Saturday, June 15, 2019

MuseonCon 2019 Tournament Report

No, I don't know why the logo is an orange. Don't ask. 

I've procrastinated long enough, so with some prompting (and light shaming) from 3rd Floor Wars' Criag Shipman, here is my breakdown of the MuseonCon M3E beta tournament, aka the Schemes and Stones open. It was hosted a few weeks ago in Des Moines, and I believe had somewhere between 22-24 people for the first day's tournament. Second day had more like 16, I think, as a large contingent had done an iron-man drive from Minnesota and had then returned the same day to avoid paying for a hotel. Still, to our knowledge this was the largest M3E tournament so far. 

I entered having not really played much Malifaux since the early M3E alpha/closed beta. My main goal was thus to learn as much as I could about my faction for the coming year (Ten Thunders) and this new version of Malifaux in general. 

Note: I took lots of pictures of the boards from these games. Then the SD card in my phone died. So yeah, that sucks. Sorry for the image light post. 

Day 1

Round 1

Deployment: Corner
Strategy: Reckoning
·Detonate Charges (1)
·Hold Up Their Forces (6)
·Take Prisoner (7)
·Power Ritual (8)
·Deliver a Message (11)

            I wanted to try a Jacob Lynch crew to see how it worked in M3E, as I had played versions of it earlier in the testing but hadn’t touched him in a while. My opponent and I played on a cool barroom board that Kyle had brought. He brought Guild-Lady Justice. My plan was to get into position to try and apply the Illuminated and the Shadow Emissary’s Shockwave abilities to attack the opponent’s hand while I was manipulating mine with Rig the Deck. Also, if you Rig a card on top of the deck before you perform a simple duel, you can be sure that it goes off without having to use one from your hand. I thought it made sense, and I thought that, since I knew Lady J would be in my face ASAP, so Detonate and Deliver a Message seemed like good ideas. I was partially right, about the Lady J in my face thing. What I had underestimated was the abilities of models like the Lone Marshal to shoot off the aforementioned Illuminated while you try to bring them up into position (they seem a bit softer than in last edition), the amount of healing Lady Justice and her crew can bring now, and the relative ineffectiveness of Shockwaves. Maybe it’s a personal thing, but in the games I play I rarely see to see opponents fail simple duels. That’s why the whole “Terrifying is good at making your opponent lose cards,” thing has never washed for me. I like Rig the Deck as a mechanic, but the keyword ability on its own isn’t enough to win games of Malifaux. I need some tips to learn how to play Lynch now, because right now I got nothing.

Round 2

Deployment:  Corner 
Strategy: Corrupted Idols
Scheme Pool
· Breakthrough (2)
· Dig Their Graves (5)
·Outflank (9)
· Claim Jump (12)
· Vendetta (13)

            Wanted some mobility for this game, so I looked towards McCabe. This round I was up against Leviticus, played by Daniel. He referred to this strategy as “Kickball,” which I thought was apt. Apparently this kickball has rocks in it or something, since it hurts you to kick it, but close enough. I used a Samurai, because I wanted to try and employ he and Sidir to protect the backfield with their machine guns. Hucksters would go forward to move the idols. I wanted to try a Ruffian out, despite the fact that I’m really not sure they’re worth their points. I also brought the Lone Swordsman, who I used for Vendetta against the Ashes and Dust in the enemy crew. The earlier part of the game worked out great, with a Huckster on my left flank bumping an idol forward and then moving into position to score Outflank. Lone swordsman darted in to score the first points on A+D then Mccabe rode in to pull him out and rescue him. The Samurai and Sidir had a grand time tossing artifacts back and forth between each other to hand out fast and then machine gun the heck out of things. At one point a fast Sidir killed A+D then machine gunned a prospector to death in one activation, which I enjoyed. Unfortunately, the this let the Dust Storm appear next to Lone Swordsman and kill him, preventing the second point from Vendetta. This did open up the amusing scene of Luna biting the Dust Storm and dragging it around the board with her trigger. The ruffian managed to do more damage to himself on the flanks shooting at an abomination than he did to the abom itself. Some deft maneuvering of models by the opponent pushed us to a tie at the end of turn 3. I was confident I could maneuver out of it t4, but then Kyle called time as we were getting ready to start. So that sucked. I lost my cool a little at this, and I felt like a jerk for that. Sorry again if you’re reading this, Daniel.

