Malifaux: A Christmas Tale

Guild saved ye merry gentlemen,
Neverborn ye shall not fear,
For the Governor-General
Will drive them out from here,

To push them back, control this land
And save all we hold dear,
Oh give thanks to the guardsmen and the Guild,
and the Guild,
Oh give thanks to the guardsmen and the Guild.

– Officially approved carol, sanctioned by the Guild for use by citizens of Malifaux

christmas-rasputinaIt’s December and, in an attempt to cut down on smuggling, the Guild’s imposed a tax on presents with checkpoints across the city! Seeing a confiscated wagon of ‘gifts’, Rasputina and her cult decide to steal them back from the Guild patrol escorting the contraband.

* * *

On Christmas eve, my wife and I laid out the table for a casual game of Malifaux. We decided to do the Supply Wagon encounter, and to festive-ise it up I made some little presents to stuff in the wagon :) Kathryn would be trying to move the wagon back into her side of the table, while I’d be scoring 1vp if, at the end of the turn, I had two or more non-peon models in base contact with the wagon. We even flipped for unconventional terrain, getting an Ancient Monument – in this case, the giant Christmas tree! Our crews and schemes were:

Rasputina – Arcane Reservoir, Armor Of December, Cold Nights
Wendigo
Snowstorm – Recharge Soulstone
Arcane Effigy
Ice Gamin
Ice Dancer
Silent One
Slate Ridge Mauler – Circus Bear

I went for a thematic crew, choosing Rasputina (it is winter, after all!), along with almost purely Frozen Heart models. I also threw in the Slate Ridge Mauler – I don’t use it enough, and was keen to try out his new 0ss upgrade.

Schemes: Cursed Object (unrevealed) and Breakthrough (unrevealed)

Sonnia – Counterspell Aura
Purifying Flame
Dr Grimwell – Research Grant
Witchling Handler – Disrupt Magic
Witchling Stalker
Witchling Stalker
Nurse Heartsbane – Numb To The World
Orderly

Expecting Rasputina (given that I’d been talking about her in regards to this game for days previously!), Kathryn went for a very anti-magic force of Witch Hunters, with some potent upgrades to make Ca actions harder to cast.

Schemes: Frame For Murder on the Witchling Handler (unrevealed) and Roundup (unrevealed).

* * *

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The Arcane Christmas Tree, a 50mm blocking terrain piece giving a mighty +2 Ca to any model within 2″! Will Rasputina or Sonnia make it there first? Unconventional Terrain is quite fun every so often!

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The supply wagon, filled full of untaxed presents all ready to smuggle past the Guild!

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Arcanist deployment

Turn 1

The game started with both of us flipping the same value card for initiative… twice. On the third flip I finally won the initiative, starting with my Ice Gamin stalking forward before using his Bite Of Winter in anticipation. In response, one of the Witchling Stalkers took advantage of the Handler’s Goad Witchling ability and walked forward towards the Gamin. The Ice Dancer skated away down one flank, using her skills to Work The Crowd and dropping down a scheme marker. Another Witchling Stalker moved up towards the wagon in the centre of the board and, seeing the Guild amassing near the wagon, the Silent One moved forward as well to join the Gamin. Following her charges forward, the Witchling Handler moved up before ordering the Orderly to Follow The Flock, pulling the asylum worker forward with her.

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The Ice Dancer leaves a present behind!

Energizing Rasputina with its Arcane Radiance, the Arcane effigy walked forward to join the Arcanists grouped near the wagon. Sonnia walked three times towards the wagon, deciding that this was a fight best led from the front. The Wendigo walked to join the clump of Arcanists, while the Guild’s totem took advantage of its Incorporeal nature to float through models and terrain alike. Pushing forward with “Dance, Boris”, the Slate Ridge Mauler ambled towards the wagon, a low growl emitting from its maw at the prospect of violence. The Orderly moved even further forwards.

Having grouped her forces together in a tight cluster, Rasputina revealed her plan as she walked forward before casting December’s Touch on the Effigy. Fate intervened as I flipped the black joker but, not to be deterred, Rasputina spent her last ap to cast it again, temporarily granting the little doll Armor +2 and the Frozen Heart characteristic. Grimwell strode forward, but it was too late as Snowstorm unleashed an Icy Tornado. The Frozen Heart models were safe from the howling gale, pushed forward towards the cart instead of being shredded by the icy winds. Stalking forward, Snowstorm spoke December’s Command, pulling Rasputina towards her. Nurse Heartsbane walked forward, creeping forward even further with Right Behind You Dear, but as the turn ended the Arcanists still had the most models near the wagon, moving it 5″ away from the Guild forces.

