Monday, 22 April 2013

Using Ikiryo Effectively

When starting Kirai, I was under the impression that she was overpowered. Her awesome speed, coupled with the ability to churn out spirit after spirit left me thinking that she had an unstoppable hoard. Chief amongst this hoard was her personal spirit of vengeance, Ikiryo.

What makes her unique amongst Kirai's arsenal is that unlike the 'lesser' spirits, Kirai does not need to sacrifice any spirits to summon Ikiryo. This is great because not only can she be summoned 12" away (with trigger), you only need a 5 of crows to summon (unlike the 11 of any suit for normal summoning). Of course you can't have more than one on the table at any time but the fact remains - forcing your opponent to kill this model only for it to come back next turn is amazing. Especially since Kirai can sacrifice Ikiryo herself to regain Wd, cards and therefore the ability to summon it after it's activated that turn, effectively giving it 5AP.

With these incredibly feats I could be forgiven for thinking that Ikiryo was a ball-busting model. However not long into my playing with Kirai did I realise that this model wasn't all I thought it was. It can't kill masters easily, it can't activate in companion with Kirai and therefore usually gets killed straight away when it's summoned close to the enemy (Df5, 5 wounds) - effectively meaning you risk losing it or summon it too far away to be beneficial that turn. Remember when Kirai dies, you lose 2 cards from your hand, meaning you might have to dump some really good cards!

After finding Ikiryo somewhat underwhelming, I put my conundrum to the Wyrd forums:

My problems are:
  • Only Df 5, 5 wounds - easy to kill, even if it's NOT a master. How do I stop her dying every turn? That's losing two cards a turn.
  • How to kill Masters in Strategies that might/will depend on using her, as well as her scheme. I really wish she had Use Soulstone, she is a manifestation of Kirai after all! I find she can't kill Masters who can cheat and soulstone.
  • Summoning placement - I could really use some advice on when to activate the trigger vs putting her too far forward, when to summon her in activation order, summoning position on the board
  • How can you make her more effective before she dies, as you can't give her Reactivate the same turn you summon her.
Partly, my problems were from being a rather new player both to Malifaux and Kirai. However I really wanted to get the most out of her, was I doing it wrong? Was she not the beatstick I thought she was?

Thanks to the discussion from my fellow Malifaux players, I have found there are some key points to consider to make use of Ikiryo effectively. I have separated them into Big Tips and Little Tips

Big Tips
  1. Ikiryo is NOT Lord Chompy Bits. It seems I was right, Ikiryo is not the amazing beatstick I thought she was. Not saying she can't take on Masters, because she can when the enemies have activated (and been weakened). But, according to Fetid Strumpet, many people try to pay Ikiryo like LCB. Instead, to properly use Ikiryo she should be pitted against the arguably more important models than the enemy Master. Malifaux isn't always about killing the enemy general, it's not Warmachine! Instead, due to Ikiryo's effective 2 AP on summoning (1AP + Melee Expert), Ikiryo can be summoned to take on the fast objective grabbers, or summoned 12" forward to take on the enemy support models or ranged threats. Anything that your opponent thinks is safe should be proven otherwise with an Ikiryo Alpha Strike! The key here is to be able to take out a model in that turn she is summoned so you don't have to fight for activation next turn. Not only does it remove a threat but Kirai will get a nice healing flip. In short, Ikiryo is a scalpel, not a blunt object.
  2. Death is inevitable. Ikiryo isn't a model that can sustain much abuse, but she's not meant to! With her low wounds and Df you should play her like you expect her to die. If she doesn't great, you can sacrifice her to summon her back again! I don't mean to say that you should be overly reckless with her, just don't strop if she dies. If you use high cards to keep her alive, why? Those cards could be used to summon Ikiryo back, or as attacks when she returns. You might even need them elsewhere! What's more important is...
  3. Observe the psychological impact. Ikiryo's greatest strength isn't her damage, it's her threat. She's a moderately offensive model that will keep coming back no matter how many times you kill it. There's no summoning models needed to be sacrificed, but she generates Seishin for your other spirits! Ikiryo can be see as effectively a Paralyse for the enemy model of your choice. Put her on the board and your opponent either has to waste AP to deal with a model that will just come back, or leave it be to destroy its crew, bit by bit. Ikiryo can greatly demoralise your opponent.
Little Tips
  1. Don't forget her (0) Action. The ability to Push (not move) your spirits 4" in an 18" bubble if you chose (as the wording states "may", not "must") shouldn't be overlooked.
  2. She provides Seishin. If you're facing a non-living crew, she's essential to keeping your spirit factory going.
  3. Taxi service. Summoning her 12" away allows Kirai to use her as her point spirit for In The Spirit World, every turn if you want.
  4. Summon Ikiryo when the threats have activated. As a model-heavy crew, you're likely to out-activate your opponent. So use this to your advantage, leave Kirai until last and summon Ikiryo to do whatever you like, unimpeded by reprisals that turn. Then if you win initiative you can use her straight away for more fun before sacrificing. If you don't win initiative and she dies, summon her right back again!
I hope this helps anyone who's starting Kirai and wants to get the most out of an essential model. Also remember: if you want a mega awesome beatstick that can one-shot Masters, we now have Izamu!

