Tuesday, 30 July 2013

It's a Knockout, Round 1 - My Game

So, I was up against Rob, and he brought his Space Wolves. He showed me his list, and I figured I was about to get my most testing game yet with this army (despite the jokes Rob made about packing up in time to meet his wife for dinner.)

Rob, having Space Wolves, was probably least well equipped to kill flyers. So he actually did what I have been telling people to do for ages with regards flyers. Work around them. Get in close, fast, go for the uppercut.
 Robs list consisted of Logan Grimnar, three units of terminators (all in drop pods) two units of long fangs (again with drop pods) a unit of bikes with a Rune Priest and an aegis defence line with quad gun. We had Big Guns Never Tire and Standard Deployment, with Rob choosing to let me go first.

I naturally wanted that quad gun dead, so dropped a basilisk shell or two on it to make it go away (killing half a squad of Long Fangs in the process) but achieved little else with shooting that turn. In Robs turn 1, he brought in three drop pods, and dropped them right in front of my defence line. Luckily for me, Grimnar and a squad of termies got out - the other two were empty, designed to be LOS blockers. Rob lamented the fact that he hadn't been able to squeaze another empty drop pod into the list as then turn one would have been entirely about blocking LOS and then in subsequent turns use his manned pods to react to my flyers. Of course, with that not being an option, it is my opinion Rob should have dropped all three manned pods down turn 1. Put three squads of terminators right in front of me saying "sure, you got vets and meltaguns and a bunch of other heavy weapons... but you won't get all of us." With most of my army shooting the one squad that got out I killed all bar one of the squad and took two wounds off Grimnar. There is no way in hell I could have handled three squads at once. When my flyers arrived they had to overshoot the target area and take on the backfield long fangs or the flanking bikes (who Rob had cleverly had right at the table edge, meaning large blast markers had a high probability of scattering off the table completely and catching none of the bikes.) Of course with only one squad to deal with in turn 2 it was easy to finish off in turn 3. I then turned my attention to the next nearest squad on turn 4, and claimed the final squad turn 5. My flyers dropped down to turn around and help with terminator killing from turn 4 onwards, and drop troops on objectives, having happily dispatched the last of the long fangs that could have taken the opportunity of a rear armour shot at a hovering valk to ruin my day. By turn 5, we called it, with Rob down to just some drop pods.

I think Robs list was sound, and could have won against me. It was a well thought out list, it just lacked a little in the execution.

For one, while if he'd had three empty pods I agree he could have dropped annoyance pods down turn 1 and used his more effective reserves once he knew where I had committed myself, when he realised that wasn't a possibility he should have dropped all the terminators down turn 1 and gone for the uppercut.


 Those empty pods could easily have been dropped near far flung objectives that I may have tried to drop a guard squad on to cause problems, but LOS and movement blocking would probably have been better. Robs deployment of his pods did severely restrict the movement of my ground forces, and even stopped one of my basilisks from engaging his bikes (I couldn't turn to get them into arc of fire because there was a great big pod next to me) and I can't fault him on that. It was just his choice of dropping empties on turn 1 that was the issue.

Alternatively, Rich did make the point that he didn't need to drop the pods empty. He could have dropped them with the fangs in them. Sure they're snap firing if at all on the turn they arrive... probably better just to run to a good position. But you could then place them to get side shots at all my tanks, and be too close to my lines for flyers to engage. Of course then there would be no need for a quad gun and aegis line, but all the quad gun really did was prevent his bikes getting shot on turn 1 (more important target), and his deployment right on the edge of the table may have provided them some protection in that regard also. I'm not too sure what he would have done with the last 100 points mind...