Sonnia cursed silently. She’d expected this ever since the damned icy winds had separated her forces from the wagon, but she could now clearly see that ice witch Rasputina and her cult. She ordered her forces forward with all haste, expecting to be able to outrun the cult, but her eyes widened in shock behind the metal mask as a gust of frigid wind hit the Arcanist forces, speeding them forward. Around her, her crew broke into a run, but it was too late as the Decemberites reached the wagon first, grabbing the reins and leading it away from the Guild.

Turn 2

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The forces converge as the Arcanists manage to push the cart away from the Guild.

Despite spending a soulstone to reflip, I still lost the initiative, and Kathryn started by having the good Doctor Grimwell Nimble forward. His Doctor’s Orders moved the loyal Nurse Heartsbane closer, before he walked to the Christmas tree and the supply wagon. The Silent One walked into base contact with the wagon, her eyes set on holding it in place and retrieving some of the untaxed presents, before unleashing a bolt of Freeze at the nearby Nurse Heartsbane. The bolt hit the nurse for weak damage, and taking advantage of the Frozen Shards the cultist cast it again, though Heartsbane was ready this time and dodged the elemental bolt. The Wendigo used Companion to chain activate, but failed to summon the Ice Pillars thanks to the [-] imposed by the nearby Witch Hunters (all I needed was a 4…). Loping back to the cart, the ravenous creature moved into base contact in preparation for the end of the turn.

Having taken a battering, Nurse Heartsbane charged into the Wendigo. Her Electroshock paddles must have been turned up to 11, the powerful charge dropping the Wendigo in one severe damage hit and leaving the little creature twitching and spasming on the ground, out of the game!

Seeking to shore up the line where the Wendigo had fallen, the Arcane Effigy walked into base contact with the wagon before handing a brightly-wrapped gift to Dr Grimwell and revealing Cursed Object. Emanating more Arcane Radiance at Rasputina, the little doll chose to Accomplice the nearby Ice Gamin. The frozen construct also walked into base contact with the wagon and used Bite Of Winter, attacking Nurse Heartsbane though the Guild ‘medical’ officer dodged the creature’s attack. Seeing the press of Arcanists around the wagon and looking to even the balance, one of the Witchling Stalkers charged the Arcane Effigy. The little creature was clearly ready, though, dodging both of the Stalker’s attacks.

Rasputina decided to lead by example, moving forward with a Guarded Advance before unleashing December’s Curse on the Witchling Handler. Ice exploded in all directions as the attack dealt moderate damage, catching the nearby Witchling Stalker for weak. Channelling December’s Power, Rasputina sought to Overload the Guild Officer, but the Handler flipped the Red Joker and promptly reflected the magic back on Rasputina! Not to be outdone in this sorcerous battle, Rasputina sent another blast of freezing power towards the Handler, killing her and damaging the Witchling Stalker again. The little creature died, exploding in a burst of sorcerous energies and damaging both Sonnia and the Orderly… but Kathryn revealed Frame For Murder on the Handler, scoring the maximum 3vp. Curse my over-eagerness to kill her and remove that pesky Disrupt Magic upgrade!

Seeing her nemesis in the open, Sonnia walked towards the Christmas tree for its Ca bonus before unleashing a Flameburst, hoping to melt the ice witch’s power. The first bolt hit her for weak damage, and capitalizing on her success Sonnia threw another Flameburst at Rasputina, dealing weak damage again.

On the flanks, the Ice Dancer continued to walk towards the Guild deployment zone, her Forward Momentum keeping her safely out of line of sight. The Purifying Flame joined the Guild forces around the wagon, but the Slate Ridge Mauler took the opportunity to charge it. Even the Incorporeal spirit wasn’t able to withstand the fury of the Mauler, and it fell under a flurry of attacks. In response, the Guild Orderly walked to contest the wagon. Snowstorm also moved up into range to contest the wagon, before throwing an Icy Tornado into the scrum of models. It hit the Ice Gamin, but the black joker appeared for the damage flip and prevented me from laying down any blast markers.