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Back From The Spirit World...

... would be a better excuse for not posting on here since January. However to be honest I just have had a lot of non-Malifaux stuff on my plate lately, as well as having one of those dips in hobby activity. We all get peaks and troughs, I guess this has just been an unusually long trough.

Whilst I've been away I have: painted some models (but not as much as I would have liked), been to a Malifaux tournament and finally - gotten into Hordes. Oh no! I hear you cry, the one person who reads this blog. Never fear, I'm still a committed Malifaux player, I just want another game to give me a wider breadth of opponents as my local Malifaux community is unfortunately quite small and I can't take losing to the same guy most weeks (well, I did draw against him ONCE!). 

I've learned a lot in these past months, especially how to use Ikiryo effectively. The next post will be a bit more in depth (so stay tuned!) but it boils down to one thing which will undoubtedly be a shock to people looking to pick Kirai up to wreck face: Ikiryo is NOT Lord Chompy Bits!

As for the tournament I attended: I didn't come last. Success! I attended a one day tournament in February (Lost Love) which was my first Malifaux tournament.  I wanted to face new opponents (which I did), learn about Kirai (which I definitely did) and win a few games (which I did). My biggest moment of the tournament was facing OldManMyke with Rasputina (I know, hobknobing with the celebs of Malifaux!) and not realising Kirai had a method of stopping damage from blast templates. Kinda important with Rasputina I know. For more on that fight, listen to the Malifools Podcast Episode 34, 1 hour  23 minutes in. I'd taken Kirai, some more Seishin and my summon was Jaakuna as my summon which was a mistake as I found her largely useless. In future tournaments I will have more options than I had at Lost Love so I can field her in situations I want to rather than have to find a way to use her or she's useless.

I did want to give a more detailed account of the tournament but honestly it's been so long I've largely forgotten it. I am happy with how I did and in games following it I think I've progressed both in skill but more importantly in attitude - I played Hamelin this week and didn't come away with The Face! If that isn't progression, I don't know what is.

Well, I've bored you long enough, here's some more pictures! They're still based off my theme of Kirai as Jade - Queen of the Shadow Khan. I DID dip my Night Terrors and plan to do it on a few more models purely down to time restrictions for Deliverance. I will eventually add some better blood effects to my models, after I buy my Hordes stuff. 

Francis is now on his back due to glue problems, now it just looks like Kirai has cut his testicles off!

Next time: Using Ikiryo Effectively. See you next time!

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Slight setback... but pictures!

So yeah, much like Cheated Fates' Spencer's Grem 13 blog ( I have made a setback in my goal. I vowed to play nobody BUT Kirai and Yan Lo and I played Perdita this week. It's something everybody gets don't they? Ban yourself from things and instantly they become much more appealing. I had decided to take Perdita to a tournament in a few weeks, so I tried her out. Safe to say my list with only four significant models was far too low, even in 25ss.

I have since decided to take Kirai as originally planned, even so I don't think I can keep to my vow 100%. I may get the itch to play some Guild masters from time to time but Kirai will still be who I'll play more than them, as I want to get much better with her. I guess this will be my new "vow".

I am at a bit of a stumbling block though: money. I need to get as many models as possible to have a varied list for Kirai when I take her to Deliverance in April, but as she's very expensive she's all I'll be able to take. I can't get that many therefore, so I'm trying to  have a decent spread of minions for both speed and kill strategies. I'm not going to divulge what (tournament paranoia has already set in!) but safe to say it's going to cost a pretty penny. I've also got to get them all painted! That won't be easy either, especially as I'm looking for a new job, one that'll mean I work weekdays rather than weekends.

