Thursday, 31 January 2013

January 2013 - My Malifaux Roundup

January 2013, my birthday month and also one of the hottest months of the Australian summer. It's usually hot and sultry all month, which can seriously hinder your painting time and does tend to drain you. No matter what's going on outside though, this Resurrectionist was busy inside preparing for the onslaught of games that awaited me this month.

So how did my goal setting go this month, well lets see:

Achievement - Unlocked - Lots of practice games
Lots of practice games came from the local Rolling Thunder league we had here in Perth. I decided at the last minute to swap out Seamus for Kirai and that had a massive effect on my league games. I had a lot to learn and I'm really liking her play style. I can't wait to get my commission painted crew back as the filler in crew is a bit limiting.

I also got games in care of Vassal and the worldwide league. Playing on vassal is an interesting experience but is a fantastic way to play if you don't have a regular group or you want to break out of your local meta. I've already gone up against a couple of crews I'd never normally play against and it's nice to get games in during those dead evenings during the week.

Lastly in the week proceeding Cancon I scored three practice games which resulted in three loses for me. Hardly surprising given the caliber of my opponents and that I'm still cutting my teeth with Kirai but it was still a bit of a dent to my ego.

Achievement - Unlocked - Don't come last at Cancon
Well as my last two posts will testify I didn't come last at Gencon. In the day 1 gaining grounds tourney I managed 14th out of 20 and on day 2 I managed a more disappointing 18th out 20. The caliber of players was very high and my hat is off to the winners who obviously play a lot of Malifaux! On the whole I'm happy with how I did but there's plenty of room for improvement.

Achievement - Unlocked - Finish Crystal Canyons game boards

Well as the pics will testify, the crystal canyons boards are now all but complete. There's a couple of little details I'll add to the campsite, I want to add a wagon, a campfire and maybe some crates. You'll be able to read more on how this came together in a post early in February.

And then there were the surprises that a month in Malifaux brings. Well the pile of shame didn't see a dent this month, instead Yan Lo and Lucas were added and I have my eye on some red translucent bases and some guild riflemen.

February promises to be a little different. I could be receiving my terrain from my first Kickstarter, so rather than go game crazy, next month I'll be throttling back a bit and getting another board started. This time it's an Arcanist focused board, that I'm super excited about, so keep tuned to this blog to see how that turns out.

I'll also be assembling Yan Lo and painting my first Malifaux mini - Izamu.

I'll also be receiving my painted Kirai crew, so lots to look forward to as more masters and minions become available.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Malifaux Tournament Report - Cancon Day 2 - Wins, Losses & Draws

The theme for day 2 was to play a 50ss brawl with two masters and then play two games, using each of the masters you'd taken into the brawl o head up one of the 35ss scraps. I choose Seamus and Kiari as I had little or no experience or confidence using Molly as a master.

So closing out day 2, my first ever brawl and two bigger point games, how did I do, well lets see.

Game 1 - Dave - Seamus & Kirai vs Nicodem & Kirai
Shared Destroy the Evidence

Me - Seamus, Kirai, 5 Seishin, 2 crooked men, drowned, dead rider, graveyard spirit, lost love, Datsu Ba, Gaki, Avatar Seamus

Dave - Nicodem, Kirai, 4 canine remains, desperate merc, Sebastian, Dead Rider, Graveyard Spirit, Lost Love, 2 insidious madness, drowned

My strategies
Stake a Claim
Bodyguard (Kirai)

My opponents strategies
Stake a Claim
Assassinate (Seamus)

Game Summary & Outcome
After watching Dave slaughter four canines and a merc in two activations to get himself five corpses and five Seishin, I had to wonder what was coming next and wasn't surprised when two insidious madness ran up either flank to grab objectives. A perfectly thought out strategy that would allow Dave to capitalise in turn 2 unless I could get the drop on those outriders.

We both linked the graveyard spirit to our dead riders and then piled the rest of our minions on towards the centre evidence marker.

Turn 2 saw Dave win initiative and he immediate jumped on one evidence marker before leaping that madness forward for the evidence marker in my deployment zone. I skilled that with a couple of crooked men's eyeing little point in stopping the second, given how many minions were almost directly behind it.

I spent a lot of turn two trying to neautralise two threats, the dead rider and the drowned. Because of the way I had Kirai deployed if Dave had gotten off riptide, even once, it would have of devastated her Seishin and I wanted it dead to avoid that happening now or insusbsequent turns, where I might not have Seishin beacon raised. I was eventually forced to sent Datsu in and she did a good job of paralysing and in the next turn killing the drowned before she got totally mobbed by raised punk zombies and flesh constructs. I was desperate to get initiative and either pull her out, or when my cards failed me to get her two action two strike all combatants within 2" off, the damaged she might have done would have made up for me wasting her but sadly I lost that initiative as well.

Meanwhile both my dead rider and Seamus were taking the brunt of it with summoned Shikome needing to taken out to clear a path to my objectives. I was whittled down of turns two and three with Dave strengthening his position in the centre.

The final swan song came when Seamus bought it, Kirai was forced to flee and only the timely death of a Shikome allowed the dead rider to break through. We both had our objectives in the centre, Dave had broken though to get his objective in my deployment zone and his stake a claim, he was on ten VPs and I think he was a little gracious in letting my lost love get my claim and my dead rider trying to take out his lost love to get the evidence marker in his deployment zone. Unfortunately for me his lost love out up a valiant fight and denied me the APs I needed to get that last objective.

