Hello! I’m Alex, and I’ll be writing on Malifaux (and possibly Guild Ball and X-Wing) here at Midwest Wargaming. I’m based out of the Twin Cities, so if you live nearby, hit me up and let’s get a game in. I’ll also be joining a Podcast staring here at Midwest Gaming, focused on improving tactics and list selections for everyone involved – so stay tuned for more news on Lecture Notes From the Breach!
I had a big day of gaming last Saturday. In addition to playing my first two Guild Ball games, I also got in – a match of Malifaux.
This game is against Gremlins. Gremlins are aggravating to play against. They’re going to have more models than you, as they’re the closest thing Malifaux has to a ‘Swarm Army,’ made up of lots of small, crap units. Worse than that, the models can pretty much all hurt themselves to do more things with their turns. So not only do they have more models, those models have more actions. LUCKILY, those actions are generally not very good. My usual Gremlin opponent is Voracious Gamer, however, on Saturday I faced off against another local Gremlin pilot. This guy always plays with his kid and both of them are great players, both skill-wise and attitude. Every game is a pleasant experience.
I declare Outcasts – like I will be doing through at least November as I prepare for the Renegade Open.
The terrain, in my mind, is a train wreck in the ruined area of the city of Malifaux. Two big ruin pieces dominate two corners, with several storage compartment/train car pieces snaking through the middle. Scatter terrain in the form of low walls breaks up more of the sight lines.
“That’s a lot of terrain.”
That’s Malifaux, my man!
We flip our deployment, schemes, and strategies:
Line in the Sand (Duh. This is an option every game in Malifaux).
Make them Suffer.
My opponent hasn’t played this particular game very much, but I’ve played other games against him before (Warhammer Fantasy and Guild Ball) and he’s kicked my ass in those, so I think this might be the perfect time to continue an experiment I’m conducting.
In Malifaux, unlike most games, you pick your crew after you know what the objectives and deployment are going to be. This encourages players to be fluid and adaptable with their lists. Even so, I’m attempting to build the closest thing I can to an ‘All comers’ list for Parker Barrows. For a moment, I did consider postponing my experiment and picking Leveticus, the Steampunk Necromancer. He’s fun, but I’m a bit worried that my opponent might pick Ulix with his pigapult, and drop gremlins right on my Hollow Waifs and slow him down (Leveticus can’t die, as long as he has Hollow Waifs alive). I’ve picked Parker for this experiment because, as a prerelease model, people won’t have lots of plays against him, and hopefully I can catch people by surprise with him for awhile.
The Parker list I’m testing is:
50 SS Outcasts Crew:
Parker Barrows + 4 Pool
– Hail of Bullets (1)
– Highwayman (1)
– Stick Up (1)
Doc Mitchell (3)
Mad Dog Brackett (9)
– Lucky Poncho (1)
– Crate of Dynamite (1)
– Oath Keeper (1)
Big Jake (5)
– Oath Keeper (1)
My opponent reveals a Som’er Teeth Jones crew, completely different than what I normally see from Voracious Gamer’s usual Family Tree awfulness.
50 SS Gremlins Crew:
Som’er Teeth Jones + 4 Pool
Old Cranky (4)
Ralphael LaCroix (7)
Rami LaCroix (7)
Rooster Rider (6)
Rooster Rider (6)
Rooster Rider (6)
Slop Hauler (5)
The Schemes I decide to go with are Breakthrough and Entourage – selecting Parker Barrows. I reveal them both to my opponent, to make sure I can get max points.
To my surprise, my opponent picks the exact same thing! With that many Rooster Riders, I thought for sure he’d go with Make Them Suffer. But, like me, he figures nobody’s going to be able to stop his Master from just walking across the field and hanging out in the opposing deployment zone at the end of the game, dropping plenty of scheme markers along the way.
Everyone mostly just moves into their crew into central positions, but the damn Rooster Riders come up and start popping shots at Pride and his sweet Lead Guitar skills. Thankfully, they fail to take him down. I introduce my opponent to the ridiculousness that is Parker Barrows – discard ‘Stick Up’ to get a free walk, and a soul stone, then walk 20 (total) inches across the map, and buy Stick Up back for the soul stone you got for discarding it as a 0 action. #YepThatJustHappened
I activate Parker Barrows first to lay down some Hail of Bullets Markers to block off most of the Gremlins from getting into the middle of the map to score Turf War and contest the middle. Activating Parker early means my Hail of Bullets markers will last for a long time, especially if I wait to activate him until late next turn. Unfortunately, his Roosters take Pride down to 1 hp. Damaged but not dead, Pride has done his job: my opponent rips through his deck in an attempt to take him down. But, between Pride’s Manipulative Duels, high defense score, and high wound number, Pride stays alive. We each end up scoring Turf War and the score is 1-1 after round two.
