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!



  1. Yeah mission 3 needed fixed objective placement to be sure. Realized that after deployment of objectives but we where already into the game (in the room). Updated the mission for a semi fixed placement for the future. (Can move them 6" from fixed point before deploying units).

    Sorry our game was so one sided. My other two games where a fairly even grind. Won game 2 but only b course my opponent was out of position come game end and I was able to clear/stand on everything.

    Took the knights to avoid brain burn running to many units/rules. My dice went crazy in your game though. I rolled so many 5/6's on important rolls. Today same dice went so cold. Hit about 50% of my 2+ Attacks with swarmlord over 4 rounds.

  2. No problem there! The event had a lot of interesting list versions and units, and a debrief from everyone makes for interesting reading and reflection on the new edition! The cool thing to also not is HOW FAST most games played...3000 points each side done in 2.5 hours, 5 turns, was very achievable...the last game was on the positive side...I had less to clean up and pack...(except for those escaped dice!)