Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Pre-Gencon Potpourri

Like many nerds, I'll be making the annual pilgrimage to Indianapolis starting tomorrow. This rite of passage began many moons ago, young padawans, when I used to travel there to play the collectible card game based around World Wrestling Entertainment (and to give you some timeframe on that, when the game STARTED it was still called the World Wrestling Federation.) It's been an intermittent part of my life ever since. And most importantly, it's the mecca of all things new and Wyrd.

My Jacob Lynch boxed set was purchased new at Gencon, along with everyone else from the Honeypot. When Avatars came out (you know them as Emissaries now) I picked up Zoraida and Kirai there. I still have a metal nightmare Lord Chompy Bits that I've really gotta get painted and get on a board for crying out loud. I've played in a number of Malifaux tournaments in Indy, and a few years back I discovered the joys of volunteering with Wyrd, particularly when it came to Fatemastering their Through the Breach games (wait, hold on, you're going to cover the cost of my badge, and give me booth credit, and all I have to do is...play Through the Breach? Umm, yeah, I'll go ahead and sign up now.) 

This year features the first Wyrd-run Malifaux tournament of the M3E era, which I'll be covering as a spectator rather than as a participant (I'll be busy killing off Fated characters for large portions of the allotted time.) It's a two-day event for the first time ever, which I know a number of competitive players have been clamoring to see for some time now. Hopefully Wyrd will also have a large amount of terrain (Adepticon already looked to have improved this issue), as the shooting gallery style boards have been another long-running complaint. Still, it's a great chance to get in many games of Malifaux, and Phiasco will be there doing many Ten Thunders related things that will likely leave opponents scratching their heads in puzzlement. 

My competitive hill to climb is going to be the Other Side tournament on Thursday. I've been scrambling to get a couple more squads of the King's Finest ready for the tabletop. I have some South Wales Borderers and Field Intelligence Corps fireteams painted to an...acceptable tabletop standard. Just don't look too close or you'll see the bare spots where primer is still showing. I have set down some ideas for each round in my head, though since it's a 2 commander tourney I won't have as much crew flexibility as I would in 1C games. I don't expect I'll be the only one for whom that is true. Mostly it's an excuse to get some more games in for what I consider to be a more fun tournament game than Malifaux (yeah that's right, I said it. I'm gonna write a whole blog post about it soon, so just you wait.) Maybe if I'm lucky, I won't have to play against Gibbering Hordes every round! Wouldn't that be nice?

I didn't realize the "Endless Numbers" special rule applied in real life, as well.

The only other tournament games I'll probably participate in is the Henchman Hardcore on Sunday. I found some nasty tricks from the Honeypot that I think could be pretty rude in that format, so I'll be eager to give them a try and find out all the reasons I'm wrong.

And, of course, most of Friday and Saturday I'll be running TTB. I love RPGs, and I love running them in particular. I'm a DM (or in TTB's case, FM) first, player second. This is truly a labor of love for me. This year I'm running 4 sessions of the game with three premade Penny Dreadful adventures. One adventure features the Fated trying to rescue a kidnapped Star Theatre showgirl and getting more than they bargained for. Another pits them against the Universtiy Transmortis in a more straightforward beat-em-up. The third features an expedition into the badlands and.....dinosaurs? No, that can't be right. *goes back to check the module name* Oh, yeah, I guess that's really what's going on there. That should be interesting! 

I think most of them are sold out (not because I'm running them. Though I'm sure if people had known, they would have sold out even faster) but people have a tendency to buy tickets and not show up, so there's no harm in getting generics and swinging by to see if a slot is available. Moreover, throughout the con Wyrd will also be hosting short character creation events where they walk you through performing one of the Tarot readings that generate a new Fated. I'll have pregens for all of the games I'm running (so will the other Fatemasters, but come on, you know you would rather play at my table) but if you show up with a Fated of your own, they can happily take their place. Sometimes I've even been known to sneak in an extra player or two if Matt Carter isn't watching too close, so you never know. Maybe you'll get to have your first adventure run by your favorite bloggist. I'll be honored to kill your character guide you into the world of Malifaux! 

