Bitefaux 2016 - a Rollercoaster of Horror!
Arcanists in Action in Deepest Suburbia
After an impromptu entry into an event at Wayland Games in Hockely the previous month had gone suprisingly well (Best in Faction!!) the much-anticipated and little-planned Bitefaux event in Chessington rolled around in late Halloween-ey October, ideal time for the spooky goings on in the Malifaux world. This one had pre-published the strats and schemes, in theory allowing me to pre-plan my forces .... but as the event came around I was in a bit of a Colette-based rut, having just about worked out how to use her and her crew - and a scheme pool that seemed scheme-marker-rich did little to force me out of it as I sat planning my forces.
There is lot's more of this stuff on my Malifaux pages
First game up, and against a new Master. Asami, of the Ten Thunders. Not having the book - and running out of mental capacity to remember stuff about the 50+ Masters anyway - I had no clue what was going to happen... but before the tournament the Schemes and Strats had been released, so I had already done some pre-thinking. This was it....
What's The Scheme Here Then?
The challenge I foten find with this pool is to remember that Extraction only needs 2 models within 6" to score - which is fairly far away from the centre spot, and can be achieved with a late-turn rush from 2 models rather than piling in early doors with loads of them. Even so, activation control and sheer weight of numbers being helpful suggests Ramos, and the 2 marker-dropping schemes would point to Colette or Kaeris. A case could also be made for Marcus, as leaping Silurids and Molemen could achieve several of the strats and schemes and the cheap dogs and raptors generate easy activation control. Cojo - to push enemy models away - always seems a good idea in theory as do the Waldgeists for making the centre spot a morass of engagement zones. Rasputina might be handy to blast a clustered-together enemy but the low model count for her crews sort of mitigates against her unless a SnowStorm/Ice Golem combo is a wrecking-ball 2-model cluster in the middle of the table maybe, with Acolytes doing some dragging and possibly a Hoarcat sneaking into the enemy backfield? Mei Feng's crew is a bit dependent on the enemy faction, but is reasonably competent at all of these through general Arcanist models - and Kang is good for causing trouble in a clustered area, whilst I still can't find time to play a few games with Ironsides to see how she works - maybe if she drags enemy models towards her she could drag them away from the central target, but 6" away might be a bigger ask.
As it was, I had been to see the Buzzcocks the previous night and drunk a little too much in the process and so I defaulted to the current crutch of Colette. The crew was pretty standard, with Miss Step (won at a previous event) as the Beater, and a Union Miner, one Showgirl and a Raptor plus the main cast of Girls. Practiced Production was on Angelica.
Asami had a very impressive Massive Dragon, which would presumably be pretty tough... excellent thematic basing as well
But much more impressive was the off-table hiring pool. This looked bigger than my entire crew, and certainly would have been more expensive to buy - not bad for models who you don't pay points for!
I had deplyed in a Colette Bubble, and selected Leave Your Mark and Search The Ruins as to hopefully easy schemes to achieve with this crew. The terrain was very cluttered on my side of the table, and in retrospect I sould have chosen the opposite side to deply from as there were actually very few ways for Miss Step to even get out of the back zone on her 50mm base
At least the Raptor could start safely and then bury it's way to the opposite side of the table
Soon the rather frightening Asami crew lurched forward in a faithful recreation of the Thriller video and started to conjure up some monkeys and chicken-headed men (no, I don't remember that bit in Thriller either. Maybe it was in Off the Wall?). I had thrown a Mechanical Dove into the middle of the table on the assumption that it wouldn't be worth killing, and might be able to be a target for a quick bit of Trapdoor early scheme marker shenanigans, but I had not realised/forgotten being told about the 1AP Charge that it appears that all of this TT crew can have.
With my models struggling to get out of the starting zone, I had pushed Angelica and a Show Girl forward - both of them are impossible/very difficult to charge so they worked well in theory as front runners for my idea of making a late-turn run for the centre zone to score on the Strat
Unfortunately, the Enormous Dragon wasn't playing ball, and witha 1AP charge and some triggers it managed to charge the Union Miner, who was inconveniently close to the other 2 models, kill him, then also kill both Angelica and the Show Girl in a single round of melee. This also lost me Practiced Production, making one of the schemes now utterly unachievable.
The Dragon was then joined by an enormous spider-centaur hybrid monster text
Miss Step did some extreme carnage, removing both massive evil monsters from Japanese folklore, but the time and AP involved in clearling them out of the only way out of my deployment zone had told, and with only 3 models left by now the game was very out of reach. Cassandra, in theory one of my most potent models, was reduced to sneaking down the left flank to drop a marker for Leave Your Mark, that's how sad things were.
With more of the Jorogumo coming back, Miss Step ended the game fighting off flying Monkeys as I slipped to a tragic loss
Summon the Flying Monkeys !
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What's The Scheme Here Then?
