Tuesday, 20 November 2012

40k GT Qualifying Heat 3

So this weekend gone I was at the 40K UK GT qualifying heat in Warrington. If you've read my previous posts (and if you're new here, Hi) you'll know I swapped back to my Hive Fleet Krogoth Tyranid army. It did mean a little bit of quick painting to fill in some of the gaps in my 5th edition army.

The list I chose to take was ;-
   HQ1: Flying Hive Tyrant with 2 twin linked devourers - 260pts
   HQ2: Flying Hive Tyrant with 2 twin linked devourers - 260pts
   TROOP: Tervigon,  cluster spine, adrenal glands, toxin sacs, catalyst, onslaught - 210pts
   TROOP: Tervigon,  cluster spine, adrenal glands, toxin sacs, catalyst, onslaught - 210pts
   TROOP: 16 Gaunts - 80pts
   TROOP: 16 Gaunts - 80pts
   TROOP: 16 Gaunts with devourers & Mycetic Spore   - 200pts
   FAST: 15 Gargoyles - 90pts
   ELITE: 3 Hive Guard - 150pts
   ELITE: 3 Zoanthropes - 160pts
   ELITE: DOOM! in Spore - 130pts

It heavily relies on the psychic potential of the army, there's a lot of Biomancy in the army looking for Iron Arms and Warp Speed on the Tyrants to make them stronger, Enfeebles and Endurance on the support psykers.

Game1 - Hammer and Anvil / Crusade vs. Robert Kancidrowski (Necrons)
 Robert was using a fairly standard Necron list. Couple of squads of Necrons in Doom Scythes, one unit of warriors on foot, couple of units of Wraiths, two Annhilation Barges, Unit of Scarabs, 3 Spiders one with gloom thingy. The game was a fairly straight forward battle plan. The Winged Tyrants flew forward as a pair to unleash hell and the rest of the army advance to get into combat. The main star of the match was my rolls for which biomancy each psyker had. Of the seven in my army, five had enfeeble, and boy did it show. Wraiths reduced to T1 and then instant killed by Gaunts in CC, along with the spiders. It was a fairly compreshensive beat down which ended with my Tervigons claiming two objectives along with Line breaker, first blood and slay the warlord.

Game2 - Dawn of War / The Relic vs. Chris Dickinson (Tyranids)
Game two saw me pitched against Chris. Chris is a long standing Tyranid player and someone I’ve found very helpful when chatting about Tyranid tactics and army composition. Chris has also always been a champion for the Tyranids even in their dark days of competitiveness, where he would still put in a fair placing with them. Last month he managed to win a 40man tournament with them also, so this was going to be a real test.
Chris’ army was broadly the same as mine. Two flying Tyrants, two Tervigons, two Gaunt units, Deathleaper, three Hive Guard, two devourer armed Carnifexes and a minimum size Genestealer squad with Broodlord.

I won the roll to go first and deployed with the intention of spawning a gaunt unit and heading straight for the relic. In theory with a 6” spawn, 6” move I could make it to the relic at the end of turn one. Additional Guant units were primed to run past the relic to screen them from a counter charge….. then Chris seized on me.

Relic often comes down to the secondary missions and this one was no different. I was lucky that most Tyranid firepower is short range and therefore going first Chris couldn’t get his firebases unit into range. For my attempt on first blood, both Tyrants, Hive Guard, and Gaunts fired on the unit of his Gaunts which had run onto the relic, killing them all ……… but one. In turn two Chris finished off a unit of my Gaunts to claim the valuable victory point.

As expected the rest of the game was a gaunt on gaunt counter charge. One unit would move onto the relic, typically by running and therefore not actually claiming it, only to be shot off or assaulted off the relic the next term, During the whole game only a single three Gaunt squad of mine actually managed to claim the relic before being charged by a Tyrant and Tervigon. The game was dominated by very slow movement, multiple three dice difficult terrain tests for the Gaunts moving into the ruins the relic was at the centre of resulted in two or three inch movements and his Genestealers even managed to fail a 4” charge through difficult terrain despite having a reroll due to fleet.

The game ended rather rushed as we only managed four turns due to volume of movement and even then turn four was very rushed. At the final whistle, Chris had first blood and slay the warlord. I only had linebreaker, neither of us controlled the relic. So it was a win to Chris in what was a fun game of Tyranids on Tyranids.

