Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Wrath of Nature: Musings on the Mysterious Emmisary

                Because of [reasons] I’ve been struggling to get some Malifaux in recently, and have temporarily sidelined my drive to play each of the Guild masters a certain number of times to master the faction. That’s the reality of kids, family, work, and all that other stuff. Truly, there is no Tyrant who poses a greater threat to the good folk of Malifaux than the home life. I have received a Miss Step from my buddy Jon that I’ve assembled and will look to use with Hoffman at some point in the future, but I’ll post that when it gets some paint on it.
                In the meantime, we had a night recently when we sat down as a family and all painted minis. My wife had an m1e Miranda that she’s going to use as a TTB character. My kids had their own models. And, mostly because A) I have a few m1e avatar models which I can theoretically use as Emissaries and B) I’ve been playing a lot of Arkham Knight on the ps4 and Poison Ivy gave me a bit of inspiration for the Neverborn’s walking angry plant creature, I decided to dust off the Avatar Zoraida I built long ago and get it in ship shape. As such, I whipped together my new proxy Emissary, and it looks a little something like this.

You know you can't resist her

I like it, though the old GW brown wash made the tree way shinier than I had initially intended and, of course, a black crow with a gray beak isn’t exactly distinctive. It’s missing some basing that I think will be pretty cool (I saw someone who had used pistachios to essentially create the piranha plants from Mario to simulate “hungry land” that I just have to steal.) But, this is the general idea, and I’m fairly happy with how it turned out. Now time to drop it off the table the first time I go to use it and break the thing, I suppose.

Of course, as soon as I decided “Cool, I’ll paint up this Emissary in a theme that I like and get it on the board,” I realized a couple of days later that it is widely considered to be the worst of the lot (explained by UK no. 1 Greg Piskosz in this podcast The tl:dr version is that Neverborn’s main advantage is maneuverability and speed, whereas the Emissary summons hazardous terrain that project an aura around them that restricts movement. Also, they have a short range summon spell and a desire to sit on top of said hazardous terrain, meaning that the Changelings have a very limited safe space where they won’t get eaten when they appear. Greg refers to it as being essentially “anti-synergy,” which is a bummer. But I painted the thing, so I’m by-god gonna get it on the tabletop. Period.

So how to make use of this possibly clunky thing? Their suggestion is to go with one of the two masters that grant strong conflux upgrades to the ME (I’ll use that abbreviation from here forward.) Pandora’s conflux is kind of crazy, as it lets the Emissary copy abilities from other models within a certain range of the model. For those not aware of what “abilities” means, flip to the front of your stat cards. The stuff written under the stats are the abilities. So, you can borrow things like regeneration, terrifying, armor, the Hooded Rider’s triggers or ability to add masks, etc etc etc. There’s got to be something in there that’s broken, and it’s one of those abilities that will only get better the more models come out in the future. The other one is Collodi, because picking up buffs in response to summoning the Effigies works out pretty well and can help the whole crew. However, I’m the kind of nerd that is bothered by crews that aren’t at least pseudo-thematic, and my plant lady ME doesn’t quite fit with those two dazzling-urbanites. So, let’s broaden our thought process a bit, shall we?
This, plus some news I’ll share as we get closer to Gencon, inspired me to shift focus to a new theme: Wrath of Nature. The Neverborn have a lot of models that involve channeling plants and the land itself to destroy the human invaders, and I wanted to combine this idea with the ME. Waldgeists are sort of the marquis minions of embodying this idea, as they’re essentially animated trees which can summon severe terrain and lash out over a massive area with their vines. The masters which play most closely into the theme are Zoraida and Lillith, IMO, where Z likes her Swampfiends and Lillith can summon an additional tree and see through the bushes to the enemy. Neither have particularly impressive Emissary upgrades, so I imagine I’ll be using the generic one that buffs minions (like, say, Waldgeists.)

I mean, I guess you could say Lillith has some thematic synergy with nature...
Lillith I think is a very interesting combination with this crew, as she gives you increased maneuverability and manipulation of the terrain that I think combines interestingly with the summoning of forests she can do along with her minions (I’m aware that the Waldgeist’s markers don’t block LoS, but go with me for a moment.) She can see through them and use Tangled Shadows to shift models into/around/out of them. This can also solve another ME problem, namely its not being particularly mobile. Walk 6 isn’t bad, per say, but we’re the Neverborn and we can do better. A walk 6 model is in danger of getting left behind, and dropping the ME forward on the board to start projecting its dangerous terrain into the enemy’s face might help improve its efficacy (assuming, of course, it doesn’t just get killed. I’m realistic.) So, here’s my first stab at a list using this concept.

