Sunday, 25 May 2014

New Directions

 
No, not a blog about Glee!

Since returning from Adepticon I've had quite the journey in terms of my war gaming. It started off with the Yorkshire Open, a tournament with heats, semi finals and a final. Now personally I don't think we need all the rounds. No event seemed to have more than about 16 people at it and it could probably have all been done in a single event rather than the complicated way it was. It was also totally unrestricted in rules, so escalation and stronghold assault were allowed, also add into the mix Knight Titans too and it was a trial by fire. Personally speaking I think that Lords of War have no place in regular 40k and although I didn't face one in my heat, semi or final I did see the evidence of them, especially the final where there were a few. Having said that I did get to know a few of the Leeds Night Owls members and they were pretty cool to hang out with and play against at the various events. In the end I think I managed 6th in the final (out of about 12) so once again, mid table obscurity. 

However that all changes yesterday with the release of 7th edition. Now this has been a very fast release of a new edition and buy and large it is only tweaks here and there to the system. They've changed how psychic power work and actually made it a little harder to cast powers. However they didn't really address the battle brother issue, only removing Tau from the mix by taking away most of their battle brothers. Eldar / Dark Eldar as still best buddies so the beast-stars and wave serpent spams will continue to dominate the scene. I've lost a lot of my 40k mojo of late, I haven't been to a "top end" tournament since Caledonia and didn't really enjoy the field of competition at that one much. So I'm not sure if 7th edition is going to change that.

That said I am getting into 30k. I'm building an army along side a couple of the Garrison guys. One of the main things we're doing is being very open on the models we're buying and what we plan to use. So hopefully this more narrative approach means we won't face an army we can't handle.

My choice for a 30k army goes back to faviourite army and chapter which I was playing for a long time, until GW totally ruined their codex and took all the character from the army. So I'm building an Iron Warrior 30k force.

So far we've only got 30 troops and some HQ figures, but I hope to add the usual big guns and tanks which characterise the Iron Warriors best.



Next up on my wargaming experience is a totally new game, Malifaux. I decided to branch out into a none GW game just prior to the drop of 7th edition and after a couple of failed attempts at games which just had no one around here playing, I chose Malifaux.

Only played a few games at the moment and still very much learning the rules, etc. but it seems fun. Under the advice that pretty much all the factions and masters are balanced I opted to go for the faction that were visually appealing to me......  Ninja's of course. So I've picked up a few of the Ten Thunders box sets and I've been painting ninja and oriental types all weekend, whilst watching two different films called Ninja as well as 47 Ronin and the Last Samurai!!

Malifaux has some interesting twist on the usual game mechanics and I might go into a more detailed first impressions blog later on, but in one moment of blind madness I've just gone and bought a ticket to the Malifaux GT in November, so I'd better learn the rules and get some practise in.





Monday, 19 May 2014

Adepticon 2014 - Part 7 (Team Tournament conclusion)

Game 5 vs. Dorks with Chaos (Chaos Space Marines / Imperial Guard)

So we're into the final part of this epic write up. The final game of the team tournament and teaming once again with Lee we face off against a CSM / Guard combo. Centre of the CSM list was Typhus and his 75 plague zombies. Two Heldrakes and a Vendetta for air support, a Manticore and a handful of other Guard units with a Skyshield landing Pad for them to hold. This game took an interesting turn when I rolled terrify as one of my psychic powers. Suddenly we had a tool for dealing with one of the massive zombie blobs (the other one having Typhus in making it harder to affect).


Turn one and going second I set my Librarian up a couple of inches off the edge of the deployment zone edge on the assumption the zombies would advance. Which they did, so in our turn I duly terrified them, watched them break and then fail to run off the board ...Drat! The Assault Marines from both force flooded the left flank of the board hoping that in our small five man squads we would survive what was about to arrive on the board. A lucky shot from the Devastators also saw the Manticore blow up after having fired only a single missile. The resulting fire wash also cleared out some of the men on the top of the landing pad.

