Sunday, 30 November 2014

Year in Review / Plans for 2015

So as 2014 draws to a close its time to reflect on the year and thoughts for the future.

At the start of 2014 it was all about 40k. I attended Caledonia Uprising and through no fault of the organiser it wasn't the greatest of weekends. My army faced a series of opponents it just couldn't handle and 3 of the 5 games played were very one sided, the type of game I just don't enjoy. That said I had a blast at the Caledonia Open on the Friday night messing around with 1000pts of Tyranids with Dave Williams as a double act. We still lost most of the games but had a laugh doing it.

Yorkshire Open was next and with Forge World, Escalation and Stronghold Assault allowed it further eroded my enjoyment of 40K. I've said it before but if you want to play Apocalypse, play Apocalypse! Titans (and I'm counting Knights in that) and AV15 buildings have NO place in 40K.

However after that was Adepticon XII, and although I didn't do as well as the previous year in the Championship, I did enjoy the games and my opponents. What really made Adepticon for me was the team tournament. Teaming with Brian, Lee and Dano has to be one of my all time 40K highlights. I had a blast, the games were fun (even some of the one sided ones) but it was the team banter that really made the event. Team Supertrooper was a blast to be part of and I'd happily team with them again, even it meant going back to 40K (more on that later). However I think next time Brian won't be so keen to volunteer to paint over 200 marines, mind you it looked stunning as an army and with a few vehicles to round it off I imagine will be a great sight in Brian's game back in Canada.

Coming back from Adepticon and it was the release of 7th edition of 40K. They didn't fix any of the broken stuff, introduced the bullsh!t which is Eldar summoning Daemons, forced apocalypse units onto people and basically finished off the rot of 40K they'd started with 6th edition. Basically GW ruined a game I've loved for over 20 years, sad times.

I very briefly toyed with 30K (and I've still got 20 Iron Warriors to build) but since it's core is still 40K's rule set I wasn't held.

However it's replacement wasn't far behind it. After a demo at the Garrison by our local Henchman (Chris) I fell in love with Malifaux.

I picked the Ten Thunders as a faction since I love the visuals of ninjas and samurai in model range. I started off taking part in a few fixed master leagues both a Garrison and then Guppies. For the first I used Misaki, for the later Mei Feng. This gave me a good grounding in the rules and my masters but I think Mei Feng won the battle as she has become my go to master.

So armed with my new skillz I entered some tournaments. First off was Not a Bad Thing. An awesome tournament and well organised. I enjoyed the games but its fair to say I was terrible! I finished 26th out of 27 players. Not the greatest start to my Malifaux experience, but the fact I still had fun at the games was a good sign. I struggled to finish game in the allowed time and didn't really seen the tricks to the Thunder.

There were a few more tournaments, Malifaux Station @ Santuary Games and Halifaux. I slowly got better, starting to win games as well as finish them within time, but my faith in them was tested and I did get fairly negative. It was all building towards the largest Malifaux tournament in the world ... the GT!!

So in November I attend the Malifaux UK GT 2014. The highlight of the Malifaux season and another highlight of the year for me. Taking place in my home town made travel and accommodation simple. It was 66 players of awesome win, well run and a joy to take part in. I had six really enjoyable games and somehow managed to scoop top Ten Thunders player in the awards ceremony too. It was an awesome end to the tournament year which had seen me loose faith in one system only to find another one.

So what had 2014 taught me? Well for one team or doubles games are awesome with the right mates. I had a blast at both Caledonia Open and Adepticon Team tournaments and definately need to get more team action in.

2015 has some great times install for me. Mike (the GT organiser) is putting together a team leagues across the country and Yorkfaux have stepped up. Myself, Bennett, Graham, Martin, Sam and Nathan (oh and the team Mascot Chris ;) ) We've already got team t-shirt (another fun part of the Adepticon team tournament too) and the inter team banter has already started.

I'm definitely going to the GT in November as well as travelling to Adepticon again, this time for Malifaux rather than 40K, but also to catch up with friends made from previous years, and hopefully make some new ones.

I'll probably do another post later in the month with more aims for 2015, but for the time being I'll end this one.

2014 - Had highs and lows, lost one system but found a new one.

Saturday, 22 November 2014

The UK 2014 Malifaux GT

Been a month since my last post but I've been busy building and painting for the 2014 UK Malifaux GT. I'd actually signed up for this after only playing Malifaux for a month, but it was being held at my home club of York Garrison so it seemed rude not too.
In the end there were 66 players at the event, which I'm led to believe made it the largest Malifaux tournament in the world.
The event was run awesomely, there was a HUGE pile of prize support and in my favourite move most of it was being given away as spot prizes or in a raffle giving everyone an opportunity to win something. That's not to say there weren't prizes for the winners, there were trophies for 1st, 2nd and 3rd as well as best in factions, two best painted and a best costume award too. Once again I epically failed with the camera, totally forgetting to take pictures in half my games.

