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Malifaux tournament report: Hallowfaux (50SS); 31Oct2015


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Furycat and I took our Malifaux in a new direction by boarding the train northbound to Aberdeen to take part in Hallowfaux. I had considered playing my Guild as the UK GT is only in a few weeks and I’ve not really used them much lately. But on reflection, I expected that the Aberdeen scene was relatively new and thought that maybe a more friendly approach would be to play the Outcasts with which I have far less game time. We were warmly welcomed by the organisers and other players, but it turned out that after some late drop-outs that there would only be 6 players including us.

The event was in a pub so the lighting was pretty bad, which when coupled with my lack of camera skill does not lend itself to quality photos. There was also quite a lot of buildings for the terrain so frequently pieces are effectively out of sight of the viewer.

Game 1: Outcasts (me) vs Guild (Stewart)

Strategy: Guard The Stash

Pool: Line in the Sand, Protect Territory, Bodyguard, Outflank, Entourage
Outcasts: Protect Territory (announced), Bodyguard (Rusty Alyce)
Guild: Protect Territory (announced), Line in the Sand (unannounced)

Outcasts: Tara (Knowledge of Eternity, Obliteration Symbiote), Freikorpsman, Freikorps Trapper, Killjoy, Johan, Malifaux Child, Rusty Alyce, Guilty
Guild: Dr Douglas McMourning (On The Clock, Plastic Surgery), Sebastian, Zombie Chihuahua, The Judge (Unrelenting Leader), Nurse, Executioner, Exorcist, Performer

I’m still trying to come up with Outcast crews that I feel comfortable with, and not having a lot of luck. In general I like a good number of effective activations but a lot of Outcast power is focused into their excellent high cost pieces. I took this crew planning to throw Killjoy at the biggest group of the enemy with the object of holding them away from one of the Stash markers for a while. I’ve tried a few times to use the Guilty and Trapper combination; the idea is to make the Trapper Tormented then push towards it, then lead the Guilty into gum something up and have the Trapper fire away into melee. So far it hasn’t been much use.


Turn 1: The Nurse loads piles of poison into McMourning. Tara makes Alyce Fast then moves up into some (rather unnecessary) cover while the Child does the same for Johan. Over on my left the Judge pulls the Executioner forward with Stand For Judgement and is shot a few times by the Trapper. McMourning tries to poison bomb Johan but is stopped by Hard To Kill. He is then charged by Alyce and Killjoy, the latter of whom is unburied by Tara. Tara also makes McMourning and half my crew Fast in the process; McMourning is not feeling very happy at this stage.


Turn 2: I win initiative and Johan smites McMourning into the ground. The Exorcist drops a scheme marker on the centreline. The Trapper shoots the Judge, then the Guilty pushes to the Trapper and charges the Judge. This does not end well for the Judge, though he is immediately avenged when the Executioner beheads the Guilty. Killjoy flattens Sebastian and nestles up close to the Chihuahua in the hope of splashing it with Black Blood. Alyce moves over and kills the Executioner with Rapid Fire (thanks to Fast). The Nurse charges in and fails to Poison Killjoy; I’m not sure why Stewart didn’t just use Take Your Meds here, but I think maybe his control hand was really bad. Over on the right the Performer finally comes out of hiding behind a building and drops another scheme marker on the centreline before being charged by the Freikorpsman over there. Finally, Tara pulses for Fast again, picking up the Chihuahua from the Guild this time. I score for Guard The Stash.


Turn 3: Alyce saunters over and Rapid Fires the Exorcist to death. The Chihuahua and Nurse fail to do anything of consequence to Killjoy and are both killed in return. The Performer stabs the Freikorpsman before Johan smashes her into the ground. With nothing left on the board for Stewart we call it there; Outcasts win 10 – 0.


Stewart was a lovely chap to play with, and the painting on his miniatures (and his skin tones in particular) was amazing. I think his lack of experience in Malifaux showed a little here but he took it all with a smile and I hope to play him again when he has a few more games under his belt. From my side, everything went swimmingly of course; I’m just not sure about crew builds. I like to have a few heavy hitters (Alyce, Killjoy and Johan in this case) so that Tara can channel her AP into theirs. But on the other hand, those 3 pieces are more than half of my points and I still need to cover scheme running and activation control. Maybe having three big combat pieces is overkill.

