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Thursday, 22 May 2014

Canterfaux (AKA De Cantiacorum Ludi Magna)


After a late sign up to a tournament organised by those lovely folks at the Canterbury Crusaders saw me up at 4:30am on Saturday morning to meet up with a couple of others from the Tractor Massive to head down to Kent for Canterfaux (let’s just stick with calling it that shall we?)

Toting a bag stuffed full of Ressers I was still unsure whether to use Tara or Molly but on the trip down I decided on the void queen mainly because I haven’t actually played a game with Molly and I’m pretty familiar with Tara, well that and I stood a better chance of not going home with ‘The Rusty Tractor’ (A prize for the lowest placed player in our group) if I took Tara, and with neither Spooner, Wrighty or Mark Sheppard being there the Tractor was most certainly in play!

A friendly welcome greeted us at the venue and it was great to meet / catch up with other players on the Malifaux scene. Seriously if you are considering going to a Malifaux tournament and are a little worried about all these weird wargamer types congregated in one place then don’t be, the Malifaux tournament scene must surely be the most welcoming on the planet (some of them are even normal people)

My welcome pack contained a 13 of Crows, which I decided was a good omen, and a plethora of other cool stuff (I have to say I really like the ‘claim markers’ which seem to be given away at most events now) and we gathered for the draw for the first round. I was almost last to be drawn (as was OldManMyke) but I avoided the Godfather of Malifaux and was drawn against a chap whom I had previously established was playing Gremlins. In Reconnoitre. Great.


Game 1 Tara vs Sommer (Rufus) – Reconnoitre – Flank Deployment – LIS, Protect Territory, Breakthrough, Frame for Murder, Outflank

Reconnoitre is probably my least favourite strategy and I decided to try out the Spare Parts upgrade for the first time, I’m pretty sure my list was

Tara (KOE, OS, SP)
Mortimer (CB)
2 x Belle
1 x Nurse
1 x Flesh Construct (to eat all those Gremlins)
1 x Necropunk

Rufus Has Sommer, a stupid amount of cheap green filth, some flavour of LaCroix that I can’t remember and a Pigapult (+Stuffed Piglet). He announced Breakthrough.

Here we Go, I thought, I’ve read the forums, I’ve (unfortunately) listened to that Chasing Bacon podcast, I know for a fact that that Pigapult is a load of crap and not worth the points. Turns out its quite good, who’d of thunk it!

I declared Breakthrough and Protect Territory and Morty started off by digging a load of corpses up then Tara did her thing summoning some Guild Autopsies. I had deployed poorly and had to move my Belles around a bit, the flesh construct started wandering up the table and the Necropunk did some leaping.

Rufus summoned a shed load of gremlins, healed them with a slop hauler and used the pigapult to launch the Lacroix and a load of gremlins at me.

At this point I thought the he might have Frame for Murder on Raphael so I set about him with a couple of Autopsies rather than Mortimer.

I think it was turn 2/3 when I lost control of the Strategy. The pigapult loaded up the stuffed piglet and launched it at the Flesh Construct killing it and the Necropunk. Gremlins flooded this side of the board and put down scheme markers, meanwhile Tara and some Autopsies had got control of the other flank and started doing the same.

Strength in numbers showed and the Gremlins took more points for reconnoitre but the game was decided when Raphael died from poison placed on him by one of the Autopsies meaning Rufus didn’t get the points from Frame for Murder.

Tara 7 (Recon 1, Protect Territory 3, Breakthrough 3) – Sommer 5 (Recon 2, Breakthrough 3)

A good fun game that I just managed to win on a ‘technicality in the rules’ and very well played by Rufus.

The next game saw me play Ben Sime, one of the Malifools and the conqueror of OldManMyke in the first round.


Game 2 Tara vs Mei Feng – Stake a Claim – Std Deployment – LIS, Breakthrough, Assassinate, Plant Evidence, Spring the Trap

Stake a Claim (or Stick a Clam) is a great strategy for Tara, I went with

Tara (KOE, OS & Unnerving Aura)
2 x Crooligans
2 x Necropunks
Nurse
Chiaki
2 x Belles

Ben went with something along the lines of Kang, Mech Rider, Metal Gamin, Shadow Effigy & something else (Rail Worker I think).

I deployed second and declared Breakthrough and Plant Evidence. Ben declared Plant Evidence.

