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Thursday, 28 September 2017

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy: I finally did another event!

 So I finally went to my first Malifaux event in ages. Over 4 months since my last proper ranked event. I haven’t been playing much Malifaux in the last few months as I have been fairly focussed on Guildball, which has taken over as my main competitive game. But as this was a tournament at our LGS Dark Sphere run by the lovely Tom Skitt, I wanted to go along and suprport it. I had been planning on going solo Pandora as the strat/scheme pool wasn’t bad for her and I haven’t played her much this year and always enjoy running her out. But the night prior to the event I realised I wasn’t actually looking forward to playing. I think bringing out a Master I used to be quite competitive with but was very rusty with and was realised the idea of losing games with her because of lack of practice would frustrate me. So I brought this issue into the Abnormalifaux group chat and our resident Guild expert Francois offered to lend me a Guild crew as he was playing Yan Lo for the event. I’ve been meaning to try Nellie for ages and thought trying something new would let me have a fun day without putting pressure on myself to do well. So I went into the day with Nellie and my own Lucius stuff just in case (tho I did end up sticking to Nellie for all 3 games). Brought a few of my favourite mercs along as well (Burt, performer, sue, McTavish, etc.)


Moving on to game 1 I faced Robert Buckingham, a local Neverborn player who was playing his first tournament. Props to Tom by the way for getting a lot of new blood to this event; I can’t remember the last time I went to an event with so many new players. And he even had an award for best performance by a new player, which I thought was really cool. The game was Turf War (Standard), with Claim Jump, Accusation, Leave Your Mark, Covert Breakthrough and Quick Murder. I decided to go Nellie (I ran Embedded, Delegation and Misleading Headlings in every game) and her totem, two field reporters, Phiona, Burt Jebsen (such a boss in this crew), Peacekeeper (to try and deny Quick Murder) and Francisco (also to help deny Quick Murder). Plan was to go with one of Leave Your Mark/Breakthrough and then Quick Murder unless he took a strong denial piece for it. In the end he took a crew very similar to stuff I used to run back in 2015. Lilith, McTavish, primordial, doppel, lilitu, 2 waldgeists, and a silurid. The whole reason I didn’t run McTavish in this game is I find he is quite easy to kill so Quick Murder was definitely gonna happen. With the movement tricks he had leave your mark would be easy to deny whereas I should have activation control so I went with Covert Breakthrough. My opponent it turns out took Leave your Mark and Quick Murder.

I wanted to kill of his silurid ASAP as I knew if it broke my lines it was 3vp for covert or Leave so out ditched a lot of cards to outactivate him so had Burt, Nellie, and Phiona left after he was done. Phiona Sprinted to a flank to get in charge range of it. The rest of my crew played fairly far back turn 1 as I’m well aware how easily lilitu and Lilith can pick my crew apart. Also sent a field reporter down my left flank and one down near the right to try to get through for breakthrough. Turn 2 he won initiative and lured in Francisco. I decided to go with Francisco and immediately killed Lilitu (no more lures for you!) and then used by fast ap to walk to engage doppelganger and mctavish. He didn’t manage to quite kill Francisco because of the neg flips I put him on. I also charged his silurid with Phiona, burning two stones to cancel the negatives and killed it. Making it very difficult for him to score schemes (I thought he had claim jump, but it still was key to shut down leave mark). Lilith got Francisco down to 1 wound and Burt did some damage to a waldgeist. Peacekeeper hung back staying safe. We both scored turf war. Next turn Francisco went first and flurried mctavish. Then died to Lilith. Nellie then went and finished off mctavish to score me 3vp for quick murder. Peacekeeper killed off the injured waldgeist. Fieldreporter dropped a marker that doppel walked over to deny thinking I had leave your mark. Both scored Turf War again making it 5-2 to me. Turn 4 Things continued going my way as I put dmg into the final waldgeist and doppel and I got 2 more markers down for breakthrough. Opponent had a good use of Lilith, double walking and dropping a marker for leave mark while staying in turf war bubble bringing the score up to 6-4 to me. Final turn I managed to kill off Doppel and Waldgeist turn 5 to deny Turf war and he managed to get a 2nd leave mark point with Lilith making it a 10-5 win for me. Man Nellie is good, I felt like I had control that whole game. So much ap control and activation control is just so strong.

