Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Ripples of Fate Preview: Captain Zipp

Alright, folks, it’s time for the last Master Preview! The rest of these have all been exciting, cool themed masters that fill in some corners of the Malifaux universe or introduce some new ones. Time to see what the Gremlins br…wait…what?

Well, that’s certainly different.

Zipp is apparently a Sky Pirate (introducing yet another new tribe/trait.) This is interesting, as it’s been mentioned in previous fluff that Malifaux is criss-crossed by sky cars that transport its citizenry. Clearly, these gremlins have come up with a new and innovative way of raiding these conveyances. I don’t know what thematic elements inspired this character other than…I don’t know, the Rocketeer? Oh well. I’m not going to pretend all the Gremlin silliness appeals to me, and their choice to raise the ante here doesn’t do it for me at all. But, that doesn’t mean the character can’t be interesting mechanically.

So yeah, Zipp’s weird as a master. Again, we can’t see his attacks to know what he’s going to bring to the table offensively, but Df 6/ Wp 6 and 12 wounds is not going to hold up to a lot of punishment. Off-setting it, you’re only going to get one hit on Zipp most of the time, as his trigger for Df and Wp will likely push him out of range for any follow-ups after resolving. On the face of him, Zipp kind of seems like a scheme runner/scheme runner hunter, which is odd for a master. I’m not sure there’s any that comes close to his raw speed: with an 8 Wk and 3 AP he can pretty much get wherever he wants in a turn. Of course, he’s insignificant, so no dropping scheme markers, but that won’t stop him from hunting down opposing runners or scoring for things that don’t require significance. And, his pseudo-chatty bubble will make interacting for things like Detonate Explosives or the old school Deliver the Message pretty tough.

I sort of feel like Zipp, more than most of the others, will require seeing the back to know what he can really do. As it stands, he strikes me as being a denial master, but his lack of staying power sort of seems counter-intuitive to that. I think he’ll do best in strats like Interference where the opposing crew will be spread out and you can chase them down individually. So, I guess we’ll see.

Now, since we know all the masters, it’s time to let your voice be heard! Which master from Ripples of Fate are you most excited to play? Go vote here!

Monday, June 27, 2016

May Day Tournament at Comic Dimensions in Greensboro NC

I know this tournament report is very late but I have been going back and forth on how I wanted to address an issue that occurred.  After careful consideration I have decided I would report the game as is, note my opinion and offer a open invitation to my opponent to discuss the game if he feels it is warranted.

Something I should have been doing is reviewing the venue and thanking the TO's for organizing the events and herding us cats.  So shout out and thank you to Chris Bellamy (and other previous TO's) for an awesome event.  Everyone I met was friendly (even in the game where I believe there to be an issue, more on that later) and I would gladly play anyone I met again (or for the first time).  And the buy in was relatively cheap at $10.

Comic Dimensions in a quick and dirty summary appears to be as the name suggests a comic book store first.  It dabbles in hobby, and has a small selection of Malifaux on hand (I assume you can order through the store and someone will correct me if I am wrong).  They do have a dedicated game space with nice tables and office chairs, although they were designed with CCG's in mind.  So while a Malifaux mat will fit on the tables, it feels a little cramp but you can make it work.  The terrain appears to belong to the henchman and not the store (I may be wrong on this count) so showing up out of the blue to get a game in might not work but if you coordinate in the community Facebook group I'm sure they will get you sorted.  All in all I like the store and would frequent it if I lived closer.

So without further ado...

Game 1

Strategy: Interference
Deployment: Flank
Schemes: Convict Labor, Take Prisoner, Exhaust Their Forces, Neutralize the Leader, Mark for Death
Opponent: Patrick

Lynch w/ Woke up with a Hand, Rising Sun, Recalled Training
Huggy w/ Recalled Training
Lone Swordsman w/ Recalled Training
Yin w/ Smoke Grenades
2x Illuminated
10 Thunder Brother
Shadow Effigy

Vic of Ashes  upgrades
Vic of Blood upgrades
Student of Conflict
2x Trapper
2x Void Wretches

I didn't record the games as they were happening.  I don't think there was room for my clipboard if I were prepared to record the games.

So I think I won deployment and made him set up first.  He took the top corner and set his trappers up one in the deployment zone peeking out behind the walkway for cover and the other from the shadows up behind that hut on my right flank.  He set Vanessa, the Librarian, and a Wretch to support on my right flank and the slingshot to come up my left.  I set Huggy and an Illuminated to go up my right, 10 TB up the left, and everything else push the center and maybe respond as threats presented themselves.  Kinda wish I took snipers instead of the Illuminated just based on terrain.

Turn one and turn two was mostly maneuvering with pot shots from the Trappers. TB laying down 2 convicts, Illuminated placed the third. LSM was in charge range of the trapper in his deployment, and Blood came out of hiding to attack my Thunder Brother.  Turn 3 I win initiative activate Lynch pop RT, 0 action mulligan, double move to within range of Blood, land the shot with Red Joker in hand for the kill but Black Joker the damage on a straight flip.  And that's where it all went horribly wrong really... 2-9 loss.  Had I flipped Huggy and Yin like I should have done maybe it's not so lop-sided a loss or maybe I activate differently and this plays out way closer.