Round 3
Deployment: Flank 
Strategy: Turf War
Scheme Pool
·Detonate Charges (1)
· Breakthrough (2)
· Harness the Ley Lines (3)
· Dig Their Graves (5)
· Assassinate (10)

Wanted to try out all 3 masters I brought along with me, so I pulled Misaki. Didn’t bring much of her keyword models, but went big with Yasunori and the Emissary along with a samurai and some hucksters for Detonate. I played against Roman with Lucas Mccabe, who introduced me to the wonders of the M3E Tanuki, who is like Oprah Winnfrey for handing out Focus. Roman made an epic play using Mccabe’s new henchman, Desper Lareux, to bait my Yasunori into turning around and chasing him down by bluffing that he was going for Breakthrough, ensuring that the horseman was out of position for much of the rest of the game. I learned a lot from this game regarding proper placement of Misaki shadow markers, the epicness of the Shadow Emissary, how silly the Hucksters’ False Claim ability can get so long as you have an AP to waste somewhere else on the board to throw down a disposable scheme marker, and how to use Shang to cheat some extra movement for Misaki. I ended up losing again fairly handily, but felt I learned the most from this game of all I played this weekend. Roman’s a great guy, and I hope to have him contribute to Malifaux Musings at some point in the future (he writes the Versatile model reviews for Schemes and Stones’ blog.)

So with that I finished at an ignoble 0-2-1 for the first day. I did however get some cobblestone base inserts that will work well for some ideas I have for future crews, so not a complete loss.

Overnight, I decided the crew I’d had the most fun with was McCabe, so I decided on day 2 to go with him exclusively and try to hone in on how to best play him. Round 1 looked like this:

Deployment: Corner 
Strategy: Plant Explosives
Scheme Pool
· Harness the Ley Lines (3)
· Take Prisoner (7)
· Assassinate (10)
· Deliver the Message (11)
· Claim Jump (12)

I decided to try out this 2 masters business, as Misaki would make finishing the strat much simpler. Hucksters + Misaki + Mccabe’s speed should have made it academic. I was playing against Phiasco and his Yan Lo which, though fearsome in combat, is not overly mobile, so I knew I would have a maneuverability advantage. Also, we misread the start time and were about 15 minutes late, so I had a feeling we’d be stopping early, so I would need to grab all the points I could as fast as I could. I set about doing just that, hurling relics from Mccabe and Luna to hand out fast (with the assist of a trigger on the Huckster’s false claim to get an extra scrap marker for them to use.) Most of the game boiled down to me trying to dance around, drop bombs, and drop scheme markers on the center line for Harness. Mccabe and Yan Lo delivered messages to each other on turn 2, which is always amusing. Mccabe picked up the Whispering artifact and then dropped into tanking position, which I think is a pretty strong choice to keep in mind for future games. In the end my proactive strategy payed off, as we didn’t get through t3 and I ended up winning accordingly. First win of the weekend!

Deployment: Standard
Strategy: Turf War
Scheme Pool
·Breakthrough (2)
·Hold Up Their Forces (6)
·Power Ritual (8)
·Outflank (9)
·Assassinate (10)

Not having listened to the Schemes and Stones post-Museoncon episode at this point, I still had it in my head that Turf War was a scheme-y strategy rather than one that’s essentially Reckoning but more spread out. I went with a Desper and two Hucksters list therefore to go and do Outflank and penetrate deep into enemy territory to flip markers. My opponent was the winner of the Saturday tournament, Landon, using a Crossroads Seven! Arcanist crew led by Envy. Since Envy relies on Armor and doesn’t have much in the way of wounds, I thought I could probably use McCabe to try and drop him without too much fuss after giving him the bladed artifact. That part of the plan was executed relatively well, but I didn’t get enough damage down to actually kill him. I think I got a point from Outflank before Pride wrecked Desper and the Huckster that tried to follow in behind him. Pride is very good, and the CR7 are pretty solid as well. I think they can be beaten if you have effects like Lure to pull them apart from each other, and some of the pieces are more important than others (I think Pride, Sloth, and Envy are most important, Wrath and Gluttony are good, and the others are meh.) More Luna biting things nearly to death was another highlight, and I have a feeling a lot of people are going to get caught off guard by her. Ml 5 2/3/4 isn’t that impressive normally, but on a free totem that you can toss a bladed artifact to it could actually be fairly scary. Despite the loss had a very enjoyable game.