Wyrd's bringing their usual slew of rare and limited edition stuff, as well as the full line of The Other Side models and some new M3E style crew boxes. Apparently the faction books won't be there due to a shipping issue, which kinda stinks but frankly I can live without. Those may end up falling in the "buy as pdf" pile for me anyways to cut down on the shelf footprint dedicated to Wyrd stuff (moving several times in as many years makes one appreciate digital literature. Also, this year's nightmare crew is the above Nightmare version of Molly, titled Brine and Bones. I gotta tell ya, I really couldn't be any less interested in playing Ressers but...goddamn that is a cool box set. Gotta stay strong. Must...not...buy...awesome...pirates.....


Maybe I can put a "Will FateMaster for Nightmare minis" tip jar out when I'm running games to help offset the cost?

Anyways, that's what I'll be up to at Gencon. As you've probably noticed, I've been recruiting knowledgeable folks to contribute articles for the blog. If you're a cool guy, or if you beat me in a game of Malifaux, or if you know more about the game than I do (not a high bar to clear), expect me to hit you up and see if you're interested in joining the ever-growing legion of guest bloggists. Otherwise, feel free to find me or Phiasco to say hi, challenge us to a game, or tell us we're wrong and bad people. Either way, it's always nice to meet a fan! And it's Gencon, so you're not going to hinder my good time anyways. 

See you in Indy!

How To Play: Corrupted Idols! - by guest bloggist Brien "Schemes" Spence

As part of my move back to the midwest, I've been blessed to join a meta that is at least within practical driving distance in Des Moines, which has reduced my need to employ the Wandering River Style to attend tournaments/get in games of Malifaux. One gentlemen I've been "blessed" to play against was Brien Spence, of Schemes and Stones fame. We've played twice since I moved here. Both games were corrupted idols and both were against his Leviticus list (I'll work on getting him to write about Levi for the future.) I was very impressed with his control-based gameplan for dealing with this strategy, and I asked him to comment on it briefly. So, here he goes!


            When Adam asked me to write this piece, I’ll admit I was a little stumped on how to procced.  I felt that I had a strong understanding of Corrupted Idols, and that most of the decision making around this unique Malifaux 3E strategy is done at the table, en medias res.  As I thought about what to write, while lazing on vacation in Northern Wisconsin, it occurred to me a few choices I’ve made in every Corrupted Idols game, from the moment the strategy is declared.  As such, I decided to breakdown and address these.

Firstly, how Idols works – as copied from the M3E rulebook:

Corrupted Idols (M) At the start of each Turn, after determining which player has Initiative, Drop a Strategy Marker centered on the centerline. The location of the Strategy Marker is determined by the suit of the Initiative Flip of the player with Initiative (and the direction is calculated from that player’s perspective):

• M: 8" from where the centerline meets the table edge on the left.
• T: 8" from where the centerline meets the table edge on the right.
• R: On the centerpoint.
• C: Where the centerline meets the table edge (player with Initiative chooses which table edge).
• Joker: Reflip

If the Strategy Marker would be Dropped on top of a Strategy Marker, Impassable Terrain, or a model, the player with Initiative instead Drops the Strategy Marker evenly on the centerline, touching but not overlapping that Strategy Marker, Impassable Terrain, or model. If this is not possible, the Strategy Marker is not Dropped. A model in base contact with a Strategy Marker can take the Interact Action and suffer up to three irreducible damage, ignoring Hard to Kill. A model may not suffer more damage than its current Health. Drop the Strategy Marker anywhere within X" of its current location, not into base contact with a model or Impassable Terrain, where X is equal to the amount of damage suffered by the Interacting model (even if it was killed by the damage it suffered). At the end of each Turn, a Crew gains 1 VP if there are more Strategy Markers completely on the opponent’s table half than it has earned VP from this Strategy.

