Thursday, October 19, 2017

Back to Blue

Well, I gotta get ready!

I'm going to an invitational event on October 28 - it looks to be really cool with multiple mission tables, an ETC-like pairing system, and the need to have a primary infantry-heavy 1000 point core, expanding to a 2000 point overall force.  You may be assigned to either the 1000 point pairings or the full 2000 point pairings by your team's overall commander. 

I was torn between staying as Blood Angels, or finally getting back to my roots as Ultramarines, and the Ultramarine concept won out the argument.  I also strongly considered going for Astra Militarum!  Too many choices!  In consideration was that the Ultramarines, over Blood Angels - has a full codex, great Ultramarine doctrines, and the opportunity for a relic as a free boost.

I got busy last night with the hard work of slogging through the collection, codex in one hand, BRB in the other, to map out what might be a good and fun or powerful list concept meeting the parameters above. 

After drafting a list (in Excel! - Dang you ArmyBuilder!) it got down to trying to use up every point - so as not to leave anything on the table.  Initially I was very close - 16 points off from using every drop.  Then with a list change, swapping out one unit for another, I was able to go exactly to 2000.

So, with the hard work done, I  will proof the list, do some paint touch ups, create a cheat sheet of all the extra rules to remember, and if I'm lucky get a chance to play a game as Ultramarines before the event! So yeah 3rd Company Ultramarines are going to hit the table!

OK, so here is the list.  No laughter please.  I put a lot of thinking into this over 3 hours! 

HQ - Marnius Calgar (as warlord)
HQ - Tigurius
HQ - Chaplain in Terminator Armor
EL - Assault Terminator Squad (5)
TP - Tactical Squad (6)
TP - Tactical Squad (6)
TP - Tactical Squad (6)
999 pts core force
FA - Landspeeder
HS - Devastator Squad (5)
HS - Landraider
DT - Razorback
DT - Razorback
DT - Razorback
2000 pts total total force

The points are all in the details.  9 or more drops on deployment for the full force.  Overall, it gives me a core of 999 points for the first 7 units, and exactly 2000 for the full group.  It creates a Battalion detachment and a Vanguard detachment, which yields 9 command points in total with Calgar adding 2.  Bonuses include higher morale, shooting on falling back (or as we say, stepping back), ability to recover CPs on a 4+, and several bubbles of fun - Marnius gives a reroll misses bonus, Tiggy gives a to hit bonus to a unit each turn, the Chaplain helps in assault.  I get librarius spells, etc. If needed I have three units that can deep strike.   There are 10 lascannon, 9 missile launcher, and 6 plasma gun EQs hiding in this list.  Overall, it is pretty cool.  The ONLY thing I need to do is put a banner on Calgar to finish the list for photography!

The only issue I might need to resolve - probably for the better - is swapping out the Chaplain for a Captain or other unit.  It ends up the Chaplain is the only "character" I can give a relic to, but none are suitable for him!  The only two might have been the armor indominitus (but he is already a terminator with a rosarius), or the relic boltgun (which can't be directly swapped for a storm bolter - I need to see if I can swap the storm bolter for free for a regular bolter, then swap the bolter for the relic version...if so that is the minimum change).  Otherwise, converting his points (117)  into something throwing more bullets downrange might be even better (like another dev squad).  Doing so loses me a single command point, and means I'm back to one detachment, AND it means I am all screwed up on the original 1000-2000 point split requirements unless I can get the dev squad or captain tooled to the 117 points or so (heavy bolters in the devs?). 

Another interesting issue posed for the event - is that with this being teams - essentially Imperium vs Not, I could run into hordes (of bugs or orks) and be totally outnumbered, or demons (and be out-spelled), or even Knights (it has happened before) or some crazy Astra Militarum (with the Vortex yard sale building and horses).  In any case, other than screwing up on deployment, I think I can pull off a respectable number of points as long as I stay focused on the missions.

Anyways, look for some pictures here in a week on the final force - all displayed for departure!

Comments and suggestions are ALWAYS appreciated!


Thursday, September 21, 2017

With Voyeuristic Intention

I have not had time to get out to do anything 40K in a few weeks.  September is such a busy month! All of the organizations I support have yearly kickoff events, and the need to support various community organizations ranges from routine to dire. 

Regardless (one of my favorite or overused words), I do get late evening time (when I'm out of gas in Rogue Assault) to watch 40K game videos, and also get to catch up on all of the podcasts I subscribe to.  At least with that, I hope to keep some subliminal learning going.

I really don't have an outlet for feedback to the guys who create the content I drink in.  So I thought I'd take a moment here to run down something for each of the top providers I follow.

Masters of the Forge - overall, I like your podcast a lot.  However, sometimes it can be a little long winded.  Congrats on passing the 100th episode milestone.  The narrative fictions and content is great.