At the end of the turn, the supply wagon moved nowhere as we both had an equal number of models contesting it. I scored one vp from having two models in base contact, and another by removing the Christmas present / cursed object from Grimwell.

Ben: 2   Kathryn: 3

Dashing in close, Emily planted both electroshock paddles firmly on the furry creature’s chest. ‘Clear!’ she muttered sarcastically as the instrument triggered, sending thousands of volts into the Wendigo. It spasmed uncontrollably as the electricity coursed through it before collapsing to the ground where it lay, twitching sporadically.

On the other side of the field, Rasputina summoned December’s energies to her as she sent bolt after bolt of frigid power at the Guild officer. The trinket the woman carried was somehow disrupting the magic of her cultists, reducing their potential from an avalanche to a trickle. She smiled as the icy blasts sent the woman staggering back, before unleashing one final bolt that exploded in a blizzard of icy shards, cutting apart the Witchling Handler and wounding the Guild officers nearby. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw that Sonnia looked remarkably unperturbed by the death of her lieutenant. That can’t be good, Rasputina thought to herself…

Turn 3

20161224_170229

Chaos errupts around the supply wagon! At least Dr Grimwell has a present :)

The Arcanists took the initiative, with the Slate Ridge Mauler taking advantage of its proximity to Sonnia to Bear Hug her with all four arms. Dropping the Slow Guild leader, it swung at her, but Sonnia blocked its massive paw with her runed blade – only for the giant bear to hand her a present / cursed object for its final ap. In my haste to Slow Sonnia, I’d neglected the nearby Witchling Stalker, who promptly removed Slow with Dispel Magic before attacking the Arcane Effigy – and dealing moderate damage and Burning despite being on a [-] [-]. The Effigy removed the Burning from itself with Cleanse Fate, before dropping a card for defensive stance in an attempt to stay alive. Taking advantage of the Effigy’s Accomplice, Snowstorm entered the fray and attacked Heartsbane. The matron tried to dodge the attack, but the Grip Of Winter trigger kept Snowstorm on a [+] damage flip and left Heartsbane bleeding out on the frozen cobblestones.

Sonnia managed to move away from the Mauler, dropping the present it had given her before sending a Flameburst back towards the four-armed bear. Legend has it that a Slate Ridge Mauler is Impossible To Wound, but that didn’t seem to matter for Sonnia as she top-decked the red joker, taking the bear down to its last wound and dealing moderate damage to Rasputina, Snowstorm, the Ice Gamin and the Effigy! The Effigy died from the blazing inferno, but the others managed to survive with varying low wounds left…

Seeking to repair some of the damage Sonnia had done, the Silent One threw a Freeze spell at the Orderly for moderate damage before healing Snowstorm with her December’s Favour. The Orderly followed suit, putting his medical ‘training’ to good use with some hasty Emergency Surgery on Dr Grimwell. Not to be deterred, Rasputina Focused her energies before hurling December’s Curse at the Witchling Stalker, the magical energies enveloping the little creature and killing it. Both the icy blasts from her spell and the explosion from the dying Stalker hit Dr Grimwell, leaving the good doctor standing but badly wounded. Seeking to block his charge lane, Rasputina summoned a pair of Ice Pillars – however, I’d stupidly forgotten to see if they’d fit first. They did not, and so left Grimwell free to engage the Arcanists. His Nimble walk got him into range of Snowstorm where, with a maniacal grin that would have made McMourning jealous, he revved up his bonesaw for a Lobotomy on the pair. The medical instrument clearly wasn’t intended to deal with such a target, however, as he only managed weak damage. In response, the nearby Ice Gamin handed Grimwell a present, while the Ice Dancer – now completely ignored by the Guild and free to run amok in their back field – walked and dropped down a couple of scheme markers with her theatrical talents to Work The Crowd.

At the end of the turn, the Slate Ridge Mauler succumbed to Burning and died, and I removed the present / cursed object from Dr Grimwell for another VP.

Ben: 4   Kathryn: 3

With a primal roar, Snow and Storm entered the fray. Nurse Heartsbane turned to face them, raising her electroshock paddles in a futile gesture as a gust of cold wind froze her in place. The titanic creature’s paw sent her sprawling onto the frozen cobblestones. Lifting her head up with a tremendous force of will, Emily stared up into the cold, merciless eyes of the cloaked woman accompanying the creature. The woman lifted one hand, ice and snow gathering around it, before a flash of frozen energy hit Emily and everything went black.

