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Dannydb's Path to Midtable mediocrity


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Well hello there!


Its me, Dannydb, Vassal TO, player of to many games with sandeep (i reckon i've had about 100 games+ with him about now, not bad considering i've been nowhere near soloing him) and general mid table player 


So with RL events not being a thing and multiple vassal events either having recently started or starting in near future i thought i'd record some of my vassal games for entertainment and viewing pleasure


Now please don't be expecting high level play, as im no tournament winning player, but hopefully these will be entertaining games to watch as stumble along the path to the podium mid table mediocrity (I hope thats not copyrighted craig!)



note- I do have some graphical glitches on vassal due to an issue with my computer and direct x or something, i've tried to resolve this as per the internets instructions and while its helped, there is still occasions where it happens. so i appologies if the graphics on some of the reports suddenly go odd, it's usually corrected a few seconds later 

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UK Super League 

so the main event i'm taking part in at the moment is the UK super league, an event Ran by a local TO, Cleezy!

This is a uk only event using the single master approach to playing malifaux something that very common in the UK, in addition for this event Cleezy is giving an extra "prize" to the person who takes the least out of keyword/versatile models, and as im not going to be winning the event (a good portion of the players involved in the event are regular attendees to the uk masters event with a fair few former and even the current title holder, whereas at best im hovering around the 30th ranked player in the uk) I thought i'd challenge myself to 0 out of keyword/versatile models (note versatile models that also are keyworded such as the Captain in a M&SU crew don't count towards the versatile count in this event)


so with me playing arcanists lets break down the masters i'm playing 



as said in the intro post, prob played around 100 games with sandeep now and is certainly the master im most comfortable with. while he has some weaknesses and bad pools and 1-2 bad match ups (I'm looking at you vonstook!) his versatility, his card draw and his mobility make him a great crew any games where quantity of actions win out over quality (not that golems pounding peoples faces in isn't quality, it's more that in the late game you don't have time for that!) 

Generally Sandeep will see play in Symbols and Corrupted leyline games where his mobility from wind gamin and friends will help a lot in that regards, and some of the more squishy academics will not be as much of a bad thing, though may pop up in some more mobility focused public enemies/recover evidence pools 


so unlike Sandeep, i've certainly had less experience with Colette, maybe 10-15 games with her at this point, so far from mastering her considering her complexity levels. Similarly to Sandeep, Colette works best in mobility based games and more mobile than Sandeep without having availability to as many actions as a sandeep crew could generate (although the coryphee duet does help) Don't mind me also is very important at the moment with the current strategies, with benefits in leylines, symbols and recover evidence and colette's movement tricks help in so many occasions. Her main issue is her "lack" of killing power, yes she can kill and certainly if i was taking out of keyword/versatile models then i'd be happier taking her in to killy pools but, with limiting myself to realy the odd focused sword trick, Cassandra and the duet for killing power, this is probably a crew that I won't be playing in enemies/recover 


Toni Ironsides

My malifaux first love, Ms Punchy mcPunchyourface was what drew me to arcanists in the first place all the way back in the middle of m2e. In a world full of crazy magic, demonic neverborn and angry war pigs ready to eat you face, here stands one woman with nothing more that a pair of brass knuckles, and all the sass in the world. She's here to punch face and chew gum and she ran out of gum a long long time ago. so yes Ironsides will prob be my default public enemies/recover evidence master, especially if it allows bubbling. Able to scrum with the best of them, toni does have some weaknesses, mainly people who get round her defensive trigger, but with a keyword full of good support models between amina and fitzsimmons, heavy hitters such as Howard and Gunsmiths and the owner of the best tashe in faux The Captain, toni is here to break your face in.