Deployment: Wedge
Strategy: Corrupted Idols
Scheme Pool
·Detonate Charges (1)
·Search the Ruins (4)
·Dig Their Graves (5)
·Outflank (9)
·Vendetta (13)

Played against Leviticus in Corrupted Idols. Hmm. Where have I heard this one before?

This time I was up against Brian “Schemes” Spence of Schemes and Stones fame. He was pretty tired and frustrated with his weekend, so he decided to YOLO Levi at the tip of his wedge with the free walk upgrade, sending him forward on T1 to get Sidir within range and blast him off the board first activation. I forgot to use stones to block the 2nd two attacks (the first one he triggered to prevent) so that was a screw up on my part. The rest of the way was just cold deck on my side of the board, hot deck on his, and well executed play on his part to step on my crew’s neck and not let up. The game was completely one-sided, to the point that Brian was apologizing by the end, which always feels great :P.

But, since we decided it was all over but the counting after T2, that gave me time to go spy on Landon and Shawn at the top table, where Zoraida was facing off with the Crossroads 7 for the tournament championship. Let me reiterate that: the championship game of the Sunday Museon Tournament was Zoraida vs. the Crossroads 7. If you needed a sign that M3E is going to be a brave new world, look no further. I didn’t catch a ton of details about Shawn’s Zoraida, though I did see the Voodoo doll kill one of the band members with pins. The Swampfiend’s stealth is pretty clutch in this new, more ranged combat friendly version of Malifaux. In the end, Mama Z took home the win and first place. I had scored a Lady Justice crew from someone for cheap, so I took some Domodores to go with her as a prize, and more importantly took home several new contacts in the area to contribute to Musings and a lot of new info to process for how to play M3E!

Sunday, June 9, 2019

How to Play Jacob Lynch in M3E - with guest bloggist Landon Sheehan

I'm still procrastinating on assembling my own tournament report from the Iowa tournament staple MuseonCon (also known as the Schemes and Stones Open) which occurred a couple weekends ago. In the meantime, however, I've begun reaching out to some of the luminaries of the Malifaux word to discuss crews in the M3E era. What better way to start than with the crew that won the 22 person tournament on Saturday? And the fact that it features my favorite crew in terms of theme in all of Malifaux, the folks from the Honeypot, is icing on the cake. Also, it means I get to dust off this old chestnut.

Keyword Models:

Jacob Lynch
Hungering Darkness
Gwynneth Maddox
Kitty Dumont
Mr. Graves
Mr. Tannen
The Depleted

Keyword Ability: 

Rig the Deck +X- Allows most models (not Hungering Darkness) to draw X cards off the top of the deck when they activate, and then place X cards from their hand back on top of the deck in any order. 

Without further time wasting on my part, take it away Landon!

How Does the Crew Work? 

For reference, the list I played all 3 rounds of MuseOn Day 1

Lynch, Huggy w Silent Protector, 2 Beckoners, 1 Illuminated, Mr Tannen 1 Shadow Emissary, 1 Kabuki Warrior. 6 stone cache.

In my style of play, Jacob Lynch is a kill-oriented crew which can either play aggressively turn one and two, or play for a later game by taking advantage of brilliance tokens. The early game version works by using beckoners and Tannen to move big beaters such as Huggy and the emissary up the board. These models have excellent damage tracks and triggers to tear apart a few key models on the first turn, and are tanky enough to cause a lot of disruption on subsequent turns as enemies try to deal with them while slowed, engaged or both. The key is to use stones appropriately to keep Huggy alive while not wasting his large amounts of healing, and to take advantage of the emissary’s place trigger or Huggy’s obey to move dangerous models out of position after you have crashed into them.

If you decide to play a longer game, Huggy will usually be using obey to place tokens/disrupt your opponent until you build enough tokens to kill their most dangerous pieces with Lynch’s nuke. The Kabuki Warrior is most helpful for this style, as the – to WP lets you place tokens and land the nuke much easier.