It started badly for me as I mis-deployed a crooligan that was killed first activation by Kang. Ben then seemed determined to prove how far Mei could move in one activation and sped her straight up the board toward Tara. Unfortunately he didn’t seem to have many high cards left in his hand and when I saw the bead of sweat appear on his brow as he cheated in a high card to prevent her being buried I spammed it and got the bury on the third attempt (Bye, Bye Ms Feng)

The Crooligan and Necropunks swarmed the right flank and started deploying markers of all varieties and the Belles got in position to undress things and make them slow.

The next turn Kang went to town on Chiaki killing her and popping out Mei who was then paralysed by a Nurse (Ben didn’t remember until the next turn that Mei couldn’t be paralysed and I didn’t know, if I’d have known I’d have told him, honest)

Mech rider summoned a couple of things and generally wandered around. I later found out that he was planning to use its drag trigger to pull in Tara and ‘spring the trap’ but could because I had the masks for ‘Through the Hole’

By this time Tara had positioned herself right in the thick of Bens crew on the left flank and shut down their interacts while handing out slow to everything. A spider managed to escape from a Belles undressing and plant couple of evidences and the Metal Gamin just squirmed out of Tara’s grasp to do the same in the meantime my Crooligan and Necropunks were having a party and dropping markers left right and centre unopposed.

I think Mei killed the nurse before the game ended but it was a comfortable win for me.

Tara 9 (Stake Claim 3, Breakthrough 3, Plant Evidence 3) – Mei 3 (Plant Evidence 3)

Another fun game and I did feel a bit sorry for Ben as Tara is a bitch in this strategy and it’s never good when you forget things on your models cards (see game 4), at my first tournament I forgot loads but on the other hand you hardly forget again if it turns out being crucial.

At the lunch break I grabbed a sandwich and caught up with the guys, I think Henchman Lee (of BendyBoards fame) was sitting on 2 wins, Pete was a win and a draw and Mike was reserving a parking place for the Tractor with 2 losses.

Game 3 was against a gent called Patrick and Yan Lo in Reckoning.


Game 3 Tara vs Yan Lo – Reckoning – Corner Deployment – LIS, Breaktrough, Assassinate, Vendetta, Take Prisoner

I went with

Tara (KOE,OS)
Valedictorian
Student of Viscera (Or Sinew, whichever the ‘anti-undead’ one is)
Bette (Decaying Aura)
Bishop

Patrick went with Yan Lo, Izamu, Jaakuna Matata, Toshiro, a spirit of some variety (Onryo maybe) & Detsu Ba

We deployed either side of an absolutely huge Buddah and I declared Breakthrough.

The game was brutal, probably the most insane game of Faux I have ever played. I set the tone by burying Bishop and throwing him in Izamu T1 taking him down to 1 wound and declaring Vendetta. Turn 2 saw Bishop finish off Izamu in short order and Patrick getting a point from Vendetta with Izamu’s parting shot.

I think proceeded to plough across the board smashing things to pieces left right and centre and trying to drop marker.

Partick re-summoned Izamu and killed Bishop and we had a TO ruling that it was not the declared model for Vendetta as it was a new Izamu not the original one.

During Turn 3 I realised Tara was the assassinate target and I couldn’t keep her alive even with a bunch of soulstones and then the game started to swing from what I thought was a comfortable victory to sweaty palms time. In hindsight I should have put Eternal Journey on Tara to whip her back to the deployment zone and out of harm’s way.

I didn’t quite realise how far away the deployment zone was for Breakthough but I managed to get 3 markers down but in the last turn Patrick pulled a smart move and swapped Yan Lo around with my Student allowing him to remove 2 markers in the turn.

In the end it was a victory by the narrowest of margins and a great game.

Tara 8 (Reckoning 4, Breakthrough 1, Vendetta 3) – Yan Lo 7 (Reckoning 2, Assassinate 3, Vendetta 2)

As I found my table for game 4 I was knackered and the early start was taking its toll. I looked at the table and though, well I’ll be OK as long as I don’t face guild.

My opponent was Paul and he was using Perdita.


Game 4 – Tara vs Perdita - Recconniotre – Std Deployment – LIS, Assassinate, Protect Territory, Entourage, Take Prisoner

My List Was

Tara (KOE,OS,SP)
Mortimer (CB)
2 x Belles
Nurse
Necropunk
Bette (Decaying Aura)

Paul took Perdita, Francesco, The other Ortega chappy, Nino, a Pistelero and 4 guild hounds.

I declared Entourage (Tara) & Protect Territory. It started badly and didn’t get much better. I deployed behind the cover on my board edge and Mortimer dug up some bodies. I had one 10 in my hand which I needed to save for Bette and so Tara failed to summon anything in the first turn.

My hand was so bad that even the Belles were failing to lure dogs and the only option I had with the Nurse & other Belle was to move them up into the open where they promptly got shot.