All in all, while this game was heavily in my favour by the end, it was still a strong test. The only game I haven't won with this list was a draw where my opponent had a 1 wound terminator warlord sat contesting my objective, meaning we both had Linebreaker, he had Slay the Warlord and I had First Blood. I had lost a chimera, a unit of vets, and my warlord, he had lost EVERYTHING else. The game ended turn 5 for a draw. Despite that being the best result anyone has got against me, this was by far the toughest game. My flyers had minimal impact as flyers and had to drop to hover mode earlier than I normally would. Rob ducked under my flyer cover and tried to annihalate my ground forces. This is exactly what I have been saying to people who say my list is impossible to beat - don't worry about not being able to kill them. Deny them the game in other ways, with clever movement. Rob had a good plan, and a good list. He just made a slight mistake. With the same match up, I am sure he would do much better. Luckily, this tournament is running an FA cup style knockout, not a champions league style knockout. Otherwise I would definitely have been looking to try to sit on a Victory Points lead from round one and merely survive the return leg...

In other news, Rich H defeated the Necrons, and Scotts Tyranids swarmed the Relic before the Dark Angels could get anywhere near it. If that was some clue on the Fallen, it has been digested by now. I'll try to get more details on these games when I can, and on who wins the postponed game between Rich F and Jason.

Finally, we have a late entrant to the field. Turning up at the last minute with a Salamanders list, Simon takes the wildcard spot so is lined up for a game against Rich A. This is quite an even match-up and were Rich A using Chaos I would expect him to emerge victorious. However he is using his guard, which I see him play with far less. Therefore I am changing my prediction to one that Simon will make it through at Richs expense. But don't take anything as written here - I only got two out of three right so far, and in my own game I got a far tougher test than I imagined I would...



Tuesday, 23 July 2013

It's a Knockout 2013


 So, I'm about to run a tournament at my local club, a knockout tournament that we can play on our regular weekly meetings without needing to set aside a whole day or weekend for it (a commitment that many people cannot make)

This all came about because I designed a fairly balanced take all comers guard army, and it did very well, winning several games, and I wondered if it could take on anything. After several weeks of discussions over prize support, entry fees, list restrictions etc, we are ready to begin.

The basics first...

2k tournament
No list restrictions (beyond, y'know, the rules of the game)
Forgeworld approved
Set list throughout
Random missions/deployment each game.

But it's a knockout, what happens if the game ends in a draw I hear you ask. Seriously, I hear you, I bugged your house. Well anyway I've already thought of that...

At the end of turn 5, the players will write down the gamescore. They will then roll to see if the game ends. If not, continue as normal. If it ends, do we have a winner? If yes, fine it's over. If not... play an extra turn. At the end of turn 6, the process is repeated. Write down the scores, roll to see if it ends. If we have a natural winner it's over, if the game is a draw or doesn't end yet, keep fighting. At the end of turn 7, there can be no more turns. If we have a winner, great. If it's a draw, combine the scores from rounds 5, 6 and 7. Do we now have a winner? If someone was winning turn 5 and 6 but their opponent managed a sneaky tie in turn 7, then the person who was winning most of the game goes through. If after all that it's STILL a tie, then we go with CLASSIC victory points - how much of each others army you've killed.


So, who are the runners and the riders? Well, I'm in obviously. I'm running a flyer heavy list, with a vulture, a pair of vendettas and a pair of valkyries. They receive support from 2 basilisks, 2 hydras, and 4 chimeras behind an aegis line. I have vets and command squads in the chimeras, and cheap scoring units riding the flying transports. HQ choice is a primaris psyker, and I of course have Marbo waiting in the wings. The comms relay on the aegis gives me a reroll on my reserves.

The rest, I shall have to introduce as the tournament progresses as I don't have all the army lists yet (deadline is next week) but I shall go with introductions and probable armies.

Dale - Dark Angels. Quite new to the hobby but has quite a collection of grey plastic to choose from. I've seen him run all terminator armies and mass speeder armies, so not sure which way he'll go for this.

Scott - Tyranids. Good player, expect him to put up quite a fight despite his codex showing it's age. He is however up against one of the newest kids on the block in Dale and his Dark Angels. Will a canny veteran be able to get his old book past the new player with the shiny toys? We shall see.

