Thursday, August 11, 2011

Gencon 2011 - Master of Malifaux Round 4

Round 4 found me at the second table, with only 4 unbeaten players in the tournament. In first place was Bunniegodd (from the Wyrd Forums) with his Mohawk of Doom!!!

Followed by Dixon (The Pharoh) aka DarcXON (from the Wyrd forums) who got munched on by a Beholder earlier in the day:

PgBSamurai (Palmer) (from the Wyrd Forums) was close behind Dixon and was my opponent:

Strategy in this round was Shared Reconnoiter, and I knew Palmer was playing Neverborn. I had seen him pull out Dreamer earlier in the tournament, and also saw him pull out Nekima and a single Lilitu earlier. With that in mind, I chose to go Dreamer instead of my FILTH list. The FILTH list was working well for me, but it just was not a strong match vs Neverborn, especially with the chance Chompy hits the table.

That said, I pulled out my reliable Chompy list, specifically geared toward Reconnoiter.
The Dreamer -- 7 Cache
3 Daydreams [6ss]
Alp [3ss]
Alp [3ss]
Alp [3ss]
Coppelius [9ss]
Insidious Madness [4ss]
Stitched Together [5ss]
Stitched Together [5ss]
Across from me Palmer turned out the following list (I think):
Lilith, Mother of Monsters -- 6 Cache
Primordial Magic [2ss]
Lelu [7ss]
Lilitu [7ss]
Nekima, The Dark Sibling [13ss]
Terror Tot Nephilim [3ss]
Terror Tot Nephilim [3ss]
Terror Tot Nephilim [3ss]
Ouch. I will admit I was a bit surprised to not see Chompy as I was at least partially expecting a mirror match on this. Looking at his crew I had some choices to make on schemes. I had pre-picked some schemes prior to the tournament that I knew would work well with both crews I was planning to take, and also fit with a variety of strategies. Of those, I only had a couple left. I knew I was going with Breakthrough, as it compliments Reconnoiter without putting all my eggs in the proverbial one basket. Its also a pretty straight forward scheme with Dreamer. I scanned through the rest and decided I would go with Grudge. I looked at his crew and realized a couple things:
  • I cannot grudge the Tot, they will disappear when they grow and I lose out on Grudge
  • Grudge on the totem is not wise, as its too easy for him to just kill his own totem
  • Grudge on Nekima is not wise, as I need Chompy to take her down reliably in this list.
That left me with the two twins. I decided to Grudge Lilitu, as I planned to hop out and paralyze her anyway to avoid the lures. With my plan set, we got ready to start the game.

So, my schemes were Grudge (Lilitu) and Breakthrough, his were Kill Protege (Coppelius) and Reclaim Malifaux.

This is a good time to point out where my head was at in this round. I was not overly happy with my scheme, but had settled on using grudge. I knew that to have any chance at first place, I needed Dixon to beat Bunniegodd and I needed to get as many points as possible beating Palmer. Dixon was only at +12 for his differential, so I went into the game ahead of him on the first tie breaker.

In retrospect, some of these thoughts contribute to my loss overall. Again, purely in hindsight:
  1. Grudge was a really bad choice to take when the only melee hitters in my list were Coppelius and Chompy.
  2. During the game I kept doggedly pursuing grudge, instead of giving up one of my schemes for lost and focusing on the rest
  3. My list was good for reconnoiter, but knowing I was facing NB, this would have been a better list (which is another Chompy list I regularly play)
Neverborn Crew - 40 - Scrap
The Dreamer -- 6 Cache
3 Daydreams [6ss]
Coppelius [9ss]
Lelu [7ss]
Lilitu [7ss]
Stitched Together [5ss]
Stitched Together [5ss]

That said, lets get back to the game.

Our board was a fairly standard Terraclips set-up for the tournament, with a number of buildings, arched court-yards, and such scattered liberally around the table. I set-up behind a building in my deployment zone slightly back from the line. I was set-up to prime the Alp bomb and then bury to move down the table. He set-up on the line, in a straight line across the front of his deployment zone. He set Nekima in the middle, directly on the far side of an arched courtyard, directly across from my crew. We flipped initiative and I got first turn.

Seeing a list with Nekima as a lynch-pin, I knew I had to do something to her early to knock her down or slow her down. Knowing my opponent was at the top tables (so a high-caliber player) and a Neverborn player, I decided there was no need for subtlety. I activated Dreamer and 2 daydreams on companion and moved down the board. Using the Dreamer movement tricks I land Chompy within 1 inch of Nekima on the first activation, leaving Chompy with 1 Melee Expert and 1 AP left to use. The troubling factor at this point was I had to cheat 2 cards to get the casts off to do this.

I flipped my melee expert attack to be quickly reminded by Bunniegodd (it was so nice of him to watch out game , perhaps he was nervous?) "What about Irresistible?". Crap, we forgot that. I asked Palmer how he wanted to handle it, and we agreed to use the first card of the paired flip for the WP, then flip a new card for the attack. The first card passed, no worries, I discard it and flip a second card onto the paired. I believe he cheated higher to push the damage to a neg flip, but I still had a ram to trigger onslaught. Weak damage. I flip the irresistible for onslaught and have to cheat to pass (down to a hand of 3 cards, still holding an 11) and take attack #2. Paired flip, on damage, and another 2 damage. I move to my first AP, flip for irresistible, cheat again to pass (2 cards), he cheats up, I do not have a ram so I throw the 11 for "All Done" and stone to push for a higher total aiming for a straight flip. I flip a 1 or 2 and am still at a on the damage flip. Damn, I was only able to bring Nekima down half way, that's disappointing. I flip the first damage card and a Severe (I think it was a 12) comes up. Further disapointment (which Palmer felt with me... very cool opponent). I flip the second card for the and its the Red Joker. Damn, good luck finally. Palmer and I look at each other then I flip the additional card into the Red Joker. Another Severe (I think it was a 13). Nekima crumples to a 12 point hit and Chompy turns back into a little boy. Palmer is cool as ice with this, but I am pretty sure he was crying a little on the inside, I know I would have been.