At this point I was tired and just thinking ‘whats the point’ so I must apologise to Paul if I was a little grumpy.

The Necropunk spent the entire game leaping backwards and forwards trying to drop markers only to be stopped by Nino’s spotter ability and just managed to hang on until the last turn thanks to hard to kill and re-attach (love Necropunks)

The second turn was pretty much the same as my deck was dishing out dross despite stoning for cards and Paul’s decks seemed to be made up of 13’s.

It all changed end of turn 2 when Bette arrived in the face of whichever Ortega buffs Perdita and tore him to pieces and then proceeded to tear Perdita a new one and paralyse her.

Tara’s summoning began to come off a bit and the Autopsies were slowly thinning out the dogs which had merrily been dropping markers everywhere.

Bette once again tore into Perdita and I completely forgot I had decaying aura as I’m pretty sure Paul used his stones to keep her alive (See Ben, happens to the best of us)

There was some tricksy Ortega switching going on and the Paul make a mistake by moving 2 models into the no score zone and I started picking up points for recon.

In the meantime Tara had been nonchalantly walking up the board completely indifferent to the fact that there was no cover and any Ortega that shot at her saw the bullet go straight through the hole.

Last turn both masters made a break for the endzone, Dita was just short and Tara had time to get there and drop a couple of markers too.

Mortimer’s contribution to the game was to dig up 2 corpse counters that I failed to summon anything from and hit a dog over the head with his shovel. For 11 points I think he’ll be staying at home if I’m playing things that drop corpse counters.

In the end it was the fact that Paul didn’t declare his schemes that meant I had an 8-6 win.

Tara 8 (Recon 2, Protect Territory 3, Entourage 3) – Perdita 6 (Recon 2, Protect Territory 3, Entourage 1)

4 great games against 4 great opponents saw me knackered as we waited for the scored to be totted up.

In the end I came in second as 3 people finished on 4 wins and Jan Proudly took the top spot with his dirty Wong (well done Jan) and local boy Dave Hill finished off the podium placings.

I won a very nice trophy and a spiffing bag and to top off a great day not only did I overtake OldManMyke in the rankings but he also went home with The Rusty Tractor! (I expect I’ll be walking to my next tournament)

The best in factions then took part in some kind of gladiatorial event which used the cards that had been given in the welcome pack. There was much cheering but to be honest I was cream crackered and just crashed in the other room.

So, thanks to all my opponents, everyone who turned up, the organisers for a great day and the Tractor Massive for the lift and company on the way down.


See you all in the future and if you haven’t been to a Malifaux event yet then I suggest you do.

Knowledge of Eternity

Having not played for a while I attended a tournament in Canterbury at the weekend and decided to give Tara a run out in place of Jack as I’m a little rusty with my Malifaux at the minute. I will write up a tournament report later but I ended up finishing 2nd and interestingly enough was contacted on twitter by @geekphotoguy to give some tips on how I use Tara. I thought that sounds quite fun so here goes…

Firstly I’m not going to write an essay on everything she can and can’t do, there is an excellent in depth review of all that here http://spiralingcadaver.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/sounds-of-silence-tara-and-obliteration.html and I’m pretty sure that photo guy only has a limited pool of models so I thought I would look at this pool and how I would play them in each strategy, which schemes to pick and what to buy next.

This is the pool of models I’m looking at

Tara (obviously)
Karina (not mentioned but I expect he has her, probably best not mentioned eh?)
Void Wretches (I will presume 3)
Nothing Beast
Death Marshal (also 3 I presume)
Killjoy
Bette Noire

The first thing that strikes me about this selection is that there are 3 hitters, which is good for reckoning but not needed in most other strategies unless you’re a blood thirsty looney that likes to kill everything on the board (which won’t win you many games). So if you’re squeezing them all into one list it’s going to be a low model count.

Secondly you have 3 models that are fighting for the buried slot (I’m counting the nothing beast in these 3) although the DM will help with this.

There are also models there that are fighting for cards. Bette requires you to have a 10 in your hand at all times where possible, and if you don’t then you need to be really careful (also watch for anything that strips suits away). Killjoy likes masks. The nothing Beast would you prefer to have fewer cards and then there is the problem with hand management. This selection of models requires a fine balance of having the correct cards or not having cards at all. The latter leaves you in the hands of your deck which can be cruel.

In conclusion, this is a pool of models I have taken once with Tara in one of my very early games (barring Killjoy) and I soon dropped the void wretches, the nothing beast and the death marshals.

