Friday, April 21, 2017

Adepticon part 2 (general tournament prep and Masters)

  I want to take the time to recognize all the hard work and sacrifice to run events.  Thank you to all of the judges and organizers for cramming this much Malifaux awesomeness into a 4 day window.  Thank you to the sponsors and Wyrd games for their tournament support.

  So last year before Adepticon I was more or less a casual player.  I would play Adam on Vassal and maybe dip my toe in GenCon tournaments (since that is the first con on my calendar every year and I'm going to be there anyway).  Then one day Curtis (a guy I never met until I got in his car to drive 13 hours to Adepticon) gets on our local facebook group and asks if anyone was interested in going.  So we set up the trip kinda at the last minute and the Wandering River Dojo was born.  Lifetime hours hanging out with Curtis 96ish (if you discount sleeping in a shared room and playing at different tables in an event) and more than half of those hours are driving to and from exotic events.  I could use more friends like him and I'm sorry he couldn't make this trip.
  Needless to say this trip was kinda of in a state of flux up until Curtis informed me he couldn't make it.  I wanted to fly and I was almost willing to buy him a ticket so we didn't have to drive and time not in the car is time spent playing the games.  I got to ration my time off to attend all the events I make it out to.  So I got a hold of Chris and his room situation was kinda at capacity but he was going to make it work.  I had this gut feeling I should just get my own room for this trip.  Not sure what it was but it was kinda intangible and it felt good to come and go without worrying about other peoples schedules and such.  Bonus is it helped me locate a 7-11 for my hydration needs.
  Part of my decision for getting my own room is I would dictate how much sleep I would get.  Or so I thought.  I don't know what it is about this game we play but when I am done my brain tries to think of all of the things I can do to play the game better.  Resource economy, synergies, how to handle tricks my opponent(s) used in the future... and so on.  Needless to say restful sleep for the most part didn't happen until tuesday after I got home.  Just the bare minimum to function.  Better than getting up at 4 am and driving 6 hours to play since distance driving in itself is an endurance test so for the most part I was ready to play.  Normally I will think ahead and bring snacks because it's better to have them and not be hungry than the alternative.  But the convention center food service was 30 seconds from where we were set up so in between games if I wanted something it was right there.  I bought tea and used the bottle for water the rest of the day.  So what I am trying to say is it is better to know that these out of game basic human functions are covered because if your body is suffering from hunger, sleep, over or under dressing, and such it can sometimes subconsciously affect your personality or slow down your decision making.  Maybe I'm just getting old and beginning to feel it but I figure I would pass along what little wisdom I have on such topics.  Also con crud is a thing.  If you have an 'I feel a cold coming on so I better get ready to attack it' plan be prepared to implement it at the first sign even if you are over reacting.
  Arrive early if it is within your ability to do so.  The flip side is have a list you know like the back of your hand that you can put on the table and be ready to play 2 minute after you walk in if you are pulling up at table announcements.  Know who your TO(s) are and communicate any change of schedule.  Being early gives you time to organize your thoughts and make sure you have everything you need to play.  I recommend buying or making a tray.  I always use to see people using them and thought they look nice but it is way easier to get to the next table if you put everything you need on your tray.  Admittedly I got my tray for playing in the TFL and attending the TFL tournament (add link) but had I knew before I got mine for free how convenient having one was I would have bought one.  When I say free I imply if I exclude the travel expenditures since I was going anyway.  I feel you should have all the models you might possible summon or use within arms reach and ready to go as well as the cards to use them.  I also just learned there is such thing as option overload.  Example... while playing in a campaign terracotta warriors can flip an upgrade to any campaign upgrade legal for the target to start with at the beginning of the game much in the same way summoners can pull in model not in their arsenals.  If what you want to do is not committed to memory make a cheat sheet.  If I want to damage I want X and Y and what need to happen to do it.  If I want to run schemes do A or B and need this and so on.  Sometimes you will find making the cheat sheet is kind of like taking notes in class and the action of writing it down helps you learn it.  The less time you spend reading your cards is the more time you can spend playing the game or finishing faster.  Sometimes I find myself weighing options I don't have available trying to find a way out of a situation I might be missing.  At the end of the game you ought to respect your opponent if they out played you.  All of this rambling is basically saying is be mindful of time.  If given the choice I prefer games that finish to games that get cut by the clock.

Without further ado...

Masters of Malifaux 2017 at Adepticon quick and dirty recap.

I did most of the lists with pictures.  I will probably continue this method and try to improve it in the future.  If there are any questions on any games I will try to answer to the best of my ability.  I intended to save the names off the best coast pairings app but I don't know how to go back to a previous month for data or if that is even an option.  I will remember to screen grab those next time.

Round 1
Headhunter with close deployment
Claim Jump, Eliminate the Leadership, Frame for Murder, Hunting Party, A Quick Murder

  So my plan was to have Huggy tell Nekima to give me points for Frame and then Lynch would get me Quick Murder.  I put the Effigy in for padding since Leader was a potential target.  I figured if I could weather the potential assault I could counter punch my way to a win.  I made Yin my 'quick' target so I could limit his scheme selection.  I think he opted for Hunting Party if memory serves.
  I put the Effigy on 1 wound probably telegraphing my Frame target.  Nekima came in as predicted turn 2 and parked where it would bleed on Lynch, the Effigy and the Terracotta.  So I sent huggy in to delete her knowing I was probably trading points but I was getting at least 7 (Quick, Frame by bleeding, and a head marker) to his potential 3 so I was good with the trade.  The voodoo doll had a hard time landing hex on Yin.  Spent 3 turns trying and it finally landed.  Then Iggy did his thing but by then I had 3 heads and cruised to a 9-6 victory.

Round 2

Interference w/ Standard Deployment
Claim Jump, Accusation, Leave Your Mark, Covert Breakthrough, Hidden Trap

  So McCabe vs Asami.  I think this was my favorite game of the whole convention.  I found a way to play vs a summoner, deny, and score interference all in the same turn with a non summoner.  Granted this will become way easier when Sun Quiang finally gets a model.  The plan fell apart when I tried to flip an upgrade into a second Badge of Speed after I moved the first one off McCabe.  We called the judge and he ruled against me.  I think the decision was fair and I played on but I now had a model out of position and I wasn't able to recover.  It was a hard fought match but inevitably I lost 5-7.

Round 3

Squatters Rights w/ Flank Deployment
Claim Jump, Dig Their Graves, Frame For Murder, Recover Evidence, Search the ruins

  Things that worked.  Sadir shooting the bad guys and milling the deck to get all 4 aces.  Beckoner showing McMourning the goods and made him come running.  Pay for Blood 2 damage.  Final debt 10 damage.  52 Pick Up 8 damage.  No more McMourning  turn 1.
  Things that didn't work.  Selecting the wrong Frame target on my side(but still scored 3). Sadir shooting all the bad guys and giving away Frame turn 3.  Underestimating Phiona on a squat marker Steve was holding.  My deck going cold so the nurse could more or less neutralize Lynch.  Phiasco gaining evidence +2.  Somehow managing to lose this game 6-9.
  This game will change the way I approach the game in the future.

