Monday, 21 March 2016

Bringing Molly back from the dead

I have been somewhat absent on here of late. I do not get much time to do much gaming at the beginning of the year due to work. Plus my second daughter was born in December, so I have been juggling work and child rearing duties rather than gaming.

Boarfaux was my first tournament in 2016 and before the weekend I had actually only managed two games of Malifaux. Of those only one  was with the new GG2016 schemes. Nothing better than learning in a live situation though.

As usual John ran a great event. Between him and Warboar there were some fantastic tables and the Warboar staff were great. They even brought us drinks during games...apparently their booze license is in the works so hopefully next time I will have a couple of beers to improve my gameplay. This was their first Malifaux tournament at the venue and I am looking forward to the next one. It was also the biggest in London to date at 32 players.

I was keen to get Molly back on the table after such a long break. It was also good to go into the tournament with no expectations other than to learn more.

It was a great day and I managed to play against four fantastic opponents - none of whom I had ever played before. So how did it go?

Round 1 - Andrew (Lady J)
It turns out Andrew plays the occasional game at Dark Sphere, but I had never managed a game or even seen him before. Although I recognised his name from the Facebook group.
Guard the stash
Convict labour
Show of force
Search the ruins
A quick murder
Leave your Mark
I took something similar to a standard list I generally use my core Molly crew, but with show of force in the pool I tweaked some upgrades around.

Molly - Spirit upgrade
Madame Sybelle - Bleeding tongue
Datsue Ba - Spirit whispers
Izamu - Unnerving aura
Philip and Nanny
Dead doxy
Grave spirit

My opponent was playing with Lady J, Francois, Sidir, Judge, J's totem and 2 marshals. He was also packing 3 upgrades for show of force. Before he had revealed his crew I was contemplating hunting force (Izamu and 2 henchmen seemed a good number to pick from) and potentially a quick murder. Although when I saw his crew I decided against hunting party. It would be too easy for him to keep his minions hiding and I doubted I would get close to the totem.  I pondered Search the ruins but worried about AP. My choices on a quick murder were Sidir (no way) and the Judge. So I selected the Judge. I figured if I got that kill off then Show of force would be in my favour. With my schemes chosen it was time to set up.

I cropped this pic from one of the ones John threw up after the event. I was on the right. You can see the stash markers and the centre of the board forced us into the middle of the circus tent.I elected to have the doxy and Datsue push Izamu through the gap with Sybelle and Molly following. Phil hoovered up some scheme markers to give me an amazing hand. Then him and the doxy went round the left (so bottom on the pic) side of the tent towards the other stash marker.

My opponent made his way towards the centre with most of his big guns heading towards the top marker and the two marshals looking to contest with Phil. Datsue was running along the seats of the tent so she could dart to either marker.

The game was largely over in the first turn and part of turn 2. He brought Lady J and the Judge close enough to get in range of Molly with the marshals on the back of the stage. I positioned Molly (with the help of Sybelle) in the centre of the tent. She summoned an onryo next to the two marshals to lock them in combat. She then summoned a hanged between Lady J, the Judge and someone else (Francois?). With her (0) action she encouraged the hanged to Whisper Lady J's wounds away. Then with his accomplice turn he did the same to the Judge - I said Phil had helped give me a great hand! By now I was feeling a little bad. I think this was the first time Andrew had faced Molly. Turn 2 the Judge was dead and the guild were fading fast. Datsue had turned the one marshal into an Onryo and the other marker was controlled. I fed Sybelle to Lady J and then finished her off with Molly at range and Izamu cleaned up Francois.

Time was called in round 4 and it went 9-0 to me. Andrew then went on to face Mr Shepherd's Molly in round 2, but I think he fared quite a bit better in that game. Andrew was a fantastic sport and he took the various losses in his stride. I suspect after two games against Molly he will be looking for blood and well armed for our next one.

Round 2 - Maria (Jack Daw)

The problem with doing a little too well in the first game is that you sift to the top of the tables. I had run the numbers with a few quick conversations after game 1 and I had a suspicion this would happen. She had beaten Mr Shepherd thoroughly in round 1 so I thought we might just switch opponents (and low and behold).

My usual strategy at a tournament is to get thumped in round 1 and then try and save face for the rest of the day. This means I normally avoid opponents like Maria. But I was glad I didn't on Saturday. She was a fantastic sport and showed me a hell of a lot during the game.

You can see my back at the centre snow table. No doubt puzzling how I could reverse my fortunes.
Squatter's rights
Convict labour
Hunting party
Exhaust their forces
Undercover entourage
Set Up
I basically ran a similar list to the first game, but dropped the bleeder lash for Take back the night on Molly. It was flank deployment and I had Phil, Datsue and the doxy looking to grab one of the markers on the right and to contest one of the others. Then when I had a chance I could give Phil a good push so he could dart around the back for the entourage points. Maria had a trapper parked on one marker and Johan looking to contest the other.