Life After the Cover Save - you guys are the comedy geniuses of the genre, and I laugh every episode.  No wonder you have been doing the adverts for the top vendors.  GW should hire you to do something for them too.  Brilliant.  The last episode however seemed to have a weird angry vibe about it. Overall, the wide variety of content and interviews are thought provoking.

Frontline Gaming - You guys have so much content going I think it must be hard to focus on your business.  Twitch, multiple podcasts.  I stopped listening to the Ninth Realm focused podcasts - had to cut back.  Your general, original podcast is great and I like the fact that you guys are well prepped and have show notes that are clear on your message for the episode. That said, the Chapter Tactics podcast can be a train wreck. The host PDPop always seems unsure of himself, rambles, backtracks, lacks confidence, etc.  As for the 40K games, I think you do a great job, but you should try having Marina / other expert give in-game commentary about what you are likely up to in the game.  Or a laugh track. Maybe edit down the dice rolling time.  Overall, great for watching.  I wish my FLGS would just use the ITC process.  Not your fault.

MiniWargaming - I'm not a paid subscriber.  I just leach off your free content.  I think at some point I was signed up for the free trial.   A gold standard of totally video based information and instruction.  I loved when 8th came out and you produced that series of videos on how to play 40K.  The links should be given to anyone buying a starter set.  For you though, considering you have a paint studio, I'd offer that the "Mark of Dave" be outlawed. If you don't have it WYSYWIG, then don't play it.  Whenever I watch one of your games however, I also feel the need to read the comments - where your live viewers or subscribers have seen errors in the game play.  Certainly that is offset by your confessional videos.  No more hazing Quirk please. Save the duct tape for other uses.

The Long War - you guys are certainly entertaining.  Your personalities really come through, as do your passion for the game.  However, my peeves are you are so rushed to get videos out for new content and army rules, that you seem to forget the rules at all.  I watched a game yesterday where psychers who could play two spells a turn only do one, pistols never seemingly used in continued combat.  I also feel that you try to jump the gun on rules as written versus rumors of how you think a rule should work, always grasping for the WAC interpretation. Regardless, every game seems fun!

Well there you go! I hope to get a game in this weekend! Red....or Blue....or Green....




Thursday, August 31, 2017

SOBs Attack!

I have had many fun games over time and documented them here on the Defenders of Calth blog.  Every game has been fun (except maybe one), and here is no exception!

100 Power Level - Blood Angels vs Sisters of Battle!

My opponent brought a "1750" list that was just short of 100 Power.  I brought the same list I've been using (because as you know I'm too busy!) and I still have no clear idea of how many points it is actually worth.

Deployment zones - We set up the game using the battle cards for 8th edition - deployment was the hammer and anvil (long way).

The mission - one objective in each deployment zone.  The player who controls them both first wins. as a further wrinkle, each army had to be separated into three parts - one for normal deployment, one for turn 2 reserves, one for turn 3 reserves.  Special note - per the card the smaller power army (the SOBs) would get the WIN if neither player captures both objectives....
My opponent also got the secret card (for being the lower power army) - more on that later.

As far as the SOBs were concerned, the game was all about keeping the Blood Angels out of their blood bank.  The Blood Angels only came to knock back a few pints....

My opponent (lets face it, I

have no idea what everything is called but I'll work it out) had (9 command points, plus the means to generate faith actions and psychic spells) (approx, +/- 20 models):

Celestine and 2 bodyguards
Inquisitor Greyfax
Sister Hospitaler
5 or so Sister Superior
1 culexus assassin
2 seraphim squads (10 each, pistols, meltas)
2 battle sisters squads (10 each, multimeltas etc.)
1 immolater (dual heavy flamers)
1 rhino

I won the roll-off for deployment, and chose to go first.  I deployed 2 demi-tactical squads, razorbacks, and Baal Predator, centered around my objective, but spread a bit for board control.  My opponent had deployed Celestine, assassin, battle squad, rhino, and 2 Superiors.

After deployment

Turn 1
I move the razorbacks a bit and shoot at the rhino and the assassin.  The rhino takes some damage bu the assassin (in cover) is unscathed.  In response, Celestine moves forward, with the assassin even more forward.  The Rhino moves away forward and to the flank.  The assassin plinks at a a razorback for no damage.

Turn 2
I decide to go after Celestine and the assassin.  My tac squads dismount from the razorbacks to consolidate around my home objective.  The Baal and two of the three razorbacks reposition. The I drop in Dante, chaplain, two demi-assault (melta) squads, and demi-death company. (Demi = 5), in a big arc 9 inches from the forward assassin and further from Celestine and bodyguards.  In shooting, overwhelming fire takes out the assassin, the rhino also takes more damage, and then I take down Celestine's bodyguards and wound Celestine down to 4 remaining wounds.