Luck was still on my side though as the zombies  failed to rally, running off the board however they were replaced by a new terror, two Helldrakes and a Vendetta. However the green stuff work and paint job on the Vendetta was AWESOME! I'd noticed a Warhound Titan last year in a similar scheme and it turned out this was the same person. However it was the two Helldrakes which worried us the most and rightfully so, in their firing phase they decimated the Assault Marines, wiping out one five man and severely mauling the other three. This combined with fire from other units on the board almost took them all out.

However the Librarian survived, barely. So in our turn a squad of guard were terrified but also manage to avoid running off the board. The remnants of the Assault Marines and Librarian jumped ever closer to the Landpad and the objective underneath it. On our other flank Typhus and his 35 strong zombie squad were advancing closer. 

Over the next turn the Assault Marines made it to the landing pad, just. By just I mean a single one of Lee's Marines made it there, but then managed to hang on for dear life stood on the landing pad on top of the objective. The Librarian cause some more carnage in the corner under the pad before eventually falling to weight of fire.

Meanwhile Typhus and his zombie massive had made it across the board. Lee started throwing marine units in his path to defend one of our objectives right near the board edge, and it did slow down the advance.

In the end it was time which defeated Dork's with Chaos. We only managed to complete up to turn four and at the end of it Lee's lone Assault Marine was still alive to contest their one of their objectives and Typhus hadn't made it to ours. So we ended up winning. However Dork's with Chaos went on to win the highest placed Heretics army and were a really great set of opponents to end the tournament again.


Conclusions
Overall I enjoyed Adepticon again. The games were a mixture of fun and challenging with the odd slightly dull game thrown in. I do think next time I might skip the team tournament and try some of the other smaller events such as combat patrol and battleground events. Also I'm currently getting into another game at the moment which I might look to play an event in, but more on that in another post.

I will definitely (well finances allowing) be going back next year and in 2015 they are changing venue to a bigger hotel, which was probably the right decision since it really felt that everyone was on top of each other, so they've probably max'ed out the space they can use at the Westin.

An amazing time and fun, even if it is bookmarked with a 7 hour flight.

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Adepticon 2014 - Part 6 (Team Tournament cont.)


Games three and four are an interesting study how two games, with the same outcome, played against two extremely dominant armies can generate two entirely different experiences in 40k.

Game 3 (Space Marines / Tau)

Primary Mission – Mark for Death (Kill Points but only one of the two forces generates them for the opponent)
Secondary Mission – Five Objectives
Deployment – Vanguard Strike

We'd done quite well in our first two rounds, but we'd stuck our heads to far over the parapet and this was the punishment. This Tau / Marine team was pure tournament filth. That's not to say that's a bad thing, the team was clearly here to do well whilst I think we were here to have fun more than win. The army featured a large Centurion deathstar, Chapter Master, two units of Bikes, a Tau Buff Commander, Two Riptides a SkyRay and a couple of units of Kroot. All in all a nasty list.The mission was a variation of kill points, but you had to pick which of the two opponent's army would generate them, the other half yielded nothing. Obviously for us which ever of us was chosen simply didn't combat squad at all to leave only six kill points, that turned out to be me. We made a mistake early, we chose the Tau as our target, but with hindsight this was wrong. The Tau had a lot of long range firepower and hence didn't need to commit, if we'd chosen the Marines at least our kill points would need to get into 24" range if they wanted to contribute anything to the fight.

That's exactly what they did. The Riptides hid in a corner, the Kroot never appear from behind the hills and the Tau commander joined the Centrurions and hid at the back of the unit.

Now don't get me wrong, if I was playing in a solo team tournament or Team Super Troopers were there to win this tournament this game would have been the type of game I'd get my teeth into, but we weren't and our opponents didn't seem to relax there gaming style despite the win pretty much being in the the bag for them. The game only lasted three turns until we concede as we'd lost a lot of our units and weren't frankly having much fum watching our army being picked apart. There was one other part of this game I disliked, the Tau player didn't seem to be making any decisions, even with his own force. The Marines player was telling him what and where to go, it was almost as if he'd turned up just to move models. This seem kinda pointless in a double game to have one player there in body only.

