Monday, 11 February 2013

Malifaux: Viktoria Tactica

I've been playing the Viktorias since last summer with reasonable success so I thought I'd share some thoughts on the Viks for those starting out with them.  I don't really want to repeat the info you can (and probably already have) read on the excellent Pull My Finger wiki.  If you haven't read that, then stop reading this and go over and read the PMF entry for the Viks, then come back here.

Still here? Good, let's get started!

Sisters in Spirit can lead to Sisters in Death:
The Viktorias are extremely mobile.  Most of the time, I tend to companion them together to launch them like a missile at the enemy.  The usual tactic is to move Gun Vik forward 5", Sisters in Spirit Sword Vik to within 3" (note that's within not completely within) and launch Sword Vik from there.  This gives Sword Vik a potential strike range of 20" (5" walk, within 3" push, 2 5" walk and a strike at 2").  It's easy to get overconfident with this, and this is very often the un-doing of Sword Vik for me.  Being half way across the board and alone will usually end up with either a dead Sword Vik or you having to burn stones to keep her alive.  I've burnt 7 SS in a single turn before to keep Sword Vik standing against Perdita, and in my last game at the GT I got over-confident with them and threw them into a Gremlin gunline (they both died).  Carefully consider what you're about to do and whether it's worth it in the grand scheme of the game.  It may be better to delay for a turn so that you can get the strike in with Sword Vik but retain enough AP to either Sisters in Spirit back out again, or move to a safer position.  Sisters in Spirit is a (1) action so you can use it once to swap Sword Vik and Gun Vik around and then again to bring Gun Vik back to Sword Vik.

Sisters in Battle and Whirlwind:
Sisters in Battle is pretty much the only spell I ever use with the Viks.  It needs a 6+ of Rams to cast, but the Viks can add a Ram to their Ca so it's just a 6+ in most cases.  My usual choice for the affect is the +2 Dg, there's very few reasons to take either of the other two.  The + on attack flips can be handy if you're facing something which has - on attack flips, like Lucius for example, but generally I want to have +2 Dg, especially since Sword Vik has paired swords anyway.

With the +2 Dg, you're now doing 5Dg on weak hits which is insanely good.  This is where Whirlwind comes in, since I'm now doing 5 Dg on weak, it doesn't matter to me whether I win the attack dual by 0 or 11, I'll happily take 5 Dg on a  - - - flip.  If you are able to Whirlwind multiple targets look to do this, and look to use any Masks in your hand to get the trigger off even if you have to cheat down to get the Mask in your total once you know your opponents total.  I've seen 5 attacks go off from a single AP.

Don't forget to draw a card when you kill a model either.  This is great against something which relies on trash models for protection (like Nicodem) as you can Whirlwind away all their protection, drawing cards as you do it, and building your hand ready for the final strike against the master.  Bear in mind it's when you kill a model so it won't work on Seishin who always count as sacrificed when killed unless Kirai uses her Seishin Beacon ability.

Support models:
The Viktorias crew isn't one built around combos or mutually supportive models, but there are a couple of models which I would take to help them out.  The first is the Student of Conflict.  His ability to give another model within 3" fast is massive, it's another 5" of threat, another strike or a cast of Sisters in Battle where you didn't expect it.  Since it's an all action, it more than likely won't happen every turn but it's something nasty for your opponent to deal with.  Don't forget to you can use the double Sisters in Spirit trick to flip Sword Vik and Gun Vik back again to be close to the Student for another pop at this the following turn.

The Freikorps Librarian is a hugely valuable support piece.  You may allow any spell which affects one Viktoria to affect all friendly Viktorias in play, so the Librarian can let you make 3 healing flips on each Vik per turn (with her furious casting)and only one of them needs be within an 8" range.  You can cast this on Gun Vik, who is usually further back, and let Sword Vik heal as well.  She also has Arcane Reservoir, giving you more cards in your hand, and so potentially more Masks for Whirlwind.  With the Librarian, try and keep a low Ram in your hand to use when she activates.  That way her Healing Energy goes off on a 4+ of any suit, as she can add the Ram to her Ca.

Von Schill is, well, Von Schill.  He's an awesome addition to most crews, and for the Viks he's in faction so only costs 9SS.  Von Schill gives you excellent mobility and nasty shooting amongst all his other cool stuff.

The Black Joker:
The Viks, more than other crews I've played, can be royally screwed by flipping the Black Joker.  If you can draw this into your hand, try and keep it there for as long as possible.  Flipping the Black Joker for defense is bad, flipping it for damage is worse since Whirlwind relies on you doing damage to go off ("After damaging defender with a Masamune Nihonto Strike...") and part of your defence is making models die.  So, draw the Black Joker, keep the Black Joker.

The Viks are made of paper, they will die pretty easily.  I normally want at least 7 soulstones, preferably 8 to keep them standing, and your going to have to pay for every one of those stones.  Loosing a single Vik is losing alot more than 50% of their ability since they rely on each other for alot of their movement.

