Decimation was a relatively small tournament, with only 22 players in attendance. What was also unusual was the mix of armies; there were only 4 Grey Knight armies, 1 Space Wolf and no Dark Eldar. Tyranids made up for 4 of the armies in attendance. With a bit of luck I could dodge a lot of the bad match ups and secure a good result. It was a 2000pts tournament using the Northern Warlord mission system (each round has a primary worth 12 tournament points and a secondary worth 6). Northern Warlords was previous my best ever result in a tournament, but that was when I was using Chaos Space Marines. This time it was splinter fleet Krogoth taking to the tables. For my 2000pts I was going to try a Tyranid death star approach. My army was;-
2 Tyrant Guards with lash whips
Tyranid Warrior Prime with lash whip and bonesword
3 Hive Guard
3 Hive Guard
DOOM in a pod
14 Genestealers with toxin sacs with a Broodlord
14 Genestealers with toxin sacs
14 Genestealers with toxin sacs
Tervigon with scything talons, catalyst and cluster spines
It’s a return to favour with the Swarmlord, I loose the ability to outflank the Tervigon, but the ability to re-roll the outflank result and his extra little tricks I hope will make up for the increased points. The plan was to run all 4 HQ units as a block and try to overwhelm the opponent with the pure CC damage these 4 models can put out.
Game 1 vs. Stu Smith (Necrons) – Primary: Kill Points, Secondary: Capture and Control, Spearhead deployment.
Other than one friendly game at Garrison, I’ve never faces a tournament Necron army so I was a little in the dark. I did know that scarabs can bring down the biggest of stealer packs since their ability to absorb attacks and then retaliate with 4 attacks a base (5 on the charge) is scary. Stu had 2 units of 10 scarabs so that didn’t please me, he also had 3 wraiths with destroyer lord which I also knew was a nasty combination. Backing these up were two large unit of Immortals (one with tesla one with gauss) 4 small 5 man warrior unit with a kryptec in each (with some Str9 longer range shot thing), finally 2 Doomsday arks and an annihilation barge. The annihilation barge worried me a lot, its ability to arc between squads could be nasty against my often tightly packs squads of gaunts and HQs.
Stu won the roll and chose to go first. Worried about outflanking Genestealers arriving behind his gun line he strung a unit of scarabs out along his short board edge, the rest of the army took up position close to the centre in a large firing block. For my deployment I opted to forgo outflanking in favour of keeping the stealers on the board. I didn’t want them caught up fighting the scarabs and infiltrating into the empty quarter on Stu’s side of the board left at least one scarab swarm badly out of position. One units of Genestealers didn’t manage to take advantage of a large LOS blocking piece of terrain to deploy 12” away from his battle lines ……… then I seized. The stealers charge round the building and tore into the Tesla armed Immortals, pulling them apart in one turn of combat. Unfortunately this left them in open ground in front of the Necron gun line, and the warriors and immortals repaid the action in kind wiping out the stealer pack in a hail of gauss. The rest of my army approached in cover of a large building. Impaler cannons tore apart one of the units of scarabs, reducing it to 4 bases in one round of firing (Str 8 is good against the little gits) but the remaining bases managed to jump the Tervigon and kill it before being reduced down to 1 base by more Impaler fire. The two remaining Genestealer packs brought down the Annihilation barge and a unit of warriors, but again paid a heavy price from the return fire and were largely rendered ineffective dropping in size down to less than half a dozen. But they had killed off the two 5 man warrior teams guarding his objective. Sadly the annihilation barges’ broadsides finished off the units, leaving me with no troop choices left on his half of the board, but not before one pack of Stealers had destroyer one of the two arks.
Meanwhile the Destroyer lord and wraiths were dealing a terrible price on my Hive Guard in the backfield. They destroyed the small gaunt unit that was holding my own objective and killed the 6 Hive Guards that were advancing into range of the Doomsday arks. It wasn’t looking good. Then the death star landed. It first victim was the 10 strong scarab swarm. With the Swarmlord giving the unit furious charge it upped the strengths of the attacks to 6 or more and so they tore through the swarm in one round. The DOOM landed and started to absorb the life off the small 5 man warrior teams, killing several of them until a Kryprtek ended his rampage with a Str9 shot. The large Immortal squad with gauss blaster took up position to repeat their performance on the Genestealers, this time with the Swarmlord in their sights. However with a majority toughness of 6 this squad wasn’t the push over they were hoping for. As the Gauss cloud parted the Swarmlord and Prime were both still in tact all be slightly wounded now. They charged into the Immortals and start to pull them apart, breaking the unit in combat and running them to ground and that’s how the game ended. It had mostly been a game about monster units, the destroyer lord and wraith had scored around 5 kill points taking out Gaunts and Hive Guard in my back field, whilst the Swarmlord had ploughed through large units of Scarabs and Immortals. The final score was close as I narrowly won the primary by 2 kill points, and the secondary was a draw as neither of us controlled any of the objectives.
Result: WIN 15 – 3 tournament points
Game 2 vs. Gary Marsh (Eldar) –Primary: Capture and Control, Secondary: Seize Ground, Dawn of War deployment.
OMG Gary’s Eldar army is nicely painted. We’re talking hand painted tiny scales on all his Grav Tanks, Wave Serpents, Jet Bikes and War Walkers! The force itself was two units of Fire Dragons in Wave Serpents, two small units of Dire Avengers in the Grav Tanks, 3 War Walkers, two Jet Bike units, a unit of warp spiders and a large seer council on Jet Bikes with Farseer and Autarch.
