Friday, 6 December 2013

Tournament Future for 2014

So I'm trying to get my 40k mojo back and attending a few tournament before Adepticon. Whilst I had fun playing with the drop Wolf list at Blog Wars I'm not sure it that competitive especially not in the next two tournaments I've got booked in. Caledonia Uprising and Winter Wars are both run from the same rules pack and operate with two missions each game, one primary, one secondary. Sadly Purge the Alien (kill points) is in all five missions, making a drop list particularly poor. So I'm giving Marines a go. I've come up with the following list so far.

Captain on Bike with Storm Shield and Relic Blade
10 Tacitcal Marines, Plasma Gun in Rhino
10 Tacitcal Marines, Plasma Gun in Rhino
5 Marine Bikers, 2 Grav Guns
5 Marine Bikers, 2 Grav Guns
Thunderfire Cannon
Thunderfire Cannon
Storm Talon with SkyHammer Missiles
Storm Talon with SkyHammer Missiles

Rune Priest
8 Grey Hunters, Wolf Standard, Melta Gun in Drop Pod

Ordo Xenos Inquisitor, 3 x Servo Skulls, Psychotrope Grenades, Power Armour

 I think its got lots of useful tools to deal with the various threats my main concern is how well they actually gel together as an army. The bikes can handle the monstrous creatures such as Riptides and Wraith Knights, the Storm Talons are pretty good at handling air threats and if I get first turn against a Screamer Star or Seer Council the Thunderfire Cannon can mess them up, badly.

I've a few extra points spare and I'm not sure how to spend them. Possible option include a Stalker for a little more anti-air, beefing up the Captain to a Chapter Master and giving him a few more toys or possibly getting the Inquisitor power level 1 and toys.


Monday, 25 November 2013

Blog Wars 6 write up

So a couple of weekends ago I attended Blog Wars VI in the North West Gaming Centre in Stockport. Blog Wars is meant to be a less competitive event than some other tournaments and has a couple of unique rules, including the requirement to have a special character in each army. I decided to take the Skull Reapers in their drop wolf configuration which meant the following army list;-

HQ1: Ulrik the Slayer (180) [180pts]
HQ2: Rune Priest (100), Chooser of the Slain (10), Melta Bomb (5) [115pts]
HQ3: Rune Priest (100), Bolter (free), Melta Bomb (5) [100pts]
HQ4: Rune Priest (100), Melta Bomb (5) [105pts]
Troop1: 8 Grey Hunters (120), Melta-Gun (5), Wolf Standard (10), TRANSPORT1 [135pts]
Troop2: 8 Grey Hunters (120), Melta-Gun (5), Wolf Standard (10), TRANSPORT2 [135pts]
Troop3: 8 Grey Hunters (120), Melta-Gun (5), Wolf Standard (10), TRANSPORT3 [135pts]
Troop4: 8 Grey Hunters (120), Melta-Gun (5), Wolf Standard (10), TRANSPORT4 [135pts]
Troop5: 6 Grey Hunters (90), Flamer (free), TRANSPORT5 [90pts]
Elite1: 10 Wolfguard (180), 4 Combi-Melta (20), 6 Combi-Plasma (30), TRANSPORT6 [230pts]
Heavy1: 6 Long Fangs (90), 5 Missile Launchers (50), TRANSPORT7 [140pts]
Transport1: Drop Pod (35) [35pts]
Transport2: Drop Pod (35) [35pts]
Transport3: Drop Pod (35) [35pts]
Transport4: Drop Pod (35) [35pts]
Transport5: Drop Pod (35) [35pts]
Transport6: Drop Pod (35) [35pts]
Transport7: Drop Pod (35) [35pts]
Fortification: Aegis Defence Line (50), Quad gun (50) [100pts]

The field at Blog Wars was unusual too, there were a lot of Tyranid and Chaos players and not a huge number of the Tau and Eldar you expect to see at a tournament.

Game 1 vs. James Lamb (Grey Knights / Blood Angels)

Describing James’ army as Grey Knights is actually wrong, there were no silvery Marines in evidence on the table. What there were, were lots of damn dirty apes!!! James was using a list which featured a lot of Jheriko weapon smith acolytes and Coteaz. Sprinkle in a few Chimera, Razorbacks and a 10man death company and Librarian in a drop pod and you had his army. Those monkeys are tricksy, they can choose to fire Las Cannons, Heavy Flamers or Multi-meltas as well as rocking a 5++ save, but are pretty expensive points wise.

The game itself was in three distinct phases. With little of my army on the field (only the Long Fangs deploy) James’ first turn was largely ineffective, my initial wave of pods dropped and melta’ed two of the transports. Took off half the Death Company with combi Plasma and killed a number of Monkeys with Jaws.

Turn 2 was all about the counter attack, Monkeys leapt from the wreckage or disembarked and ran up towards the Grey Hunter packs, opening up with Heavy Flamers, reducing two of the Grey Hunter packs to single models. I mean, who give a monkey a flame thrower ?? The Death Company shot and then charged the Plasma Wolf Guard killing half their number, but taking more casualties in return.

However the third phase was the Space Wolves’, more pods landed reinforcing the weaken units and began mopping up the monkeys, now no longer inside the transports, with mass bolter fire. Ulrik butchered the Librarian, whilst the Wolf Guard traded blows with the accompanying Death Company. In the End Ulrik fell to the last Death Company marine after having killed the Librarian and the rest of his squad. Unfortunately the Marine found himself out of combat next to the sole remaining Long Fang and took a Krak missile to the face. Over the next couple of turns the bolter fire destroyed all remaining Grey Knights and only the drop pod remained to avoid me tabling James.

Game 2 vs. Peter Butler (Eldar)

Peter was playing a Eldar army that wasn’t Wave Serpent spam or Jet Seer. It included two Wave Serpents, one with Wraith Guard the other with ten Dire Avengers. There were also two Wraith Lords, two Vypers, a large unit of Guardians, three Jetbikes, Warp Spiders and all led by Phoenix Lord Asurmen.

Asurmen rolled for his three warlord traits and picked up re-rolling 1s for armour saves. With a 2+ save to begin with this made him almost immune to small arms fire. I was going first in the game and I can’t remember if it’s because I’d won the roll. If it was this was probably my first mistake. Peter elected to keep a lot in reserve including both Wave Serpents, Warp Spiders and Jet Bikes. I think one mistake I made (both in this game and the third) was to be too clever with my initial wave. I dropped the smaller flamer squad along with two of the Grey Hunter packs and the wolf guard. The plan in my head was to hold back two of the melta armed larger hunter packs for the arrival of the reserves. I think if you’re going to play a drop pod army you need to be aggressive. I should have probably landed three large hunter packs, all three Rune priests and the Wolf Guard and gone super aggressive on the units currently on the board. As it was my Wolf Guard’s combi plasma fire deleted one of the Wraith Lords but then was wiped out by the 2nd one in close combat. The Long fangs blew up both Vypers. Assurmen survived two attempts to Jaws him off the board. My first turn wasn’t too bad, but it went downhill from there.