Turn 4

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Sonnia escapes from the Slate Ridge Mauler while Snowstorm wades into the melee around the wagon.

Sonnia went first, eager to capitalise on the destruction wrought last turn. She threw another Flameburst at Rasputina, who discarded Cold Nights in an attempt to resist the spell. The +2 Ca from the Christmas tree was potent, however, and Sonnia still dealt severe damage, leaving the ice queen on her last wound. The ensuing blasts from the attack hit Snowstorm and the Ice Gamin, finishing off the diminutive creature – and starting a chain reaction. The Gamin exploded in a storm of shards, finishing off Snowstorm who also sent a blizzard of ice in all directions, killing the persistent Dr Grimwell and leaving the Silent One on her last wound! Seeking to neutralise the tenacious Arcanist, Sonnia tried to negate Rasputina with Grounded Magic, though the ice queen resisted the attack. Out of options, Sonnia used her Confiscated Lore to increase her defence in preparation for the coming counter-attack.

The Silent One interacted to remove her Burning before healing her mistress with December’s Favour. Despite Sonnia’s expectations, Rasputina did not attack and instead moved into base contact with the cart through three Guarded Advances – I needed two models in base contact to score, after all. The Ice Dancer continued to litter the Guild deployment zone with scheme markers, oblivious to the carnage in the centre of the board.

Ben: 5   Kathryn: 3

Calling upon the power of Cherufe bound inside her lantern, Sonnia unleashed a cataclysmic gout of fire. Eyes widening in shock, Rasputina threw up her hands to raise a shield of ice, but it was to no avail as the magical energies overwhelmed her defence. Fire erupted all around, cutting through the icy fog that had enshrouded the field until now.

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Sonnia focuses her energies…

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…and clears the area!

Turn 5

Sonnia took the initiative for a third time, continuing to batter the Arcanists with her Flameburst. Despite throwing in the red joker from my hand Rasputina was still hit by the attack, the fiery magic finally putting her out of the game and the blasts finishing off the Silent One too. Alone in the centre of the board, Sonnia walked towards the supply wagon to begin moving it back towards Guild territory. Completely oblivious to the fact that she was the last Arcanist standing (and with not much else to do!), the Ice Dancer continued dropping scheme markers.

The cart pushed back towards the Guild’s side of the board, but wasn’t able to quite cross the centreline. It looked like it was all over….

20161224_193930

Rasputina tries to support the Silent One on the present wagon, but finds herself facing off against a Ca 9 Sonnia…

Ben: 5   Kathryn: 3

Cherufe was constant now, its voice echoing inside her head. Some part of her knew that she needed to fight it, to force its influence back into the lantern prison where it could be controlled, but another part of her simply enjoyed the power. She raised her arms again, sending another burst of fire at the remaining Arcanists behind the wagon.

Rasputina saw the fire coming towards her. Battered, singed and exhausted, she realised that she hadn’t the strength to withstand Sonnia’s Tyrant-enhanced power any longer. As the fire washed over her, she used her last reserves of energy to summon a cloak of frigid air around her, teleporting away from the battlefield and abandoning her remaining cultists.

Turn 6

The game continues! Sonnia continued to stay near the cart, and the Ice Dancer simply hung around her scheme markers. The cart wheeled firmly back into Guild territory, and with that the game ended.

Final score – Ben: 8   Kathryn: 6

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MVP – once again, the Ice Dancer proves to be a game-changer, scoring me a last-minute 3VP from Breakthrough!

A rather close finish, in the end! Kathryn certainly enjoyed the game, which is great. For me, handing out little presents with Rasputina on Christmas eve – well, what more can you ask for?

Thanks for reading, and hopefully see you in the new year for some more battle reports (probably less silly, and a little more serious!).

Take care, and have a happy Christmas,

Ben

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One thought on “Malifaux: A Christmas Tale

  1. I like the Christmas theme to your battle report, it sounds like a very festive way to game.

    It’s hard to understand the board state as Malifaux can move fast and no photos really capture things well, but I feel like Sonnia should have been spending more AP casting Flame Burst and less effort walking around. If the Arcanist crew was going to come to the centre anyway then should could have focused and dropped that nasty severe damage to hurt much of your crew each time.

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