How Has the Crew/Keyword Changed Since M2E?

In M2E Lynch lacked excellent options for mobility, and beckoners were extremely overcosted. In addition, the crew was much easier to kill. Now with beckoners being much cheaper it is much easier to move your own pieces around. The tradeoff is lures have much lower stats so it’s harder to use them to move your opponents out of position. Additionally, the card filtering mechanic of rig the deck is new to M3E, and gives lynch a quality over quantity of cards approach to card advantage, whereas before you were usually drawing aces to improve your hand.

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

Huggy, who is your totem, is a key piece. He can either put out tokens or consume them for +flips, healing, and slows. Beckoners allow you to place brilliance tokens before the game even begins, which lets your t1 and t2 with Huggy be incredibly aggressive. I take an illuminated model because the 2” shockwave is quite helpful for softening their hand as well as being another activation to rig the deck with brillshaper to throw away a dead card. Tannen is key to your survivability, as his auras can all but disable melee beaters trying to attack your models as they have to pass 2 simple duels which cost double to cheat before they even try to attack a terrifying model.

Rate the Keyword 

-Killing Power


The crew that I run has incredible output when the lowest damage model is essentially your ‘min 2’ beckoners. I say min 2 because they have a trigger built in to put out a brilliance token, which in combination with other models essentially adds one to two points of damage to the attack. After your 2 beckoners everything is either min 3 or potentially min 3 with +flips. I rate it lower than 14 because it lacks consistent ranged damage, and a lot of the killing power comes from the card manipulation mentioned later which allows you to land your hits.



 Terrifying or –flips on all of your important models makes it very hard to kill this crew, especially if you are in Tannen’s bubble. I would push this mark higher if you know you are against a crew with lots of melee and lower if you are against a crew of near exclusively ranged attacks. Ruthless and +flip ranged attacks get through a lot of this crew’s defensive capabilities but they won’t fold immediately if this is the case.



 I rate them slightly above average in this department for the list that I run. He’s no McCabe (although I would certainly consider hiring some of his models in this crew out of keyword) but beckoners and Tannen help you maneuver enough that you shouldn’t have any problems getting your schemes done.

Card Manipulation


This needs little explanation, but with rig the deck and the emissary you will regularly cheat or flip 4-6 severe cards a turn at exactly the right time. Including your starting 6 cards, you will see a total of 19 cards a turn without spending soulstones. That’s over a third of your deck.

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

Ignoring Huggy and Lynch, Mr Tannen is both the MVP and the LVP depending on the game. If you can position Mr Tannen correctly such that he does not get charged/shot off the board he makes your opponent’s turn near impossible within his 6” bubble. His df 4 6 wounds however can easily make him a wasted model if you let him get shot off the board, and with walk of 4” he sometimes gets left behind if you are playing aggressively.

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

I routinely take silent protector on either Huggy or the illuminated. HTK gives both of these models a ridiculous amount of survivability with their built-in healing. Sometimes it goes on the illuminated because the minion clause for the upgrade lets it take the hit for other models which can be relevant if something like vendetta or assassinate is in the pool.

The upgrade for stealth should not be overlooked as a potential take on either Tannen, Lynch, or both depending on the pool and matchup .

I always take the Emissary. His 0 to pitch your hand for a new 6 when your hand is garbage can be used either early in the turn as an alternative to stoning for cards or later after you’ve used rig the deck to place your high cards on top of your deck. That in addition to his high mobility, survivability, and min 3 damage track synergizes well with the keyword. (Editor's note: sometimes in the Honeypot Casino, the dragon chases you!)

Lastly I would mention kabuki warrior as an out of keyword hire which often makes it into my list. The –wp aura makes it very difficult to hit terrifying models and near impossible to avoid lynch’s nuke. When you don’t need or want the aura walk 6 and new horizons make him a better than average scheme runner or denier. And Min 3 helps him kill whatever gets in his way.

Thanks again to Landon for contributing. You can look forward to future articles of this type discussing Lady Justice, Kirai, and many others. I really appreciate everyone who is helping out with these. I'm aware of the fact that I'm...ok at Malifaux, but not an expert in the competitive realm by any means.