I've got nothing that inciteful to say on Vanessa as yet, as I've only tried her out in one game.  From my initial impression, she looks good with her ability to be a target for Sisters in Spirit, plus her ability to give the Viks a defensive ability (Slow to Die, yes please).  She does mean you can't take the Student of Conflict so that will be one price to pay for her.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Malifaux: Vapnartak Tournament

This past weekend I played in the first Malifaux tournament at Vapanartak in York.  Vappa is a one day, independent gaming convention run by York Wargames Society and is held at York race course (a really nice venue).

The tournament format was 35SS, fixed faction, using the new 2013 Gaining Grounds tournament rules (rules pack here).  There's some changes in this document with regard to proxies, time limits and things like that, but the major change is the new strategies.  For this tournament, strategies were not determined until on the day so I'd only played a couple of them before and we didn't know what we were playing until the start of the tournament.  In the end the strategies were shared land grab, shared line in the sand and shared beatdown.

I played the Viktorias for all three of my games.

Game 1 vs mythicFOX (James) - Shared land grab
Me: Viks, von Schill, 3 ronin, student of conflict
James: Perdita. Enslaved neph, von Schill, 2 wastrels, 2 witching stalkers, watcher

Me: Stake a claim (hill on his left side) and kill protege on wastrel
MythicFOX-  Raid! and stake a claim (fence in my deployment zone)

Von Schill didn't get off to the best start in this game, being red jokered by Perdita in the first turn.  I kept him alive with his Slow to Die healing flip, only for the exact same thing to happen in the next turn.  Von Schill went on an ultimately unsuccessful hunt for my Kill Protege target (who got Drain Soul'ed).  Perdita eventually did for him when she shot him, triggered anticipation then put the Black Joker on top of my deck for his healing flip.

Things went well on the other side of the table for the Viks.  Von Schill, a wastrel and a witchling stalker pushed down that flank, and I was thinking of Vik bombing them turn two, but I held back until turn three to hit them with both Viks.  Gun Vik proved to be the star of the show and did for the witchling stalker and Von Schill before completing my Stake a Claim.  Sword Vik killed the wastrel.  Perdita completed Stake a Claim but I had the models left to continue to claim the table quarters.

Result 4-3 win to me.

Game 2 vs Ben  - shared line in the sand
Me:  Viks, von Schill, student of conflict, Lazarus, Freikorps Librarian
Ben: Seamus, Molly, 2 belles, 2 desperate mercs, hanged, grave spirit

Me: first blood, hold out (unannounced)
Ben: hold out and army of the dead

Ben won best painted, and it was well deserved as his Seamus crew was really, really good.  Shared line in the sand was probably my favourite strategy on the day.  For this one, I decided to take Lazarus as he's the only model I have who is Immune to Influence.  Much of the spell casting power in Seamu's crew (like all of Mollly's spells for example) are Wp resist, plus Lazarus is non-living and so immune to terrifying.

I thought my plan was to arm and hold 3 of the markers and ignore the other two so I set up on my right hand side to do this.  Von Schill did his thing and got three markers armed before getting the red joker on a damage flip against him and getting removed from the board (The Hanged has made sure he couldn't heal).  Sword Vik did what she does best killing two Belles, the grave spirit and the Hanged.  I got both my schemes and three turns worth of having the most markers armed.

Result: 6-2 win to me

Game 3 vs Rhinobuster (Paul):
Me: Viks, von Schill, student of conflict, Freikorps Librarian, Lazarus
Paul:  McMourning, chihuahua, bĂȘte noir, Dead Rider, Izamu

Me:  steal relic, bodyguard on von Schill
Paul:  breakthrough and something else (can't recall)

I was on table two for this one, so I was punching well above my weight.  Paul is currently the UK number one ranked player as well, so I knew this was going to be hard.  It looked even harder when I saw the list he'd chosen.

McMourning was on me quickly in turn two as the Dead Rider dragged him forward.  Lazarus quickly fell to the doctor.  Sword Vik has identified the Rotten Belle as easy pickings so knocked her down to 1Wd turn 2, before finishing her turn 3 and flipping back to Gun Vik with Sisters in Spirit.  Bete Noir then appeared, Dead Rider rode down the student of conflict and Izamu was closing fast.

The Dead Rider was exposed on a hill close to Von Schill who unloaded with his Clockwork Seeker and killed him.  McMourning slammed into Sword Vik, made her Easy to Wound 2, and then went for the coup de grace Dissection.  Fortunately I resisted this.  By the close of that turn, a melee between the Viktorias, McMourning, Bete Noir and Izamu was kicking off.  The initiative flip for turn 4 was crucial and I was lucky enough to win it.  The Viktorias companioned and killed McMourning and Bete Noir before doing the same to Izamu in the following turn.  I'd got my Steal Relic off McMourning and Von Schill was still alive.

Result: 7-1 win to me

So I ended the day on 9TP/17VP/+11 and took first place on VP diff!  I was as surprised as anyone else really, but I was very happy with the result and the way I'd played.

The prize vouchers are going towards building up my Viktorias crew.  It seems only fair since they'd won the day for me.