Malifaux Musings: Reconnoiter

Since my typical gaming group has been pretty focused on Warmachine lately, I started to branch into playing Malifaux by VASSAL. Playing by VASSAL has been enjoyable and a relatively easy way to get games in when I’m not able to get out (or have someone come over) for a game. It also exposes me to a set of players that I might not normally have. So, I joined a league, to bring a bit of structure and competitive flair to a game that I enjoy very much.

My first matchup is coming up soon. All games are going to be 50 soulstones. I’ll be facing off against an opponent playing Guild, and I’ve declared Arcanist. This round, we’ll be playing Standard Deployment, with the Strategy of Reconnoiter.

This has had me thinking pretty hard about what to bring to the party. Sure, I don’t know what the Schemes are going to be, but I think that building to be able to meet Reconnoiter and A Line in the Sand will be able to meet one of the four other schemes that are selected.

So, Reconnoiter. You need a crew that can control as much as the board as possible. Model spam could work, if the models are resilient or quick enough to be able to bob and weave between cover and avoid opposing models. We’re playing a standard deployment, so players will be able to spread forces between two of the four zones at the outset. So being quick off the start isn’t a huge requirement either.

Now, what might my opponent play? This is a tough thing for me to figure out. Because it’s VASSAL, I could see literally, ANY available crew and I don’t know Guild very well, especially in the new edition. So, I’m going to just evaluate each master as best I can.

Lady Justice – I’m not sure what to think about LJ in this situation. She’s pretty quick and can help her minions hit harder, but I’m not sure she brings the right tools for controlling the board. Sure, she’s going to keep an opponent away from a ‘bubble’ to make sure she’s not charging anyone – but I’m not sure that’s enough.

Perdita Ortega – I think Perdita crews rely quite heavily on the Family trait, and because of this, the crew size might just be too small to be effective.

Sonnia Criid – I’d consider Sonnia a reasonable master to expect – she’s got deadly range and can be challenging for a spellcaster to deal with. Witchling Stalkers are pretty low-cost, but very good minions.

Dr. McMourning – Maybe some zombie dog spam. That could be a pain. Would be an interesting matchup.

C. Hoffman – I believe Hoffman is too much about ‘one area’ control, rather than ‘wide area’. I’m not worried about seeing him.

Lucius – Lucius could be put down. Lots of Guild Guards with Dashel and a Sergeant to buff them.

Lucas McCabe – This would be another interesting crew to see. Pathfinders and Clockwork Traps to do a bit of board control – that’s very reasonable.

Who I’d Play: Sonnia Criid, Lucius, Lucas McCabe

Who Stays Home: C. Hoffman

Alright, so that analysis gives me a little information to consider. I’m probably seeing crews that have a number of lower-costed models, rather than a crew of specialists. Let’s look at what my options are.

Marcus – Marcus crews tend to be quick, but I feel they tend to have too many ‘specialists’ for this sort of strategy. I think overall, I’d be bringing some very good pieces to the fight, but I think I’d be losing in model count right away, and Marcus has limited ranged options, making this poor matchup in my eyes.

Mei Feng – Hrm. I think Mei has some pretty impressive options and can field a pretty good sized crew. Ultimately though, I feel like a Mei crew needs to stick too close together to make for a strong threat on Reconnoiter.

Ramos – Like McMourning, there’s the opportunity to spam spiders. However, I think Ramos has more utility in this area that the good Doctor and if memory serves, Ramos’ constructs are faster than undead doggies.

Rasputina – Rasputina crews can effectively create a 22″ dead zone. That’s board control. Her minions are prone to dying if shot at though. The Sub Zero upgrade mitigates the ‘melee squishiness’. I think there’s some very interesting tools that can be put into use here that make this a scheme that Rasputina can excel at.

Ironsides – I don’t know enough about Ironsides to make a good comment here – but she feels a bit like Lady Justice. Just not the right set of models in a typical crew to make this viable.

