Ramos and Pandora, You’ve Got Mail
James and I had a game of Malifaux last weekend and I’m sorry to say my full battle report has fallen by the wayside.
Instead of doing a full turn-by-turn write-up, and in order to catch up, I’ll just give a game overview minus the tactical maps.
Crews and Setup
The thirty soulstone matchup was Arcanist master Ramos and his arachnids versus Pandora and her Neverborn manifestations of woe. Crew lists as follows:
Ramos (James, with Steve as tactical advisor)
Johan, Renegade Steamfitter
4 x Steampunk Arachnids
(4 soulstone cache)
Schemes: Grudge (on Teddy), Sabotage
Pandora (me, with Mark as tactical advisor)
3 x Sorrows
(5 soulstone cache)
Schemes: Stake a Claim, Kidnap (unannounced)
Again, James had put together a marvellous terrain spread using his papercraft buildings. I took along some trees so we could add in a bit of foliage and ended up with a town square section in the centre of the board.
How it Played Out
So we’ll just have to claim we were playing using house rules!
We flipped standard cross-table deployment and a shared strategy of Deliver a Message.
The first couple of turns featured the usual forward advance, with Ramos and his mechanical arachnids scuttling down the east flank. Johan made his way toward the central building to take cover, and the three-headed Sabretooth leaping forward to make a quick sabotage attempt.
Foolishly, I advanced too quickly with Pandora and it suddenly dawned on me that the Sabretooth could potentially achieve a major VP haul by sabotaging and delivering all in one turn before leaping away. If it were to happen it would almost definitely be game over, points-wise.
Phew! It’s a specialty of hers and, a couple of fate card flips plus a soulstone later, she had faded away from the sabretooth and it took a few wounds (thanks to lurking Sorrows) for its troubles. This led to some (probably justified) whining from my opponents when they realised just how difficult the “deliver a message” strategy was going to be against the tricky Neverborn master.
The Sabretooth Cerberus did manage to get its sabotage scheme though and leapt back toward the safety of the Arcanist deployment zone. If it could survive the round then those VP were safe.
Cue, rules misinterpretation #1 (otherwise known as cheating).
I pulled off an audacious chained incite (0) action against my own minions to slingshot Pandora halfway across the table and kill the sabretooth. Little did I realise that the pacify action could only be used on enemy minions.
In my defence, I think it was that way in the first edition rulebook and stat cards. She has been errata’d to make the cheese a little milder.
Across the other side of the table, a tussle played out between Kade, Teddy, Johan and some arachnids. Johan dealt with Kade and I made a bit of a mess with Teddy as I advanced him into a vulnerable position out in the open, having misread the effects of a spell which I thought would give him a charge at Ramos’s Arachnid Swarm. Instead he was taken down in short order.
Johan fell shortly afterward, probably due to self inflicted injuries from Pandora’s Self Loathing spell. Having a great big scary hammer is not something to boast about when Pandora’s around.
Then my mercenary Convict Gunslinger stepped up and laid down a furious hail of bullets to seriously damage the arachnid swarm. I think he triggered off about seven hits in one awesome round of shooting. The arachnids had armour though so each shot did minimum damage and they weathered the bullet storm.
Eventually they went down too and both sides were left with just a few models each. I had Pandora, the Gunslinger and a Sorrow. Ramos was left with a brass arachnid I think, plus his ability to summon more as needed.
By this time though, James had sussed out an effective way of inflicting damage on Pandora, by way of self-detonating his arachnids and summoned electrical creations for area-effect explosions. This tactic was used to good effect as I had foolishly grouped my remaining minions together and they were taken out by an exploding electrical creation.
Rules misinterpretation #2 – James had been summoning these electrical creations as a (0) action from Ramos, when actually it should have been a (1) action. Oops. There were at least a couple of occasions where Ramos did a double move before summoning one of these exploding creations “danger close”.
Anyway, as we reached the final turn, I had to make a last dash with Pandora in the hope of stealing a victory with my Stake a Claim scheme. Ramos had the measure of her though and sent an explosive creation round to blow away the last of her health. No soulstones left to save her, she fell.
Ramos almost forgot his own sabotage scheme. But it turned out to be too late for him to complete it anyway, as a fate-flip signalled that no more turns remained.
The Dust Settles
Revealing completed schemes it turned out to be a 2-2 draw.
I had succeeded at my Kidnap strategy by killing three secretly nominated minions, and James had taken out Teddy with his grudge. That and the shared failure to deliver the message meant we had achieved 2VP apiece.
It was an interesting tactical matchup, although I definitely had an advantage with Pandora and the strategy selection. Being so difficult to target makes her a tough draw in a number of strategies.
She’s also pretty painful to play against for many reasons. She is very fast (though not quite as fast as we were playing her) and has an unconventional way of causing damage, which can soon overwhelm unsuspecting opponents. Also, as she does a lot of repeatable zero actions, her activation can get a bit bogged down and take a while to resolve.
I like playing her. I love the theme, and the models. And I certainly have more success with her than McMourning these days.
I must look into that.