When the rest of the games are in, Furycat and I are paired with each other. After a discussion with Judy, the Tournament Organiser, we agree that the event is so small that it will be more fun for everyone to keep us apart and I get paired against Liam. I play Furycat at various games every week; it seemed a pity to spend hours on a train just to do so again in a different room. Liam is apparently one of the most effective Malifaux players in this group so I was looking forward to the challenge.

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Game 2: Outcasts (me) vs Resurrectionists (Liam)

Strategy: Interference

Pool: Line in the Sand, Distract, Protect Territory, Cursed Object, Deliver A Message
Outcasts: Protect Territory (announced), Cursed Object
Resurrectionists: Protect Territory (announced), Deliver A Message (unannounced)

Outcasts: Tara (Knowledge of Eternity, Scramble), Nothing Beast (Void Shield), Rusty Alyce, Johan, Freikorpsman, Freikorps Librarian, Freikorps Trapper, Malifaux Child
Resurrectionists: Seamus (Red Chapel Killer, Sinister Reputation, Mad Haberdasher), Copycat Killer, 2 Punk Zombies, 2 Rotten Belles, Yin the Penangalan, Madame Sybelle

I decided against Killjoy here as the open terrain and distance to cover under Flank deployment meant that it could be challenging to deliver him. Instead I picked the Nothing Beast with the idea that his massive melee range could allow me to tie up a few pieces for Interference in one go. Alyce was picked, partly because she ignores Hard To Wound and partly because minimum damage 3 means that I don’t care about being on negative flips anyway. I chose to drop Obliteration Symbiote because my plan was to make things Fast rather than bury them. I’m not keen on Protect Territory in Flank deployment but picked on the basis that I would have to do a fair bit of moving round to score on the strategy and that should eventually lead me to being far enough from my deployment zone. Cursed Object seemed like a good idea if I was going to be engaging things for the Strategy.


Turn 1: Tara makes Alyce, the Nothing Beast and Johan Fast; unfortunately I flipped badly and ended up using almost all my good cards to do so. In retrospect I should have just let it go with Johan as he’s so slow that he wasn’t likely to do anything in turn 1. Both Belles Lure in my Trapper; he pings Yin a couple of times to Reposition further away and make them work a bit harder for it. Finally he’s in range of Punk Zombie who charges in, then Sybelle finishes the job. Alyce Rapid Fires into the nearest Punk Zombie, killing it neatly. Seamus blows away Johan (making the resources I’d spent making him Fast even more annoying). The Librarian, made Fast by the Child, fails her Horror duel after using focus to attack Yin. The Nothing Beast knocks the second Punk Zombie down to a single wound and buries it.


Turn 2: The Nothing Beast casually mauls Sybelle after some heroic flipping on my part, then deals with the Punk Zombie who falls out afterwards. Seamus drops the Nothing Beast to a single wound even after discarding Void Shield but it takes both Belles to finally take it off the table. The Librarian makes up for her earlier failure by focussing and killing Yin with a timely Red Joker. Tara hands the Copycat Killer a Cursed Object and Alyce knocks Seamus’s hat off. On the far left, the Freikorpsman moves to Operation: Hide and Score, dropping a scheme marker deep into the corner. I score for the strategy and Cursed Object.


Turn 3: Seamus hurts Tara in melee and summons a Belle near Alyce. Tara slips him a Cursed Object. The Copycat Killer swipes fruitlessly at Tara and the Librarian (Fast again, thank to the Child) kills the nearby Belle with Furious Casting. Alyce punches the new Belle and Tara knocks the hat off the Copycat Killer. I score again for Interference and Cursed Object.


Turn 4: Tara gives Seamus another Cursed Object and finally polishes off the Copycat Killer. Seamus uses Distraction to Back Alley over to the Librarian and blasts her into Oblivion, then Back Alleys again to be in melee with Alyce. I was expecting him to kill Tara off first since by that point she was low on wounds and I was out of Soulstones but I guess that killing the Librarian was pretty effective too. He companions into the Belle who pokes Alyce gently before being smited into an Abomination in return. Tara moves to make sure I score on the strategy and I also get Cursed Object.