Before going to this tournament I'd set myself some goals for the weekend. I knew I was never going to win the thing, I'm just not that good, but I wanted something to aim for and set a bar for what could be accomplished. So I set myself three simple goals.
  • Get two win (out of six matches)
  • Complete a game within the allotted time without being tabled
  • Finish the weekend with a diff of -10 or better. 
To give some context to these, in my first three tournaments I've only two games, so two wins in one weekend isn't straight forward, especially as everyone would be bringing their A game to the biggest Malifaux tournament ever!
So with the overview complete its time to move onto the games.

Game 1 vs. Adam Wheeler (Tara) - Turf War / Standard

Never played against Tara, so an up hill struggle for my first game. I knew she has tricks involving buried models and was worried about a Killjoy bomb given my previous experience with him, luckily for me Adam declared her as Resurrectionist and didn't take Killjoy. I took a fairly standard Mei Feng crew with The Damiyo, Chaki, Rail Workers and Tengu. Mei Feng was a beast! but it was a Rail Worker who opened the door. Catching Tara with two severe damages after triggering it's (0) action knocked her down hard and allowed Mei to Rail Walk in and finish the job. She went on to drop the Construct, Hanged and a Crooligan and pretty much tear the heart of the crew. The trapper on the roof of very tall building did cause some issues, before a summoned Komainu teleported into base contact and gave Mei a route to railwalk into an attack. The game ended 10 - 3 to me and it started the weekend off on a high.

Game 2 vs. Greg Piskosz (Pandora) - Stake a Claim / Corner

Neverborn, I've never won a single game against Neverborn and from comments Greg is very good with them. After much back and forth debate I ended up taking Yann Lo. What cost me in this was the Strategy, Greg just ran away with it. I managed to slow him down a little when Chiaki turned a Silurid insignificant before it had the opportunity to drop a stake marker, and deny him a point on turn two, but by the end of turn three he had four claim markers to my one. The crew I'd chosen was too slow, so I just focused on the schemes. Yann Lo did manage to make them suffer with ease. Each turn melting the face off a minion with spirit barrage. I might have gotten away with it picking up three points for Make them Suffer and a further two more for Breakthrough, but unfortunately Greg was running Vendetta against Chiaki and on turn five caught her with his effigy to score two points (pandora had to finish her off). In the end it was 5 - 8 to Greg. A score which a few people told me wasn't to be sniffed at against a good opponent.

Game 3 vs.  Connor Barker (Somner) - Recon / Flank
Time to play another of the Malifools cast. Recon versus the Gremlin summoning engine and pigapult to throw them all over the board, this was an uphill struggle. There were a few tricked I'd come up with after facing similar and one was a Katanaka Sniper to take out the slop hauler. Sadly Connor foiled this somewhat by bringing two in his crew. Still with the first activation the sniper drew a bead and shot one stone cold dead. However Gracie using saddle and re-activate managed to deliver Francois LaCroix right into melee with the Sniper, however in a rather odd moment he red jokered the damage doing twelve points of damage to the sniper, who took five down to his hard to kill and watched as Francois took six himself. In the second turn the Sniper managed to finish off Francois in melee before being shot in the back by a Bayou Gremlin. Mei Feng swooped into to kill off Gracie for Murder Protege over two turns (after having spent the first turn failing to rail walk for all three APs). The major turning point was when Mei charged into the summoning engine in a round of combat using scolding breath managed to kill the three Bayou Gremlins, slop hauler and the Pigapult, effectively shutting down the engine. However a lot of the damage had already been done as Connor had scored most of the Recon points and denied me a few times. He'd also scored his Breakthrough and Plant Explosives despite a sterling effort from the two Tengu who were cleansing the earth of scheme markers all over the board. In the end I scrapped a draw from the game finishing 8 - 8 in an enjoyable game, and I was really glad to have faced Connor on day one and not day two when he was painted green and wearing a black tank top *shudder*

Game 4 vs Matt Ledgerwood (Nicodem) - Reckoning / Standard
I'd never played Nicodem before but understood him to be a nasty summoner. However generally in reckoning you don't want to be summoning that much as it creates models to kill. Matt took an elite crew with Izamu, Rogue Necromancy, Valedictorian, Belle and a Shikome. Nicodem basically seem to give everyone a [+] to everything from attacks, defence casting, damage. It quickly became clear my Yann Lo crew simply couldn't affect them at all. All attempts to attack the crew were fruitless and I have to admit I became a little disheartened. However there were some moments. Matt's crew actually killed 4 models in a single turn, gutting my crew but effectively meaning he didn't score reckoning in any other turn. When the Valedictorian made an assassination run on Yann Lo he simply misdirected the attack onto the nearby Tengu who was my frame for murder target netting me three vps. Yann Lo then spent the rest of the game running from combat summon back ancestors to throw in the way of his attackers. We'd both taken Bodyguard so, for me Kang also went on the defencive, which included Yann Lo making him a sprit to give him Armour +2. He was reduced to below half wounds stealing a vp, but survived the game. Remarkably the final score was 5 - 4 to me. I really thought I'd lost this one and does show I need to get better at not being so pessimistic and fighting all games to the last activation.

