Thursday, 25 February 2016

What's (Lost) love (4) got to do with it.

Second tournament of the year for me, once again down at Wayland Games in Hockley. Lost Love 4 the annual event run by Dave "Mr TO" Brown. For those that haven't been Lost love is a 45ss fixed master event with a 70ss hiring pool.

I took the plucky young reporter Molly with a pool of horrors and spirits. As I take a fairly static list with Molly the pool restriction wasn't an issue for me. I took my usual horror Molly list with a few spirits in the pool in case I wanted to run Spirit Molly (something I always want to do but never get around to). I also put a few Belles in the pool so people would think I was cool and knew what I was doing but I didn't hire one all day.

I really enjoyed the event last year despite taking home the (very handsome) wooden spoon. So I was keen this year to use Lost Love as a test to see how, or if I've progressed.

So after a quick tea it was time for registration, this may have taken a bit longer than expected due to a last minute surge in tickets there were 33 of us there excited to push some toys around. (Odd number meant there was a buy but you can't have everything)

So once registered we got to got to see what we were working with... GG16 the new tournament scheme set for the year. I'll get my GG16 review out the way now, despite not really understanding most of them I like the changes made to the schemes and I think they should have a positive impact on the game.

Monday, 22 February 2016

2015 Tournament Review: My Opponents

In the first part of my 2015 tournament review (link) I covered the strategies I played, the masters I used, my Win/Loss records and my VP differentials. In this article I will be looking at my opponents' factions and Masters and my records against them. Obviously the sample size for looking at opponent's masters is far smaller and also heavily influenced by the skill of the player. Therefore this data is not meant to suggest that certain factions/masters are stronger in other, it's more just of interest to see how many different masters I played, how common they were and if any of them gave me trouble.

Six months or so into the year I'd barely played against any ressurs competitively and outcasts were running away with first place. However, events in the fall (especially nationals) lead to me facing far more ressurs and neverborn, leading to a three-way tie for my most common opposing faction. I also didn't face Gremlins at all in the early part of the year, before finally getting a few games against them near the end. I was very surprised to see Arcanists right in the middle, since I feel like I play against them a ton. 

As got my record against various factions, the only faction I didn't lose to was Ten Thunder. I also did very well against two of my most common opposing factions (outcasts and ressurs). I was particularly surprised by how well I did vs Ressurs since there are very few ressur (outside Molly) players in our local meta and I probably know the least about their models of any of the factions outside Gremlins. By far my worst record is against Neverborn, ironic since I was also using them. Clearly I struggle in matchups where I don't have a clear advantage in something (usually speed with neverborn). It may also come down to the fact that I played a LOT of good Neverborn players, and very few new players used them against me. Whereas I faced quite a few new players using Guild and Arcanists. 

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Battle report: Pandora v Kirai

So here is a short battle report for my first outing with Pandora

I had 26ss to play with. The Strategy was Turf War. I took Take Prisoner and Distract as my schemes. Dr Walnut took Breakthrough and A Line in the Sand! 

I was really nervous when it came time to deploy. He had Kirai, Izamu, Lost Love and Philip & the Nanny. I had 

Pandora The Box Opens, Aether Connection and Wings of Darkness (I think)
Candy Best Behaviour
Primordial Magic. 

I was really, really sure I was going to be wiped out easily. My crew was built to buff and debuff but I didn't actually have any hitters. On the upside I was drawing 7 cards a turn and able to prevent 2 damage on my prevention flips for Pandora. She also had Terrifying 13(All). That at least made me confident she would be ok in the centre for a bit. 

As we went into turns 1-2, the Kirai crew just grew, adding Gaki, Onryo and a Hanged. I think he must have added a good 30ss to his crew over the game. Filthy, filthy ressers, especially in a 26ss game and he was basically running a 50s crew. 

Monday, 15 February 2016

In the spirit of things


With a new year and a new tournament season plus a new slow grow at Dark Sphere I thought it would be a good time for something new.

Now I wanted to stay with Ressers as I enjoy my undead horde, so I thought that Kirai with her legion of spirits was the ideal choice. I get to stay with the other masters I like but also get to add something new with the sea of spirits over my shambling zombies.