The still-to-activate companioned daydream re-summons Chompy and puts him to sleep to pull dreamer back to my deployment zone, which I have to cheat my last card in my hand to accomplish. First activation of the game, I burn 6 cards and a soulstone, but get a kill on Nekima before he activated. I am willing to trade that.

The turn proceeds with him shifting forward and me continuing to prime my nightmares with Defensive Stance and such. At the end of the first turn, I try and bury everything with my last Daydream and fail to flip the necessary card. Very disappointing. At the end of the turn, Palmer has reclaimed 4 quadrants of the board, I have killed Nekima, and his Twins have shifted forward toward the middle of the board, separated a fair amount.

Turn 2, I draw my hand and have 1 decent card (something like a 10) and 5 cards fairly evenly split between 1's and 2's. I may have had a 3 in my hand, but I am not sure. Palmer gets initiative and activates Lilitu, moves around a bit, and lures Coppelius forward. I resist the double-take on the lure and activate Coppelius. Coppelius moves over to Lilitu, attacks and plucks out an eye. I figure I have the crow for the trigger now, so I should grab the eye and then attack on my second round to paralyze her. The Tot (the only living model around) does not run from the eye-plucking, I attack again, and fail my irresistible check. Lelu activates and charges Coppelius. Hits Coppelius, attacks with his Melee Expert and our flips leave him at a on his damage. He flips the first card and its a weak. Yay me! He flips his second card and its the Red Joker. In a wonderfully karmic play, he flips the additional damage card for the red joker and its another severe. Coppelius goes down in a pool of goo.

At this point the game gets incredibly intense. For the rest of round 2, through to round 4 (or 5) we have a back-and-forth running battle of my trying to maneuver to get melee attacks on Lilitu and him moving around the board to grab his reclaim malifaux. I spend 2 turns trying to take down Lilith with Alps and a stitched together before successfully taking her down. He whirlwinds and kills 2 alps before missing 1. (after becoming slow). It was an incredibly challenging game, fought tooth and nail throughout.

We come to the final activations of the final round and the board is as such:
  • Palmer has all 9 sections of the board reclaimed (2 points)
  • Palmer killed Coppelius (2 points)
  • From my side of the board:
    • He has Lilitu in the far right board quarter, near the center line of his deployment zone
    • He has 1 tot (wounded with 2 wounds remaining) on the back of the board, mid way across the far left of his deployment zone (I guesstimate ~8 inches from the tot on the right).
    • He has a tot mid-way to my deployment zone on the left.
    • He has nothing in my back right deployment zone
    • I have my stitched in my back right quarter (1 point)
    • I have the Insidious madness just over the line in my left hand board quarter.
    • I have dreamer, an Alp, and a day dream left to activate.
Basically I have 1 chance to pull this out.

I activate Dreamer and a Daydream on companion, buries the insidious madness and the alp, and passes. Dreamer decides he can fly, moves into the far left quarter, and summons all his friends (cheating to get all my friends). I put the Alp as far forward toward the Tot as possible, and the Madness back to contest the near left hand quarter. Alp activates (Palmer was out of activations) and charges the Tot, ending on the far board edge 1 inch away from the tot. Charge attack flips and I miss the tot with nothing in hand to cheat to hit. Game over.

If I had been able to hit the tot and get at least moderate damage, the damage plus the slow effect would have killed it and summoned another alp, which would have put 2 significant models in his deployment zone for my breakthrough and contested the far right quarter. The end of the game ended as follows:
  • Palmer:
    • Reclaim Malifaux (2 points)
    • Kill Protege (2 points)
    • Shared Reconnoiter (1 point)
  • Bill
    • Grudge (0 points)
    • Breakthrough (0 points)
    • Shared Reconnoiter (1 point)
For a 5/1 loss. My final record was:
  • 2 Win, 1 Loss, 1 Draw (7TP)
  • +12 Diff
  • 23vp
  • 9th place
It was an incredible day with some fantastic opponents. I would like to think I gave my opponents fun yet challenging games, and I hope I challenged Palmer, as he certainly challenged me. Everyone was fantastic and great sports. I went from a draw to the second to top table playing for 2nd place. Not too bad for a tournament showing in my book.

Next year I plan on winning.


  1. …so that's what Dixon looks like! Dude, you want to be careful that thing will have your arm!

    Just wanted to say thanks for this Master of Malifaux narrative Bill. I read today's post in tandem with listening to the latest GL podcast. Helped give a bigger picture and some context. The explanations and discussions about specific combos and tactics have been great and I find myself delving deeping into the possibilities beyond what is simply written on character cards. I'm finding this aspect of Malifaux very intriguing, bordering on addictive.

    Would love to see more of your painted models, maybe some battle reports (or video reports even?) between members of what seems to be a very talented pool of gamers you have locally, share some more of your/their insights into playing. It's great hearing about it but to see examples of it in a photo/video form would be fantastic. Just a thought.

  2. I'll second Malcontent, would love to hear more of your play groups discussions on Malifaux and how they play the game.  Battle reports or tactica discussions would be awesome.  Great showing at Gencon and look forward to meeting you in a few weeks.