25 January 2012

It's a Knockout…

…8 …9 …10 …YOU'RE OUT!

That is the sound of my patience with Kirai and her spirits leaving the building – haha!

Another thumping last night by Lilith, largely thanks to some bad decision making on my part and increasingly poor cards is making me wonder whether my gaming skills really are that two-dimensional and I should go back to the simplicity of the Guild.

Fugs and I both flipped Destroy the Evidence, so Fug suggested making it a Shared Strategy. This effectively added a seventh evidence token in the middle of the board worth an additional VP. We flipped for deployment and got corners, meaning we were both barely 12" from said central token.

I was distracted by the bright lights and decided I could summon Ikiryo on top of the central token and give myself a small headstart. Destroy the Evidence is a strategy that Kirai should breeze through with her movement tricks so getting an early lead would be a bonus. Problem is I forgot that summoned models are slow when they arrive, meaning Ikiryo didn't have enough general AP to interact. It also meant that (being H3) he was an easy target for Lilith's Transposition. That's exactly what happened – the Cherub stepped up and Transposition-ed Ikiryo with Lilith. Lilith then interacted with the token to claim it and moved off to the side. Ikiryo was battered by the new addition to Fug's crew – Taelor.

End of turn 1, I am down 1 VP already not to mention 4 wounds on Kirai and a handful of cards.

My semi-painted master
Things ebbed and flowed the following turn. I moved The Hanged over to a token on my left. He was charged by a Young Nephilim who was in turn charged by an Onryo who did 3 wounds. The Young was then swapped with Taelor thanks to another great Transposition move, supported by Lilith,  and I was forced to swirl The Hanged back to Kirai for healing and sacrifice the wounded Onryo to regain some wounds and cards and prevent Taelor from killing more stuff.

The tempo of the game was such that Fugs could move around the board with little to no fear of any reprisals. I set an alpha strike in motion once Lilith had moved on to another token and left Taelor alone. She was having a field day against my spirits, killing them in a single hit. Her high WP meant I was struggling to do anything back.

Kirai summoned Ikiryo and Shikome into base contact with Taelor, forgoing a heal to cast her (0) action that would produce a Gaki should Taelor die. I had The Hanged waiting to cast Beyond the Grave and halve Taelor wounds before the big hitters went in. Up stepped the Lost Love to cast Chill of Death giving the target neg flips against spirits – the combination of these elements would be devastating. As expected he flipped poorly, I cheated to ensure I had the correct suit and soulstoned for a boost to take it out of Taelor's reach – I flipped a 1. That effectively meant that Taelor could defend everything that I threw at her by cheating (not that she needed it as Fugs has amazing flips with this crew). In return Taelor killed Shikome and Ikiryo (for the second time this game) and I had to give up the two remaining cards I had.

The game staggered on in the same vein for another turn. By this time Fug had 4 VP to my 0. I called the game mid turn 4 as the clock chimed 10pm.

The inevitable (weekly) post mortem got me analysing why this crew struggles so much and why it seems incapable of doing any damage – the number of wounds I have inflicted in 3 games can be counted on one hand.

My multi-coloured Seishin
With the Guild I could spend a couple of turns building up a decent set of cards in my hand. With Kirai, she uses any decent cards she has summoning her troops or entering the Spirit World. She is also so dependent on suits – masks and crows especially – that she has to hold onto these at all costs. If you get a poor hand of cards and has been the norm so far (my hand in turn four had no card higher than a four!) then I'm relying on soulstones to make things happen.

If the games had been a little closer, more contested, then I could be quite content that it was part of the learning curve. At present I'm providing no real challenge to Fugs who can move around the board at will with Transposition (which I don't seem able to stop as I have no decent cards in my hand to cheat, or need them for other things). As fast as I am summoning spirits he's killing them. With the introduction of Taelor (and soon the twins) who negates all of the advantages the spirits have, I'm losing models at a faster rate with even less ability to stop it.

The danger is that these beatings are so demoralising that I'm starting to lose enthusiasm for the game and for painting the models. I could go back to The Guild but that would be defeatist, plus I've invested too much money to put the Spirits all on ebay for half the price I paid for them. I could buy bigger models – Dead Rider, etc. – but that doesn't solve the inherent problem. So I've decided to take a week or two off from gaming, do some painting, and get back to the craft side of things that I enjoy and will feed my interest.

As much as I think playing a single game a week is not helping my development – the excitement builds all week for a game then you lose 8-0 with nothing new learned – I feel (as does my poor wife) that a break will be good. I don't want to field another unpainted crew, and that in turn should provide more eye candy for the blog.

