check it all out, and go submit your votes for the Bronze categories. 


To swing hard in the other direction, I did a bit of work since the last of these posts. I was going to Dawn's team event last month that ended up not happening and needed to play Ten Thunders, so I got some paint on a couple of staples, the Terracotta Warrior and Ten Thunders Brother, and a proxy for a Wave 5 model, Gwynneth Maddox. This was my first real try at working with white primer. I'm pleased with how it went, though I'm not crazy about the specific primer I used (too think, chokes out some details.) Still, I think they turned out well.


Finally, I've done my usual perusing of the Wyrd place painting submissions, picking out a few things that jumped out and drew my attention. First, there's a Spawn Mother that looks very impressive, painted by Adam Huenecke.

Next, there have of course been a number of people painting the holiday themed alternate Rasputina boxed set. I appreciated this version of the Festivus Arboreus by Al Jardines.

Next, continuing with the winter theme, here's a version of the more classic Rasputina crew staple, the Snowstorm, painted by Dragon Slayer Models.

And lastly, to warm things up a bit, here's the alternate Santiago Ortega model, Santana, done by Ravenswood Studios.

Every time I see this sculpt, I want to play my Ortega crew again, especially as I can now use her as Monster Hunter. Hmm. *gets wrist slapped by Pandora* Yes, ma'am. Neverborn or bust. I know...


Lastly, I'd like to direct some of you to a poll I put up on the Malifaux Musings Facebook page. I'm collecting data to try and aim posts to more of the content people specifically are interested in. Go over there, give us a FB like, and make your voice heard! I want to keep the blog's growth going!

And with that, I'll pass on one last bit of Holiday cheer, sent to me by the people of Wyrd. I know some of you read the blog, so I thought I'd let you know that the holiday card really made my day. It's my privilege to contribute my small part of making Wyrd grow, and I'm looking forward to what I can do in the coming year.