Another master i've only recently picked up, hoffman is brawling master in arcanists, though rather than toni's style of leading from the front, Hoff is usually tinkering away at the back, while various constructs beat peoples face in.  Armour is usually good in public enemy/recover pools and hoffman has it all. all but one of his keyword models has armour, and majority of them have armour two, so bring your tin openers if your opponent declares him. He's prob going to be appearing in killy pools where perhaps mobility is more of a thing over pure bubble Scrumming power, as models like hunters (and kind of watchers) are great for running into corners ect and dropping markers where i need them for things like breakthrough



The other half of my originally draws to arcanist, Kaeris is powerful master who in my opinion suffers from two main issues, 1 she doesn't realy have a strategy while is hers, collette and sandeep are generally better that leylines/symbols and ironsides and hoff are better at enemies/recover. she also has the issue of quite a few models in her keyword being a bit meh (I'm looking at you firestarter/fire branded) having a glaring weakness (please don't take my burning off my fire golem) or being situational (Iggy is happy for you to charge in to his pyre markers and be pushed out of melee range, but please don't shoot him). Kaeris might see some play but don't expect her to come out a lot due to my own restrictions


Mei feng

Mei while being powerful does have an issue of she really really doesn't like you messing with her scrap markers. Please don't remove it, gravity well it, turn it in to stiched/paper oni/scheme markers or just stand some 40mm+ model on top of it please! She also kind of needs a decent number of points spent to set up her rail lines which then don't really do much else. 


She's does allow me access to SS miners which are still good situational models and sparks who is great, but yer she is prob joining kaeris on the maybe but unlikely pile 


Raspy/marcus/ramos/various henchmen 


So that leaves the other masters, why have I not mentioned them. Well ramos is DMH so isn't allowed, I'm already playing with one hand behind my back with keyword only, so playing some henchmen lead crew isnt a great idea, maybe envy might come out towards the end once my mid table place is secure 


Raspy in my opinion is just poor, her crew needs too many cards, her ice pillers she wants near your opponents crew end up just giving them cover and she relies super hard on the blessed to score her points. Sorry ice queen your staying on the shelf 


Marus in the other hand just isn't me. I'm not a fan of his new play style, I think his mecanics arnt sure weather you want to alpha strike or sit and upgrade your models up for a couple of turns and his crew while killy is also squishy. It's not really my gig so while he does have some people defending him, for me he's joining raspy on the shelf

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Vassal super league Round 1

Wedge, leylines, breakthrough, spread them out, leave your mark, 

sandeep vs seamus 



So round 1 of the league and I'm facing seamus. The player I'm facing I've never met in the UK  or vassal meta, so have no real idea how good he is, and considering the level of competition I've got in the me t few weeks I could do with some points on the board.

My opponent declares seamus And having declared sandeep Im not even able to bring in the captain my usual tech pick in to seamus 


So I'm just going to have to use cover very well and just assume models are going to die, so for that reason I Brough the following crew 

Sandeep and Banasuva (my leader and totem) 


Kandara is a fairly hard model to shoot down, with df 6 I match seamus's shot and hopefully the stones should mean he will always be on negatives to damage if he shoots her, she's also fairly killy so I'll potentially be able to score Vendetta with her. 


A metal golem with SS cashe. So a fire golem has chance to be shot to bits first activation of the round with no chance of saving it so a different golem is prob a better shout, the ice golem need a fair but of support to make sure it has the ice pillers it needs so it might stuggle if I lose Banasuva early, meaning my best golem is a metal golem. It also gets round any manipulative I might have to face. The ssc can make sure seamus is hitting me on negatives if he goes after him and its prob going to up by the killing anyway 


Kandara. Obligatory in sandeep, she's stapled to your crew. If you don't know why you don't know how powerful drawing 7-8 cards a turn can be 


Oxfordonian mage with magial training. I really like these guys, there heal I'd the best I have access to in keyword and the condition removal is great, yes it could get 1 shorted off the board which is why I've brought two magical training carriers 


Wind Gamin with magical training.  Allows me to make a good start in to breakthrough and spread them out. 



Scheme choices. 