In the end it was a 10-7 loss to me, but still a fantastic game.

Where to start, I certainly learnt a lot by playing a very experienced Resser player, thanks to Dave for the many lessons.

- Graveyard Spirit cannot link to Seamus, he's not undead and I really should learn to read my cards better!
- When it comes to remembering how many actions Kirai has taken there's nothing like the bingo dabber approach. Simply put a little mark on the back of the card next to the entries used and only wipe off when it's her next activation - it quickly reminded me if I'd put spirit and pitiful back on the her as part of her two zero and two one actions
- Nicodem and Kirai can effectively double dip if you start with a pool of canine remains, which you slaughter within range of both. Nicodem gets corpses and Kiri get Seishin
- A defensive stance flip doesn't have to accept the highest card, you can use defensive stance on a minion you intend to kill, flip three cards and take the lowest, thereby ensuring their fate
- Insidious madness's can be excellent objective grabbers in a large sized battle, they are very fast spirits

Game 2 - Peter - Collette vs Seamus
Shared Claim Jump

Seamus, Avatar Seamus, 3 drowned, 3 crooked men, rotten belle

Colette, Cassandra, performer and mannequin , 2 coryphee, 2 mechanical doves

My strategies
Kill Protégée (Cassandra)
Eye for an Eye

My opponents strategies
Perfect Performance (I think)

Game Summary & Outcome
I went into this game a little to trigger happy with the simple plan of shooting up those showgirls when they made their move on the claim jump. The drowned lead the way with the crooked men branching off slightly to act as a second wave, and Seamus and the belle following, ready to help out where they could.

The coryphee duet soon came bouncing into my lines forcing me to sacrifice two drowned over a couple of turns but every time I did damaged they old find a way to pass it on to another girl or spin just out of range.

Seamus came up a and made sure to get his avatar requirements off before shooting the performer. In return the drowned received a couple of mechanical dove hand grenades to the face, felling a second for very little advantage.

I think I must have taken the bate because my crooked men and Seamus became embroiled in a slug rest near the left side of the board whilst Cassandra and a mannequin were able to own what few models I'd been able to send peace meal towards the claim jump.

In the end I got eye for an eye off but lost out on the claim jump. Peter got off his scheme for a 6-2 loss for me.

- Coryphee Duet is a tough model to combat. I'd tried to pin it in combat only to have it swapped out with another showgirl and I'd tried to one shot it with Seamus, neither had worked, if only I could have gone avatar on that bad girl
- Drowned aren't the solution against this crew, they're slow and because the crew doesn't need to bunch up, its better to invest in something different next time, probably into punk zombies
- Mechanical doves make excellent hand grenades, I need to look out for this tactic next time
- Next time I go up against Colette, remember she can take time to play, it's best to get on with your objective, as a activation can eat into your time limit

Game 3 - Todd - Nicodem vs Kirai
Shared Treasure Hunt

Kirai, 5 Seishin, canine remains, Lost Love, Datsu Ba, 2 drowned.

Nicodem, rotten belle, 2 punk samurai, 2 canine remains, dead rider, graveyard spirit

My strategies
Exterminate (undead) - what was I thinking?...

My opponents strategies

Game Summary & Outcome
With this being the Gencon variant I was expecting a blood bath and I wanted to try out some different tactics. With the drowned managing to scare me so much in game one and not really doing me any favours in game two, I decided to give them one more outing.

When Todd lunged at the treasure with canine remains and threatened to own anything that was set on them with his dead rider, I sent in the drowned and a shikome to see what could be done. The Shikome killed the dogs in no small order but it was soon set upon by the dead rider. My drowned were hit hard by Nicodems decay, with one falling and the other following in turn two for little or nothing in return.

I progressively traded up Seishin for another Shikome and Ikiryo (twice) but was getting to bogged down trying to hold the treasure. With Kirai exposed and no way to hold the treasure I lunged the Shikome for Todds deployment zone and pulled Kirai back.

In the end a couple of belle lures and a punk zombie just finished my Shikome, in Todds deployment zone, just as time was called, leaving Kirai with the lost love and very little else to show for it.

A 6-0 loss to me and my thanks to Todd for going over a lot of Nicodems tactics during the game.

- The cb bonus that Nicodems bolster undead spell grants can turn any run of the mill minion into a one man killing machine
- I really like punk zombies, I need some!
- Nicodem's decay spell is lethal on drowned and against bunched up spirits in general. I need to find a way to combat or avoid long range magical blast damage.

Final Thoughts
Well Cancon was certainly an experience and a good one at that. It was a fantastic learning curve and a great opportunity to play against some of the best in Australia. I still have a long way to go before I'm of that caliber.

Would I do it again? Well in short, if tickets went on sale tomorrow, I'd be there front and centre, absolutely no doubt about it. Playing in an exhibition environment, rather than a dedicated tourney gave me an opportunity to catchup with friends, make some new ones, get some ideas for new boards and of course make some arbitrary purchases at the great many stands available.

It's also a slice of a life I think some gamers can take for granted. The great distances mean I'm rarely if ever going to be able to attend a GenCon, but Cancon at least gives me a flavour of what such an event must be like, and it feels good to be supporting something that will continue to grow and show off the best that Australia has to offer the gaming scene.