Still it meant I finished Day 1 on two wins, a draw and a loss. So I'd already completed two of my goals and with a differential of +5 I was in a strong position for the other one.

Game 5 vs. Nate Zettle (Collette) -Squatters Rights / Standard
Day two and my original opponent may have partied a little too hard the night before and as such was late arriving for the event, as such there was a little last minute re-arranging and I was facing Nate. Side note- Nate ran Not a Bad Thing, the first Malifaux tournament I'd been to and until the GT it was the best of the tournaments too, its still sitting pretty at #2 for me against the GT (and lets face it any tournament is going to struggle to beat this monster). Nate was using Collette, another master I'd never seen, but the star in his crew were two Coryphee who quickly combined together. I simply couldn't handle them. Plus my deck REALLY hated me in this game, flipping terribly when ever I attacked, Mei Feng burning her recalled training failed to hit with any other her three attacks in one turn. Nate had quickly tied up six vps when Cassandra movement shenanigan'ed into my back corner and dropped two scheme markers for Bodyguard and Breakthrough. However an amazing turn from a Tengu being made fast by Damiyo, teleporting to a Scheme marker and then flying 15" to land between them and remove with cleanse away the markers did catch Nate out a little, but Cassandra managed to drop two more. In the end it was a draw which I was fairly happy with 8 - 8. I was just hoping my deck played nice on my final game.

Game 6 vs. Ben Halford (Molly) - Turf War / Flank
Finaly round and I was facing Molly, I've played against her seriously once (Sorry Bennett the early game against you doesn't really count as neither of us knew what we were doing), so I know her summoning of Punk Zombie is a royal pain. I was however facing ressers in turf war, time to break out Kang, two archers and blot the sky and see how it faired. It faired ok, it wasn't until turn four when Ben targetted the archers, prior to that they were causing some havoc with rapid fire and blot the sky. Ben easily delivered a message on Mei Feng as she leapt into combat only for a dead doxy to teleport to her. But a fast Ashigaru managed to deliver mine back, only I'd not announced it. We both scored three vps for breakthrough too, but it was turf war which decided the game and the archers shut ben out, killing anything that ventured into the centre, so I scored three and he scored zero on it. In the end it was a close 7 - 6 win to me.

So I finished on three wins, two draws and a loss and some how manage to get this, best Ten Thunders player. I'm still in genuine shock as to how I pulled this off, but I think a lot of my fellow 10T players were on three win, three losses.

This was a great way to top off what was a really enjoyable weekend of gaming. Much congratulations to all involved in running an awesome event and I already want to book my ticket to next years.

In other Malifaux related news, I'm writing this the night before another tournament in Stockport, having just booked onto two Malifaux events at Adepticon 2015, so plenty more tournaments to go (there's a chance there's three before Adepticon too). Plus I've been playing with Jacob Lynch recently and enjoying this new Ten Thunders master.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Ringers, Byes and the Odd Man out

I've been three tournaments for Malifaux now and thoroughly enjoyed them all. In two of them the TO was faced with the issue of an odd number of players turning up. There are really two ways to handle this.

The Bye approach

Fairly simple, one player doesn't get a game each round and instead is awards some point. The issues with this what to give them? A win? A Draw? Surely not a Loss? Malifaux has an added complication of the differential in VPs which is often used to break ties. What differential should they be given? Personally I'm really not a fan of this approach. If I've bought a ticket, travelled for a couple of hours I really would like to get the three or four games that were advertised. Now I realise its no fault of the TO, but still I'd feel a little cheated if I was forced to sit in a corner for 90 minutes while everyone else got to play.

Bring Out the Ringer!

This is the other solution, the TO lines up someone as a stand in to play in the event of an odd number of players. Often this is one of the organisers and doesn't play to take part, as such is excluded from winning anything. I do however have one major issues with this. Typically the ringer is one of the team of people organising the tournament, or a fellow club member of the TO. Because tournaments are often put on by the better Malifaux players it often transpires that the ringer is quite a good player. Excluding the first round, where its all determined randomly, the ringer is normally put up against the bottom placed player to avoid them interfering in the race for the podium. That's where the problem occurs. Certainly for game three onwards the bottom player is there for a reason, they've lost all their games. To put them up against a player who would normally be in the top half of the table if they were playing in the tournament is a little unfair. But also can't be that fun for the ringer either to basically stomp someone isn't really a game.

