Thursday, September 16, 2010

Malifaux Battle Report

The other night was my "normal" Tuesday night gaming night, which has lately been entirely focused on Malifaux games. We had a smaller turn-out than normal last night, but thats bound to happen. I still got in an excellent and very close game against Tim and his 30SS Lilith crew.

First lets talk about Malifaux tables and how ours was set-up. I spent some time last night, prior to the gaming group rolling in, setting up 2 boards as a "test" for the upcoming Malifaux Tournament.  The first board was set-up as a western wasteland, full of cliffs and ravines to paly through. The other board was set-up as a small rustic village with a walled house (using the GW tavern set), a smaller house (armorcast), some ruins (warmachine Cryx mining set), some hand made ruins (LoTR ruins/arcane ruins) and 2 forest bases (GW Forests). This was added together with a couple walls to represent a small homestead out in the forested wilds around Malifaux city. This was the board Tim and I played on.

Lady Justice's Crew                          Lilith's Crew
Lady Justice                                       Lilith
Judge                                                 Primordial Magic
Executioner                                        Mature Nephilim
Austringer                                          Young Nephilim
2x Death Marshals                               3x Tots
7 Stones                                              7 Stones

We flipped a shared Strategy, "Contain Power" with the primary goal being to kill each-others masters. We both forgot to choose schemes, so this ended up being a down-and-dirty grudge match between Lilith and Justice. The game started out well, with "Standard Deployment" and I got to set-up and chose the side with the houses and ruins. This gave me room to hide my Austringer, and set-up a nice line out of the remaining crew, leaving myself some killing ground. Tim set-up on the far side of the forests, and we flipped for initiative.

I want to take a break at this point to mention a couple things. I have noticed that a strong starting hand can really kick the game off for Lady J and her crew. Being able to box Lady J on turn 1, then hold a decent set of cards in hand gives you a nice cushion to play into future turns. Lady J's crew does not have a quick way to cycle through cards, so being able to hold some high Rams for Critical Strikes, and some mid-range masks for the Judges Bullets and Blades helps a whole lot. I imagine having a couple high crows in hand for the executioner is just as helpful, to trigger decapitate. I like to add that holding high masks may be more helpful, as not only can this augment the judge, but can help trigger Lady J's onslaught by cheating out of hand. Without 2 or 3 of these cards, the game becomes a bit "touch-and-go" from my experience.

So, jumping back to the game, my starting hand was very average, with the only real highlights being a decent card to allow me to box Lady J, and a mid-range mask for the Judge to cast B&B. I grimaced a bit but proceeded forward hoping for the best.:day J went into the box, and the crew moved forward.

Overall the game turned into a fair blood-bath between the crew. Some of the highlights start with a scrum over one of the stone walls, with Judge, Executioner, Mature Nephilim, Young Nephilim, and a Tot all in combat. Executioner got the charge and landed a critical triggered blow on the Mature Nephilim. I had drawn the red-joker in hand and cheated this into the damage flip, dropping the clearing the mature off the board. Unfortunately, the black blood and swirling melee turns following left the executioner dying, and his slow to die strike on the Tot missed due to a timely cheat by Tim. No "Love the Job" returns for the executioner, and he left the game as the first guild casualty. Lilith and a Tot managed to meneuver around one house and make thier way into the combat, clearing out a marshal and the judge, with only Lilith leaving that combat. This left the newly unburied Lady J alone on the far side of the house, with no way to make it to Lilith. At the start of turn 4 the table was down to a stand off with the Guild having Lady J, 1 Death Marshal, and the Austringer facing Lilith and tot. The tot chased down the Austringer, who was unable to take him out before going down. Lilith took a red-joker damage shot from the death marshal, which left her hurt and at a soul-stone deficit vs Lady J. Due to earlier damage and healing flips Lady J burned, Lilith was at 2 stones vs J's 3 at that point.