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Malifaux Tournament Report - Cancon Day 1 - Wins, Losses & Draws

With the four games that made up the tournament under my belt, how did I do?, well lets see.

This post is being typed up a couple of days after the event (I was too busy having fun) so details may not be entirely accurate.

Game 1 - Jason - Misaki vs Seamus
Shared Reconnoiter

My schemes
Claim Jump
Frame for Murder (graveyard spirit)

My opponents schemes
Claim Jump

Seamus, Graveyard Spirit, Belle, 2 Night Terrors, 2 Crooked Men, Canine Remains, Drowned

Misaki, Yamaziko, Ototo, Shang, 2 Torakage

Game Summary & Outcome
Misaki and Co are incredibly fast and downright lethal in close combat, but I think my strategy of avoiding combat worked to a degree. We spent a couple of turns dancing round each other with Toros burying before an ambush almost caught a raised dead doxy and two night terrors from getting near my stake a claim. I could see Misaki and Yamaziko would be in charge range next turn and I found the doxy was just out of melee range, so she took a walk backwards and fired her derringer into the combat. It hit the night terror but failed to wound, but it had the desired result because now my night terrors could use their action 'attracted to noise' to push out of combat and regroup before flock hopping their way over to my claim.

With the majority of the Misaki crew now activated I chose to activate Seamus, walk and shoot Yamaziko with his flintlock. I cheated up my total, got a straight flip and then cheated that with a red joker to inflict a severe and weak for 11 wounds. Not even her ability to use soulstones could save her and I used the resulting corpse to raise a rotten belle.

It didn't all go my way however, with a crooked man and drowned dying pointlessly to ninja combats and Shang making it very difficult for me to maintain my stake a claim.

I had no choice but to send Seamus scurrying after Misaki in the last couple of turns, but I was relatively confident she couldn't kill me. I think Jason had expended his cache at that point, and Seamus had 5 or so stones left. I regretted not having the belle pursue, as a lure on Misaki might have stopped her getting into contact with her stake a claim and I just couldn't do enough damage, or get close enough, with Seamus.

In the end it was a 6-3 loss to me, but the result i think belies how close the game was.

- Misaki can cover a lot of ground, giving her something like a 15" charge range
- Shang is a nice little totem, he has respectable damage on both ranged and close combat attacks and is not to be underestimated
- The toro bury tactic gives them the ability to pop up in the start closing phase within 6 of another friendly. This is a fantastic ambush tactic and one to be avoided. I was very lucky that it was my night terrors that got ambushed!
- I think I missed out on a lot of what Misaki is capable of, as Jason put almost everything he had, after that initial contact, into movement to own the board.
- The graveyard spirit being insignificant cost me control of one table quarter on count back, although on reflection I'm sure Seamus got off Excessive Bleeding on one of Jason's crew and I forgot to action it

Game 2 - Andre - Seamus vs Perdita
Shared Destroy the Evidence

My schemes
Breakthrough (not announced)
Grudge (Exorcist)

My opponents schemes
Grudge (Copycat Killer)

Seamus, 2 Night terrors, 4 canine remains, Bette Noir, Copycat Killer.

Perdita, Peacekeeper, Exorcist, Santiago, Watcher, Judge

Game Summary & Outcome
This was the Gencon variant of DtE, so no destroying counters in turn 1.

The canine remains and Seamus ran up the centre, dodging a building and a forest to make a start on the closest objective. We had the majority of our objectives centred on the board and it was obviously going to be a blood bath. Andre advanced Perdita and the peacekeeper but the sudden movement of my night terrors on the right flank made him stop from committing his Exorcist and Santiago to the fight. In the centre I traded up one dog for a belle and sent the remaining three to keep the peacekeeper busy. Seamus and the belle got bogged down by Perdita and it was only when the dogs started dying the I got an opportunity to raise Bette and go at the peacekeeper with groin strikes. It took a couple of turns but I finally felled the behemoth, which is just as well, as Andrew had just wandered the peacekeeper into range of the copycat killer and was in danger of getting his grudge off.

Perdita broke away from combat and used her actions to walk clear into my deployment zone. I had no choice but to pursue with Seamus and a true Mexican standoff with the flintlock and a soulstone proved to fast for Perdita.

Meanwhile my night terrors, clearly outclassed by Santiago and the exorcist, settled for hunkering down in Andre's deployment zone and missing out on the last evidence marker.

In the end a 3-1 win to me.