Kaeris – I think ‘mini-Rasputina’ has tools that make her able to do this scheme much like Rasputina can. While her range is much smaller than the Ice Queen’s, she has the tools to make an enemy go where you want them while piling your models where you need them.

Colette – You know, I’m really not sure about Colette. She might be good. I’m going to have to read up on her crew tonight.

Who I’d Play: Rasputina, Kaeris, Ramos

Who Stays Home: Marcus, Ironsides

What do you think? Who would you put on the table? Who would you leave at home?

Finally, a win

Up until this weekend, I had been winless when playing Malifaux.  According to my recorded plays on BoardGameGeek, that means I was going into Saturday at 0-11.  So, it’s been a long time coming.

Saturday, my record improved to 1-11.  I’ve got a ways to go before I’m close to even, but, its nice to have finally broken the goose egg.

So, for my win, we played a game at 35 soulstones.  I was using Rasputina of the Arcanists as my master (as I typically do) and she brought a the Essence of Power, Silent One, Gunsmith, Kaeris, Iggy and a Fire Gamin as her crew.  This left a pool of 6 soulstones.  My strategy was “Line in the Sand” and I had selected Bodyguard(Rasputina) and Hold Out as my schemes.

I was playing against Zoraida with Collodi and a whole pile of wicked dolls and marionettes and a pair of terror tots.  My opponent had “Escape and Survive” as his strategy and had selected Hold Out and Bodyguard(Zoradia) as schemes.

I spread my forces across my deployment zone (which was on the table diagonal), putting Kaeris, Iggy and the Fire Gamin together at one end, the Gunsmith on her own at the other.  Rasputina, the Essence of Power and the Silent One were in the middle.  My opponent deployed as a large group in the middle of his deployment zone.

As he had more models, his plan was to out activate me.  He did what he could to hold off on Collodi’s activation.  I did what I could to block the lanes as much as possible to prevent Collodi from moving too far (or, if you prefer – making him move where I wanted him to move).  When Collodi finally activated, he took the route I did not expect – he went after Kaeris.

Kaeris isn’t that strong defensively – she’s just pretty average.  But, when you consider Collodi’s marionettes and wicked dolls are only 2 and 3 wound models, that must fight in melee, I’ll let that mob fight her every day of the week.  Why?  Flaming Armor.  To deal melee damage on Kaeris, you take a wound (and gain a burning token).  Plus, as most everyone else in my crew deals at least 2 points of blast damage on moderate damage flips and above, that means dolls are going to die.  Add that fact that Kaeris can ignore blast damage (and heal a wound), and my opponent was in for a bad time.

After turn three, my opponent threw in the towel.  I had eliminated Collodi and all the dolls on the board, preventing him from achieving his strategy.  I felt he was a little premature in calling the game, as I only had activated one dynamite marker by turn 3 and he could have moved a unit into my deployment zone, preventing me from achieving my scheme (which, was unannounced, so only worth 1 VP).  I don’t know that I would have eliminated Zoradia, but I had the right units to ensure I could reach his deployment zone to prevent him from getting his Hold Out scheme.

It was a good game and I was happy with the outcome.  I think I had a good chance of winning even with my opponent’s error and I’m starting to be real comfortable with how I need to work my crew.  I think after a few more wins, I’ll be moving to a new faction for a change of pace, since I have Neverborn in my case (Lilith in particular) and Resurrectionists on the way (McMourning and Seamus).

Malifaux painting update

It’s been a little while since I’ve updated with photos of how my painting is going, so today, I update you!

Here’s a photo of a bunch of stuff in varying states of being painted.

This is a close up of one of my Gunsmiths.  I’m really happy with how the duster is looking on the back side.

And finally, here is one of my Union Miners.  I’m pretty happy with how he’s turning out – still have some work to do and some touch ups here and there, but he looks good on the table.

And on top of all that, I also picked up a Battlefoam Malifaux bag, which is FANTASTIC.  I really recommend them for anyone looking for a storage solution.