Lining up for the assault...which...failed....

In response, its like it never happened.  Using acts of faith and such, Celestibe brings back her bodyguards, and other units are bolstered.  The hospitaler comes in to bolster the SOB home objective.  Another sister superior arrives on my left flank with a seraphim squad, as does the immolater, other superiors, and battle squad on my right flank.  In devastating shooting, I lose an assault squad, a razorback is heavily damaged, and Dante gets wounded.  Then the SOBs assault - and at the end, I lose the death company and the remains of the other assault squad.  My chaplain is stuck in assault.

SOB girls on guard in the ruins...

Ummm....that hurt....

Turn 3
I start by moving Dante back behind the Baal Predator and Razorback to provide him with cover, and retract a bit towards my home objective.  The Chaplain beats a retreat as well.  My Stormraven, containing Mephiston and the last demi-tactical squad, zoomed in on the left flank.  In shooting, the Stormraven wipes out the left flank seraphim squad, and the Razorback/Predator combo wipe out the right flank seraphim.  The other razorbacks, tac squads, and Dante shoot up the exposed Celestine and she disappears in a hail of fire.  Then...Ping...Celestine reappears in the distance, near the SOB objective and she blows a kiss to Dante.

Gotta hold before you can take....

In response, the SOBs come at me again. Celestine brings back both bodyguards.  Acts of faith are used to fire or move.  The last SOB reserve group arrives on my right flank behind the immolater. Greyfax smites a razorback.  In shooting, the Baal predator is heavily damaged, as is the adjacent razorback.  Then the SOBs try to assault - the Immolater leads the charge at the Baal predator, and the rhino/superior assault the chaplain.  Other assaults fail their charge distances.  In swinging arms and flailing robes, the chaplain comes out unscathed, but still locked in combat.

Best shot of the game....

Turn 4
The Stormraven zooms toward the SOB objective.  Dante moves to intercept Celestine, while the chaplain moves back to help guard my own objective.  The TL assault cannon razorback pulls up behind Dante.  The Baal predator disengages and moves far back to not be assaulted.  In shooting, the Stormraven again shoots like a beast and takes out half of the battle sisters on the objective.  Then the TLAC razorback/buzz saw opens uup on Celestine, taking out the bodyguards and wounding her.  Other shooting kills the rhino.  Dante charges Celestine, and puts in every attack and wound possible.  11 damage points or so result.  Celestine does NOT come back.... i said up above...there were probably more SOBs than I could account for...

My opponent discloses the ruse - REVENGE!  On the death of his warlord (Celestine) he gets a +1 wound bonus to every attack for his army.  SMOG! He then advances on my right flank and starts smiting and shooting.  I lose the TLAC razorback, and the Stormraven loses about 8 wounds.  I lose also most of one of my demi-tac squads on my objective.  He tries to charge in on my objective and fails the distance.

Turn 5
End game.  Mephiston and the demi-tac squad dismount from the stormraven, which then goes into hover mode and moves adjacent to his objective.  I then smite/blood boil the remaining battle sisters, and the Stormraven massacres all of the remaining SOBs except the Hospitaler.  Then mephiston and the tac squad make their charges (contesting the objective) and in assault the Hospitaler falls to Mephiston.  Game Over. Pints?

Gotta guard the home objective at the end....


Overall the game was entirely a close run thing.  Overall, just minor tweaks from my opponent's assault and I'd have lost - either by being wiped off my own objective - or by just keeping me off the SOB objective.  It was tough and painful. I think at the end though, the game might have played very differently if he'd had a Superior or Cannoness as the Warlord, and triggered the REVENGE card earlier!  me, all I had was Dante with his warlord attack bonus...I think he had just 2 wounds left at the end.

Anyway it was a great game and hugely entertaining. I think I just experienced a small amount of the trick the SOBs have up their sleeves.




Wednesday, August 23, 2017

I am Death

On Saturday, I went to the FLGS to play in the Saturday Monthly Warhammer 40K Tournament. It was awesome.  It started like this:

  • I walked right in, told the desk jocky/TO to put my name on the record as DEATH.  
  • Paid my $10.  
  • Walked in the main room where all the tables are and announced in a loud voice "OK you MutherFukkers, I'm telling you right now, I'm not here to win best sport.  I'm here to destroy your armies or kill mine trying.  If I find out any of you signed my name down for best sport, I'll kill you and melt down your army to scrap plastic." Yeah, something cocky like that. 

Seriously, it was that kind of day. If you can search up the results on their website, you will not see my name, only DEATH.

Three round tournament.  16 players.  Random first pairing, after that Swiss based on battle points. Each game was worth 31 points maximum. Players were using just 100 power points. Spells/Warlord traits were picked, not random.  Each game had three missions - 15/10/5 points, plus 1 bonus point.