Most other players seem to say these are fine, great models, very useful and indeed they probably are, but for me, as Resser, I don’t like paying for Dead of Winter. Necropunks (and now Crooligans) can do what wretches do. Bishop can do what the Nothing Beast does, only better. Bette makes it into a list that’s facing living and I found the death marshals pine boxing too convoluted and difficult to keep track of when I was learning.

Tara’s tricks and talents

When I first began playing Tara I thought her talent was to bury enemy models then to use the void wretches to attack them, or to try and steal their abilities, or to unbury and activate them.

I soon found that these abilities can be countered / resisted by the opponent and if your relying on them things can go quite wrong quite quickly. Tara can end up out of position and can be very vulnerable.

Slow, Slow, Quick, Quick, Slow

I now think Tara’s ‘thing’ is AP manipulation. She is able to get 6 AP per turn, she is able to hand out AP to your other models, and she is able to take AP from enemy models. With 5 turns in M2E AP is King, and Tara is the Queen of AP manipulation.

To do this you need to utilise pull the void and hence Knowledge of Eternity is always in my upgrades (and the positive initiative flip is sometimes a game winner, nut don’t rely on it). It has an 8” range and a CA of 7 so it’s pretty reliable and I use it almost every turn either to give my models fast or to give the enemy slow (just make sure they aren’t immune to slow before you do it!)

Bishop Bomb

Bishop can of course be exchanged for your choice of heavy hitter but I prefer Bishop simply because with Bishop you can get 5 attacks at range and he can chose his trigger (I find ignore armour / incorporeal or hard to kill the best) and has cage fighter to help him stick around but the principal is the same, and great fun. Certainly something with an extra AP already is a better choice for this although the Nothing Beast can be a bit vulnerable after being dropped off, particularly if you lose the initiative!

1.       Start turn, spend a stone to  draw a couple of cards to ensure a nice high hand
2.       Activate Tara, gain reactivate, pull the void on Bishop giving him fast and chose to fail the resist for the trigger burying him (if you have a void wretch you can heal him while buried later if you like)
3.       Move Tara
4.       Tara’s second activation move again, cast faces in the void from Obliteration Symbiote and unbury Bishop
5.       Have Bishop activate next, charge said target for 2 attacks then flurry for 3 more attacks.
6.       Keep the high cards in your hand so if anything hits him you can cheat in to win and trigger cage fighter giving them a cheeky smack in the face. If you’ve buried Bette in the meantime you can pop her out when Bishop kills the target to give them an extra choice of who to hit thus keeping Bish alive a bit longer)

Anyway that’s all fun and should definitely be done but it isn’t always the best course of action.

With Tara I often find it’s easy to get sucked into using reactivate as her 0. This isn’t always the best use and with anything that requires laying scheme markers or taking interacts you should be using her ability to shut down interacts within 6”

There are many other things that she can do and certain things that seem really easy such as making everything fast for the cost of a few cards and an enemy model getting fast but I found these things to be quite difficult to pull off without getting you into trouble so to be honest I would simply stick to learning to bury / unbury trick (you will require Obliteration Symbiote and Knowledge of Eternity) and getting used to shutting the enemy down by preventing interacts.

Positioning

So where should Tara be in all this? I find the answer to be not too close to anything! She has a decent resist against casting (remember the plus 2 to DF & WP) and is immune to SH attacks as long as you are holding or can stone for a Mask thanks for through the hole.

However, she doesn’t like being hit in the head. She is, at the end of the day, a support master and requires careful positioning. I believe she needs to be sitting just behind the action handing out the AP. She’s an enabler making her crew do the work.

She is also an objective grabber. She can potentially move 20” in a turn and still interact which means she can make a late break for an objective, make a late break to remove a counter, bury, move and unbury an objective grabber and so on and so forth. Add in the upgrade that allows her to move back to her deployment zone and she can be very annoying at removing that vital opposing scheme marker.

Limitations

So what doesn’t she do well? Well her combat skills are a bit meh despite the impressive looking sword. Glimpse the void WP 13 duel can be resisted but is handy late in the turn when the opponent is sweating due to having no / low cards in hand, although I still prefer to do this through pull the void rather than by bashing things with her sword.

She will go down like a sack of spuds in melee so beware when assassinate is in the scheme pool and don’t over extend her.

I was going to look at the strategies and schemes with the model pool available

I will first off start by saying I would take either Bette or Killjoy dependant on what I was facing. Bette is great against living crews due to the paralyse trigger but otherwise can struggle.

Bette is also AWESOME for bodyguard with Tara as long as you can keep the cards you need safe and keep Tara alive. Simply bury Bette with at one with the night, heal her and pop her out on full wounds in the last turn for your 3 points.

