In an alternate timeline, Raethford’s rampage didn’t move downtown – instead his murderous spree led him to the developing railroad leading out of Malifaux. As the M&SU’s nearest operative, Mei Feng has been ordered by the union to take him out.
As she leads her strikeforce towards Raethford, union intel reports Sonnia Criid leading a posse towards the rogue master as well. There’s nothing for it but to team up and take him down!
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Taking the role of the rogue Arcanist, Tom’s force consisted of:
Ice Golem (with Imbued Protection)
Kathryn’s Guild witch hunters were made up of:
Sonnia Criid (with The Mask)
Samael Hopkins (with Witch Hunt)
And finally, my M&SU rail workers were:
Mei Feng (with Seismic Claws, Price of Progress and Arcane Reservoir)
Rail Golem (with Hard Worker)
And so the stage was set!
Taking advantage of the element of surprise, Sonnia led her witch hunters from the front, hurling a gout of flame at the nearest Acolyte. The cloaked figure darted to one side, but not quickly enough to avoid the searing flames, which caught her coat and engulfed it in a blaze. Harnessing a fragment of the power of Cherufe, she attempted to shackle the flames to the Acolyte, but the cultist shrugged off her mental assault. Dismissive, Sonnia turned her attention to the other Acolyte, wounding the man with a concentrated burst of flame.
In retaliation, the Acolyte loosed a shot from her harpoon. Fate conspired against Sonnia as the black joker appeared, and the harpoon caught her straight in the leg. Cheating in a severe damage, Tom’s Acolyte yanked Sonnia in closer, a second shot catching the masked witch hunter again and wounding her further. In an attempt to defend its master, one of the Witchling Stalkers moved up, taking a pistol shot at the Acolyte, though the shot went wide.
On the other side, Raethford’s sentinels had spotted the approaching Arcanists. An Acolyte aimed and took a shot at the Rail Golem, the razor-sharp harpoon finding a weak spot and dragging the metal creature towards them.
Seeing her enforcer pulled forward, Mei Feng drew upon her power, railwalking to the Golem before launching a powerful jackhammer kick at Snow Storm. The blow connected, and Mei vaulted over the wall to launch a flurry of tiger claw attacks, hitting the nearby Acolyte before switching her attack back to Snow Storm. The giant creature was forced back under the hail of blows as Mei finished up with another jackhammer kick, sending the snow spirit staggering backwards.
Snow Storm was quick to retaliate, massive claws swiping at the M&SU master. Mei dove backwards, dodging the claws and crushing a soulstone to leap aside into combat with a nearby acolyte. With a snarl Snow Storm let a burst of freezing energy loose, but the bolt went wild and hit the Acolyte. Long used to the cold, the cultist shrugged it off, the attack’s blast clipping Mei and biting into her. With a deep, gutteral roar, Snow Storm summoned the nearby Ice Golem over, the titanic creature standing between them and the railroad master. Mei’s Rail Golem took the challenge, striding into melee before unleashing the pent-up power in its boiler. Snow Storm’s unnatural reflexes and thick hide stopped the blow, however, leaving the three behemoths tangled together in melee. To the side, Raethford’s Silent One threw a blast of freezing air at Mei, but she leapt back out of the way, dodging the second bolt as well.
Meanwhile, the witch hunters tried to press the advantage as Samael opened fire on the nearby Acolyte. Cheating in a 12, his shots hit home, wounding but not killing the cultist.
Raethford moved to join the fray, hurling a bolt of sub-zero air at Mei Feng. This time the blast caught her, sending her stumbling and leaving a red gash across her arm. The madman threw another bolt, and then another – the first fizzling into nothing as the black joker was flipped. Mei managed to dodge the second, leaping aside only to find herself in melee with the Ice Golem!
Summoning all its incredible strength, the Ice Golem brought both fists down in a single attempt to smash Mei into the ground. Unable to dodge Mei crushed a soulstone in desperation, managing to survive the attack – albeit barely, taking 7 damage and leaving her on four wounds!
Following her charges up the field, the Witchling Handler levelled her pistol at the nearby Acolyte. Her shot hit home, though it wasn’t enough to quite finish him.
Finally, in an attempt to help their larger cousin, both Metal Gamin Magnetized towards the Golem. The diminutive creatures must have found some metal debris in the ice making up the creature’s body, as both managed to hurt the titanic golem as they pushed towards it.
And so turn 2 began, with Sonnia still slowed by the harpoon, Mei stuck in melee with two of Raethford’s most dangerous models, and . The Ice Golem struck first, its massive fists battering the Rail Golem and taking the metal monstrosity down to its last wound. Powering up its furnace one last time, the Rail Golem attacked the Ice Golem in a desperate attempt to take it down. The first attack hit home, tearing chunks of ice out of the behemoth but leaving it standing. A second attack missed, flipping the black joker at a critical moment. With its boiler spent, the Rail Golem desperately threw its last two attacks at the Ice Golem, finally destroying the frozen giant. The creature exploded in shards of ice, taking down the Rail Golem. Chunks of razor-sharp ice flew in all directions, cutting into Raethford and finishing off Snow Storm in the process! Kathryn and I revealed Murder Protegee on Snow Storm, scoring 2VP.
The Acolytes continued to try and halt the Guild’s advance, one of them hurling a bolt of icy energy at Sonnia in an attempt to finish her off. He hadn’t reckoned on Sonnia’s mastery of magic, however, as the witch hunter flipped the red joker and promptly reflected the spell back at the Acolyte. Undeterred, the now-wounded cultist unleashed another blast, the shot catching Sonnia in the chest and taking her down to one wound! With both Sonnia and Mei close to death, things were looking bleak for the task force.
Resigned, Sonnia cast Inferno, summoning Cherufe’s power and keeping it barely contained. She also returned fire, fireballs exploding amongst the Acolytes and catching Raethford in the process. An Acolyte engaged her, cutting her down with his knife, and in a spectacular explosion of fire energy Cherufe’s power was unleashed, the red-hot blast hitting cultists and Raethford.
Feeling his ice shield beginning to crumble and seeing his forces quickly falling, Raethford attempted to replenish his numbers by summoning two Ice Gamin. He also threw a bolt of his cryomantic powers at Samael, but the veteran witch hunter dodged the deadly blast. He returned fire, fanning his revolver at the madman. Despite flipping the black joker for his first attack, Sam’s other two shots hit true, gunning the madman down and finally finishing him.
The rail crew continued their advance, stalling as they hit the remaining Ice Gamin before the witch hunters joined the fray. Heedless of Mei’s warning shouts, Samael fired into the scrum. His shots went wild, hitting his own Witchling Stalker and killing the diminutive creature. The fiery energies inside it exploded outwards, shattering the nearby Ice Gamin who, in turn, sent shards of razor-sharp ice in all directions, cutting apart Mei’s Metal Gamin. And so the game ended, in a solid victory for the allied Guild / Arcanist force.
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Joint Task Force was a fun game, though – as is often the case with three-player games – it felt a little unbalanced in favour of the two players. Still, it was good to give it a go and everyone seemed to enjoy it. That was also my first time playing Mei, which was good – I think I underestimated how fragile she is! She’s got a great offence, though, and I can imagine her Railwalker action making her ideal for strats and schemes that need a mobile master.