One solution I though of was after the first round (since this randomly allocated) the Ringer is playing with a pre-determined crew. The crew is worked out in advance with full knowledge of the schemes and strategy that will be played, but without knowing the opponents faction. Then, and here's the really kicker, is presented to their opponent BEFORE he selects his crew. If I'm right this is a win win. The bottom player gets to engineer a crew to try to counteract some of the nastier tricks the opponent might have and hopefully pull a moral boosting win out of the bag, the ringer get to play a challenging match against someone who maybe wouldn't have posed much of an issue otherwise. They find themselves in a nasty match up against a possible hard counter to their crew, which will challenge them as a player and give them some tough competition.

This is all theoretical at the moment, never actually tried it and it does assume that the ringer is an above average player in the local scene.

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Tournament Write Up - Halifaux II

So another weekend, another tournament. This time it was Halifaux II in, no prizes for guessing, Halifax. So far my tournament track record isn't good. I've manage only two wins and a draw from the seven tournament games I've played, and I think the win at Sanctuary was against a player even newer to the game than me. 

Halifaux was four rounds of escalating soul stone levels. The first two were 30 & 35 stone henchman lead games with the last two 40 & 50 stones. I'm not sure how much of a fan of Henchman led games I am currently, I'm not sure the henchman are even as balance as the masters are (and see my previous post for how I don't think the masters are balanced). 

Game one versus Gremlins and I take the two Tengu and speedy Torekage planned out here. It actually works relatively well however the Gremlins were able to counter most of my stake makers in subsequent turns. Score full points on breakthrough and with the help of both Damiyo and the Super Weasel pushing him along a wk4 Railworker manged to drop power ritual in my corner and then move the entire diagonal, stopping off near the middle to help kill Burt, to not only drop a scheme in the opposite corner but also remove my opponents corner marker to deny him power ritual. In the end I won this one 7 - 3 and was quietly pleased with myself, sadly it wasn't to last.

Game two versus Gremlins, again. This time is was turf war and close deployment. My cunning plan for this one failed spectacularly due to three things. When setting up my crew I noticed the [+] to flips from Damiyo to minions was only for melee attacks, thus significantly down powering the two Thunder Archers I took. Secondly the archers seem incapable of flipping more than 5 or 6 on every attack them made, and thirdly I'd failed to read that the (2) shooting attack which they were often using and getting for free at the end of the turn due to my Blot The Skies upgrade, didn't need LOS and could therefore have targeted the three Gremlins hiding behind the large ht3 wall scoring for Turf War. My two Tengu being ripped apart in a single turn due to some perfect flipping by McTavish. The scenery didn't help either as Damiyo got boxed in so he could make a run for the deployment zone for entourage. Basically I got pummelled and lost 4 - 8.

Game three and the masters came out to play. Still not had any practise with Yan Lo and I still don't think Miskai can really hang with the tournament crews so it was Mei Feng for me. I was facing the Neverborn Dreamer, a master I've never seen before. In reconnoiter I really shouldn't have bother with the Scheme at all, Dreamer just kept summoning in more in and more stuff. Where is the balance in a crew that appears to be easily able to summon two more crew members each turn? Pretty much from turn two I'd lost this one with the Dreamer summoning in minions to bog down my models and secure table quarters. I didn't score for a single turn on the strategy. I did manage two points for killing the Widow Weaver with Mei Feng for murder protege and Mei Feng survived the entire game, but I did give up two vps by forgetting to soul stone prevent damage on Damiyo in the final turn killing him off a protect territory marker. In the end I lost this 8 - 3 against another master I personally think is on a higher power level than mine. 

Game four and I'm facing Gremlins, again! This time is was the clock that caused the most issues with me only getting to the end of turn three. I scored protect territory fairly easily and managed two turn of squatters rights but the pool selection for the other scheme was terrible (Plant Explosives, Make the Sufer and Distact) so I'd taken make them suffer but couldn't get either of my Henchmen or Mei Feng into the minions. I tried to kill the sow, but in the end it was the burning condition from Mei Feng which finished it off and I didn't realise I could kill the pigs this produced for murder protege, still it would only have been one more point. I think if this game had been a longer game in the garrison I'd have won it since my heavy hitters had taken out most if his henchmen and enforcers and were all baring down in the Bayou Gremlins, but it wasn't to be and I lost again, this time 5 - 7

Overall another pretty dismal performance, I wouldn't say my losses were close, in most cases I just couldn't compete with the opponents crews which reinforces my belief that Mei Feng and Misaki just aren't tournament masters, not if I ever want to get a couple of win, let alone threaten the podium. There was some learning from the games and I think against future Gremlin faction games I'm tempted to take a Katanaka Sniper so that if I'm deploying second I can see where the slop hauler is and shot it first turn. However it would require severe damage flip to kill in a single shot so I'm not sure, even with a focus, it can reliably do this. 

Loosing the faith a little more with Ten Thunders as I contiue to struggle against almost all other crews, don't want to swap to another faction but it does look like if I want any success in 2015 Adepticon I might have to. I'll definitely stick to them for the remainder of 2014, I've got one tournament book, another one possible and the GT this year, I'd love to actually win a few more games to give me a bit of an ego lift but we'll have to seen.