Game 2

Strategy: Extraction
Deployment: Standard
Schemes: Convict Labor, Exhaust Their Forces, Leave Your Mark, Catch and Release, Frame for Murder

Lynch w/ Woke up with a Hand, Rising Sun, Recalled Training
Huggy w/ Recalled Training
Lone Swordsman w/ Recalled Training
Yin w/ Smoke Grenades
2x Illuminated
10 Thunder Brother
Shadow Effigy

Somer w/ Family Tree, Can o' Beans
2x Skeeters
3x Bayou Gremlin
Pig a Pult
3x Stuffed Piglet
Slop Hauler
3x Roster Riders

I will start off by saying I was replaying these games in my head on the way home and only then did it occur to me that this list might be over SS.  So I contacted the TO to check protocol and such.  That discussion will remain between the TO and myself.

So I leave this open invitation to discuss this game with my opponent here.  If you are reading this and know who I was playing I politely ask you to not take sides but you may bring it to this persons attention and we can work it out between ourselves.  I lost this game by 1 point and it would have no effect on prizes won but it does effect my final standing.  This wasn't important at the time (and for the most part is still relatively unimportant) but data is now being collected for US player rankings.  It also potentially effected who I ultimately played in the final round.  So if we resolve this to our mutual agreement there may be a stand alone post for this round.  I believe the list had at least 53 points in it but that only currently stands as my opinion.  I am also ok with if this game is never resolved.  There is really nothing to gain at this point.  The lesson is you can trust your opponent and pray this doesn't happen to you or you can take 30 seconds and do some math before each game.  This is not meant to be a dig because I won't say this 100% happened with malicious intent.  If you reach out and I fail to reply contact the TO and have him nudge me.  I suck at social media.

Game 3

Strategy: Headhunter
Deployment: Standard (was meant to be corner but there was an error on the record sheet so we went with it)
Schemes: Convict Labor, Leave Your Mark, Hunting Party, Detonate the Charges, Set Up
Opponent: Brian

Lynch w/ Woke up with a Hand, Rising Sun, Recalled Training
Huggy w/ Recalled Training
Lone Swordsman w/ Recalled Training
Yin w/ Smoke Grenades
2x Illuminated
10 Thunder Brother
Shadow Effigy

Pandora w/ upgrades
Insidious Madness

This game was quick and bloody.  I sent the 10TB to do schemes and he was unmolested and got me 6 for convict/leave mark.  I'm not certain if this is the models he owns or if there is some obvious synergy I am not seeing outside of lure into Teddy and Lelu.  I guess I can see banking on impossible to wound and all the built in healing but all I had to do was activate Lynch top of turn 2 and put brilliance on Teddy and now I have 3 models hitting for min damage 4.  Killed Lelu and Teddy turn 2 and tied up the rest of his models so I could score schemes.  I know he took Hunting Party and got a couple points on my Illuminated.  I think the game ended 9-2 (or3).

All in all I had fun, met new people, and hope to play in more NC tournaments in the future.  Next up Origins!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Ripples of Fate Preview: Nellie Cochrane

Extra! Extra! Read all about it! It’s a new Monday Preview from Wyrd!

                Named for groundbreaking female journalist Nellie Bly (real name Elizabeth Cochran Seaman,) this new addition to the Guild has quite a legacy to uphold. For whatever reason, the face looks odd to me, but the render of the sculpt has a lot more of that Newsy “Golly-gosh-gee-whillickers” look that is so out of place in Malifaux and especially in the Guild, of all things. Wait, a Guild master that doesn’t just explode everything in sight or stab it with a ridonculous sword? Who’d have thought? I’m excited for this new theme for the faction where I initially started my journey through the Breach.

                Well, so that’s a tough master, right there. Df and Wp 6, 11 wounds, and Revisionist History to make it so that A) your opponent never gets to cheat a damage flip against her and B) you always get to cheat their damage flip regardless of any negative twists they may have. Wow! Now this is a crew that will be happy to draw their black joker into their hand! She has a Wk of 5 and no charge, so not going to set any speed records, but Nellie seems to want to be playing a support master anyways. She seems to revolve around a new condition unique to her, Evidence, that drops off of her at the end of the turn, resulting in her dropping a scheme marker. Strangely, evidence is a stacking condition (since it reads as Evidence +1) but the condition says nothing about reducing it by 1. So, that seems to suggest that you have more things for which you can use it during your turn, including using it to push models away which fail attack flips within 8” of her. Interesting.

                As a Guild master, she’s definitely something new in that she appears to interact with or generate scheme markers and acts through support rather than direct attacks (I’m aware Lucius exists, but, come on now.) I think Nellie’s pretty cool, and I want to see what she can really do. This is definitely one of the masters that’s tougher to gauge based on the front of her card. The blurb in the Monday preview suggests that she uses propaganda against her enemies and incites (note lack of capitalization, sad face) them to mess up in public, manipulates schemes, and even does something with the way the Guild hires mercenaries. Weird! I want more info! But that’s not what we’re going to get, next week we get to see what the Gremlins are getting. See you then! 