That morning I had two lists on paper and could not decide which to use.  I asked my wife - red or blue.  She said "look at your coffee cup for the answer"...

I was the only Blood Angels Player. I have no idea why this picture wont fact...sorry for the poor pictures.  Usually I have better action shots than these!

Game 1: Vs Thousand Sons
A true Chaos Marine list of Magnus, cool gold/aqua rubric marines, Exalted Sorcerors, Scarab Occult terminators, supported by Tszaangors/beastmen/Heldrake, Helbrute, forgerfiend etc. my opponent had a really cool list - can't wait to see it when all of the units are fully painted. Only three of his units were truly mobile (Scarab Occult terminators, Heldrake, Magnus)

The subtext of this game was keep your eyes on the mission.  1. Be first to claim both objectives (one in each deployment zone); 2. Lose your warlord in assault; 3. Linebreaker with two units into the opponent's deployment edge; etc. Dawn of war deployment. My opponent chose deployment zone, dropped first, went first. Table 8.

Turn 1 - Thousands sons moving forward. 

Later in Turn 1...I'm protecting my objective. 

Turn 2 - the Brute beat up the meltacide squad, but the Chaplain was ready to do some pounding too. 

Turn 4 or so - the Sorcerer is all that remained of the Thousand Sons left flank...Dante is damaged...not going to survive the next smite...

Top of Turn 5 - Sorcerer fighting the Chaplain.  Mephiston getting ready to disembark...

Overall, I took the win, 21-5.We went 5 turns. It was glorious.  My opponent only really made two mistakes: (1) his Helldrake assaulted Dante, who killed it (it was a gamble to keep Dante from dying in assault). (2) He had Magnus as his Warlord, and Magnus would never die in assault (too many wounds!). I killed Magnus in my shooting phase of Turn 5. I never used Mephiston until turn 5.  He'd spent the game in the Stormraven waiting for an opportunity to strike. The MVP of the game was actually the Stormraven...even when I forgot it had Stormstrike Missiles.

Game 2: Vs Angrier Thousand Sons
It was as if Tszeentch was really pissed after the first game.  My next opponent had Magnus (fully painted), the Lord of change "Super-Chicken" from FW, Ahriman the Sorceror, Changeling, 2 MaulerFiends and three squads of cultists.  Plus or minus. Not really Thousand Sons, but definitely a harder list.

Hammer and Anvil Deployment.  Missions were (1) first to be in the enemy's table half with your entire surviving army turn 3/after; (2) Suffer the highest number of total wounds; (3) kill three of the enemy units; (4) closest warlord to the table center. table 3.

MutherFukker. I put the Chaplain in the Stormraven for one less drop.  My oponent chose deployment edge.  I'd be heading directly toward my travel tray / dice pile.  In deployment, I put the TL assault cannon razorback on the right flank, everything else was put on the left, up to the deployment edge.  My goal was to just crash forward, get everything on the enemy table half first, and then die there. I won the die roll to go first.

According to plan, I moved/advanced far forward, dropped Dante/DC/2 Assault Squads in the upper left corner. Started to shoot just the super chicken, maulerfields, and cultists.  In response I was schooled on the "apparent FACT" that Psykers can use SMITE as many times as possible (see the matched play page of the BRB).  Magnus used super-smite twice each turn. Super-chicken did too. Ahriman the Sorcerer and the Changeling did too.  On the first turn I actually wounded my opponent more times than he could wound me.  After that, he basically out-smited me for the game, we assaulted, we tussled, we shot, we looked up rules.  My best moment was when I damaged a Forgefiend/Brute so much it was essentially immobile!  My opponent could not get him to my deployment zone.  On turn 3, I had my entire army in his deployment zone - not just his half.  And then was told that instead of getting the primary at that moment I had to wait till the end of his turn (unlike game 1 where the primary immediately was awarded the primary when it happened). I was TABLED.

I mean can you not love fighting Magnus when he looks like this?

This is the end...

Beautiful friend...the end...

LOL, I still got points, but lost 15-12. Smite.  That is the way we played it. Without it, I certainly would have had the primary.  Mephiston was nerfed...every spell he threw out got denied.  It literally went down to Ahriman the Sorceror getting a last batch of smites on the Baal Predator as it headed away from the carnage into the opponent's deployment zone.  Nothing else was in range to deal with it.  Again it was an awesome game, with my opponent having to deal with death crazed blood angels just going right into his army.  I only killed one of his units...He smited me faster than I could wreck stuff.  My MVP was probably the Death Company - who assaulted and tied up the Forgefiend and wounded it enough so it was stuck. Dante was killed after wrecking a unit of cultists.  My opponent's MVP was the Super-Chicken.  It probably killed, through SMITE or assault, 7 of my units.

