Game 1 vs Philippa
Stake a Claim (Flank)
Frame for Murder
Dreamer with Wings of Darkness, Dreams of Pain, Otherworldly
2 insidious Madness’
Coppelius with On Dreaming Wings
2 Day Dreams
Cache of 7
Rasputina with Arcane Reservoir, Armour of December
3 Ice Gamin
Snowstorm with Imbued Energies
2 December Acolytes
I won 8-2
I was laughing to start this game as I got to play Philippa in a game that was heavily favoured in my advantage as my crew is very good at stake a claim (due to Silurids and dreamer giving walk 7 insidious madness’/Coppelius fast) compared to her much slower crew. I basically planned on ignoring her and focusing on just getting down as many Stake a Claim and scheme markers as possible. Just flood the board with markers so she couldn’t keep up. Unluckily I underestimated how Flank deployment would affect the game, which almost cost me. I managed to take it 8-2 scoring max points as the game ended after turn 3. But there were several times in this game where Philippa managed to tie me up on stake a claim markers, requiring me to adapt on the fly to score the strat. She got her two points for distract, which I had actually forgotten was in the pool. Unluckily she decided to take Frame for Murder on Snow Storm which was a bad call as I was taking a crew with basically no damage potential and I never even came close to killing him. Not sure I ever even attacked him all game.
Post Game highlights:
- Philippa and I have played many games against each other and I think this is the first time she was ever consistently outactivating me.
- Unsuprisingly silurids were the key to the game as their ability to leap and place a claim marker.
- Insidious Madnesses’ scored my other points as they ran around dropping scheme markers for breakthrough and protect territory.
- Lilitu (summoned, killed by an acolyte, and summoned again) played a huge role, tying up one of her acolytes which was forced to walk and kill her instead of shooting my more important things. Later she lured the dreamer forward out of combat so he could walk and place a claim marker to break the tie on claim markers we had on the last turn. Lilitu continues to pull weight in every game I summon her with her massive combat range, good speed, good defense (df 6/wp6) and the utility of Lure.
- Coppelius didn’t end up scheme running like I thought he would but did a great job as an interference piece, killing once December acolyte and then tying up the second by summoning an alp. He also placed a marker to help me score protect territory.
- I once again underestimated Imbued Energies as timely use of the upgrade by Philippa managed to keep the claim marker game much closer than I was expecting.
- She also outplayed me at times by placing claim markers where they would destroy mine, which is a tactic I completely forgot about.
- Rasputina was basically a non factor in this game as she was forced to move around too much (via her push upgrade and being moved by snow storm) but only ever managed to land a fairly damaging attack once.
- December acolytes were very threatening and definitely her key models. As such I spent a lot of time making sure they were being tied up. The slow/card discard effect was too strong for me to give them free reign.
- All in all a much closer game than I expected (though the score doesn’t show it) that I won by a large victory differential due to a poor second scheme selection by Philippa (she would have easily scored 3 for breakthrough or protect territory) and a couple of last minute scheme marker drops.
- MVP: Silurids. Unsuprising as they are the best model in the game at stake a claim. Won me the strategy and helped insidious madness’ in the last turn finish placing the necessary scheme markers.
Game 2 vs Andy
Guard the Stash (Standard)
Spring the Trap
Dreamer with Aether Connection, Dreams of Pain, Otherworldly
Teddy with Retribution’s Eye
Cache of 5
Dreamer with Dreams of Pain
2 Insidious madness’
Oh God not another Dreamer off. I had a Dreamer off in the tournament I played at TTN in 2014 and it was the longest most exhausting game I have ever played. I was really hoping this didn’t happen again. Luckily it ended up being a very fun, incredibly close down-to-the-wire game. My plans were to focus on controlling the center and denying him max strategy points by having a waldgeist score each stash marker while Teddy and Dreamer (via summoning and Chompy bits) cleaned up the area of his guys. I didn’t think there was any way I could stop him from scoring his 6 scheme points so I was hoping that if I got mine and managed to beat him on the strategy I could come out with a slim win. … Sadly that didn’t quite happen.
