Monday, 14 May 2012

War of the Roses - Day 1

This weekend was the first (of possibly the annual) War of the Roses tournament. It was run by the English ETC team. There was a field of 60 players present but some noticeable absences from the armies. No Dark Eldar, no Chaos Space Marines and no Sisters of Battle. Grey Knights, Space Wolves and Necrons made up over half of the entrants. It is a little saddening that the spread of armies at tournaments seems to have dropped off, but given I’d decided to take my new Space Wolves instead of my usual Tyranids I can’t get on my high horse too much. For ease of space my army list can be found here

Game 1 vs. Tom Pickwell [Tau]. Primary: Kill Points, Secondary: 3 Objectives, Dawn of War deployment

Tom’s Tau wasn’t the cookie cutter standard of most tournament Tau armies. It only feature 6 Crisis Suits (HQ and 2 retinue and 3 solo suits) and a pair of Broadsides. The spare points had been used to but up two Hammerhead tanks and a unit of fire warriors in a devilfish. There were the usual large units of Kroot, but these featured Kroot hounds too. I got to go first and parked two empty rhinos 7” onto the board waiting for their Grey Hunter cargo. Tom opted to walk on his tanks and suits, except the solo suits which went into deepstrike reserve and the Kroot which outflanked. First turn my whole army rolled on, with no one available to fire at the drivers put the pedals to the metal and shot forward. The Longs fangs leapt from their Razorback and ran into firing position, whilst all the tanks blew their smoke launchers in preparation of the incoming railgun, and missile pod fire that would rain in from the Tau. As expected the Tau rolled on and opened fire. Black Sun filters allowing them to double their night fight rolls meant they shouldn’t have an issue with the darkness. I say shouldn’t …. that wasn’t the case. Their fire was largely ineffective with a couple of units failing to see and my smoke launchers providing just the right amount of cover.  Having said that my return fire in turn 2 wasn’t that successful either, I did manage to stun both Hammerhead and immobilise a piranha, but didn’t manage to destroy anything. 

For his turn 2 two of solo suits landed as well as one of the Kroot packs coming in on my left flank. Tom’s firing wasn’t too successful, the ETC rules were we using give all vehicles a 5+ save if the LOS crosses a wood, rather than being based on true LOS and the tree models present. I assume this is so they can produce some fairly simple area terrain for the 100s of boards they must have to populate. I lost a couple of my tanks to close range melta from the deepstriking Crisis Suits but largely was unaffected.  

Turn three had a couple of key points, firstly my Grey Hunters in Rhinos and running Lone Wolves we getting within charge range of the Tau lines, and we all know how good Tau are in close combat. Secondly I remembered how poor Tau initiative is, time for a little jaws action. The first salvo of jaws took out a Broadside and the Etheral hiding at the back of board, sadly the Tau didn’t turn and run at the disappearance of their spiritual leader. The Kroot pack took several frag missiles to the face as well as rapid firing bolters and were mauled. One of the Lone Wolves destroyed the immobilized piranha whilst Grey Hunters pulled down a crisis suit. The Tau were very much on the  ropes at this point, they hadn’t managed to make a significant dent in the Wolves firepower and were now facing Grey Hunter in CC. Plus the Rune Priest was causing mayhem now he was within jaws range. They responded by firing at the Rune Priest and squad, who were luckily in cover. Of the 9 man squad only two survived, the Rune Priest and Wolf standard bearer, but in retaliation for the death of his pack mates the Rune Priest cast the Tau commander and one of his Bodyguard down into the earth. Firepower from Long Fangs and a Razorback completely wiped out his left flank and all attention turned to the other side of the board.  The hammerheads were finally cracked open by Las Cannon and Missile and Kroot continued to face bolter and chainswords. In the end the game ended I turn 5 with the loss of almost the entire Tau army. A small fire warrior team were hiding behind their wrecked devilfish from the Grey Hunter s that were stalking them and a lone crisis suit hid amoungst the one remaining  Kroot pack. I’d secure both primary and secondary and had a good lead on VPs

Result WIN: 17 - 3

Game 2 vs. Andy Oakham [Daemons]. Primary: Cleanse, Secondary: Kill Points, Pitched Battle deployment

Chatting to Andy during and after the game it turns out that normally Space Wolves aren’t a good match for Daemons. They’re not terrible but they’re not an  ideal one, so I clearly didn’t play this well. Winning the roll off I chose to go second to ensure I didn’t lose a turn to an empty board. This was apparently mistake #1. Take first turn, drive all your vehicles forward, forcing the daemons to land further away from your gun line. Then in turn two simply slam them in reverse and open a large gap between the forces the Daemons have to foot slog across. It massively slows the Bloodcrushers down and gives you more chance to shoot them. I didn’t and as a result only had one turn of firing before they charged. 