For some reason the pictures I took of my Lillith are very pixellated. Its not an amazing paint job, but it isn't this bad...

Wrath of Malifaux Core Crew
Lillith-Beckon Malifaux, On Wings of Darkness
Doppleganger-Mimic’s Blessing (because why wouldn’t you)
Mysterious Emmisary- Mysterious Conflux
Cherub- (I figure if we’re going with the theme, might as well go all out)
Waldgeist x2

This puts us at 35/50 soulstones. I think you fill in the rest of the crew with either Sillurids for scheme running scenarios or something that can hit hard (Nekima? Illuminatedx2?) for more killy stuff. Illuminated getting + just for being within aura 4 of the emissary seems good (of course, that also likely puts them close to the severe terrain. Ugh.)

Will it work on the board? I don’t know. I think it would be better at scenarios like Turf War where you’re going to pile into the center of the board and you can just castle up and hold points, but I could be wrong. Likely am, if this blog’s history is any indication.

Let me know what you think in the comments. 

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. 

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

2015 Malifaux Musie Awards

Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to Malifaux's Greatest Award Show (by default,) the 2015 Musie Awards! Generally speaking, I tend to focus my thought processes and attention on the competitive side of the Malifaux miniatures game, looking at it in terms of strategy, crew composition, and what is most likely to give you a win in a particular stratety/scheme set-up. There’s a reason my podcasts of choice tend to focus on shows like Before We Begin and (anything Joel Henry is on) rather than those that pay more attention to hobby and collecting. It’s not that I don’t like those other shows, it’s just that I only have so much time and this is the part of the game that interests me. Perhaps not unexpectedly, as I’m listening to these I get a passing view of which factions and masters are winning consistently at the major tournaments over the course of the year. As such, I thought it would be useful and interesting to look back at 2015’s Malifaux Tournament scene with an eye for which factions did well in the competitive environment. I focused on tournaments that either A) had 20+ attendees or B) were a qualifier/golden ticket event for the UK or US national championship (or, of course, were those respective championship tourneys.) First, a few disclaimers that will apply to this first iteration of the awards:

1) I had to have access to the results, so they focus on those which are available through the UK and US Malifaux rankings site. Additionally, I turned to the Malifaux public themselves for some filler data on tourneys I was missing, and I threw in the Nythera event results because it A) had the most players of any event and B) probably gave the closest representation of the aggregate competitive level of Malifaux factions across all of the playing public.
2) I don’t have which masters were used in each tournament, so I elected to not include that in the tracking. Next year I hope to correct this.
3) I wasn’t present for any of these tourneys, so all information has to be second hand. I’ve tried to stick to only data given to me from participants/organizers, but I’m not ruling out the possibility that something in here is incorrect.

The final list of events included in this compilation is: Adepticon, Gencon Avatar of Malifaux tournament, the NOVA Open, the UK Grand Tournament, The UK Masters Tournament, the Nythera Worldwide Event, Brooklynfaux II, Live Free or Die Cheating, Captain Con, Mali-Fest, Templecon, Connecticon, Isle of Faux, Cow Wars, Haul of Eggs, the Scottish GT, Deliverance, and Play More Games. From a first look at the data, what do I see? Well, in terms of attendance at the major tournaments, the UK wins mostly on the back of the 88 people who were at the UK GT. This is just staggering, and is a testament to how popular the game is in the UK per capita and, possibly, the advantage of having all of the player base on a handful of islands rather than spread across the entire continental US. It was impressive to see that the US could field a similar number of high player base ranked events as the UK, however, as the disparity between US versus UK events was only 1 (9.5 vs. 8.5, as I split the Nythera event between the two.) Also encouraging is the fact that each faction had at least one win at a major tournament this season, a testament to how wide-open the meta is for Malifaux’s competitive scene (or, as some might argue, it may just be a comment on the fact that the meta is constantly evolving and no one has quite figured it out yet.) But, this is supposed to be an award show, so let’s get on to the awards.

To start with, the Musie for US faction of the year goes to

The Guild!

Yer Goddamned Right it does.