- A pack of canine remains is quite effective in close combat. Three managed to pick off something like 5 wounds from a peacekeeper and the debuff they do to defence when they pack together is quite effective
- Perdita can be very fast on her feet if she sacrifices her shooting she can move 15"
- Perdita's faster n you is triggered by charges or ranged shots, simply walking up to her and then using subsequent actions to melee strike bypasses her ability
- Bette Noir with a canine remains deployment system is quite effective, her groin strike did in a peacekeeper quite effectively and it can sometimes be safe to leave her in a combat but I still believe its safest to ensure you have the bury card in your hand before deciding if its time to summon her.
- I'm not sure I'd go with four dogs in one list again for this scenario. Sure they can destroy evidence (when there's two of them) but you must keep them huddled together, making them susceptible to a blast. Had they all died to a blast, Seamus isn't a good summoner and he would have struggled to recover the crew strength

Game 3 - Steve - Seamus vs Zoraida & Collodi
Shared Slaughter

My schemes
Assassinate (Collodi)

My opponents schemes
Assassinate (Seamus)

Seamus, Avatar Seamus, 3 Drowned, Graveyard Spirit, Bette Noir

Zoraida, Collodi, Lilitu, Lelu, 4 marionettes, 1 wicked doll

Game Summary & Outcome
Playing on a t-clips sewers board was a first and we had to work out what affect the sewage had in game terms on movement, opting to play it as severe we got down to it. I hunkered down waiting whilst Collodi and his dolls pushed and pulled their way over to me in two turns. I could see the twins were looking to outflank me, but I thought I could do enough damage to the dolls with my drowned and it almost worked. The drowned only got rip tide off once or twice before they were being swamped with dolls. The slaughter score just kept going up when I was forced to sacrifice the drowned to get bursting spray off on the killer dolls, but it was still fairly even.

Seamus went avatar after killing Lilitu and just managed to finish Lelu before being finished off by dolls. Again the laughter score was pretty even. Zoraida, who had been on doll production duties, chose that point to raven over although her presence wasn't necessary.

Bette appeared, through the death of Seamus, and finished off a couple of dolls but then got knifed in the back to give Steve the slaughter result and to completely table me.

Result 6-0 loss to me.

- I got carried away with the runaway success I'd had with Bette in the last game and wasted 9ss here. She could only be raised by Seamus or Zoraida dying and whilst she did get vengeance for Seamus's death, a couple of crooked men, or better yet, some punk zombies, would have been a lot nicer.
- Drowned were quite effective at killing wicked dolls but the three wounds on a marionette saved them from instant death and then Collodi would just heal them up before sending them right back at me again.
- Pulses don't go through walls. It sounds obvious but when you're hoping to kill dolls and they are hunkered down in an adjacent room, that wall is going to get in the way!
- When you can't find an effective scheme, buy yourself five extra soulstones by dropping it. Another minion here might have helped bolster the defence and stop me from being tabled

Game 4 - Peter - Kirai vs Lady J
Shared Treasure Hunt

My schemes

My opponents strategies
Holdout (not announced)

Kirai, 5 Seishin, 2 Night Terrors, Gaki, Lost Love, Datsu-Ba

Lady J, Watcher, Austringer, Judge, 2 Witchlings, Desperate Merc

Game Summary & Outcome
When I saw the board and realised where the treasure was I immediately thought of Kirai. This board had one central street, which the treasure would be placed smack bang in the middle of. The buildings all ran down the street and I figured, if I went up the street in broad daylight I'd get cut to ribbons, so why not walk straight through those walls and stay in cover for as long as possible.

I flock hopped two night terrors, with the Gaki for support, up the right and took a more cautious summoning route on the left with Kirai, bringing up an Onryo and moving it and Datsu up on point to support the Terrors when they made their move.

Peter imarched most of his crew down the road and sent the Austringer and watcher up to higher ground.

We advanced and in turn 2 one of judges denied my terrors the treasure, so I swarmed it it with the terrors and brought up the Gaki. Lady J felled the Gaki and Peter started to reinforce his position around the treasure.

The Austringer fired off a couple of eagles, with those birds flying in doors and windows to get at my crew, but didn't do too much damage.

I summoned another Onryo and an Ikiryo and went out in the open to duke it out. We traded blows with Peter killing a Gaki and an Onryo and me killing a Witchling and hurting a judge.

Whilst this was going on, I could see the desperate merc advancing down a parallel street but I couldn't see it's purpose so I ignored it, figuring it would die at the end of turn 3. Peter proved me wrong when he burnt two soul stones to keep the merc alive and ran him clear into my deployment zone.

With Kirai near the back I launched her and her remaining Seishin at the merc but I was too far off to do anything. Meanwhile the centre of the board had become a bloodbath, denying us both the treasure.

In the end it was a 2-1 win to me.

- Austringers ignore LOS and can be hitting you in turn two from 20 inches away if they want.
- If you're playing the Gencon version of treasure hunt, where you can't pick up the treasure in turn 1, then expect a pitched battle. I debate if using fast moving units like night terrors or canine remains is worth it. The ensuing brawl in the middle for the treasure needs some heavy hitters and your fast moving units are best left at home.
- Desperate Mercs can be more than a three turn wonder. In our game the merc was bolstered by two soulstones to keep him in the game and make him significant. This was used very effectively as I'd completely ignored the merc, believing it would die, instead it ran clear into my deployment zone to deny me holdout.

Tournament Roundup
So in the end two small wins and two quite large losses. Even so it was enough to place me 16th, so I accomplished my goal of not coming last.

It was a fantastic event and I'm really happy I attended. That said, day 2 was looming and with it my first brawl and two bigger games. How I did there will be the subject of my next post.

Friday, 25 January 2013

Cancon - Scoping out the opposition - Malifaux Tournament Report Part 2

There's still a few minutes before our burgeoning flight of gaming geeks hurtles into the air and whilst the misses cleans her camera lenses for probably the dozenth time, I sit slurping my coffee, finishing my Breakfast of Champions (Full English Fry up) and going over my sources of intelligence on the opposition at Cancon.