Game3 - Vangaurd / Big Guns vs. Dave Symcox (Imperial Guard)
Game three saw me face off against what must be one of the worst matchups for my army, with the possible exception of Dark Eldar poison spam. I was facing Dave Symcox, the man behind the UK 40k podcast (well worth subscribing to on iTunes if you don’t already, not least because in a fortnight you’ll get to hear my dull tones in a post-game interview.)
Dave uses Guard and he was the Guard player on the winning England ETC team this year. His army was also taking full advantage of the allowed Forgeworld units. He had two units of three Hydra platforms, two units of three heavy stubber Sabre Defence Platforms, two units of three autocannon Sabre Defence Platforms, 3 Vendetta, a Manticore and a handful of IG units. Basically his firing was all twin linked with skyfire and interceptor and was either a AV10 vehicle or a T7 artillery unit. This combine with the deployment allowing him to open up an near 36” gap between me and him and that he won first turn, it was going to take an act of god to win this one.

In his first turn Dave managed to destroy my Gargoyles and take 12 Gaunts from one of my units. This level of carnage pretty much continued for the majority of the game. The only real reason it went to the full five round was that I’d rolled endurance on five of my psykers and one of the mysterious objective turned out to be a scatterfield giving the Gaunt unit hiding in the area terrain a 4+ cover save. The only ray of hope was the Doom, but he would have to run the interceptor gauntlet, if he could survive the torrent of fire, his life leech would bypass the Sabre Defence Platforms high toughness and because the Guard were tightly packed into their corner his Str10 large blast had the potential to cause major destruction. Both pods attempted to land on the extreme of his army line with the hope that target saturation might have some benefit, sadly it didn’t. Dave had no Str8 interceptor fire, but the two stubber platforms managed to take the Doom down by sheer volume of fire.

In the end the game was a white wash. I only manage to kill 1 sabre crew and a Vendetta, whilst losing the whole army save for the Hive Guard who were hiding in an LOS blocking set of ruins. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy the game. Dave is a great opponent and gracious in victory. With hindsight I should probably have held more in reserve in the hope of overwhelming the interceptors. Two tyrants, two pods, a Tervigon and Gargoyle screen all coming on at the same time may have meant more of them survive to make contact with the enemy, especially since my commander trait was to reroll reserves. 


Game4 - Hammer and Anvil   / The Emperor's Will vs. Alberto Hernandez (Daemons / CSM)
The start of Day two and things weren’t looking good for qualifying. I’d only one win so far and so could do with at least two more today. I’d faced one of my horror lists, the Guard Forgeworld spam, so I was a little upset when I saw I was facing Daemons. However it wasn’t the all killing Screamer / Flamer spam which is dominating many of the tournaments at the moment, but the slightly older build of monstrous flying spam.

Alberto had brought with him (all the way from Spain to take part), Fateweaver, Bloodthirster, two winged Daemon Princes and four units of plague bearers. His CSM allies were 10 cultists and another Daemon Prince, so that’s five T5 or T6 flying monstrous creatures with re-rollable 3+/5+ saves. I’m not sure why he wanted a Prince from the CSM codex rather than taking a third from the Daemon’s heavy support though.  Unless I could ground the flyers I’d struggle to kill that many flyers. Meanwhile it was clear that the Plague Bearers and Cultists were going to huddle behind his Aegis defence line to hold his home objective.

The first couple of turns were fairly cat and mouse. The Tervigons spawned multiple Gaunts units which spread out to cover a large proportion of the board. This had the effect of limiting the places the flying creatures could swoop to, given their movement requirement to move 12” to 24” per turn. In my turn two the none warlord Tyrant broke off from the group and zoomed down the board to assault Alberto’s home objective, supported by the devourer armed Gaunts landing in their spore. Their combined firepower broke the cultists and killed 4 Plague Bearers defending his home objective.

Turn three was the turning point. The Bloodthirster had landed the turn before and charged the Gargoyles and was now bogged down fighting the fearless winged Gaunts. The arrival of the pod behind his flying circus required him to re-task one of the Daemon Princes to take care of them, whilst also keeping the majority of the models within Fateweaver’s bubble. The only solution to the maneuverers required was to land, and hence all four remaining monstrous creatures touched down. Seizing on this the Tyranids pounced. Gaunt units charge ever monstrous creature they could reach, whilst the Tervigons moved up to extend their toxin sac coverage to as many combats as possible. Fateweaver was charged by one of the Tyrants. The ensuing combats saw Fateweaver take a wound and then fail his leadership test and vanish. Meanwhile, although the Princes were killing 3-4 Gaunts a round, the Tervigons kept topping up the combats with fresh bodies whilst the poison attacks from the Gaunts were slowly dragging the Princes to their knees.