A lot of this comes on the back of the Guild winning both the Gencon Avatars qualifier and the NOVA Open, as well as the Nythera event. Hot on their heels are the Outcasts and Resurrectionists, with two and three major US events each. Two factions (Neverborn and Arcanists) failed to take down one of the major US tournaments included in the data set. It would be interesting to break things down into smaller, more localized meta reports for who wins in certain areas, as I would bet the differences would be pretty significant. Two of the Guild wins that got them this award were from the same player in subsequent tournaments, but the Resurrectionist wins were also clumped (around a certain Guy in Suit) so it’s possible this picture isn’t as complete as it could be.

Next up, the Musie for UK faction of the year

…goes to the Resurrectionists!

Checking into the Rezzers award show party. Update: the party is totally dead.
The Rezzers put together a strong resume of tournament wins in the UK in 2015, taking down both the UK GT and the Masters. The Neverborn ended up with two major tournament wins as well, but I gave the edge to the dead-folk due to overall population of the tournaments that they won. Two different factions failed to win one of the major tournaments. One of the missing factions, interestingly, is the Guild. The disparity in Guild results in the UK versus the US consistently fascinates me and was probably one of the most interesting outcomes of this research. What’s the deal here? Are there just not as many strong Guild players in the UK as in the US? Did the differences in the two meta-games open the door for a more dominant, destructive Guild list to win out here where it was countered there? This is worthy of closer investigation, in my opinion. Look for a future blog post examining that.

Speaking of the UK’s staggering tournament attendance, it should perhaps be no surprise that the winner for the People’s Choice Award Musie (combination of wins multiplied by attendees at the majors) goes to


Currently serving appetizers at the Rezzer party. 
Again, the UK GT skews this result strongly in their favor, but it says something that the Rezzers came out on top of a pile of 88 of the UK’s best and brightest. That is a meat grinder, to be sure, and deserving of respect. Outcasts come in second here, with none of the other factions cracking triple digits.

The second to last Musie we’re going to call the Wooden Spooner award (with nods to self-described terrible Malifaux Player and podcaster Matt Spooner) we’ll give to the bottom of the pile faction. And really, are we surprised that this one goes to

…the Gremlins! 

They don't know it's a gag award, so they're still happy.
This result is probably the least representative of what the faction can really do, as I would pin part of this result on the simple fact that, for a large part of 2015, most of the faction wasn’t available in plastic (or at all.) People don’t like playing proxies, and major tournaments generally aren’t going to let you get away with using them. Their one win (from the included tournies) was Play More Games, a tournament in Maryland. Look for this to change next year, as Ulix, Ophelia, and Rooster Riders are just one of the many scary things you don't want to see across from you on a table. It is fun to poke at the perpetual little-brothers of Malifaux, however, and remind them that they still aren't a real faction. I was also surprised that the Arcanists finished as low as they did, considering they had the Mechanical Rider and pre-nerf Iron Gamins all year long. The one win included was Martin Wodehouse at the UK's Deliverance tourney (and how Gremlins didn't win that, I'll never know.) Now, they finished on the podium for a large number of these tourneys, so if I was including this I think they would have finished stronger. But still, that one really surprised me.

So that leaves us with our final award, the Musie for Faction of the Year: Most major tournaments won worldwide. If you’ve been reading through the rest of the article, it should perhaps not surprise you that the winner is…
I mean, really, what other picture could I use?

The Resurrectionists!

With five major tournament wins worldwide and strong showings in both the UK and US metas, I think it’s no surprise that the deadheads are the winners here. Encouragingly, this was not a matter of the same single master or list winning these tournaments (though Kirai was well represented in both, as Andrew Weakland and Joe Wood, among others, have demonstrated her strength as a master quite convincingly at this point.) Seamus and McMourning were well represented here as well. Runner-up for the award is the Guild, again coming entirely as a result of victories in the US meta and their victory in the Nythera worldwide event. Honorable mention goes to the Outcasts, as Jack Daw and Leveticus led their faction to three major tourney wins.

Well, that’s first effort at putting together a Musies award show, as much as I could do with an informal poll after the fact. Next season I hope to poll the major tournament organizers and winners as the events come along, giving me better information and making for some cool interviews and insights from the players on sight. I’d love to attend some of them in person (and that may happen for Gencon, if nothing else) but I think this is the next best thing. I’d love to get comments and suggestions from readers on how to improve these for 2016, and I’m sure some people disagree with the results I have here. I love to have comments, so feel free. But in the meantime, thanks for reading. Enjoy the post-award show parties. Try not to take too much Brilliance.