Game 4 (Eldar / Tau) 

Primary Mission – Relic
Secondary Mission – Kill Points
Deployment – Dawn of War

This army was every bit as filthy as the previous army but what a MASSIVE difference in gaming experience. Teaming with Brian again (as I had in game three) we were facing the terrifying prospect of two Riptides, two Wraith Knights, three Broadsides, Two Wave Serpents and a handful of Dire Avengers and Fire Warriors, with a Farseer on Jet Bike as warlord. Between Brian and I we decided to give them Kill Points but to throw everything at the Relic, literally!

Five tactical squads combat teamed down and charged straight for the relic, the light brigade had nothing on us!

I think one of the main difference was the attitude of our opponents, they knew they had this one in the bag, we knew they had this one in bag and they bantered accordingly.

We had some bad luck which might have swung the battle into a real gun fight. Turn one and my four Las-Cannons failed to kill a single Broadside, despite getting three wounds (damn cover saves) but at all time the humour and fun continued. The banter between us and this team was awesome, yes they kept the pressure on us to ensure they won but they were fun to play against.

Brian's decision to take on a Wraith Knight with his assault squad might have seemed odd, but three turns later when it was still locked in combat with the heroic marines our opponents were forced to charge the Farseer into the Combat to help out. This did line up the most classic moment of the whole game. Once the Farseer and Wraith Knight had finished off the Marines the Farseer found himself staring at the business end of my Missile Launcher from the Tactical squad. Driven on from his heroic scoring of first blood in game two he fired, hit, wounded and instant killed the Warlord of the army. For the next turn and a half we took great pleasure in forging the narrative by informing our opponents that the relic in the centre of the board was a fake and that this whole battle was a ploy to assassinate the Farseer, 100 expendable Marines to score a single kill shot on the Farseer. Our opponents also took this in the right spirit and joked along.


In the end we lost, horribly. At the end of turn six I had two models left on the board and Brian had been wiped out completely. However our opponents did comment that the sheer number of Marines on the table had been an uphill struggle and if a little more luck had gone our way it might have changed the game completely. In one turn we had lined up for the Librarian to Shriek a Riptide, both waves serpents to be shot down by Las Cannons and four Multi-Melta to kill a Wraith Knight. It was a little bit of a long shot but if it had succeeded we'd have swung the game completely.

So like I said at the start, two games, both against really hard tournament style lists, both of which we lost horribly being wiped out, but only one I'd replay in a heartbeat.

I really wish I could remember the team name of the team we faced because they were awesome opponents to play against and one of the highlights of my trips to the US. I still chuckle when I remember taking great pleasure in ringing the "Slay the Warlord" result on the score sheet :D



Monday, 21 April 2014

Adepticon 2014 - Part 5 (Team Tournament)

Before I start I need to make an apology to any of my opponents who happen to read this. I lost the piece of paper I was writing down team and player names on, whilst I’ve managed to remember a few of the team names my terrible memory is failing on player’s names. Also I'm not going to go into the specific points we scored in each game for two reasons, the first being that I think the team were more in it for fun times and great games and the final results are irrelevant in that, and secondly they were on the sheet of paper with player names on ;)

Game 1 vs No Bueno (Tyranids / Imperial Guard)

Primary Mission – Kill Points
Secondary Mission – Five Objectives
Deployment – Hammer and Anvil


Teaming with Dano, we were facing a Tyranid and Guard pairing (a positively fluffy combination compared to the team of Grey Knight and Chaos Space Marines our other team members were playing against). The opposition force featured a unit of two Carnifexes, unit of Tyranid Warriors with a Prime, two Zoanthropes, two Hive Guard two big squads of Homogants and Termagants. For the Guard element there were two Manticores, two vendettas and two units of Veteran in Chimera.

Normally Manticores are a high priority target in games. Otherwise they can rain death on armies. However with our force there wasn’t any key targets, which the loss of would cause us issues and we decided to just grin and bare their bombardment. Given the primary mission the majority of the units chose to not combat squad, this meant that in their first turn our opponents couldn’t pick up a first blood kill as the Tyranids were a mostly close combat or short ranged army and the Manticore bombardment only resulted in a couple of dead Marines from different squads. The rest of the army advanced forward with the two large gaunt squads on the flanks with a Chimera and the rest of the Tyranids in the centre behind the Carnifexes. In our turn our primary aim was to get first blood. I opted to target the large Homogaunt unit which was coming down my flank. I jumped my assault unit forward and mange to kill over half the unit with the flamers and bolt pistols. Then followed the volley fire from the two and a half tactical squads at the front of my deployment zone. As the dust settled a single Homogant was left alive, damn! Looking over to Dano it became clear he’d had a terrible turn of dice rolls. Four missile launchers, two Las-Cannons and a conversion beamer had failed to crack open a Chimera, leaving his assault squad with no option but to charge the vehicle itself. Not wanting to leave first blood to change my Devastators squared up on the last Homogant and the plucky little Tyranid’s victory disappeared as four Las-Cannons vaporised him.

