Malifaux Nationals 2016 part 1

Last weekend was the 2016 Malifaux Nationals tournament – the ‘Grand Tournament’ if you will for the Malifaux community.

The tournament was run at Battlefield Hobbies in Daventry, a relatively new gaming venue, which opened this year. This was the first time I had been down to the venue and I was impressed, there is a well stocked shop with a variety of historical and fantasy games, including Bolt Action, Flames of War, Malifaux and the usual Games Workshop products. As well as the shop there is a sizeable gaming area out the back, consisting of a hall with a mezzanine level above it.

The Battlefield Hobbies gaming area, full to the brim with Malifaux players


This weekend there were 124 players battling it out for a share of the glory, I didn’t have much confidence going into it, as I haven’t played much Malifaux (if any) in the past 6 months – too many other games to play! but I was looking forward to catching up with everyone from the scene. The Malifaux scene is one of the friendliest scenes I’ve been involved with,¬†and everyone makes sure they are there to have fun first and foremost. We had also planned a night out in Northampton – which TBH was one of the major draws for going down ūüėČ

In the weeks leading up I was struggling to decide on what faction/masters to take along, this tournament had a few different ways you could play:

  • Fixed Faction – The standard way to play Malifaux, you declare one of the 7 factions available and you can then switch between any masters in that faction.
  • Fixed Master – An alternative way of playing, where you select one master for the entire tournament, but can select different crews to go with this master, in this case you could switch faction in the case of dual faction masters.
  • Trinity – Three fixed lists with three different masters, each list must be from a different faction and must be used at least once during the seven games.
  • Fixed List – For the masochists out there – submit a fixed master with a fixed list which must be used in all games with no changes.

So there was quite a variety, my initial thoughts were to use Arcanists as they were my first faction way, way back when first edition Malifaux came out, I was planning on primarily using Ramos and Colette, giving me options for several different strategies and schemes. However as it got closer to the tournament I realised I hadn’t had enough practise with either of these masters, Colette especially having lots of tricks to try to remember – so to keep things simple I decided to go fixed master with one of my favourite masters – Perdita and the Guild.

I even made a T-shirt


When Malifaux was first released there were always cries of ‘Perdita is broken’ mainly due to her damage output and her high defence, but as the game has progressed the amount of ‘tricks’ from other masters has reduced her down the pecking order and lots of players regard her as a bit of a ‘noob’ master. I like the amount of mobility and damage a Perdita crew can output, with Francisco, the enslaved nephlim and austringers Perdita can advance up the board quite a way before she activates, giving her more chance to use her 14″ range pistols to cause maximum damage, also Francisco giving her +2 Df and WP is always good, making her a mighty DF9 and WP9!

My standard Perdita build normally consists of the following models:

  • Perdita herself – normally with Badge of Office and Trick Shooting upgrades, Trick Shooting allows her to ignore armour or cover – enabling max damage from her shooting/melee attacks and Badge of Office because even with Df7/DF9 she still only has 10 wounds, and a big attack getting through can really spoil her day.
  • Francisco – the only other family member I normally use, he’s Perditas right hand man, sticking with her and boosting her DF/WP as well as allowing her to push towards him and doing some nasty melee damage as well. He comes with the Wade In upgrade, because it might as well be on his card – Hard to Kill and a (0) heal is just golden.
  • Enslaved Nephlim – Perditas totem gives a lot of mobility to the crew, allowing friendly models to push towards other friendly models, regardless of LOS – couple with a trap or pathfinder and the crew can get towards the middle of the board quickly.
  • Lone Marshall – some mobile shooting with built-in positive attack/damage flips – very useful to get around cover, his push also stops him getting caught up in melee
  • Guild Austringers – Long range (18″) no LOS shooting is great, but his Deliver Orders action is probably even better – giving friendly models extra pushes and allowing them to perform interacts for free – very useful for schemes such as Cursed Object
  • The rest of the crew is made up of either dogs, witchlings, watchers or occasionally another enforcer depending on the strategy/schemes in play.

So, the decision was made, bags packed and after an early start we headed down the M1 towards Daventry and potential glory.

Gates of Antares – Lee vs Jimmy

We decided to run a small tournament day at Janco Toys with 600pt forces over 3 games.  The missions to be fought were:

  1. Let Battle Begin
  2. An Unexpected Encounter
  3. Recover at all costs

My first mission was drawn against Jimmy and his Freeborn, with the Forces looking as follows:

2016-11-06-antares-lee-vs-jimmy-1

Algoryn (6 units / 6 order dice)

2 x 6 man Infiltrator Squads (Leader – Repeater), spotter, Camo Drone

2 x 5 man AI Squads (2 x Micro-X Launchers)

1 x X-Launcher (Net Ammo), Spotter Drone

1 x Light Mag Repeater, Spotter Drone

2016-11-06-antares-lee-vs-jimmy-2

Freeborn (5 units, 6 Order Dice)

3 x 6 man Feral squads with Soma Grafts

1 x 6 man Vardanari squad

1 x X-Launcher team

1 x Attack Skimmer with Batter Drone

Deployment

2016-11-06-antares-lee-vs-jimmy-3

On initial deployment I chose to seek as much cover as possible.¬† whilst maintaining lines of fire (the rocky slab bases were classed as dense terrain, the woods as light).¬† Not shown above is my Infiltrators moves… the left Squad sprinting into the building (and gaining a Pin for their exertions) and the right squad moving further up into the woods.

Turn 1

My building occupying Infiltrator squad opened the firing, shooting on the X Launcher squad bit somehow managing only to kill 1 crewmember.  The X Launcher responded by shelling the building and killing a number of my Squad.  Jimmy concentrated most of his fire on my Infiltrators, while I finished off the X Launcher team and set to work on his right most Feral squad.

Turn 2

With Jimmy concentrating on finishing my Infiltrator squad in the building and AI squad on the left, I pummeled the Centre and Right feral squads.  The turn ended with Jimmy have lost 2 units and me having lost 1.

Turn 3

Whilst my AI squad on the left was shot down and routed, my Firebase on the right pummeled Jimmy’s remaining squads, finishing off the Ferals on the right and leaving the feral team on the left with 1 man.¬† I had now broken his Forces, and simply needed not to become broken myself.

Turns 4-6

Over the following 3 turns we whittle each other’s units down, but no further Units were destroyed.¬† Victory to the AI!

Conclusion / Thoughts on Tournament Setup

Infiltrator and AI Squads support each other so well.  with good access to cover, both units can deal out a lot of punishment whilst soaking it up themselves.  Those 4 squads (2 of each) are an auto-add now in any size force for me.

We’ve played quite a few games of Antares (but had a couple months gap) and it has to be said that after getting used to it, it¬†does play fast and clean; especially at these kinds of point levels.¬† The general feeling was that the points could be raised to 650-700ish and still play a nice game on a 4×4 table (the table size was chosen due to the space available).¬† We had set up to be able to run a 10 man tournament but unfortunately due to various issues only ended up with 5 players.¬† That said, it was a very fun day and we were able to square off 3 games each in¬†under 6 hours.

It’s definitely something I’ll be looking to run again in the new year, and hopefully we can get the right numbers next time!