Friday, June 17, 2016

Ripples of Fate Preview: Paker Barrows

I’m gonna be honest with you: I thought I had written this already. I remember doing the research, hunting down the links and what-not. I guess I just didn’t write the damned thing. Anyways, let’s take a look at this week’s preview: Parker Barrows.
With a name that alludes to some historical bandits (who would have been children in the current time-frame of Malifaux, so probably not a direct link,) Parker is an Outcast master who seems to reverse the trend of the faction to get progressively weirder and weirder over time. He appears to be a living human being, not someone possessed by a tyrant, a spirit of vengeance, or an old necromancer who is progressively dying and resurrecting repeatedly every, just a Bandit (his new trait, as has been the trend in Ripples of Fate.) In a way I’m a little bummed by this, as I don’t play Outcasts but really like the Wild West tropes of Malifaux, so Parker is sort of tempting in that regard.

Also, the sculpt render looks badass.

One presumes he’ll be a ranged master, as he is dual-wielding pistols in his art. 14 wounds is a pretty hefty chunk, but Defense and Willpower 6 and no other defensive abilities (that we know of, anyway) means Parker will probably not want to get up close and personal very often (gee, where will Outcasts come up with some melee threats to throw in with him?) He draws cards when he or another bandit kills people within 6” of him (you cycle a card if it’s not a bandit that does the killing.) Cache of 4 is a welcome change for Outcast masters, I’m sure, and he can generate more Soulstones in response to his discarding Upgrades he attached to himself. Oathkeeper? Sure, why not make that better. And, one could guess this means he’ll be cycling upgrades in a McCabe or Ophelia-ish way during the game itself to make more use of this. I think the most interesting part of the front of his card is A Fistful of Scrip (awesome ability name) which lets him discard up to 4 cards and replace enemy scheme markers with friendly ones around 4” of him. That is neat. Good luck getting Convict Labor or Detonate the Charges when Parker is around, and it fills in what can be a weakness for the Outcast faction in scheme marker focused games.

I dig the idea of a crew of bandits that steal your stuff during the game. I’ll probably not end up playing Parker much, but that’s more a result of my not having Outcasts than anything else. It also continues a trend of “Here’s something different” that we’ve seen with all the masters so far. Let’s look forward to seeing where this goes in the future for the Guild and Gremlins. 

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Bad Blood

Pictured: What we're talking about today, more or less.

Episode 69 of Before We Begin featured a Malifaux Addict named Michael who was presenting two lists for the Neverborn faction, one of which approached crew building in a way I hadn’t really seen before. The list he put forward looked like this:

Lilith -- 4ss
 +Beckon Malifaux - 1ss
 +Summon The Blood - 1ss
Primordial Magic - 2ss
Black Blood Shaman - 7ss
Doppleganger - 7ss
 +Retribution's Eye - 1ss
Lelu - 7ss
Lilitu - 7ss
 +The Mimic's Blessing - 1ss
Mr. Graves - 8ss
 +The Mimic's Blessing - 1ss
Silurid - 7ss

Briefly, the central idea behind the crew was to exploit the Black Blood ability to punish melee oriented crews and spread AoE damage. The Black Blood Shaman could supposedly give the Black Blood condition to both of the twins with one swing of his ritual knife, effectively giving them Black Blood +2. Of course, the next episode they pointed out a specific call-out in the rulebook that neutralized this combo (if a condition and an ability grant the same thing, they count as having 1 version of the ability, not two.Stupid rules, spoiling all of our fun...) Still, it got me thinking about Black Blood and its role in Malifaux.

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I like to minimize as many of the random elements from my crews as I can, so there’s some appeal to the fact that Black Blood just does what it does (splash everything within an inch of the model with 1 damage every time the BB model is damaged). In the past, however, I’ve sort of overlooked it as a damage source, treating it more like icing on the cake than something to build around. I considered it a bonus rather than something built into the soulstone cost of the models. The game designers might think the same way, however, as a lot of models that have Black Blood are pretty good in and of themselves. Graves is a very solid beater that also brings some good movement tricks to a crew. Lilitu has some very strong abilities, particularly Lure and her large melee range, that make her worth including in many crews regardless of their content. Young Nephilim are one of the best models for their point value you can buy. And, of course, there’s always Nekima. I think most of us know what she can do when she puts her mind to it, and she even has abilities to intentionally trigger her Black Blood to deal damage over a wide area (50mm bases are big, y’all.) Plus, I remembered how devastating an encounter with Nephilim was in the third chapter of Nythera in Through the Breach. This was one of the only combats in the whole Penny Dreadful that put the players in honest danger of death when I ran it, and it was mainly due to the Nephilim splashing that acid blood all over the place. Of course, the difference between TTB characters and Malifaux characters is that the former does a lot less damage per attack typically, which plays right into Black Blood, but it still made an impression.

So I decided to give this a try. It happened that roving reporter Jon was in town a couple of weeks ago before heading to a tournament, so we set up my Mats by Mars and Terraclips terrain and threw down.

As a side note, this is the blog post where I come out of the closet as an anthropomorphic cat. Meow.