I can’t remember who won the roll, but I ended up going first. Having not played Eldar a great deal I wasn’t really aware of the trick that Gary had planned, his full force went into reserve. So for the first two turns the Tyranids wandered the board with no one to fight. It meant the DOOM landed with no one to attack and all the Genestealers arrive to an empty board. The objectives were all strung out across the whole length of the board and I knew the Eldar trick of stealing control in the last turns using turbo boosting Jet Bikes, so where possible the Gaunts and Genestealers guard their objectives spread out to stop a Jet Bike landing close enough to contest. At the start of his turn 2 Gary’s whole army except 1 Jet bike squad turned up, and he chose to deploy them all in a tight pack on my far right flank. It was clear he planned to overwhelm one side of my force and sweep down the board. The War Walkers came on behind a unit of Genestealer which had arrived in my turn and opened fire, combined with fire from a couple of the tanks in the army the Genestealers were reduced down to four members, and a unit of Gaunts on the same flank were wiped out. They then charged into the Genestealer to prevent them counter attacking somewhere else. Over the next couple of turns the remaining four Genestealers managed to bring down two of the three walkers in close combat before finally succumbing.
The Eldar advanced slowly across the board, removing units from the 2 objectives on my right flank, then it came down to crunch time, stand opposite the seer council was the Tyranid death star unit of Swarmlord, Prime and two Tyrant Guard. Gary took a moment to weigh up the options before charging the unit into combat. The Autarch was carefully positioned to charge the Swarmlord, to avoid the lash whips of the rest of the unit, whilst the Farseer was also manoeuvred to ensure it wouldn’t be able to get base to base contact with the Tyranids and the charge went in. The first round of combat was violent. With the majority of the seer council reduced to initiative 1 due to the presence of lash whips the Tyranids were striking first. The Swarmlord’s blade parry protected it from the worst of the Autarch’s attacks, then his retaliation cut the Eldar warrior clear from his bike in a single blow. The Prime and Tyrant Guard meanwhile took on the seer council with a succession of blows they managed to overpower the council’s saves and fortune rerolls to kill 3 of its members. In return the seer council managed to land a series of blows killing off the Prime and Guards. However the combat was won by the Swarmlord and the Eldar held.
In my turn the large pack of Genestealers detached from the nearby objective they had been guarding and moved to support the Swarmlord. They charged into the seer council and in a hail of rending cut down 3 more of the council. With minimal casualties taken back the Eldar lost the combat badly and despite their empowerment allowing them to reroll their test they failed the leadership test and fled from combat. They didn’t however manage to get far enough away to stop the Swarmlord from forcing them to run again the following turn. On the primary objective on the left flank of the board a grav tank full of Dire avengers turbo boosted onto the objective to contest, and so at the end of turn 5 the Eldar were one nil up on the Primary and drawing the secondary, but then turn six started. The Genestealers who had been guarding my primary objective charged into the Grav tank, completely surrounding it, immobilising the tank and ripping off its remaining weapons. Trapped inside the Dire Avengers could do nothing but look on, as the stealers swarmed over the stricken tank. In the Eldar’s turn the tank was further assailed and due to the holo field the tank was wrecked rather than exploded. The occupants, unable to disembark due to the surrounding stealers were wiped out. So at the end of turn six it was once again a draw, and that’s how ended. Each side controlled one of each of the objectives.
Result: DRAW 9 - 9 tournament points
Game 3 vs. Luke Dobson (Grey Knights) –Primary: Seize Ground, Secondary: Annihilation, Pitched Battle deployment.
I’d dodged them so far it was inevitable I’d face them eventually. Luke was using a classic MSU grey knight army. Plenty of psi-heavy bolter Razorbacks, 5 man Purifiers with 2 psi-cannons each, 3 psi-riflemen dreadnoughts, Cortez and an Inquisitor. If I won first turn I may have been able to scrape something together provided I could keep the Hive Guard alive through cover and feel no pain, but I didn’t and it was going to be an uphill struggle. In his first turn Luke killed 2 of the Hive Guard, gunned down volumes of Gaunts and opened up on the Stealers which had infiltrated onto the board. In my turn my firing really let me down, the Hive Guard only manage to destroy one tank. In his second turn Luke deployed a lot of his Grey Knights out of the Razorbacks to increase the firepower coming down the board, more Hive Guard died, wounds were put onto the Tyranid command unit and more stealers were shot down. My reply was pretty weak, shaking a single tank which was promptly removed by the fortitude roll. One unit of Genestealers charged the Grey Knights but the purifying flame killed over half of the squad before combat started and the lack of rends meant the remaining stealers were cut down. In Turn 3 it just got worse as the Inquisitor and 10 purifiers charge the Swarmlord and retinue. Shadow in the Warp stopped them using purifying flame, but the odd grenades of the Inquisitor reduce us to Initiative 1, allowed us to only make 1 attack each, dropped our toughness to 5 and then they upped their strength to match. The result was a dead command group in one round of combat. The following turns pretty much went the same way, charging Genestealers were cut down by purifying flame before they even landed a blow and then remaining stealers couldn’t rend their way out of a paper bag. At the start of my 5th turn I had a tiny unit of Genestealers and a single Hive Guard and I conceded the match. Grey Knights are always going to be a tough match, but when the few elements that the Tyranids are meant to do well in also fail there’s nothing much you can do but shovel your models back into your carry case. With hindsight the only real change would have been to try to stop the Inquisitor charging the Swarmlord, if I’d popped his Razorback earlier and hit him with stealers I’d have hopefully still got a death star to rampage through his battle lines.
Result: LOSS 0 – 18 tournament points
Day 1 Summary
Overall a typical tournament performance, one win, one draw and one loss, mid table obscurity beckoned. The Swarmlord was earning his points, dominating combat in two of the three games and the Hive Guard were earning their position in the roster as usual. The Tervigon was under performing with little impact on the game, and with the exception of killing a few Necrons the DOOM wasn’t really living up to his reputation.