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Brief Battle Report: Colette vs Criid


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This was my fifth game of Malifaux (if you count my learning game where we did everything wrong). I played Colette, and opposed Criid.


Cassandra, Coryphee x2, Performer/Mannequin, Dove, 7 soulstones

Treasure Hunt, Bodyguard: Colette, Sabotage

Criid (w/Avatar)

Samael, Nino Ortega, Watcher, Guardian, Guild Hounds x2, 7 soulstones

Plant Evidence, Kill Protegee, Holdout

This was my first game of Malifaux where the game revolved entirely around objectives, and not around fighting. Every game I've played so far has involved some degree of confrontational objectives, or a pairing of objectives where both players need majority control of the same region, and therefore duke it out early and aggressively.

Turn one: Criid advanced. I raced the Coryphee and Cassandra up to the evidence marker and a nearby piece of terrain on my opponent's side of the table. I used the Coryphee to sabotage the terrain, then swapped her with Colette, so that on reactivation I could swap Colette with my Performer. The Performer grabbed the evidence marker and walked 4 inches back towards my deployment zone. The turn ended with only one troop anywhere in the potential line of sight of my enemies: the Performer with the evidence marker. But right by the performer, behind some walls and around some corners, were two doves.

Turn two: Criid won initiative, and Nino opened fire on the Performer. Two doves were sacrificed to prevent him from landing a shot. I think I may have miscalculated here: I probably could have gotten away with dodging only the first shot, and taking the second. If damage was high enough to kill, I could have sacrificed a dove for a damage prevention flip. The black joker would have been a risk, but I might have been better off taking that gamble for the potential to save a dove. In any case, once Nino finished, the Performer activated and ran behind cover. Criid spent the turn advancing; Colette spent the turn monkeying with her hand and her soulstone count. The only other events of note were the Hounds getting into position to plant evidence, and the Coryphee Duet sliding up the right hand side of the table to get nearer to the Watcher, which was sweeping across the top. At the end of the turn, the Watcher and Coryphee were behind buildings near each other, the Hounds were in the center of the map in cover, and everyone else was well hidden and irrelevant.

Turn 3: At this point my memory isn't quite as precise- some events between turns 3 and 4 may be mixed. The Coryphee swept in and killed the Watcher, then pushed/ran back behind cover. The Hounds planted evidence, ran out from their cover, and planted evidence a second time on a second piece of terrain. Smart dogs- I imagine a Hound carrying a pistol wrapped in a piece of cloth, and dropping it next to a corpse. Nino and his Guardian got into position to plant evidence next turn. The Coryphee hid behind some trees, but with a double move Samael managed to get into contact with the tree line, allowing him to draw line of sight to the Coryphee due to Hunter. He would be able to fire next turn. Criid walked up behind him to support. At this point the right hand side of the table had Samael and Criid near each other, with the Hounds a little bit south of them. To their immediate right was a woods piece with the Coryphee behind it. Cassandra used Dance Partner to appear by the Coryphee, where she had a clear shot at breathing fire at the Hounds. She flipped a max damage, so she roasted one, damaged the other, put a little bit of damage on Samael, and ended her turn by running down the board towards my deployment zone to get a little more cover. I realized that Samael was a credible threat to the Coryphee if he activated first, so I sent my two remaining doves to help. I put one in melee with Samael to prevent him from using Rapid Fire, and the other in melee with the remaining Hound.

Turn 4: Criid won initiative. Samael was forced to attack the dove, striking successfully, but getting a black joker on damage. His second attack killed it, with a minimum damage equal to its life point total. The Coryphee responded by killing the wounded Samael, and then slipping away up the board. The remaining Hound was finished off by a channeled Magician's Duel from the Dove that was engaging him. Nino and the Guardian planted evidence in two more locations, completing Criid's Strategy. Colette did more hand manipulation, considered trying to Mannequin Replace either Nino or the Guardian, and decided against it. So... no more action. Criid went Avatar though, and took some shots at Cassandra. Soulstones were spent and no one was hurt, except for a Dove caught in the blast zone of one of Criid's pulse spells.

Turn 5: Criid fired on Cassandra a bit, and many soulstones were spent by both sides. At some point Cassandra took a hit and spent a soulstone to reduce damage, I forget exactly when. She ran away afterward, knowing that her life was worth 2 points to Kill Protegee. The Performer finally hit the rear corner of my deployment zone, basically guaranteeing her survival (nothing fast enough to catch her remained except possibly Criid, and no guarantees on her). The Coryphee got in position to run into Criid's deployment zone and ruin Hold Out.

With 8 points possessed by Colette, 4 points possessed by Criid, and no clear way for Criid to close the gap, we called the game at turn 5.

Lessons learned: I haven't used doves to give out soulstones before. It was... expensive. You pay two soulstones for one use, and you have to spend an action to summon the doves (and sometimes a card to cheat the summoning cast). But since it was done to complete a Strategy, it was worth it. Colette seems to be at her best when she can focus on only one or two models per turn, particularly if they're isolated from the rest of her crew. If my opponent spreads out, I can focus the entirety of my offense on just one location, kill it swiftly, and be safe from retaliation. I think I would be much worse off if I were forced to fight a crew that was more bunched up.

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If they bunch up from what you responded to in lessons learned it is easier than you think to deal with what you would do is pick a breath fire target and get cassie,duet, and manne set up to mass companion the turn prior to doing it have the duet put hypnotics movement trigger on the initial breath fire target and then activate cassie to double breath fire on the target with a - to resist duels twice and spread the templates around after she switches/places by duet on her activation.

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The guys I play Malifaux with usually play with a house rule: No Avatars unless both sides take them. I actually haven't had a chance to play my Avatar yet (aSeamus). I'm curious, how well does the game play with an Avatar only on one side? Is it a balanced game?

Anyhow, back to the battle report. It was a good read, and it's nice to know that the game isn't entirely focused on killing each other (I'm new to Malifaux, and have only played a couple games, all of which result in mass slaughter). To me it's surprising someone can write a battle report all from memory with such details, when I write something like this, I have to refer back to my notes, or pictures taken from a birds eye view. Great job.

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I don't think there's any problem with only one player having an avatar. But then, I think most people misunderstand avatars. Most people think they're power-ups for your master, but with a very small number of limited exceptions, they're not. They're specializations for masters with diverse powers, or diversification for masters with specialized power. Or just a new specialization, for certain masters. Most of the time you're just doing yourself a disservice if you spend all your time trying to manifest your avatar.

There are a few exceptions, of course. Nicodem's avatar exists to protect him from Lady Justice. Pandora wants to rush her avatar if she's in a scenario where she needs to guard a specific region of the map. The Victoria's avatar is all about going off at the perfect moment in the perfect place. But for a lot of them, its situational, and relies on good timing to be worthwhile. Like Lady Justice- her avatar increases her support powers at the cost of some of her combat prowess. So you want to get in, smash things, then avatar and back off when the time is right. Or Rasputina, who uses her avatar to deter melee rushes. Some are so niche that they'll probably never get much use- Colette's is for when you're better off with more hand control than dove summoning. When is that exactly?

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