I ran essentially the same crew as above, with the substitution of a Young Nephilim for the Silurid (I didn’t have a scheme where the frog-man would come in handy.) Jon likes combo-y lists and was trying out a TT McCabe where he turned an Austringer’s bird into a ranged napalm strike with a combination of buffs, so I didn’t get a ton of chances to splash them with the Blood. But, a situation did present itself where I swapped Mr. Graves in front of a Guard the Stash marker, facing off with three Guild Hounds who were trying to score it, where I saw the potential in action. Jon looked at one point and said “I could try and hit you, but I’d probably end up doing as much damage to myself as I would to you.” The big bald man put his fence post to work, cleared the dogs off of the post (no marking your territory! Bad doggies!) and that set the stage for the Neverborn to win the game.

I was intrigued and decided to keep things going. A Wyrd Place runs a Vassal League through Facebook, so I signed up for that and entered as Neverborn. I decided to swap the twins out for Nekima and learned another lesson in the first game, namely that Black Blood doesn’t do you any good when your opponent doesn’t have to close with you. I was playing against Wong, I momentarily forgot that this isn’t M1E and an opponent can see all the way through terrain as long as they place a toe inside of it, and I proceeded to get my crew blasted off the board in large part by misplacing Illusionary Forests on turn 1. So, lesson 2 learned: if you’re going to utilize BB, you have to draw the opponent into you or put them in a situation where they have no choice but to walk into it. Screen your crew by putting the terrain in front of you and then making them come close, rather than trying to slow them down with it at range. Lure, Show Ya The Door, and Tangled Shadows are one way of doing this, but it’s better when you can set your opponent up so they have to do the work for you.

And that brought me to Game 2 of the Wyrd Place League. It was Extraction and it was going to be played on this map:

Seeing the restricted access the top of the map had to get to the Extraction Marker, and knowing that my opponent was not playing Resurrectionists (meaning they would likely have limited access to Incorporeal) I decided to take what I had learned from Black Blood and combine it with the terrain control crew I had written about previously. So, I fielded this:

Lillith-Beckon Malifaux, 5ss
Mysterious Emissary-Conflux of Blood
Doppelganger-Mimic’s Blessing
Mr. Graves
Primordial Magic

I won the deployment flip and took the bottom of the map, as planned, and completely jammed the opposing crew up in the top-middle doorway with two hungry land markers for the entirety of the game. Lillith’s long range for summoning Illusionary Forest made it less necessary to have the Waldgeists for controlling the side doors (Hungering Darkness came through the left, making the trees useless there, but Yin tried to run around the right side later in the game, and I managed to flip the trees across the board to block it without having to get out of position. Again, the Black Blood wasn’t a deciding factor in the game, but it helped a couple of times. Nekima splashed it on Hungering Darkness to soften it up, and at certain points I set up situations where the Hungry Land markers could trigger black blood and splash it onto opponents (which is great, until Lillith does it and the opponent flips the Red Joker. Hurray randomness!) It helped that my opponent had built to counter Pandora rather than Lillith and hadn’t foreseen the terrain jamming as a tactic, but I have to think that would be a rather common occurrence in this situation. Pandora was my first thought when I saw the board as well, as her 6” death bubble shtick would be pretty effective in the Turf War-esque strategies (we were playing Extraction.) Plus, I'm well aware that most boards aren't as closed off as this Vassal map, but still, I feel like there's potential here. 

So, conclusions from what I’ve seen so far. Black Blood can be crippling for an opponent’s crew, but only in very particular situations. High minimum damage crews avoid it by not having to trigger it frequently. Ranged crews get around it by…being ranged. And high wound models might not even notice it’s happening. So, it's most effective against models like scheme runners who have a low pool of wounds to begin with and have to come to you, and can be pretty useful as a kind of poor-man’s blast damage. Everyone who has softened up a 9 DF Perdita by blasting into her from the friendly model standing near her knows how effective that can be. Also, it's most effective when the opponent has to come into close contact with you. Engineering the battlefield can help create these situations, so I think there are some real possibilities to be found in combining the Black Blood and summoning Hungry Land, Illusionary Forests, and/or Waldgeist Trees. And, as a side lesson, perhaps the Mysterious Emmisary’s sub-optimal reputation is a bit exaggerated, or is one of those things that looks to be true in Theory-faux but doesn’t prove to be true on the board. Admittedly, this is one game, but considering that it basically won me that game single-handedly, I think the model at least has potential in some specific scenarios.Part of the negative reaction, I think, is that Neverborn are typically all about moving rather than playing standing defense, so the ME is a very different tool in their arsenal. I'm curious to try it on A) more open maps and B) strategies where the opponent doesn't have to come to a central point to see if it can be effective there as well. More testing is required.

Soooo…looks like I need to start building some 50mm markers with trees on them. I’m looking at you Hanging Tree boxed set. Talk to you next time!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Ripples of Fate Preview: Sandeep Desai

I’m running a bit behind this week, what with the American Society of Virology conference coming up and a manuscript being prepared for publication, but let’s get to the Monday Preview…on Thursday.

