Thinking about thoughts

Hi folks,

So here we are again. Today I was going to be talking about my Turf War crew, but then I had a bit of a revelation/epiphany. All I can really tell you about my crews is what I would take in a totally average situation. However, in Malifaux, most situations aren’t totally average.

In first edition Malifaux, you would generally know which strategy you would be playing, and which schemes you might want to take to compliment each strategy, long before you arrived at a tournament. This meant you could plan ahead with crew selection, and maybe change one or two models based on how the scenery was set up, and what faction the opponent was playing. In second edition though, this has totally changed.

Of course the design of the tournament might allow that, but at present for Halifaux I know how to score 4/10 of the VPs in each game, and I know everyone is restricted to wave 1 masters (no beta crews). That’s fine, and I can plan a few models to accomplish those points, but I don’t know much at all about the other 6 VPs which are available in each game, which obviously will be a major influence in what I take. Similarly, against some factions I might take specific models/upgrades which are good against that faction (random example, you might take stuff which ignores hard to wound against ressers) and the scenery can have a major impact on what I might take. So I think posts after the event, stating the set up, what I took and why would be of much more use/interest, than posts of what I might take… so I’ve wasted your time on a few previous posts. Instead, I thought I might take a look at how I decide on my crew composition.

Methodical game setup
Working through the standard encounter setup, what I know before the start of the game is: encounter size is 50ss, my faction is Arcanists, and we’re just using standard deployment (I think), the strategy is turf war.

So right off the bat, I’m thinking “turf war = Myranda, Cojo, probably an RSR”. In the future, I might well be thinking “turf war = Mei or Kaeris”, as they both have good control/killing potential within a small(ish) area, but as I don’t have any experience of them yet, I’ll stick with who I know.

The next thing I’ll know is my opponent’s faction, which for this example (and thanks to Malifool Mike – thanks Mike) is outcasts. As it happens, I’ve not played against outcasts at all in second edition, so I’m not really sure what to expect. They could go for the Viktorias – lots of speedy choppy melee death, Misaki – more speedy choppy melee death, Von Schill – armoured shooty death… I think (this shows how little I know), or Tara… I have less than no idea what Tara does. As I know so little about outcasts, I don’t even know which of those would be best for turf war. So that hasn’t really helped much. If I had to guess, I’d say an outcast player might well go for the viks in turf war. This is for 2 reasons: 1) the viks could clear out the turf zone pretty easily, and 2) I really dislike the Viks, and they often seem to crop up in my tournament experiences to ruin the day. On the plus side, at least Levi got kicked out of wave 1 (I don’t like the Viks, but Levi is an absolute *long string of expletives deleted*). However I do know that lots of outcast stuff is living, so maybe my terrifying might be useful… maybe.

OK, so knowing my opponent’s faction here hasn’t really helped much in deciding what to take, but on average I’m not going to know my opponent’s crews well (if at all) at any tournaments for the next *many* months anyway, so this seems like a realistic set up. Also they probably don’t know the Marcus crew too well either, so we’re both voyaging into the unknown. I like to think that I’ve thrown in a curve ball, because of the currently available arcanists (and indeed, the arcanists in wave 2 as well), Marcus seems like pretty much the worst option available for turf war… so no one will expect him.

Next up is determining the schemes. This will be done by the TO at Halifaux (so everyone has the same schemes available), but for this post, they’ve been determined by Malifool Joel (thanks Joel):

Assassinate – generally I don’t take this at the moment, as I’m not sure who’s squishy and who isn’t, and my crew can only really damage things by hitting them (which lots of masters can avoid with triggers or high df). On the plus side, if I want Marcus to survive, it’s often difficult to take him out, so this could be useful.

Breakthrough – Marcus likes breakthrough, you need to be fast and hitty enough to take out whatever is defending the opponent’s deployment zone, this is pretty much Marcus’ MO.

Take Prisoner – often one I like, as I can run someone over in turn 5 and bag points (no need for a set up)… except my games often seem to run to turn 6+.

Plant explosives – a possibility, but usually opponents are wise to this. It does mean I can set up scheme markers for breakthrough or line in the sand, and they’ll be worried about dealing with them.

Line in the sand – I’m finding it very difficult to get more than 1 VP from this, even with “sir scheme-markers-a-lot” (speedy Marcus). However it may be useful with the game focus being around the centre of the board.