Corner deployment makes for a very wide centreline, which always tempts me towards Kaeris for her scheme marker dropping abilities in Convict Labour and Set Up - likewise Colette. The wide field of play sort of mitigates against choosing Hunting Party as some of the enemy Peons might be a long way away. Marcus and the speedy dogs, Silurids and Molemen can drop markers and Take Prisoner reasonably well. The others are harder to build a case for.
This game was on a Greminlesque board, with lots of water and islands and so we decided to treat the water as Difficult Going.
This pretty much decided it for Marcus, with Cojo to push away from the markers, Myranda (of course), 2 Silurids and a Moleman (there's a scheme) and 3 fast little dogs. I'd chose Take Prisoner on Colin & His Nanny, and Leave Your Mark on the assumption that the enemy would bunch up towards the middle and either the Silurid/Moleman of Dogs would slip past them.
The Pack of Dogs theory went badly wrong immediately when somehow and unpainted female Beatstick unburied next to them and procded to kill two of the three outright in turn 1. Ouch!
At least the Silurid/Moleman combo was working on the other flank as the Leaping Lizard jumped forward to pull the moleman after him, and Marcus, with Unimpeded and extra Melee attacks was cleaning up some zombies from the area around the markers - although being incorporeal they did take a lot of beating down.
The Neverborn however were hanging back, and only throwing up the odd summoned kinda hard to kill and fairly tanky model to try and score on the Strat - so it was looking tricky as to where the markers could be dropped to score. Anyways, Marcus was killing things as quickly as they could be thrown at him, which was fun
Another unpainted thing which looked a little like the kind of poo that you'd definately wish that you'd weighed yourself beforehand after dropping had slithered forwards a long distance.
In fact, whilst it looked like a poo, it did also have some arms and a head as well, which actually made it look more like an unfinished BBC special effect from an unbroadcast late 1970's episode of Dr Who titled Dr Who & The Scatalogical Conundrum.
Anyways, it slimed forwards a vast distance and took on a Silurid hiding behind an Strat marker. By now I had managed to get my Ice Pillars on table as Strat Markers anyway !
Cojo had been doing his automatic 1AP push-away trick as usual to score some points around this marker, but multiple instances of Paralysis from the enemy models and a rather tight terrain setup which made it impossible for the Myrandabus to actually fit into the area where it could attack the enemy. This in turn left Cojo impotent for several turns towards the end of the game, allowing both sides to score here.
Marcus made sure of the Take Prisoner point on Colin and His Nanny, but Cojo was the Prisoner target for my opponent, and with easy points scored for Hunting Party by the Unpainted Female Beatstick Ghost Thing against my dogs the Beast crew slumped to a narrow defeat.
Wanna buy some Neverborn?
What's The Scheme Here Then?
Interference has Ramos and his summoning abilities written all over it, and Standard Deployment also suits him as he can start in 2 quarters. Covert Breakthrough is a likely combination with Interference, as both players will be trying to occupy one of the quarters on the opposition side of the table and so some of the scheme-marker eating abilities of Large Arachnids are useful. Mei Feng also synergized well with the Arachnids, and her ability to redeploy quickly makes her a consideration as well - and the Mech Rider looks like a must-have in either crew, both for summoning and Covert Breakthrough. Colette's prompts could also help with many of these schemes, but her crew needs to be reasonably bunched up in her 8" bubble to work to best effect making occupying multiple quarters tricky. Hard to build a case for Raspy yet again, and Marcus is often better at killing things than tagging them, although his and Myranda's prompt-esque abilities can certainly help.
Another game against Asami, and having lost 2 out of 2 I was delighted to find myself facing Mythic Fox in a competition where I was very clearly using Arcanists very badly...
This was Ramos, with Joss as the Beatstick, the Raptor for scheme interference, and I had also decided to try (in a Howard-free list) using the Essence of Power. The crew was rounded out with a Performer, Metal Gamin. Spider, Arcane Effigy, a soon-to-die Mech Toolkit and a Fire Gamin. Because Fire Gamin are more fun than more Metal Gamin.
The textbook opening of Joss creating 2 scrap for Ramos took a bit of a pasting as a Jorogumo appeard and ate all of the scrap before Ramos could summon off of it.
Eventually the Spider factory did get into gear, with 3 rounds of 3 summoned Spiders in the game - but I had deployed badly on the assumption that I could spam Spiders and sweep forwards on one flank to share the Strat with 2 each, and win with Convict Labour and Covert Breakthrough by dint of spamming Spiders and winning through sheer weight of numbers - but me deplying first meant Asami could match off against this, stomp the spiders as they advanced and even retain some other quarters really easily.
Summoning Monkeys and Chickenmen kept a constant stream of half-decent models in the way of my tide of Spiders - and their ability to reposition in the Upkeep step made the Raptor and the whole weight of numbers thing utterly impossible and irrelevent, as 3-4 of the TT models were placed in the end step into positions to deny or achieve local superiority
Chicken Headed Man
Looking closer, this is clearly a mace - during the game I was sort of convinced it was an electric guitar.
Again a wonderfully painted and based crew - even more impressive given this set has only recently been released.