Turn 5: Tara knocks the last Belle about a little and the Abomination finishes it off. Seamus improbably fails to kill Alyce but is anyway the last Resurrectionist on the board. Tara drops another scheme marker for Protect Territory at the end. Outcasts win 10 – 0.


I very much enjoyed my game against Liam. I felt he got a little rattled when he was only able to get the Trapper with the Belles Luring my pieces in before my return fire (and a fantastic effort from the Nothing Beast) put me way up on model count. In the end, Liam did a pretty good job fighting with my crew but forgot about scoring. I’m also not really sure why he didn’t make any apparent attempt to score Deliver a Message. Still, he’s got the right idea and hopefully we’ll play again.

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Game 3: Outcasts (me) vs Outcasts (Kit)

Strategy: Extraction

Pool: Line in the Sand, Distract, Assassinate, Outflank, Deliver A Message
Outcasts: Deliver A Message (announced), Distract
Outcasts: Line in the Sand (announced), Assassinate

Outcasts: Tara (Knowledge of Eternity, Obliteration Symbiote), Nothing Beast (Void Shield), Void Wretch, Freikorpsman, Freikorps Librarian, Killjoy, Johan, Malifaux Child
Outcasts: Von Schill (Survivalist, Oathkeeper, The Shirt Comes Off), Strongarm Suit, 2 Freikorpsmen, 2 Freikorps Trappers, Freikorps Librarian, Freikorps Specialist

Playing this with Close deployment, I could easily have tooled my crew for Assassinate but decided to try a pair of schemes such that my VPs would not depend on even making a single attack. Of course, it is still me, so I was definitely planning on killing plenty of Kit’s crew, but it would be for strategic purposes rather than to score directly. With Tara’s mobility and bury/unbury options I felt that I would be able to deliver something somewhere to Von Schill to give him a Message. I was hoping to hold the centre strongly and kill whatever came to challenge me for it with the Nothing Beast, Tara and Johan, then use Killjoy to delay something from even reaching the Informant marker and spend the rest of my pieces to Distract Kit’s Outcasts and stop them removing it.


Turn 1: Both Trappers shoot Johan. Poor Johan, he’s been killed or reduced to a single wound in turn 1 of all three games today. Tara makes the Nothing Beast Fast and moves up aggressively to the centre. It sees an opportunity to pin the Specialist way back in his own deployment zone so charges in for not a lot of effect. Von Schill charges Tara but can’t make much impact on her. Johan smites him back rather more usefully. The Child makes the Librarian Fast and she walks up to Von Schill and hands him a Message (probably an invitation to his own funeral). The Strongarm Suit comes up to the centre and puts down a scheme marker, followed closely by the Librarian. Tara Slows the Strongarm Suit, unburies Killjoy and makes him Fast. Killjoy charges the Librarian and kills first her then the Strongarm Suit. Meanwhile all the Freikorpsmen and the Void Wretch run toward each other on the flanks.


Turn 2: Tara pulses Fast with Temporal Shift (picking Von Schill and most of my crew), then slows Von Schill twice. He discards Oathkeeper to get back to his normal number of AP, then beats Tara up a little. Kit’s Freikorpsmen move to the centreline and drop scheme markers, then my Void Wretch and Freikorpsman stroll up and Distract each. Killjoy kills Von Schill and walks toward the Trapper on the left. Both Trappers shoot him but there are a lot of wounds to go through. Johan hides from the Trapper on the right. Finally the Nothing Beast and Specialist continue to waft their weapons ineffectually at each other. I score Extraction and Distract.


Turn 3: Tara Slows the Freikorpsman on the left and the nearby Trapper. It misses a shot on Tara before Killjoy rends it limb from limb. His Freikorpman on the right kills min. The Nothing Beast and Specialist flap at each other for a few more AP. The Void Wretch knocks his Freikorpsman down to a single wound, but I think it has 2 left and accidentally kill it off with Tara, denying me Distract. I’m not sure what I was trying to do there as I could just as easily killed my Void Wretch and there was no reason to get Tara to intervene there. The Librarian fails to hurt the Trapper in his nest, then the Child makes her Fast. I score for the Strategy.