Assurmen and the remaining Wraith Lord made it into combat with two of the Grey Hunter packs with Rune Priests. Assurmen was down to a single wound after taking a couple of hits from Melta guns, but it quickly became apparent that neither pack of Grey hunters could reasonably hurt their opponents, but because their Krak grenades might they were both locked in combats they were pretty safe to loose. The decline continue with the arrival of the reserves, the wraith guard locked a third pack of Grey Hunter, the Dire Avengers and Warp Spiders picked on the Long Fangs and Flamer squad and it was all going downhill fast.

Now I lost this game, but there was one highlight which made the game really amusing. The Rune Priest locked in combat with Assurmen and the Wraith Lord had been turning down the challenge and hiding at the back of the combat. At the bottom of Peter’s turn three both units failed their morale tests , were not swept and managed to run away from their respective opponents. They then rallied and in the same turn Assurmen and the Wraith Lord vanished down a giant crack in the ground as both rolled 6s for their defence again Jaws. It didn’t turn the game but I do claim quite the moral victory.

Game 3 vs Luke Fogg (Imperial Guard / Space Wolves)

This was a classic army, One Blob, three separate guard units, two manticores, two vendettas a Demolisher and double Rune Priest and five man Grey Hunter squad. The mission was five objectives and they’d been deployed mostly in the centre.

Luke deployed tightly in one corner using the Guardsmen to defend against my drop pods. Again with hindsight I should probably have deployed more aggressively, brought down all four bigger packs and rapid fired into the 20man blob and two of the 10 man squads. Hopefully this alpha strike would have done enough damage to soften up the guard for a charge next turn and the remaining squads landing could take on the tanks. I also mucked up the Long Fang deployment, putting them in one corner in a ruin, when Luke deployed in the opposite corner I'd lost their firepower for most of the game. I should have deployed them centrally. During the whole game I control almost ¾ of the board with Luke making little movement outside of his corner, but the blob just kept whittling down my units. Had I gone more aggressive in the first turn I possible could have killed a lot of guard before they even had a chance to fire and hopefully overwhelm his line as my reserves arrived.

As it turned out Luke won the war of attrition, taking out a lot of my Grey Hunters but never really getting any board control. In the end it was a 2 -1 loss on objectives, simply because the work horses of the army are also its troops and hence they die in the meat grinder of assault. Luke controlled the one objective in the his deployment zone and annoyingly Sly Marlo had appeared on another one and spent most of the game hiding to control it.

I love playing with the drop wolves, but are they competitive? The main issue is the use of your Troops to perform the heavy lifting.  The natural attrition hurts them. I am considering switching to the normal marine codex for my next tournament, a one day affair in Mansfield, but I'm still not sure what I'm going to take to Caledonia and ultimately Adepticon next year.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Blog Wars 6

In a couple of weeks I'm going to Blog Wars 6 with Bennett (I would link his blog at this point, but I've just looked and he's not posted on it since Blog Wars 4 *HINT* *HINT*. Blog Wars is a one day event which, with the closure of Maelstrom earlier in the year is being held at the North West Gaming centre in Stockport.I missed the last one but attended Blog Wars4 and it was good fun.

So it will probably be more competitive than the Hull's Angels tournament, but hopefully not the full on waac of the GT heats / finals, another opportunity to build my confidence with the drop wolves. Blog Wars has one unique stipulation, you must have a special character in the army, I was going to swap a Rune Priest for Njal, but he's expensive, so instead I swapped the Wolf Priest for Ulrik, I can't select my target for preferred enemy, but effectively get it for anything with T5 or greater, so it still works for hunting Riptides.

So the new army is ;-

HQ1: Ulrik the Slayer (180)  [180pts]
HQ2: Rune Priest (100), Chooser of the Slain (10), Melta Bomb (5), Jaws of the World Wolf (free), Living Lightning (free) [115pts]
HQ3: Rune Priest (100), Bolter (free), MeltaBomb (5), Jaws of the World Wolf (free), Living Lightning (free) [105pts]
HQ4: Rune Priest (100), Melta Bomb (5), Jaws of the World Wolf (free), Murdurous Hurricane (free) [105pts]

Troop1: 8 Grey Hunters (120), Melta-Gun (5), Wolf Standard (10), TRANSPORT1 [135pts]
Troop2: 8 Grey Hunters (120), Melta-Gun (5), Wolf Standard (10), TRANSPORT2 [135pts]
Troop3: 8 Grey Hunters (120), Melta-Gun (5), Wolf Standard (10), TRANSPORT3 [135pts]
Troop4: 8 Grey Hunters (120), Melta-Gun (5), Wolf Standard (10), TRANSPORT3 [135pts]
Troop5: 6 Grey Hunters (90), Flamer (free), TRANSPORT5 [90pts]

Elite1: 10 Wolfguard (180), 4 Combi-Melta (20), 6 Combi-Plasma (30), TRANSPORT6 [230pts]

Heavy1: 6 Long Fangs (90), 5 Missile Launchers (50), TRANSPORT7 [140pts]

Transport1: Drop Pod (35) [35pts]
Transport2: Drop Pod (35) [35pts]
Transport3: Drop Pod (35) [35pts]
Transport4: Drop Pod (35) [35pts]
Transport5: Drop Pod (35) [35pts]
Transport6: Drop Pod (35) [35pts]
Transport7: Drop Pod (35) [35pts]

Fortification: Aegis Defence Line (50), Quad gun (50) [100pts]


I've already worked out a couple of changes I could have made, ones that I may apply before Caledonia Uprising. Still worried about flyers, especially Helldrakes but we'll just have to see what turns up.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Hull's Angels Charity Tournament

So a couple of weekends ago I attend my first 40k tournament in almost 6 months (excluding playing ringers in some of the York tournaments). The Hull’s Angels charity tournament is a one day affair to raise money for Help the Heroes. It’s fair to say it a local tournament and the competitiveness of the players reflects this. There weren’t any of the really tweaked meta lists you’d expect to find at the more competitive tournaments and it was a more gentle return to competitive gaming. I decided to take along my Space Wolves to the tournament, but rather than the previous razorback spam I’d used the last time the Wolves came out to play, this time I took a drop list. The army list was built to tackle some of the current meta lists and was ;-

Rune Priest with Bolter
Rune Priest
Rune Priest with Melta Bomb
Wolf Priest
8 Grey Hunters with Meltagun and Wolf Standard in a Drop Pod
8 Grey Hunters with Meltagun and Wolf Standard in a Drop Pod
8 Grey Hunters with Meltagun and Wolf Standard in a Drop Pod
8 Grey Hunters with Meltagun and Wolf Standard in a Drop Pod
5 Grey Hunters with Flamer in a Drop Pod
5 Grey Hunters with Flamer in a Drop Pod
6 Wolf Guard with Combi-Plasma in a Drop Pod
4 Wolf Guard with Combi-Melta
5 Long Fangs with 4 Missile Launchers
5 Long Fangs with 4 Missile Launchers

The tactics are pretty simple, the Long Fangs deploy on the board whilst the rest of the army drop in the face of the opponent. The Wolf Priest teams with the combi-plasma wolf guard to give them preferred enemy. This unit was meant to hunt Riptides, especially ones with the wargear which allows them to deny the witch on 4D6. Once he’s been killed in a hail of plasma the Rune Priests can unleash hell.

