A Day of Firsts (or) A Malifaux V2 Tournament Report

While I haven’t had much time to spend at the painting table over the last couple of week, I’ve been doing a long on the Malifaux front. In fact, I recently had a chance to play in what I can confidently say was the area’s first M2E tournament on June 30th. The tournament was pretty straightforward, 3 rounds, 50ss, single faction, hosted by Top Shelf Games in Fort Wayne along with our local Wyrd Henchmen, Cadilon from the forums.

There ended up being several firsts for me that day: My first M2E game, first tournament, first Malifaux win and, drumroll please, my first tournament won. 1st place, baby. I don’t have much experience with reporting on tournaments and, seeing as this was an M2E event, instead of reporting move by move on the tournament itself, I’m going to focus on what I think of M2E and how the game plays in a tournament style.

Before I get too much into the tournament itself, I want to give more of a shout out to the local community. The local Malifaux group has been a bit quiet lately, which I'm sure will pick up again after Gencon. Looking at the tables though, we have quite a dedicated Henchman in Cadilon, and I am very appreciative of all the work he put into building and collecting all of this terrain. I can't wait to get back into the terrain game myself...


The Tables
Table #1
Table #2
While we only ended up having 4 players in this tournament, 6 tables were set up. All of them would have been a pleasure to play on, though we found ourselves grateful we weren't using them all (beta Malifaux with printed out stat cards and the rules on a bunch of iPads ends up taking a considerable amount of room). As I mentioned, the terrain was almost entirely supplied by our fearless henchman, though some of my Necromunda ground cover ended up on Table 1.
Table #3
Table #4
Table #4

The main attraction of the show was Cadilon's superb cemetery table that is featured in the title of this post. This is a truly great table and seeing the painted models on it is quite inspiring. This table has a little bit of everything and was a joy to play on. Those of you who joined in the fun at Adepticon this year will recognize this table.  I can't wait to get to work on my own tables and really have quite an awe-inspiring collection of terrain for the group.....the perfect thing to lure 40k and warmachine players away from t
he dice.



The Action
After a considerable amount of debate, I decided to roll with Ressers for this tournament. I'd been thinking about switching to Guild while I learn the ins and outs of M2E, but in the end there were already two Guild players (and one Arcanist), so I thought I would mix things up a bit.

Game #1: Guild(Perdita) Vs. Resser(Seamus)

The first game in the tournament was cut short by our slowness in getting the tournament started, so we were only able to play two complete turns. The game feature Perdita and several of her family members, accompanied by the Lone Marshal, fighting for control of the small rocky outcropping at the center of the board against Seamus with a host of Belles alongside a Necropunk and a Crooked Man. Bette Noire filled in my ranks.

The Strategy was Turf War, which meant we all made a mad dash for the center of the table. As the game ran short, I am not even sure what all the schemes were, but the game ended in a draw as both sides had managed to advance on the center of the table and nobody had completed any schemes.

Game #2: Arcanists(Mei Feng) Vs. Ressers(Seamus)

A Necropunk advancing up one flank.

I had never played against Mei Feng, so I took this as an interesting experiment to see how she and her crew plays. In this game, I opted to stick with Seamus, accompanied by a pair of belles, a pair of Crooked Men, a Flesh Construct and a Necropunk along with the Copycat again. On the other side of the table was Mei Feng with a Rail Golem, a few Rail workers, Kang and the Ember.
Crooked Men covering the other flank.

For game #2, the Strategy was Reckoning. Again, this meant that we all made for the middle of the board in an attempt to kill each other off. With Mei Feng running into the thick of the battle to get the Strategy, I was able to complete the Spring the Trap scheme on her, followed by a message delivered to her by a spritely Necropunk. One of more notable mistakes I made in this game was failing to activate the Flesh Construct in the 2nd turn after he had been charged by Mei Feng. My opponent’s lack of control cards would also have meant that the Flesh Construct would have activated twice, but it was not to be. This was a close game but I managed to win by a single point.

Game #3: Guild(Sonnia) Vs. Ressers(Seamus)

I wanted to try McMourning or Nicodem next, but in an attempt to get playing a bit faster, I opted instead to take Seamus again. For this game, I didn’t take any upgrades and only ran Seamus with 1 extra soulstone, which meant I had enough left over to get a couple Canine Remains on the board alongside two Necropunks and the usual belles. Copycat once again made an appearance.

For this game the strategy was Stake a Claim, to which I added Line in the Sand and Assassinate as Schemes. My opponent clearly had a similar goal in mind as he quickly marched Sonnia into the fray and placed a burning condition on Seamus that could not be removed. Sonnia’s Witchling Stalkers then proceeded to add to the collection until Seamus had a total of Burning +4. In return, Seamus and the Copycat opened up with a hail of gunfire on poor Sonnia and ended up Red Jokering her for 11 damage. Burning a stone to prevent the damage, my opponent flipped the black joker and Sonnia was gone. My Necropunks and Canine Remains made their way across the board dropping scheme markers and I ended up with another win as the game ended before Seamus lost his last wound.