In the end the attempt to advance through a sea of better models than mine, and the challenges faced by two players doing so much summoning between them meant we ended in the 3rd turn, with a 4-0 loss against Ramos, as I had failed to score at all...
Wanna buy some Ten Thunders?
What's The Scheme Here Then?
A Killy strat, which makes Hunting party almost an auto-include as well leaving only one more scheme to choose - and on a wide centre line. Marcus has the toolkit to do most of these, with fast hard-hitting models supported by his virtual prompting Alpha and some sneaky hard-to-kill minions to skulk around and achieve the other scheme. Colette's Prompt would also be good here to pick up heads, but I'm not sure about which member of a high quality Killy Colette crew (Miss Step, Cassandra, Coryphee?) would be the one to run for the backfeild as the Duet is the best choice - but it wouldnt exist at the start of the game. Scheme marker shenannigans with a Raptor or a Dove and Practiced Production might be an easy solution though, especially on the assumption of facing a small crew.
This was another game against Neverborn, and with three losses I decided to chagne things around and use the Mei Feng crew I'd initially started Malifaux with but sort of shy'ed away from more recently as other masters, with more "tricks" has seemed more appealing
The table was odd, with two blocks of houses on each corner - and with corner deplyment my opponent elected for us both to start in the rows of houses. I had gone for Hunting Party and Undercover Entourage on Mei
I wanted to keep my crew in a Kang-shaped bubble, making them immune to Horror Duels - after the mass Paralysis of Game 2 this seemed a much better idea! With headhunter in the list, I had gone for an elite killy crew and a skulking Raptor to keep at least one peon alive at all times. Howard, Proxy Johan, sneaky Emberling and comedy Willie all stood behind Howard.
Half-painted Seamus and his fully-painted belles started by luring Johan out of the bubble and then shooting him up to near death. He was my only healer, so I was keen for him to survive and burned a few early-turn big cards to prevent the final hits
The whole crew made a bit of a bee-line in the bubble towards the Belles, Dead Intestines and Madame Sybelle
Kang and Howard made a real mess of the enemy crew over a couple of turns, with Willie's shooting and blasts also weighting in - seeing Willie shooting his entire load at Madame Sybelle was a real highlight. Mei finished off some of them too with a flurry of kicks. Howard unfortunately then got one-shotted by a Red Joker damage flip from Seamus' massive hand cannon, as the full weight of double entendres threatened to overwhelm both crews ...
Halloween King Fu
Seamus was not really anywhere near the action and it became pretty obvious that he was also doing Undercover Entourage together with Leave Your Mark. With Howard gone, I had very little left to chase after him with and so we both saw the game coming to an early end
With Mei in a scoring position too, and both sides somewhat shredded we worked out the game would end with a draw - Mei winning on Headhunter, both getting 3 for Undercover Entourage, and Seamus' 3 on Leave Your Mark vs Mei's 2 on Hunting Party as the third Neverborn Minion kept well out of the way of my slow-moving Howard-free crew.
Wanna buy some Neverborn?
Read on for the post match expert analysis from Hannibal
Hannibal's Post Match Analysis
That was quite painful, especially after your relatively decent showing in Essex recently. I am sure the pre-game evening didn't help, but even so you were not that competent here.
In the first game you accepted a terrible deployment position as you were too lazy to ask to change chairs, and then you compounded it by putting Practiced Production on a model that you then put in danger. Placing the Union Miner where he could be charged was a massive compounding mistake, as that is what allowed the monster dragon to attack Angelica and the Showgirl. New masters are always tricky to face, but you made this easier than it needed to be for the TT ladies and monkeys.
In Game 2 somehow you managed to pick the wrong scheme - the theory was half-good, but the need for the dropped markers to be 4" away from enemy models to score meant that the theory was easily denied by the cluster of enemy in the corner. You also failed somehow to keep your troops in a bubble of Marcus-inspired positive willpower, which given that was part of the thinking behind choosing him against Neverborn seems remarkable. Your activation order was always poor, and in reality Hunting Party and a more elite list would have been much better, even if Marcus wanted to go off at the end and tag the Granny.
Game 3 you were again guilty of terrible deployment - your setup may have been OK if you were deploying second, but as a first deplyment it was suicide. You also repeatedly forgot that models within 6" of the centre do not count for the Strat, and even though this might have been an ideal double-bluff for Joss to do Show of Force you picked a near-impossible scheme by not adding Angelica and Practiced Production to the crew. The Essence of Power was useless, as all he did was mess up your activation order as having to activate before Ramos adds yet another delay to getting spiders on table each turn - all for +1 Ca? Not worth it in this crew, as he can't move and do his thing...
Game 4 was the closest to competence, and if Howard had not been one-shotted you would almost certainly have won. Quite why the Emberling was on table though does confuse me, as it was a relatively easy kill - even as Incorporeal. I think it did remind you that Mei is pretty good - and because she does a straightforward thing (kick people) she is often easier to use than other masters as well. Going for a simple plan is more your style, you should remember that in future....
That's the end - so why not go back to the Match Reports Index and read some more reports?