Oh one final note, if you don't already I'd recommend the Before We Begin podcast. It a really good format and episode ten features yours truly give his views and limit experience of tournament and how to prepare for them, more from a new player than from any position of knowledge you understand.

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Power Scale, Counters and balance

Having come from a game where power creep was a thing and there were, due to an appalling lack of internal balance and in my mind play testing, a clear hierarchy of armies in terms of their power, I've been interested recently by a lot of tweets, blogs and podcasts in the last couple of weeks discussing relative faction power and "brokeness".

First off, Malifaux is a significantly more balanced game than anything GW has produced. It works well at the casual level and so far, touch wood, appears to work well in tournaments. Although I'm very much aware I've never really troubled the top table players where all the filth and broken combos might be hiding.

That said all is not equal in the world of Malifaux in my mind and there is definitely a couple of tiers of power. There is one main reason which make a master powerful, synergy. From what I've found the main thing to concentrate on is playing your game, executing your plan whilst watching out for opportunities to maybe throw a spanner in the opponents plans. Some masters and crew combine together to make a fairly awesome strategy if they get going. Examples I've seen include
  • Hoffman powerball of death
  • Ramos spider spam
  • McMourning poison bomb
  • Rasputina's spell assault 
  • Nicodem's summoning machine
There are obviously others. It basically when a crew are all pulling in the same direction. Generating the resource that the master or other crew members use to execute the power used to further the plan.

Another trick which makes crews powerful is an defencive ability which prevents the opponent from playing their game. Crews which can bring a lot of armour, incorporeal or hard to wound can really throw a spanner in the works.

One comment I've heard made is that all these synergies have a counter. Sometime it taking out a key member of the crew, which isn't always the master. Sometime its another ability which counters the powerful one. However with most events running fixed faction I don't agree with this. Given you don't know which master your opponent is playing against you (unless they only own a single one and you happened to spot it on his tray or an earlier game) you won't know which counters you need to take.

Although each faction has a general trend, Resurrectionist will be undead, hard to wound and probably summon for example that's not always the case. Take Guild, will you be facing the high armour and constructs of Hoffman? the melee power of Lady J or the ranged firepower of the Family? Without knowing this you really can't plan against them or take the required counters that people are always going about or you'll end up taking a handful of each defence and fail to stop the chosen tactic of the enemy as it overwhelms your small defence. So I'm not a fan of this "every synergy crew can be beaten by counters" argument. It's true provided you know you're facing that master. In a tournament you've no idea which master from the declared faction you are going to face. I've been caught out by not taking the Hard Worker upgrade to then face lots of armour or hard to wound, similarly the opposite of tacking it and realising there isn't anything in the opponents crew it works against.

So once again you're back to playing your own game primarily. This is where the weaker Masters suffer, they don't have a real 'thing' to do. Take Misaki, she doesn't really have a trick other than being able to hit quite hard (and others hit harder). The rest of the crew don't augment or improve her ability and she doesn't work to improve them. The same could be said for Mei Feng. Yes she likes to rail walk off her constructs but there no real synergy. I've not managed or seen a real burning crew with her when run as Ten Thunders as you can't lay the burning down quickly, I think its viable if she's being played as Arcanist as they seem to have more burning orientated crew.

Now I'm not sure that the other Ten Thunders fair much better, but I've not played a lot with them. Yan Lo is a resser and so can do attrition fairly well but he doesn't really have a lot of summoning. Never used McCabe or Shen Long, they do look slightly more synergy orientated, but its hard to tell.

So I think there is definitely a power curve in Malifaux, I think the game structure does mean that one of the top power crew can be beaten either by luckily taking enough counters in your blind crew creation stage or possibly by focusing solely on you game and scoring points and just hoping that the opponent doesn't get their mechanisms rolling at full power. I think I need to get more play time with Yan Lo and Shen Long (I now have proxies for him and Sensi) if I want to be able to compete with the big boys as I don't think Misiki can hang at all and Mei Feng is a struggle. But I'm more than happy to hear other's opinions since, after all, I've only been playing this for 4 months so could easily have missed some moment of clarity.

Monday, 15 September 2014

Thoughts on Halifaux - Stake a Claim strategy

So the next Malifaux tournament I'm off to is Halifaux. This tournament is a little different as there are varying soul stone levels in each of the games. I'm going to try to plan ahead a little as some of these encounters are quite different. 