The arrival of the Vendettas in turn two also marked another point where the army’s composition meant a different tactic. Normally Vendetta are an issue as they’ll target high value units and kill them. For us it meant the loss of four to five Space Marine, we’ve got another 95 left. So they didn’t attract the attention they often did. What was worrying was the two Carnifexs heading toward the centre objective and out battle lines. Dano and I were taking a rather relaxed attitude to the attrition we were suffering amongst our troops. Sure we were losing a half dozen Marines to the Manticore and Vendettas but it really wasn’t reducing our effectiveness.

The Carnifes, having crushed one of my tactical squads and Librarian in close combat came under fire from almost every Marine on the board and after displaying a remarkable degree of resilience only died to the final shots from the last tactical squad. The las-cannon armed devastators vaporised the Zoanthropes opening up a large hole in the Synapse web the Tyranids were using to control their forces.

The loss of the Zoanthropes had an immediate affect, the large unit of Termagants that was stationed on an objective in their deployment zone broke and ran, but unfortunately not off the table. The Vendattas advanced and killed a few more marines, but in our firing phase were shot down by all out heavy and special weapons snap firing (and the odd thrown grenade).

In the end it was pretty much a slaughter. Dano's assault marines made it all the way to the back of the board where the Manticore and platoon HQ were hiding and managed to blow up one before being taken out. By the end we were firmly in control of three of the objectives and well ahead on kill points as Dano had hardly lost any whole squads, whilst we'd wiped out most of our opponents. 

Game 2 vs Ragnarok (Space Wolves / Grey Knights)

Primary Mission – Allied Table Quarters (scoring unit from both players to control a table quarter)
Secondary Mission – Victory Points
Deployment – Vangaurd Strike

Teaming with Lee this time and taking on a power armour wearing opponent, but like lightweights they'd brought tanks and planes to a man fight, sheesh ;)

The army consisted of two units of Grey Knights, Storm Raven and a unit of Terminators. The Grey Wolves brought a large unit of Bloodclaws in a Landraider led by a Wolf Priest, a smaller unit of Grey Hunters in a Rhino and some Lang Fangs.

Going first, the Wolves choose to attack down our right flank. The Landraider and Rhino deployed in a tight formation with the Rhino providing cover. Personally I would have done this the other way around. The Rhino could quite probably have hidden completely behind the Landraider and given its not an assault vehicle the unit inside doesn't need to get as close when they disembark. The Long Fangs occupied a building on our extreme flank with a good firing lane. The Terminators supported this thrust with a unit of Grey Knights in a more central support role. The Stormraven was in reserve with the 2nd unit of Knights.


I made a mistake here, I deployed my Librarian. With hindsight I should have kept him off board with the Assault Marines, why? because it was obvious what the target of the mindstrike missile on the Stormraven would be if he was on the board. Hindsight is a wonderful thing isn't it. We responded by digging the majority of our heavy weapons into the opposite corner. We piled a few Tactical squads in front of the assaulting Wolves but kept a number of our tactical combat squads in reserve along with the assault marines.

Ragnarok's first turn was pretty standard, all the vehicles advanced, the Rhino popped its smoke launchers while the Landraider and Long Fangs popped off some long range shots, but with little noticeable affect. Our return fire had one stand out point, my missile launcher from my Tactical Squad reached out and touched the Rhino, blowing it up. This not only scored us first blood but also stalled the advance a little. The Missile Launcher would make another star appearance in game four, but more on that later.