Round 4

Extraction w/ Standard Deployment
Claim Jump. Dig Their Graves, Eliminate the Leadership, Undercover Entourage, Last Stand

  This was a bad match up for my opponent.  I more or less ignore all of Yan Lo's defensive tech with Lynch so all I had to do was survive the punch and my counterpunch should take him out.  I was able to peel a model every round with the beckoner and have Huggy eat it when it was on my half of the table.  Then run Sensei Yu for entourage at the end.  I won 6-3

Round 5

Collect the Bounty w/ Flank Deployment
Claim Jump, Accusation, Leave Your Mark, Tail Em, Inspection

  I'm pretty sure my list was the same from game 4 and I was back on the table I played at round 1.

  So Hamlin is a pain in the rear if you don't have an answer for the rats.  Need to include long range blasts and/or Misaki.  It was near impossible for me to maneuver to score Bounty.  I did ok on my schemes but it wasn't enough.  5-7 loss.

  Story encounters on Sunday.  I was worried if I played all 3 games that I would possibly miss my flight and be screwed because I needed to be at work Monday morning.  These games are generally a little chaotic but they almost always have optional rules for scoring so each story is more or less different in that regard.  I went 1-1-1.  I didn't take many notes (mental or otherwise) due to sleep deprivation but I will endeavor to do better in the future.

  Adam and I will be hosting a 50ss tournament in Blacksburg Va. Saturday April 22nd.  $5 admission.  9am check in, round 1 starting at 10.
  I will be running a team tournament at Giga Bites in Marietta GA July 1.  It will use the same format as the team event at Adepticon with only slight changes if any.  It will likely be 3 rounds.  Details will be posted to Georgia Malifaux and Southeastern Malifaux facebook groups when I have them.
plug our event(s)


   In the meantime, don't forget to visit our our sponsor's website Leodis Games. Pre-orders of Malifaux items are 20% off. They are one of the best distributors in the UK, and they'll do right by you, and kick a little bit of support our way in exchange. So go check 'em out! 

Friday, April 14, 2017

Mold of the Other

                Phiasco’s still typing up his Adepticon report part 2, so I’ll be putting up something today taking a closer look at a Book 4 model that has introduced a very powerful ability to Malifaux. But first, as always, mini-musings.

Mini Musings

-Wyrd’s Easter Sale is Live! That’s probably the biggest news, I would imagine. As mentioned last week, the sale will not be offering pre-releases as it has in the past as part of Wyrd’s efforts to improve relations with brick and mortar game stores. However, as far as I can see, all the limited editions you would win from mystery boxes, Nightmare Edition Dark Carnival, and the dayglow and translucent sets are available, along with the posters, and an alternate sculpt of Titania that looks to be having a bit of a bad day.

-Speaking of Alt Titania, the person responsible for the artwork you see above has joined Wyrd’s staff. Alyssa has become the new in-house artist for Wyrd, the first for the company. Follow the link to see some examples of her work. She certainly seems to have the Wyrd spirit in her!

-Finally, the Guilder store has been updated as well. You can now spend those poker chips you’ve got piling up for some alternate plastic Miss figures (Ery, Step, Terious, and Anne Thrope), the newly released Dr. Alexei Sokolov (from Wyrd’s last Through the Breach event), and a Wooden M2E Card Box.

-Wyrd Chronicles Issue 29 has come out, featuring a Through the Breach scenario where players wake up in Dr. McMourning's laboratory, an Easter Egg Hunt game for the minis, and the usual allotment of cool fiction. Oh, and there may be a strategy article in there written by your humble bloggist, Adam. Go check it out! 

Mold of the Other

                 There’s really no other way to put it: Ten Thunders got an awful lot of juice in Wave 4. They added a summoner to their stable of masters. They got a nasty beater model in Yasunori, which the faction has sort of lacked up to now. Ohagaru Bettari and Sun Quiang are both solid models that can find a role in many different Thunders crews. But, beneath all of that bright and shininess, one simple 5ss minion has probably had the greatest effect on the faction as a whole, the humble Terracotta Warrior. But why, you ask? Well I’m going to tell you. Jeez. Don’t be so pushy.

                On paper, a 4 Wd 6 Df 4 Wp model is not that impressive. Its melee isn’t that good (though with its ram trigger it can surprise you, as one of my Sillurids found out.) While unimpeded, it isn’t going to set any speed records with a walk and charge of 5. What’s the big deal with this guy? The answer, for those who haven’t seen them in action, is quite simply that he changes one of the fundamental truths of Malifaux: that you’re stuck with whatever upgrades you buy at the beginning of the game. As a 0 action, a Terracotta warrior allows any friendly model to discard any non-0 cost upgrade and replace it with another that it could have legally taken at the beginning of the game. This, along with the Neverborn Thousand Faces upgrade, are the first examples of this kind of flexibility to be introduced to the game, and their power can’t really be overstated. When you pick your upgrades, you don’t know what your opponent is bringing to the game. The only information you have is their faction, and that probably doesn’t tell you enough to truly know what you’re going to face (particularly with the introduction of the Wave 4 masters.) Now, this is much less of an issue. Realize mid-game that you bought the wrong limited upgrade? No problem, just switch it out (and pay the difference in soulstone cost, if the new one is more expensive.) Bring along a defensive upgrade that you don’t really need? Turn it into a Recalled Training! Speaking of which, use your Recalled Training earlier in the game? No problem, just turn one of your other upgrades into a second one and use it again! Mccabe’s in trouble and getting pummeled? Turn his saber into the strangemetal shirt after he activates, and give him some more protection. You can always change it back next turn to let him dish out some hurt! Asami Tanaka’s Feigned Weakness upgrade gives you an interesting boost when you’re behind on Victory Points, but does nothing when you’re ahead. Being able to choose when that upgrade is attached versus when it’s not based on the game state improves it immensely. For a little extra zip, pair this up with the faction's generic totem, the Kamaitachi. If the super weasel manages to stay within range of the model whose upgrades you’re flipping, you get to heal them a bit, give them a 3-inch push, and draw a card along with the upgrade swap. Brilliant!
Oh super weasel. Is there anything you can't do?

                That would probably be enough in and of itself, but there’s another big piece to what makes this thing so special. There’s a good chance you’ll have an important minion or enforcer you’ll want to keep alive somewhere in your crew. This is where the Terracotta Warrior’s 1 AP Tactical action, Mold of the Other, comes into play. It places a condition on the model called Ancient Protections that lets them pass the damage from a single attack onto the Terracotta warrior, who can promptly place a card from their hand under their deck (none of your shenanigans, Mr. Lynch) to prevent it. This may not be necessary for your average model, but when you’re keeping your souped up Dawn Serpent or Izamu alive a turn longer, sometimes that could be the last bit of resilience you’ll need to get a chance to hit them back. I just thought of Yin having this and made myself sick and annoyed (to be fair, Yin has that effect on me most of the time.) And it can even make something a little bit less resilient better able to hold a point for you. Seems like a pretty good deal.