The first round is 30 soul stone, standard deployment and stake a claim strategy. We obviously don't know the schemes being run but already this round introduces some interesting questions. With only 30 stones the crews are going to be small, but stake a claim also requires people to get into the enemy zone quickly. As it's not scheme markers your dropping a lot of other crews scheme markers tricks don't work, but also given that the action removes all markers within 6" of the model and then places one a move of 6" away from the last marker will mean its removed, see FAQ for confirmation that a 6" move still puts a model within 6" of its starting point. This pretty much neutralises all chance of a Ten Thunder model placing a marker in two consecutive turns. The only pushes available to us are to either push 6" or push the models Wk value. Given that almost nothing in the faction has a walk higher than 6 it means only masters can be pushed, then walk, then place a marker. So do i dedicate my master to simply place markers in the opponents zone? 

Misaki with Kamaitachi totem in toe would effectectively place a marker per turn and little else. Give her disguise to prevent people charging her to tie her up and she can place a new marker each turn at more than 6" away from the last one. If she gets well ahead of the other crew she can opt to break off and attack.


Another option might be to simply take two Tengu, fly then into the opponents half and drop a markers. The tricky bit is the marker in the second turn. Using the first Tengu to drop a scheme marker and then the second one teleports to it and then flys 10" allows it to place a marker in turn two, but makes the 2nd placement for turn three very hard. Leaving my master and a few more points to try to prevent their marker runners getting into my deployment zone in turn one. Out activating the crew and leave Mei Feng or Misaki till last to kill the model is one option, unless its a master of course in which case I'm screwed.

It could be possible for a model with a 6" move, such as a Torekage to make it into the oppositions half and place a claim marker in turn one. Using Toshiro the Daimyo and Kamaitachi a Torekage can be compelled to move 6" and gain fast, if you can get the mask trigger off on Toshiro's War Fan ability then the Torekage moves 16" and still has two AP to drop a marker, but now you've committed 20 SS to drop a single marker.

The final option of course is to totally ignore Stake a Claim and focus on the schemes. This obviously depends entirely on what they are.

The issue I have is that I think all the other factions can do this mission so much easier than the Ten Thunders. Listening to the latest Before We Begin podcast (an awesome podcast if you're new to Malifaux by the way as it concentrates on the crew selection process of a game) then Arcanist and Guild can perform the drops easily, and Resser seemed to be able to also. I just worry I'll face a crew who can easily spam the markers with minimal SS cost leave more models to deal with my attempts to drop them or complete schemes.

Or am I simply over thinking this?

Sunday, 14 September 2014

First Malifaux tournament - Not a Bad Thing (that's it name not my rating)

So I've just attended my first ever Malifaux tournament, Not a Bad Thing in Sunderland.

The format was four rounds over a single day play 45 soul stone games. It was either fixed faction or fixed master if you wanted to play a dual faction master and swap between his factions. There were 27 people attending making it a nice first event to attend, even if (as I'm lead to believe) 5 of the top 6 players in the country were there. I wasn't likely to face one of them beyong the first game.

Overall the event was well run, there was a nice raffle at the end so even people who didn't stood a chance of going home with something. I managed to bag a nice chocolate which my work colleagues will be benefiting from on Monday.

The room felt a little cramped, but that's probably because I've been spoilt by the massive room we use at Garrison, it wasn't too cramped as to cause issues though. The terrain was varied, it included the usual laser cut buildings, scratch built building and classic hill and woods. There were a couple of nice themed boards from the Dreamers board made of kids toys, an awesome sewer based board and board made to look like the inside of a bar. Sadly I didn't get to play on many of them as my games kept alternating between two boards, which was a shame.

From an event, running and organisation point of view I'd definitely recommend future events here. But onto the games themselves......

I'd brought with me three masters, Mei Feng, Misaki and Yan Lo, I was reluctant to use Yan Lo  as I really don't know him very well I and I suspected it might slow the games down even more. So I stuck to Misaki and Mei Feng.

Game 1 was versus Joe (Arcanists), specifically Rasputina. The game was a relatively close affair, Rasputina didn't appear to casting as heavily as in my previous game against her, favour a single attack each turn benefiting from focus (probably because most of my crew were advancing through cover). Rasputina seemed a poor choice to take deliver a message on since she was able to push easily due to an upgrade, but I think assassination would have been harder. I felt like the game wasn't slipping away until Cassandra went crazy and seemed to sweep through half my crew. There were a couple of mistake I spotted, almost immediately after making them, such as activating the poisoned Rail Worker on a single wound to hit the already activated Myranda. When I should have activated the nearby Tengu to give him regeneration +1, thus allowing him to survive the poison in the upkeep. In the end it ended 2 - 1 to Joe, but I was happy with my performance.

Game 2 was versus Paul (Guild), Paul was using Lucius a master I have no experience with. His crew featured a lot of ranged firepower so I was glad of Mei Feng's vent steam. The Crew spent the whole game in a double or triple vent steam cloud thanks to vapourmancy which shut down his shooting. This game was more a frustration about timing, we only got a couple of activation into turn three and Lucius' tricks meant he could easily get his crew to drop enough scheme markers to complete both his strategies. Whilst I messed up on selecting murder protege and was only just starting to drop my scheme markers for breakthrough. I was however solidly in control of the turf marker in the centre of the board and scoring each time for that. In the end I lost 7 - 2 but felt if the game had played on I could easily have score 7 points myself as well as removing some of his scoring scheme markers with my Tengu.

