Monday, 28 March 2016

The Immitation of the Sow

The first official tournament I attended this year was Boarfaux, hosted by Warboar's Paradise Bar. A fantastic venue and only really cramp because of the 30+ people that attended thus contributing to their biggest Malifaux event to date. Terrain was set up wonderfully and the T.O was clear, concise and kept players up to date with amount of time remaining. Everything you want in a tournament, casual or official.

I finished in the top ten, which is rather strange because I lost 3 games out of four... oh oh wait, had the results upside-down... I actually placed 26th. A result I'm pleased with as the talent and sportsmanship of players that attended was magnificent to say the least. It also highlighted that I need more games against the Viks and to actually study their threat range but more on that later.

I opted for Arcanists and brought with me Mei Feng and Rasputina. As usual Absolute Zero Sabrina took most of the limelight but Rail Walk Rihanna got a closing game in and played very well despite the disadvantages. Only knowing the opponent's faction means that I had to take into account that almost anything could be on the opposite side of the table, so I took the all-rounder in my stable unless Arcanist or Guild were sitting across from me.

Game 1 - Rasputina Vs Dreamer - 4-2 Loss

Standard Deployment - Guard the Stash
Convict Labour, Show of Force (Mine), Leave your Mark (Opp), Search the Ruins (Mine), A Quick Murder (Opp)

Announcing Neverborn in my meta normally means Pandy, Lily or Collodi. Lynch being mainly played Thunders together with Zoraida and Lucius being panned for being sub-par or plain boring. Imagine my surprise when Dreamer hit the table.
I've played against Dreamer exactly zero times but I know his card well enough and about his particular summoning/healing mechanic. It didn't really help in the long run but at least I wasn't clueless. As it was my first game I took: 

Rasputina w/ Armor of December, Child of December and Cold Nights (6 cache)
Joss w/ Imbued Energies
Snowstorm w/ Imbued Energies
Wendigo, Arcane Effigy, 2x Hoarcat Pride, Ice Garmin.

With a flying  summoning Dreamer and armor ignoring Teddy across from me, I knew I had a tough match ahead of me. My general plan was to have Wendigo and Raspy throw out walls to slow the advance of models drawing closer to the stash markers, if I obtain 1Vp over my opponent then all I needed was full points on schemes and I was set. Rasputina easily took Teddy down but failed to do anything of consequence for the rest of the match whilst Joss tanked hits admirably. Attempting to do the same with a Hoarcat Pride and Wendigo on the other stash marker simply wasn't working. The late game saw two damaged, reactivating Stitched Togethers Gambling for life 8 times total absolutely ruining the rest of my forces and closing the game. I scored nothing for Stash and 2Vp for Show of Force to my opponent's 2 Stash Vp and 2 Quick Murder Vp. It was brutal but at least it was a close game.

Game 2 - Rasputina vs Viks - 7-3 Loss

Flank Deployment - Squatters Rights
Convict Labour (Mine), Hunting Party (Both), Exhaust their Forces, Set Up, Undercover Entourage (Opp)

*NOTE: Not my game
If Outcasts are named, it's normally Viks, Levi or Daw. Knowing what Viks are like in competitive play, I assumed the Sisters were coming to play but for whatever reason this didn't click in my head and I failed to give the Sub Zero upgrade to anyone. Taking five damage to the face is slightly more tolerable when it ends the activation, prevents  Whirlwind and leaves a master that spent the turn buffed to the teeth in the clutches of frosty death. Sadly, as I don't use the upgrade nearly as much as I realistically should, I opted instead for:

Rasputina w/ Armor of December, Child of December, December's Pawn, Decoy (6 Cache)
Snowstorm w/ Imbued Protection, Decoy
Blessed of December w/ Killswitch
Wendigo, 2x Hoarcat Pride, Ronin

In hindsight, ditching the cats and Imbued Protection for a pair of Silent One and Sub Zero would have proven better in the long run but I have a weakness for the felines, something I need to plan a use for rather than starting every ARC list with "Two Hoarcat Prides with...".
The game started well enough, the Viks were being cagey for the early game which didn't help me out as my models were behind blocking terrain on brown alert waiting for the
impending beatdown. Wendigo and Hoarcat Pride took early Squat markers but then I just couldn't catch a break. Turn two my opponent brazenly puts the Viks out into the open on the last activation so turn 3 came down to Rasputina destoying her or the Viks killing Snowstorm and Ronin then tying up Rasputina. Initiative comes and he flips a face card....Kay.
I struggled for the rest of the game, the Blessed, bless her heart, failed to place enough markers for Convict Labour so tried to zero in on the Malifaux Child, needing only one hit to kill him scoring at least one point for Hunting Party, first attack wiffs and the second misses the trigger leaving the Child with wounds to spare. My opponent takes this time to walk Vik of Ashes over to my deployment and then uses the Malifaux Child to heal up to full with a top-decked 7 of Rams into a Red Joker heal. Blessed gets killed revealing Killswitch finishing off the child and at least scoring something. Final results, I only got 2 Squatter's Vp due to my crew being murderized, 1Vp for Hunting Party to my opponent's 3Vp in Squatters, 1Vp in Hunting Party (surprisingly) and full points for Entourage.

