It only took three years, but I have finally played as Neverborn
Was it the first, irrevocable step on the path to the dark side? Of course not. I was just getting down with my very bad self.
I swapped a painted Steel Legion squad for 40k for a Zoraida crew with Barry “Henchman and Interview Ninja” Kelly and arranged a game with Dave “Gremlins Totally Are a Real Faction” Hamilton.
We went for 50ss, as that seems to the be the M2E norm (Norm!), and it turned out we both fancied trying the Story Encounters. Dave set out a nifty Gremlin village, and we flipped and got Sabotage for the Strategy.
As Attacker, I had to secretly pick a terrain piece in Daves table half. During the game I could plant Scheme Marker on any terrain with a (2) Interact action, and at the end I got 3VP if I had one on the chosen terrain piece and +1VP if I had any more. Daves crew could remove them at the cost of a (2) Interact action.
As Defender, Dave had to kill off all my Masters and Henchmen.
I had a set crew of:-
Zoraida (Hex Bag, Crystal Ball, Animal Form) 7ss cache
3 x Silurids
Bad Juju (Nexus of Power, Eternal)
I had to proxy the Waldgeist, and make two tree Markers, right before the game. I made these in 10 mins:
The sharp-eyed will spot that there is a 40k Chaos Spawn pretending to be a spiky bush. I think the trees looked pretty good though.
Som’er (Liquid Bravery, Family Tree and Encouragement) 7ss cache
4 x Bayou Gremlins
I flipped for Schemes and got Make Them Suffer (which sounded very Neverborn-y) and also took the Neverborn Faction scheme (Exterminate). For Make Them Suffer I had to kill every Minion and Peon Dave had… Okay. Perhaps a tricky one. For the Neverborn Scheme I had to have more Masters or Henchmen in my crew than Dave had. That should be doable, especially with a Henchman who cannot die!
Dave picked Vendetta on Jazz Hands Silurid, and the Gremlin Faction Scheme (Fight Another Day), for which he had to end the game with at least four models with no wounds on any of them. Tough, but doable with the Slop Hauler.
I had a plan. I could get Bad Juju well up the table with some Zoraida trickery, and he is phenomenally survivable with those Upgrades. The plan was to dump Bad Juju in a passel o’ Gremlins and see what done happened.
Rami tried to take out a Silurid with a Focused Shot with the double damage trigger, but Black Jokered the damage flip! The Black Joker would go on to plague Somer the whole game.
The Waldgeist double walked and dropped a pair of 50mm Tree markers between it and the Gremlins.
I did the Zoraida movement trick. The Doll used Hem on Bad Juju, and Zoraida interacted with the Doll to push Bad Juju 12″ up the table, getting cover behind the trees.
The Silurids all Leapt, and moved behind huts out of Line of Sight.
Francois moved up and managed to charge Jazz Hands Silurid, killing him for 3VPs on Turn 1. Ouch. Bad Juju replied by totally killing that douche Francois.
Pere Ravage moved up into a scary position, and the other Gremlins moved up. Som’er made two more and Sloppy healed them up.
I won Initiative and opted to repeat the Bad Juju trick. He pushed past Pere Ravage and got into melee with the outskirts of the Gremlin mob.
Som’er tried to Charge him and Black Jokered the Horror duel!
Bad Juju then killed a Gremlin (so he could walk away from him) and walked right into the middle of the crowd, locking most of them in melee. He did his (0) Action and passed a bit of Slow and some wounds around with that.
While the multitude of Gremlins wailed on Bad Juju for the rest of the Turn (and Bad Juju judiciously applied soulstones for Damage Reduction flips, which also let him heal 2 wds at the same time, thanks to Nexus of Power), the middle Silurid charged Pere Ravage, hit him once and then Leapt away out of Line of Sight.
Pere Ravage had Squee’d away from the Silurid into Severe Terrain, and could not get the movement he needed to charge my Waldgeist, so he moved up and detonated, putting no wounds on the hiding Silurid and 3 on the Waldgeist, and enough on himself to die. The Kin were getting thinned out nicely!
Rami moved back and took a brace of shots at Bad Juju with the double damage trigger, but again Hard to Wound and the Nexus of Power kept the damage amazingly low. I was running low on soulstones though, so I decided to keep him alive this Turn, but let him die next Turn. He would come back on full wounds anyway!
The Waldgeist moved up into base contact with my chosen terrain piece and remade the forest between itself and the Gremlin/ Bad Juju stramash.
On my right, my other Silurid took advantage of Rami moving away and jumped up into contact with another hut, and planted a Marker on it. Could I tempt a Gremlin or two over this side of the table and away from my true target?
The Voodoo Doll, having nothing to do, double walked up the table. A low wall in the middle of the table kept it completely safe from Gremlin shooting, being only Ht1.
Som’er managed to charge into melee with Bad Juju, but despite landing a few hits he failed to kill him.