Game 3 was versus Steve (Arcanist). Time to give Misaki a run out. Steve was using Marcus, another master I have no experience with. Basically it's a lot of beasts. I did very well at securing my objectives with Misaki escorting two Tengu down the extreme left flank of my deployment, dropping scheme markers all the way for power ritual and protect territory. However stopping Steve scoring was a different mater. The two beasts leading the charge, a Sabertooth Cereberus and Slate Ridge Mauler, were brutal and harder to shift. A red joker for damage from the Sabertooth meant that Kang went down in a single charge, which hurt me. But the Lone Swordswoman put on a good showing against Marcus, burning a lot of cards to survive his attacks then reducing him two three wound in return. Given she was out on her own and probably wouldn't survive much longer anyway I chose to call out Marcus to gain reactivate. Sadly in his turn Steve managed to get the Mauler into base to base with Marcus by bear hugging him which meant when she attached he burnt soul stones to have me attack the bear instead. A run of poor cards also meant I failed to kill the badly wounded bear at all, let alone with time for an attack on Marcus, so the Swordswoman was sacrificed. This did stop him scoring Reckoning. In the end we both maxed our schemes (Steve running power ritual and entourage) so it ended in a 7 - 7 draw.

Game 4 was versus Paul (Ten Thunders) who was using Jacob Lynch. Misaki took the stage again, although I was tempted to use Yan Lo in the last game just for giggles, I didn't want to slow the game down anymore. I did pick an oddball crew, dropping most of the models I'd used in previous games for Toshiro the Daimyo, Yamaziko and Torakage. To be honest my heart wasn't really in this game as my total lack of success had got to me a little. That said the game did highlight a couple of interesting fact. I'd not noticed that Yamiziko's sweep trigger is built in until half way though, once I realised this she managed to kill two models and maul a third in a single activation. I also noticed how good the Daimyo is. I really messed up using him, and suffered by not drawing any high cast crows in my hand two turns running to allow him to summon, but he definitely has potential. In the end Steve pretty much shut me out and I only manage to drop a single scheme marker in the final activation of the game with my lone surviving Torakage for breakthrough. Final score was 10 - 1 to Steve and was pretty much the final nail in my coffin.

I finished 26th out of 27th, so I couldn't even win the wooden spoon. It was frustrating first tournament, I remember my first 40k tournament where I won 2 of my 5 games and it gave me a real incentive to carry on. This one felt a little down heartening. I was hoping for one win from the four.

  • 90 minutes for a game is really short! You need to think about scheme's that can score within turn 2 or 3 and don't bank of getting four points from the strategy either. Game 2 proved that despite being totally in control of the strategy I still only score two points for it. 
  • Misaki and Mei Feng really have very little synergy. They don't seem to work with their crews, just hang around with them. They can struggle against the synergy crews.
  • [+] flips on attacks are really powerful, I need to find more ways to generate them. Recalled Training is good but only last a turn. Toshiro the Daimyo sees a good way to do it.
  • Ten Thunders have no models with built in free movement (such as a leap ability) making things like deliver a message really hard. Kamaitachi can be used to move someone in, but only if the target master has activated. Not sure how to overcome this.
If I want any real success at tournaments I really need to get some practise in with one of the more synergy masters from Ten Thunders, which is a shame because it was the asphetic of the oriental faction which first drew me to the Ten Thunders. I think Yan Lo might be a happy mid ground.
I also need to stop being so theme driven in crew selection. Mixing Daimyo in with Rail Workers, Illuminated with Tengu etc. to get the maximum efficiency for the crew and not stick to models who's style and appearance matched my master.

I've another tournament in a month's time then it's the GT unless I choose to go to one in Sheffield or Nottingham game store, as they seem to have one a month. So I'm hoping more practise at the clubs and maybe taking on board some of the learning and I'll maybe achieve Mid-Table Obscurity next time.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Malifuax Update

So it's been a while since I posted here, and most of that time has been devoted to Malifaux. I have booked onto Caledonia Uprising for 40K in January, but that more because its a fun tournament, I just hope I've got a little 40K love back before then. However I've also registered for three Malifaux tournaments this year. The first is this coming weekend. Not a Bad Thing is being run in Sunderland, its a 45 soul stone tournament and will represent my first venture into the more competitive Malifaux scene.

What am I hoping for? well some success would be nice, I don't expect to win it but I'm hoping to at least win one of the four rounds, possibly even the infamous mid-table obscurity! I hope the players are friendly, I always found there was a little elitism or cliches in the 40K which were hard to break into. That said there are fair few York player travelling to Sunderland and indeed the other two tournament this year (I say travelling the GT in November is being held at the Garrison club so not a whole lot of travelling required for that one).

