Nationals: The Aftermath

Hi folks,

Nationals is over, and I thought it’d be a good idea to give a review of the tournament, my result, and whatever else comes to mind as I write. I hope it’s vaguely insightful.

I really enjoyed the design of the tournament. It ran very smoothly, had plenty of diversity in Strategy/Scheme combinations, the tables were great, and Mike, Lee, Jen, Matt, Ben Crowe, Dave Brown, and everyone else who was involved in the setup (sorry, I know I’ve missed names) did an absolutely sterling job on the organisation and tables over the weekend. My only minor gripe was that off-table space was a bit limited on some tables, but then there were 124 gamers in (essentially) 1 room… so I think that’s kind of an inherent part of the tournament. Great job folks.

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Just one example of the beautiful tables used throughout the tournament. This was one of my favourites because you have to ask the question “who made the snowmen?”. If the answer is Nephilim, we’re all winners.

As for me, I planned to play fixed list Kaeris, but then decided to switch to “Arcanist” in case I fancied something else, and I’m extremely glad I did. I played Kaeris for 1 game in the tournament, and even then kind of wish I’d played Marcus for that one instead. I basically found that even with a few tournaments of fixed list Kaeris under my belt, I still didn’t feel like I really knew how she would actually score points in a lot of the strategies, whereas with Marcus I found it much easier to read a turn or two ahead so that I could actually plan what I wanted to do. Evidently I need more time with Kaeris. That being said, this really brings home the “play whatever you want to” paradigm. No point forcing yourself to play a crew you don’t fancy playing at the time.

The vast majority of the models I used were book 1 models, and the Marcus starter box (well, models which come in the Marcus boxset) was the main body of every Marcus crew (minus poor Cojo), showing that you don’t need to own a million models to do well at Malifaux. As an extra aside, a lot of Marcus players use a lot of out-of-faction beasts, I used a Night Terror. You don’t need a lot of models. Indeed this fact has drawn me right back to one of my absolute favourite play-styles: “crews for beginners”. More on this in the near future.

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A quick photo of the models I used over the weekend. 21 models, and I would arguably have been better off without 7 of them… I’ll take that. Oh, and the second Cerberus was only ever summoned.

In terms of game progression, I felt like I was playing fairly basic Malifaux at the start of the tournament. For game 1 my head absolutely wasn’t in it (I’m not saying that this affected the result by any stretch of the imagination), and indeed for much of the first day I kept catching myself making silly mistakes, such as totally missing that I could put Undercover Entourage on Firestarter instead of Kaeris, and just not thinking through my moves anywhere near well enough. On day 2 however, I was playing much better… like A LOT better, thinking through schemes, figuring out what my opponents had and bluffing quite successfully too. I also finally broke my usual problem of not scoring strategy points, scoring the point for strategy literally every possible turn from the start of game 3 onwards. I think my understanding of how to turn resources (cards, AP, activations) into VP diff matured massively throughout the tournament (we’ll see if this continues in future tournaments). For instance in the past, 2 full activations from Marcus and discarding 2 good cards would result in Marcus getting thrown into the mix and trying to take out a whole crew. In my game against Paul however, this same resource expenditure was used to kill a single 3ss Malifaux Raptor, preventing Paul from scoring 3vp, and essentially winning me the game.

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The moment after Marcus wins me the game by pulverizing a pidgeon in my deployment zone.

As for general tournament experience, I really struggled to hand out my “Favourite opponent” point at the end. I felt that literally every one of my opponents was worthy of it, which just goes to show what a good spirited event this was. I also got to chat to a lot of folks between games, which was great, pretty much being able to turn around and just start a conversation with anybody. It seemed like everyone really got into the community feel of the tournament which was a joy to behold. Even with 2 full days though, I still didn’t get to have meaningful conversation with a lot of folks I’d have liked to catch up with, such as Mr Arcane Reservoir, Ben Sime, who was frequently nearby on the tables, but we just never managed to natter.

In summary then, a brilliantly designed tournament, in which I did surprisingly well by playing some of the best Malifaux I’ve played in my time in the game. I can only hope my gaming brain stays in the same place for the next few tournaments too. I’m a bit sad that I didn’t use Kaeris more, but she still hasn’t really clicked with me, and I can’t quite figure out why not. Anyway, onward and upward, and I now have at least 2 more masters I want to use for a while. Busy times ahead.

Until next time

Dave/sssk

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