There were a couple of unusual rules for this tournament, your warlord trait was rolled once during the first game and then kept for the remaining games. Similarly psychic powers were rolled once and kept. As a result I had less flexibility around swapping to and from Jaws. I opted to switch one Rune Priest to divination and got prescience, he'd hang back with the Long Fangs to increase their chances against flyers. I still don’t want to face many flyers as I think it is one aspect I’ll struggle against.

Sadly I forgot to pick up my score sheet at the end of the tournament and with my terrible memory for name it means I can't remember my opponent's names, sorry guys.

Round 1 vs Orks

Orks! Thousands of them! Well over a hundred at least. My first round opponent had a horde Ork army. The army was made up of ;
2 Warpheads
2 Units of Nobs with Combi scorchas in Trukks
3 Units of 30 Boys
3 DakkaJets
10 Lootas

So Flyers to start with. The mission was Dawn of War / Relic. Relic is an interesting mission for a drop pod army. We are quite capable of raining pods on or around the relic, one unit of Grey Hunters picks up the relic whilst the remaing units run interference and block the opponents army from getting to them. The Orks spread out along the full board length with the Trukks at either end. I took advantage of his deployment by bringing my initial wave of pods down on one side. Starting from the centre so I immediately had control of the relic I dropped down in front of two of the big units Orks and a single Trukk on my left flank. I chose the left side since the only difference was there were no Lootas on this side. My combi-plasma pack landed near his trukk and after cracking it open with a Missile Launcher from the Long Fangs, they poured rapid firing plasma shot into the Nobs and Warphead. Sadly with a 5+ invulnerable save and feel no pain, despite causing 9 wounds I only managed to remove two Nobs. The Grey Hunters did a much better job, removing 19 of one of the mobs and 10 from another.

The Orks attempted to counter attack but discovered that the Grey Hunters are pretty good in a fight too. The Smaller mob was wiped out by the combined overwatch and combat from a single pack, whilst the medium mob was locked in combat with another squad. Some luck from the Warphead meant it teleported itself and his squad away from the Wolf Priest and Wolf Guard and next to my unit holding the Relic, and managed to burn out the Relic holder.

Turn two and more pods rained down. Two five man squads landed forward of the relic, hoping to burn out some Orks but also block there approach to the centre, meanwhile the third squad landed and scooped up the Relic. More mass firepower and combat completely destroyed a 2nd mob whilst reducing the 3rd to 50% of its original size. One of the Dakka Jets arrived from reserves and shot up the squad carrying the Relic, but was shot down the following turn by the Long Fangs. By the end of turn three there were less than a dozen Orks boyz left from the mobs, the Lootas, a few nobs and two Dakka Jets still in reserve. With time running out my opponent conceded as I had currently scored all three secondary objectives and the relic was slowly making its way back into my deployment zone, behind a screen of drop pods and Grey Hunters.

Round 2 vs Space Marines

Round 2 saw me facing off against a Blood Angel army, his army also featured 3 drop pods (there were jokes made about how the battle barges in orbit launching these pods didn’t notice the other one, but hey). He was using
2 Tactical squads in pods
1 assault squad in a pod
1 small assault squad (riding in one of the Storm Ravens)
Terminators squad
Scout squad
2 Storm Ravens

More flyers! Oh the joy. With the mission being Crusade (4 Objectives) with Vanguard deployment and the objectives mostly located on my side of the board I chose to go second to ensure my pods got the drop on his marines. The marines deployed one tactical squad and his Terminators right in his corner near one objectives, I think this was a mistake which he came to realise when I simply ensured that I remained out of range of this section of the army for the majority of the match. The remaining marines dropped down around one of the objective near the centre of the board.

When I dropped in I landed my four grey hunter packs around his two squads and opened fire, wiping out the assault marines. The second squad of marines survived a little longer but when outnumbered 4 – 1 by Grey Hunters it wasn’t going to last forever. His last troop choice and Terminators realised they could simply defend their objective as I controlled two of them so they began to advance toward the centre. Unfortunately the Wolf Guard with combi-plasma had failed to arrive from reserve until turn four, landed near the advancing marines and wiped them out. It was the Storm Ravens that were causing me issues. The Long fangs were only grazing the paint work, I’d removed 2 hull points of one and the other was untouched, and they were chewing up my Fangs and Hunters. However eventually the assault squad inside disembarked and move towards an objective. Ignoring the now hovering Storm Raven the Long Fangs blew apart the Blood Angels removing the last of their troop selection. It was not down to three pack of Grey Hunters to hold onto one objective under heavy fire, which with a combination or armour save and cover saves they did, to score my second victory.

Round 3 vs. Chaos Daemons

Now the tournament was a relaxed friendly affair. However the decision to make the final round only 90mins long because they were running behind schedule was a little odd. I was facing off against a Daemon army which featured.

Daemon Prince (no Wings)
4 Heralds (Two Nurgle, Skulltaker and Karnak)
3 Units of Plague bearers
1 unit of Bloodletters
1 unit of Fleshhounds
3 Soul Grinders
3 Nurgling bases.

The mission was Kill points which is never a good one for drop lists. The Daemons deployed in a line along the length of his board so the Wolves came down aggressively on one extreme flank. In the initial landing a SoulGrinder was taken out my melta fire whilst the Nurglings and a unit of Plaguebearers were mauled. In the Daemon’s turn they attempted to charge the Grey Hunters, but the Nurlgings were cut down by overwatch whilst the Plaguebears and Herald were locked into combat, lost and died to the instability test. In the second turn the remaining drop pods landed. The Flamers squads both opened up on the Bloodletters and Skull Taker incinerating both with flame and bolter fire. Meanwhile another Soul Grinder was popped by melta fire from the newly arrive Grey Hunters. The last remaining Soul grinder was locked in combat with Grey Hunters and unfortunately the Rune Priest with a Melta Bomb, the first attach only manage to destroy a weapon, but it didn’t look good for the SoulGrinder. Due to the timing issues that’s where it ended, however once again my opponent concede the win to me given I was already heavily ahead on Kill points and he was struggling to get to my drop pods (the usual easy kill points in the army) due to the wall of advancing Space Wolves.

This meant I was three for three in win, unfortunately so was one other person in the tournament and so the TO decided a battle of the warlords would determine 1st vs. 2nd. Unfortunately my relatively cheap force multiplier Wolf Priest face off against a Space Marine commander beat stick, complete with 2+ save and Thunder Hammer. Although I struck first and managed to score 4 wounds (2 of which he failed to save) the Commander caused a single wound back, I failed my 4+ inv save and was double tapped out. Still I was happy with my 2nd place and it was a good run out with the marines.

Lessons Learnt.
The army struggle in one aspect, flyers. I think I need to do something to have some answer to them. For Blog wars I need to add in a special character so I might chig the points around and get an Aegis and Quad gun for the Long Fangs to man, either that or get Njal, his lightning still hits flyers right?

Friday, 11 October 2013

Is the 40k tournament scene in the UK dying?

I’ve been digesting a number of podcasts and blogs on related subjects around this as well as giving my own position a lot of thought. You only have to look at Warhammer forum to see that tournaments are not getting the players they were 12-18 months ago. There have been several tournaments which have only sold 50% of their tickets recently, these aren’t even new tournaments but established ones too. So what are the reasons? Well here’s my views.