The next pivotal moment was when the huge blood claw pack disembarked the Landraider but failed to charge this left them bunched up and easy pickings for the Assault squads. Luckily for them only Lee's unit arrived from reserve but still managed to wipe out almost half the unit. With Tactical Marines swarming onto that half of the board the Grey Knight which disembarked from the Storm Raven were cut down. In the ensuing rounds of combat the alliance of Space Wolves and Grey Knights were slowly beaten down until they were wiped out.

At this point it became clear that victory was in our hand, with only one Grey Knight scoring unit alive it was impossible for Ragmarok to hold any table quarters, whilst due to our combat squad'ing a number of our Tactical squads we still had plenty, but our casualties were actually relatively light so we were winning on VPs too. Sure enough at the end of turn five the game ended and we'd beaten the alliance of Wolf and Knight and marched into round three with three out of four wins, but had we risen too high?

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Adepticon 2014 - Part 4 (Team Tournament Intro)


The team tournament is the crown jewel of Adepticon event. This year 120 teams of four people took part, making it one of the biggest 40k gaming events I’ve been too. The format is fairly simple four players each bring a 1000 point list, for the first three games a player is paired with each member of his team to form a 2000 points coalition. Games four and five it’s the team captain who picks the pairing. Each round teams are drawn against each other and the two coalitions fight each other. The two forces are always treated as allies of convenience, unless the allies matrix classed them as battle brothers, so you do seem some fairly odd combinations at times.
On top of gaming, the team tournament features tournament points for army painting, army theme, team quiz, team spirit, sportsmanship and army display. This makes the team tournament as much of a spectacular as it is a gaming event. Below are a couple of examples of the awesome army displays which were present this year.





I’d managed to get an invite onto team Super Troopers. My fellow team mates (Lee, Dano and Brian) were all on the Geek Nation Tours, and are actually personal friends with the owner Teras. In the month leading up to Adepticon there was a number of conversations around what we were going to take to the tournament over email. Last year the team I joined simply combined four players using their own armies which resulted in quite an odd mish-mash of forces and we didn’t score well in the theme and display categories. Going into this event Brian and Lee had already formulated a plan as to what they wanted the army to look like and I happily joined in. Team Super Troopers would be fielding a Space Marine troop based army, but not just any old set of troops we between the four players we were fielding the complete 2nd and 5th companies of the Nova Marines. That’s 200 space marines plus characters!! The really crazy thing is that Brian volunteered to assemble and paint all the rank and file marines. Each team member would be responsible for their own HQ choice.


At this point I need to pay homage to Brian. He managed to complete the assembly and painting of 200 Space Marines and they looked awesome! Lee provided two forge world realm of battle tiles to give us a cool looking display. I provided the team with matching team t-shirts so this year it really felt like being part of team, rather than a collection of players.

Basically each team member had their own HQ choice, three tactical squads, an assault squad and a devastator squad. The variation between the armies was based on the heavy and special weapon load outs as well as the HQ choice. I was using ;-
Lvl 2 Librarian, Jump Pack, Melta Bombs
Tactical Squad, Heavy Bolter, Flamer
Tactical Squad, Heavy Bolter, Flamer
Tactical Squad, Missile Launcher, Melta-Gun
Assault Squad, 2 x Flamers, Power Sword
Devastator Squad, 4 x Las-Cannon

The other HQs were a Captain and two Masters of the Forge. There was a mix of plasma, melta and flamer for the special weapons and missle, las-cannon and multi-melta for the heavies.

The team tournament work on two mission at the same time, however unlike the championship tournament there is a primary mission which is worth more point than the secondary mission, with the normal secondary ojectives (linebreaker, slay the warlord and first blood) acting as additional points. The combine together to make a score out of 20 (10 for the primary mission, 7 for secondary and 1 point each for linebreaker, slay the warlord and first blood). This means that even in a terrible match up there are points you can try to scrape in order to benefit the team.

I’ll finish the blog entry with some more pictures of the some of the awesome armies on display and get to the actual game write ups on my next entry.


Monday, 14 April 2014

Adepticon 2014 - Part 3 (Championship Tournament cont.)


Half way through the tournament and I'm 1 - 1 after a really close defeat I'm still feeling the love for my army. For the full details on what I was using check yesterday's entry.