So, this is Sandeep Desai, a new master for the Arcanist’s faction. This continues a trend of a master working with a new Tribe in the faction, in this case the Academics. I think we all figured there would be some master eventually who interacted with them (currently they’re the Oxfordian Mages, Iron Zombies, and Freikorps Librarians only, but I’m sure there will be more,) but this is hardly the stuffy professor I expected. Sandeep appears to be an Indian Sikh (hurray for more diversity!) who channels magic that his crew can tap into and use for themselves. Also, his break-down in the Monday Preview itself mentions that he uses Gamin friends, so hurray for the little elemental dudes getting a boost (cut to a sad-faced Iron Gamin suddenly perking up and smiling a metallic smile.) Let’s peek at the stat card real-quick.

Well, 12 wounds, Arcane Shield, and Impossible to Wound. These Ripples of Fate masters are pretty tough on average, it seems. The rest seems pretty standard, though Df5 is nothing to write home about. The real interesting mechanic with this guy seems to be the Beacon and Student of All abilities. Beacon lets friendly non-peons within 12 of him take one of his Ca actions at -1 Ca during their turn. Once they do this, that ability is locked out for Beacon until the next turn, so no spamming the same spell over and over through multiple little weenies, but it still makes for some interesting force projection possibilities. Then, Student of All allows Sandeep to take a (1) action once per turn when someone uses one of his spells and ends up with a Tome in the final duel total. This leads me to assume that Sandeep won’t have said Tome built in (although if he does, good lord) but still creates some good ability to get bonus AP outside of activation. This leads me to think Sandeep is going to want to be in the mid board where he can project his Beacon out into the action, but isn’t quite tough enough to survive long term in the middle of melee (though being engaged won’t lock other models out of using his spells with a gun symbol, so it’s not the worst thing ever for him to mix it up with that big hittin’ stick he’s carrying around.) Of course, we don’t know what spells he’ll have, not seeing the backside of the card, but still cool.

Overall, his presence in the Arcanist rebel scum reminds me of Nemo from League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, so he’s automatically awesome for that. Here’s hoping he has a cool submarine hidden somewhere. 

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

BK Faux... The Planes, Trains, and Automobile addition

I'm not even sure where I begin with this one.  I will do my best to trim it down for expediency.  The original plan was to get some friends I knew from online gaming who lived in Florida to drive up Memorial Day weekend to visit my brother.   Then a couple months out I touched base to see how their side of the plan was going and they were forced to drop out.  Hooray 17 hour car trip on my own.  Although I do have a way station at my friend Adam's place in Va so at the end of the day it wouldn't be so bad (and probably easier than the actual visit).  I'm going to leave out the politics and religion that led to my selection of memorial day and bring this back around to the games as quick as possible.

So hey.  BK faux is in May.  Since I am now solo all I have to do is slide my days off a couple weekends up and I'm gold.  Was a good idea until the only guy who could cover me had that weekend scheduled off first.  And there is a concert I really wanted to go to in VA Sunday night I could make (in theory) if I drove.  So now if this had any chance to work at all, I would have to sacrifice the concert, voluntarily go into an airport on Friday the 13th, take the last flight out, and hope the weather cooperates just to have a chance of making it. I could give you long running history of how I don't get along with airports but trust me when I say I would rather drive 17 hours then fly just on principle.   And somehow that went off without a hitch (minus the part where I was out til 2 am).

So without further ado... BK faux!

Sign in: 10 Thunders

Round One:
Deployment: Corners
Strategy: Interference
Schemes: Convict Labor, Exhaust Their Forces, Detonate the Charges, A Quick Murder, Occupy Their Turf
Opponent: The R train.

This is probably hands down the most embarrassing loss I will ever suffer.  I grew up in upstate NY.  I am better than most at reading maps (before gps was a thing).  So I read the directions at 2 am found a subway map and looked for my stop and thought I found it.  Since I didn't zoom out of the driving directions and they were not over-layed I found myself in Queens instead of Brooklyn at 10 am.  Recorded as as 0-10 loss (i think?)

- As a side note I came ill prepared to record any of these games.  I didn't print off more record sheets that I used for previous games.  The copier at work wasn't working so I couldn't print off the emissary in case I wanted to put it on the table, and I packed Austringers but forgot to pull the cards and add them to my McCabe section.  The only thing I recorded is who I played, the schemes I chose, and the outcome.  Everything else is 2 week old memory so this may not be 100% accurate.

Round Two:
Deployment: Close
Strategy: Head Hunter
Schemes: Convict Labor, Show of Force, Search the Ruins, Mark for Death, Take Prisoner
Opponent: Greg (Arcanist)

The Lists:
McCabe w/ Glowing Saber, Badge of Speed, Promises
2 x Austringers
10 Thunders Brother

Rasputina + upgrades
Snow Storm
Blessed of December
Silent One
2 x Ice Gamin
Ice Dancer

Things I learned from this game.  I can not show up to a tournament with a master I have never put on the table and expect to do well.  My hubris is partially a result of running Lynch well and the crew I run around him functions pseudo independently from him.  Even when Lynch is not mixing it up he still draws and cycles cards.  The other part being there was no way I was going to place so I might as well try to learn new tools so I can use them better when I really need them.