As someone, probably famous, and almost certainly a pessimist once put it, preparation and planning, prevents piss poor performance. The 6 P's. As I mop up the last of that breakfast with my slice of fried bread (anyone hungry yet) and equally glutton on the free wifi, I thought I'd share with you the sources of this intelligence. For you see nestled in the painting blogs and the inevitable tournament trash talk threads, certain truths can be glistened, like a prospector in the riverbed, panning the mud to find the pure gold.

Ok, enough of the breakfast talk and analogies.

So what do I know of the competition? Well I know at least eight of the crews out there, getting on for forty percent of the field of play, and I know a lot about the composition of those crews, despite this being a fixed faction, open master tournament.

From the painting threads I've been able to glisten that this rather beautifully painted Jacob crew will be in attendance and the painter was kind enough to even show his second master and say this was the total of his pool for the tourny. I have mixed feelings about going up against this crew. The painting is spectacular and it would be a joy to play against, but I wouldn't stand a chance against this one in a brawl and I'm still struggling against Jacob and Co in general.

in the pics below the painter has substituted Avatar Collette for Beckoners, making his second master Pandora, click on the images for a close up.

It turns out they'll likely be more than one in the team Jacob camp, with the painter behind this second variant dubbing him Colonel Sanders. You can see the resemblance and I wonder if he'll go as far as docking Huggy up to be a chicken or rooster.

Also on the painting threads was this Hoffman crew, which I have to say I love the blue scheme for. Again nothing there I want to face though, especially with Kirai, who lost 20ss of spirits in one activation to the Hoff in my last game.

I also know of at least one, probably two Mei Feng crews and a Misaki crew

Then comes the less tangible intelligence from the trash talk threads that tells me that I'm almost certainly facing.

There's a Collodi crew, which I'd love to play against, as I think I know exactly how to combat him. There's also a Marcus crew and possibly a Lucas crew.

Whether knowing any of this helps me remains to be seen, I suspect not, but it'll give me some areas to reread on the six hour flight and hopefully its given you some eye candy pics and maybe some inspiration for your crews.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Cancon or Bust - Malifaux Tournament Report Part 1

I've been a little remiss of this blog recently, or it feels that way. The reason, as regular readers will know, is because I've frantically been getting ready for the big one - Cancon 2013.

Tomorrow morning with the dogs in the kennels and the misses in tow, I'm off to one of the biggest tournaments in the Australian calendar. Whilst most will be duking it out over the traditional 40k and Fantasy boards and still others place down military units with a precision that would make a historian beam with pride, a small group, an elite group, a group of enlightened souls, will be taking Malifaux to the extreme. Or at least that is the plan.

There's two flights and 3,800 kilometers to cover tomorrow, which naturally means an obscenely early start and that I best get an early night on Friday if I want to stand any chance of making it through four 30ss games on Saturday! Then after watching the fireworks over the bay to celebrate Australia Day, I'm doing it all again on Sunday in a 50ss Brawl and two 35ss games, each using one of the two masters we had to take into the brawl. It's going to exciting and nerve racking in double measures.

So what am I hoping for? Well in short no podium finish for me. I've seen the opposition and I'm under no doubt that there are some world class players in our humble group of 20. I'm not looking for best painted either since I go on record at every tournament saying that because I've had my crews commission painted I do not want them to be judged. So what goals could I set myself? Well after my first outing got me a resounding last place but got me best sportsman, I really want two things, not to come last and to try and to make every game as enjoyable as my first forays into this system.

How I do and how it all turns out I'll make the topic of subsequent posts, which hopefully will be finding their way onto the interweb from our nations capital, Canberra, in the days to come.

Friday, 18 January 2013

Yan Lo and Lucas touch down in Australia

Massive girly scream whilst running round house shouting "I got them!"

Wife approaches snatches boxes from my sweaty hands and declares not until my birthday.

Sobs uncontrollably.

That's is all.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Loathesome Lackeys - Ryle, The Guild Puppet

Loathesome Lackeys is the first in a series of articles designed to be the counterpoint to the Mighty Minions series. These articles are about the minions I've encountered in my local games that I feel warrant extreme prejudice. These minions alone have wrecked my battles, and in doing so, have undone my plans for world domination.

I'll explain why I think they are such a threat and then talk about my current theories, given what I have available, to combat these harbingers.

So lets starts with everyone's favourite Guild puppet Ryle. At 8 soulstones this is one tough minion, packing both serious ranged and close combat weapons. He is a force to be reckoned with.

- Threat range with Gatling gun is 12" standard or can be extended to 24" (double walk, socially repressed zero action away from Hoffman and ranged expert)
- Can drop a two action to go fully automatic and get a shot on each of any bunched up minions
- Two inch melee attack with mechanical fist that has built in critical strike trigger and can ignore defensive triggers on a second ram in total
- Immune to talents and spells that target willpower
- Socially repressed gives Ryle a free push, to move him closer or further away from a living target, it can also get him out of combat, if your minion is living.

