Monday, 17 February 2014

Adepticon 2014 - 6 weeks to go

Next up for me is Adepticon in Chicago. I went last year and enjoyed myself and was convinced to go again this year. Simply put the UK does nothing on the scale of Adepticon. I've not been to Salute in London but from watching video coverage it appears to be heavy on the vendors rather than gaming. Adepticon is HUGE on the gaming. The main hall itself can fit over 250 gamers as this photo from last year only partially show.
But that's only the 40k room. Last year there was another room probably half that size for Warhammer, another smaller one for Warmahorde, a fourth for Malifuax as well as a number of smaller satellite rooms and tables for other participation games and demos.
This year I'm going again with Geek Nation Tours, a quick shout out to them as Teras make the whole process so much easier. Plus you get early access to the web cart to ensure you make it into the tournaments you want. This is pretty essential given the speed the championship sells out at. Teras also plans entertainment for the nights you're not gaming as well as welcome and farewell meals. I'd strongly recommend Geek Nation Tours, but maybe not Teras' choice of Hawaii shirts at times.

In terms of 40k there are two big events, the Singles Championship on Thursday (and Friday for the lucky top 16 players) and the Team tournament on Saturday and Sunday. Currently I'm playing in both, as well as a smaller event on the Friday (I'm under no illusions I'll get through to the final 16). I finished Last year with a solid win, two minor wins and a heavy loss. I'm hoping this year to do better. Now I was thinking of taking my Drop Wolves, but realistically it will be a nightmare to get 7 drop pods over to the US so I've opted for something a little more compact and in keeping with the current deathstar 40k trend. It also follows on from the fact I love the visual appeal of the bike army ever since I saw 4000pts of bikes at last year's team tournament at Adepticon. Therefore my current thinking is ;-

Primary Detachtment - White Scars
Kor'sarro Khan on Moondraken  - 150pts
Chapter Master with The Shield Eternal, Thunderhammer, Artificer Armour, Bike & Auspex - 255pts
Command Squad with Bikes, 4 x Grav Guns, 2 x Storm Shields, Apothacary - 230pts
10 Tactical Marines with Meltagun, Multi-Melta, Combi-Melta in a Rhino - 205pts
10 Tactical Marines with Plasmagun in a Rhino - 190pts
Stalker - 75pts
Thunderfire Cannon - 100pts
StormTalon Gunship with Skyhammer Missiles - 125pts

Allied Detachtment - Space Wolves
Wolf Lord with Bike, Runic Armour, Storm Shield, Power Fist, Saga of the Bear, 2 Fenrisian Wolves - 265pts
Rune Priest with Bike, Runic Armour - 155pts
5 Grey Hunters - 75pts

This still leaves me with 25 points to spend, probably on a few meltabombs on the command squad. The basic premise is simple all the character team up within the command squad. This gives a unit with nineteen wounds. Nine of which are protected by a 2+ save followed by a feel no pain roll. I'm hoping it can absorb some serious punishment. So it will get into position in turn 1 using it's scout and move, then in turn two potentially bomb burst to attack multiple tagets, or stay as a pack to hunt other deathstars. I've got a Rune Priest to help deal with Psychic deathstars, a thunderfire to deal with small deckchair units and a reasonable flyer defence. I'm gonna get some practise in over the next couple of week, maybe refine the list and see where it takes me.


Sunday, 16 February 2014

Yorkshire Open qualify tournament ... RAGE - Game 3

Round 3 vs Matt (Dark Angel Ravenwing) – Scouring / Vanguard Strike

The final round of the tournament and I was facing one of the other two people who had gone 40 – 0 until this point. Whilst I would have rather faced the other foot slogging Grey Knight army, I ended up facing a full on Ravenwing army. Matt’s army had the ability to seriously alpha strike me. It consisted of

Unit of Ravenwing Knights with Plasma talons and two grenade launchers
Two units of Raven wing bikes with two plasma, an attack bike and a landspeeder
One units of Raven wing bikes with two melta, an attack bike and a landspeeder