Post Game Highlights:
- Turn one ended up really costing me in this game as I (stupidly) underestimated Dreamers speed as I hid a Silurid on his side of the table in a building but he managed to walk and summon two stitched together (one of whom came in without slow) and he Gambled the silurid to death. Thus I lost my key scheme runner turn 1, meaning the Insidious madness would have to pull a lot of weight.
- At the same time his two insidious madness’ ran down my left flank and his terror tot ran down my right flank.
- Turn 1 I summoned Lilitu and a Stitched.
- Lilitu managed to lure and tie up his insidious madness in combat to at least slow down his breakthrough attempts.
- Turn 2 the waldgeists moved into place where each of them was scoring one Stash marker. They both stood there all game and ensured I scored max strategy points. Once again the Waldgeists did their job to perfection.
- Turn 2 I also managed to bring out Chompy and take down his Depleted to one wound. Teddy finished him off after using his (0) action to get a free strike on him and then managed to charge an illuminated which allowed him to push him away from the stash marker which stopped him from scoring the strategy. This put me up 1-0 on after turn 2, which gave me some confidence in my gameplan.
- Turn 3 a stitched on my left flank (Dreamer having run completely across the table and summoned it on turn 2) gambled and killed my insidious madness.
- This meant that I had no scheme runner left and no markers down which was really problematic as time was running out and I didn’t think we would make it past turn 3 (I was right).
- I realized I would have to make a big play to have a chance as I need to place 2 markers for breakthrough and 2 for protect territory this turn. I also knew that he would definitely score his 6 vp for schemes as he had markers everywhere and the insidious madnesses and terror tot were far gone in my backfield.
- the two waldgeists placed protect territory markers which he would have no chance to remove, securing me 3vp that way so it would all come down to whether or not I could get breakthrough
- Chompy was still out from the previous turn. The plan was to push Chompy with daydreams and then have him double walk before dreamer placed two breakthrough markers to win the game.
- Here is where I made a huge mistake. I forgot to that Andy had an unactivated Stitched together and I stupidly pushed Chompy into range of his Gamle your life ability. He double gambled his life and due to a really good hand managed to hit both shots doing 7 damage to Chompy (I had no stones left for damage reduction) and killed him bringing out Dreamer with slow.
- Dreamer activated, walked and placed a marker for breakthrough but couldn’t place a second due to slow…
- This meant I had to be tricky, I walked Lilitu and lured a stitched to her who managed to walk. and place the 2nd scheme marker to score me max points and a win…Or so I thought. I had forgotten that you could remove a scheme marker if the person standing beside it only has a one inch engagement range (since the marker is slightly wider than an inch) and his Dreamer activated, double walked and removed the marker my Dreamer had placed… Crap, my 8-6 win just turned to a 6-6 draw, Or so I thought...
- With my activations done I thought the game was over, but forgot he had an insidious madness hidden in a building that was yet to activate. He double walked it to the left stash marker and scored the strat point turning the game into a 7-6 loss. Argh!
- I was definitely outplayed in this game. I think my strategy and my list were both great but I didn’t make great in-game decisions. Being too aggressive with my Silurid really handicapped me and I should have done what my opponent did and use Dreamer to hunt down scheme runners, rather than try to outscore him. That being said it was a great game that went down to the last activation and may have been my favourite game of the day.