Then I had the rest nearer the centre to grab one and contest another near there. Maria was packing Jack Daw, Taelor and guilty near the same sort of area as Molly, with Rusty more central to be a pain with her gun.

This was my first game against Daw so I was quite excited to see him in action. I had told Maria this so she was really great about explaining some of her choices after the game and why she likes him in this particular strategy.

I thought I had a good hand the opening turn. Maria had a great hand with two 13s and the red joker (she told me the rest were trash though). She put her hand to great use and she managed to flip two more 13s at somewhat useful times. The first turn was absolutely brutal. With Jack sentencing Izamu to a firing range death and me managing to get a hanged in Taelors face and an onryo in an annoying spot. At the end of turn 1 Izamu was on 1 wound and Taelor on 2. Taelor had managed to dodge Molly's secret and the first attempt at whispers from beyond. They were both looking to compete for the marker to the left of centre, but I was banking on my onryo holding Taelor in engagement range. On the marker to the right of centre Datsue and Johan were squaring off.

I lost initiative on turn 2. Jack finished off Izamu and made my hanged whisper to Sybelle. Shit! I forgot Jack could obey my hanged...the sly grin Maria gave me for that said it all. I had also forgotten that tormented models push at the beginning of their activation (despite Maria having told me and done it more than once)! That meant that Taelor could push away and flip her key second marker (I was not going to be able to stop the trapper). This meant that she was able to comfortably tick over each turn while I would have to fight my way back in.

My onryos were able to pick up a couple of points off Jack Daw with exhaust their forces (they were never going to hurt him so he was a great target for this scheme). Datsue cleared off Johan and got that marker (with Molly taking the centre one). But I was a couple of VP down on strategy points now. My Phil plan mostly worked, I managed to shove him right down field and he hid behind a bush to avoid the trapper. Unfortunately for me, Rusty back pedaled with her oathkeeper and empty enough bullets into him that he was no more. Bugger.

I had a doxy planning to get my last exhasut points off the guilty only for the guilty to flip two severe cards on a negative damage flip. They have 5 severe damage. Who knew!

Then Daw waltzed into my deployment zone to give Maria full points (Taelor and my crumbling forces had handed her Hunting party). End result 4-10. Maria played a perfect game and I made a pile of mistakes...I think I spotted quite a few of them on reflection (never forget tormented can push), but I am sure there were more. I think I was happy with my overall strategy, it was my implementation that let me down. I need to win a few more games so I can have a rematch at some point.

Maria and I had a chat before the game with James on the table beside us. We realised that she had played in more tournaments this year than I had games...and it showed. She knew her crew inside out (and mine too).

Round 3 - Tom P (Collette)
Another of the ever expanding Dark Sphere crowd that I had not yet faced. I decide to give Tara a little whirl for this one. I hadn't touched her in more than a year but thought it would be fun to give her some table time.

Convict labour
Neutralise the leader
Take prisoner
Public Demonstration
Leave your Mark
Before the day I had not even planned to run Tara so I hadn't spent any time thinking about her crews, but when I spotted neutralise the leader I thought what the hell. While fiddling around with crew cards I had planned on taking two death marshals. But, as I unpacked the models I saw that I had brought Yin, so one marshal stayed home so I could take Yin. This was my first mistake...not taking Yin, she is fantastic. But because I rushed I forgot to give her the unnerving aura...bugger. This actually would have been huge to the game.

I ran Tara with her usual suite (dead of winter, knowledge of eternity and obliteration symbiote), Sybelle (bleeding tongue and not too banged up), nothing beast (void shield), two belles, yin and a marshal. Solid crew and decent for head hunter. I have pulled wins with this crew (although including the aura) in head hunter in the past.

Colette was accompanied by Cassandra, Myranda, arcane effigy, performer, mannequin, the acolyte and Angelica.

First turn Tara gave the two belles fast and slid forwards. The marshal packed his friend the nothing beast into a suitcase and shuffled forwards. Yin flew around a bit. I had been holding back for a bit to wait for something to show its face. There was a big forest that Tom was mostly hiding behind. Then Angelica poked her nose out. The belles brought her into range. Tara dropped the nothing beast, handed out fast to my ENTIRE crew and the Nothing Beast ate Angelica.

Turn 2 I grabbed Angelica's head. Then everything seemed to be in combat. Cassie used a number of pushes to begin the attack on Tara (I knew what was coming). Bugger, Tara does not handle sustained melee attacks well, so it was only going to be a matter of time before she dropped.

Myranda dashed forward and turned into some beasty with a leap (but not a cat). The nothing beast or Tara stuffed it into the void while it was still slow. Somewhere here my opponent had taken a head (probably from a belle). This death brought the beast back but a little further away.

Tara went down. But then I got Yin's (0) action off on Colette meaning she had negative flips on casts and WP. I then double lured Colette into range of the nothing beast who just killed her. I was expecting her to fail the WP test or be buried, but she didn't even survive the attack. I dropped her head in the wrong spot (stupid). Thinking I could have the death marshal come back and fetch it...but he was too close to some other creature. The big beasty killed my last belle and was able to just leap out of range of the nothing beast's aura to get another head. He was on 2 wounds. I had a 12 in had. So I walked over to hit with nothing beast. Used casting expert to attack. With min damage 2 I would be able to pick up the belle's head once the beast was gone. Tom, the sneaky bugger, flipped a red joker on defense. The only card that would have stopped me! Damn!