Finally I want a play experience that feels two sided. That's been my one biggest complaint of 40K recently, against a lot of the tournament armies unless you're playing a very specific build you may as well not have turned up to some games. I'm hoping that even if I'm play in mid tier crew that I still get the feeling I'm playing the game, and not just there as a punching bag for the opposing crew and player.

Not sure yet if I'll do battle style write ups for Malifaux, I'll see what the tournaments are like.

Onto the pictures, in my usual habit I jumped into Malifaux with both feet and got lots of models and terrian too since my 40K stuff wouldn't look right. Given I'd opted for the Ten Thunders my terrian has a far eastern feel to it.

Iteration one of my board. These are Sarissa Precision buildings. Nice, detailed and lovely to build, the one drawback is you either leave them in the raw laser cut appearance (which is nice) or risk painting them.

Iteration two of the board, this time using 4Ground's shogunate range of buildings. The main reason I prefer these if they come pre painted. Malifaux is a relaively heavy terrian game so there's a number of scatter peices created from trees off E-Bay and the crate set from Bendyboards.

I've also got a number of crews, although currently on Misaki and her crew are painted. I'll leave you with some photos of these. Some of my better work but still no where near as good as some other examples of painting you'll find online with a quick Google search. Still I'm happy with them.
The crew at that present

Kamaitchi proxy (Or Super Weasel as I ensist on calling it)

Lone SwordsWOMAN proxy


Thunder Archer

Tengu Proxy

Saturday, 16 August 2014

An outing into Malifaux

So I've totally lost faith in 40k. GW appear to be milking the cow with no regard for the quality of the product they produce. Poorly written rules which just make more questions than answers and now with the Wolves some of the worst model concepts I've ever seen. 40k as a competitive game is dead without TOs having to practically rewrite the rulebook, GW has now totally broken it.Quite frankly there are better games to play casually and since I enjoy tournaments I need to find a new game, Malifaux.

I've chosen the Ten Thunders faction, mainly because I like a lot of the visuals of the models. From what I'm starting to understand from reading blogs, listening to podcast and my experience playing them I once again appear to have picked the below par faction in a game. We've a mini league running at the Garrison and I chose Miskai.
 Unfortunately I'm using her badly. After a couple of early wins against people we weren't really taking it seriously I've pretty much lost every game of Malifaux I've played with her. I totally fluked a win against Yan Lo in the league and my only other win was against Gill, who hadn't played in over 12 months. Struggling to get to grips with her is an understatement.

Malifaux has one interesting mechanic around force selection.Unlike other games where you approach a game or tournament with a fixed roster which your stuck with though out the games. In Malifaux you hire your crew only once you know the strategy and schemes (think missions) and have met your opponent. Some time tournaments will limit you to a single master, more often you're limited to a single faction. For the GT and other tournaments I've booked onto its the later, so I want to collect three masters to use as my pool to select.

I've actually signed up for four tournaments with Malifaux in the next six months, including the GT at the end of the year, so I'd better get learning the rules. I don't expect to place very well, heck even my usual Mid Table Obscurity would be nice, my main aim between now and the GT is to get enough practise in so I don't ruin anyone else's weekend with crap or slow playing. I'm really worried of only getting to turn 3 in the allotted time, and that's not good.

Mei Feng is my second master, I've played a couple of games with her now and she seem a lot more survivable than Misaki. It might, however, be that at the same time I started with her I also found another star from the wave 2 models, Lone Swordsman (or Lone Swords-woman as my proxy is.)

I've played a couple of games with Mei and Swords-Woman and the pair have wrecked face against a couple of crews, whilst the rest of her minions rang around scoring. 


Because Shenlong wasn't released at GenCon like I was hoping, Yan Lo is the third master I'm trying to get ready. A lot less practise with him. He's definitely the tricksy Ten Thunders master, with his lightning dance swapping models around and his ability to build up Chi during a game to improve his abilities. Also his crew tends to be more self contained, it contains a lot less cross over from the other crews as most of his minions and members want to be ancestors so they can benefit from lots of his abilities.

I'll get some photos up of my crew and board I've build for Malifaux but as most of my loyal readers (and I suspect I might be about to loose a lot of those with the switch in games) know I'm not the world's greatest painter by any stretch of the imagination.

Sunday, 25 May 2014

New Directions

No, not a blog about Glee!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, 19 May 2014

Adepticon 2014 - Part 7 (Team Tournament conclusion)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Adepticon 2014 - Part 6 (Team Tournament cont.)

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

Game 3 (Space Marines / Tau)

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

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

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

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

Game 4 (Eldar / Tau) 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, 21 April 2014

Adepticon 2014 - Part 5 (Team Tournament)

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

Game 1 vs No Bueno (Tyranids / Imperial Guard)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Game 2 vs Ragnarok (Space Wolves / Grey Knights)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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