Mistake #2 was forgetting that Lone Wolves are fearless, In my turn 2 I charged the Bloodcrusher unit that had landed after inflicting only a handful of wounds with all my fire, but I lost combat and fled. Had I remembered my Lone Wolf would likely have survived the combat resolution wounds (2+ save and then feel no pain) and kept the Bloodcrushers locked in combat for their turn allowing me another of firing at them. Mistake #3 was not casting Jaws at Fateweaver every turn. He’s only got a 1 in 6 chance of failing the test, but my previous use of Abaddon should have reminded me how often they come up when  rolled. Fateweaver is a fairly major linchpin to the army. In later turns when the Daemons were a little more spread out I was noticing how much easier they were going down to fire. 

My dice rolls weren’t helping as a number of units that were failing moral tests and breaking off the board from the initial Bloodcrusher multi-charge wasn’t helping either. Having said that a small separate force on a hill away from the main battle line did hold out for a little longer, managing to to take wounds off the Bloodthirster as well as half destroying his fiends for some much needed VP. Other units scattered to the 4 corners, determined not to be tabled, however the game just kept on going. In the end it lasted the full 7 turns and the only survivors were 5 Grey Hunters we had fled to the opposite corner in their Razorback.  It was a crushing defeat, but I did learn some new tactics to try to use against a future Daemon army and Andy was a pleasant opponent as he butchered my army so no real complaints from me (except for my own stupidity of not knowing my own codex).

Result LOSS 1 - 19

Game 3 vs. Bennett Morley [Space Wolves]. Primary: Capture and Control, Secondary: Seize Ground, Dawn of War deployment

I’d travelled down from York with Bennett to the tournament so it was a little funny we ended up playing each other. Yeah we could have had a word with the organisers and swapped but to be honest I don’t see the point. I’ve only played Bennett twice with my Wolves so it’s not like we’ve faced each other lots. Going into the match the record stood at one winning draw (around a 12 – 8 split) each, so it was all to play for.  You can find Bennett’s blog here, he may post his army list.

I won the roll off and opted to go first. I repeated my deployment tactic I’d used on our last friendly game, ironically the night before. Long line, Razorbacks on the edges with the plan to collapse in from which ever flank Bennett chose to attach down to maximise the number of rounds it took to get his numerically superior Grey Hunters  into my squads. He’d fallen into the trap once would he do so again or would he attack up the centre to prevent the retreat?  The answer was he had kind of learnt. He still attacked up a flank but more towards the centre, effectively attacking up a line two foot in from the board edge rather than the six inch line he’d used the night before. He also turbo boosted his Lord on bike up the board edge to threaten and assault on turn two. 

For my firing in turn two we unloaded onto a unit of Long Fangs in a ruin killing four of the six, we also popped one rhino, immobilised another and shock a Razorback. Would Bennett string his transports out to maintain the momentum of his thrust, risking his forces arriving piece meal into my waiting line, or would he slow to allow the other units to keep up and risk never getting there? The Wolf Lord charged a unit of Long Fangs, but no before suffering a wound to dangerous terrain. Bennett’s remain army surged forward as fast as possible, stringing out a little in the process. As a result we were able to deal with units as they tried to cross the patch of open ground infront of the gun line. The Lord was however running amok in my line, but luckily for me couldn’t ride his bike for toffee. Having already lost a wound to a tree, a small brick wall was his next victim loosing another wound there, finally a Razorback manage to unload on him to kill him, but he had managed to account for a Long Fang Pack and my deckchair unit hold my own objective.  Bennett’s push down one flank had meant though that because both objective relating to the secondary objective we on the opposite side of the board my force had secured them with relative ease.  The fight over the primary objectives however was fierce, with his lord and two grey hunter packs assaulting mine, whilst my Rune Priest and 2 squads went for his. However in both cases the presence of the deferdner fire support won the day and both attacking force were crushed. In the end it was a draw on Primary, I’d secured Secondary and it was a draw on VPs too

Result: DRAW 12 - 8

An  average day 1, one win, one draw, one loss, we'd have to see what day 2 brought


  1. No Dark Eldar? Really surprising, they were never prevelant at tournaments but they aren't two years old yet

  2. Nice report, looking forward to day two

  3. Hey mate, great report so far! Looking forward to Day2 :)