Claim Jump

For available models it would be

Tara (Knowledge of Eternity, Obliteration Symbiote, Dead of Winter) - 5
3 x Void Wretches – 12
2/3 Death Marshalls – 12/18
Killjoy or Bette with no heal aura thing (decaying?) – 15/10
Worth dropping a void wretch / marshal to fit Nothing Beast in at 10

So with turf war you want to look at your schemes. It’s quite hard to stop the scoring from the strategy particularly in the early turns. Use the void wretches to flood a flank for marker dropping (whichever is weakest) but keep one on hand and out of trouble to bolster the scoring for the claim.

Use Tara to utilise Bette / Killjoy to take out anything that’s going for their schemes or simply drop killjoy into the middle of whatever is scoring for their strategy but bear in mind whatever you’re putting in there is probably going to die. I would use the marshal for holding the claim territory, keep them in cover and use their ranged attacks. If there are no blasts in the opposing crew so you can maybe utilise the scheme markers they drop. I would keep Tara near the back to threated / counter anything that going for your side of the board. I would take schemes that utilise marker dropping such as protect territory & breakthrough or interacts such as distract.

To bolster the crew for this strategy I would consider adding a couple of flesh constructs simply because they are so bloody hard to get rid of and Belles to lure things out of the scoring zone)

Squatters Rights

Very tricky with this model choice simply because you don’t have a lot of resilient models to hold the markers.

Tara (KOE/OS/DOW) - 5
3 x void wretches – 12
Nothing Beast – 10
Killjoy – 13
Bette Noire - 8

Simply get the wretches to you markers ASAP and use everything else to try and kick the crap out of things and hope your wretches can hang on (which they won’t) but then use Tara to move things to where you need them and use her ability to stop your opponent interacting with the markers.
Schemes – with that list anything that requires you to kill stuff! Again Flesh Constructs are good additions as the can sit on the markers to hold them (and you can get them there T1 by burying / un-burying them) and Necropunks

Reckoning

Tara (KOE/OS/DOW) – 5
Nothing Beast (decaying Aura) - 12
Killjoy (decaying aura) - 15
Bette (decaying aura, unless it’s rare 2) - 10
Void Wretch – 4

I usually find the key to reckoning is not to take too many models (less to kill) and to run with a high cache to help keep things alive. The strategy is usually very tight so you need to focus on your schemes. Keep the void wretch hidden and use to it to attack / heal any buried models and as soon as you get access to other models I would drop it and DOW for the upgrade that lets you move Tara back to het deployment zone, handy for getting her out of trouble! What to add? Bishop & Johan as a tough filler for 7 stones, handy with his condition removal)

Reconnoitre

Tara (KOE/OS/DOW) – 5
3 x Void Wretch - 12
3 x Death Marshall – 18
Bette Noire (decaying aura) - 10

Another tough one with this model selection, and a tough one in general with all the summoning masters that are out there. I would look to get some more cheap minions (Necropunks rule) to flesh this out and pick up a pack of guild autopsies so you can make use of the spare parts summoning upgrade.

Stake a claim

Tara’s speciality subject. Keep her in the backfield and make use of her ‘pull the void’ to make enemies slow, if they are slow they can’t drop claim markers and use her ‘no interact’ 0 action to shut down the enemy while running your Void Wretches round to get your claims. Void Wretches can also hand out slow. Again bolster with Necropunks and Belles (Belles can cast undress to hand out slow) or Nurses for paralyse.

Schemes

Schemes are probably the most important part of the game so decide which ones you like and learn how to do them. I like bodyguard on Bette as you can pop her out late on (Frame for Murder is also good on her), Entourage as Tara can activate twice, protect territory and breakthrough if you have fast minions. I normally stay away from assassinate and I hate spring the trap and plant explosives (I just find it too difficult to concentrate on this while doing other things, personal preference I suppose) If your opponent has distract then bury your distracted models as they don’t count if they are buried!

What to add in next.

It has to be said the only one of these models I actually take in my Tara crews on a regular basis is Bette. I generally replace the Void Wretches with Necropunks, the Death Marshalls with Belles / Nurses and the other hitter with whatever suits, quite often Flesh Constructs.

There are players out there that will sing the virtues of pretty much every M2E model. Some people love Hanged and everyone agrees Punk Zombies are solid models but I have never taken either so It’s whatever takes your fancy to a certain extent. I would say Necropunks (or Crooligans if you prefer) and Belles should be your next 2 purchases, after that it’s your choice, pretty much all the Resser minions are solid models.