Here, there a is key information I’ve found is often overlooked; “The location of the Strategy Marker is determined by the suit of the Initiative Flip of the player with Initiative”.  What this means is if you win the Initiative flip, but decide for your opponent to have first activation, they become the player with Initiative, and thus control the placement of the marker.  In most scenarios, you always want to have Initiative, and thusly should always cheat for Initiative, or declare first action – in this way, I have my first major recommendation for playing Corrupted Idols:

Location, Location, Location:

Upon arriving at the table, pick a location on the board where the Idols might drop, and decide to focus the majority of your time, models, and gameplay there.  In essence, before the game starts, decide on a corner (or center) that you will cheat the Idol to every round.

My plan going into every Idols match is to dump all 5 Strat Markers in the same spot and deny all Strategy points from my opponent; if they have to consistently push towards my chosen location during the game, they are less likely to be scoring their schemes, whereas my priority is only scoring the 4 points from the Strategy, and picking up a single point from one scheme.  I’ve found this forces my opposition to play the game I’ve declared, with drastically controls the tempo of the game.  I normally like to pick a flank edge, and work to position my crew spread along the line, stretching from the 8in mark (where the Idol drops) and the center; this gives my models control of 3 of the 5 possible Idol locations.

Next, Crew Selection:

             Focus on 2-3 high quality schemers, preferably who can leap. Don't spam low quality scheme models

I’ve found players build large, spam-ish scheme crews to handle Idols – they think that because the Idols can show up in 5 locations, they must be at all 5 locations.  This I find wrong for 2 main reasons, the first as detailed above, the second, the survivability of low-cost, spam schemer models are low.  Abandoning any type of mid-quality damage dealer just means you won’t be able to prevent the opponent from scoring, without improving your own chances of scoring, since your schemer models will crumble.  Between harming yourself to move the Idols and the counter play from enemy, a mass of cheap models will push the Idols, but be unable to maintain them to score points. Keep the balanced lists you use for every other Strategy.

Lastly, Game Play – Standing and Cheating:

Idol markers are not impassable; stand on them.  Cheat Initiative unless you literally cannot afford to do so.

The rules of Corrupted Idols makes no mention of impassable traits on the markers, whereas Turf War does.  This means you can stand atop Idol markers with impunity, boxing out your opponent’s valuable tech pieces, namely Don’t Mind Me models.  Standing on top a marker at the very least denies it from your opponent, and potentially secures it for your scoring. Additionally, I’ve seen boards where players have used large (vertically) 30mm markers for Idols, often with a flag or statute attached (very narrative, I do approve), however, this creates the illusion that they are impassible – do not hesitate to change these out, or call a TO in more official settings to adjust the board as needed.

As the locations of the markers are determined, never, never hesitate to Cheat Initiative, if that will impede your opponent in anyway:  Cheat to place the Idol in your designated zone?  Do it.  Cheat to place it in the contested center zone, and not their zone?  Do it.  Cheat to toss it to the location without any models, denying both players?  Do it.  Cheat a midrange card to force your opponent to cheat a better card?  Do it.  This cheating idea goes double for any crew with access to Arcane Reservoir, since you will have the extra card to spend. 

And there you have it, my top tricks and philosophy to play Corrupted Idols in Malifaux 3E.  Please feel free to reach out on Facebook to comment and share your thoughts and remember, Bad Things Happen.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

How To Play the Marshal Keyword Crew- by guest bloggist Paul Harden

My First Round of Museon Con, I was paired with a Lady Justice crew and, outside of stuffing lady Justice to the gills with Brilliance for now purpose, got my ass handed to me. Lady Justice being a beast was not a huge surprise, but there were other members of the crew that took me buy surprise. So, I reached out to the crew’s player (Paul Harden) to put together a brief look at his crew, how it works, and what players can expect when they bring it to the tabletop (or sit across from it.)

How Does the Crew Work?

The Marshals play as a semi tanky crew with average speed and decent damage. All
models (besides the totem) have become harder to kill; Hard to Wound and Unnatural Vigor
(After killing an enemy model, this model heals 2). They can best be utilized for kill centered
Strats and Scheme, though have some models that can move if needed for schemey games.

How Has the Crew/Keyword Changed Since M2E?

