My local game shop earlier last week started a casual tournament Slow Grow: "GrowFaux", rules being that you could only enter with a master you've played less than 3 times beforehand.
This gave me a choice, as your humble writer loves a Slow Grow. I could either assemble a scissor welding spirit herder as now Kirai's summons are actually trickling out, stay with Arcanists and try out herding beasts instead with Marcus or go plain budget and stick with the, until now, un-assembled Misaki. As Xmas kicks the butt of all people great and small, I decided to stick with what I had and ran the Lady of the Thunder.
My experience with Misaki has been mostly watching my girlfriend play her and having a couple of matches between ourselves. She always seemed to be either safely scheme running in the background or bouncing off models to get to where she needed to be so I wrote her off as "Fast melee scheme runner". I then once got ruined by Misaki in a Squatter's Rights game where the guy I was facing was being a whole hellova lot more aggressive and planted Mei Feng into the ground whilst a Dawn Serpent went around snacking on Metal Garmin and healing to full each turn. Both styles work but that game always stuck with me.
The first game appeared tailored to show just how many options Malifaux has in terms of winning Vp:
A Line in the Sand
Deliver a Message
A bit of killy, a bit of interact and the standard getting to a place a slapping down a marker.
Luckily for me, my first game was against a first time Rasputina player. My opponent has been playing since 1st edition and has basically every master, he had great trouble actually finding a master he hadn't played less than 3 games of but Rasputina fit the bill. With prior knowledge of the Snow Queen being opposite me I built a list that contained some anti-casting tech:
Komainu I have already stated how useful they are, having them as a summon and general pest in Yan Lo worked out great and their Wp attacking slow triggering is plain nice. What I took them for this game was for their "Guard the Soul" action allowing them to make free Melee attacks to anyone casting within 6" of the dog. With most Frozen Hearts and Arcanists in general having Ca actions, I thought it was a good pick for some board control.
Next up, Dawn Serpent who I borrowed and wow, Wk6 Flight, Ml7 in Melee and range, decent damage spread. I took him for Counterspell but the Serpent is so much more. What I found out later as well was with half of my own list having Ca actions, Dawn Serpent had what I affectionately call Regen All. Having that many casters surround him ensured that even if it took damage, it was back up to full health next activation. Sweet.
With the limited soulstone pool I decided to play it safe and chose a Torakage, Shang for hand filtering and Misaki with Stalking Bisento has her sole upgrade. 5 activations and 2 soulstone cache I felt was best for such a low stone game and knowing what Rasputina can throw out, I was prepared for a showdown. A Snow-down if you will...
My opponent played a strange list but I could see where he was coming from. Rasputina had Armor of December (because it's the law) Child of December and Sub Zero, a Coryphee, Ice Garmin, Performer and Willie. I forgot to ask him the reason for his choices but in my own mind, Coryphee was for speed, Garmin for damage buffs and slow, Performer to drag Raspy along and lure someone for message delivering and Willie because... Willie.
I chose Breakthrough revealed because why not and Deliver a message. Why I chose Deliver a message is beyond me but obviously I thought Komainu was going to be near 'Tina at some point and use his teleporting zero. My opponent revealed Deliver a message and nothing else so I assumed Assassinate as Coryphee was the only combat model that could score full on Vendetta.
I started the game stalking Willie and through a combined effort of double walks and lures from both parties, I ended the first turn nose to nose with Performer and the demo man. Somehow I got initiative and went Assassinate trigger crazy throwing out a bunch of damage and absolutely ruining his hand and soulstone pool. Willie dropped but I gambled the assassinate trigger over pushing away with the Performer and my opponent discarded his last two cards to prevent death. Next activation: Deliver a Message. Luckily, a combined effort of Komainu and Dawn Serpent took care of Coryphee and left my opponent with very little on the field for Turf War. I piled into the center with my remaining models and due to a Torakage being a pest and Dawn Serpent stopping easy Overwhelms going off it led the game into a 7-4 win to me.
A very unfair game as I had built my list tailored to beating Rasputina, I believe my opponent was unaware of the sheer speed of Misaki and the amount of auto-focus attacks she can throw out on stalked models. With Shang on hand for emergency healing and having a god-darn DRAGON attacking his ranks in the mean time it meant his force of control pieces couldn't stand up to her in a fair fight. My hand was amazing which helped, cards not being used as I was Ml7 against Def5 or less combined with Rush of Magic allowing me to filter my hand meant despite the wholesome lack of stones, I was fairly confident that I had the defense available to be so aggressive.
It's hard to say in such a small game but I'm really enjoying Misaki's play style. Auto-focus on stalked targets is wonderful when you can throw out 4 attacks with threat of Assassinate to then leave combat last attack to bother someone else. Killing a performer with a (0) action Bisento to then charge over my own models in order to finish off a Coryphee is what lead to preventing my opponent from scoring Turf War, something none of my other masters could do so easily.
I don't know what my next game will bring but hopefully Misaki gets to shine again. Remember, when in doubt, use a dragon and have fun out there.