After we were done, we both discussed our cunning plans for Game 3.

Game 3: VS Spacewolves!
Oh yeah, after going all Khorny, Tszeentch awarded me a game VS those that Magnus hates the most!  Spacewolves plus a Knight Warden! Arjac. SW Terminators. Wolf Lords on Wolves. One SW Dread with axe and shield. SW terminators. One Very mobile army.  

This game featured fighting the long way, 3 objectives mapped specifically into each deployment zone.

Modified deployment.  Missions: (1) First to keep your center objective and take the opponent's flanking objectives. (2) First to kill three enemy units via shooting or assault; (3) Slay the Enemy Warlord; and (4) have more units on the table at the ened than the opponent. Table 5.

My opponent chose deployment edge, and deployed first, went first.  This was another game of accomplishing missions. I castled my ground forces up on my center objective, with flanking vehicles to keep him from deep striking into / onto my deployment zone. Everything else was to deep strike or fly forward.

My opponent went first, abandoning one flank objective and defending the other with his SW dread.  He started shooting at and lining up to assault my deployed forces.  In response, the DC dropped on the back right flank objective, and the combined might of Dante, Chaplain, and two meltacide assault squads dropped in on the other flank objective.  The meltaguns with help from Dante's re-roll ability got the dread down to 4 wounds, and then I assaulted him successfully with the two assault squads - but the Chaplain and Dante missed the assault rolls themselves! Regardless, I was able to claim the objective, and immediately won the primary on Turn 1.  We then turned our focus to the other missions. My opponent had the opportunity to pound me into a draw!

Beginning of turn 1...Wolves are moving forward. 

I thought it ominous that the table was decorated with red painted vehicle debris...

Around end of turn 3...the SW backfield is being cleared in part because they are simultaneously clearing my backfield... 

A moment later...

Almost done...flew into the corner for a last turn hover and shoot...

Again, Mephiston was flying around in the Stormraven and dropped out Turn 2 to protect Dante.  Once the backfield was cleared, Dante went to hide behind a tower, and the Stormraven through careful positioning killed Arjac Rockfist.  Then we played tit for tat on killing units, but I was way outgunned by the Warden and pretty much lost everything except the Stormraven and Dante. In this game the MVP was the Stormraven again, having helped damage a bunch of the wolf units and getting the warlord.  For my opponent, I'd say his MVP was the Knight Warden, due to the huge amount of damage it could cause each turn. His best wargear was the stormshields...effin' storm shields made saves like champs...  

I pulled off a win, 20-6.  

Wrap up
Overall, I pulled out 53 points for the day.  8th place out of 16.  2 wins and 1 close loss.  The best Blood Angels Player in the room.

I did not win best sport. I don't think I got a single vote. Mission Accomplished.

Overall, IMHO Best Sport is kind of stupid in a 3-game format. If multiple players get three votes (you can only vote for you favorite opponent), how do you resolve that? Plus on Tournament Days I'm not there for best sport.  Case in point - I went to a Ski Charity Fundraiser event this winter and won....BEST TRASH TALKER.  The prize for being Trashy was was Glorious!  The TO should just do a different award of his choosing - like "best come back" (lowest first round score difference from the score of the final game), or "Most Creative Army List"...Highest scoring dressed old guy...coolest sneakers...

In retrospect, the Blood Angels list I used was perfect for the Missions for this event. If I had brought the blue list I would have struggled a lot to win.   Glad I went and certainly i loved the missions.  Each had their won challenges!  Looking for ward to the next event when we transition over to true points...


Monday, August 7, 2017

Growing the Hobby one happy family at a time

Dante stood on the surface of Astaramis.  His sense of dread deepened when he realized his Blood Angels 5th Company would be holding the line against some strange Space Wolf - Eldar strike force.  Issuing commands over the helmet bead, he ordered the assault.  Strange or not, the xenos and their allies must be purged.

Week One - Konor Campaign

OK, not your typical battle report.

I was looking to get in week 1 playing against some wily Chaos Marine Scum (CMS), but a few days before game night I got a text.  A guy I know and his two sons wanted to have a game with me, specifically so they could learn more about 8th edition, and so I could give the kids particular encouragement and pointers on getting to be better players.  The dad is about 38 years old, and the kids probably 13 and 11.  The kids have been to our FLGS before, but have only really played each other in 7th (or played magic).  The kids each had their own armies - but the dad had yet to get one but was being encouraged to go for Blood Angels.  I decided it was the coolest thing I could do for the evening, and made the plans to get there. Although my plans were to play Ultramarines, I stayed with the Blood Angels so the dad could get the experience with them.