                While being able to flip around some of Mccabe’s gear cards or bring back Recalled Training are all useful, where this model has the potential to be really interesting is when a master has a set of limited upgrades that drastically alter their playstyle. I did an article a while back called the Misaki Switch that discussed how you can change her from a defense oriented counter-charge model with Disguised to the (admittedly more frequently seen) Stalking Bisento murder-bot that we all know and lo(athe)ve. Well, with a Terracotta warrior, now you don’t have to pick! Start out with Disguised, walk up with your crew, and when the appropriate target presents itself, switch upgrades and launch off like a missile. If you’re really lucky, you may even be able to switch back on subsequent turns if you can get the Warrior close enough, though his limited speed and 6” range makes this less likely to work. A build that Phiasco has experimented with is combining this with Jacob Lynch’s limiteds to switch between Casting Expert and Survivable Hungering Darkness, though this requires being able to spot when the big purple tadpole is in trouble in advance to pull off safely. Not for the beginner, I’d say, but potentially very potent.

                So, this model has made a huge contribution to Ten Thunders becoming a very tactically flexible faction that can adapt to what is happening on the board, defensively flow to negate what the opponent’s crew is doing, and switch into offense mode to deliver a death blow. It’s kind of hard to think of a crew that wouldn’t benefit from including one, so it’s nice that they’re cheap. Their one significant weakness is their relatively short range, which can make them vulnerable. They’re a bit brittle (perhaps fittingly, they are terracotta after all), with only 4 wounds and Armor 1, though Thousands Strong can be used to negate any damage that doesn’t come directly from an attack action targeting them, so they ignore damage from poison or burning and aren’t vulnerable to blasts the way some other small minions can be. Still, if you get a chance to put one down, I’d recommend doing it. It’s likely they’re an important part of your opponent’s strategy, and you'll be slowing them down or jamming them up by doing so. 


                That's all for now, but I want to remind people in the Southeastern US (or, hell, anybody really) that my tournament NRVFaux is coming up next weekend. Come down to the New River Valley, play some Malifaux, and check out some cosplay and various other geeky vendors at the con itself. It's just $5 to enter the con, and your badge is your entry to the tournament. Phiasco assures me that the Wandering River Dojo will be making an appearance here, and your humble bloggist will be there to chat or jump in as the ringer. Hope to see you then! 

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Adepticon 2017 Wrap up

It’s been kind of quiet around here, recently, because I’ve been working on a soon to be announced project and dealing with some real life stuff. So, let’s briefly run through some mini-muses and then get Part 1 of Phiasco's Adepticon report. 


-Wyrd has announced some changes to the Easter and November sales. In an effort to support brick and mortar game stores, they’re going to reduce their pre-release offerings. This should have the effect of cutting down on the number of players who order directly and help store owners. They’re going to continue doing special edition models and their colored-plastic stuff, but you’ll just have to wait for your Yasunori and Rougarou releases, this year. This is a sacrifice that is important for the industry as a whole, so I hope people don't gripe.

-Wyrd has a couple of new board games in the works. One, Bayou Bash, involves Gremlins having a race on out-of-control animals, using dirty tactics to help themselves, and trying to cross the finish line first. The winner of the game, however, is the one who puts on the best show! The other is an expansion for Darkness Comes Rattling which introduces two new characters and allows the players to enter the spirit realm.

-Iron Painter is coming back soon, so…get your brushes ready? I don’t know, Your paint pots? I’m not a competitive painter. Be ready, I guess. Iron painter's appeal for me is just to look at all the pretty painted pictures. And, you know, despair of my own "ok" painting skills by comparison.

-The March FAQ for Malifaux has been released. Mostly it appears to be clarifications and/or corrections to make it jive with the January Erratas, and to deal with a  handful of other odd situations that have been asked in recent weeks.

-A Stitch in Time has had Parts 2 and 3 release since last we posted. The Fated characters have found themselves hurled backwards through time to the days of Malifaux’s first breach, in the 1700s. To survive this trip (and hopefully not mess up time too much) they’ll need to face down a Quebecois Necromancer, brave the dangers of the haunted church that gives the Redchapel District its name, and survive an encounter with one of Malifaux’s oldest and most powerful threats!


  Greetings.  It's Phiasco of the Wandering River Dojo.  I've been to several tournaments recently and I have been remiss in my reporting duties.  So I figured I would return to reporting with one of the largest draws for a Malifaux tournament attendance wise.  Adepticon!

  So first thing people who might be interested in going to an event like this is what will it cost me?  The year before the swag bag was tied into the cost of the badge and when the swag bags ran out you were SOL.  This year they cut the swag bag into an additional expense bringing down the cost of the badge and guaranteeing a bag to those that buy one .  So the weekend badge just to attend was $30 for the weekend and there was a Malifaux track that was $40.  The track includes the achievement league, meet and greet, the cake match, masters, and the story encounter.  I failed to notice it did not include henchman hardcore and the enforcer brawl (maybe they were on there and I removed them because of the flux in logistics).  Think there is a way to do just the masters for less than $50 if you don't include travel and lodging.

The swag bag was a $25 add on and this year it was probably easily worth twice to three times that.  If I were thinking I would have snapped a picture of all the stuff before I pieced it out.  It included a small mystery box, a full Hordes rulebook ($60 value), and a fantasy flight box set for I want to say Rune Wars but I'm waiting for it to arrive since I sent it with a friend because I flew in.  The bag also had several other trinkets so I will definitely be getting the swag bag add on for future events.  In addition to the swag bag there was a mobile beer cart that you buy a beer or beers and get free Malifaux (and other companies) stuff.  Granted that was cash only and I run to the 4 corners of the convention on Sunday for an ATM which were all out of cash only to borrow the money so I could get my teammate a Whiskey Golem but the look on his face was worth it.

So without further ado... the events!

The first couple I will be making general assumptions because I had a ticket but did not participate.

Meet and Greet-
  I going to make the assumption this is a loose organization of players looking to just play games whether for fun or to facilitate the achievement league.  I came through early Thursday but I didn't bring my stuff because I was just getting my bearings, badge, swag and so forth.  Next year I will make an attempt to be free to play games Thursday morning.  I'm always up for a game of Malifaux.

Cake Match-
  From what I understand you make themed food and enter it in a baking contest.  If I somehow develop some hidden culinary skill I did not know I had I will make an attempt at this in the future.  But there is also the logistics of transporting said food if I fly again.  Looks like a fun event but not certain I will have the capacity to participate.