The Ravenwing combat squad by splitting of their attack bikes and Land Speeders into separate single units. They still however, all count as troops, so in the army only Samuel wasn’t scoring. To make matters worse Matt won the roll for first turn. Matt deployed in a long line on the edge of his deployment zone. The three bikes squads in the centre of the block with the Knights on his left and Land Speeders on his right. My response was to tuck right into my left corner. I was hoping to prevent his full army from being able to alpha strike me and hopefully I could deal with his army piece meal. The Kroot were held in reserve.
Hide in the corner, they might not notice us

Turn one, after scouting and his movement phase Matt’s bike were right down my throat. Luckily my crafty deployment meant the Plasma talons of his Knights were out of range. However I still had to face the remaining firepower. The Melta guns on one squad were out of range and only one of the plasma gun squads were in rapid fire range. Matt targeted mostly my two Riptides that were at the front of the deployment zone and through a combination of good saves or poor firing I only lost a couple of wounds off my Riptides.

My Turn one was pretty fast. The firewarriors that had been hiding behind a small LOS building moved out to fire on the Knights whilst the rest of the army didn’t move. In the Firing phase we targeted the Bike Squads and the devastation was pretty nasty. With preferred enemy on the broadsides we tore into the units, often requiring Matt to make 18+ saves per squad. As a result 9 of the 15 bikes were removed from firing. Even the Firewarriors managed to kill off three of the Knights with their pulse rifles.

Turn two and the Ravenwing continued to press into the fight, however the riptides were blocking some of the clear runs into my table quarter. The last member of one of the bike squads attempted to drive through a linear, failed his dangerous terrain check, then failed his armour save and died. His firepower had been seriously depleted and if it was ineffective at full power it was just as ineffective at half power, so didn’t make a huge impact on my army.

For my turn two my kroot teams arrived one on each flank. The Tau continued their devastating firepower wiping out all remaining bikes except Samuel and one of the attack bikes.

Turn three and Matt attempted to break off to survive. The three surviving Land Speeders headed for the opposite corner of the board as too did the attack bike. Samuel moved to fire on the Kroot which had appeared on my opposite flank and were sitting on a three point objective. Then rubbing salt into the wound proceeded to overheat with his plasma cannon, fail his armour save and loose his last wound, killing him.

In my turn three I advanced a lot of my army out the corner to get range on the Landspeeders, despite needing 6s to hit I managed to drop two of the Landspeeder with Broadside and my other kroot finished off the Attack bike. With only a single Landspeeder alive Matt conceded the game.

So with three 20 – 0 wins I won the tournament. This actually my first win for a tournament (I’ve been 2nd and 3rd a number of times). Now I fully realise this tournament was in no way a hardcore tournament, but it still felt nice to win it and it means I’ve qualified for the Semi finals in April.

The army performed well by basically blowing most opponents off the board as expected. Game one proved the most tactical as I had to avoid the Macro cannon. Game two and three were more about the maths of the Tau army simply rolling more dice and largely ignoring sections of the rules. Overall I enjoyed the event and the Armouries is a great venue. Where else would you get a brief at the start of the day which include “the toilets are through those doors and straight past the elephant” or when the first round draft is drawn directly from a medieval helmet .

Next up for me is Adepticon and I’ll be posting later with my current plan for the army to take there.

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Yorkshire Open qualify tournament ... RAGE - Game 2

Game 2 vs. Jacob (Space Marines) – Purge the Alien / Hammer and Anvil

Jacob is a fellow York Garrison player and ironically I’d played him with a very similar army a couple of months ago, that time the game lasted 3 turns before I’d tabled him, why? Because Jocaob is using an all drop pod list. Jacobs is using ;-

8 Grey Hunters in Drop Pod with a Rune Priest
8 Grey Hunters in Drop Pod with a Rune Priest
8 Blood Angels with Tycho and brother Corbula in a drop pod
8 Blood Angels in a drop pod
5 Assault Marines in a drop pod
5 Assault Marines in a drop pod

It was those Rune Priests I was really worried about, JotWW really messes with Tau and without the points to bring in Farsight Enclave for the defense the game could be determined by how effective they are.