My opponents devote their first activation to finally finish off Pride. I respond to this insult by killing every single one of his Rooster Riders. Sue kills the first Rooster Rider after it attempted to charge in to kill him. On his charge attack, a red joker flip is matched by a black joker on the damage, so Sue escaped death and murdered the unlucky sap. Then Mad Dog steps forward, uses his shotgun to first blow away the cover the other two riders have been plinking away from, and then to blow away both riders with a blast result. He drops a scheme marker afterwards. Being the sportsman that I am, I inform my opponent that I can turn the marker dropped by the dead Rooster Riders that Mad Dog killed into a crate of dynamite and blow it up. He uses Som’er to back up (out of Turf War!) and picks up the scheme marker. Hail of Bullets, being still in play, drives the rest of the Gremlins back around the side of the train car they were hiding behind. Parker drops the scheme markers I’ll need for Breakthrough. Having driven Som’er out of the middle of the battlefield, I score Turf War and my opponent does not. 2-1 Outcasts.
The LaCroix family members chain-activate first, and kill Mad Dog Brackett, despite Hard to Wound and Hard to Kill, before he can even activate to blow up the crate of dynamite they’re standing on. Cheaters! He uses the rest of his activations to also kill off Sue and Doc Mitchell. Meanwhile, Parker runs halfway across the map to start shooting at the Gremlins and drop scheme markers which threaten to blow them up. He eventually succeeds at doing so, after picking up the Crate of Dynamite upgrade. A Mask trigger on his zero action to buy the upgrade also lets a Bandido get an extra shot. This leaves Parker Barrows down an upgrade, after discarding Crate of Dynamite as part of using the action and Stick Up for the opening walk, but that’s fine since there’s probably only one round left. Bulletproof means he’ll survive until he chooses to waltz into the enemy’s deployment zone. We both score Turf War. 3-2 Outcasts.
The money round, because more often than not the game ends on the flip at the end of the fifth round. I have the markers necessary for Breakthrough placed already. He has no scheme markers down, and can’t place them within range of Parker Barrows because my Master will blow them up. He takes the kin, and runs into the ruins, as far from Parker as possible, and drops the markers he needs for Breakthrough outside of Parker’s reach. Parker shoots Lenny, gets him to drop a crate of dynamite he happened to be carrying (Gremlins really brought a lot of dynamite to this train wreck) at his feet, only for Parker to blow it up, then walk away into the enemy’s deployment zone to score Entourage. After I move a Bandido into position to steal an important scheme marker away from his Breakthrough, Som’er drops some scheme markers, then walks into my deployment zone. Two guys are on the edge of the Turf War area for him, Big Jake and a second Bandido against the central rail car for me, and we both score Turf War. We both max out at 3 points for both of our Entourage and Breakthrough schemes. We flip for the game, and it ends.
Final Score: Parker Barrows 10 – Som’er Teeth Jones 9. WIN for the Outcasts.
Parker Barrows is a straight-up beast for Outcasts – alternately flying around the field, controlling aspects of the battlefield, or being a scheme-running superstar. His flexibility is really key. Doc Mitchell, his totem, makes just about anyone able to survive a round, unless your opponent devotes a LOT of resources to getting rid of him. Healing flips from Doc Mitchell also give Hard to Wound, and most of the important models in this list also have Hard to Kill? Anyone will have a tough time against that.
Before I end, I want to talk a bit about my opponent’s list. First off, Rooster Riders are great. But three of them, at the expense of upgrades on your Master, Henchmen, and Enforcers isn’t worth it. Som’er and Lenny have great upgrades available, as do the Kin. If he had 6 points worth of upgrades spread across the family members and Som’er, then he probably would have been able to kill Pride, Sue, and Doc Mitchell all much more quickly, leaving me unable to tie up his offense for as long as I was able to this game. Don’t leave all your upgrades at home, especially if you’re Gremlins. If you want more activations, bring some of the banjo-toting Bayou Gremlins – frenzy, heal them with the slop, and just steamroll.
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About The Author
A reformed Warhammer Fantasy player based in the Twin Cities, Alex plays Malifaux, Guild Ball, X-Wing, and Armada. He also is the host of the Malifaux Tactics podcast here at Midwest Wargaming: Lecture Notes from the Breach