Edition – 6th editions isn’t ideal for tournaments, there’s a lot of random elements to game which means the real die hard waac player are less in control of the outcome of their army, but I don’t think this would really cause a serious drop off in players. The edition has also introduced some timing issues around the points and game lengths. 1750, 1850, 1500pts ? 3hrs, 2hrs30 there’s a lot of change in the scene as TO try to solve the problem with games not running their full course.

Location – Whatever your feelings on the business practises of Maelstrom and how it closed down, the Eye of Storm gaming centre was an excellent location. Facilities wise it was strong with an onsite bar, shop and plenty of gaming tables and good terrain. But location wise in Mansfield it was excellent sited to serve the Midlands, Yorkshire and Manchester /Liverpool areas. We all know the Warhammer World will not hold any indy tournaments in its hall. Stockport gaming centre seems to be picking up a little now, but it’s not ideal for the Midlands. Personally I’m willing to drive up to 3hr to attend a tournament (well if you exclude a 9hr flight to Adepticon), and I’d expect that’s similar for most people, otherwise it means taking Friday and Monday off work to travel. So there’s currently a lot less choice in the North.

Meta – I think this is singularly the biggest cause of the issue. If you look at the sign ups for the tournaments, the ‘hardcore’ tournament players are still travelling, you regularly see the same names in the 25-25 names signed up to tournaments. It’s the mid-table players which are missing (players which I believe I fall into). We don’t have delusions of winning a tournament, but we aspire to maybe finish in the top third of the rankings and at least win some of our games. So why aren’t the mid table player attending in the previous numbers? Well speaking for myself I simply don’t want to play the ‘none games’ the current meta will generate. The big boys on the scene at the moment are Tau, Eldar and Daemons. More specifically the Tau/Eldar combo, Jet Seer and Screamer star builds rule the tournaments, and playing against them is just DULL. If you’ve not taken one of these builds games against them can feel really stale as you can’t respond to their game style and simply don’t play a game but simple participate in helping your opponent have his game. I’m really not sure I want to spend c£100 (ticket, hotel, petrol) to spend 15+ hours not playing 40k.

The ironic thing is this is actually a self-fulfilling issue. If a 100 player tournament only sells 40-50 of its tickets to the hardcore players and a few mid-table players, the mid-table guys suffer a poor experience being beaten down repeatedly by the power builds, and probably decide not to attend another for a while (it happened to me at the GT final at the start of the year). Now if those 50 unsold tickets had gone to the mid-table players then they would likely get at least 3 -4 games against their fellow mid-table players once the swiss system had sorted out the pairings and enjoy the weekend a lot more. So until events can lure back more of the Mid-Table crowds the tournament scene as a whole is going to struggle.

Now this might self-correct; Stockport gaming centre appears to be holding more tournaments and with Caledonia moving their next year it could really launch itself. Caledonia Uprising also appears to be selling well to the Mid-Table crowd as well as the hardcore players, Timmaa (the TO) also appear to be actively adding elements which cater more towards the Mid-Table crowd, the best in race awards, the Highland league and even the Caledonia Open (although that could quite easily be dominated by the power build too).

The meta issue will shift again with more codices being released, Marines are likely to shake the tree especially with their impact on the Monstrous creature builds of Tau and Eldar, but you do run the risk of simply replacing one of the power three with another build which the Mid-Table player will have a poor game against (You only have to have your key elements destroyed a couple of time by 30 scouting grav gun armed bikes whilst 3 thunder cannons rain death from behind a hill onto your troops to know there’s little you can do to respond). So only time will tell on this.

So is the tournament scene dying? I suspect that there might be a number of the mid sized tournaments which struggle to find a place in the next 12 months and may disappear from the calendar, either than or we’ll just see the rise of much smaller 36 player tournament being run by a local club for player from their club and the surrounding cities, that’s where the Yorkshire clubs seem to be going.


Friday, 20 September 2013

Adepticon 2014

Yup, I'm going to Adepticon again. One advantage of having no mortgage (as of three weeks’ time) is it give you a lot more flexibility with money. So I decided to go back to Chicago again. I enjoyed my first visit there last year and it will be interesting to see if I bump into any of the same people again (and if I can remember their names, which might be the bigger challenge with my memory).

There are two main 40k tournaments at Adepticon, the singles and team tournaments. Last year I was lucky enough to get into a team of people all travelling with Geek Nation tours, and again this year I’ve managed the same again. Lee, Brian and Dano were planning to take a team to Adepticon and needed a 4th player. I met Lee and Brian last year and seemed to get on with them so it should be fun. The idea they had was mass Marines. In the team tournament each person takes a 1000pts army, the organisation chart varies slightly in that each army is allowed an additional heavy, elite or fast with the forth allowed a fortification. I don’t think the armies are going to too competitive but they should be fun. If the plan comes to light each army will be 30 Tactical Marines, 10 Devastators, 10 Assaults Marines and a HQ. Given that in each round two of these armies team up against the opponents it means that each pairing is a complete company. Ok they won’t have much in the way of support units (Rhinos, Predators, Dreadnoughts, etc) but come on 100 power armoured Marines is going to be tough to shift. That is unless we come up against Helldrakes. It should be fun if nothing else.

For the singles contest I’m thinking of taking my Space Marines. Although if the rumours are true the Tyranids will have been re-codexed earlier in the year and could therefore be really good, but I have a hankering to rain metal on my opponents and so I think I’m going to roll with drop wolves.

The plan I have at the moment is ;-
Rune Priest – JotWW, Living Lightning
Rune Priest – Bolter, JotWW, Living Lightning
Rune Priest – Meltabomb, JotWW, Murderous Hurricane
Wolf Priest
8 Grey Hunters – Melta Gun, Banner, Drop Pod
8 Grey Hunters – Melta Gun, Banner, Drop Pod
8 Grey Hunters – Melta Gun, Banner, Drop Pod
8 Grey Hunters – Melta Gun, Banner, Drop Pod
5 Grey Hunters – Flamer, Drop Pod
5 Grey Hunters – Flamer, Drop Pod
4 Wolf Guard – 4 x Combi Melta
6 Wolf Guard – 6 x Combi Plasma, Drop Pod
6 Long Fangs – 4 Missile Launchers
6 Long Fangs – 4 Missile Launchers

That’s 7 drop pods and 67 Space Marines. There are a few nasty combo in here. Triple Jaws will mess up a Tau or Tyranid army. Tau have a nasty new trick involving their artefact which allows them to deny the witch on 4D6 rather than one, that’s where the Wolf Guard come in, 6 rapid plasma guns with preferred enemy from the Wolf Priest should make the mess of the Riptide with the artefact, at which point his mates take 3 JotWW from the other pods that landed this turn. If the Rune Priests have broken off from the squad then the double meta from the Squad can wreck vehicles too. Splitting the Rune Priest off does leave them very vulnerable to intercept, so we may end up leaving them attached and pulling the trick where the Vehicle is the target of the squad, but the JotWW line passes over the vehicle and onto your other target.

Eldar wave serpent spam is a little trickier, a smart opponent would deploy with the rear armours against the board edge or impassable terrain to prevent the pods dropping Meta Guns onto its rear arc. That said there’s still potentially 32 marines landed on their doorstep. If they unload the shields into the units they kill 3 marines per wave serpent and leave themselves very vulnerable to the Long Fangs.