There are some minor changes to the models with the edition change, but for the most
part fit a similar role from 2e to 3e. They like to kill models and try to stop summoners and
corpse/scrap marker abilities.

Who are the Key Pieces in the Keyword, and What Are Their Roles?

I believe the Key Pieces are the non-minion/non-totem models.

Lady Justice: She is still the same beater she was in 2e with the place upgrade. My best
description of her is a target for your opponent. She can heal with the keyword ability and
Juggernaut. Additionally, this edition she gained hard to wound, which is fantastic as everyone
focuses. She did get a reduction in her attack stat, though she can potentially make 7 attacks in
one turn.

The Lone Marshal: I feel this model is very similar to 2e. He has Run and Gun, a 14”
projectile attack, With Mv 7. Realistically there is very little reason why this model should not
have at least one attack a turn, every turn including turn 1. Best use is to inflict a little damage
while setting up and running schemes (e.g. charge and shoot for first action, then scheme,
move, shoot for second action). Also, he is Ruthless, giving a distinct advantage over Terrifying
and Manipulative models. [Editor’s note: this model really took me by surprise, and from the scuttlebutt I could hear other people as well. That range paired with Run and Gun is killer.]

The Jury: Great anti summon/buried model. Her ability Exorcism ritual hurts all models
with a summoned upgrade and all buried models (two separate damage instances if you can get
it off). Her range attack does 2/4/5 damage, but the real ability comes with the triggers, such
as Into Dust, that is an assassinate trigger if the model being attacked is undead. Fortunately,
several models in the Keyword can give the enemy models the Undead Characteristic
including the Jury. Last, she has a 6 stat obey with the mask built in, making her obey nearly as
good as Zoraida.

The Judge: This lady does not have the same feel as the 2e Judge. She can no longer
pull models towards herself or tell friendly non-master models to make an attack. She can however Gain soulstones if she kills a model with her melee attack (trigger built in) and draw up
to five cards (at a risk to herself). So essentially a beater with card draw

Rate the Keyword on the Following Criteria from 0-14 (feel free to comment if necessary)

 -Killing Power

12-14 (Severe). All depends on how you build the crew, but for the most part this is where this
Keyword excels.


10ish area (Moderate). Again, the two abilities shared between this crew are amazing at keeping
them around. And if you bring a Domador into the crew they could heal between 1 and 4
damage per model hit with decay (Blast and RJ).


5-7. Again, depends on how you use Lady J and the Lone Marshall, both can move
around the board fairly easily, though if you engage the Lone Marshall he will more than likely
not be doing interact actions that turn.

-Card Manipulation

4-6. Several models have the Triger Drain Magic to card cycle, or Maim to make the
opponent pitch cards, and two models can card draw (The Judge and The Scales of Justice).

Which Keyword Models (Outside of the Master) Are The MVP and the LVP?

MVP: The Lone Marshall, nearly every game I have played with him, he has angered my
opponents at what he can do (21-28 in threat range tends to do that).
LVP: The Scales is kinda blah, but it is free if Lady J is the master, so next I would say are
Death Marshals. They are now undead so are unaffected by Recruiters Grim Recruitment
ability, have a low Df of 4, but at least have Hard to Kill along with Hard to Wound.

Are There Versatile Models and/or Upgrades You Take Routinely?

To increase the killiness of the minions both Expert Marksman and No prisoners can aid most Marshal minions (though Exorcists already ignore Friendly fire so more than likely enjoy no prisoners more).

As far as versatile models to bring in, To make a crew even faster/more killy the Pale
Rider is amazing. To begin with he can essentially move size 2 and below models 6 inches or
More (Editor’s Note: Via Ride With Me, which is one of the greatest abilities in M3E), has a decent attack, and the trigger to make everyone in range take the charge action can be devastating.

The effigy’s aura can help keep close models alive longer with successful attacks, and
gives another bury into the crew. And as at a same degree the Emissary follows with a very nice

As a last note, even though they are not versatile, I do see that several people may take
Austringers with the Expert Marksman upgrade with the tax, as that could potentially be a
model with three attacks a turn.