Bad Juju activated and killed a Gremlin and the Slop Hauler. No more healing for the Gremlins! His (0) Action managed to kill off a Skeeter. The Gremlins tore into him again and he finally went down later in the Turn. What really helped the Gremlins was two things; the +2Wp aura from the Skeeters and Bayou Two Card, which let them cheat off the top of the Fate Deck every time they failed a Horror duel. It meant Dave rarely had to use a card from his hand, and I think only one model failed and was allowed to stay failed without cheating (the Skeeter that Juju killed off).
Rami focused a shot on the Silurid over my right, and got the double damage trigger again, killing the poor swamp thing in a single hit. The backwash of damage killed Rami, however. Kin all gone.
Zoraida turned into a raven and flew forward, getting in range of the Gremlins. She tried Obeying a Gremlin, but it simply slapped its brother for 1Dg. Nothing much doing, then, but I had got her into the action, which is what the Raven upgrade seemed to be ideal for.
A Gremlin moved off to the right of the table, clearly heading to deactivate the Marker the dead Silurid had placed.
My last remaining Silurid Leapt out of cover and planted another decoy Marker in a hut. Note to self: always keep 5s in hand for Leap. It makes Silurids awesome.
With Bad Juju gone the remaining Gremlins started moving around the Waldgeist’s forest, but that only brought them into its 4″ melee reach. Rather than killing them, though, the Waldgeist planted the real Marker on my chosen terrain piece.
The Waldgeist reached out and killed two Gremlins with two hits. They were only on two Wds each, but suddenly there were a lot fewer drunken, green hooligans around.
Som’er moved and aimed a shot at the Waldgeist, managing to kill it. The forest vanished, Bad Juju popped out, and Somer shot him as well.
I should have Activated Bad Juju, but did Zoraida instead, who completely fluffed three spells on the Gremlins. Pah!
Then a Gremlin took a lucky shot and killed Bad Juju with the Red Joker. I had a sad
But the shot killed the Gremlin who fired it, so happy times. Another Gremlin deactivated the decoy Marker on my right.
I Leapt my last remaining Silurid forward and Charged Somer, doing a little damage. Dave cleverly had a Skeeter charge Som’er and used his super-Squee trigger to push out of melee and towards Zoraida.
Last of all he moved a Gremlin very close to my real Sabotage Marker. He would be able to deactivate it next Turn…
I used the Voodoo Doll to put Hem on him
Som’er blasted away at Zoraida, doing Weak damage with the first hit and missing with the second, despite smart use of Focus and Soulstones to get around cover and Zoraida’s defensive abilities.
Zoraida replied by having the Hem’d Gremlin run away 10. Hem is brilliant! The Sabotage Marker was safe.
My last Silurid killed off one of the three remaining Gremlins in the middle of the table. A Gremlin shot at him twice, and I tried to cheat down but couldnt get the Silurid to die. I wanted him to die so that Bad Juju would pop out and get me my Exterminate Scheme, but I just couldnt manage it.
We flipped at the end of the Turn and the game ended. I revealed my choice of terrain for the Sabotage Strategy.
Result: I had 4VP from the Strategy, with a Sabotage Marker on my chosen terrain piece for 3VP and another marker on another terrain piece for +1VP. Dave had 3VP from Vendetta, and neither of us had any VP from any of our other Schemes. Who says Strategies dont win you the game?! Win for Zoraida 4VP to 3VP.
This was a very fun game, and very close. I felt like Zoraidas crew out the box was extremely solid, and the addition of the Waldgeist gave me some very helpful board control, not to mention another Bad Juju-summoning piece. I dictated the flow of the game (if you ignore stupidly handing out 3VP on Turn 1!) and the huge melee let me position my other models to go for the Strategy.
If we played it again I am sure Dave would focus all his fire on Bad Juju on Turn 1 (and, if possible 2) before he ploughs into their gunline and shuts down their shooting. That said, it would be hard to stop him just popping back up again and doing the same thing. Spreading the Gremlins out would help, but that also detracts from their synergies with Somer and the Slop Hauler. The Pigapult could have been handy. A nice conundrum with lots of options and alternatives but no easy answers, which is perfect Malifaux.
The reduced game length of five Turns really focuses the mind. I am planning on the game ending on Turn 5, and it means that no longer can I have models pick fights and then just hope to get them into a scoring position later in the game. I find that I need to have a plan for them. It does not need to be a detailed plan (eg. move up on flank, plant a Marker, hide), but I cannot afford to go off-mission at any point.
I am still getting the hang of using the very different Soulstones. I completely forgot in this game that I could use them to draw cards, but it did not matter as I had a plan for my soulstones anyway (Damage Reduction flips on Bad Juju). Damage Reduction flips and drawing cards seem to be the best uses of the new Soulstones, with using them on Defense flips a close third. That ability to give the attacker a negative flip on damage is crucial, but you still need to work out if you are better using the same stone to reduce damage.
I really enjoyed the imbalanced Strategy, which harks right back to v1, and I intend to explore the Story Encounters in much more detail. Shindig looks hilarious, and tense. Would love to try that with some randomly-controlled Malifaux Citizens milling about
Still really enjoying M2E. Next up I will try and find horrible combinations using Zoraida as a Gremlin Master. Should be fun!