I must say there are a ton of moving parts in a McCabe list.  There are auras and order of operation that don't exist (for the most part) in a Lynch list.  While it is easy as day to see on paper it's another thing to have a firm enough grasp to do it calmly in the heat of battle.

Instead of a round by round for this one I'm going to switch it up and list things that went well and things I did poorly.  I took Convict Labor and Search the Ruins and Greg took Mark for Death and Search the Ruins.

Things that went well.  Austringer plus performer for head hunter = gold.  My opponent was somewhat new to the game and was learning the hard way about how engagement and interacts don't mix so I felt a little bad dancing in with the performer and making it look easy.  I read somewhere Torakage plus McCabe = amazing.  The jury is still out but most of that is the learning curve on positioning.  I can see the potential and he did good but I suspect he can do way better with a little more finesse. 10 TB did his thing.  Rock solid every time I take him.

Things that went poorly for me.  Greg knew how to attack around corners, and generally knew what he wanted everything in his crew to do.  Having a faster crew then I did the last time I shut down Raspy I'm embarrassed I didn't send something in to tie her up a turn or two.  Also I again failed to consider the scheme pool in greater depth.  With Show of Force and Search the Ruins in there I had no business taking the gamble for a battle in the middle. With the double Austringer set up Mark for Death would have been gold.  I played it correctly the last time two sources of points were funneling me to the center and stayed outside and this time I got burned.  The Austringers could have pulled it off if I did a little better in the battle for the center but Mark still would have been way easier. The Pathfinder and Chiaki did next to nothing in this set up.  In general there is nothing in this list that an opponent has to deal with or it's going to drop a ton of damage on you.  I know it sounds like blasphemy but I think I need to rethink the Saber. There are a ton of models in 10T that don't need it to be a threat.  But I really just need to play more games with McCabe and get comfortable. 5-9 loss.

Round Three:
Deployment: Flank
Strategy: Collect the Bounty
Schemes: Convict Labor, Leave Your Mark, Covert Breakthrough, Catch and Release, Frame for Murder.
Opponent:Jacob (outcasts)

The Lists:
Lynch w/ Woke Up With a Hand, Rising Sun, Recalled Training
Hungering Darkness w/ Recalled Training
Lone Swordsman w/ Recalled Training
Yin w/ Smoke Grenades
2 x Illuminated
10 Thunder Brother
Shadow Effigy

Vic of Ashes + upgrades
Vic of Blood + upgrade
Student of Conflict?
2 x Trappers
2 x Ronin

I will start by saying I feel like I am missing something with his list.  Lesson to self.  Write down the lists after the game to make sure I have it correct.  And this is my first outing vs. the Vics.  I took this pic on Sunday (not Saturday after playing)  and something feels off on the terrain as well (this is the board and all the elements are present but some buildings feel moved).  With all the personal stuff bouncing around my head I fell back to Lynch because I knew I would probably play distracted.

With flank deployment I set up on the right and my opponent on the left with a trapper up top next to the house and the other was near the middle but outside of a turn one charge.  I took Convict and Leave Mark, he took Frame for murder on Blood and Breakthrough.

Turn 1.  I send the swordsman to deal with the trapper up top and Yin to back him up.  He sent Vanessa and the Freikorpsmann off that way in response.  Everything else was maneuvering toward the other trapper with Ash hanging back a bit and my Brother waiting to break off and do his thing.  Score 0-0

Turn 2.  I have an Illuminated charge the trapper near the center (I don't think I killed it).  He counters with Blood leaving her exposed.  This should have been a red flag and may matter in future games but if I cede 3 points to remove a model of Bloods caliber, I take that action 99 times out of a 100.  With the swordsman on the other flank I popped RT, stone for ram for the envelop trigger (I don't think I had the card in hand) and threw Huggy at her and deleted her on the first swing.  He ceded me a point for collect bounty which in my opinion was a risky play which ultimately lost him the game.  I think he re-positioned the trapper to shoot at Huggy I sent the other Illuminated to charge him (I think I killed him. *We had a slight argument on if I even had the line of effect to pull it off.  (LOS laser on the list for my next purchase.  Nothing personal as these kinds of disputes are common and I should have the tools on hand to make my case.)  Having the proxy base ultimately won my case.  The swordsman made it to the trapper and dispatched him remaining completely behind the building forcing to sink AP into closing or taking pot shots at Yin.  I think he managed to kill Yin but I don't remember if it was turn 2 or 3. Convict markers down.  Score 2-3

Turn 3. Swordsman pops RT, 0 action 2" push to clear of the building and charges Vanessa taking her out.  He counters with Ash deleting the swordsman and moving to have range to Lynch turn 4.  A Ronin dropped a breakthrough marker, Lynch kills her and picks up the marker.  I think Huggy kills the other Ronin.  Leave Mark down.  Score 5-3

Turn 4.   I move Huggy in between Lynch and Ash as a speed bump she kills him and I think she moves to drop a breakthrough marker.  The Freikorpsmann also drops a marker.  I think Lynch kills the Freikorpsmann.  We miss the clause that says reduce to 0 to score on bounty so we didn't count Huggy burying as scoring so the game is reported as 8-5 instead of 7-6

I think Lynch still had RT but I could be wrong and I didn't record final resources to extrapolate possible outcomes for a turn 5.  I didn't unbury Huggy due to time but he would also be on the table for turn 5.  I finished convict, 1 point left to get on Mark which was unmolested. I think the effigy was just getting over that way as well.