Time was up and that head made the difference. We had both selected take the prisoner and scored part of it. I had elected the effigy (in engagement range of marshal). He had selected Yin. Who had been tied up with Cassie for a few turns - if I had remembered the aura that would have been very different.

7-8 against me. Tom was a great opponent and he was surprised he had won. Another round and I think his crew might have had a bit of trouble. I definitely need a rematch. I thoroughly enjoyed taking Tara out the case and with all the lovely wave 3 things for her she will definitely be back soon.

Round 4 - Tom S (Misaki)
Yet another of the new Dark Sphere crowd that I had not faced...I really should turn up more regularly. Tom was another great opponent with a fantastically painted crew. His TT spider thingy is a masterpiece.

Convict labour
Exhaust their forces
Hunting party
Covert breakthrough
I whipped out the same crew that Maria had shoved into the dirt - desperate to give them some revenge. Recon is not a hot strategy for Molly, but I haven't painted Kirai or Nico and it definitely is not for Tara.

I am a little wary of Misaki with Molly. Misaki can fall flat against armour but Molly's best defense (her trigger) just plays into Misaki's assassinate trigger. TT means the inevitable Kang. Tom also had the aforementioned spider, Mr Graves, the fox totem that heals, a wastrel and Yamziko.

With flank deployment I had to divide a little with Izamu and Datsue on my right. Molly and Sybelle on my left. Phil and doxy were near the middle, but close enough for doxy to push Izamu in the beginning.

Tom set up with every intention of wiping Sybelle and Molly from the board. With the fox, Yamaziko, Kang and Misaki aiming straight for them. He had the spider in the middle and Mr Graves and the Wastrel on my right. He joked about not having a plan, but looking at his set up I was worried that I would struggle to control corners.

I did my usual shoving Izamu forward and drawing cards while holding back Sybelle and Molly as long as possible. The spider vanished. Graves and the wastrel shoved forward. Yamaziko, Kang and Misaki went straight for Sybelle. Misaki did a bit of wounds on Sybelle but nothing too serious. I then released a hanged with 3 wounds. Using its 0 it knocked Kang down. Tom was looking worried. Then Molly softened him up and the Hanged sealed the deal with the accomplice activation.

While Tom was quite concerned here, he still had his crews better placed to score points. The spider had arrived between the Doxy and Philip. I was forced to just shove Izamu towards the far corner. I had cocked up my placement so Datsue was too close to the centre. He had come a little back to push Philip away from the spider. Molly and Sybelle had beaten Misaki to almost dead. But the damned fox healed her quite far back up. There was some pushing that Tom used well to ensure that he scored recon when I didn't.

By now I knew time was tight. Izamu just pushed forward and dropped a marker with the grave spirit in tow. Mr Graves was forced to turn around and come back for them. Yamaziko was forced to chase the grave spirit to try get a hunting party point (he had scored one off Hanged earlier). But I had done the numbers and knew he could only get it to one wound. She then pushed away to Izamu and hid out of sight.

Molly finished off Misaki (I think Sybelle was on a single wound) and it probably involved a whispered secret. Phil had previously exhausted Misaki and Datsue did the same to the spider while being eaten.

This was a viciously close battle that I managed to squeak in my favour, finishing 4-3. Partly thanks to Izamu's not so covert breakthrough. Time was called in turn 4 and the jury is out where it would have gotten. I did struggle with the strategy but I managed to play my own schemes and deny hunting party. The wastrel had fallen short of his own breakthrough.

Tom took the first turn devastation well and managed to recover from it really well. There was a second where he almost looked despondent but his resolve held and it turned into an absolute blast of a game. We were both tired and I think we ended that game more energised than when we had started. I think he was glad his spider hadn't died in that game...apparently his previous opponents were so terrified of its awesomeness that they took it down as fast as they could.

All in all it was a fantastic day. I love Molly...but I do need to give Tara another run soon too. Thanks to all my opponents for the really great games. They were all amazing for completely different reasons.

I note that 3 of my games were called to time in round 4. This was partly due to me being out of touch with Molly, but I think it also came down to the closeness of some of the games. I am not too concerned about this. Tom did apologise in the last game for taking a while for his turns, but we both guilty of it in that game. Something for me to keep an eye on it though. 


  1. As a fellow Molly lover I really liked reading this! Thanks for writing it up, and now my hands are itching as well! I have so far always played Molly with horrors, but I now have the spirits to play that side of her as well. Just to paint them :)

    Cheers, and again, really like your blog!

  2. Glad you enjoyed it. I've really been enjoying molly. Not tried her with horrors yet... The threat of onryos, hanged and Izamu has been too hard to resist.