If you do, the management is not responsible for any Hungering Darkness or Seamus related mishaps that happen afterward.

Friday, December 25, 2015

A Malifaux Carol

Tis the season, and yesterday we were watching George C. Scott’s “A Christmas Carol” movie. For whatever reason, I saw the Ghost of Christmas Present with the two children Ignorance and Want and thought of him summoning them onto a Malifaux game board, and my imagination was off to the races. So, I made this. They’re not balanced in any way shape or form, I’m sure, but I like the thematics of facing all three of them in sequence, and how each can fill a very different role on the field. Here goes.

Ghost of Christmas Past

Outcast: Spirit, Mercenary, Enforcer, Rare1, 12SS
Wk6 Cg8 Df4 WP6 Ht2 Wk6
Flight, Incorporeal
The first spirit- Ghost of Christmas past cannot be summoned by friendly models. If the Ghost of Christmas Past is killed or sacrificed, place a Ghost of Christmas Present in base contact with it before removing it from the board.

Attack Actions
(1) Embers of the Past-At. 4 vs. Df Ml1” 1/2/4 After damaging, target gains the condition “Burning +X” where x is the current turn number.
(1) I can only show what has come before-Ca 6 Res. Wp Range 6 Damage special – The damage profile for this attack is the same as one of the targets attack actions which it has previously used during one of its activations this game.

Tactical Actions
(1) Look upon your past works – CA 6 TN 14 Rg 6 Target a scheme, corpse, or scrap marker within range. Place a second identical marker into base contact with the first. Useable once per turn.
(0) Smother with your own cap-Sacrifice the Ghost of Christmas Past

Ghost of Christmas Present
The ghost of Christmas present is kind of a pedo...

Outcast: Spirit, Mercenary, Enforcer, Rare 1
Wk5 Cg – Df 3 WP 5 Ht 3 Wd 8
The Second Spirit-Ghost of Christmas Present cannot be hired or summoned by a friendly model during the game. When the Ghost of Christmas Present is killed or sacrificed, place the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come in base contact before removing it from the board.
Empty Scabbard-Models within aura 4 must pass a TN 13 WP duel at the beginning of their activation. If they fail, they may not declare attack actions this turn.
Manipulative 13

Tactical Actions
(1) Come and know me better man- Ca 6 TN 12 All models within aura 8 must pass a TN13 WP duel or immediately move their walk towards the Ghost of Christmas Present
(1) Children of your cruel age- Ca 6 TN 14 Rg. 6 Summon either Want or Ignorance.
(1) I see a lonely corner with an empty chair…-Ca6 TN14 All models w/in 6” must pass TN 13 WP duel or suffer 2 damage.
(0) 12th hour of the 12th night-Sacrifice the Ghost of Christmas Present.
50mm base


Peon, Vision, Rare 1
Wk3 Cg- Df4 WP5 Wd 3 Ht 1
Visions of the Present- May not be hired. May only be summoned by the Ghost of Christmas Present.
Gaunt and Weak-This model generates only 1 general AP on its activation.
Manipulative 12
Aura of Ignorance- Targets beginning their activation within aura 4 must pass a TN 13 WP test. Those that fail may not declare tactical actions this turn.

Attack Actions
(1)On his brow is written doom Ca 1 TN 10 Rs. WP Rg 6 Sacrifice target model that fails the WP duel.
30mm base


Peon, Vision, Rare 1
Wk3 Cg- Df4 WP5 Wd 3 Ht 1
Visions of the Present- May not be hired. May only be summoned by the Ghost of Christmas Present.
Gaunt and Weak-This model generates only 1 general AP on its activation.
Manipulative 12
Aura of Want- Targets beginning their activation within aura 4 must pass a TN 13 WP test. Those that fail may not declare interact actions this turn.

Tactical Actions
(1)Are there no workhouses? Are there no prisons? – CA2 TN 10 Rg 6 Target a scheme marker. All models w/in 2” of the marker must pass a TN12 WP duel or gain Paralyzed. Discard the Scheme Marker.
30mm base

Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come

And Christmas Yet to Come is a ring wraith?