Game 3: Squatters (Standard) vs Hutch
Dreamer with Aether Connection, Restless Dreams, Tantrum
Teddy with Retribution’s Eye
Cache of 7
Kaeris with Grab and Drop, Imbued Energies, and Blinding Flame
2 Oxfordian Mages (one had the melee upgrade, I forget the others upgrade)
Firestarter with Runes
Cassandra with Runes
After losing game 2 in heartbreaking fashion I needed to pull out a win in one of the next two games to achieve my weekend goal of ending with more wins than losses. That being said I think this was the toughest scheme pool for me of the entire weekend other than maybe game 4 on the first day. I love scheme marker schemes but don’t typically do well on killing schemes. That being said Squatters Rights is a good strategy for me. My plan was to Lure Sue turn 1 (scoring me a point for Vendetta) and put all my resources into killing him to score me 5 scheme points (I usually never feel comfortable going into a game with a plan that scored me fewer than the max 6 scheme points but in this mission with a tough scheme pool I thought it was a worthy risk). The two Waldgeists would be tasked with claiming two squatters markers on the left flank and then tying up those two markers and the center marker with their 4 inch melee ranges to make sure I score all my strategy points. I accepted that Teddy would die and give up 3 points so I wasn’t sure what his second scheme would be. I had to plan on him getting all 6 and me scoring more on the strategy. In the end it kind of worked to plan. I got the 5 scheme points and 3 points for Squatters whilst he scored max scheme points but only managed to score one point (on turn 2) for the strategy.
Post Game thoughts:
- Turn was mainly the two of us shuffling around, getting ready to claim squatters markers for turn 2. The only thing of real importance was I lured Sue with Lilitu, declaring vendetta.
- He won initiative turn 2 and proceeded to Run Sue away as far as he could.
- I activated a day dream, pushed teddy into combat with Cassandra and then accompliced him.
- Teddy managed to get off his (0) action thanks to me having the red joker in hand. This meant from smell fear and flurry I would get 4 attacks on Cassandra at +attack and +damage flips. Not only did Teddy tear her to pieces, through 4 push triggers he got about 16 inches across the board and ended up in combat with sue.
- 2 Oxfordian mages, malifaux child, and Willie managed to get Teddy down to a couple wounds but couldn’t finish him off.
- Oxfordian mages are incredibly powerful together and they pulled a lot of weight in this game
- I managed to win my second game of the tournament where Dreamer died turn 2. This time it was Kaeris who pulled it off. After I had burned all my cards on Teddy going wild and killing Cassandra Dreamer was basically left defenceless as I couldn’t use his defensive trigger.
- Kaeris charged in and did 3 damage plus several burning on Dreamer. I wasn’t that worried about burning as if he survived these attacks I could have gotten Chompy out and removed the burning that way. Sadly it was not to be. I had soulstone damage prevented both attacks but black jokered one of them which could have saved dreamer if I had flipped a moderate. Instead Grab and Drop did enough damage to kill Dreamer and 6 damage from falling wasn’t preventable since the Red Joker had already turned up.
- Seeing Dreamer die before he even activated turn 2 I thought this game was gonna end up being a loss for me. But most important was keeping it close, which meant I really needed to win initiative turn 3 so Teddy wouldn’t die before he could kill Sue and score me 4 VP.
- I won initiative, Teddy flurried Sue which allowed him to kill him scoring me 4 more VP and through his pushes getting him further away from the opposing crew
- The second Teddy managed to (eventually) kill the firestarter before being taken down by the mages and Kaeris.
- The teddy that killed sue managed to swipe away one of his strategy markers, allowing me to get ahead on the strat.
- Going into the last turn of the game I had two waldgeists, two daydreams, and lilitu left and he had Kaeris, Willy, both mages, and malifaux child.
- However I was tying up 4 of the 5 squatters rights markers with waldgeists and lilitu and their lovely 4 inch melee range. Having doubled up on Lilitus plus flips to end of turn action she was on ++flips to WP and Def. He tried in vain to kill her with his 2nd mage, kaeris and malifaux child but was unable to, scoring me the 8-7 win (as I outscored him 3-1 in the strategy but he got max scheme points).
- I think his crew really needed a model that could stand up to Teddy (like a Josh or Howard) as the two Teddies just ravaged his crew.
