The tournaments locally are YAMS, right? Is there a reason people use that over ITS, the official one?
I understand that's kinda like Malifaux in that you get a number of objectives to complete for VPs, most VPs wins?
Yes it is like Malufaux, the reason being behind the choice is list selection. By this I mean in YAMS you can take pretty much any list and still take objectives, while in the ITS missions there are specialists required which require certain troops to be taken (doc, hacker, engineer, forward observer, chain of command and etc...).
Also if you feel you want to try either Shasvastii or Aleph, or at least see how they play I would suggest to try and witness a game between me and Karl or organise a game against me or Karl.