Game 3 vs. Josef (Tyranids)

Primary Missions - Kill Points / The Scouring
Deployment - Hammer and Anvil

Josef was using a big bug heavy army. Packed onto his Skyshield landing pad there was two winged Hive Tyrants, two Hive Crones, two Exocrines, three individual Zoanthropes and a Tyrannofex. Standing nearby was a Tervigon and it's thirty Termagants. All in all a lot of high toughness high wound models to kill. Hiding up on the Skysheild made them immune to jaws too, however they were tightly packed in up there which would benefit my Thunderfire Cannons.

Josef had a nice concept for his Skyshield pad, he was using four Carnifex models as legs. I liked this idea but Josef's execution wasn't as good as I think it could be. It might just be that he hadn't finished it yet since the carnifex weren't really that painted.

Although Josef's deployment afforded most of his army a 4+ save it also bunched them up and my opening salvos of Thunderfire and Orbital Strike landed amongst the tightly packed units, putting a couple of wounds on most of the monstorous creatures and killing two of the Zoanthropes. The bike squads also targeted the two Crones and managed to kill both before they had an opportunity to take off.  Josef's response was a little odd, given the firepower my army was obviously kicking out it would have made sense for his Tyrants to take to the relative safety of the air. But instead they stayed grounded and moved to assault two of my bike units, a relatively short charge for one into my command squad and a longer charge for the warlord into one of the troop units. The return fire wasn't that worrying and only really cause the odd wound. When it came to the assault phase the warlord failed to charge, but not before suffering a wound to over watch. The other Tyrant engaged the command squad but was relatively ineffective before being killed by my Lord.

What followed was a pretty systematic destruction of his army. The Talons arrive to continue the punishment and the thunderfires kept raining death. Whenever the Tyranids assaulted the White Scars would simply hit and run so the firepower could be poured on. In the end only the end of the game on turn five prevented me from tabling them

Game 4 vs James (Necrons)

Primary Missions - Kill Points / 5 Objectives
Deployment - Dawn of War

This wasn't going to be a good match for me. I've experience it before and I struggle with the Necron airforce. James was running a spiderstar type army with Zandrekh, Obyron and Destroyer Lord. Add in two units of wraiths, three Spyders, an Annihilation Barge, three Scarabs and of course four minimum units of Warriors in Night Scythes.

I could pretty much have written this report before the game even started and it played out exactly how I thought it would. James won the roll and chose to go second. He formed up in a corner with one unit of Wraiths, Spyders all three characters and the Barge all tucked into a single terrain feature. My Alpha strike was brutal, the Thunderfire Cannons, Orbital Barrage and Grav Guns tore into the units killing four Wraiths, two Spyders and instant killing the Destoyer Lord. The Annihilation Barge was also blown up in the rain of fire. James responded by charging the Spyders and remaining characters into my super unit. The resulting fight lasted over two turns with Zandrekh refusing to allow me to hit and run out. However the Lord slowly wore down the opponents, with some poor rolling from James not helping him out.

Meanwhile the rest of my army mopped up the ground forces, one of my Talons arrived turn two which triggered the remaining Wraiths to deepstrike near one Thunderfire Cannon, unfortunately for them the two Cannons simply direct fired into the clumped up Wraiths after they only manged to run one inch, killing four of the five. Then his flyers arrived.

As fully expected the Night Scythes flew on, shot the Talon and began picking apart the rest of the army. The arrival of my other Talon only resulted in one Scythe being force to leave the board for a turn, but the rest picked apart my army with little return fire. The Command squad didn't event manage to finish off his death star, after Zandrekh died, Obyron teleported out of combat with the remaining Spyder, denying me two more kill points.

Turn five and James dropped unit to secure or contest objectives and then the game ended. I don't believe there is any way my army can beat this force if the Necrons go second and the game ends on turn five, its just not possible.


Conclusion
In the end I finished 121st out of 226, worst that last year but still mid-table obscurity. I had four really enjoyable games, with the first two being my favourite as really tactical games that seem to swing back and forth.

The army performed well, it was narrowly pipped in game two and was beat by a lack of air power in game four. Similar lists to mine were using stalkers instead of Talon, but I feel my Talons were more use in the games that didn't feature flyers. That said I didn't really face any of the Eldar meta armies, although Kevin's force was a brutal amount of firepower.