Outcast, Spirit, Enforcer, Rare 1
Wk4 Cg8 Wd8 Df5 WP6 HT2
Final Spirit-May not be hired or summoned
Shadows and Mist-Any attack from further than 4” away receives – to attack and damage flips.
Terrifying All 13

(1)One skeletal arm-ML6 Ram RS Special Rg2” 3/5/7
When attacking, decide whether opponent resists with defense or willpower.
Ram Trigger-Feed on your sorrow: Ghost of Christmas yet to come heals a number of wounds equal to the damage done with this attack
(1)Visions of the Future: CA6 Rs WP Rg. 6 Damage 1/2/4
Triggers: Ram- Visions of lost love-Upon damaging, target discards 2 cards.
Tome-Visions of Decayed Fortune-Attack deals +X damage where X=number of enemy scheme markers on the board.
Mask-Visions of Lost Potential-After damaging, target discards 1 soulstone.
Crow-Vision of your grave-Upon damaging, target gains paralyzed.
(0)Repent CA6 RS WP Rg 6 After failing, target must discard 2 cards, 1 soulstone, or sacrifice the target.
40mm Base

Then I thought of a Through the Breach scenario:

A Malifaux Carol

             The Fated are stopped in the streets of downtown Malifaux by a frantic Bob Cratchit. He needs someone to run to the home of his employer, a Mr. E. Scrooge, owner and proprietor of their moneychanging house. He has been missing for several days now, and the Guild is threatening to repossess it and leave Cratchit unemployed if Scrooge doesn’t appear with the payment for the mortgage.
              When the Fated arrive at Scrooge’s residence, they find the home haunted by the distraught spirit of Jacob Marley. He can relate that he sent three spirits to try and convince Scrooge to repent for his miserly ways, but he has yet to return and Marley fears the worst. If the Fated agree to help, he can let them into the spirits’ visions to go try and retrieve him, where they will have to face the spirits in turn and try to free the old man. The question for the Fatemaster to determine is: what went wrong? Did the spirits decide Scrooge was irredeemable? Did some other presence get in and interfere with the process (possibly Nytmare?) Or did Scrooge simply refuse to repent, and has gained some sort of dark power within the visions, leaving an even more dangerous foe waiting at the end of the gauntlet?

Thank you for reading and staying with my sporadic posts in 2015, and of course for supporting Malifaux and Through the Breach! Looking forward to some more exciting content in 2016! 

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Nythera Wrap-Up

Well, here we are in Nythera. We all travelled here, right? Hung on with the campaign up to this point? I hope so, because if you opted out, you missed a pretty awesome event orchestrated by the folks at Wyrd, and you’re going to end up regretting it.

The Malifaux Campaign

I would assume that the majority of people who took part in the Road to Nythera did so in some fashion through the miniatures game. For those bums that sat things out at home, this was organized by having players sign up for their faction of choice from the beginning and duke it out over locations scattered throughout the Badlands area south of Malifaux city. Each faction started out controlling three locations worth 1, 2, and 3 campaign points. To play the games, you found someone from an opposing faction, flipped for who would be the attacker versus who would be the defender, and played out the match contesting either one of the defender’s territories or the neutral territory, Nythera itself. You had the option of either playing a standard game of Malifaux or, if you had Shifting Loyalties and were taking part in a campaign, using additional random events created by the Wyrd staff every week (ok, so they were based on the ones from the book, cut them a break) and even working towards building a stronghold for your faction during the process. Pretty cool stuff. Winners scored points for their side towards control of that location. Loser didn’t. Pretty simple, really. Hundreds of games were played, and in the end the winner was determined by a difference of one (1) campaign point. Talk about coming down to the wire.
My part in this would involve no actual moving of minis on a tabletop, sadly. Southwest Virginia continues to be a Malifaux desert. However, I tried to start an online campaign using the Vassal system. I signed up for the Guild from the beginning, as mentioned previously, and so entered the Liquid Courage League version 1.0 with Ryle’s Retaliators, a crew consisting of Ryle, Francisco with Wade In!, Abuela Ortega, a Death Marshal, and an Austringer. I posted to the Wyrd boards and got together a group of 8 people initially and even put together a rule set for setting up one weekly match between opponents based on a Blood Bowl League that I used to play in once upon a time. Early results were...somewhat less than stellar. I’m just saying, the Guild didn’t earn a lot of campaign points off the back of my efforts. However, in week 3 I managed a crushing win against my opponent, got myself one of the Red Joker upgrades, bought some cool stuff for my crew (my favorite part was Francisco with Instinctual and the ability to eat corpse markers around himself for healing. Franc went a little nuts over the course of this thing.) I bought the Pale Rider and added him to my team. Things were finally turning around for the retaliators. AAaaaaaand, of course the league folded immediately after this.