My First turn was uneventful as there wasn’t anything on the field to fire at. In Jacob’s turn both Rune Priests and the Blood Angel’s special character dropped in. The intercept wasn’t great and this time Jacob had positioned his Rune Priest correctly so that despite completely wiping out a Grey Hunter pack both Rune Priest survive. Jacob fired up the Rune Priest and both manifested their JotWW, neither were denied and my commander and both Riptide had to make test. Luckily for me both Riptides passed their initiative checks to survive, but the Commander was killed.

In my turn I made it clear, the Rune Priests weren’t going to get a 2nd shot at the Riptides. One of the kroot squad near to lone Rune Priest shot him down and then the Broadsides and Riptides finished off the 2nd squad of Grey Hunters and attached Rune Priest. The Blood Angels went largely untouched. Tycho has a 2+ save whilst Corbula’s 3+ and 2+ FnP makes them hard to kill and Jacob had carefully positioned them so that almost all shooting would go through one of them first.

In Jacob’s 2nd turn only an Assault squad arrived. This was promptly shot to pieces as it disembarked it’s drop pod. The Blood Angels position to charge a nearby unit of Kroot looking to get some easy kill points, whilst Tycho left the unit to charge a Skyray. In the firing phase the Blood Angels actually killed the Kroot outright, this did mean that they had no target to charge and Corbula was now out of position to defend his squad from firing. Tycho charged and easily destroyed one of the Skyrays, but again out on his own was not easier picking for the Riptide with Ion Cannon.

Turn Three, Jacob was still on the back foot but did risk over running the Broadsides with the units which were still on the board. The Ion Cannon Riptide fired on Tycho, his str8 AP3 weapon easily cutting down the captain in a single shot. The remaining blood angels then felt the firepower of the Broadside, albeit only their SMS as their high yields were on cool down from intercepting. When the smoke cleared on Brother Corbula and a single marine were left.

In Jacob’s turn three his remaining reserves arrived. The five man assault squad didn’t make it out of their drop pod, but the other Blood Angel unit landed and smoked the Kroot hiding in the wood with their bolter and flamer fire. Brother Corbula and the space Marine charged the Broadsides and started another epic fight there 2+ saves meant little of no damage was being inflicted.

Turn four and the Tau were on mop up duty. The Riptides started to move up the board to secure linebreaker whilst also shooting the Space Marine squads, whilst the Broadside unit not engage in hand to hand started to clear out the drop pods for extra kill points. The combat involving the other broadside continue to drag out with neither side able to break their opponent.

The rest of the battle was largely un eventful,Jacob’s remaining blood angels chase one of the Riptide on only a single wound but failed to kill it with their bolters, and were swiftly killed by the Tau return fire. Although it took several turns of combat Brother Corbula finally managed to kill all the Broadsides, but found himself too far away from the rest of the Tau army.

Tallying up the Kill Points it was a comfortable win for the Tau and another 20 – 0 victory to me.

Yorkshire Open qualify tournament ... RAGE - Game 1

Last weekend I played in a qualifying round of the Yorkshire Open. The event was held at the Royal Armouries, which was actually quite a nice venue. The tournament was in a small theatre style room within the Armouries. With only ten tables required the room wasn’t too packed and tables had spaces around the table to models and books which I found really useful. Full details of the army I took can be found in this previous blog entry.