This gave me a slight pause as a lot of spirits work completely differently to zombies and knowing what to use where and when is almost like using a new faction. So I decided to use the blog as a place to work out what I know and what I don't about spirits.

I'm going to work through Kirai's list of summons share what I think of the and how I might use them.

So first off Kirai's favourite little friends the Seishin.

Seishin are 0 cost peons that can't be hired only summoned. They can be summoned on a 0 action by Kirai herself and Datsue ba and brought in when a non seishin dies with in 6" of someone with the spirit becon upgrade.

So I have a few seishin floating around what can I do with them? They are insignificant with low stats across the board so they won't be hanging around too long.

Their abilities that jump out as useful are only either which makes them immue to auras and Enslaved soul which lets them be placed into base contact with friendly leader at the start of the leaders activation. Enslaved soul almost defines the place these models want to be.

Thursday, 11 February 2016

2015 Tournament Report: A Year in Review

I was hoping to have this article out at the end of 2015... But it ended up taking longer than I thought it would and I've also been busier than I thought I'd be so oh well. At least it's up now.

Before I go into my 2015 tournament statistical analysis I'd just like to quickly run over 2014 as technically my first two events in Malifaux were in that year.

My first ever Malifaux event was a 8-10 player event, Fools of Fate at Wayland Games. It was a three-rounder fixed-master (I think) event. At the time I only had a very small pool of Nightmares to run. I ended up winning my first two games(Squatters Rights and Turf War) before losing on the top table in the final game to James Reeves in Reckoning. This started two major trends of my 2014 events: 1) Sucking at Reckoning and 2) Facing James Reeves a lot.

My second ever event was also a small event at wayland games (I think 12 players made it that time), In the Name of the Master. This was actually the only event to date I ended with a losing record, as I won my first game (Squatters Rights) before losing my final two in excruciating fashion (Second game was a Dreamer off vs Dave Hill (Reconnoitre) that just went on forever and ended in a 1vp win for him. Final game (Reckoning again) I just didn't see my opponent's model and walked right into a trap. Oops!)

So I ended 2014 with a 3-3 tournament record, having used Dreamer in every game (as I would continue to do for quite a while).

Anyway, now that that stuff is out of the way, let's get to the meat of the article. In 2015 I went to 13 events and played in 50 games in these events. It would have been 51 be I had a first round bye at that event (which counted as a 10-5 win). For the purposes of this article I'm excluding the bye from all statistics. Overall I am really happy with my performance as I won 38 of these games for a win % of 76%. I also only had 1 tie all year which was against Lee Walstow in Reckoning at Summer Showdown.

To break down my record further, here is how I did a the various strategies: For this chart I decided to include the 2014 events to give the strategies a larger sample size (also because my Reckoning record becomes artificially inflated if you ignore the fact that I was 0-2 in it in 2014).

Monday, 8 February 2016

Badluck & Blood in 2016

Well the last of the mince pies have been eaten (before I could even get my paws on them) and the decorations are away. A warm December has turning into a nasty January and I've done my 2015 Year in Review post already. 

Now on to 2016. New Year means New Faction, especially as the Abnormalifaux crew are running a slow grow. Very excited. One of the rules was that it had to be a completely new master, and fully painted. As I've done a year with TT I thought I could use Misaki. I haven't tried her yet. She is just sitting on the shelf painted and ready. Still, that felt a bit like I would be playing new comers with lots of models I knew well, just with a different master. That didn't seem fair. I thought about Lynch perhaps as Neverborn. I already have Mr Graves, Mr Tannen and 3 Terror Tots painted for him when I want to run him as Neverborn. This was tempting but there was a big problem. I hate the Hungering Darkness so I threw the model away and started converting a new one. There was no way it was going to be ready in time. 

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Masters 2015 (Which takes place in 2016, just so you know)

I wasn't actually planning on writing anything about Masters before I went. Much like Nationals, it is too big an event and there is too much going on to take enough notes to do a proper tournament report. But I did think my experience at Masters is worth writing a few short (for me) words about.