The sting of the defeat is gone now but I'm not seeing any light at the end of the tunnel, or a way to turn things around; with things set to get more difficult when Fugs introduces the twins shortly I need to find a way to break them. Let the research begin…


  1. Sometimes it can be a run of bad luck and nothing else my friend.

  2. I love your enthusiasm AL – my best man (who also hails from the Emerald Isle) is similarly positive about all things and it can be infectious.

    I've boiled it down to the fact that this new crew is fundamentally different from the crews I've played thus far. I need to change the way I think (and maybe get a new deck of cards as these ones don't work!)

  3. Dan (2nd Generation) was telling me that the best ability he finds with Kirai is her ability to have models swap places. So with your situation, you could have out-activated Lilith (Seishin are good for that), summoned Ikryo on the point, then swapped him with another spirit and had that spirit use 2 actions to take it over. Dan's been teaching me a bit about Kirai. Unfortunately I don't have any more games with her yet - I am starting on Seamus now.

    Hope you don't get too discouraged. Starting out a new master is always a challenge. I love reading your blog and watching how your experiences mirror or differ from mine. Try switching to something you're a little more familiar with for a short while to rebuild your confidence, and try a smattering of Kirai games to get used to the differences.

  4. Thanks for your comments Mike.
    I find that Kirai is so dependant on the control hand you have that I struggle when it's poor. As a consequence I'm struggling whilst Fugs is on an all time high in confidence as he rules supreme with Lilith. It's only fair really after I dominated for so long with The Guild, but I'm a poor loser when things become very one-sided as they are at present.
    I have decided to take a week off to get some painting done. In the meantime I am considering where to go from here regarding list composition. I need something to break Fug's confidence and make him wary. The Hanged have done this to an extent, but never deliver on the potential threat. Combined with an Insidious Madness could make the difference. I've even considered including a Convict Gunslinger just to get him to keep a little distance as he knows the damage this model can do, it's not very in keeping with Kirai though.

    1. Kirai definitely can have a rough start, particularly learning her against a crew that also has some insane speed potential like Lilith
      Definitely hang in there with her, though i really would consider dropping Datsu-Ba, it frees up the pressure on your control hand no end while you're learning
      Otherwise, as mentioned above, always try to stall Kirai until later in the turn, it'll keep her Pitiful in place as well as allow you to use her summoning to react to the situation more
      For the Hanged, don't necessarily try for his bigger stuff, him, Ikiryo and Shikome should all be trying to isolate things rather than wade in as such
      Also try to keep Kirai out of the way by the end of a turn, i often keep her not only far back but out of sight until things are pretty bogged down

      Worst things for me is getting bad hand after bad hand... had a game hit turn 3 before i managed to get into the spirit world off for the first time, just had to spend the first 2 turns building things up and shifting spirits where they were needed to stall things before i could really get her shifting about and healing properly

    2. You give me hope Stonedog. Nice to hear I'm not the only one who gets a run of bad hands, haha.

  5. I hope you stick with her - I think there's probably 2 issues. The learning curve is much steeper of course and you need to play her completely differently to what you're used to.
    The second issue though - why was Fug using Taelor? *Very* left-field/unusual minion selection for a Lilith crew, unless he was looking for the best anti-Spirit melee minion in the game for a particular reason? Don't you think that's a really unfair crew selection for him to use in your early practice games, when he was presumably forewarned that you'd be trying out Kirai? From your battle rep, Taelor was understandably a big part of your defeat.

    1. Yep Taelor really kicked my backside and, as mentioned, took away all my spirit orientated advantage which was the point I think.

      You need to understand that Fugs has been on quite a losing streak against my Guild as he just wasn't clicking with Raspy. The melee aspect is right up his street so he's embraced it completely.

      I have no problem with him including Taelor, despite her anti-spirit tendencies, as it clearly shows him thinking outside the box which is one of the best bits about Malifaux. She is expensive ss-wise so he's not including other stuff and, one I get the measure of her, she will not be that effective for long.

  6. First of all, I just want to say that I'm really liking the painting progress on Kirai, I love the color scheme! I'm excited to see more of her.

    Secondly, I would like to give a bit of advice coming from the self-proclaimed worst malifaux player ever -- don't give up yet!! In my experience there is nothing like crushing defeat to teach you what you need to be doing. And no one can expect to fully understand an entirely different playstyle on the first go. It isn't fun to lose, but in the end you will be picking up a very valuable skillset that will carry over into other aspects of the game... including what you need to do to beat Kirai.

    Keep at it!! Or I will be sad. :(