I'm mythicFOX a UK Malifaux Henchman, tournament regular, film nut, and all round geek.
Also the Malifaux devil, apparently.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

The Masters

The UK Masters was this weekend, there's already a lot of great coverage of the weekend on twitter (see my last post) and on the new show from the Malifools; Fools Daily so I'm going to keep this short. Masters is at once the end of the previous year's season and the first of the new year. 

My weekend began by driving a car I'd owned for less than an hour on a 125 mile road trip to Craig 'ukrocky' Johnson's house to rest up the night before the event. I awoke on his sofa the following morning to tipple threat of; winning a signed rules manual on facebook, the forum demanding I do some moderation and a hamster trying to kill me.  Needless to say this led to some confused early responses.

Once awake and after my tournament companions had quickly undercoated some models required for the day's play, we set off. This was my third masters and as always the atmosphere was phenomenal. It was great to see a number of new faces experiencing the event for the first time. To players who've never experienced the level of play at a masters event it's hard to describe.  These were some of the toughest and most enjoyable games of Malifaux I've ever played, and judging by conversation with new players and old hands alike I was far from alone.

I made it through the group stage on Saturday before succumbing to Luke Cocksedge by a point in extra time of the quarter finals on Sunday. I was thrilled with the weekend and it only remained for me to watch Craig be crowned UK master, beating Greg Piskosz into second place.  Greg is a newcomer to the scene and a great player, and also the only other player to beat me over the weekend.

Craig's Secret Weapon
Some comment is being made of the fact all four finalists had Lynch with them, if not necessarily using him for every game. While I'll admit he is clearly very strong I think this may have been helped by the knockout quarter final game of Turf War being played with the scheme pool; Vendetta, Make them Suffer, Bodyguard, and Assassinate. This pool is a nightmare for a number of crews but works well for Lynch and this may well have contributed somewhat to the results over the weekend.

For my own part the event exposed some key weaknesses in my game I'll need to plug if I'm to remain at the top tables much longer.  I've been relying on Ramos too heavily and need to branch out more to cover those few games he's ill equipped for. I also need to broaden my crew selection before SmogCon, and want to experiment with a more aggressive version of Ramos.

I should also say a big thanks to Dave Brown for running the event, everyone who played in the open event on the Sunday, and the event sponsors;

I use products from all three of these companies and have never had anything but a great experience with them.  So that's me signing off for some much needed sleep and hobby time.

League of Extraordinary Henchmen 'side event'.

Friday, 17 January 2014

Master class

A quick post to say the UK Malifaux masters is this weekend. For those who don't know the masters is a an invitational event for the top ranked players in the country.

Despite this it's usually one of the most relaxed events of the year. Everyone present has already proven themselves to the extent necessary to get and there and they tend to just want to enjoy the company of other like minded people.  That's not to say the event is without competition, there are no easy games at masters. You'll tend to find the VPD in these games are much closer than at the average event.

I can't tell you who will win the day, the event is normally too close to call. Personally I tend to treat going to the masters as a prize rather than a competition and am more relaxed about how I do at this event than most of the others. I normally bomb out in the semifinals and I'll be thrilled if I do the same again this year.

I'll be tweeting from the weekend and if I've set my blog up properly tweets with the tag #MXmasters should be embedded at the end of this post.

Monday, 13 January 2014

Cutting our decks

So there was a recent debate on twitter about cutting your opponents deck. Coming from many years of playing poker and Magic; the Gathering this is something that I have a firm opinion about. To be clear I believe a player must always offer the cut the their opponent, and cut their opponents deck in turn.

Two reasons are commonly given when players explain why they don't cut, and I want to answer these in turn;

1) I trust my opponent not to cheat.
I trust my neighbours, but I still lock my front door. That being said trust almost isn't the issue. If you only cut the decks of the people you don't trust then wanting to cut someone's deck becomes an accusation.  Which is how some players behave now, people almost seem to assume that the desire to cut their deck is an accusation.  If everybody cuts it becomes automatic and there's no emotion attached to the act.

What if you feel everyone is trustworthy? Well there's still a value in cutting. Just because someone isn't trying to cheat doesn't mean they're shuffling their deck properly. You'd be surprised how many players mash their discard pile into the top of their deck and call it a day. The quick cut at least lets you put the recycled discard pile full of severe cards to the bottom of their deck.

This leads on to the second common argument...

 2) If someone's good enough to mechanic their deck then cutting won't help. 

I've met people who can manipulate decks of cards to the point they can deal a poker table full of players whatever cards they want, or shake the deck and have all the aces fall out.  In practice cutting wont stop someone with that degree of skill, however such men are very rare.

The greater threat is the casual cheat, someone steering their black joker to the bottom of their deck as they shuffle. People may even do this subconsciously without even realising their doing it. This requires next to no level of skill to do but is very effectively countered by a quick cut. How can someone steer a card to the bottom of the deck if they don't know where that is?

Cutting acts as a barrier to entry for the would be cheat. Locking your front door doesn't prevent a determined burglar getting in, they can just break through a window, but I suspect that if no one ever locked their front door we'd see far more burglaries than we do today. This small barrier to entry is a big step forward in securing our game.

So I hope that counters some of the common arguments against cutting so let me make a quick case for cutting.

Why cut?
This really is about defending the game as a whole. Cutting costs nothing and even if you're never cheated as a result of failing to cut, by creating an atmosphere where every door is unlocked you increase the likely hood someone will be cheated.

The last thing any community wants is a cheating scandal for their chosen game. While we continue with almost no one cutting I firmly believe it is only a matter of time before something happens, especially as the game and our community grows in size and strength.  Imagine in a few years time when/if Malifaux is as big as Fantasy or Warmachine, will you still trust everyone in the community then?  This is something that's best started now, while it's not a major adjustment.

So please please offer and cut each others decks. Let's make it part of the ritual of the game.

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

UK Masters Draw

The groups have just been drawn for the UK masters taking place in a few weeks time;
Group 1
Joel Henry
Anthony Hoult
Rob Smith
Mike Taylor

Group 2 
James Doxey
Jakab Sennett
Matt Ledgewood
Gregory Piskosz

Group 3 
Jimmy Balderstone
Tim Brown
Martin Wodehouse
Craig Johnson

Group 4 
Luke Cocksedge
Robert Balmforth
Nathan Chenery
Maria Wieland

The first player in each group were seeded.

My 2014 Resolutions

So it's that time of the year when we make resolutions.  So I thought I'd share mine, well my gaming ones at least.

Firstly I'm aiming to qualify for Masters again next year, that is to finish in the top fifteen players in the UK or win the Masters event in January. The former being far more likely than the latter. 

I'd also want to win a twenty plus player event and end the year as the best general badge for a faction. Normally at this stage I'd say which faction but I tend to have changes in heart from time to time so I'll not commit to which right now.

So that's my lot for gaming. I'm interested to hear yours if you want to comment them below or Tweet them to me.