By turn five all the Daemon Princes were dead and the Bloodthirster was left on a single wound. My home objective had never seriously come under threat as the swooping creatures could make it across the Gaunt carpet to get near and Alberto was using his Plaguebearers to bolster his home objective. However this was now under pressure from a Tyrant, Tervigon and two packs of Gaunts. I gambled that there would be a turn six by not landing my Tyrant to contest his objective and it didn’t pay off. However I had first blood and linebreaker so won the game 5 – 3 on victory points.

Game5 - Vanguard / Purge The Alien vs Sean Morris (Marines)
Going into game five I needed one more win to have a reasonable chance of qualifying. Kill points (in old school terms) isn’t a strong mission, I’ve only got 13 possible points in the army, but it limits the number of Gaunts I can spawn in the game. Sean was using a heavy drop pod list. Three dreadnoughts in drop pods, two tactical squads with pods, two attach bikes with multi melta, Thunderfire cannon, 5 scouts, two autolas predators, Lysander and Vulkan He'stan. 

Sean admitted that his army was a 5th edition make up he hadn't really converted accross to 6th and I think it did show a little. Lone attack bikes give up first blood fairly easily and so it was that Sean place one bike with 42" of my Hive Tyrants who promptly shot accross the board and torrented it off the board. Despite my Gaunts spreading out to try to cover as much of my side to protect from drop pods, Sean managed a very ballsy drop which resulted in Vulkan and his tactical squad landing behind my lines, there was still a Gaunt screen preventing him from getting to my big creatures but that many flamers that close to Gaunts isn't good. However in turn two I took a commanding lead by picking on vehicles. Hive Guard shot a Dreadnought, my Tervigon charge a drop pod, whilst my Tyrants flew beind the Predators and took them out from their rear armour. Sean was unlucky in the fact that a lot of the Gaunt squads he fired upon were left on a couple of Gaunts who immediately ran for cover to avoid giving up their kill points. I basically picked on his drop pods crushing all of them under monstrous creatures. Combined with taking out both bikes and the predators meant Sean couldn't catch me.

Game6 - Dawn of War / The Scouring vs James Ramsey (Grey Knights / Imperial Guard)
James has also played a lot of Tyranids and so knows a lot of its tricks. James' army was very shooty, it contained three 10man Strike Squads, a 50man Guard blob, three units of acolytes, a couple of characters and five heavy bolter razorback. 

Basically this was a game about killing the blob before it killed me. Each turn it "first rank, second rank" 'ed and then fired on a unit which disappeared in a hail of las fire. My Tervigons fired their Cluster Spines into the blob on most turns often killing 10 - 15 of them, but they just wouldn't die. Weirdly I got a taste of my usual medicine when my Tyrant got tar pitted by a unit of 12 acolytes with a character making them stubborn leadership 10. There was one silly mistake when I realised that 32 of my gaunts were happily wandering up one flank of the board without a synapse creature, sadly James also spotted this and they both promptly ran off the board. 

James' army cut me to pieces, but the Tervigons saved the day, stomping onto two of the midfield objectives to combine with the one in my deployment zone for a close win.

So overall I finished 10th out of 55 people. It was a great tournament and a good moral boost after my run of terrible luck in 6th edition.

Improvements and Learnings
There are a few things I need to change ;-
  • The Gargoyles could do with an upgrade, I'm leaning towards toxin sacs to give them poison. It would allow them to fly into a monstrous creature and take it down. 
  • I need to watch my synapse bubble. I tend to run the Tyrants in a pair, it adds to their effectiveness, but it limits the number of bubbles, there was a couple of times when either Gargoyles or the drop gaunts were out of synapse and broke and ran. 
  • I think I'll consider Old Adversary on one of both of my Tyrants to give them preferred enemy, possibly at the expense of dropping one of the powers from the Tervigon and the odd gaunts.
  • I'm still not 100% convinced by the Doom, he can win a game but he's also not reliable. In at least half my games he was killed the turn he landed by a strength 8 shot.

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