Breakthrough. With windgamin, ride the rails and Banasuva tossing folks, breakthrough is an option especially on wedge 


Vendetta. I'm imagining madam sybelle is going to be coming down the middle and she's something I'm going to have to deal with, snake fighter lady, go beat up the hooker! 


Leave you mark seems very dependent on who controls the center and I don't reckon I'm favored for it 


Spread the out, a more difficult breakthrough essentially 


Assassinate. Trying to pin seamus down is going to be tricky with so many places to hide


Bacic plan is to push golem and kudra towards symble while hugging cover with rest of models to try and make shooting us down with seamus hard


Then try to score the back 2 idols before then figuring out if its better to go to the center or far markers if I needed to 

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Round 2 of Vassal super league 


Corner - Public Enemies - Forest of the Loom
Research mission / Claim jump / Hidden martyrs / Take prisoner / Spread them out


well after an unknown start i now get in to the 3 of the most challenging fixtures including a former uk number 1, current uk master and UK's best bayou player.... urg!


first up is Jamie Varnie who i've played twice before, having lost in RL to in a resser off at uk nationals last year and beat earlier this year in a random pick up game we had on vassal. so I knew I had my work cut out for me as he's a much better player than I am. the one thing i have up my sleeve is that he's playing a faction he's had a handful of game with whereas although i've know collette the least, i've still got around 20 games with her now under my belt so got a fair idea of what she could do.


so in terms of master choice, the pool was an odd one, being public enemies usually suggests hoff or ironsides, but ironsides being quite slow and knowing that bayou have access to all the ping damage in the world, hoffman im not sure is a good pick in to them, same with mei feng. so that left me with sandeep who id say public enemies is probably his worst strategy, colette or someone else. after much deliberation and discussion with a few people I settled on collette


Crew choice

so being entirely in keyword meant that i didn't have a lot of choices, so decided on the following

Collette and 3 doves is free so might as well take them  


Carlos and Cassandra give me two relatively hard hitting and relatively tanky models that just need to evade zip and merris and pick up fights with there extra mobility where they can. i'm aware zipp can be as mobile as colette is but i'm hoping to maybe pick on a over extend by jamie on someone and then these guys can pounce on something over extended 


2 corophee with Diesel engine give me some mobile hitting power and and scheming potential and are fairly resilient for their cost, i'd decided to go with them in this mode over the duet as i was worried about the ping fire jamie could bring, or the duet spending its life stuck behind some pianos being ineffective


2 mannequins with magical training, again i decided to go with double magical training to elevaite the threat of jamie zeroing in on one model and i knew even leaving it in the backfield wouldn't be safe from zipp, so desided to go with two and split them down the flanks with the corophee to give them a guard to protect from nasties 

and 5 stones 


in terms of schemes 

Research mission didn't seem viable, considering i only generated pyres myself and zip has so many movement tricks that trying to score them myself seemed difficult 

Claim jump again didn't seem viable, again if jamie suspected anything had claim jump he could either move them away with zipp, or just block of the center entirely with zipp, dummying this seemed plausible as if i pushed carlos and cassandra towards the middle, he was likely to spend some ap dropping pianos which ment zip wasn't were my points were going to be scored, and if he doesn't do this then carlos and cassandra can push through the middle to deny him scoring it while putting down a scheme for spread them out 


Hidden martyrs, i always tend to take cos its generally a 1 pointer, especially when any combination of my non colette,non totem models could be a target. getting a second point is going to be hard but i'm happy to take points where i can get them and decided to split to coryphee and mannequins on opposite flanks to make things as difficult as possible and avoid zipp, zipp zappering both of them in one go and denying me that way (or merris shockwaving them both to death)


 Take prisoner, was an option but i wasn't sure what models i'd be able to get at, weather or not I could get them exposed considering zipps mobility and plus if i'm taking them prisoner then i'm not killing them for bounty points, and i think i'm going to struggle for them anyway as jamie isn't going to stay in protracted fights if he's not winning them. 