The Venue


Game 1 vs. John(Space Marines) - Emperor’s Will / Vanguard Strike

One of my worries going into this tournament was that they were allowing escalation and stronghold assault, looking around the room there were no super heavy vehicles and only a single AV15 fortification. So when I discovered my opponent in the first game was the proud owner of the aforementioned Aquila strongpoint with Str D macro cannon mounted on top I was a little worried. However there were a couple of points which would give me a possible tactic. The board itself featured a lot of LOS blocking buildings, the majority of them were in the quarter my opponent picked to deploy into. However there was a central LOS blocking building which proved invaluable. The other aspect was the mission, with Emperor’s will you can focus on the mission and in theory feed units to the macro cannon which aren’t needed for the mission. The rest of John's army didn’t worry too much as it was drop list and I’ve a tonne of intercept. In total he was using

10 man tactical squad
10 man tactical squad in drop pod
Dreadnought in drop pod
Ironclad dreadnought in drop pod
Aquila Strongpoint with Macro Cannon

Winning the roll to go first, my deployment was a careful affair ensuring that nothing was in LOS of the macro cannon or would be able to get out of LOS in their first turn. All my troop choices were held in reserve along with the burst cannon riptide and commander. John deployed one tactical squad inside the building split into separate combat squads. My turn one was pretty uneventful, my riptide moved up behind a building just over 12” away from it to avoid the Psychic Shriek librarian inside. My second skyray turbo boasted toward the strongpoint hoping to park close enough that he wouldn’t risk a shot at me in case it scattered back onto his strongpoint.
The Tau play hide and seeks versus the Macro Cannon

John's turn one saw both dreadnoughts arrive in their drop pods and as expected the normal dreadnought was blown apart by high yield missile as it stepped out of the pod. The Ironclad lost two hull points and then luckily missed with its melta gun. However my model placement had been slightly off and the Macro cannon could see the arm of the Riptide, I held my breath as the large blast templates rained down but luckily both scatter over 6 inches and missed the riptide entirely.

Turn two and sadly most of my reserves arrived, only one unit of Kroot took the smart decision to stay off the board. I later remembered my Warlord trait was to actually re-roll my reserves but I totally forgot this during the game. The unit of kroot to arrive huddled behind a small LOS blocking building on top of my home objective, whilst the Firewarriors deployed on my board edge as close as they could to the John’s objective but still out of site of the Macro Cannon. The Riptide advanced on the Strongpoint whilst the second Riptide and Commander deep struck close by. At this point there was some confusion as to if melta weapons worked on the Strongpoint. My opponent informed me that they didn’t and I accepted this, assuming it was just another facet of the brokenness of their rules, however it later transpired that they did in fact work, and so both Riptides might have been able to shoot the building within 9” to crack it. During my firing the Ironclad was shot to pieces by the Skyray to re-secure by objective. In the assault phase one Riptide charged the Strongpoint and surviving the over watch from the units in and on the building manage to penetrate it with a single smash attack and stun the weapon so it wouldn’t be able to fire next turn.

John’s second turn and the final drop pod landed, the Tactical squad inside was split into two combat squads which jumped out into a hail of high yield missiles killing a couple of marines from each squad. One of the melta guns managed to kill a Broadside in revenge of their fallen comrade. The Librarian inside the strongpoint attempted to psychic shriek a Riptide, succeeded in casting the power but didn’t roll high enough on the Ld check to cause any wounds. Things weren’t looking good for the Marines.

Turn three and the Broadsides and Skyrays opened up and reduced the marines down to one man each with smart missiles. The Riptide and Commander charged into the Strongpoint and the combined six Str10 smash attacks and a Onager gauntlet rock the building. Although we don’t manage to destroy it we do destroy the emplaced gun and cause 6D6 hits on the six men inside , killing them all.
All your Strongpoints belong to us

John is now left with a weaponless Strongpoint, 7 marines and three drop pods, versus almost my entire army and so the final few turns are mostly just mopping up. One Marine sergeant with a power fist manages to make it into combat with my two broadside and stay there for almost 3 complete turns as he can’t get past my 2+ save and we can’t hit, but eventually he dies and I’ve tabled John. The final result 20 – 0 which I think is largely due to the LOS blocking building allowing the Riptides to get close without being targeted.

More games to follow later this weekend.