Other meta lists I’ve thought about, the current white scar grav gun bike list will also be alpha striked and the pods can position their content so the Grav guns are early casualties to wound allocation. Monstrous flying creature spam does rely heavily on getting first turn, but again the alpha strike from JotWW, Melta and Plasma will wreck face if it catches them on the ground. Similarly the Screamer council caught before turn is on trouble. If it went first they’d better hope they pass all their deny the witch rolls otherwise they may see their precious book dropping into a large hole in the ground.

Now I’m not saying it’s a killer army, but it has the potential to cause problems. However one triple (or even quadruple) Helldrake army and that’s my tournament run over. We’ll have to see how plans formulate over the coming 6 months and when I’ve had an opportunity to play the armour at some upcoming tournaments, potentially culminating with Caledonia Uprising.

Thought on the list are always welcome.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Team Tournament Ideas

So I'm not Dead.

It's been a while since I posted here, to be honest after Adepticon and the Throne of Skulls I got a little burnt out on 40k and didn't play a game for a few months. There's been other distraction going on plus a nasty outbreak of Magic the Gathering in my local gaming club which has kept me away from Warhammer. I did go to a couple of events, helped York store retain our 40k trophy in the Yorkshire Invasion event at Warhammer World and also run a couple of small events at Garrison. So it's not been an entirely Warhammer free few months.

I am however enjoying organising tournaments, and as anyone who's GM'ed a tabletop roleplaying game knows, you always seem to end up running a game you really want to play in. Which brings me onto my next idea.

One of my highlights last year was attending a team tournament at Maelstrom, however with the departure of that venue it seems that this tournament isn't destined to repeat this year. I recently attended a one day team tournament in Hudderfield and enjoyed it, so I've been thinking about running a team tournament myself in York.

A quick count of board the Garrison has revealed we can put out 20 boards in total, there may be some extra terrain needed to fill them all but I can deal with that. That puts a fairly hard cap on the first event (if successful I may be able to increase it next year by convincing the club to buy more boards). So with 40 player spots the first choice is team size. Pure ETC eight man is probably out, mainly because I suspect most clubs and gaming groups of friends would struggle to put out such a large team, but also it would limit us to five team which doesn't suit the rounds maths too well. So I think I'll settle on eight teams of five (again ten teams of four doesn't quite work in matching).

The next decision is the pairing format, I've seen two versions of team tournament pairing. Option 1 is straight ETC pairing, possibly including a champion. This makes for an aggressive prey army approach since the first put up army is going to get a nasty matchup. It encourages teams to think about their team composition since they will need a fairly resilient army to put forward first.

The second option is the slightly nicer option where two armies are selected to face the put up and then the put up player get to select which of these he faces. This means that he is unlikely to face two horrible match ups, but chances are its still not going to be a fluffy battle.

At present I'm undecided on which of these to go with, I was leaning toward the first pure prey approach, but the more I think about it the more likely we are to get players on the second approach since it favour five friends being able to team up and bring they usual armies a lot easier. There will still be the restriction that each codex can only be taken once as primary and once as ally and mirror combination aren't allow of course.

There is also a host of other decisions to make, one day vs. two days, dates, mission creation (you need a points base mission set rather than simple win/loss which doesn't really favour mission straight from the rule book) as well as a lot of other choices I'll need to make., but I thought I'd get this initial blog written, get the idea out there and also prove I'm not dead.

As always comments and feedback is welcome.

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Adepticon Single Tournament conclusion

Right, this write up is taking ages, and I’ve now got the Throne of Skulls to do, so let’s get it finished!

Adepticon Singles, Game 3
My game three was against Aleksi it turns out that he had won both his previous games so there was a slightly smug grin on his face when he realised he was facing someone who was 1/0/1 and assumed he had an easier game three, which made the end result all the more sweeter. Aleksi was using a horde Ork army and Necron allies. Three large units of Ork boyz, Ghazgull, some Lootas, Big guns. From the Necrons were a Destroyer Lord with a unit of scarabs and two Night Scythes with Warriors in. That’s a lot of Orks!

The missions were Relic and Objective, with the objectives fixed to the centre of each table quarter. I’m a fan of the Relic as it plays well into my hands provided my opponent doesn’t have infiltrators. It’s pretty hard to get the relic off a Tervigon, especially if it’s rocking Iron Arm or Endurance.

The game basically came down to how fast I could kill Ork boyz, luckily for me volume of fire is one thing the Tyranids can do quite well. Aleksi won the roll and made me go first, to allow him to steal objectives with his flyers. In my turn one we targeted the Lord and his scarab swarms. The Hive Tyrants were especially good at this as their Str 6 devourers were instant killing bases. However the Lord did have a 2+ save, but after a particularly bad roll in response to one Tyrant’s firing salvos the Swarms and the Lord were dead, the Lord did get back up again on a single but when he declared a charge against a downed Tyrant he died again (permanently) to the over watch. During turns two and three there was a large scale exchange of fire. Gaunts and Orks died in their droves as they took a torrent of fire from their enemy. However the Tervigons were still producing more Gaunts so slowly the Tyranids began to get the upper hand.

The first real issue was turn 3, I had two choices, I could fly my Tyrants off the board, or I could land. I chose to land them both, fire and then charge a large boy mob with Gazzy with both of them. Gaz challenged and my none warlord accepted, struck first causing 4 wounds but Gaz used his Waaagh and took no wounds before killing the Tyrant, in his turn he rinsed and repeated my Warlord. However all three boys units had been badly mauled.

The Orks were falling apart quickly, but there was little I could do to the Night Scythes and so it was on turn 5 they flew over to take an objective and contest one of mine, thus winning the Ojbective mission, however I clearly controlled the Relic with the Tervigon, in my own deployment zone. I had First Blood and Line Breaker, whist Aleksi had Slay the Warlord, so overall it was a minor win to me.

Adepticon Singles, Game 4
This is going to be a fast write up and I’ll let you know why. Due to weather and traffic issue they were an hour and half late in starting and with four planned games in the day, game four didn’t start till 10.30pm. I know I was facing a Necron army with some Chaos Allies, it didn’t feature a Helldrake but still managed to kill everything in my army but my four monstrous creatures, however I managed to scrap a minor victory off him by getting Line breaker and First Blood. Other than that the game is pretty much a blank. Lack of sleep due to jet lag mean the whole game is pretty much a blur to me.

I finished 89th out of 233 players in the tournament, which I’m pretty happy with. My list wasn’t too bad and there were only a couple of mistakes, the main one being to underestimate Gazghull in combat in game three. I scored 23/40 on their painting mechanic, I could probably have scored a little more if I'd had the time to do more base and fine detail on my models but I'm not that fussed.

Adepticon is a cool experience, I think I’d only choose to go again if I could get a team of 3 other people to come too so we could all play in the team tournament. I did manage to get some games played in the team tournament with some fellow Geek Nation Tour people, but I’ll leave that for another blog and it will probably be after I’ve written up my Throne of Skulls experience.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Throne of Skulls - May 2013

So I’m already in the middle of the slowest Adepticon write up in history, at this rate I’ll be attending Adepticon 2014 before I finish the singles and team tournament games from Adepticon 2013. However this weekend I’m going to Throne of Skulls at Warhammer World. Throne of Skulls (ToS) is Games Workshop’s main “tournament”. I’ve heard mixed reviews of it, due to its random pairings for every round, the odd way they work out the tournament winner and some of the odd rules rulings that the event staff make at times. However this is all second or third hand conversation so that’s why I’m attending one myself to experience it first-hand.