Game 3 - Rasputina vs Viks - 7-4 Win

Standard Deployment - Headhunter
Convict Labour, Take Prisoner (Opp, Silent One), Leave your Mark (Mine), Neutralize the Leader (Both), Public Demonstration

Outcasts again and again suspected the Viks and AGAIN didn't think Sub Zero was a good idea. With how much fun I found Blessed in the new Gaining Grounds schemes, I thought she would have the task of either backfield shenanigans or at least pick up some discarded heads. My list was as follows:

Rasputina w/ Arcane Reservoir, Armor of December, Child of December
Blessed of December w/ Imbued Energies
The Firestarter, Snowstorm, Silent One, Hoarcat Pride, Wendigo

With how often the Viks fail to kill important targets in one swing (which I say is outright strange) some healing was in order and after the beating I took last game, I thought it prudent to at least give the Viks a means to get distracted by some terrain hopping firethrower guy alongside a spattering of Silent One healing. In that beloved hindsight, I could have taken almost ANYONE ELSE instead of a Hoarcat Pride and Wendigo as they did nothing this game. The game once again started cagey as I was hiding and my opponent was hiding whilst getting into range. Blessed leapt up the board to start leaving marks everywhere whilst I was hoping and failing to bait out one of the sisters with a tasty hoarcat. The reckless Firestarter jumped out, gave the Vik of Blood Burning +4 then dived back behind cover only to be reminded that Viks have like 60" threat range and was beaten to a pulp by Ashes. Next turn Blood wisely flanked the Hoarcats and went straight into Snowstorm who was hanging out playing cards with Silent One. With Arcane Reservoir  and some dead lucky top decking and soulstoning, Snowstorm survived only taking 4 wounds. Silent one attacked the Vik for weak damage and got off her healing trigger then healed SS 2 wounds bringing him back to full.

Rasputina then unloaded Frozen Hell into the melee and finished off Blood leaving S'torm and 'One on a single wound each; something my opponent said afterwards that he never expected me to do, which is why he was so brazen. Ashes seeing her chance, rushes in and kills Snowstorm forgetting that Storm explodes after death, damaging Ashes and killing off Silent One, heads falling everywhere like a pinata victory. Rasputina finishes the job and pushes to pick a head up. Thus after the upkeep of final turn head collection I scored 2vp for Headhunter, 2Vp for Leave your Mark, and full Vp for Newt Leader. My opponent scored 3Vp for Headhunter but only managing to score 1Vp for Neutralize.

Game 4 - Mei Feng vs Seamus - 9-6 Loss

Flank Deployment - Reconnoiter
Convict Labour, Hunting Party (Opp), Exhaust their Forces (Mine), Covert Breakthrough (Both), Occupy their Turf

Haven't had much experience vs Seamus either, but again his gun, teleporting and belle summoning are well known. I decided on Mei Feng if only because I wanted a game with her rather than choosing the right master. Mei Feng is well documented in being bad at summoning Recon but with Breakthrough and Exhaust on the table, I presumed I could at least get 6 points. The list:

Mei Feng w/ Seismic Claws, Imbued Energies, Imbued Protection (5 cache)
Blessed of December w/ Imbued Energies
Howard Langston w/ Imbued Energies
2x Fire Garmin, 2x Hoarcat Pride

I really need to find an alternative to the cats. Either way, the game was a great back-and-forth with every turn after the first being a chess game of activation control and Reconnoiter denial. I managed to deny my opponent the first recon point but failed to grab any myself and the rest of the game his models were either exactly where they needed to be or Slow Belles were summoned to walk over the thresholds. Whilst I did a great job at Exhausting and laying scheme markers down, so was my opponent in killing my Cats and Garmin and laying his own markers. I wouldn't ever call it a close game but it was a great end to a day of Malifaux goodness.

The day as a whole was incredibly enjoyable and facing new opponents and new masters is always welcome in my casual eyes. Dreamer is an absolute blast to play against and Seamus is such a tricky bugger that you never know where a game is going to take you when he's across the table from you. Facing the Viks twice in a row was harsh but it was a arse-kicking reminder that I should learn their threat ranges and (If playing the Rasmus) bring along Sub Zero when I'm facing Outcasts. I spent the majority of the early game activating and passing the turn because of the Viks reputation rather than what was actually on the board and that obviously doesn't help me win games.

Rasputina played a healthy game of Malifaux and I was glad to bring her along to her first tournament. I feel had I not been on brown alert all game against good Vik players, she would have easily brought me more victory points. Mei Feng, despite me dropping her AGAIN into a Recon game vs Summoning, completely smashed the scheme pool and if I had more knowledge of threat ranges, could have easily gone toe-to-toe with the Viks or at least Soulstone Prevention-Leapt Aside to score more Vp than I did.

More knowledge to bring to the next event. Keep aiming for the stars and have fun out there.

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