This is going to be a very general overview of my 2 days at the Malifaux Nationals - the biggest event I've attended since starting this game. I'll be giving overviews of my game but I leave the more detailed battle reports to other members of the blog - they're far better at it!
I'd been wanting to go to the Nationals since I'd heard about them the year before. I wasn't able to go to the 2014 event for a number of reasons so I was determined I was going to go this year, finances and travel be damned. To help out with the former, I'd managed to wangle space for myself and Bob (my travel buddy and a good mate) to stay in a house share with some of the guys attending. None of whom I had ever actually met in person before. But this is one of the things I like about the Malifaux community - so many people are very quick to offer friendship, advice and help. None of these guys had met me or Bob in person yet they were kind enough to let us stay with them.
I was actually really really nervous in the week leading up to the event. Sure I'd been to tournaments before but there were usually a lot less people there. This was 88 people, including some I had spoken to on social media, some I knew quite well and would call friends, and still some others I'd never spoken to at all. The idea of walking into that room and being faced with such a large group of people was quite intimidating; although I was looking forward to meeting up with people and putting some faces to Twitter handles!
In hindsight, going out for drinks on the Friday night was probably the best thing I could have done. It gave me a chance to chat with the rest of the guys from the houseshare a bit and once we joined up with another group of Malifaux players it was even more fun to catch up with everyone, have a laugh and relax before diving into the first day on the Saturday. Although if I'd known I was going to wind up playing Dave Hill in the first round I'd probably have spiked his drink! (I kid, I kid)
So once we'd arrived and I'd confirmed that yes, sadly, I am shorter than Dominic Westerland, we got our partners for the first round. As previously mentioned, my first round opponent was Dave Hill. Given that the strategy was Stake A Claim I had a pretty good idea that Som'er and a Pigapult would be involved. For the event I'd decided to finish out my run of games with Hamelin and the Viks as I'd been having a lot of fun with those 2 Masters and knew them quite well by this point. I picked Hamelin for this game hoping that his crew would be able to cope with the Gremlin spam. I also brought Hans along to deal with the Pigapult, but sadly my efforts were in vain and Dave went on to a comfortable win. On the plus side it was great to see Rooster Riders on the table as they will be featuring in my plans for 2016 - plus Dave was, as usual, a lovely fun guy to play. Although I am joining in the next session complaining about Pigapults. Stupid things.
As a reward for failing to halt the flood of Bayou Gremlins, I was paired up against Luke Cocksedge and his Collodi crew. We had been sent into the little anteroom where there were a few tables set up for those lower down in the order. I have seen some mild grumblings about this after the event but honestly I had no problem with it. It was quieter, cooler and the atmosphere was just as friendly as in the main room. There was almost that feeling you used to get at school when the teacher went out of the room and you could play up - no supervision!
I'd spoken with Luke on Twitter but this was the first time I'd met him. He was a lovely bloke to play against and I suspect he felt a bit bad at the absolute hammering his Collodi crew handed out to the Viks. I hadn't come up against Collodi so I was totally unprepared for the sheer amount of tricks he can get up to! The Brutal Effigy in particular was a nasty little bugger, hading out Fear Not The Sword to get extra heals on things when they wounded something. The Gamble Your Life ability on the Stitched Together as well proved to be very effective. Another fairly comprehensive thumping promptly ensued but Luke was an absolute gent to play against. Still hate Neverborn though!
Onto game number 3 and I will admit to feeling a little bit down after 2 heavy thumpings. My aims for the weekend were modest - I wanted to win at least one game and so far I was 0 for 2. Not the most auspicious of starts but there was still time to turn things around.
Game 3 was against yet another Twitter regular, Adrian Mills. I was quite excited for this game, partly because it was another chance to meet someone I "knew" from Twitter but also because Adrian was running the Crossroads 7 as a crew and as a different faction for each game. I was facing the Gremlin variant with the Dumb Luck upgrade, which seemed oddly appropriate given a lot of people know me as a Gremlin player! I was very keen to see what the band could do as I absolutely love the models and am really looking forward to getting my hands on the crew box, mostly because I want to paint them!
The strategy for this game was Squatter's Rights and I decided to go with Hamelin - being able to use his AP to Obey my models towards markers or the opposing crew away from the markers is a very useful tactic to use in that strategy, not to mention being able to potentially Obey your own models to flip markers outside of their activation.
It was good to see the band in action, they definitely have a lot of uses with their auras which I think will complement a lot of crews. Adrian was definitely having a fun weekend with them despite only winning one game which I think says a lot about how fun the crew is as a whole. It'll be interesting in the coming months to see which models pop up with which masters.
I managed to get a win here - Hamelin had a lot of fun sending the band away from the markers while the rest of the crew focused on either damage dealing or scheme running. Lust gave me some trouble with her "Now Kiss..." ability, which kept sending my Crooligan back towards my Strongarm Suit. That happened a few times and the joke never got old! There seemed to be an awful lot of things to manage with the band, with the different auras and debuffs so they probably aren't the most straight forward crew to play. But Adrian kept it very close and I think in the end there was only 1 VP in it!
The last game of the Saturday, I'd got my win and I was fairly shattered. But my interest level remained high as once again it was a Twitter regular Mike Taylor with a Master I hadn't come across before - Misaki in her Ten Thunders variant. Mike had decided to cosplay for the day and he looked just the part as Dr Grimwell - complete with (fake!) buzzing chainsaw. Awesome.
So, Misaki. I didn't know much about her other than "She charges and it HURTS. Lots." So once again I took Hamelin, having that no-charge bubble makes life so much easier against Masters that like to get in your face. And with no disrespect at all to Mike as I thoroughly enjoyed our game, I honestly couldn't tell you the specifics. By that point I was so tired I barely remembered my own name!
But it was another close game that really went down to the wire.Mike had chosen Take Prisoner on one of my crew (Taelor I believe) and eventually I was saved by my own Dumb Luck by moving her to where she couldn't be engaged, thereby saving myself from defeat through sheer unwittingness. (Is that a word? Meh, it is now.) So that one ended up as another very close win for me.
At the end of the day on the Saturday I had managed to go 2 wins and 2 losses which I was more than happy with. It had been a cracking day, lots of people to talk to, great atmosphere and plenty of banter. And the best part? There was still a whole other day to go......
In the next installment of "Eless flails at Nationals" - Gremlins! Black Jokers! Rasputina! And watch Eless have 2 of the biggest giggling fits she's had for a while. Tune in next time!