Sunday, June 20, 2021

In which a Resurrection occurs


A sad looking wooden cross rests in a cemetery on the outskirts of Malifaux City. It is weathered and pitted, having clearly been exposed to some harsh elements. It is humble, though the few points where white paint still shows would indicate that, at some point, it made someone quite proud. The grass is tramped down around it by many footsteps, though it is obvious that the crowd is long gone. Emblazoned across this sad old cross is a name: Malifaux Musings. 

Suddenly, a hand bursts forth from the soil in front of the cross. It feels around for a moment before it pulls frantically at the grass, ripping and tearing. Finally it grabs a root and gains some leverage and a head begins to emerge from the dirt, followed by broad shoulders. A man, covered in dirt, skin gray with age and decay, emerges from the ground. The man stumbles to his feet with a groan. He stretches his back and a loud crack echoes through the space, followed by another satisfied groan. He starts to stagger from the grave, but he stops, a look of puzzlement evident on his face. He reaches up to his bald dome, patting at it as if he’s looking for something. He turns back to the grave and drops to one knee, feeling around for a moment. Eventually he comes back out with a gray newsboy cap. He settles it on his head, adjusting it so it tilts jauntily forward. A card stuck into the side reads “Blogger.” He stands up, nodding in satisfaction. He pulls a pad and pen out of his pocket as he wanders into the city. 


We’re back. Again. I think we’ve come back several times over the course of this super awesome year-and-a-half period. Obviously live events went away as we all went into lockdown. I signed into a vassal league at one point and got my butt kicked up and down. I bought the models to start playing as Dashel but, well, something about large chunks of the country burning down while the police and protestors clashed in the streets kind of took the fun out of the idea of playing the Guild's fascist cops. So, yeah, there wasn’t much Malifaux going on around Musings headquarters. 

However, I did take the opportunity to acquire some more models. I have most of the Guild and Resurrectionists faction now, prepainted. I normally don’t love using other people’s painted models, but my objective in getting them was to make sure I had crews to loan out to people if/when I start trying to build a local community in Cedar Rapids. When things finally started to open up, I was pleased to see that Doug Broman was planning on running the tournament that had been cancelled when all the lockdowns started a year ago, Faux Moines and the secret of Mackelmourning’s Thrift Shop. 

Yes, that’s what it was called. 

Since my Malifaux gaming career and potentially the blog were returning from the dead, I thought bringing Resurrectionists to the tournament was the right move. I like Reva quite a bit both thematically and (in theory) on the table, so I wanted to give her a try. Also, Von Schtook is a badass murdering scientist, and I dig that, so I brought those two crews. 

I could go through the round by round break down, but the bottom line is…uh, well, your boy kinda stunk it up. I got the wooden spoon, lost every round, didn’t play very well at all. In one game I let Von Schill attack Reva three times and kill her despite the fact that I had moved a Shield Bearer next to her to take the hits for her. And it was a lot of fun, not just to be playing a game I enjoy but to be doing it in person with people again. Vassal is really good, and we should all be really happy to have such a great tool. It's also dog crap compared to playing in person. 

I also realized some things. For one, Von Schtook’s nerf didn’t actually reign him in all that much. If you were hoping that now this master was going to be coming down form his place at the top of the faction, I’ve got bad news for you. Like many of the “nerfs,” I think that what it primarily did was take away an abusive/NPE playstyle while leaving the core of the model's theme and power in place. This is absolutely the right approach for Wyrd to take, but when I was midway through the 2nd round game with Albus and reflecting on how I basically just activated a model, pointed it where I needed it to go, and things died, I knew that there was still tons of power there for someone who had a better idea of what they were doing. The undergrads are still pretty good, even, since they can use their lead the way ability to add some movement tricks and can still get a free attack when they’re summoned. They just don’t have the abusive by your side ability, which is fine. Necropunks can probably still work just as well in Albus’ crew with all the card draw he has access to. They aren’t useful out of keyword most likely (or even probably in Levi) but they’re still just fine for Von Schtook. Albus lost some ability to make the Valedictorian into a bomb, but you bring Sloth to give her fast (and gain all the other stuff Sloth can do) and you’re still just fine. So yeah, expect to still see plenty of Transmortis going forward.

Related to the above, Anna Lovelace is the best model in the Resurrectionist faction, and I don’t even really think it’s that close. She has a solid ranged attack that ignores friendly fire. Her melee attack is vicious and heals her. She has hostile work environment and prevents you from placing models near her. She has armor. She’s tough. And she can turn corpse markers into scheme markers. I have a hard time thinking of a rezzer crew she wouldn’t improve. And the fact that she’s a stone cheaper for Transmortis just makes them even better.

And for Reva, I saw a lot of potential. I really did. The crew is very unique in the way it uses pyre markers to set themselves on fire as a resource. Reva herself is very survivable and can dish out a lot of pain. I didn’t try Draugr, but I know they’re very strong. I should like this crew more than I ended up enjoying them. But here’s the thing: it takes way more work to accomplish with them what other crews can do. I know I would get better with more reps, but it feels like I’m starting slightly behind where I would be with a more straightforward power house like Transmortis. Maybe they’re as good. Maybe they’re better. But the learning curve is a lot steeper. More testing is needed before I can be sure, but for now I'm a little disheartened with the Reva train, which sucks. I like the idea of her whole "Hey, not all undead are evil, and it's kind of shitty that you guys keep killing them" thing. 

That said, I don’t know if I’m playing Resurrectionists going forward. It was mainly for the meme and to try out some new stuff that I brought them out. I did enjoy the limited games I got in, but if I’m going to stay in Malifaux I need to be honest with myself. I don’t play enough to be excellent at this game. I’m not going to win the masters of malifaux tournament. I don’t get in the reps to expect that. What I can do, however, is try to experience as much of what Malifaux has to offer as I can, and let my curiosity about the game and the crews in it run wild. And when I learn new stuff, I can come on here and share it with all of you. So, that’s what I’m gonna do. Next time I play, it’ll probably be Basse, because I’ve always wanted to (and because I feel some sense of ownership for Sandworms being in Malifaux.) Will it be Guild? Will it be Explorers? Honestly, the fact that Mccabe is there with him makes the latter feel more likely right now, but who knows? We’ll see. But the main thing is, Malifaux is back for me at least, and I’m hoping Malifaux Musings will be back as well.