After a day off on the Friday it was the team tournament at the weekend and time for Adepticon to face the might of two complete companies of Space Marines .....



Thursday, 10 April 2014

Adepticon 2014 - Part 2 (Championship Tournament)

So the Championship tournement is a straight 1850pts single player tournament. Adepticon missions are a little odd as there are two primary mission running at the same time. Win the majority of these and its a crushing victory. If you draw on the primary missions it falls to the usual secondary missions (linebreaker, slay the warlord and first blood). Win on these and it's a minor victory, else its a draw. The mission pack isn't released in advance (well you can pick it up on Wednesday night but that's only after you've handed your list in), so you can't tailor the lists to the missions. This year there was a heavy focus on kill point style mission with three of the five missions featuring them, as apose to one in six in the core rule book. In the end I opted for the alternate force discussed in an earlier blog so I was taking ;-

Primary Detachtment - White Scars
Kor'sarro Khan on Moondraken  - 150pts
Chapter Master with The Shield Eternal, Thunderhammer, Artificer Armour, Bike & Auspex - 255pts
Command Squad with Bikes, 4 x Grav Guns, 2 x Storm Shields, Apothacary - 230pts
10 Tactical Marines with Meltagun, Combi-Melta in a Rhino - 195pts
5 Space Marines Bike, 2 x Grav Guns, Melta Bombs - 140pts
5 Space Marines Bike, 2 x Grav Guns, Melta Bombs - 140pts
Thunderfire Cannon - 100pts
Thunderfire Cannon - 100pts
StormTalon Gunship with Skyhammer Missiles - 125pts
StormTalon Gunship with Skyhammer Missiles - 125pts

Allied Detachtment - Space Wolves
Rune Priest with Bike, Runic Armour - 155pts
7 Grey Hunters, Meltagun, Wolf Standard - 120pts


Hopefully a reasonably well rounded army with a strong alpha strike element but the resilience to back this up in turns two onwards.  I ended up scoring 22 / 40 on appearance scores which wasn't a shock really. My display board was fairly basic compared to some of the awesome boards on display and my painting is fairly basic, still I was happy with that.


Game 1 vs Nick (Tau / Eldar)

Primary Missions - Kill Points / Five Objectives
Deployment - Dawn of War



Talk about in at the deep end. Nick's Taudar featured three Riptides, six Broadsides and a Wraithknight. Throw in two large units of Kroot, an Ethereal, Farseer jetbike unit and Skyshield landing pad and it was a hard army. Unfortunately for Nick it's exactly the kind of army mine preys on. Grav guns make short work of those 2+ saves and we all know the mess jaws of the world wolf makes of Riptides and Broadsides. I deployed aggressively after winning first turn, scouted forward ready to deliver a deadly alpha strike with the grav teams ..... and then he seized.

Luckily for me he chose to throw a lot of the firepower into my super unit and, as designed, it absorbed a tremendous amount of punishment. Plus all three of his riptide suffered a wound to nova charging. He had screened his units well using the infiltrating Kroot. So I opted to soften up both units with fire and then charge them. I did pull a sneaky trick by "firing" jaws through the kroot into a riptide behind killing it instantly for first blood. My command squad made it into their unit and wiped them out, but my other unit failed a charge through cover.

More firepower was aimed at my bikes, but through a combination of jink, invunerable and armour saves we didn't suffer too badly. The command squad was however charged by the Wraithknightwho started pounding on them. Then after being siezed on another key role went against me. The command unit tried to hit and run away from the Knight but failed on a 6. Made all the more frustrating by the nice Jaws line that Nick given to me.




However over three rounds of combat my Chapter Master managed to beat down the Wraithknight, but only after he and Khan made so lucky invunerable saves to avoid being killed (he was on one wound and Khan would have been instant killed).