- Low defence
- Low willpower until he kills
- Insignificant until he kills
- height 3 means he's unlikely to hide behind terrain
- "Can't Connect" ability mean's he can't be the target of Hoffman's buffs and debuffs (unless within 6" of Hoffman using maintain machines ability - see Wyrd model errata)

Lackey's Current Tactics
The Ryle push (described in threats section above) in turn 1 is something I see a lot of Hoffman players do. With a 24 inch threat range on turn 1, it means Ryle can quite often kill one of your minions in the opening moves of the game and is particularly effective against cheap minions or totems. The psychological affect to the opponent is enough to unsettle their game, and Hoffman and crew can get on with what they need to do unfettered.

Ryle within 6" of Hoffman is probably the most deadly. Hoffman uses his ability "Maintain Machines" to hex off Ryle's "Can't Connect" ability. This then gives rise to Hoffman using Ryle like a free machine gun, squeezing off two shots. The real sting in the tail is the these two shots are at Cb 6 instead of Ryle's natural 5, and worst of all they automatically have the critical strike trigger, for +1 damage. This can then be combined with "Tap Power" on another construct to give Hoffman fast, he squeezes off three Ryle super shots before using his second zero action (Linked In) to activate Ryle,who squeezes out another 3 shots! No matter how you look at that combo its 6 shots, 3 with mandatory critical strike, doing between 0 and 27 wounds before any triggers are played! And then there's Ryle's trigger "Fully Automatic" that could be doing anything between 0 and 24 additional wounds, depending on how many times he gets that trigger off.

Beyond those devastating combos I see Ryle often perched on objectives because he's bound to loose insignificant at some point, and the only way to that objective is through some punishing ranged and melee attacks.

Lastly comes combat against the big man, which isn't going to easy either. With the built in critical strike trigger, he's doing anywhere between 0 and 14 wounds and he can easily push up or just walk away from the combat without encountering a disengaging strike.

Resser Tactics
So how the heck do you deal with this guy?

Well in preparing this article, I did my research and the overriding message from other players was to take schemes that avoid contact. There's no point apparently heading directly towards the guy with the big gun and huge fist unless you have to. You also want to make it harder for a Hoffman player to stop your schemes, which is relatively easy when as long as you curtail his more mobile units, he moves with all the speed of an aesthetic tortoise. Well that's what the articles say and I see their point, but what about finding some combo in my existing forces capable of taking him on....

An Onryo and Seamus would do it with terrifying and Seamus might be able to do it by heading in with the gun and then a charge. He would need support from some belles to lure away crew and to keep Hoffman off Seamus's back. Going avatar would certainly improve his chances in combat but sacrifices the gun.

Having a belle run up and then die is probably the only safe way to deploy Bette and even then she may not get the job done before burying herself.

Molly is probably the hardest matchup. I wonder if a wall of Crooligans could shield a rogue long enough for it make it into contact? Probably not. Get a necrotic into contact would end him nicely but that thing is so fragile I can't see that happening.

Kirai I think stands the best chance, providing in swirling her spirits, she doesn't leave herself to exposed.

You could unleash the twin linked Shikome brigade and they would almost certainly deal with him. Their fast enough to get into contact, they don't suffer from summoning sickness and their 0 action denial of sanzu would stop him getting away. I think it needs both of them to ensure he goes down.

I'm not as convinced that Ikiryo could do it on his own, maybe with an Onryo hexing off his willpower immunity and some terrifying it'd work.

And if anyone reading this has themselves a sure fire way of dealing with this brute then please don't hesitate to comment...

Thursday, 10 January 2013

First few games with Kirai

It's time to reflect on my first few games with Kirai, my second Resser master, and a complete change in gameplay from my go-to master Seamus.

I've played two 35ss games with her now, so by no means am I an expert. In my games I'm playing with a crew that doesn't have any of the newer elements. My full crew is away for commission painting and I have a secondhand and smaller crew that I picked up as a filler-in. I'll be selling when I have my mine back, but for now, I'm using this to get some experience, and to get me through the two masters requirement for Cancon.

All this means that I haven't yet had the opportunity to play Jakume, Kirai's Avatar, Izamu, or any of the many spirit she can hire. I haven't even gotten round to summoning some of her bigger minions, like the Shikome or Ikiryo yet, preferring to learn what the Gaki and Onryo are capable of first. Expect another article, or two, when I come up to speed with them.

Overall Play Style 

I thought I'd start by talking about my generic observations of how this crew handles, before I delve deeper into specific characters.

My first observation is about crew size, in a 35ss game I had a starting crew of Kirai, 5 Seisin, Lost Love, Datsu Ba, 2 Gaki and an Onryo, and still had a cache of 7ss. 11 models on the board is a bit of step up from the 5 or 6 I'd usually have in a Seamus crew.

I found I was doing a lot more in turn 1, the round I usually associate with just double walking and not a lot else. Instead I was trading up a Seishin, swapping locations or minions and then having to heal Kirai and make sure I got her back into cover.

The crew seems to rely on all the card suits to meet requirements. I needed something from every suit to be effective, so I'm going to have to learn the requirements off by heart, so I can just glance at my hand and know what I'm going to be capable of doing that turn.

The entire crew has spirit, which makes them fragile against magic attacks but pretty solid against conventional attacks. It is also great for ignoring the affects of terrain on movement, but you still need LOS, something I had a habit of forgetting, moving my minions and then finding LOS was blocking my ability to cast.