This is where I started making mistakes. Lilith was able to take out the Death Marshal, Lady J took out the tot, and there were both masters facing each-other down approximately 8 inches apart. End of turn flip to see if the game goes on, and the flip pushes the game into another turn. J has 3 wounds remaining, Lilith has 2 or 3 wounds remaining and it comes down to initiative. I pull a full hand of 6 cards and end up with a range of 13 through 6, with a high mask that could be used to trigger riposte. Initiative is flipped and I flip low against Tim's 12. I lose my mind and burn a stone to try and flip a 13, instead flipping a 1 and still going last. Lilith charges, I flip for a defense and cheat "not my mask" then burn a stone to make the attack miss. Stupid move as I should have cheated the mask and made gone for the riposte instead of holding out for my turn. Soul-stone flip still does not make the attack miss, Lilith flips for dmage and the red-joker comes up. Game over Lady J.

Overall a great game, but I still need to work on making good tactical decisions on when to use my triggers, stones, and cheating the right cards.

So my final thoughts:

I really like this guy. His 5 soul-stone pricing is "just right" in my opinion, although some folk think he is under-costed by a point. He comes with a critical strike trigger which is nice, but requires a ram to go off which the Austringer does not come with. On the other hand, his Raptor has a CB of 7, which is very nice and fairly high for a non-master. Add to that the fact that the raptor does not need LOS to attack and he really works. His damage is not incredible, in fact its very average for Malifaux ranged weapons. He does have a 12 inch range attack however, which can be increased to 18 inches by spending (2) AP. He also has a cool ability called "deliver orders" that allows you to "pseudo-companion" another model within 24 inches. This is very situational with the crews I have run, but can be nice.

Lady Justice
I really like Lady J, and so far she is the only Master I have been playing with. After a series of games I am starting to get the hand of her tricks and how she works. She appears to be a very straight forward Master, and she probably is and I am just a slow learner or bad tactician! My expierience is really pointing to Lady J operating as an assassination model, being able to really destroy 1 opposing model before she goes down. Anything she does after taking out that first model is really a nice to have. To date I am fairly certain that barring a terrible draw, Lady J has the capability to murder (in 1 cycle of combat) and other single model in the game. The trick then becomes how do you get her to that key combat? This is where the Lday J in the box trick comes in.

In this combo a friendly Death Marshal starts in melee range of Lady J, and on the first turn he puts her in the coffin, burying her. At this point Lady J chooses to fail her will-power checks at the end of the turns, remaining buried until the Death Marshal is in position for her to jump out and whack something. In the awkward case where the Marshal dies first, or is taken off the table another way, Lady J jumps out before the Marshal goes away and hopefully is positioned to take advantage of this. The challenge to this combo is the required 8 of crows or better in hand on the draw.  Without that, be prepared to start moving your crew forward and positioning as tactically as possible.

Comments / Suggestions / critiques??


  1. One thing I've found great with Lady J is as long as you have her in cover she can edge her way closer to be able to charge. I know only use soul stones on defense for her which keeps her alive more often than others. Also it's easy to keep people away from her if you have a gun line of sorts to protect her.

    For your list I would keep the 2 Death Marshals and the judge staggered in front of her just close enough that there isn't a base width between them so Lady J can't be charged. Also keeping them close to walls or cover as Lady J doesn't need LOS to get a charge off.

    I've had her take out numerous figures after one initial charge since I could use the SS to save her from damage as well as cheating defense and then the next turn making sure she is the first one I am attacking with so others don't get at me first.

    Also for card cycling you might want to consider the Scales of Justice. I've been using them to keep in cover and then use their 0 action to toss a card and draw a new one. If you have it within 6" of Lady J you can activate it first and then use it's companion with her to have her activate after you have cycled a card and then have Lady J enter Combat.

    I still have to try the Austringer which is ordered but hasn't arrived but I'm going to be interested in seeing how he can fit in with my Crew.

    I think the main thing with Lady J is target priority and making sure she doesn't get caught up with something like a hoarcat pride when there are Razorspine Rattler's and Sabertooth Cerberus' around. I have 2 Arcanist players I play with who are learning what Lady J and The Judge can do to their beasts.

    Hopefully that puts some input for you! heh

  2. One thing you may want to try some day is using a couple Witchling Stalkers. They may not help against Lilith, but they help greatly against spell heavy crews.
    It's the one thing I like about the Guild, they seem to have a much better connection between their masters/minions than other factions.