Gaslight Achievement League-

  So coming in I thought I was going to participate by accident.  I'm not going to get into where this plan went sideways in this post and I'm still on the fence if I want to bring it up and how to do it in a constructive manner. But needless to say second place was 90 something points and first was 140+.  Things I didn't know.  Adepticon uses an app called guidebook that lists your events and the Strategies and Schemes are listed in advance so if I knew this going in it could have helped me narrow my crew selection ahead of time for Masters and give me a heads up for what I need to play outside of organized play to score more achievement points.  So I have a plan for next year going in.

Henchman Hardcore-
  This is a variant format found on Wyrd's website if you are interested.  I fully intended on playing but there was a misunderstanding on my part that the Malifaux included all of the events that were not the Team tournament.  It could be at the time I didn't expect to be doing Thursday events because I thought I was carpooling.  Needless to say I didn't have event tickets and showed up while the last round was in progress.  I fear I won't get to test my new list until Gencon.

Enforcer Brawl-
  If there was ever a case and point to be made how streaky a deck of cards can be my Lone Swordsman proved it in this 3 round event.  This is also an official alternate format found on Wyrd's website.  So I took the swordsman with recalled training.  The last enforcer brawl I played they let us swap models between rounds.  I don't know that I would have but I don't mind either way.  Round 1 I shoot out to 17 points because the cards fell exactly where I needed them to.  Last in initiative last turn.  Hit the board, pop the upgrade, hit reactivate and kill 2 models for 8 points.  The next 2 rounds I score 4 and 0 respectively.  I came in 5th and first was only 5 or 6 points away.  I was there to have fun and fun was had.

Team Tournament-
  I don't think this is a supported format but it is definitely a popular one.  It's basically 4 35SS master led crews.  Adam and I stole second place at a team event in December.  While on the way back from TFL Curtis and I were spit balling ideas and came up with Glowy Somer.  Sadly Curtis had some unexpected surgery not too long ago and I was out a partner for teams.  As luck would have it I was talking to Chris Bellamy and he knew someone looking for a teammate and they also played gremlins.  And the Legion of Boom was born.  So going in I knew most of my thunder shenanigans wouldn't translate to gremlins.  Furthermore Sh5 on Somer could be a liability to the plan.  So I devised a plan to spam bayous and park them just outside of engagement and double blast into the bad guys for 4 damage that ignores armor, incorporeal, and hard to kill.  (I thought it was 5 with the glowy but the +1 damage doesn't carry to blasts).  So instead of going game by game I will highlight things that worked vs. things that didn't.  Aionus + piglets and bayous and skeeters... gold.  Ditch a 4 for fast and reckless on the bayous?  Yes please.  If I could have coordinated the swarm and gotten mileage out of Show Off and 4 ap suicide bayous, I would have.  My never playing gremlins was a liability, though.  I think I have only ever played my teammate once so I had no idea how he wanted to play and vice versa.  I had all these ideas and tried to implement more than one at a time and ultimately between that and clever play by some of our opponents we eked out 1 tie and 3 losses.  That happened to be good enough to take best in faction for gremlins.  We also came in last.

Editor's Note: Getting best in faction for Gremlins while coming in last...the jokes write themselves...

 Not a spoon but I can learn origami...

I am tempted to run one of these at Gigabites in the not so distant future.  Just need to run the logistics and pull the trigger.

 I'm going to splinter off Masters, Story and my mid table mediocrity off into another post.  I ought to have it up in the near future.  Until then...


   In the meantime, don't forget to visit our our sponsor's website Leodis Games. Pre-orders of Malifaux items are 20% off. They are one of the best distributors in the UK, and they'll do right by you, and kick a little bit of support our way in exchange. So go check 'em out! 

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

High Ground Tournament Report, 2-18-2016

In today’s Malifaux Musings, we’ll take a look at a tournament Jon and I attended in Kingspoint, TN at one of the most impressive game stores I’ve ever been to and, spoiler alert, one of your faithful bloggers took home the big prize! Before that, let’s take a look at some mini-musings.


-On February 14th Aaron announced a new contest, the Storied Soundtracks contest. It involves writing a short story based within the world of Malifaux inspired in some way by a specific song. This round’s topic is “Rose Tattoo” by Dropkick Murphys. Anyone who submits a 5,000 word story by March 15th will receive a $15 store credit from Wyrd, and the winner will have their story published in Wyrd chronicles and receive a special payment of $.03 per word, up to 10,000 words.

-The Stitch in Time event is still running, and sign-ups are still being accepted. Go join in! It includes quick-play rules for the upcoming 2nd edition of Through the Breach, so there’s no reason not to get into the action! Information on the next Act was released March 6th. And, if you’re participating, I’d love to hear how your groups are doing. My group actually lost a character in this chapter, the first we’ve had die in a TTB game since we started!

-An artist who’s done work for Wyrd previously, Tommy Castillo, is working to raise money for a kidney transplant. If you have a few bucks to spare, kick them in and support our Wyrd family.

-Wyrd Wants You! playtest its next book. Follow the link, and sign up if you think you want to contribute.

-Lastly, those who participated in The Other Side’s kickstarter campaign can now manage their pledges through the backerkit page. Additionally, if you wanted to get in but maybe didn’t have the funds, late pledges can be still be added in for certain options. Check it out!


                I woke up on Saturday morning, February 18th, and piled out into the car to drive to Bristol, TN and play some Malifaux. In my ears rang the sounds of the hundreds of people who poured out of the woodwork to tell me that my last blog post was wrong and, in fact, the Guild was doing just fine in GG2017, thank you very much. I prepared for the sounds of facebook and google alerts from more comments that came rolling in over the course of the day to continue vehemently making this point. I was well prepared to drown these out with some discussions of the Wave 4 Neverborn models by the fellows at Arcane Reservoir who, disappointingly, don’t seem to think much of Titannia and her crew. Sadness. Then I got there and realized I’d left my reading glasses behind. This isn’t a crippling problem, mind you, but I knew I’d have wrecked vision and a splitting headache by the end of a tournament if I didn’t do something about this. Google maps came to the rescue and I staggered across Kingsport to the nearest drug store, picking up a grey and black leopard spotted pair of old lady glasses that were 1 magnification too strong. On the way back an older looking woman stopped me to assure me that she was, in fact, not a prostitute despite what her mother was saying about her (mom was nowhere to be seen.) This was all happening before 10AM, so I had a feeling it was going to be a weird day.

                Thankfully, the apprehension was replaced with awe when I came inside Dewayne’s World Comics and Games and saw the impressive interior. The retail space inside was a massive warehouse-like space filled with games, comics, and collectible statues (sadly no Malifaux, but the owner tells me that may change soon if interest is high enough.) They had recently purchased the space next to them and converted it all to be available for gaming, including tables for miniature and roleplaying games. One clever addition was simply having available a large number of pads of paper and measuring tapes for public use. The space was clean, well stocked, and honestly very impressive. Once they get some Wyrd product in there, they’ll get the full Malifaux Musings stamp of approval ;).