-At this point I wish I had drove because I had a hour+1/2 subway up to the Bronx for dinner with my brother. I could have went straight to the restaurant in 40 minutes and back down in 20 minutes.   Had I drove I could have went to the bar with the guys because I would have had time off and not all these tiny windows to do everything.  Hindsight is 20/20 and all that BS.  Another allergic reaction to something cost me 2 hours sleep and then plans changed so moar subway antics.

I get on the subway just as the doors were closing and arrive to round 4 with maybe 2 seconds to spare.  I get paired with the ringer in case I was no show which is fair.  There also tends to be a little flux with these longer tournaments with people dropping and I think we had someone take over a slot in this particular event.

Round Four:
Deployment: Close Corner 16"
Strategy: Squatters rights
Schemes: Convict Labor, Hunting Party, Inspection, Neutralize the Leader, Public Demonstration.
Opponent:Andrew (Gremlins)

The Lists:
Lynch w/ Woke Up With a Hand, Rising Sun, Recalled Training
Hungering Darkness w/ Recalled Training
Lone Swordsman w/ Recalled Training
Yin w/ Smoke Grenades
2 x Illuminated
10 Thunder Brother
Shadow Effigy

Somer w/ Family Tree
3 x bayou gremlins
2 x Skeeters
Old Major
Slop Hauler

I'm pretty sure I got this list correct.  So in pulling the round Four packet the night before I noticed I wasn't fast enough to hit the corners and do all the things I need to do to score points with my standard set up.  With Inspection in the pool I figure I can probably cheat a convict marker towards the inside to score that round 2 and start scoring Inspection round 3.  Only Huggy and the 10TB would be fast enough to hit the corner strategy markers in time.  Provided I didn't want to try out McCabe again.  But the fear there was my opponent would roll over whatever I put in the center and then take out a corner and I would be done.  With the subway leaving me 2 seconds the list I know best is Lynch .

Turn One.  Hazardous terrain?  And I'm not on Vassal?  Crazy talk.  So I set up in the right with a puddle of acid adjacent and he sets up by the houses.  I send the 10TB down the right flank and an illuminated escort to discourage interception.  Huggy down the left with the effigy in tow.  The swordsman was angling to support Huggy but more toward the center.  Lynch, Yin, and the other illuminated pushed up the center.  Meanwhile the gremlins were busy multiplying, I think there was a saddle on the pig and it was moving up with Lenny to charge me turn 2.  The skeeters moved up behind the fence.   Then Trixy 'lured' Lynch and the Illuminated back the way they came into the acid.  That bitch!  Score 0-0

Turn Two.  Yin set up shop in the middle and got his Gandalf on.  'You shall not pass!'  and locked the pig down.  Realizing my hitters were coming down the left and Lenny's ride now has flat tires he walked Lenny over to hold that flank.  Swordsman moves more to the left drops a convict marker and 0 action pushes up to protect it.  Effigy tells Huggy to remember the mission since the effigy is to slow to contribute this turn on his own.  Huggy moves flips the squat and RTM drops a scheme.  the Bro dances to his Squat for a 0 action, flips that, and drops the 3rd convict marker.  His escort peel off towards the conflict and he sends a skeeter as a speed bump.  The other Illuminated leaves the spa saying 'Oh no she didn't' heals back to full and moves up to support Yin.  Lynch follows her up the board and I probably kill a bayou or something.  Somewhere in the he did suicide a couple bayou to flip squats.  I don't remember what Trixy was up to that turn but I think she was redirecting traffic around the broken pig.  Score 2-1

Turn Three.  Yin continues to hold the pig.  Then Trixy got behind the pig and I'm not sure I want to know what she was doing back there but the pig came flying in at Yin flat tire and all.  The swordsman dispatched a bayou and set up out of sight behind dense cover set up to charge next round.  Another bayou came up in the dense cover to occupy the swordsman.  Huggy came through the tree toward to land in range of another bayou and deleted it.  Effigy moved to the corner dropped an extra convict marker in the event I needed it.  !0 TB did likewise in defensive stance to lock up inspection.  I think the illuminated flayed the speed bump skeeter and moved to the unclaimed squat marker.I don't know why the other illuminated ended up next to Yin but there was some blast exploit going on so I moved her away at the next opportunity.  Old major failed to do anything of noted (I blame whatever it was that Trixy did).  I think I had Lynch delete Old major that turn.  I don't remember if he took convict labor or hunting party.  Which ever one it was he scored 1 on it either this turn or next.  Score 5-2(or 3)

Turn Four.  I think Yin moves up within 8 but outside of 6 and locks Trixy down.  The Illuminated from the right flank charges the Slop Hauler.  The Swordsman pops RT pushes out of engagement to establish LOS to Lenny but I don't think he dies here.  I think Somer kills my Illuminated fresh out of the spa. I think I send Huggy in to finish Lenny.  Trixy pushes the Illuminated and the Swordsman away.  Score 8-4

Turn Five.  Quick mop up turn and Somer moves, focused, and shot Lynch for 3 points on Neutralize (note to self.  Misdirection is good yo.  Find a spot for it next time that scheme is in there).  I flip one of his squats.  Score 10-7

And then there was this game.  I can't even begin to explain in words why this game went as lop sided as it did.