On arrival, I met the group!  The first thing we did was secure a table space in the back of th our FLGS, and then start setting up terrain.  I got the kids to help out, and told them I really liked making tables set for the battle - in a narrative way.  Our table was soon a geothermal station in a volcanic terrain.  We decided to ignore the molten rivers of magma.  We had a good mix of LOS and area terrain.  We went through the rules as they are) on how they might get cover.

I was set on using the list I've been deploying recently - Dante and Mephiston, assault marines, death co, tac marines, razorbacks and Baal Pred.  The other dad and I split that - all I needed was Dante, Mephiston and the assault marines and death co...the dad was going to roll lots of shooty dice.

The kids played the collections they had.  Not bad as starters, and apparently they have more models being constructed and painted.  I really have no idea how much stuff they played.  The only critical issue was that they did not have the 8th edition index yet covering the eldar, so we needed to just work that out as we went, translating reasonable changes from the 7th edition codex they carried.

We deployed alternating units.  The kids had more units.  The kids were the attackers.

We went over the mission conditions and I expressed that they really needed to pay attention to them - the Defenders got points for each attacker unit eliminated.  The attackers got points for units in the defender deployment zone at the end of the game.

Then we got busy!

Four game turns later (time goes slow when you are helping three players at once, AND, the kids want pizza), we all shook hands and everyone agreed the game had been a lot of fun.

Certainly the game was fun.  The Blood Angels took a beating, but at the end, the score was about 6 to 1.  The best moment for the kids was seeing Mephiston dragged down in a mosh pit of eldar and thunder cav fighters.  I think they finally got him with a thunder hammer...I made sure they celebrated the little victories along the way.  Razorbacks wrecked, stuff like that.

Was the game perfect?  No.  But the best part was the joy.  Overall it took me back to the days when my own kids were that age and I was teaching them Epic or 40K. At times it was also like herding cats.  Attention spans can be short.

When all the terrain was put away I reminded them of some good advice - put the copy of the rules next to their beds and read them every night.  Get updates of the rules and codexes.  Focus on building a complete basic list before trying to get the higher powered stuff.  Remember the story line and fluff. Concentrate on the game.  Build their on story.  Most importantly have a good time doing it.

We all left smiling and happy.  The kids anxious to get more models.  The dad wondering what army should he collect.

Looking forward to week 2 of the campaign.  Still need to get a list built for the Ultramarines.  I have a few ideas.  I think we are still doing power levels. Hmmm....



Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Rockport Invitational 2017 Debrief

Some day I'd love to go to an event like this and provide just live commentary to the live stream of the games.  FYI three games were live streamed throughout the day, so you could have watched them  I have not seen them! I was in the third streamed game!

For my list - see the prior blog post. 6 command points. Short and sweet. First time using Mephiston.
Format: Paired Tournament, 3,000 points per side 
(1,500 points per player). 

Missions:  See tournament packet.  Game 1 - 6 objectives/basic mission cards, 3 pulled per team per turn (1 deck per side) as primary. Game 2 - 4 objectives as Primary.  Game 3 - Progressive scoring for control of 5 objectives.

Player briefing.  Go see the organizer at "A Painted Life" blog. 

My Blood Angels were paired with a Deathwatch player.  His list included approximately:

  • Deathwatch warden (Warlord)
  • Deathwatch captain
  • Deathwatch Dreadnought (DCCW/AC)
  • Four double-las Razorbacks, each containing 6 deathwatch marines with special ammo bolt guns and maxed (4 per squad?) frag cannons.
  • 6 Command Points    

Game 1: Vs Astra Militarum / Tau

The Astra Militarum player had a hodgepodge list including a flyer, the Vortex missile battery, some units on horse, and squads of infantry on foot, bolstered by two characters at least, and 6 Tarantula gun platforms. The missile battery fortress was tremendously dangerous, and frankly is crazy for a game like this (not apox or narrative).  The Tau - was largely hidden to us and I have no idea how many suits or pathfinders or drones they had.  Lucky for us, 90% of the Tau just hid behind a piece or LOS blocking terrain...regardless, based on what we were seeing, my team partner and I decided a two-part course of action in what we saw as us getting shot off the table:

(1) go after maelstrom (mission) points, and (2) get into close combat with anything that would keep us from being shot off the table.

Close combat would be the only thing that would protect us from Vortex missile rain or Tau missile fire. We amended that turn 1 to include killing the flier, which seemingly was also a huge gun platform! The OPFOR went first.  Largely, everything went OK, with Dante and Mephiston showing what beasts they could be in the game.  The Flyer was dispatched with a combination of Melta-fire and assault by jump-pack troops.  I think in this game we certainly dished out what we were given.  One of my Razorbacks was popped in the first shots by the Vortex launcher.  Overall, I should have started it hidden.  With the large AM model count and tons of shooting dice the game went wicked slow.  We ran out of time after two turns, but we won, 12-10. I have no idea where the time went.  if I'd blacked out, nobody mentioned it...

