Sunday, April 17, 2016

Practicing Production or Getting Better Through Consistency


 In the past year I've had mixed success with Malifaux. It hasn't changed my enjoyment of the game by any means, but it can be frustrating. At one point I lost 12 games in a row with Collodi. I decided that a change might be what I needed and grabbed a few Arcanists to see if a faction change would make a difference.  For the most part it did the trick. I found that I enjoyed Arcanist play style and eased into the faction much quicker than I did with Neverborn. However, I'm still not winning as much as I was hoping I would.  In today's blog I'm setting up the parameters to challenge myself based on 3 objectives: Consistency, Scheme Selection and Crew Knowledge.


This is one of the biggest parts of my plan. I'll admit to having a "TRY IT ALL" attitude and with so many new toys in Arcanists, I want to play them all. The thing is, I'm left with a faction I only know
marginally instead of intimately. So I inventoried my Masters in the Arcanists and decided which one I really enjoyed playing. It was a very tough choice between Marcus and Colette but in the end my Dark Carnival models just called to me more than the Beasts.  I'll be setting up a core crew and playing it pretty much exclusively for 30 games the only changes being a model or two to benefit from certain schemes, strats and factions.

Scheme Selection
Another major weak point for me, I always seem to choose the wrong scheme when it comes down to clutch games. So the plan is to play the same crew through them all. I want to see exactly what this crew can and can't do easily. I know that Colette has an easy time with marker based schemes, but there's not always the right schemes in the pool so I need to learn how to make the same crew more flexible and learn to refocus to Hunting Party instead of Search the Ruins when it comes up.
The second part of this section is to learn how to effectively counter my opponent's plans. Tournaments are won through differentials and the points you allow your opponent to grab can be the difference between 1st place and 5th depending on how many people are in the tournament. So I'll be attempting to devote time in learning how to deny as well as gain my own points.

Crew Knowledge
One of the biggest complaints about Malifaux tournaments is that they rarely make it to turn 5 and how it can swing the game in favor of the aggressive plan vs the attrition plan. Since it is impossible to score all 4 strategy points before turn 5, I've decided that my game play needs to be quick and to the point. The best way for that to happen is to have a clear and precise knowledge of what my crew is capable of. It goes back to consistency, but I feel that this is a significant point to make. Learning just what the strengths and weaknesses of your crew is the key to making plans for 10VP that actually work out. So I'm going to work on a core crew for Colette that I can plug and play with minimal changes between rounds. It might take me a few games to really make the core solid but I have a good starting point.

Showgirls and Oddities
So what is the magical core crew for Colette that I'm playing and why do I make the choices that I have? I'm so glad you asked:

Colette (actually Mr. Cooper because METAL)
Shell Game
Arcane Reservoir
Cabaret Coreography  

So lets break down the master and upgrade selection. The name of the game with a single master plan is flexibility. Colette brings flexibility in spades, while not dealing a lot of damage on her own, she is a force multiplier. This is a term that means she takes your threats and makes them better. Her prompt ability allows you to get more gas out of your big beaters or more scheme markers out of your runners. She's nearly impossible to neutralize as long as she has scheme markers near by, she can summon doves (monkeys) to help with activation control, and she has board control by teleporting threats across the board with Disappearing Act.

I took Shell Game for more versatility. Colette can changes cards for stones or stones for cards. Reservoir is almost an auto take in Arcanists and Cabaret allows you to summon monkeys and with the right set up, get an extra attack out of anyone near a scheme marker.

Cassandra (actually Baritone Lola)
Practiced Production

Cassandra is a fantastic henchman. Nimble makes her super mobile. Understudy allows her to grab abilities for redundancy. Southern Hospitality makes her very hard to take out and gives her nearly carte blanche to walk in and out of combat at her leisure.  Practiced Production, along with Colette's ability to do (0) interacts through Showgirls, makes any marker based schemes nearly trivial. Combine Cassandra with a Silent One and the damage potential of your crew becomes exponential.

Myranda (she's just Myranda)
Imbued Energies 

So we will continue with this theme of versatility. Since I won't be bringing a lot of beasts, Myranda loses out on her tactical actions but that's ok because she can start the game as a scheme runner with her 6 Wk and when she's in position she becomes any in-faction beast that you need for the situation AND you get to draw 4 cards. Most times she will probably become a Cerberus over other beasts but there's fringe cases she could become Cojo or a Rattler.

Miss Step
Imbued Energies

So Howard/Step is the biggest and nastiest monster in the faction. Armed with Nimble, a min 4 damage and easy to hit Decapitate Trigger, Flurry and the possiblity of gaining fast through Energies, the only thing not to like about this guy is the 12SS price tag. I'll have to make sure he stays safe until I can get him into the right position.  

Performer (Mercury)

My first minion in the game, at 5 points she brings me a Lure style attack, (0) interacts for practiced production, the possibility of Reactivating Colette and protection from getting auto points scored against me for Hunting Party.

This robot allows my performer to shoot markers 6" up the board, can tag along with the Performer and offers me another activation to along with the flying monkeys. 

That leaves me 5SS and a full cache for my double henchmen and master crew to play with. Colette can get SS back for suits (usually going to be used for summoning monkeys but there are other uses as well).

This will be the core crew I start with. In reserves I'm keeping Silent Ones, Coryphee and December Acolytes to play around with trading in and out for various schemes and strats.

The list as it stands has plenty of Killy with whatever beast Myranda turns into and Miss Step, scheme running with Cassandra and the performer, board control with the threat of tossing any of my big hitters anywhere a scheme marker might be plus a few nimble models. First games start this week and I'll try to keep notes from game to game about how I tinker with the list as I go.

This is one of the ways I'm looking at getting my own game up to par. I'm planning on attending a Trios at NOVA and possibly Nationals, so I want to be at peak condition for these events. If you have suggestions on ways to improve this method or want to try it yourself, feel free to comment and tell me about your own experiences!
Until next time Keep Cheating Fate!
John Fox

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