Second day of the Malifaux Nationals and I hadn't collapsed from exhaustion, drinking or excitement. Calling that a win, I threw myself back into the fray for the final 3 games.
My first game was against a new face - Alessandro who was running Sonnia Criid. Not a Master I'd faced before on the table but the strategy of Turf War seemed tailor made for her - everyone grouping up around a single marker just begging to be incinerated with blasts.
Sadly for me that was exactly what happened. In hindsight my crew selection was simply not geared to deal with the sheer number of blasts that Sonnia was able to churn out. I decided to run Hamelin for the game, thinking he'd be immune to any Burning that got tossed around but I failed in not selecting Nix with his Hollow upgrade - this would have given him a (0) that allows all friendly models within 5" to be immune to all damage from Pulses, Auras and Blasts.
I did have some success in the game though and a high point was Hamelin Obeying Papa Loco to walk into the middle of the Sonnia crew and basically explode. While this didn't do a massive amount of damage it was still a pretty funny moment in a game that otherwise didn't go at all my way.
After that loss it was onto game 2 against a rather familiar opponent, Tim Brown. I'd played Tim twice before Nationals and each game, while ending in a loss for me, had been very enjoyable. The Strategy announced for this one was Reckoning with Close Deployment. Given I know Tim plays Gremlins pretty much exclusively and he knew I was bringing Outcasts, we both had a pretty good idea of what the other was going to produce from their case. Although a Pigapult in Close Deployment? Bad Timmy bad!
Sure enough, Tim ran with Ophelia and I couldn't resist bringing out the Viks, despite the fact that I knew Assassinate was in the pool and it was certainly a scheme Ophelia is more than capable of achieving. The temptation of being able to have the Viks right up in the opposing side of the table bringing stabbity whirlwinds of death was simply too much for me to ignore!
It ended up being a very close game with both crews being fairly well matched in damage output but in the end the Gremlins just took the win over the Viks partly due to their superior healing abilities (damn you Fingers) and the machinations of my own deck. I'd managed to get Ophelia down to 2 wounds and through the judicious use of the Viks' (0) actions and some decent card flips I had a straight damage flip. A straight damage flip, to do 2 damage, to get full points for Assassinate. Guess what happened? For those of you who said Red Joker...HA! This is Malifaux. And Bad Things Happen. So yeah. Black Joker. I mean, what can you do? Well in my case I think I stood there in shock for about a minute before letting loose with a rather spectacular torrent of abuse at my deck, whilst simultaneously laughing my ass off. Tim knew exactly how I felt and the first thing he did was to come around to the other side of the table and give me a massive hug while we both howled laughing.
So that game ended up with a narrow win to Tim but ultimately it was another really fun game which led to me declaring (in a very tongue in cheek fashion) Tim to be my Malifaux Nemesis, a title I intend to take off of him in 2016. I WILL beat you Ginger one! I might be 3 and 0 for now but I'll get you next time!
So we're down to the last game of the Malifaux Nationals for 2015. There was absolutely nothing riding on the result of it but I was hoping to possibly sneak a win so as not to end my second day on 3 losses. The draw was announced and I was floored. My opponent for the last game was Bob! My travelling companion for the weekend. We did tease Mike about rigging the pairings but he informed us we were both so close that there was no way to split us! So....game on! The strategy this time was Collect the Bounty, another reasonably kill happy scheme. Combined with the fact that Make Them Suffer was in the pool and my choice of Masters was pretty much decided - Hamelin and his rat spam can be something of a liability in killy schemes.
Bob had picked Rasputina (he had been running a duo of Collette and Rasputina all weekend) and it's fair to say I wasn't best pleased. I've only faced Rasputina a couple of times but I've not yet found a decent counter to her with either Hamelin or the Viks. This time I settled for 2 Freikorps Trappers to shoot her and her December Acolytes (I hate those things) into tiny pieces.
My plan started off well enough - I managed to take both Acolytes out relatively easily with my Librarian and a Trapper so I was feeling fairly confident. My confidence was short lived however when Bob managed to do decent damage on Vik of Ashes with a couple of blasts and then used the trigger on Rasputina's Child of December upgrade (Target takes 2 damage for each upgrade the targer has attached). Suddenly the 3 upgrades I had on Vik of Ashes were her undoing and there was nothing I could do to save her, even with Soulstones and a Freikorps Librarian nearby. Once again I was sat there in shock. I'd just lost my Master on Turn freaking 1! I was just about to get a bit of a strop (I hide it well but I can get very annoyed with myself when I think I've done something dumb in game) when Bob got a look of horror on his face. The following conversation ensued:
"Oh bugger! I didn't want to do that!"
"Do what? Kill my Master?"
"Because I took Spring the f*****g Trap!"
I couldn't help it. I put my head down on the table and just cried laughing. To his credit Bob was laughing nearly as hard because as I said earlier - what else can you do? The rest of the game continued much in the same vein, ending with a win to Bob.
I can't deny that I wasn't a little disappointed not to get a win on the second day but looking at the weekend overall I'd surpassed the goal I'd set for myself (win at least 1 game and I'd won 2) and I had had so much fun that I almost didn't care about my final placing. The whole weekend had been a blast, not only the games but the social side and being able to finally meet people in person!
Personal highlights off the table included playing Cards Against Humanity with Bob, Aiden and Barney on the Friday night after we'd been out drinking, getting to give Rob McCallum (who'd travelled over from the Emerald Isle) a massive hug, seeing the ever charming Connor Barker cosplaying as Mah Tucket (also amusing seeing several people walking around with lipstick marks on their cheeks as a result) and getting the meet Jo, who I had heard lots about. She remarked that it was great to see a much larger number of female players than in previous years, which was something I hadn't thought about - but it was true! Malifaux seems to be incredibly welcoming to female gamers (well to everyone really) especially in comparison to some other communities.
So how to sum up this awesome weekend of gaming, drinking, chatting and overall lunacy? See you all next year I guess!