Spread them out. Colette' probable best scheme, between presto chango and all the mobility in the world, this was a nail on. while zipp is mobile, he can't remove them himself, i was hoping to get earl burns early so that only realy left macha and merris to remove them, and i felt i could deal with them. with coryphee and mannequins pushing hard down the flanks and carlos, cassandra going down the center and colette able to pop up wherever she was needed i was happy doing this and making life difficult for jamie as I could 


so thats the plan at least, watch above to see how it plays out!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Round 3 and 15
Flank - Recover Evidence - Forests Edge
Sabotage / Catch and release / Let them bleed / Breakthrough / Take prisoner



So round 3 of vassal super league and if last week was hard, this week was even harder as i had the joys of facing the current uk master. my opponent is in my local meta and so he quiet often comes up with powerful lists and he'd declared outcasts his prefered faction so I was facing him at full power over a faction he was learning 


in addition it was a realy difficult scheme pool with a lot of mobility, but knowing my opponent if i tried to go mobile i'd just get blown off the board, I needed a realy tanky crew and try and make the game as low scoring as possible


therefore I decided to go with ironsides, it's realy hard to score take prisoner or catch and release vs ironsides as her models tend to be bunched quite close together. in addition i've got access to 3 in keyword bits of marker removal in howard, fitzsimmons and gunsmiths so that seems difficult for my opponent to get points for sabotage/breakthrough early 


my opponent then declared hamlin and my heart sank 


Hamlin prays realy well on bubble crews able to lure key models out of the bubble in early turns and have them isolated and then in the late game if your bubbled up around his crew your getting the blight that makes his crew work. in addition you realy need aoe to deal with all the rats hamlin can get out from stuff dying and outside of shockwaves which were risky as it meant i'd have my own crew being hit and howards vent steam, i didn't realy have access to any aoe effects in keyword, i've played hamlin three times before this and had access to sandeep's poison gamin bombs and felt happy with that match up, but with ironsides i didn't have access to that. in addition not having access to out of keyword models ment my other tech model vs hoard crews, an emissary with SSC wasn't an option (running in to the middle of your opponent crew with its discard to cheat aura and then doing Arcane burst is a great way to kill stuff and get some stones 

so instead i had to rely on howard and his vent steam in that role, it would mean however it would it would be much more dependent on radek moving stuff in my aura which he was unlikely to do unless if benefited him, but it was better than nothing and if i could try and get his key models in there, making them take actions disengaging or walking away would be realy important. 


The captain was choice number two as while shockwaves were risky they were still much needed aoe and the windwalls would provide me much needed concealment vs Bleeding Disease 

Amina and fitzsimmons would provide protection to my crew between Amina giving shielding to my key models and fizz simmons's -1 damage aura would help early on, even if it wouldnt help to much in later turns when i had large amounts of blight on me.

lastly i took a union miner with magical training, this guy would try and get me sabotage on a hill on the edge of the map, it was a big bit of terrain which would mean the 2nd point was almost impossible but getting a couple of points where i could and trying to keep this low scoring was key. did also think about taking breakthough as well, but wasn't sure if that was too many eggs in baskets 


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3 hours ago, dannydb said:

The captain was choice number two as while shockwaves were risky they were still much needed aoe and the windwalls would provide me much needed concealment vs Bleeding Disease 


I haven't seen the game (yet), but I agree that The Captain was a great choice. The Windwall is great to make bleeding diseases and lures waaaay more difficult to pull off.

Also, the Shockwave with Mv 14 is great to kill the Stolens.

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5 hours ago, ShinChan said:

I haven't seen the game (yet), but I agree that The Captain was a great choice. The Windwall is great to make bleeding diseases and lures waaaay more difficult to pull off.

Also, the Shockwave with Mv 14 is great to kill the Stolens.

well thats great to hear, was impressed with his performance over all 

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