In the meantime, please enjoy my painted Ikiryo and Lost Love! My next post will be the summary of discussions on the Wyrd forum about how to make Ikiryo effective, as I've had some trouble grasping her real role as opposed to what I thought she was supposed to do.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Painted Seishin

I've finally managed to take pictures of the Seishin I finished last week. I've only got 3 so far, my other two have been ordered.

New spirits arise!

Each Seishin is painted to resemble one of the Oni masks from Jackie Chan Adventures. Each Oni/mask was capable of summoning Shadowkhan. So this way my Seishin still do that! Albeit by dieing. I love this as even though most people won't be familiar with the show, the fluff still holds true for me.

Learning with Kirai

So I had a practice tournament game with Kirai recently, with the following (Strategy - Shared Plant Evidence):

Kirai, Lost Love, 3 Seishin, Datsue-ba and an Onryo (Breakthrough, Stake a Claim)


Seamus, Copycat Killer, Mortimer, Sybelle and a Rotten Belle (Stake a Claim, Bodyguard)

I was surprised that Seamus could move so quickly! His crew certainly has a fair few shenanigans that can make them quicker that I thought. I think I did rather well, moving quickly across the board to get my strategy, however so did my opponent and in the last turn my Shikome was lured away from my stake a claim so it ended up 8-4 rather than 8-6. Seamus was a big threat and got my crew stuck hiding a few turns, I have learned maybe it's better to take a direct route and pop across the board, taking a risk, than sit in one place and definitely not progress. Fortune favours the bold after all.

 I really should read the schemes better, it wasn't until during the game that I realised Insignificant models do NOT count towards Breakthrough, so Bodyguard would have been better, with Kirai's Seishin Beacon. I am also underwhelmed with Ikiryo at the moment - she dies too quickly and doesn't do enough to be worth the 4/5 Wd requirement and the two card loss when killed. I've made a thread on the Malifaux forum and  will make a future post with a summary of the discussion.

It didn't help that throughout the game I only got three crows in my control hand. Three! In six turns! At least that's something I can't blame on myself, although I'm not mad as I did notice and improvement and it was good to learn the lessons I did before the tournament.

My next task is to learn how to work with all the strategies that screw over Insignificant models...

Friday, 4 January 2013

Wait, aren't you supposed to be playing Kirai?

Well yes, yes I am. I know in my last post I said I was concentrating on Kirai first and waiting until later in the year to play Yan Lo but hey there's this thing called Vassal! I don't need to models to play online so I got together with a friend to play Yan Lo vs Misaki, 35ss. Apparently delivering a message between two people who are SUPPOSED to be allies is rather brutal.

Deliver the Message

Lupus: Walk With Me, Grudge (Wastrel)
Astro: Infiltrate Malifaux, Emptied Pockets

Yan Lo
Soul Porter

Mr Tannen
Wastrel (Elixir)
Ten Thunders Archer

Turn 1: Turn 1 was a predictable one, with both sides basically moving up towards each other. One Torakage walked forward and switched places with the other, who promptly did the same spell with Mr Tanne, to get him in prime Cheat denying position for Turn 2. I moved things forwards and turned my undead into spirits. Finally a Wastrel moved up to teleport next turn.

Turn 2: I lost Izamu here pretty easily to a Misaki strike but not before I laid a beatdown on Mr Tannen but although I sadly failed to kill him. I then lost an Ashigaru to the Ten Thunders Archer. Thanks to spending a soulstone to get myself up to Level 1 on Path of Ash, I was now halfway to lvl2.The Wastrel annoyingly teleported near to Yan Lo and popped his (0) action to not be able to die, I promptly put him down to one wound to kill him next turn. The Torakage buried and then unburied in base contact with Yan Lo, can you guess why?

Turn 3: Yep, Misaki got initiative (too high for me to risk a soulstone on) and a Torakage got 4 VP for delivering the message. I retaliated by companioning to move Toshiro into Misaki and delivered my message for 2 VP. I then promptly killed the Wastrel, getting my Grudge and denying Misaki the 2 VP for Infiltrate Malifaux (my opponent had failed to noticed he only had two dual faction models and needed them both to live. Lesson learned! Currently 4 - 4. It was at this point however that I noticed I could not complete mine, as I'd lost Toshiro out of Relic range and my other Ashigaru and Soul Porter could only get me to a maximum of Level 3. Whoops! Well I knew I could at least try for a draw, so I decided next turn I'd run through all my remaining soulstones to deny my opponent the Emptied Pockets scheme (after the game we decided this was a bit annoying, making the scheme kinda pointless when my schemes didn't mean I needed to survive).