- His fire-based crew was very interesting, but I don’t think it’s a crew I would ever play as I think it depends too much on burning and doesn’t have enough damaging pieces.
- Waldgeists were great claiming two markers and then keeping a third one tied off. They basically did nothing but sit there all game but they ensured that I would score max strategy points which ended up being one of the deciding factors of the game.
- Lilitu was great as her Lure, 4 inch range and df/wp 6 proved invaluable. Made it possible to score vendetta and functioned as a third waldgeist in the late game by standing in the middle tying up markers.
- However, MVP has to go the Teddy that killed Cassandra, Sue, and flipped over one of his squatters markers (stopping him from scoring the strat). Teddy was a BEAST this game.
Game 4 vs Nathan:
Dreamer with Aether Connection, Dreams of Pain, Otherworldly
Teddy with Retribution’s Eye
Widow Weaver with On Dreaming Wings
Cache of 7
Hamelin with Obey upgrade and Survivalist
Nix with Oathkeeper
2 Malifaux rats
Ama na Zako with Oathkeeper
Having already succeeded at all my weekend goals I went into this game in the most relaxed mood I’d been in for the weekend. However I was quite nervous going against Hamelin as I’d never played him before and I was well aware of his crazy ability when it comes to activation control. That being said, with how the tournament was going (ending game 4 mostly) I at least didn’t have to worry about Blighted being a major factor as it is more of a late game move. Obey is always threatening though and I was seriously worried how I was going to outscore him. I assumed he would score 3 easily for plant explosives and assumed he would take entourage on either Nix or Ama (wrong). I figured if I could stop him from scoring his second scheme and made sure I at least kept Dreamer alive and on his side of the board for 2 points that I could take the game.
Post Game Thoughts:
- He managed to outactivate me badly enough that even with 11 activations on my side, he didn’t have to activate anything of importance until I was done.
- Turn 1 (I think) he scored full points for plant explosives with a rat king. In hindsight I think this was either illegal because he couldn’t have interacted the turn he was summoned, or I forgot and this actually happened at the start of turn 2 (although I’m not that fussed as he would have scored this scheme easily at any point in the game).
- Turn 2 I managed to score plant explosives as I was able to keep the activation numbers close enough to place a marker after all his significant models in range had already activated (placed by a Stitched who had been summoned turn 1).
- Stitched togethers generally did very little else this game as they constantly kept killing themselves…
- Turn 2 revealed that he had taken distract as he started throwing it around on several of my models. Luckily for me the game ended turn 3(?) so he only managed to score 2 points for it.
- Ama na Zako was a freaking pest, tying up my waldgeists and spreading around severe/dangerous terrain. I couldn’t kill her with my waldgeists/stitched and couldn’t afford to commit anything bigger to take her out. She managed to, alongside Nix and a Rat Catcher, help him score full points for the strategy.
- I almost managed to kill Hamelin turn 2 with Teddy charging him and taking him down to 2 wounds, Sadly he managed to get pulled by Performer back to within range of the stolen (after I had pushed him out of range with Teddy).
- Widow Weaver was almost able to paralyze him by discarding 2 webmarkers but failed as he top decked a 13 (which in hindsight wasn’t that important as I had forgotten Nihilist).
- We both forgot a TON of Terror tests this game. Waldgeists attacking Ama never remembered and every time he walked near Chompy, Widow Weaver or Teddy I also forgot.
- I totally forgot to move the marker after turn 2 despite having more people in the 6” bubble. Oops! Might have helped me stop him from scoring in turn 3 (probably not though).
- The game came down to whether or not I could score Entourage or not. On the last turn he activated something to tie up dreamer, then I used Teddy to kill it to free dreamer. The other key play I made on this turn was tying up Hamelin with Widow Weaver so he would be unable to use his pipes to drag dreamer away from his deployment zone.