Turn 4: Tara gives the surviving Trapper Slow. The Nothing Beast Distracts the Specialist and is finally killed off in return. The Librarian triple walks round to the Freikorpsman to stop him from removing Distract. The Void Wretch removes the scheme marker on the left. Tara shoots at the Trapper and then races back to score the Strategy; I also get Distract.


Turn 5: Tara pings the Trapper three times with Pull The Void to kill him. The Freikorpman kills the Librarian. Johan moves round to engage the Specialist (to prevent the removal of Distract) and is also killed for his trouble. I score again for Extraction and Distract; Outcasts win 10 – 0.


Despite the result, I felt like Kit knew his way round this crew. He was just unprepared for the sheer damage that my crew put out at the end of turn 1 and start of turn 2. For me, I think that the biggest thing I need to try to remember is to focus with the Nothing Beast before attacking since moderate damage is just so much better than weak damage. It was quite interesting to play the last few turns feeding my pieces into Kit’s simply to keep the Distract condition out there; it is very contrary to the way I normally try to do things (i.e. just to kill them as soon as I can).

Overall it was a really enjoyable day out, even if the games weren’t quite as challenging or the event as well attended as I might have hoped. The Aberdeen gamers were very friendly and welcoming and I’m definitely planning to attend other events that they run if I can.

Looking back, I think that I probably shouldn’t have approached these games as hard as I did. The first game I didn’t know how good any of this group were so I went with my standard tournament approach of trying to do my very best. In the second game I should have backed off and played a master I’ve not used very often (probably Jack Daw), but the other locals seemed to regard Liam as pretty good at Malifaux and I didn’t want to disappoint him by not giving him a hard game. Finally against Kit, I again should have used a less familiar master, but by then I was thinking that since I had already won two games 10 – 0 it would be an interesting challenge to see if I could get a ‘perfect’ result. Hopefully I didn’t come across as arrogant, or spoil anyone’s day or gaming experience. The group as a whole seemed really receptive to learning new ways to do things in Malifaux and Kit in particular mentioned that he was going to go back to his own Tara crew (abandoned because he couldn’t work out how to use her) and play it again based on what he had seen in our game. As Furycat neatly put it on the way home: ‘I hope that they [the Aberdeen locals] weren’t too upset that we came up on the train and took their lunch money.’

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Great stuff, as usual. Can't believe it, but I actually have a tip for you with Tara and Distract/Cursed Object in the pool; Lost Instants prevents any interact actions within Aura 6, so instead of feeding models to prevent it being removed, you can throw that down early in the turn (sacrificing her second activation, but I've found it to be worth it in the past) and it not only prevents those conditions from being removed on whichever models are near her, but also prevents your opponent from giving the conditions to your own models. With Deliver a Message in there too, it can completely protect her from it if she wins initiative as well.

P.S. I did the lunch money thing already anyway, I figure the cost of the train ticket offset it ;) (and they are a great bunch of folk anyway!)

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30-0 - pretty good!

But seriously, thank you again for the wonderful reports! Killjoy bomb certainly cleans house.

For a minute it looked like Seamus might actually give you trouble but you managed to turn it around nicely.

In the last game, Killjoy and Nothing Beast. The first one kills Librarian and Strongarm Suit on the first turn, Von Schill on the second and a Trapper on the third while NB battles against a Specialist for four turns and loses. Haha!

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Dave - thanks very much.  I probably wouldn't have remembered to use Lost Instants anyway, but even if I had then the two Freikorpsmen were literally on opposite sides of the board so I could only have tied up one of them.  Once I killed the first by accident, the Specialist was rather closer to the surviving Freikorpsman but I'm not sure that he was within ~13" considering the LOS-blocking train.  It's definitely something I need to try to remember for future games though.

I had remembered that you had mentioned travelling up to Aberdeen and doing much the same.  It makes me wonder what their local gamers must think of Malifaux players elsewhere that we keep coming up and doling out heavy defeats.

Math Mathonwy - thank you, as always, for your very kind words.

Killjoy is a neat trick but I am not really sure that the Tara Bomb is necessarily the best way to play her.  Certainly I worry about telegraphing my intentions when i set up for it.  It is definitely a bit of a 'noob-hammer' kind of move; if you haven't seen it before, suddenly finding a Fast Killjoy rocketing through your deployment zone is pretty worrying.