Rob P - Probably Space Wolves, could be Guard. Rob has been at the club a while now and is always improving, but has drawn a pretty short straw (if I do say so myself) in getting me first round. I know some people will want him to bring Guard (they have better Anti-Air than Space Wolves) just to be a spoiler army to knock me out, but I don't think a list designed to kill me would make it past round 2. Plus, if he did bring Guard, well, Guard vs Guard is the only time I get competitive - I have an undefeated streak stretching back to my first 40k army 13 years ago, which means that while against others I'm more fun and easy going, when I have that rep at stake I tend to become more focused and more likely to pound face to make sure there is no chance I could possibly lose...

Rich H - another veteran and a strong contender for the title, though he has been saying my list is unbeatable and is hoping someone else knocks me out rather than face me. He's bringing Chaos Space Marines (confirmed) and I expect him to do quite well. However, his dislike of flyers may be tested as his first game is against...

Matt - Necrons. I've seen him with at least one night scythe, he could have more, I haven't actually played him and don't know how experienced he is or how he runs his army. It isn't the croissant spam I've seen elsewhere but I've no idea beyond that. I do know that as Abaddon has been tearing enemy warlords limb from limb around our club, Rich may not be too impressed to find himself up against someone who can take mindshackle scarabs...

Rich F - Presumably Chaos Space Marines. Another Veteran I think is a strong contender. Likes to take the chaos version of techmarines, several ground and air dinobots, and plenty infantry. He is up against his regular sparring partner/next door neighbour...

Jason - Space Marines. Good player, but the form book apparently favors Rich, or at least that's what he says...

Which brings me to heat 2...

Neil - Grey Knights. Been playing a while. Usually comes up with some dastardly evil plan that rinses and repeats whatever he found worked best in his last game. Works out about as well as Dr Evil most of the time. he is up against Paul...

Paul - Space Wolves. Fairly new to the hobby, still learning the ropes. Neil was pleased with this draw, visibly and quite audibly. Thus the entire club and Karma are rooting for Paul in this one...

Tim - Blood Angels, one assumes. A strong player, and depending on how many Storm Ravens he puts in his list one I could be watching out for - my hatred of Stormravens is well known...

Jamie - Probably Imperial Fists, could be Orks at a push. Probably the former. He's been playing for a while but only recently left a small circle and joined our club, getting more games in. This game is probably going to be an interesting encounter between two well matched opponents.

Ron - Grey Knights (Confirmed) A new arrival at the club, seems quite savvy in the rules and runs a strong army. I did massacre his army with the list I'll be using, but at the end of that game I did point out what he'd done wrong (namely, advanced to 24" apart and tried to outshoot me, instead of running hell for leather for my lines to duck under my flyer cover before they arrived.) If he has picked up on those lessons I pointed out last time it could be a whole different ball game. However, his first game won't be easy against...

Ben - Tau or Guard. No idea which army he'll use. He's been using Tau recently cos they're new and shiny (and with the amount of anti air and anti cover they can do my flyers/hiding behind aegis list would probably face it's toughest test in them. However he did tonight mention he was planning to attend a tournament in August and use Guard and may use this to get some practice in with them. He's a strong player with his Tau and in fantasy, I've yet to see him use his guard, so I have no idea what he'd be like with them. If he was bringing Tau, I'd say definitely one to watch. If he brings Guard, he becomes a complete unknown to me.

Finally, Rich A - Chaos Space Marines probably, though could be Guard. A dogged determined player who often as not will grind out a result (suits the guard style I guess) I can see him doing well against most people in the club, but there are a few stronger players who I would imagine should get past him without trouble. However those of you who have kept count will have noticed I said "Finally" on an odd number. Well one lucky loser from pot 1 gets a second bite of the cherry the following week, playing Rich A in his game... well, unless we get someone else sign up in the next week anyway. So, up against a player who has already been knocked out, he may have a better chance of progressing to the second round.

My predictions for progression? Myself (touch wood) Rich H, Rich F, Dale, Neil, Rich A... then the tough calls are marginally in favor of Tim... and if Ben picks Tau, he's through, if he picks Guard I reckon Ron will go through. However, as I'm 99% sure Ben isn't one of the four or so people that read this blog my guesswork shouldn't affect his final decision...