I’d had too many people drop out over the course of the thing to keep going in any meaningful way. I learned a lot of lessons from this, including making sure to get people who can commit the time and effort to put this thing together on a weekly basis, and to potentially look at making them shorter or freeing people up to play in a more freeform fashion rather than specific match-ups every time. C'est la vie. It happens. In the meantime, I got busy with another gaming project (also related to why the blog has sat silent for so long) and regrettably my contribution to the noble Guild’s efforts ended there, with my contributing maybe two wins total to the campaign. I was still happy to be a part of it, and I was thrilled with how organized the Guildies were in our sub-forum. Every week we had a solid strategy of attack, often coming at things in very sideways fashion rather than directly to optimize our points output. Which payed off pretty well, I guess, since….THE GUILD FRICKING WON! WOOOO! NIGHTMARE GUILD BOX AT GENCON THIS YEAR.

Year of the Ram, baby.

Through The Breach

One of the really innovative parts of this worldwide event was the integration of the roleplaying game with the overall storyline. As initially advertised, the players would be paralleling the progress of the miniatures campaign by exploring the consequences of the race for Nythera in Malifaux City itself. Players got to choose from 14 pregenerated player characters (2 associated with each faction) ranging from a gunslinging black-sheep of the Ortega family, to a pair of Cyborgs (from two different factions), to a hatchet-wielding mad necromancer and a girl raised by pigs (seriously.) The characters rubbed elbows with some of the real movers and shakers of the miniatures game, getting caught at one point in a crossfire between Kirai and Kaeris, being subtly threatened by Lucius Matheson (does he do it any other way?), having tea with the Mistress of the Ten Thunders, and going toe-to-toe (sort of) with the leader of the Nephilim. Each of the characters had a personal goal they were trying to accomplish during the session. Sometimes they were simple (kill this many of this type of creature, earn this much scrip, etc.) Other times they were down-right bizarre (convince all the other players to call you by your nickname rather than your real name, oink enough times during a conversation that someone eventually tells you to speak English, etc.) Additionally, the players’ actions would play a role in determining [SPOILER ALERT IN CASE YOU HAVEN’T READ SHIFTING LOYALTIES] who would take over the Guild now that the Governor-General has blown himself up. Players had four candidates to support: a military general, a bean counting union-breaker (unsurprisingly, this one has been consistently the least popular throughout), a smooth politician looking to soften the Guild’s image, and a sorceror associated with Sonnia’s Witch Hunters who honestly reminded me of Rasputin.
I really had no complaints about the roleplaying campaign whatsoever. As a Fatemaster, I found them to be interesting, relatively diverse, and an interesting journey from the slums of the city to a journey by covered wagon through the Badlands (which my players, of course, dubbed “Malifaux Trail” and spent the whole time making “Float the Wagon” and “You just died of dysentery” jokes.) Highlights included 1) My players building Phillip Tombers’ head a fake Aethervox case to hide in and pretend to be a radio announcer (he enjoyed singing dramatic musical accompaniment to the party’s fight scenes) 2) Vin Pham (a Ten Thunders artificer) deciding she was tired of being manipulated by the Guild and just starting to execute people Tarantino style in the second module and 3) the gunslinging Ortega character intentionally experimenting with Brilliance and then trying to set up a three-way between herself, a working girl, and a Friekorpsman from whom they were trying to get information. Finally, the bonus was that though the roleplaying event ends on Monday, we are getting one additional chapter of the campaign to serve as an epic conclusion! And, just between me and you, a little birdy told me that finale is going to be freaking epic. So, look forward to that, malifolk.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The Cavalry Is Here! (and a quick update on the Campaign League!)

Just a brief one today taking a look at a roster list I’ve been mulling over recently (Author’s note: I thought of this before the impromptu Malifools episode where Joel Henry brought it up. That said, Joel is smarter than me, and was likely thinking about this before Book 3 came out, or something, and was just keeping it to himself.)

Let’s start with the list:

Cavalry Charge!