Friday, 7 February 2014

Rage buildup

So this weekend sees me attempt to qualify for the next round of the Yorkshire Open. This heat is being held at The Royal Armouries (RAGE), which could be a nice future venue. Rule pack wise its pretty simple, it’s going to be three straight book missions with each of the deployment options being played once. In the end I opted for Tau, this might be a mistake because I’ve not used them in a while and so may be a little rusty, I’m also concerned I’ve leaned heavily on the Tau Support Cadre formation and will it live up to its reputation. The army I’ve select had to be tweaked slightly when I opened up my cases and found out what was and wasn’t painted, 10 unpainted kroot and only 1 painted skyray being the main issues.

Tau Empire
Commander Batman – C&C Node (15), Puretide Chip (15), Multi-Spectrum Sensors (20), Irridium Armour (25), Shield Generator (25) Stimulant Injector (15), Neuroweb Jammer (2) Onager Gauntlet (5) [207pts]
12 Kroot with Kroot Hount (5) [77pts]
12 Kroot with Kroot Hount (5) [77pts]
8 Fire Warriors [72pts]
Riptide with Ion Accelerator(5), Twin-Linked Fusion Gun, Early Warning Override (5) [190pts]
SkyRay with Blacksun Filter (1) [116pts]
SkyRay with Blacksun Filter (1) [116pts]

Tau Support Cadre
Riptide with Heavy Burst Cannon, Twin-Linked Fusion Gun, Early Warning Override (5), Velocity tracker (15) [205pts]
3 Broadsides with High Yield Missile Pods, Smart Missile Systems, Early Warning Override (5), Shas’iu (10) [220pts]
3 Broadsides with High Yield Missile Pods, Smart Missile Systems, Early Warning Override (5), Shas’iu (10) [220pts]

For an Alpha strike this army packs a massive punch. Bare minimum is thrity two Str5, ignore cover shots which don’t need line of sight (twenty four of which are also tank hunter) so you can’t hide from them. If there’s little or no LOS blocking terrain you’ll face you’ll also face another 24 Str7 missile, some of which will also ignore cover as well as the RipTides weapons and Sky Rays Missiles. If I get first turn I should be able to make a real mess of an opponent and will need to carefully plan the target priority to ensure I kill the more important things first.

Issues I can think of,

Troops – I’ve not got a huge number of troops, I’m hoping that my opponents will be too busy dealing with the other units to target them, plus as long as I don’t need one squad to screen they’ll be in reserve for as long as possible.

Going Second – There are a lot of alpha strike armies or armies who need one turn to get to full power. White Scars and Drop Wolves are examples of the former, whilst Screamer-star and Seer-star examples of the later. For the Alpha strike armies it all depends on their deployment method. I’m not too worried about drop lists, the amount of intercept in the army means their key players (Rune Priests mostly) won’t survive to get out of their pods. I’ll just have to use careful deployment and screening with Kroot to prevent too much damage. For the Deathstars I can team the Commander with Stubborn and a Riptide together to hold up the unit whilst I punish their other units.

AV14 – I’ve only two ways to destroy an AV14 vehicle and both of them involve RipTides (well my Commander can use his Gauntlet if I get REALLY desperate!). This will simply have to come down to either ignoring the vehicle and concentrate on the other stuff, or carefully get my Riptides into either 9” range or Close Combat.

Psykers – I’m thinking mostly Telepathy powers here. Puppet master, Terrify, Hallucination all have the potential to cause me serious problems. If they have a psyker and he rolls the right powers it simply raises him up the threat scale.

I believe it’s the top 5 plays from the field of 20 which qualify, so I need to achieve above “Mid Table Obscurity” to do this. I think it will come down to the mix or hobby armies vs. tournament armies in attendance and a little luck in the draw. I think 2 good wins should see me thought to the Semi Finals.

Finally this weekend sees me recording as a guest on the Soulstone Train podcast. They are having a 40k related podcast and invited a few of the more prominent 40k’ers from the Garrison to come along and talk about. I’m sure I’ll post a link once the podcast is released.