- I left Dreamer to my last activation so he wouldn’t have as many models to mess with him. Sadly he was still out activating me by a lot and had moved Nix to block the most straightforward path to his deployment zone. This ended up costing me about an inch of movement, which was enough that I was able to get into his deployment zone by triple walking dreamer, but couldn’t get into the house to hide.
- After dreamer had gone and gotten into his deployment zone (which would score me 3 vp and a 8-7 win if he could stay there or a 8-8 draw if still on his half of the table) it was the performer’s turn.
- If she could get off her lure equivalent just once it would be a draw game. I stoned for +flips and managed to flip alright, but he cheated in a higher card and I was forced to spend my last card (a 13) to make him miss. I was now top decking so I stoned for + flips again and flipped an 11 or 12. He flipped lower and had no cards in hand so the game was over…. OR WAS IT?
- Hamelin still had to activate but couldn’t use Pipes cause he was stuck in combat. Originally he tried to Obey Dreamer but I had to remind him Obey is non-master. In the end we called it. An 8-7 victory in my favour and a second straight day at 3-1.
- Due to my better VP differential on day two I thought I had a decent chance of a top 5 finish but ended up in 6th. Very happy with my performance on the day and the weekend in general.
Weekend Tournament Thoughts
I had an awesome time this weekend. It was great to get in so many games in such a short time period. I learned a ton of new things and got a much better handle on my crew than I have before.
Prior to this tournament I had only used waldgeists and silurids in one game. Then I went and used Waldgeists in 7/8 games and Silurids in 6/8 games. Waldgeists are incredible at holding an area. I never lost two in a single game, though one went down in a few games. Their 4” melee and armor 2 makes them such good models at interfering with the opponent. Silurid were fantastic at scheme running; they are so hard to tie up thanks to Leap. However, I do need to get used to using scheme runners without Incorporeal as I got myself in a couple of tough spots with them and they are too expensive to lose early (as in my game against Andy). Would definitely consider these two models as part of my core with dreamer now though, they are just so darn good at what they do.
Another model that is becoming more and more ever-present for me is Teddy. I used at least one Teddy in 5/8 games. When I first started playing the game I appreciated Teddy’s hitting power and healing ability but the more I play him the more I realize the key to Teddy is his inbuilt push trigger. In multiple games Teddy’s ability to push the opponent was one of the key elements in my victory. It allowed me to isolate enemy models, clear the opponent off of markers, move quickly across the board to tie up models further away, and all sorts of other shenanigans.
Even though I only hired Lilitu in one game, I summoned her in the vast majority of them and she was probably my most useful summon as her Lure ability, 4 inch melee, and stat line of 6’s constantly came in handy. She is such a swiss army knife.
I normally struggle with schemes/strats that are more killing focused rather than scheme marker focused, and although I think this is still a problem, I feel like I am starting to really improve in this area.
There are still a couple of ways I really need to improve before I can start competing at a higher level. I need to get better at leveraging Dreamers summoning after turn 1. Everyone always talks about how brutal Stitched are, but I never seem to get great usage out of them and until I do I don’t think I will be able to compete with the top players. Furthermore I often find that I am too aggressive with my summoning placement which you can’t do with Dreamer since his models come in at 1 wound. This cost me any chance of making a game of my 4th game on day one as all my summoned models kept getting killed before they could do anything.
I also need to be more careful with my model placements as a couple of times (especially the end of game 2 on day 2) this cost me VP or at least made it harder to score VP.
All in all I feel like I improved through this tournament and continue to get better with Dreamer. Despite having played the vast majority of my Malifaux games with Dreamer (probably close to 95%) I have still not gotten tired of him at all. I think he is such an intricate, flexible Master that I still want to play him more and unlock more of his secrets. I especially love Empty Nights which I feel is underused by other Dreamer players, and has won me many games. I look forward to my next upcoming tournament, Vappa in York on Feb 1, as a chance to continue improving with Dreamer and seeing where I fit within the hierarchy of UK tournament players.