Pandora Bites Back; Tournament report of Bitefaux April 2016
Wow, another tournament. I can hardly believe I've had two tournaments so close together. I got lucky as my wife decided to go to Spain. Sadly she hates Malifaux, Wargaming, Comic books, Sci Fi, and tournaments so play time can be seriously restricted.
I went to Bitefaux in Chessington, London (UK. It was held in a stunningly nice church hall. Not an old shed but a genuinely big, modern and spacious Church activity centre. We were in two lovely big rooms with big windows on a gloriously sunny spring day. It helped make the atmosphere light and pleasant. I was really pleased about that as I'd had an anxiety attack the night before the tournament, so I was feeling rough on the way to the venue. Luckily I'd bumped into Insidious Madness as we got out of the same train carriage and a walk in the sunshine cheered me up no end.
I took Pandora. The strategies/schemes were prepublished and they were great for the Mistress of Mental Hate. If only she had a decent player controlling her.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Read the schemes. I had them in advance and didn't read them. This lead me to make a massive, massive mistake in game 1.
There was a really large field - 30 players including a good number of tournament stalwarts but also some nice faces. The tables were lovely, but some of the terrain placing was a bit questionable. Too much focus on theme, which hampered playability a little. Still they looked amazing.
Also they had unlimited tea/coffee. This is always good.
Game 1: Reckoning vs Tom Thorpe: Outcasts (The Viktorias)
Occupy their turf
Frame for murder
Exhaust their forces
Wow, what a surprise. I was playing the same opponent and crew from my last tournament (Boarfaux), a couple of weeks previously. It was really nice to get a re-match especially as Tom is such a fantastic guy to play against. I'm sure he was much more confident going into this match. We chatted afterwards. He had played Pandora a couple of times and won easily. This meant he hadn't really seen what she was capable of.
The terrain was set up so well for the Viktorias. I've photo'd it here. Half the board was an open road of death for my crew. Tom deployed most of his models down this side, with Blood Vik solo hunting on the other. I put my Silurid up on the top of the massive height 7 roofs, making him essentially unreachable. I stupidly put my librarian up there too. I wanted him to be a self healing buffer with LOS to Doppleganger who could copy off the Librarian. Sadly I actually had to go out to get the Viks in this game rather than stay in my castle.
Tom swiftly moved up the Viks, especially the Trappers and Ronin and Ashes. I moved my Silurid up to Tom's deployment zone, dropped a scheme marker and declared "Occupy their Turf" Tom then explained that it wasn't a scheme marker based scheme. I'd got it completely mixed up with "Covert Breakthrough." That meant I only got 1 point for declaring it so early. I should have easily got 3 points for it, but my colossal screw up there cost me 2 VP. A painful, but memorable lesson.
Events were spiralling out of control, Blood Vik tying up Lilitu (Frame for Murder), but not killing her - she killed poor Doppleganger instead. Trappers beating up Insidious Madness, and things were looking bad. Poor Pandora and Candy were only surviving by handing out Paralysed. Luckily Pandora then really got to work. She killed off Ashes, and a Trapper then went off to killing Vanessa, and a Librarian, then came back to kill off the last Ronin and Trapper (giving away 3 points for Frame for Murder - I was sure that it was on Blood Vik).
We counted up the score and it was a tight 7 VP Viks, 6VP Pandora. She was just a living engine of destruction in this game and if I'd played the scheme right Candy and Doppleganger would have taken easy 3 VPs with the Silurid for a win. Not to take anything away from Tom who played really well, but I honestly think he was lucky with the win here - not something I normally say.
Game 2: Extraction vs Yan Proudley: Ten Thunders (Shenlong)
Show of force
Leave your mark
Ok, this was a great game. It swung back and forth wildly with card flips all over the shop. Yan took
A Katanaka Sniper
The Lone Swordsman
A Guild Pathfinder.
The early game went quite badly for me. Pandora took a lot of fire and ended up in a bad place due to pushes and lures. Yan got over confident and went in for the kill on Pandora with the Lone Swordsman, declaring You Shall Not See Another Dawn against Pandora and burning recalled training. This was a high risk play. Yan was gambling that he could constantly hit Pandora and whittle her down before she pushed away. Unfortunately for him, she danced away laughing from the first attack. He resigned himself to loosing the Swordsman and aimed to take out Lilitu/Doppleganger with his reactivation. He certainly did that easily. I was now in a difficult position. I was down to Pandora, Candy, Teddy, 2 Madnesses and Primordial Magic. Pandora killed the Pathfinder. Teddy did a long run round the side of the board hugging cover and finally got to a tengu as it approached the centre line. He ripped it to shreds and sent everyone else running. Pandora and Candy seized their chance, Paralysing the Sniper then killing him, then Paralysing Shenlong. This shut down Yan's chance of scoring Convict Labour as Sensai Yu was dodging Teddy. I really felt bad for Yan at the end as the cards suddenly turned against him in a major way and I flipped super hot (doesn't happen often).
The game ended with an unexpected win for me. A very narrow 4vp Pandora vs 3vp Shenlong
Game 3: Guard the stash vs Paul (??): Ten Thunder (McCabe)
This was a tricky game on terrain that wasn't great for Pandora. I decided to run three combat groups. Group 1 was a Beckoner and 2 Illuminated. They would hold the stash and the Beckoner would hand out brilliance and stop people removing it. Group 2 was Pandora, Candy and Doppleganger, who could usually hold off anything thrown at them. Unfortunately Yin the Penangalang put Dora on neg flips from T2 and Pandora couldn't quite kill her in time, putting Dora in a desperate position where she couldn't cheat her flips. The Emmissary nearly killed off my Illuminated in turn 2 and I lost the Beckoner to a hound. That meant my left side force was struggling alone with Pandora in a dire condition. Emissary just murdered his way through my crew and McCabe seemed to make every since model nimble or fast or something and able to make magical attacks. Doppleganger had to be sent off to help the Silurid but none of them could kill a wretched hound that cost me serious VP. The game ended on a very tight 7VP McCabe to 6VP Pandora.
So a great tournament. Really well run. Great prize support and a lovely atmosphere. Might well be my last tournament for a good long time, although I'd like to get to the one in Poole.
Final results were 1 win and 2 losses putting me at 20th place out of 30. One of my best performances to date.