My first proper tournament was the League of Extraordinary Henchmen weekend events in January 2015. Philippa and I were lucky enough to get a ride up there from Joe Wood and it was a great weekend. It was at that point I finally got to start testing myself competitively and see how I matched up. It was also, for the most part, the first time I got to meet people in the Malifaux scene. I'd met a few people, including Mike Marshall, James Reeves, Dave Hill, at earlier small events at Wayland but wasn't really a part of the scene at that point. So LOEH last year was thus both the start of my first year of competitive gaming, and the beginning of building a whole new social group in my life. As fun as the gaming was, going out for drinks and dinner on the Saturday night was probably the highlight.

Fast forward a year. After doing far better than I expected over the last year I managed to qualify for Masters. So Philippa and I were back, a year later, where the whole year of Malifaux started. The best part was, instead of being new and not knowing a ton of people, we were getting together with a bunch of friends from all over the country. We even had a fewer others from the Dark Sphere crowd come up for at least one day. Considering how I work in a non-social environment (there are only two of us here in London) and Philippa and I live on our own, the Malifaux community has become one of my main social circles. And what a great community it is. Nationals was so busy and exhausting that I found it hard to really get much socialising done. This weekend was even more about enjoying hanging out with friends than it was about playing for me. Especially since I wasn't particular confident in my ability to make it to Day Two of Masters. I spent most of the train ride up reading the new schemes for LOEH Sunday. Anyway, I'm rambling again, but I just wanted to thank everyone in the Malifaux community for making me feel so welcome and being such a huge part of why I love living in the UK. Also the dinner Saturday was fantastic and hilarious. Really enjoyed how relaxed and social everything was. Thanks to Maria for organising the dinner.

Every time the conversation about Masters has occurred since I started playing Malifaux, people would say that it was the best event of the year. Often saying that high level of competition was balanced with a relaxed atmosphere due to people having nothing left to prove. I wasn't sure I actually believed it, but it was definitely true. On day one I managed to play 3 great games against top notch players I had either never face or never beaten (you still have a winning record over me Dave :P). Even in the games where I won by a lop-sided score, it was a much closer game than the score would indicate. After (shockingly) getting through day 1 undefeated and (even more shockingly) not taking Dreamer out of the case all day (Pandora is so darn good), I was on to Day Two. Day Two started with my one game of the weekend where I didn't use Pandora (Dreamer finally coming out) and was a 9-9 draw that saw me go through to the next round due to previous day's results. The semi-finals saw me take the first punch as Huggy took out Nekima early, but I managed to recover  to win the game 8-7.

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Plenty of Bad Luck in 2015

Well it has been an eventful 2015. The blog has taken off and I've done some tournaments and expanded my Ten Thunders. I thought I'd do a quick year in review post.

2015 Ten Thunders
So much fun. I played games regularly. I switched from Mei Feng to Shenlong when he came out, but I also used Yan Lo quite a lot despite his many, many failings. Shenlong did all that I'd hoped for. Fun and complex, his condition switching was great, and having all those extra positive flips for focus and df really helped. I found him working well with Low River Style and Wandering River Style.  I really got to know Yan Lo almost back to front. I found he is just as bad as the comments say. He is so bad I wrote an article on him. I've had debates with the Abnormalifaux group about him. They say "yeah but Zoraida or Lucius are the worst masters in the game, and he isn't quite that bad." My view is that if a Master is in contention for worst in the game, then he/she has issues that need to be addressed. He is so far down from the mid tier masters it is not even funny. I keep running across the same hopeful posts from people who are convinced it he could just be played a different way with some secret combo, then he'd be great. He isn't. He is fun by the bucket load but he is a bad master.

So what about TT themselves? Well I've enjoyed them. I've played them at competitions and in countless friendly games. They are a solid faction with some real superstars. Sensai Yu and the Ten Thunder Brothers are stonking brilliant. Chiaki has always done well. The Katanaka sniper is well worth those 7ss and with Shenlong he is brilliant. Because he can take Focus as a (0) near Shenlong, he is able to move and shoot or with a peasant he can do 2 focused shots. That is usually too much effort. Him and a peasant are usually enough. Yin is great and I don't take her enough. Kang in the right list, being healed by Sensai Yu using Low River Style makes him into the Hulk. But overall I have been underwhelmed a bit by the TT in terms of flexibility and variety. Shenlong & Mei have impressed me, I've enjoyed Yan Lo tons and I'm looking forward to Lynch. The problem I've found is that the builds tend to end up a bit samey with some really interesting models always left on the shelf