Lastly is the concept of taking wounds on your master to trade up your crew. I think this is going to encourage me to play a lot more offensively. I'm generally a defensive player, but I'm going to have to adjust that approach to be successful with her. I'm not sure how this will affect my play style, maybe it'll finally give me a bit more confidence with Seamus or it might make me prone to taking risks with him because I've gotten too comfortable with the protection her minions offer Kirai. Time will tell.

But what about the characters, how am I doing with them?


My first impressions of Kirai, well she strikes me as a support caster, someone that trades her health to build and support her crew, which of course totally follows the story for her.

When reading the stat card, my initial concerns were her cache and willpower. I guess I was hoping both would be higher after coming from Seamus, where his willpower is good until he goes avatar and his cache just sucks. Initially when I saw only a 3ss cache it almost put me off. I questioned how a support caster could be effective with a low cache, but when you play her, you realise the greater restriction is her wounds and how she uses them to summon.

I really like immediate revenge, pitiful and her relationship with the Seishin. I get that she is not good in close combat, and I was relieved to see that she has enough defensive capabilities to hold off an attacker and then push herself out of harms way.

I can see her burning stones in willpower duels and healing flips, if other options aren't available.

Lost Love Totem

The Lost Love is an automatic purchase for this crew and I can't see me swapping him out in favour of any other totem or effigy any time soon. He's your healer and bodyguard all in one. Keep him safe and Kirai can just pop back on to the board, sacrificing him, to come back from the grave. A total winner at 2ss.

I found his walk of 5 allowed him to be fairly fast and I think I'm going to rely on that and the 8" range of his healing flips to get him near Kirai, rather than spirit him or her around.


I know I need to see past the obvious uses for Seishin, they are more than sacrificial food for Kirai to trade up for something stronger. I've got to use these precious resources carefully and make sure they aren't squandered. They can give her fast and/or reactivate, or I can sacrifice one for immunity to blasts and throw up Kirai's Seishin beacon, with spirit anchor to mount an incredibly strong defence. The synergies with Kirai border on a symbiosis that I'm going to have to work on very carefully.


I think I'm probably building these guys up too much, I just see these working very well when you can swarm them up. I can see myself starting with two on the board and then summoning one or two to swarm up at the right moment. Alternatively just start with four and rush whilst the quarterback launches a couple of Onryo or Shikome for the win.

Gaki can get a free move of 5" in the closing phase, they charge 8" and they can rebound trigger off each other in close combat to do some awesome damage, before snacking or absorbing the corpse for a healing flip. What's not to love about the self healing, über fast piranhas?


Onryo I need to explore some more, but what's not to like about them. They have a solid combat output, which gets better with triggers and a trio of complimentary spells that either hit hard, blind your opponent or terrorise the usually immune.

Datsu Ba

She's awesome. Her triggered attacks and ability to hit everything in two inches offer two quite different offensive abilities. I can see her wading into a swarm or taking on a bigger foe. I had her go up against snowstorm in my first game and she went toe to toe with the big fella and thanks to a summoned Onryo (from Kirai), felled the giant.

I like her complimentary abilities to push herself into the combat or hold up her prey. Lastly, she can be a healer, making this little old lady one you don't want to cross.

Re-reading this article it sounds like I'm absolutely smitten with Kirai and maybe I'm just in that young love stage you find yourself at when trying a new crew. I'm looking forward to trying Night Terrors, Izamu and theDrowned with this crew to see how they go and seeing what spirits I can hire from other crews.

Exciting times ahead!

Monday, 7 January 2013

Battle Report - Seamus vs Perdita Ortega

Pre Game Amble
There isn't much in the way of amble for this game, I wanted a game and our henchman was visiting a local club, so 2+2 and all that.

I should say this is written two weeks after the event, something I blame on the torrent of mince pies over the Xmas period. Details might be a bit sketchy but this battle is one of my closest and most tactically challenging games of last year and so deserves a write up.

Strategies and Schemes
30ss - Shared Claim Jump

Liam - Holdout (announced), Kill Protégée (announced)
Me - Holdout (not announced), Eye for an Eye (announced)

Crew Selections

Carrion Effigy
Rotten Belle
2 Crooked Men
Canine Remains
2 Night Terrors

8ss cache

Death Marshall

7ss cache

Pre Game Theory
Pre game theory was light. I've faced the Ortegas a couple of times but never against Liam, so I didn't know what his build was going to be. I'd decided night terrors were in if it was an objective mission and I wanted to return some fire with my crooked men. I figured having a carrion effigy might allow me to make some healing flips if required and the extra blast weapon might come in handy.

The Game
Turn 1

Turn 1 saw us hug the alleys that make up the majority of this board. Liam advanced down a diagonal alley that gave him a lot of cover, leaving the majority of his minions within a double walk of the objective. I'd setup in the ruins of two old townhouses and I was reluctant to move, figuring I'd hug the cover for a few turns before trying to breakthrough, I did advance my crooked men but was sure to keep them behind the rubble of another building that broadly approached the objective. My night terrors and effigy advanced along an alley that ran parallel to the objective, their purpose unclear, but I knew with their spirit and flight abilities they could come out of hiding if required.

Seamus shot the dog, charged the dog and still couldn't kill it! Flipping the black joker for damage with the flintlock really didn't help. No dead doxy for me this turn!