Turn 4: I decided to summon Izamu (as I realised my scheme was shot) and got Yan Lo to Level 3 of Path of Ash  by killing off my Soul Porter and remaining Ashigaru. Misaki dove down and attacked Yan Lo and I completely failed to kill Tannen (stupid Wp - Wp duel). This whole time he'd been denying me the ability to cheat fate without discarding and it really hurt my hand! Yamaziko had moved up to lend melee support to Misaki on the next turn. I moved Chiaki (who didn't do much the whole game, I am not yet sure how to use her properly) to get Yan Lo to heal the wounds back next turn.

Turn 5: Well this was almost my best turn. If only because I  cast Rigor Mortis on Misaki (YEAH!) and paralysed her for the whole turn. I've never felt so happy in a game of Malifaux. Izamu also killed Yamaziko with the help of some good cards as I was pretty unable to cheat fate after discarding to get Rigor Mortis off. I think I can say it was totally worth it because...

Turn 6: ... I killed Misaki! I managed to get Weight of Ages off enough to kill her thanks to Misaki being nearby and getting it off three times with some good cards and lucky cheating despite Mr Tannen. After this we called it. 

Final result: 4 - 4 DRAW.

Not bad for my first Resser game of the blog. I learned some valuable lessons:

1 - Don't take Walk With Me unless I control enough models to get there, OR discard some stones to get me started. Either way, it's not a good idea to take all the ancestors with this scheme.

2 - I need to learn about Chiaki and Toshiro more, they're a bit more complicated that I though and will reward me after some studying. I really think I wasted these models in this game.

3 - I need some way of getting indirect damage to kill Mr Tannen. He's really annoying and I know I'll face him soon.

4 - Speaking of face, I need to stop with The Face. At one point I got really grumpy with my opponent and I am sorry for that.

Well there you go, next post will be Kirai related, I swear!

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Newly Undead

Well, here goes. Lots of Malifaux players are starting new projects this year and I'm no exception. Whilst I, Lupus (technically LupusFerreus on the forums) am mainly a Guild player, I'm setting them aside for a new challenge: Resurrectionists. I will be forming a Kirai crew and  Yan Lo crew and forcing myself to play them and ONLY them (with one notable exception, see below).

The main reasons for this change are:

1 - I have found most Guild to be very mainstream. Move, shoot, melee - very one-dimensional. Not much to them really. Whilst I do enjoy playing Perdita from time to time (mostly on Vassal), I wanted to challenge myself with a faction that has a lot of intricacies and shenanigans. I also like long words that make me seem intelligent.

2 - A new painting challenge. I see more conversion opportunities with Resurrectionists, of which you'll see one later. I find my talent lies more in painting than playing, at least so far, therefore I'll be putting my pictures on this blog to document my progress

3 - Competitions. I will freely admit I am a competitive player. I haven't had much success with my Guild and although I know they're powerful, I don't think that I will do as well in tournaments as I will with Kirai and Yan Lo. Kirai is the speed I need to compete in strategies where movement is required and Yan Lo isn't too shabby at this either. He's also a massive beatstick so I feel like they compliment each other.

4 - Learning masters. I know that my lack of success with Guild is largely down to shiny model syndrome and "the grass is always greener on the other side". Resser jokes aside, I want to force myself to learn Kirai and Yan Lo and ONLY them so my experience as a Malifaux player in general will increase faster than last year with Guild.

So there we go. This blog is a statement of my intention as well as a resource for any other player who wants to start these masters. I WAS going to take Perdita to a 25ss tournament because I wasn't sure how well Kirai would do, but dammit I need to learn so why not jump in at the deep end? The tournament in question is the Lost Love 25ss tournament in Essex, UK. It's a tournament for beginners so I think it's a suitable place for me to start with Kirai. I also have a tournament planned in April which, due to the nature of cost involved in playing Kirai (more on this later) I find it unlikely that I will play Yan Lo until about May. Unless it's on Vassal where I'll just proxy him when my copy of Book 4 arrives.

For the next few months then I'll be focussing on Kirai, posting battle reports and pictures and general updates to keep me going and stop getting distracted by Perdita - who is really eyeballing me to play her. We'll see how long I last, wish me luck!