The Results

After all was said and done, I ended up taking home first place with two wins and a draw. This meant a very generous award of a new Retro Fate Deck as well as a copy of the M2E book when it arrives at Gencon. It was a good day for Seamus.
Going over the tournament and the individual rounds in my head, there are several things I noticed about this new version of Malifaux….many of which I like and some about which I am a little nervous.

1)Building Crews:
This feels a bit like me being lazy, as I have always played games where I’ve been used to complex army building. However, I think it bears a mention. With the addition of Upgrades, the process of creating a crew was significantly longer for me. I wonder if this is more because I am not familiar with points costs and all of the upgrades. At any rate, I will need to get faster at assembling crews or I am going to have problems starting on time.

Another thing to note here is that there can now be a sizeable difference in the size of a crew depending on who is playing with what upgrades. During my third game for example, Sonnia came to the table with a host of upgrades and soulstones, while I took Seamus with only 4 stones and not a single upgrade. Hoever, I did not feel like I was at a disadvantage. Instead, I simply had a larger crew and was able to easily out-activate my opponent. I’m not sure this will be viable overall, however, as it is a characteristic of the Ressers to have a lot of cheap but good models. In M2E, as I’ll mention below, this seems to be even more the case.

2)Necropunks:
I’ve been saying this for a while now, but the humble Necropunk doesn’t get much love. Now, however, they are an indisputably good option for Ressers. With the Leap ability now including the needed suit, leap is a reliable way to move them across the board. This means they are great for Flurry attacks or for things like Deliver a Message. They will continue to be my workhorse models.

3) Crooked Men:
These guys still totally rock. I do have a small nag about why they would change ‘cave in’ to ‘spread decay,’ but still…these guys are good. During the first game, my Crooked Man managed to hold an entire flank of the board against Nino. In fact, the Crooked Man seems designed to sit on the far side of the board from Nino and drop Scheme Markers. In my second game, I ended up with far more ranged attacked than any Resser crew should have, especially against Arcanists. The pair managed to work their way up one flank of the board and held it for the entire game, sniping at rail workers from the table’s natural vantage points.

4) Totems:
In V1, I never used totems. Particularly with Seamus, the Copycat Killer seemed like a waste. This was made even more the case when the Avatars came around. This time however, totems seemed to play a part in almost all of the games. The Copycat was particularly impressive and earned his keep easily. At 3ss, the Killer no longer wounds himself every time he fires his weapon, which means he can be counted on to deliver a hard ranged punch while Seamus is sneaking around in the allies. Add that the Killer can fire his weapon multiple times in the turn, even if it is a lower range and a bit weaker, and this guy is quite worthwhile.

5) Soulstones:
The first thing I heard about M2E has become a pretty common line, “they nerfed soulstones!” Well, I am here to tell you….If you never remembered to use soulstones in V1 and still don’t remember to use them in M2E, there is almost no difference from version to version. I seemed to use soulstones less during this tournament that I have before. I am not sure yet if that is because I didn’t need them or if it was because I am not too familiar with all the rules for them. What I can say is that I think I like how they work better. They sem to have a much more subtle feel to me, which I like. Still though, I must remember to use soulstones….and I have to remember that Sybelle can use soulstones.

6) Strategies, Schemes, Markers and Conditions:
As I have indicated before, I like the new Strategy and scheme system. In the games I played during the tournament, I was able to keep much more focused on the objectives than I have been in the past, which is exactly why I was able to complete so many more of them than usual. I am very fond of the mechanic of bluffing your scheme using markers, though it can start getting easy to guess. What I will say, however, is that with all the markers, conditions, schemes and strategy markers, the table can get pretty full pretty quickly. I’ll have to see how that works out…though I am looking forward to building all those markers.

7) Henchmen:
While I am interested to play a game led by a henchman, I don’t see how Madam Sybelle in particular is going to be useful as a leader in a crew. Again, that may be because I also forgot to have her use soulstones, but she played a similar part in my games as she did in V1. I haven’t figured out how to use her yet. Either that, or I just haven’t given up on a subpar model.

So all told, the tournament was a blast. Everyone had a great time and there wasn’t a game played that we didn’t enjoy. I hope to join in on the action much more frequently. As far as M2E goes, I am firmly in the camp that likes the new edition and I am very excited for Gencon in a month’s time. While Gencon last year seemed to have been a bit of a bust for Wyrd, I am cautiously optimistic about this year…if only because I am going to spend a couple days there this time.

Now back to the painting table.

More to Come.

-Nick

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