Round Five:
Deployment: Standard
Strategy: Guard the Stash
Schemes: Convict Labor, Exhaust Their Forces, Leave Your Mark, Undercover Entourage, Set Up.
Opponent:Adam (Neverborn)

The Lists:
Lynch w/ Woke Up With a Hand, Rising Sun, Recalled Training
Hungering Darkness w/ Recalled Training
Lone Swordsman w/ Recalled Training
Yin w/ Smoke Grenades
2 x Illuminated
10 Thunder Brother
Shadow Effigy

Collodi w/Bag of Props, Strum the Threads
Primordial Magic
Mysterious Emissary
Lucky Effigy
2 x Stitched Togethers

I won deployment and made him set up on the top side.  He put the Primordial Magic up top by itself, the Doppleganger and Lazarus off on my right flank, and everything else kind of in the middle.  I put 10 TB and the effigy on the left flank and everything else kind of toward the center with Huggy and the Swordsman more to the right.  I took Convict Labor and Leave Your Mark, he took Entourage and Leave Your Mark.  We played the two light brown area terrain as dense.

Turn One.  I was kinda ok with Lazarus getting one shot if he moved up into terrain so I crashed the right side hard.  So I sent Huggy through the building toward the center line on the far right.  Swordsman came up beside the house.  Effigy put remember the mission on the Brother then moved up.  One Illuminated went down the left flank but more toward the stash marker.and the other made a bead for the other marker.  The Brother moved up to the left centerline edge and RTM dropped the first convict.  Yin moved up the center and Lynch right behind him.  He moved Primordial Magic up where it would be out of LOS on my left.  The effigy went toward my illuminated on the left, the Emissary toward the left stash.  Both stitched moved up but didn't participate.  Doppleganger moved up and copied Lazarus' launcher to no great effect.  But between Collodi taking damage for fast, Lazarus coping Collodis' attack and 3 13's in my opponents hand, My swordsman and Huggy were both slow, down to 1 wound, and the first AP the swordsman was taking was Collodis' to use.  Score 0-0

-Right about here is when Lynch probably said to himself 'Wait a minute.  I realize you brought a Doppleganger but I am the master of manipulating fate.  How dare you have the audacity to use that better than me."

Turn 2  I had my right side Illuminated move up to the stash and in range of the Swordsman and the shoot at huggy who relented to bury heal and remove conditions.  I don't remember the order of activations this round but I know a Stitched moved up to the right side stash and failed a gamble for moderate damage (hello Huggy target) Lazarus and the Doppleganger combined for almost  no damage but I think he killed the Swordsman out of fear of my 0 action reactivate.Yin double moved up to support the right from the center.  My Illuminated on the left dropped a marker and moved up to threaten his effigy.  My effigy hid behind the left stash marker.  Brother danced dropped the third marker and moved up to set marks next turn.  His effigy charged my Illuminated to no effect.  His Emissary dropped a land marker and moved up to the stash marker on the left. Collodi moved over to support the effigy and senT my Illuminated into the land marker.  Lynch moved up to be in unbury range. paid for blood twice on the stitched and Huggy came back.  Then I charge him to occupy Lazarus and the Doppleganger putting damage on the Doppleganger.  Score 2-0

Turn 3  With Lynch I never stone for cards.  So we flip initiative we both flip moderate cards but I win.  He cheats a 10.  Normally I wouldn't burn a stone here but with red joker in hand if I win this flip I can probably completely neuter his crew this turn.  So I stone and get a 12.  Pop RT  finish the Doppleganger, then stone for ram and swing at Lazarus for 7 (armor+2 takes 5) no way to remove him this turn and it seemed a waste of the joker there so I held it.  Collodi creates a brutal effigy making the Emissary fast.  Well that's no bueno.  Time for Lynch to shut him down.  Activate, pop RT, mulligan, move, stone for ram shoot and hit for 10 damage (cheated the joker)but HTK, then pay for blood and poof no more Emissary.  Brutal moved up to the stash The Illuminated charged it got a lucky moderate on the first swing to bring it to HTK then finished it in the second swing.  I think the other stitched failed a gamble as well so Yin charged it and occupied Collodi as well removing the stitched.  He moved the Primordial magic up to cancel my Convicts but he was in Dance range of the Brother who focused and removed him but denying me Mark.  Score 4-0

Turn 4  I never used wicked on Yin in all the games and to score Entourage he had to leave engagement.  With all the damage he ate to be fast this finishes him off and we call the game because he is out of things to score points with. Score 9-0  I probably owe this poor guy a drink.

So I'm off for birthday cake, hang with friends from high school I haven't seen in 4/5 years and another trip to the airport.  At least I get to drive to May Day in NC the following weekend... Until next time.