In the game against Liam I think that he will become a very good player when he ventures a bit further afield and plays against a wider variety of opponents.  I got the impression that he went with the tactic that generally works for him locally (i.e. Lure things into a kill zone) and got a little rattled when I counter punched him.  Hopefully he'll be able to make it down to some of the bigger events.

The Nothing Beast vs Killjoy thing you pointed out is certainly a telling comparison!  Killjoy is a bit more expensive that the Nothing Beast, and I did probably prioritise resources to Killjoy, but even so that is a very different tally.  If I'd remembered to focus with the Nothing Beast it would have been rather different; moderate damage of 5 is not to be sniffed at (though Killjoy also does the same moderate damage I suppose).  Nothing Beast does bring a bit of a different toolkit to the table too, with Incorporeal, bigger melee range and attacking willpower.

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Killjoy is a neat trick but I am not really sure that the Tara Bomb is necessarily the best way to play her.  Certainly I worry about telegraphing my intentions when i set up for it.  It is definitely a bit of a 'noob-hammer' kind of move; if you haven't seen it before, suddenly finding a Fast Killjoy rocketing through your deployment zone is pretty worrying.

It certainly is extremely powerful against an unwary opponent but even against an experienced one it really dictates the flow of their turn as they need to position very carefully to make sure that the bomb doesn't wreck them when it hits. So I feel that it is valid even on the higher levels of play though the result might not be as obvious (i.e. a sub-optimally placed crew as opposed to a dead crew).

The Nothing Beast vs Killjoy thing you pointed out is certainly a telling comparison!  Killjoy is a bit more expensive that the Nothing Beast, and I did probably prioritise resources to Killjoy, but even so that is a very different tally.  If I'd remembered to focus with the Nothing Beast it would have been rather different; moderate damage of 5 is not to be sniffed at (though Killjoy also does the same moderate damage I suppose).  Nothing Beast does bring a bit of a different toolkit to the table too, with Incorporeal, bigger melee range and attacking willpower.

Yeah, they are quite different indeed and failing to kill that Specialist can certainly be seen as an anomaly (though hitting with Weak is really, really weak in that match-up).

Oh, and I liked the amount of terrain, btw! Especially the second and the third tables seemed to have a very respectable amount of terrain on them.

Also, best of luck for the GT! I'm rooting for you :)

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A couple of times it seemed as though you were doing pull the void on Tara's second activation. I don't think you are allowed to use it if there are no models left to activate. Unsure how that works with unburying since it is a chain activation. 


Otherwise, a great report. Totally different to how I play Tara, but seems very effective!

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Math Mathonwy - You make a good point about the board control for a Killjoy bomb, but my concern is that I have to put Tara in harms way for a full turn before I can deliver it.  There have felt like a few cases where that could be enough of an opportunity for a wily opponent to kill her; indeed I've lost Tara in turn 1 of a few games because I underestimated the counterpunch that could be delivered before I unleash Killjoy.

I too thought that the terrain was pretty fine.  If anything though, I thought that the terrain in game 1 was better as there was plenty of scatter terrain in the middle.  It's not easy to tell in the other 2 games because of the big buildings blocking my photos but there were fairly big open areas in the middle of both tables.

Thanks for your good wishes for the UK GT.  I'm really looking forward to it.  The field is pretty tough so I'm not expecting any terrific results; I'll be happy if I can end up at with least 4 wins over the weekend.

Arash_Suri - You are correct that Pull The Void can't be used if there are no more friendly models to activate.  I might have done it in error; if so my apologies to my opponents.  If you're referring to turn 1 of game 3, the sequence went:  1.  Tara becomes last to activate, so Eternal triggers and she gets Reactivate.  2.  Tara unburies Killjoy with Faces in the Void.  3.  There is now another friendly model to activate so Pull The Void can be used again.  Reading back, I wrote it the other way round so I see where the confusion comes from (sometimes I take liberties with the writing to make it flow better).

I'd be very interested to read about how you play Tara; I feel like I've barely touched the surface of what can be done with her.  Thanks for your kind words.

MagicGis - Thanks very much, I'm glad you enjoy them.

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