                The format for the tournament was going to be standard Gaining Grounds but with a different set of generated Strats and schemes for each round than the standard rotation, as the TO had just attended some other Gaining Grounds tourneys recently and wanted to shake things up. Using my standard ultra-scientific method (flipping a card from my fate deck) I’d determined I was playing Neverborn for this one. I inwardly breathed a sigh of relief that I hadn’t flipped another ram since, as we all know, Guild can’t win in GG2017. I’ve become more of a fan of the Hooded Rider of late for various reasons (he’s an Enforcer and kills things later in the game, so he’s less a liability in Frame for Murder. Also, one of the fellows on Arcane Reservoir rates him highly) so I decided he would probably find his way into several of my crews this weekend. Also, it meant I got to play Lynch, which I am always happy to do. However, I had heard in a podcast somewhere (I wish I could remember where so I could attribute it properly. If you’re the podcast in question, let me know and I’ll mention it) a new (to me) way of playing Lillith where you use her not as an offensive piece but, rather, as a disrupter for the enemy crew using Wicked Vines, Tangled Shadows, and Beckon Malifaux to hinder the enemy strategies. Ideally, she wouldn't need to take her sword off her shoulder if things go the way you want them to go. I wanted to give this a try as well, so I kept that crew in the back of my mind for Interference/Recon type games that would involve running around the board and/or dropping markers.

                In round one I played Lee, an Outcasts player, in Corner deployment Collect the Bounty. The pool was Claim Jump, Dig Their Graves, Accusation, Show of Force, and Search the Ruins. I brought Neverborn Lynch, Huggy, The Hooded Rider, Dopp, 2x Illuminated, and Graves. Lee used Von Schill, Hannah, Trunk, Sue, Big Jake, a Librarian, Johan and a Convict Gunslinger, I think. I had planned to lure models to me and pick them off, but of course I got over aggressive early and walked into a big ole’ pile of people who ignored my Terrifying, removed suits from my casting, and generally crapped in my Kool Aid. Somewhere in the mid-game I managed to kill Big Jake with Huggy and score a point for Bounty. He scored one back later when Schill chopped up some Illuminated. Lynch did a whole pile of nothing in this game, due again to Hannah and Sue being a potent combination of “Your crew’s stuff doesn’t work” and we played the Hooded Rider as getting his suits removed by Hannah also (I’m not entirely sure that’s right, but it seemed right at the time. Feel free to post and let me know if I’m wrong.) However, on the last turn I completed my trademark “Steal victory from the Jaws of Defeat” maneuver, dashing around to toss out some Search the Ruins markers and win the game 3-2 (Lee got one for Dig Their Graves at some point, also.)

"Seriously?" - Mr. Graves

We stopped to get some lunch, then moved on to round 2. This time I was playing against Noah, a younger player who I was told beforehand was vicious and who I should definitely not take it easy on. We were going to have a Neverborn-off on a table that featured some laser-cut terrain in the form of a derailed train. Since we were doing Extraction, we got a dayglow Sorrow from someone else to use as the marker and, ostensibly (in my head anyways) we were trying to rescue it from the train and recruit it to our side. This was my first opportunity to try out the Lillith Defense list, with Mama Monster, the Rider, Graves, 2x Depleted, Doppleganger (obv), P. Magic, and maybe some other stuff (I can’t remember.) Noah had shooty Dreamer, Widow Weaver, Teddy, a couple of Stitched Together, Coppelius, and maybe some Daydreams. Pool was Claim, Frame, Dig, Recover Evidence, and Tail ‘Em. I had planned on doing Frame and Tail ‘Em, and then realized I didn’t actually have any legal minions I could use for Tail ‘Em, and switched quickly to Recover Evidence.
                The game began with my crew fanning out to the left and right around the extraction zone, letting the enemy filter into the middle so we could pounce. Graves threw the Chump Depleted (who I refer to as “Dr. Tentacles”) into melee with Dreamer, Widow Weaver, and a Stitched. Tentacles managed to do some damage to Dreamer crew people, get beat up in turn by the stitched to near death, but then Graves charged Dreamer and things got weird. I smacked Dreamer with a fence post, which Dreamer then redirected to the Stitched, dealing him severe damage and putting him on hard to kill. Widow Weaver then hit and killed the Depleted, scoring me Frame for Murder and, when the Depleted exploded, killing the Stitched. Rotten contents went off, causing Graves’ Black Blood to splatter on Dreamer. So, yeah, very confused trigger of auras there.
                Meanwhile, Lillith was Tangled Shadowsing Teddy away from support and proceeded to play Wicked Vines ping-pong with him until we got far enough in the game for Hooded Rider to come in and beat him to death. The game became a bit of a tangle in the mid-table of summoned Alps, Coppelius, the Hooded Rider, Lillith, and the Doppleganger. We managed to run out the end of the game before Coppelius could start doing too much damage to me, and I won this one 10-4. Noah made the one big mistake with killing the Depleted and triggering the death of his Stitched, so no reactivation shenanigans, but Dreamer crews are complicated and I think he did a pretty impressive job.

                Round 3, on 2 wins, saw me go up to the top table to play this “Jon Goulbourne” fellow, who I had vaguely heard of previously. Earlier in the tournament I had told him about the Lillith defense list, to which he responded “Well I hope we don’t play each other, since I know what you’re doing now.” So, of course, this was happening. He brought in Jacob Lynch, who is Jon’s typical tournament master. He was using Rising Sun Huggy, Terracotta Warrior, Sensei Yu, some 10 thunders brothers, Sidir Archibal with Promises and Recalled Training, and an Oiran. We were playing Squatter’s Rights on Flank deployment, with my taking Leave Your Mark and Undercover Entourage (Lillith) for schemes. I brought in Lillith with Beckon and Wings, Hooded Rider, Doppelganger, 2x SIllurids, and 2x Insidious Madnesses. Because we play each other all the time and have similar thought processes, Jon was on the same schemes, this time with Sensei Yu doing the Entourage. My plan was to use Sillurids and Madnesses to try and go grab the outer squat markers while the sillurids hopped to the back to go drop Leave Your Mark tokens. They were opposed by Ten Thunders Bros who were going to try and move the Insidious Madnesses. I screwed up placement on the bottom squatter marker, allowing the Ten Thunders Bro to ignore the Madness entirely and just hop over him with dance of the heavens, flipping the marker and blocking me from taking it. The other sillurid and madness fell victim to Sidir’s Recalled Training machine gun fire, which is horrific if you’ve never faced it before. On top of that, I poked the Hooded Rider’s nose out too early and nearly got him killed from Lynch and Huggy, who were hindered by Wicked Vines and Trees but not completely blocked since Yu could remove the Rooted condition from them. Things were getting a little rough, is what I’m saying, and I may have lost my temper and broken the frames of my newly purchased leopard spot glasses dropping them on the table in frustration at the end of turn 2.

Pictured: How not to defend a Squat Marker from your opponent's 10T Brother.