ToS is set at 1500pts, I assume to ensure games finish on time. It’s a lot smaller than I usually play so I’m having to think afresh about my army. I’m also thinking of taking Tau for the first time. This is heavily dependent on me painting quite a lot in the next couple of nights. I’m thinking of using a Tau / Space Wolf combo. Although not totally pointed up yet I thinking ;-

Wolves Primary
Rune Priest
Rune Priest
8 Grey Hunters in Drop Pod
8 Grey Hunters in Drop Pod
8 Grey Hunters

Tau Allies
Kroot Squad with Sniper rounds
Riptide with Ion Cannon
Broadsides with High Yield Missile Pods

Skyshield Landing Pad

The basic idea is against low initiative armies (Tau, Necrons, Tyranids with Tervigons) one or both Rune Priests keep their Jaws and join one of the drop pods for a first turn alpha strike against some high value targets. Otherwise at least one of the Priests will swap to divination and hang out near the Riptide. The Tau meanwhile are stationed on or around the Landing Pad, giving them a 4++ save. I was originally using an Aegis wall to defend the Tau but I think there will be a number of Tau armies there and they can remove cover saves fairly easily. The Skyshield is 25pts extra investment but gives an invulnerable save to the people on it, plus its elevation will give the Broadsides a fairly commanding view of the table (Warhammer world are notorious for light terrain boards). The kroot can help bring down big creatures and if I’ve got the point I want to include a Kroot hound for the option to out flank.

This master plan is heavily dependent on me painting a lot of the Tau models in the next two days, I’m making good progress but it will be close. I had hoped to include a small unit of pathfinders in the Tau allies to support the Riptide (the Broadside’s weapons are all twin linked so work pretty well without them), but I suspect I won’t get them painted in time. Of course if all else fails the Tyranids will be going on their next trip for an outing.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Adepticon singles tournament, Game 2

Adepticon singles tournament, Game 2

So with no chance of qualifying for the second day of the tournament (if there ever really was) my aim now is to have fun and hopefully still finish in the top half of the table. My second round opponent was Ruddy who was playing a Chaos Space Marine army. Luckily for me  his army doesn’t feature any Helldrakes.  Ruddy had a background for his chapter as being one of the two original founding legions which were expunged from Imperial records, the 2nd or 11th legion. I’ve noticed that in the US there is a lot more emphasis on the fluff side of armies, this is evident through tournament points for you display board. The team tournament takes this one step further with specific points for army theme, display board and team appearance. Not saying it’s a good or a bad thing but it is different.

Ruddy's army was a little odd. It featured ;-
Chaos Lord tooled up with wargear
8 Khorne Beserkers
10 Chaos Space Marines in Rhino
10 Chaos Space Marines in Rhino
5 Havoks
3 Obliterators
Daemon Prince with Black Mace
Threat wise, I’d need to deal with the Daemon Prince before he made it into combat and the Land Raider could cause me some issue and would likely deliver it’s payload of Beserkers and his Lord into my battle lines.


The two primary missions in affect this game were Emperor’s Will and Crusade, so four objectives two of which counted for Emperor’s Will. The Deployment was hammer and anvil, so quite a long way for the bugs to travel.  

Once terrain had been placed there was a fairly large open area of terrain in the centre of the board which the Tyranids just wouldn’t be able to cross without taking some fairly brutal casualties, so I was a little surprised that Ruddy deployed his Landraider on this side of the board. It was highly unlikely I’d be attacking on that vector, so I thought it was kind of wasted.  When we deployed we concentrated on the opposite side of the board to take maximum advantage of the woods place to cover my approach. My home objective was defended behind a LOS blocking piece of terrain by the Hive Guard, Zoanthropes and a unit of Termaguants. 

Ruddy got first turn and drove his Landraider into the open area towards my objective, whilst his Daemon Prince flew a full 24” forward towards my battle line.  This was a fairly big mistake in my mind and my two flying Tyrants promptly punished it by swooping near to it and both unloading their devourers into the Daemon, queue one dead Prince and first blood to me. My Hive Guard fired at the approaching Landraider and managed to glance a hull point off it.


During turn two Ruddy made an unusual choice, he backed his Landraider up to be outside of the 24” range of the Hive Guard. Why he didn’t continue to drive forward I don’t know. We might have taken another couple of hull points off it but I very much doubt we would have popped it, especially before it had got close enough to drop off the Beserkers. Another mistake he made was disembarking his squads from their Rhinos. The Doom was pretty much guaranteed to arrive next turn, needing a 2+ with reroll due to my warlord trait. Until the point he disembarked from the Rhinos the only target for him were the Havoks in a building, which would have placed him near the Landraider with its Las Cannon as well as limiting the number of wound available to him. Now that two 10man squads had disembarked he had plenty of choices where to go.  Ruddy's Obliterators were still in reserve and I was a little worried they may try to deep strike into my deployment zone to threaten my objectives now that the majority of my monstrous creatures had moved down the board. Ruddy chewed through a number of Gaunt squads but the Tervigons were still producing more.  For my turn we swept forward further toward Ruddy's primary objective. The Doom lands and strips wounds off the marines, whilst the Tyrants fly over to open fire on the Havoks on the building roof.

Turn three and the Obliterators arrive but deep strike down into the middle of the board. The Lord and crew disembarked from their Landraider and headed toward the mass of Tyranids moving down one flank. The Marines fought a fighting retreat in the face of overwhelming Gaunts, especially with the arrival of the second Mysetic Spore with the Devilgaunts in, but it was pretty much a loosing battle. The Tyrants swooped on the Landraider, both using crush attacks to destroy the vehicle. The Gargoyles charged the Lord and the Beserkers, less with the intent of killing them, more to just tie them up to stop them charging the grounded Tyrants. Mass Gaunts fire brought down an Obliterator and then they charged to lock him combat. 
The remaining turns were mostly about mopping up. His Lord did manage to kill a Tyrant but that was mostly about keeping him away from objectives. The obliterators died to the poisonous Gaunts whilst the 2nd Tervigon and his broods hunted down the remaining marines. In the end I controlled both Primary objectives as well as one of the secondary ones to win both mission.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Adepticon singles tournament, game 1

Adepticon singles tournament, game 1

So Single tournament day 1. Adepticon had a number of differences from the "typical" UK tournament. They had actually embraced the core rule book system of terrain placement by players, so as part of the pre game process you needed to place the six terrain pieces on the board. Players alternated to put a piece with the majority of it being in your board half. The terrain peices were a mixture of area and LOS blocking, and considering the amount of terrian the tournament needed to provide for the c150 board in the 40k hall alone were a pretty amazing quality.

Similiarly objectives were placed already knowing which side of the board you would be starting on, this is a little odd as if there's an odd number the person placing first will obviously stack his side with more objectives.

Mission wise there were two primary objectives in play in a game, win the majority of those and you scored a crushing victory. If it was a draw on the primary to fell to the usual secondary missions (First Blood, Slay the Warlord and Linebreaker). Winning via this was a minor victory, otherwise it was a draw.