Guild 50SS

Lucas McCabe-Badge of Speed, Glowing Sabre, Promises
3x Mounted Guard
Pale Rider
The Lone Marshall

So, obviously this list is built to capitalize on the Book 3 guild minion the Mounted Guards. Individually, these horsemen provide a lot of good abilities. They’re fast; relatively tough with armor +1, 8 wounds, and a 0 action to give themselves and everything near them a + to defense flips; and a Melee 6 saber and ever popular Guild Peacebringer (both with critical strike built in, of course) to dish out punishment. Their real value to the crew, however, comes from their interaction with other models in the crew. Whenever they declare a charge against a target, they can bring any other friendly model with a Cg of 7 or more that’s nearby along for the ride, placing within 2” of where the Mounted Guardsman ends up, creating the titular “Cavalry Charge!” effect on the game board.  This creates some awesome maneuverability, especially since their other front of the card ability, “Reinforcements” lets them push friendly models engaged with their charge targets away. This bonus movement is a key advantage for the crew, and can help overcome its lower model count.
So obviously this crew needs a mounted master to lead them, and that brings us to Lucas McCabe. He’s fast enough, and since Mounted Guardsmen are all minions, his upgrade tossing shenanigans grant them the full benefits of the thrown upgrades as well as "Promises." A glowing sabre being tossed to someone with a cavalry charge action could lead to some very injured faces. Also, its not like anyone doesn’t take Badge of Speed anyways, but its clutch for this crew as a means of overcoming their reduced number of activations. As for the rest of the crew, the options for staying within the Cg of  7+ theme are a little limited in Guild (there are more if you take Lucius with his upgrade and hire Mounted Guards into the Neverborn, but that’s for somebody else’s blog post.) Just to stay with the mounted combat theme, I went with Pale Rider and The Lone Marshall. Lone Marshal is no slouch in melee and can tank, but I sort of envision a bubble of McCabe and Mounted Guards taking the fight directly to the enemy while Lone Marshal and/or Pale Rider take flank sweeping duty followed by scheme running. Once you reach later turns, Pale Rider will be better suited to get into the mix and try to capitalize on his big-time damage outputs, but as usual with the Riders its best to keep him distant early on until he can protect himself. Also, his zero action lets him drop scheme markers rapidly as well, filling what is very obviously a gap in the crew. There are some other models you can take in their place that make the charge numbers (Lady Justice is one slightly terrifying option, surprisingly Sonnia’s Purifying Flame totem is a less frightening one.) McCabe has always had strong synergy with Guild Hounds using his totem, Luna, and they can charge right along with the Guardsmen as well.
Is it a great crew? I don’t really know. The only model I’ve ever used on the tabletop was a Lone Marshall once in the early days of Wave 1, and he got mulched by a Red Joker damage flip with Lady Justice that left a bad taste in my mouth. The big risk, as I’ve kept mentioning, is that you’re going to get out activated in most games so you’re going to have to make those activations count by having a plan, sticking to it, and executing it. Chances are, a more mixed force with some elements of the cavalry mixed with strong support models like Austringers will end up being more competitive, but I still think you could beat some people with this crew. Be the bullies (this is the Guild, after all), and pick on the weaker models to get them out of the way so you can focus fire the big-bads down as a team. Use McCabe to protect the other members of the crew, as he’s much more tanky and frankly if you start losing models your crew is going to fall apart in chunks. I think they’ll be very good for some scheme pool/strategy combinations, less effective for others where they have to split up to claim quadrants, but I love the theme, so I want to see what they can do.

You know, after I get done with this narrative campaign thing, that is.

Speaking of which, time for a quick update!

MMNCL Week 2 Standings

Ryle's Retaliators
Hannah's Hellions
Anna's Executioners
Wu Kang
Rolling Thunder
Big Hats

The Outcast and Restrictionist crews are both off to strong starts thus far, with both winning by healthy margins in the first two games. A lucky injury flip on a belle has resulted in a belle that drops multiple corpse markers when it dies, which is troubling since Anna’s bringing Spare Parts. The Outcasts have notably made it through the first two weeks with a clean slate for injuries, and Hannah’s suit currently sports a fearsome steam gatling gun for ranged support. Bringing up the rear are the brave forces of the Guild (clearly their defeats coming due to treachery and deceit,) but early reports from Week 3 suggest that Ryle’s Retaliators’ fortunes may have changed.