Going into game 2 I was pretty chuffed by the handle I had on Nellie so was hoping for a 2 win day. Hilariously I got matched up vs Francois, whose Nellie crew I was borrowing. He threatened to take the crew back but I managed to convince him to let me keep it for the day haha. So we were playing Headhunter (Flank), with Claim Jump, Frame for Murder, Accusation, Show of Force. I played this janky scheme pool vs Mollusq prior to the event as neither of use new what to do with it (Link here). I decided as Guild my best bet was to hold the centre, score 3 for show of force try to get up on heads early and then get a couple points from another scheme. I took Nellie, Phiona (Numb, Transparency), 2 Field Reporters, Performer, Burt (debt), Johan (Debt), Big Jake (Debt). Francois had Yan Lo, Izamu, Toshiro, Punk Zombie, Chiaki, Soul Porter and two ten thunder brothers. I decided to go with Claim Jump as my 2nd scheme as figured I could outactivate him and I had two models that could interact while engaged. Francois took claim as well and frame for murder on a tt brother

Turn 1 he over extended a tt brother and I killed it with burt giving him 2vp for Frame for Murder. Damn! Well played Francois. However it did give me a head so I could potentially get up on the strat turn 2. Turn 1 I played fairly cagey early, tho I did send a field reporter down my right flank who got made insignificant by chiaki. Chiaki would spend the rest of the game making my field reporter insignificant.. she never would get to drop a marker. I went last with Nellie and pushed Izamu away and gave him slow. I would be doing a lot of that this game :D Turn 2 I circled the wagons a bit to try and deny him a headhunter point. I went early with Johan to grab the head from last turn and made sure I had 4 upgrades in the turf war circle so there was no way he could deny me Show of Force. I also managed to outactivate him and with my last activation I had a fast performer double walk and blow up a scheme marker to deny him claim jump. I also managed to get 2 markers down for claim jump myself. So up 3-2 after turn 2 and feeling in decent control of the game. Turn 3 didn’t go quite as well as toshiro summoning two models managed to deny me claim jump but I did easily score Show of Force again and managed to kill his punk zombie and pick up a head there. Nellie again pushed Izamu away and made him slow. Mwahahaha. I did fail to deny claim jump this turn tho as his TT brother far away from me managed to get the mask trigger to get both markers down. My plan to get show of force and deny heads was going well despite having to accept he would prob get 3 for claim jump from his TT brother. After turn 3 I was up 5-3 and feeling in decent command of the game. However Izamu finally got stuck in turn 4 and I lost a field reporter and Johan. I did manage to kill off Izamu this turn tho, making scoring final show of force still quite easy with Phiona alone. A fast, reckless burt managed to get down a 2nd claim jump marker to barely score me claim jump, which the TT bro scored for him again as well. My ability to interact while engaged was hugehere as all the heads were in a big scrum but I could grab one and he couldn’t. Putting me in a pretty dominant 8-4 lead. The final term franc finally managed to grab a head, I got my final head and claim jump points and managed to deny his final claim jump as his TT brother didn’t have the mask he needed to get both down this turn and I stopped anyone else from getting one down. In the end it was another 10-5 win for me. Man Nellie is so strong it’s crazy… no wonder Francois likes her so much.

Going into the final round with two 10-5 wins it was looking like I was gonna be on the top table… which was very unexpected. John Burgess was quite a ways ahead on vp diff at this point so I was finally gonna get to play him. Unlike me however, John was playing his main competitive master all day, Lilith, who he has played over 80 games with. Not only that but John has actually played a lot of Guild himself over the last year and so knew both of our crews better than I did. I would need to play very well and get a bit lucky to come out on top. To be honest I mostly was hoping to keep it close and stay on the podium with a narrow loss. But I was obviously gonna give it my best. It was a very weird strat/scheme pool with Interference (Close), Claim Jump, Dig Graves, Hunting Party, Eliminate the Leadership, Set Up. I decided to go hyper aggressive and damage focussed as I knew playing cagey would only lead to me being pulled in and picked off one by one by Lilith. So I went with Nellie, totem, Franc (wade), Phiona (Debt, Transparency), Mctavish (Debt), Burt (Debt) and Trapper. Plan was to deny hunting party with totem/trapper and try and deny eliminate with Franc making Nellie hard to pull in. John had Lilith, Nekima, Primordial, Doppel, Graves, Tannen, and two terror tots. Classic. I debated between dig graves, hunting party and setup. In the end I decided setup on Nekima was too risky as unless I got phiona in without dying it would be very hard to score. So I went with Dig Graves, hoping phiona/Nellie could get some markers down near my potential kills and hunting party. Although hunting party is risky as John could’ve hid his minions/totem quite well but I thought he probably needed him near the Lilith/nekima bubble to drop markers and potentially be used for tangle shadows and thought I should be able to get 2 points for it at least, even if he hid one minion. Idea was for Mctavish and trapper each to hold one of my quarters while I threw everything else at him to keep him pinned back.