Meanwhile Nick's Ethereal was living a charmed life. He and his three broadsides were being hammered by my Thunderfire cannons. for almost 4 turns the artillery rained down on them. Often scoring 8 - 10 direct hits to the Ethereal, however Nick was making the majority of the look out sir roles and on the odd occassion he failed would make the cover save afforded the Ethereal. It wasn't until the last turn of the game that the constant bombardment finally paid off as the Ethereal was hit and instantly killed by a Str 6 blast, however other vicitims of the constant shelling of that corner had been both of Nick's jetbike units who had taken refuge behind the LOS blocking building. To add insult the remaining Broadside then failed their leadership and ran off the board.

During this time the remains of the command squad, which now only contained the Apothacary, Rune Priest, Chapter Master and Khan all on a single wound drove around and Jaws'ed the remaining Riptides into oblivion.

At the end of the game all Nick had left was the Broadside on the Skyshield landing pad, but he had managed to kill off my Chapter Master and Khan, still it was a crushing victory to me.

Game 2 vs Kevin (Dark Eldar / Eldar)

Primary Missions - Relic / Hold Ground (the six area terrain features were objectives, held if a troop choose was completely inside at end of the game)
Deployment - Dawn of War


Kevin was playing a list a list i dreaded a lot more than my first round opponent, as it had a lot of firepower out which mitigated my increased toughness. If you force an opponent to make a lot of saves, even if they are 2+, they will start to fail them.

Kevin had sixVenoms, three Wave Serpents transporting various Dire Avengers, Fire Dragons, Wracks, Trueborn and Warriors. Add to this a Wraith Knight, Swooping Hawks, Haemonculus and Spirit Seer it was a force designed to use weight of fire to deal with opponents. After loosing the roll for first turn, I though I'd try a gamble which I'd used in a practise game against another alpha strike army going first. I deployed my two Thunderfire Cannons and command squad with attached independent characters, hidden behind an LOS blocking building.


The plan did work but not quite as well as hoped. Kevin managed to get a line onto one of my Thunderfire Cannons from his Wraith Knight and blew it up, but with the Techmarine Gunner out of LOS it didn't give up first blood. Sadly he also managed to get two  Venoms to spot my Rune Priest which was badly positioned by me so as not to be behind my Chapter Master. Despite having a 2+ save he failed a one save, then failed a later "look out sir" and then his armour save and died, giving Kevin first blood.

My turn and the Thunderfire Cannon retaliated for the departed Rune Priest. Both Venoms had parked close to each other to get the required line on the poor psyker, this made them easy pickings for the Str 6 Thunderfire Cannon who blew both up. The rest of the force still huddled behind building looking to avoid the majority of the firepower.

Kevin advanced on the position, trying to move unit out around the sides to get shots onto my deathstar huddling in the corner he had some shooting from his Wraith Knight and a couple of Venoms but didn't do too much. For my turn all my reserves rolled on at once. The Command squad rolled out from behind their hidden position towards the Wraith Knight, the Storm Talons bore down on the Wave Serpent which had fired it's shield off last turn whilst the bike squadrons came on from out flank, but sadly not on the side of the board to link up with the Command Squad.

 
The Command squad made short work of the Wraith Knight with their grav guns cutting him down in a single firing round. Sadly the Bike squads failed to make any impression on the Venoms they fired at, however the Thunderfire Cannon did pop open another one.

Unfortunately the bike squads continued to under perform, they seemed unable to pop any vehicles. The Command squad did make a mess of a wave serpent before having a terrible round of saves and loosing a large chunk of them. However the stars of the game were the remaining Thunderfire Cannon and the Storm Talons. They consistently shot up their targets which was typically wave serpents and Venoms.

Turn five and a Wave Serpent disembarked five Dire Avengers onto the Relic, only to have my Thunderfire Cannon wipe the entire squad out in my turn. In the end it was really close, neither of us controlled the relic and it all came down to a morale test for a unit of Wracks after they had been fire upon by one of my Storm Talons. Pass and he won the Hold Ground primary 3 - 2, fail and we drew on primary and he would win purely due to first blood. He passed.

I think if the game had gone onto turn six I could have swung it. I'd destroyed all the Venoms, Wave Serpents and the Wraith Knight and my Thunderfire Cannon and Storm Talons should have been able to chew through a few more troop choices.

Kevin actually went on to finish 9th overall and progress into the finals on Friday. I don't know how he fared there but to have almost pulled a victory on this level of opponent really inspired me.