My first opponent in the US was Thomas, he using a Tau force but still on the old codex as it had been released a week too late for inclusion in Adepticon. He also had an Eldar ally which only contained Eldrad and some pathfinders. Great so there goes my psychic powers. He had three broadside, two large units of fire warriors, a commander and body guard unit and a 2nd unit of crisis suits in reserve. The primary missions were kill points and five objectives. Kill points is never a favourite of mine as it restricts my spawning from the Tervigons. Closing on the Tau was going to be key here as I needed to minimise his firing.

Tom deployed first and castled up behind his Aegis wall, then I made my first mistake, I forgot that Eldrad could redeploy models. But thinking about it even if I had remember I wouldn't really have been able to defend against it. Once I'd deployed Tom moved two of his Broadsides to sight on the Biovore for first blood, and his HQ and support unit over to a flank to threaten my Tyrants.

He was also going first which meant he'd have the advantage in the firefight to keep the Tyranids from getting to grips with him.

Sure enough, things went downhill pretty fast. The Biovore and none warlord Tyrant died in turn one to Tom's firing.To make matters worse both my Tervigons rolled a double on their first spawning first weren't looking good. Tom's HQ unit was protected by a 2+ save crisis suit and two shield drones which also had 2+ saves due to being owned by that model. My Warlord flew down the flank towards them but totally failed to get a single wound through their save.

Turn two and my warlord died to plasma death from the HQ unit, the Gargoyles were also butchered. As fast as we were advancing we were being shot off the board. The Doom did arrive and cause some carnage in the HQ unit, first slaying four wounds with leech essence, then manifesting psychic shriek for a further two. But it was probably to little to late.

Tom's final crisis team arrived from deep strike behind my lines near the Tervigons and proceed to vapourise one with their firing, the ensuing wounds to the Gaunt units cause one to break and flee off the board, the other were thankfully in the second Tervigon's synapse range. It pretty much went down hill from there (if that's possible). In the end I don't think I managed to get a single kill point as even the unit of Firewarriors my devil gaunts picked on managed to save enough wounds to not be wiped out.

So it was that I suffered a crushing defeat in game one. It was still an enjoyable game to play and Tom was a great opponent, but I'd already ruled myself out of getting through to the second day of the tournament (not that I really had any belief I would have gotten through).

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Adepticon Post 1 (not sure how many I'll span this over)

So last weekend it was Adepticon in Chicago.The biggest tournament in the states and a lot bigger than ones you see in the UK. There were two main 40k tournament that weekend, a singles one and a four man team affair. I was lucky enough to get into both tournaments, the team tournament I was with three other people on the Geek Nation Tours.

Whilst on that subject I do recommend Geek Nation Tours, probably a little more expensive than if you sorted everything out yourself, but a lot less hassle and you get some nice extras too. The main one being exclusive access to the shopping cart two week prior to general release. Let me put it another way, tickets went on public sale around midnight UK time and the singles sold out in six hours, the team tournament in something like four hours. Without the earlier access its very unlikely someone in the UK gets a ticket unless they stay up real late or are lucky. Added to that is a number of organised trips to various restaurants, plus a lovely geek nation bowling shirt and Teras (your host) to answer any questions.  Overall it made the whole trip a lot more relaxed and enjoyable.

Anyway back to the write ups. I'll start off with the singles event. The US operate quire a weird system. There is four games played on day one, then the top 16 generals battle it out on day two. I'm not sure this format would work outside of a convention, since I doubt many people would pay to enter an event where the vast majority of the players will only play on one of the two days. It works in Adepticon since you can spend the second day playing in one of the other tournaments or just visit all the vendors (like I did). Four games in a single day is long, it's 10hrs of gaming before you add in any breaks for meals. It didn't help that the weather leading up to the start was terrible and so registration took a lot longer than I think they'd planned for, so instead of starting at 9am as advertised Game one didn't start until 10.30, it was gonna be a long day.

Now you should all know which army I was taking. The Tyranids have been my only army for the first half of the year and they were going on tour to the US. The bugs actually travelled quite well. They did end up being checking into the aircraft hold as AA wouldn't allow the bag as carry on, but there were only a couple of minor repairs required at the other end.

The list is used was a fairly standard affair, pretty much what you'd expect from the bugs in the current meta.

HQ1: Hive Tyrant (170), Wings (60) 2x Twin linked Devourers (30), Hive Commander (25)  
HQ2: Hive Tyrant (170), Wings (60) 2x Twin linked Devourers (30), Old Adversary (25)    
Elite1: 3 Hive Guard (150)  
Elite2: 2 Zoanthrope (120) 
Elite3: DOOM! of Malan'tai (90) + TRANSPORT1 
Troop1: Tervigon (160), Toxin Sacs (10), Adrenal Glands (10), Catalyst (15), Onslaught (15)  
Troop 2 : Tervigon (160), Toxin Sacs (10), Adrenal Glands (10), Catalyst (15), Onslaught (15) 
Troop 3 : 17 Termagants (85), Devourers (85) + TRANSPORT2 
Troop 4 : 10 Termagants (50)   
Troop 5 : 10 Termagants (50)  
FA1: 15 Gargoyles (90), Toxin Sacs (15)  
Heavy1: Biovores (45)  
Transport1 : Mycetic Spore (40)  
Transport2 : Mycetic Spore (40)

Heavy on the psychic powers and T6 creatures. With a lot of Str4 firepower from devourers and fleshborers, and here they are on their lovely display base (you got extra points in the painting section for having a display board, so I figured I may as well get one).

There were 232 people playing in the singles tournament (and that makes for a large room full of gamers the photo to the left is only half the hall we were in), so to keep in running with my blog I was looking to finish between 100 - 150 for mid table obsurity, higher would be nicer but there was a fair amount of soft scores for painting, and unlike a lot of UK tournaments there was a fairly strict scoring system for it, I knew I wasn't going to get anywhere near to top marks on it and in the end came away with 23 / 40 for appearance.

I think if I start to go over my games this will begin to get a long blog so I'll sign off this entry now and post game one tomorrow. Stay tuned.....

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

The road to Adepticon...

Well Adepticon is no a week away and there's a mixure of emotions. Excited to see what the grandest US wargaming event is like, nervous because believe it or not it's my first ever solo overseas holiday so I'm worried I've not got some visa I require or forgotten something else. From a gaming point of view I'm not overly confident. I took a real beating at the GT final and its really knocked my confidence in the Tyranids. I have took some learning from the weekend (The Swarmlord lost his ticket to the US by his terrible performance at the GT), I'm hoping that it was just a blip.I'm registered in two tournaments over the pond, the Championship and the Team Tournament.

The Championship is a singles event set at 1850 points. The missions used are the kind we've not really seen in the UK since 5th edition with a primary and secondary conditions. Although reviewing the primer packs they produce it does seem that if you win the primary you win the round, and since it's a win/loss system that appears to be key. The tournament is an eight game event with one twist, only the top 16 players get thought to day, so realistically most people in attendance only play 4 games. I'm under no illusion that I'll make it to the final. If I do it will be an act of god. I'd like to come away with three wins, but will settle for two. The Tyranids have been building to this all year and the list I'm going to take is a fairly familiar one, both to my readers (if there are many) and to the Internet as a whole as it's a fairly common build for Tyranids.