                And then it started to turn. Some lucky flips on Turn 3 and key tree placement managed to flip squat markers so I could at least score off the strat and keep Lillith from drying in retaliation from the enemy. The Doppleganger in the meantime was causing trouble for the enemy, making Huggy come kill him while flipping squats and generally being a nuisance. The surviving Sillurid was frantically dropping scheme markers for Leave your Mark, and the Hooded Rider redirected to one of the enemy’s Ten Thunders Bros, parking on his Leave Your Mark Marker turn 3 and eating it Turn 4 to heal himself using Malifaux Provides. This gave him enough wounds to slide up to the now undefended right squat marker, flipping it for our team and letting us resume scoring for the strat before he was punched to death by the Terracotta Warrior (btw, they do a surprising amount of damage). Lillith, meanwhile, spent the end of the game allowing herself to be lured towards the enemy deployment zone by an Oiran. Huggy chased her down and managed to get her engaged Turn 4, but on Turn 5 I rooted him, used Tangled Shadows to jump into base to base with the Oiran (leaving Huggy’s melee range) and then maul the Oiran to keep myself safely at full wounds. I knew Sensei Yu couldn’t come back to unroot Huggy, as he was going to need to sprint for MY deployment zone for Jon’s Entourage. And, in the end, the Sillurid managed to get enough scheme markers dropped and picked up over the last set of turns without getting shot to death by Sidir, allowing the game to finish in a 9-9 tie.

Artists rendition of the end of the game.

                With my greater differential, I managed to take down 1st place in the tournament and, fittingly, won myself an alternate Barbaros model (I have a metal Lillith boxed set, so I did not own a Barbaros. I was thoroughly pleased with this.) Additionally, my Mr. Graves won the painting competition! I’ve never won a painting competition before! So, yeah, it was a damned good day of Malifaux in a very cool store. What more could you ask for? 


                Finally, don't forget the NRVFaux tournament, coming up in a little under 2 months time. It's a 50ss Gaining Grounds tourney with door prizes, con credit as bonus prize support with retailers at the show, and the standard Wyrd prize support. Come on down and check it out and, if you're coming, feel free to sign up through our tournament's Bag o' Tools page

Friday, February 17, 2017

Did the Guild Get Screwed With Gaining Grounds 2017?

Yeah, that’s right. I know how to do Click-bait titles too. Buzzfeed’s got nothing on me.

In today’s post, we’ll take a look at a conversation I had at my last tournament, suggesting that the Guild may have a rough road ahead of them in the coming year. Also, we’re announcing Malifaux Musing’s first official sponsored tournament, here in lovely Blacksburg, VA. But first, some mini-musings…


1)      The global Through the Breach event is kicking off this week! Fatemasters sign up through the website and receive access to a hidden forum, wherein the files for the game are posted and discussions can be had. For those unfamiliar with how these work, you’ll be given pre-generated characters and will play through storylines that other players are using worldwide. The characters include some gems like an artist who was “recruited” to join Professor Von Stuck’s University Transmortis, a drunken Guild Guardsman, and a construct who may have some connection to a certain puppetmaster…  Factions score points based on which characters are played the most as well as the Fatemaster's choice of a bonus point. Part 1 features the Fated working with an inventor in Malifaux city to construct a device to recreate the breaches generated by Cultists of the Burning Man, searching the city for parts and getting into some scrapes along the way. Jump in!

2)      The February Chronicles magazine is available atDriveThru RPG. Articles feature a guide to starting Neverborn on a budget, an introduction to a new Wyrd employee, a Through the Breach adventure in which characters journey into the spirit world, and a Malifaux Slasher Scenario called “Cabin in the Woods,” that sounds pretty cool!

3)      A new(ish) tool has been made available for tracking Malifaux games, called Logfaux. It’ll be useful for keeping track of your individual statistics over time, as well as giving a view of changes to the worldwide meta as a whole. Give them a look!


                Now, clickbait headlines aside, what am I on about this week? Well, going into the second round of the tournament at Fantasy Underground, there was a certain amount of debate as to what sort of crew would be best suited to complete the scenario. It was Stake a Claim, with a scheme pool full of things that required us to drop markers all over the board. I was playing Guild Mccabe, and the guy I was playing against was complaining that he had Gremlins and had hoped to play against the Guild so he could out-activate and out-scheme marker me around the board. And, as we conversed, we mentioned that this round of schemes was actually kind of rough on the Guild in general, and I was inclined initially to agree. Frame for Murder being a suited scheme is ROUGH on a faction that generally does their work at the end of a sword or the barrel of a gun, especially when one of that faction’s calling cards is their bad-ass henchmen. That, plus a general perception of there being more scheme marker-ness in this set created a hypothesis and, like any good scientist, I wanted to investigate.

                Before we get to the results, let’s start with a brief discussion of my methods. If I’m going to break this down quantitatively, I have to have some baseline assumptions. First, I have to assume that, for the purposes of this exercise, schemes that encourage killing are good for the Guild, while schemes that penalize killing and/or require fast movement AND a large amount of scheme marker placement are not good for a typical Guild crew. Is this a dramatic over-generalization? Yes. Obviously. Since getting past Book 1, Guild have had their own scheme runners, and masters like Hoffman and Nellie have no problem using nasty enforcers like the Peacekeeper and handing out their own AP to them as a way of at least denying the opponent one or two points from Frame. But, we have to start from somewhere, and I wanted to basically play to the stereotypical "Hulk Smash" style Guild Crew. Second, I have to be the one to arbitrarily determine which schemes are “Good” versus “Bad” for a typical Guild crew. Are Dig their Graves or Marked for Death good schemes for them? I had to make a judgement call for this. They do involve killing, but they also involve interact actions. As such, I broke them down to a score of “1” for good schemes, “-1” for bad schemes, and “0” for those that I didn’t rate as being particularly good or bad. These ratings are entirely arbitrary, and I have no doubt that others would disagree with some of my choices. The spreadsheet is on Google Drive here, so you can go look and tell me how wrong I am. Last but not least, I multiplied this by the odds of having any of these schemes come up in the average scheme pool. I’m not a statistician, but I think I remember enough from my undergrad stats class (it was only 1 decade ago guys, so not that long) that I did that part right. Again, would not be shocked if I was incorrect about some or all of this. I calculated the sum and mean probabilities, and that gives me my rough number. Which cannot be argued with, so don’t even try, because my logic is ironclad and inescapable.

                So what do the numbers tell us? Well, the change isn’t as significant as I may have thought, but there is a definite shift which is not in the Guild’s favor. The biggest changes, unsurprisingly, are in the suited schemes. I counted Dig Their Graves as one that was in their favor since it involved killing and models like Phiona Gage makes them relatively doable, though if I counted them as neutral that would have made things even worse. The change from Show of Force to Frame for Murder is probably the biggest swing, as I consider Show to be in their favor, now that they have Debt and Numb to allow for some strong upgrades that will stay attached, unlike traditional universal upgrades from the other factions like Oathkeeper and Recalled Training that have to be discarded to take effect. The differences are offset slightly by the Doubles scheme shifting from Take Prisoner (neutral) changing to Eliminate the Leadership (good.) But, that change of two “good” suited schemes to two “bad” suited schemes is tough to overcome, as we'll see shortly.