Turn 1 I decided to move pretty aggressively with everyone but Franc as I had a feeling he would be the tangle shadow target. Sadly with close deployment it was pretty hard to keep him safe. I decided it was worth just pushing everyone forward since I needed to get stuck in before he just picked me off one at a time. So turn one he swapped a terror tot with Franc (damn!), got some damage on him from Nekima and got 3vp for setup on Franc (double damn!). In return Burt easily dispatched the terror tot that had been swapped (no points, but two more minions to go to get all 3vp on that..) I was actually hoping to take it down to 1 wound and then kill it next turn but I hit moderate and it went down. Oh well. McTavish plugged a chunk of damage on to Graves Turn 1 as well I believe. Nellie went last and gave Burt and Phiona Fast. Trapper never got a clear shot this entire game and just sat in my right corner holding it and threatening anyone who came for it. Turn 2 I lost initiative and Franc went down. He chose to sacrifice the primordial to score Dig Graves. This meant all I had to do was kill a terror tot to secure 3vp for hunting party. Burt went early to try and lock that in and with fast and reckless he could double walk, burn Debt and charge and kill the tot. That locked in 3vp for hunting part for me to the 3 he had for setup. He was however, up one on Dig. This turn McTavish killed Graves after Graves killed my totem. I think he also pulled in Phiona with Lilith but didn’t manage to have the ap to stick a ton of dmg on her (tho he did some). Phiona went and smacked on Nekima, taking her health to about ½ and getting a couple scheme markers down. At end of turn 2 we both scored interference, putting John in the lead 5-4. Despite John being down 4 models (2 tots, Graves, Primordial) to my two (Franc, Printing Press), my inability to get any dig points had me a bit on the back foot.


At this point I think the game was still close, but John definitely had the advantage. I can’t remember who went first here, but I feel it must’ve been me.. Either way the big swing moment was Phiona going first for me (before she was gonna die), dropping debt and smacking at nekima. Think I had moderate on the first swing but then on the final swing I redjokered Nekima doing 8 damage, which even with a severe prevention flip Nekima would not live through. So instead of Nekima activating and potentially killing both burt and Phiona, he lost his main beatstick to a redjoker. It also scored me a point for dig graves (evening up the score). It is hard to stress how big a swing this was in the game as it completely changed both the momentum and the math for interference. Lilith went and killed Phiona (scoring Dig), but then Burt went and tried to kill Doppel (cant remember if he finished her off this turn or next. Either way I didn’t score Dig on the kill). I ended up denying his interference point so after turn 3 the Score was now 6-6 but momentum was clearly on my side. Turn 4 and 5 blur together a bit as I try to make sure Lilith can’t swing the game back in his favour. So both Mctavish and my trapper run to their respective corners so they cant be picked off. Meanwhile Nellie aggressively moves into his quarter. Burt does go down to Lilith, but I manage to deny another interference point to him and neither of us scores Dig. Same thing happens turn 5 as I try to kill Tannen to score Dig but in the end just settle for denying him any points again. Ending the game in a 8-6 win for me.

What a close game. The redjokering Nekima moment completely swung the game. It’s hard to say what would’ve happened if she hadn’t gone down there, but I definitely wouldn’t have gotten up on Interference as quickly as I did. Really enjoyed the game, one of the most fun I’ve played in ages. It reminded me how fun tournament games can be between two good players when neither is playing a summoner :p Really enjoyed Nellie, and although I doubt I will be picking her/guild up any time soon, it was nice to just try something completely new. With Wave 5 coming there is a lot of excitement building for me and hopefully I will have the time to try out some of the new upgrades on my old favourites. 

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