Turn 2
Liam won the initiative and opted to double walk Francisco towards the alley containing my night terrors and effigy. I had a feeling he was trying to use him as a lure, and was reluctant to commit my objective grabbers to the fight so early. I moved up my belle, to see what he did next, opting to keep my entire crew in as much cover as possible.

When the exorcist made a similar move, I could see my night terrors getting mobbed if they charged Francisco or attempted to move beyond the alley, so I partly pulled them back to take them out of shooting range, in case he chose to round the head of that alley next turn.

The second crooked man advanced further into the ruins, using a height 1 wall for cover. He took a couple of shots from Perdita but was thankfully only hit for two wounds.

Seamus finally killed the dog, although at this point it had cost him 4 AP's, and promptly converted it into a dead doxy, I figured the firepower might come in handy, as might her ridiculous charge length.

As turn two ended we realised the large amount of cover on this board was going to be a problem for both crews.

Turn 3
I won the initiative and opted to double walk my belle to a ruin directly opposite where the Ortegas were huddled, figuring she'd be safe and could potentially lure my crew into positions as required. It turned out to be a huge mistake, I hadn't seen a door and Santana shot and killed my belle in very quick order. I played three cover moves with the terrors and effigy, keeping Liam guessing as to their purpose, to see what he'd do next and was horrified when Perdita stuck her nose out of cover and felled one of my crooked men before calmly walking back behind the wall. Damn she is good with her critical strikes!

Above - all that remains of a killer shot, through a doorway and over two ruined walls, my poor Miss Peaches.

The exorcist doubled back towards the Ortegas and the Death Marshall moved up towards the objective, giving me a chance to score a couple of wounds on him with my second crooked man. Francisco hunkered down in the ruins and took a couple of pot shots at the crooked man but thankfully the cover saved him from all but a couple of wounds.

I had Seamus move up and summon miss peaches back, and in an effort to draw fire put her in front of a badly exposed Seamus.

Turn 4
Liam won the initiative and in quite a nifty first move, killed Peaches again and moved up his Exorcist and performed last rights on two corpse counters, leaving Seamus without any immediate backup. Thankfully when measuring one of the counters was out of range, but would mean Seamus had to double back if he was going to use it.

Instead I pulled the carrion effigy over and used the counter to perform a healing flip on Seamus. A bold move that left the effigy relatively exposed, with little cover to protect him. Given Liam had taken kill protégée on the effigy, it was like a red rag to a bull, but I needed the manauver to keep Seamus in the game.

My night terrors choose that moment to make a run for Liam's deployment zone. I figured Liam would have to divert his attention to deal with this new threat and if I was lucky one spirit would be intact enough for me to make it into his deployment zone.

Instead Liam hunkered down and fired on the effigy, which miraculously survived, but then went on to send the dead doxy into an early grave with fire from Francisco. This left Seamus all on his lonesome, facing down Perdita, an exorcist, a death Marshall and Santana, with Francisco probably in range as well!

Turn 5
I won the initiative and whilst over two activations Liam circled the Ortegas around the objective, my night terrors found themselves untroubled as they fled into Liam's deployment zone and denied him 2VPs for holdout.

Seamus charged the badly injured Death Marshall, killed him and got a few wounds in on the exorcist. This brought him back to full health but I was under no illusions about him surviving two rounds of combat against that many family members. The wall of Ortegas did some serious damage to Seamus and kept me from the objective. The absence of counters made summoning onto the objective impossible and sealed the game, as we'd run out of time.

The Result
4-3 loss to me.

Liam got claim jump uncontested but didn't get off either of his schemes.

I got eye for a eye and holdout off, but I hadn't announced holdout so only 3 VPs for me.

Sum up & Lesson Learnt
On the whole that didn't go to badly. It's probably good that it ended when it did otherwise the result would have slid to a 6-0 for me. I'm pretty sure Seamus couldn't have survived a turn with 5 heavily armed Guild bearing down on him and the carrion effigy would almost certainly have died.

I was gutted to have lost four models to some crack shooting with very little in return and when the exorcist performed last rights on their remains I got very worried.

The night terrors did their job, denying Liam his holdout, its a pity I didn't take breakthrough.

The canine remains cost Seamus two activations to kill, which is just stupid. I'm giving some serious thought towards breaking my no mercenaries rule at this point and taking a desperate merc over a dog in the future.

I only took the scheme 'eye for an eye' to try it out and it's only because we wrapped up early that it didn't come back to bite me. Another turn and there is no way we would have had anywhere near the same model count!

As I reflect though, a 4-3 loss to a henchman isn't a bad effort and my only real mistake was believing the cover would save my crew from
that much gun fire. I should learn to stay in the cover of darkness more, and strike from the shadows, and I definitely need to re-read the terrain rules.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Malifaux Alternative Sculpts & Minis

I was browsing through and catching up with my flipboard feeds this morning and I was struck by the number of potential alternative minis being released now or in the immediate future that could be used as alternative sculpts for Malifaux. So without further ado....

First up Wild West Exodus, which appears to be similar scale and has some very fitting minis. I quite like the first as a desperate merc or a gunslinger, the second just struck me as a really interesting undead model, perhaps Flesh Construct.

Next up, this is Niven from Studio McVey, which looks like it would make a good Steampunk Abomination.

This would make a good Gaki

And last up, I thought these would make excellent Fire Gamin