                In the numbered schemes, 2016 GG had 3 that I considered “good” versus 5 “bad.” By comparison, in 2017 the ratio shifts to 5-3. Normally, one would think that would also help to offset things. The problem is, however, that there are only 4 of each numbered card in a deck, versus 13 of each suit. As such, a good or bad scheme here only contributes about + or - .15 to the sum probability, as compared to almost a full .5 for a suited scheme. Thus, it would take having 5 good numbered schemes to offset one suited bad scheme. Therefore, while I included them, they don’t make THAT much of a difference. Still, it’s a little something to help salve the pain, at least.

                How much of a difference did this new scheme pool end up making? Well, if we look at the sums, the total changes from -.81 in 2016 to -1.05 for 2017. This seems significant. The mean probability per scheme, however, doesn’t change that much (only a drop of .01 total.) This backs up our assertion above that, while there hasn't been a significant change in the NUMBER of positive versus negative schemes, the locations of those changes on the table make a big difference for the faction. 

                So what does this mean? I honestly expected that there would be no significant difference (that’s usually how these things work out.) However, I think there is a legitimate case to be made that the “typical” Guild crew (Kill ‘em All and let the Governor sort ‘em out) will struggle in Gaining Grounds 2017 more than it did in 2016. Admittedly, what this analysis doesn’t factor in is the fact that use of force in the game has a quality all its own that can’t be reflected in the math, namely the ability to block your opponent from scoring VP by, you know, blowing them the hell up. Still, I think it would be in the best interests of many Guild players who are looking to rack up as many VPs as possible to think outside the “typical” box and build crews that can run schemes. Look at Reporters, Hounds, or Watchers specifically to fill these jobs, and look for those badass enforcers to do the heavy lifting/killing of your crew. It’s going to be painful to bench Franc/Phiona/Ryle, but with Frame in the scheme pools almost every other game, they’re going to give those points up an awful lot. At least when the Peacekeeper kills your opponent’s Chump, you’ll only give up 2.


                Finally, I’d like to announce the tournament I’m hosting in late April, NRVFaux. It’s a standard 50ss Gaining Grounds 2017 tournament hosted as part of a regional convention (NRVCon) that is put on by my FGL, Fun-N-Games hobbies. It will be held April 22nd, with registration starting at 9AM and the tournament kicking off at 10. In addition to the standard tournament prizes, I’ve modeled the prize support plan off of the Southeastern Malifaux group plan I’ve seen at tournaments put on by Chris Bellamy and the always Sassy Dawn McCormack. As such, there will be raffle tickets distributed for each round you’re playing a fully painted crew that can be used to enter drawings for extra prize support after the games are finished. We’ll also have a sportsmanship award, and the usual Guilders and Mystery boxes for first and second place. Additionally, the tournament organizers are kicking in some Con-Cash, good for purchasing loot from the vendors at the convention, based on the number of attendees! I’m hoping for a nice turn-out, and if you make your way to the tournament you can even meet your favorite bloggers, Adam and Jon, in person! So come on out! And be sure to come back for our next click-bait article, “Why Donald Trump Thinks All True Americans Play Neverborn!” 

Monday, February 6, 2017

Malifaux at the Underground, 1/28th Tournament Report


-Information for how to join the Through the Breach worldwide event: A Stitch In Time, is the subject of this week's Monday Preview. There's a sign-up sheet linked on the page where you put in your name, email, and forum name in exchange for access to the forum where the files, including the pregen characters required for the campaign, are located. Fatemasters should sign up by February 26th at the latest, but the first part of the adventure goes up on the 13th (just in time for some Valentine's day gaming?) And, it contains a render of the character which won the first Nythera event, Dr. Alexei Sokolov of the Aracanists. My player tended to use his overdrive ability to pick up tables and throw them, though, but I don't know how well he can pull that off with those big swords...
Everyone's favorite French-speaking Russian


Last Saturday, Jon and I traveled south into the wilds of High Point, NC for a another tournament in the Southeastern Malifaux group, this one organized by Chris Bellamy. It was more of the standard 50SS fixed faction fair, and I posted previously about some thought experiments I did in advance as tournament prep. I was planning on running McCabe the whole time, as I have an affinity for masters that are more the point guard for their crew rather than the one scoring all the points. I’d played a couple of practice games to learn his nuances, at least as well as I could, and decided to put what I’d learned to the test.

Gaming Undergound is a gaming center similar to my old store Gauntlet Games in Lincoln, Nebraska. The store has some inventory inside, but the majority of the space is dedicated to playing areas. They also have a pretty expansive web store where I would imagine they do the majority of their sales, but it was cool to not have the whole tournament crammed in a corner like you get with some venues. Food was available all around the store, and they had a system set up to allow you to see the round timers on screens throughout. Very handy.

You know nothing, Lucas McCabe...

The first round was Headhunter and close deployment, so I immediately thought “Executioner.” His 0ss upgrade is supposed to have fixed some of the speed issues that have plagued the model since its release, and I’d had some success with it in a test game with Jon online. The scheme pool was Claim Jump, Frame for Murder, Accusation!, Mark for Death, and Last Stand. I came in with:

Mccabe with badge, saber, and promises,
Peacekeeper with Debt to the Guild (how does a Peacekeeper go into debt?)
Executioner w/ Ready to work
Brutal Effigy
2x Guild Hounds

                The enemy crew was Ulix with Old Major, Lenny, Gracie, a Slop Hauler, and some piglets. There were upgrades involved, I’m sure, but I couldn’t tell you which other than Corn Husks. The main thrust of this game was a two-front battle, his Ulix-Lenny-Gracie unit backed up with a slop hauler versus Mccabe, the Executioner, the Hunter, and my hounds; and my Peacekeeper and Effigy versus his Old Major and some piglets. The former battle didn’t work out the way I was hoping, to put it nicely. He tried to tie up the initial charge of the Executioner, but I got out and threw Fat Wolverine into the enemy to cause trouble and die gloriously for the good of the Guild. He…accomplished the second part. I had thought that, since Gracie was sort of the enabler/muscle of that team, that the right move would be to try and take her down quickly. This was incorrect. Gracie with Lenny standing next to her is a wall of armor that even the big guy couldn’t get through, and he basically bounced off and got eaten for his trouble (though he did manage to milk 2 stones and 2 cards out of the enemy while he was at it.) Making matters worse, Gracie’s an enforcer, so only 2 points from Frame. Meanwhile, the Hunter was trying to move around behind the action and murder the slop hauler, but didn’t get this done either, and the slop hauler was busy the first several turns throwing buckets at him and/or picking up heads off the ground (ironically, never doing the thing he was hired to do, heal people.)
                On the second front things were going slightly better, but only slightly. A peacekeeper is more than a match for Old Major, even when the idiot playing it keeps forgetting to hold a card in hand to keep from giving him reactivate. Some of the heads I managed to pick up in the game came from there, while the others were from piglets that sprinted off into the main fight to muck things up. Unfortunately, the corn husks made it so the enemy piglets could score claim jump three times before I could stop them, and in the main scrum we realized that the trouble with Mccabe and Marked for Death is, you know, he can be scored twice. Eff. So, we both got 4 off the strat, but I missed two scheme points for Mark and Frame while he maxed out, and I lost 8-10. Not a great start, though I was at least happy with the points my side managed to put together. Lessons learned: Executioner is still going to struggle in a lot of games, even with his new upgrade, and if Lenny is on the board he is important to the other side. There’s a reason he got nerfed, and he needs to die.