Beginning of Turn 1.  OPFOR moving...

Beginning of Turn 2. Counter assault by the OPFOR.  

Actually beginning of what would have been Turn 3...
But We'd already won in a slow game. 

Game 2:  Vs Adpetus Mechanicum / Magnus Marines

The Adpetus Mech list was built around Cawl, a DataSmith, 3 dune crawler/crabby tanks, and 6 Kastellan Robots. Magnus was supported by demon foot troops (Tszangors), two Tszeentch terminator squads with socerors, the Sorceror on a Disk (Ahriman), and a rhino bearing more Tzeentchy chaos marines.  Another shooty list backed by assaulty demons and terminators and evil magixs!

At least in this game we thought we were safe based on the large amount of LOS-blocking terrain! The OPFOR went first (we wanted them to, since the objectives scored at the end, and we wanted options!).  Turn 1 began with Magnus coming totally accross the table to assault two razorbacks.  He popped one and damaged the other.  The game had a progressive king of the hill point total going on for the table center.  In response, we killed Magnus, wounded Arhiman, wounded Cawl, and captured the center.  In counter-riposte, we got cleaned off the center, and the robiots started double firing at anything they could see, while slowly advancing toward our lines. All the while, we kept some of our stuff in jump pack reserve, waiting for the terminators to drop.  About turn 3, the terminators arrived and we sent the death company after the Datasmith, who had been truly hiding under terrain directly beneath an objective.  We decided to try to grab the two objectives on the left, and hoped to contest one on the right for the win. Then our OPFOR dice rolling got hot and we just could not take down Ahriman or the datasmith by weight of fire!  After 5 turns, we took a narrow loss, 8 - 12.  At the end, nobody controlled the center, we held one objective, the OPFOR narrowly held two, and one was unclaimed.

Sometime around Turn 2.  Magnus is gone. 

Around Turn 3.  Counter assaulting the Chaos Rubric-Terminators. 

Game 3: Vs Three Knights and Tyranids

As they say, once a king always a king, once a Knight is enough!

This game was not going to be fun, as if that would be a shocker.  The mission was progressive points for controlling 5 objectives at the end of each turn, secondary included kill points based on pwer level removed. I mad a mistake in putting out objectives - since the first (mandatory) objective was in the center, I placed it in what would eventually be the opponent's deployment zone. That is where he put his two.  So already we are starting off on the wrong foot.  The OPFOR essentially deployed with the knights standing on three objectives.  We covered ours with a dreadnought.  The Tyranids were included a broodlord, podded command bug, and a trygon, three or so biovores, and two or so other beasties - and two large maxed broods of gaunts' and stealers'. Bug/Knights went first.  It ends up we were too close to their ability to deploy.  We figured the bugs would run forward, we would counter them with flamers and frag, until then hiding in our vehicles (due to the huge high strength Knight Missile Pods/Batle Cannons, etc.).  Two Deathwatch razorbacks got charged, and one could not fall back. That mean the Gaunt' and Stealer blobs could just run around using that vehicle as a means so we could not shoot them. The game went stupid. I sent my forces forward to go after the knights and some objectives.  The Deathwatch were eaten down to their metal parts by bugs.  Out only moral victory was taking out the Knight warlord for our only points of the game (2).  Dante was sundered by return Battle Cannon fire.  We were not tabled!  A Deathwatch razorback and Mephiston and three BA tactical marines remained! The OPFOR got the full 20 points. Went 5 turns.

Some time around Turn 2.  Dante in the fore, had failed a charge on the Knight, leaving the assault squad to go it alone.  In the back, Bugs use a trapped vehicle to eliminate shooting...

Bugs consolidating inward at the trapped Deathwatch.  

5th place out of 6 teams. Of all things 6th place was orks/spacewolves! 1st Place IIRR was Ravenguard/Primaris marines (they were 2:1:0 for the day, the only army not to take at least one loss). We had not played vs either the last or the first....

Comments / observations:

  • Someone said that research is showing that in 8th editions so far, the team getting first turn wins 89% of the time. In the ATC, someone seemed to indicate that the side that went first had a greater than 50% chance of tabling their opponent.  I kindly agree with the overall assertion. We thought that by going second in the last two games we'd have had a good chance to claim/win the primaries at the end.  Getting objectives though is not possible if the units were eliminated by Turn 1 shooting.  I'd say if you get the chance to go first, take it!
  • In our games, going first was not automatic - the smaller force (number of units) got +1 on a dice roll to go first.  I'd scrap the +1 bonus.  My observation is that players choose unkillable high power, high point units on purpose (their damage output is amazing compared to any tactical or elite squad point for point), so why reward them at all? 
  • Battle forged armies provide a framework. 
  • Most of the games have objectives placed by the players.  I'd offer that in a competitive scene, if you are not playing for (maelstrom) mission cards (6 objectives), having preset objective locations (patterns) that every table meets might be superior.  Otherwise, be reminded that the player who places the first objective should just place it in as neutral of a spot as possible, and already loses an advantage to the OPFOR regardless (as the second placing player chooses deployment).  If not, the fix I'd recommend is roll off to determine player deployment edge.  
  • So far, not owning any fortifications myself, I offer that they have no place in competitive play.  Have you read their rules?  I have only seen the rules for the Vortex Launcher of Doom. In theory you can move your army onto its roof and it will still fire Vortex missiles at you all day long. Somehow you cannot target the guys inside OR breach a door to take it over. It is all one-sided and unkillable in a basic (small point) game.  Interestingly, other than Knights, nobody showed up with super heavy tanks.  Good thing because there was no place for them to roam without removing/moving terrain.  
  • Flyers.  I think there was just one aircraft model for the day.  Not a big deal, we shot it / assaulted it down.  I'd hate to run into more than three!   
  • Beer.  Games go better with beer. Snacks go great with beer.  Lunch goes great with beer! Frankly, it should have been clear you chug a beer for each exploded vehicle.  
  • Cover. We handled cover pretty well.  +1 easily for infantry in woods or behind walls/barricades.  +1 to non-infantry to be toe-in and 50% obscured.  Overall, we did not have too many issues.
  • Mission pack.  The Mission pack was awesome (barring grammatical errors and spelling).  Deployment maps, on-sheet score tracking, good mix of primary missions (worth up to 14 points) and secondary missions (worth up to 6 points).  All of the missions were different from each other. The all gave you some way to try and get something on the scoreboard (even if it is just 2 points for killing a Knight warlord, cough cough...) 
  • Terrain.  Awesome.  Every table was different, and all had a great mix of LOS-blocking and area terrain. Made for great cinematic games. With horrible terrain I'd have been slaughtered! 
  • Swag.  We got these cool hand-made wound counters.  Sweet!
  • Best Army / Best Sport - I think in these smaller events, Best Sport is Meh.  Regardless, neither came with real instructions, for example, could you vote your team-mate as a best sport? I'd replace it with best warlord moment, or something more tangible.  I'd think if you were a horrible sport you might not get to the next event. Best army - was kind of based on painting?  Again, no instructions on how it was to be selected, even at this level is subjective.  I'd say better off as selected by judges using a rubric.  I also declare that the mechanicum army was the best painted (close call to the 3-knights!).  Hands down, awesome, battle damaged, dusty robots!
  • Overall is was a great day!  Even found a good Sports Bar on the way home showing MMA fighting on the big screen while we had dinner and a pint.  Good times!
  • Blood Angels.  Love them. Mephiston suffered overwatch and assaulted three Tau suits and removed them from play with his sword? Killed 4 terminators? All is good.  Dante is no slouch either.  Can kill a squad a turn. Both are worth their points.  
  • Deathwatch. OK except for the Dreadnought. The dread did not do much of anything.  Maybe if it had long range weapons? The change to cover rules makes it nigh impossible to get a dread across the table to beat on the enemy.  I'll have to watch and see if that changes. In the mean time, probably relegated to defending your deployment zone...

It is a new game.  I won't talk about the rules I now miss.  I am looking forward to the Codexes though...more stuff to learn! More Options! More Strategems!


Friday, July 21, 2017

No need to WIP me! If you do, WIP it good!

Meh, I was on a bender last night after an evening meeting.  My underground bunker is like the best place for painting in the hot days of summer.  I just plain forgot to do any more WIP photos, so here is my force for tomorrow's Invitational!

You may also see I've changed up a few of the blogs I follow - linked over on the right.  Check them out!

Yep, table ready!
Put your fists in the air!
Drone shot...
Just a little bit of sand and static grass to go...
I'm thinking this will be the last time I use this is a bit worse for wear.  
Yep, in the background, the BA tanks are sporting some borrowed UM (blue) accessories.  In the short term I decided to just borrow the bits from my other case.  Soon though, I'll also be switching cases and break out the UMs for the Konor Campaign! I'm hoping the next global campaign after Konor is at the Baal system!  That brings Tyranids vs Blood Angels, and Khorne, all together nicely! If it goes to Armageddon, I'll be dusting off my Astra Militarum.  

Who knows where we go from here?  I'm musing that the Blood Angels are NOT apparently in the new Space marine Codex coming out in a week or so?  Can we muse that the Blood Angels will be in the Chaos marine Codex instead?  Where will the Blood angels land if they are not with a;ll the other Chapters?  Who knows?  It might get weird around here...

In the mean time is it ethical to convert a Chaos Landraider to a Blood Angels Landraider? Answers appreciated below...