HQ1: Hive Tyrant (170), Wings (60) 2x Twin linked Devourers (30), Hive Commander (25) HQ2: Hive Tyrant (170), Wings (60) 2x Twin linked Devourers (30), Old Adversary (25) 
Elite1: 3 Hive Guard (150)
Elite2: 2 Zoanthrope (120)
Elite3: DOOM! of Malan'tai (90) + TRANSPORT1
Troop1: Tervigon (160), Toxin Sacs (10), Adrenal Glands (10), Catalyst (15), Onslaught (15)
Troop 2 : Tervigon (160), Toxin Sacs (10), Adrenal Glands (10), Catalyst (15),
Onslaught (15)
Troop 3 : 15 Termagants (75), Devourers (75) + TRANSPORT2
Troop 4 : 10 Termagants (50) 
Troop 5 : 10 Termagants (50)
FA1: 15 Gargoyles (90), Toxin Sacs (15)
Heavy1: 2 Biovores (90)
Transport1 : Mycetic Spore (40)
Transport2 : Mycetic Spore (40)

It's pretty much what I took to Caledonia Uprising, which was singularly my best tournament placing for a major tournament ever, so I'm hoping for some more of that luck to rub off. I'm also registered in the team tournament with a few other people on the Geek Nations tour. This is a doubles team event so four player split down into two pair, each person with 1000 points. 

I'm looking forward to the whole event and hopefully I'll get some good write ups and photo to post on here in a couple of weeks. 

Sunday, 7 April 2013

UK GT Final 2013 Post Mortem

I say it’s a post mortem as my performance at the recent GT final was pretty dead. I don’t intend to go through a turn by turn write up as I did for Caledonia, mainly because it will only depress me more. What I will go through is some high level highlights, match-up, good units, poor units and overall thoughts.

Firstly lets be fair, the GT final was always going to be a competitive affair. Everyone in the room had finished in the top 50% of one of the heats, so it was an achievement to have qualified. It was 1850pts with 40K approved Forge World units allowed.  It was a win/loss/draw system which does have its advantages and disadvantages. Tyranids can struggle to smash opponents in a typical 20pts system as we tend to loose a lot of our units crossing the board, but it is frustrating to be just pipped to a win and to leave with effectively nothing. Overall the event was well organised, but did highlight that a 1850pt game of 6th edition is a struggle to finish in 2hr 30mins. It’s something I need to address for Adepticon. The list I settled on was ;-

HQ1 – Swarmlord (280) [280pts]
HQ2 – Hive Tyrant (155), Wings (60), 2x Twin Linked Devourers (30), Old Adversary (25) [280pts]
Troop1- Tervigon (160), Catalyst (15), Onslaught (15), Toxin Sacs (10), Adrenal Glands (10) [210pts]
Troop2 - Tervigon (160), Catalyst (15), Onslaught (15), Toxin Sacs (10), Adrenal Glands (10) [210pts]
Troop3 – 15 Gaunts (75) [75pts]
Troop4 – 15 Gaunts (75) [75pts]
Troop5 – 15 Gaunts (75), Devourers(75), Transport1 [150pts]
Elite1 – 2 Hive Guard (100) [100pts]
Elite2 – 2 Hive Guard (100) [100pts]
Elite3 – Doom of (90),Transport2 [90pts
Fast1 – 15 Gargoyles (90), Toxin Sacs (15) [105pts]
Heavy1 – Biovore (45) [45pts]
Heavy2 – Biovore (45) [45pts]
Transport1 – Mycetic Spore (40) [40pts]
Transport2 – Mycetic Spore (40) [40pts]

Another trial outing for the Swarmlord, to see if he could earn himself a ticket to Adepticon. Also I’d taken more Hive Guard as I suspected a heavier mech based meta there.

Game wise I came away with 2 win and 4 losses. The whole of my second day was pretty awful. Nothing to do with the opponents I face personally, but 3 games of terrible matchups where there was very little to nothing I could to disrupt my opponents plan or implement one of my own. Things I learnt about Tyranids from a matchup point of view.

  • Tyranids simply can’t deal with flyers. This can be mitigated by ignoring them in some cases, but specifically Helldrakes and Grey Knight Storm Ravens are just impossible to beat. The Helldrakes can pretty much do what they want with little comeback and are easily capable of destroying monstrous creatures and hordes alike. I do think I need to hold back my flying Tyrants against Helldra to try to ensure that after they’ve flown onto the board I can swoop behind and shoot their rear armour, plus it will prevent the vector strikes on the Tyrants. The mind strike missiles of the Storm Ravens will easily destroy my synapse creatures with minimal effort.
  • Certain Forge World models are horribly broken. I faced two Warp Hunters in game 5 and their barrage 36” range D-Cannons are just ridiculous. The Swardlord was instant killed by one in his first turn of firing with absolutely no possible way for me to defend against it. 
The meta also seems to be shifting back toward more vehicle spam, the Necron army I faced feature 5 AV13 vehicles and 4 flyers which I simply just couldn’t touch. They moved around with almost complete immunity killing the monstrous creatures at range. I also don't like Helldrakes or Bastions both of which I didn't really have a solution to.

With regard to specific units and their performances

Swarmlord – He’s just not fast enough. He also cost me a game by not being able to kill the Dark Eldar Baron in a round of combat. Of the six games I played him he didn’t stand out in any of them and indeed in two gave away first blood. He may work better if he had a Tyrant Guard with him, but I’m not sure. For Adepticon I think the two flying Tyrants will be used.  

Tervigons / Gaunts – Pretty much the stand out units in the army and the real work horses. Tervigons holding the relic are a nightmare to put down and in at least two of my games they were spawning Gaunts all game. So much so that I may have to consider trying to paint more Gaunts to take to America. 

Doom! – The Doom was his usual hit and miss. In one game he dropped, took four wounds of the enemy’s Swarmlord and murdered dozen of Gaunts that his Tervigons kept spawning. In another he landed took a stray round from my own Biovore, before dying to the first melta shot fire at him. This said I think he’s worth the points for the fear alone that many armies have for him, and how he can disrupt a players deployment and movement just to prevent a juicy spot from appearing for him to land in. 

Gargoyles – These winged little Gaunts under performed somewhat this weekend. Being a fraction of on a inch outside of synapse in my last game meant they fled from combat against a dread knight totally collapsing my flank. I think I still need to work out how best to use the faster Gaunts. 

Hive Guard – These were also a little under whelming. If the enemy force featured vehicles which they could prey on, my opponents were quick to deal with them. Their 24” range really is a barrier to this as most of the tanks they want to prey on have much longer ranges and so will simply stay out of range. They are also not a viable anti air unit as they simply can’t hit them.

Biovores - Again under performed, but I'm still yet to face a real blob so they might just have not had the oppotunity to shine.

Overall I'm pretty disappointed with the performance and it hasn't left me in a good mood with the Tyranids. They've got a least two more oppotunities to perform as I'll have little replace them for the Throne of Skulls in May and they definately have to travel to Adepticon in a weeks time. However I've joined in the 40K UK Age of Armies campaign, so there's a replacement army in the making, who prevails for the latter half of 2013 is still to be seen.