                Round 2 was standard deployment stake a claim on an Asian themed board. Fittingly for the terrain, I was throwing McCabe into a fight with Rezzer Yan Lo. Big trouble in Little Malifaux, indeed. The pool had Accusation!, Leave Your Mark, Hunting Party, Claim Jump, and Search the Ruins. So, basically, how many fast AP can you squeeze in your list? Prior to this, some other players and I had discussed how some of them had wanted to be matched up against Guild this round, as it was believed that they would not be able to do enough interactions. My response, "Oh yeah? Hold my beer..."

Mccabe-Badge of Speed, Glowing Saber, Plant Evidence
Master Queeg-Promises and Plant Evidence
Brutal Effigy
Guild Hound
Guild Hound

                The opponent was bringing in Yan, Izamu, Toshiro, Soul Porter, 2xNecropunks, a Komainu, and a Crooligan. It was pretty obvious we were going to be trying to sprint for markers, and I was going to need to use my minions to hunt down his before they could start scoring. I was confident, however, that I could use my hounds to score while doing this. That didn’t quite end up being the case, though. We spent the first turn basically waving at each other as we walked past, since we were deployed on opposite flanks and both seemed content to focus on scoring the objectives early. I juiced up the super dog with the badge and reactivate, counting on him to go get the first squat markers down. However, the dog soon found himself engaged with an enemy Komainu that slowed that process down, and I actually fell behind early. I was helped out by Luna charging into an enemy Necropunk on my side, dropping him, and then reactivating to move up field and eventually burn up his claim marker and replace it with one of mine just over the center line. The combat portion of this game was really won through a combination of the Hunter attacking a model before its turn, and then a reactivating saber-wielding Promises-buffed Warden coming in to mop up. That was scary good, and ended with him taking down Izamu, the Komainu, and a good chunk of Toshiro more-or-less solo. Another MVP vote goes to my second, non-super hound who spent the last half of the game blocking two scheme markers from scoring for Claim Jump all by himself. In the end, a combination of McCabe dashing back and forth like his hair was on fire and lobbing upgrades, some decent strategy on my part, and a fair amount of bad luck for my opponent’s flips managed to carry the day for my side, and we won 6-4.

The cards you see are a Terrifying test with a - flip. You know, if you want a preview of how this game went.

                Round 3 featured the dreaded Corner Deployment Squatter’s Rights scenario. I was worried about this one going in, as the scheme pool had Frame for Murder and Neutralize the Leader, which are both bad for Guild McCabe. I tried to avoid some of this by staying away from killy Henchmen if I could help it and focusing on killing models with Enforcers. I was playing Rezzers, so I decided I’d better find room in there for a Warden to help with Terror tests, which ended up being even more important than I knew. My crew looked like this.

Mccabe-Badge, Saber
Peacekeeper-A Debt to the Guild
2x Hounds

                My opponent was bringing a fear based Seamus crew with the Hatter and Sinister Rep, Yin, Carrion Emmisary with a Conflux that didn’t really come into play as far as I could see, 2xCrooligans, a Hanged, and the Valedictorian. Show of Force is a pretty strong scheme for the Guild after book 4, as their universal upgrade (Debt) stays attached after you activate it, unlike Oathkeeper or some of the Arcanist stuff. Seeing no upgrades on anyone besides Seamus and the 0 pointer on the Emmisary, I thought this was a strong bet. Then I put Frame on the super dog, as I figured his chance of living past turn 2 was pretty minimal.

                I was in trouble from deployment on this one, as my opponent stuck me with a corner that had a good third of its space filled by a building right in the middle, forcing me to split my crew (you can see it in the picture.) I also discovered that the trouble with the super-dog strategy is that, if you flip the middle marker and then one on the outside, the opponent can just walk up and flip the middle one back next turn. Doh. Really, I made a lot of mistakes in this game, to the point that the only thing that could have saved me was if my fate deck was exceedingly kind. It was, in fact, not (again, I refer you to the picture.) Misplays like activating my Peacekeeper’s Debt to try and attack Yin when I was in view of the Hanged, so I would have to take Terrifying Tests all turn long rather than just on the first attack, were characteristic of how I played. And, to be fair, this enemy crew is a very effective, classic build for Seamus (though I was surprised there were no Belles. Apparently they were unneeded, though.)  Also, Yin couldn’t actually have Hard to Wound, obviously, but instead Mass of Viscera which is its own thing that the sabre doesn’t ignore. As such, I bogged down in melee in the middle, managed to hand free points to the opponent by killing their Frame target on turn 2 with my Hunter, and only had the Squat markers flipped for a couple of turns 3 and 4 before getting wiped off the board. Oh, and obviously the enemy chose the two schemes that I was afraid of going into this one, so he walked away with something like a 9-6 win (my Crewfaux didn’t save the final score.)

Obviously, I’d like to have done better than 1-2, but there were some take-aways I could pull from this experience. First of all, I had 20VPs scored in the tournament, which was the 5th overall in the pool. So, I wasn’t having problems scoring VPs, but rather keeping my opponent from scoring theirs. As such, I’m going to try and focus on playing defense in the future to work on my denial game. Second, I’m a little concerned for the Guild in Gaining Grounds 2017. It may just be this particular batch of scheme pools, but Frame for Murder being on a suit really hurts them. Also, I sort of feel like there are more scheme marker based schemes this time around than previously. I think I’m going to need to take a closer look at the math on this one, so look for a post on that coming at some point in the future. Moreover, it’s even worse for McCabe, as he’s sort of vulnerable to Marked for Death and really vulnerable to Neutralize the Leadership. That’s a lot of land mines in GG2017 I might have to watch for in the future when picking masters, and he’s definitely not one I’d recommend for a fixed master tournament. I did, however, have a really fun time playing him. I seem to like support masters quite a lot, so I might play some things along those lines in the future (I do like Hoffman…and many of my crews were basically Hoff crews with McCabe…hmmm…) And finally, I still had fun playing Malifaux despite getting my butt handed to me a couple of times. I’ve heard some advice given to an amateur golfer from a pro: You don’t play enough to get this mad when you do poorly. I think that definitely applies to me. Hopefully, I’ll be able to make it to some more events in the future and refine my skills, such as they are.