So my immediate thoughts:
No “make them suffer” – jackalope is in the crew
No vendetta or murder protege – Myranda is in the crew
Scheme markers are likely to be important – Cojo is in the crew, but may not be hanging out in the centre as much as he otherwise would
Breakthrough and line in the sand – moleman and canine remains are in the crew
The whole of that scheme selection (except maybe assassinate) – Marcus is taking trail of the gods for +3 walk

OK, so now the crew is starting to take shape. I still don’t know what my opponent is taking, but I know the tools I want for achieving certain goals. I think I’d aim for breakthrough and take prisoner in the end, and probably not reveal them. That means I can leave a core crew fighting for the centre, have speedy bits running around the edges (possibly randomly dropping scheme markers to confuse/irritate), and then use my speed to run up to my take prisoner target (which wouldn’t be a ronin) in the last turn.

The crew selection itself (and why)
Marcus
He needs to be speedy and hitty. He’d have trail, probably imbued energies (to discard for fast), and arcane reservoir… which is just fantastic. He’s going to run around and kill periferal minions (or cast alpha to kill things) in the first 2 turns, then at least threaten to grab breakthrough, and be flexible toward the end (either protecting the breakthrough, bolstering the centre, or hunting down the prisoner).

Moleman and Canine
These 2 are going to be running around with scheme marker diarrhoea. If they can push for the breakthrough rather than Marcus, they will do (freeing him up to do other stuff). They’re also handy for going for fake line in the sand, and can leg it to the centre if I need more bodies there. They’re also not that easy to kill, and are handy cheap activations.

Myranda and Cojo
These two will be going for the centre, and trying to activate late in the turn so that I have a chance to push models out of the scoring zone, or just kill them. Myranda can also heal Cojo from his hard to kill if need be. Cojo’s long melee range and pushing abilities should mean most enemies need to walk once to make an attack against him, reducing the damage coming back. Myranda will have imbued energies of course, and will turn into a cerberus/cojo/RSR as the situation dictates. However if the opponent makes a strong push for the centre, these two will need backup.

RSR
Backup. I can’t believe I haven’t written the post on RSR yet. Super flexible, very defensive, can lock models in place, and can move around unhindered, the snake is ideal for holding the centre and responding to unexpected threats.

Cerberus
I need to get models off the board if Myranda/Cojo/RSR are going to survive in the centre, and the Cerberus is pretty ideal for this. Again, super speedy, the Cerberus can leap off to attack peripheral enemies in the first few turns, then leap back to finish off whatever the centre mob have been beating up.

Jackalope
Purely here for an activation and to irritate. On the charge he does enough damage to be a concern, but generally he’s just running around locking things in melee so they can’t just place scheme markers, and essentially giving them slow (as they need to use an AP to kill him). It may also be put near Marcus as a “defend me” target… just in case.

That leaves 3 stones to give me a full cache. Stones will be used primarily to keep Marcus alive (in case the opponent took assassinate), and keep Myranda alive long enough to shape change. However as Assassinate is a possibility, they may also be used to Alpha Cerberus or Cojo, so that Marcus’ power can still be imposed, even if he’s staying out of the fighting.

As you can see, the theme of the crew is flexibility. With the exception of Cojo (who’s a bit slow), everyone in the crew can fit nicely to be scoring points in the centre or going for breakthrough, and most are fast enough to catch up with the prisoner in 1 or 2 turns. There’s also plenty of fairly reliable damage from Marcus, Cojo, Cerberus, Myranda, and (to an extent) RSR… and I guess the Jackalope.

The plan
So the basic plan is to have the centre group go for the centre from turn 1. Marcus and the Cerberus will deal with threats which are going for breakthrough/line in the sand, sufficiently spread out that plant explosives isn’t such an issue. The moleman and canine will either follow in Marcus’ wake, or aim for where there’s less trouble, piling out scheme markers. Then if/when things start to go pear shaped, any/everyone should be able to get back to the centre pretty quickly.

If someone particularly killy shows up (taelor/viks/bishop), then law of meat will be used for maximum hilarity, followed by a Cerberus to the face.

Well I hope you’ve found that vaguely interesting. I certainly found it useful to actively think through why I take what I take (usually this whole post would appear in my mind in about 20 seconds, without me realising why). Of course the actual crew I’ve chosen here is irrelevant (unless I end up playing against outcasts with that exact scheme pool), the interesting thing is purely the thought process of why I have chosen this crew. I think it sounds vaguely logical. Of course some outcast crew selections may well make a mockery of this crew, but as I said near the start, I don’t know outcasts well, so I’ll play to my crew’s strengths, and hope my opponent’s crew has some weaknesses. If you’re bored, I highly suggest you take a bit of time to actually think about why you’re taking stuff.

Until next time

Dave/sssk

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