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....