Monday, 13 May 2013

AutoBrit & Adepticon: 40K Friendly: Round 3

My final opponent was a Thousand Sons player.  Not Chaos Marines, but Thousand Sons.  After my (admittedly minor and petty) gripes about my last opponent not playing entirely to theme, the Thousand Sons army was a joy to see. It made me feel so very bad though.

As most of you (I’m guessing) know, the Thousand Sons do not fare particularly well against vehicles.  The only weapon above Strength 4 in one of their squads is going to be the Psyker, and the only power you can guarantee there is SD6+1.  Doombolt is okay, but lacks the heavy punch of melta for the big vehicles.  He was packing Ahriman, who can be a bit of a gun turret with the right powers and is a boon for the army, but the only other anti-tank things were a Defiler (set up to be more of a firebase than an assaulter) and a tricked out Daemon Prince.  Mention should be made of both of those models though, as the Defiler he was using was a scratch-build that dated back to before the Defiler model was actually released and the Daemon Prince was a Llamassu, so everything really looked the part!

Unfortunately, as these things go (especially when you are playing to such an inflexible theme) the counter-lists can be all too common, and such was the case here.  The Daemon Prince managed to take down a Soul Grinder, but that just left it open to counter-assault from the Bloodthirster, and you know how that fight goes down.  After my plentiful ranged guns took down his Defiler, it was just a matter of plinking away at him with shooting, waiting for guys to drop.

I do have to make some mention of the mission scenario for this one though.  The basic scenario was Pitched Battle and Relic, but the added twist was that the Relic not only gave special rules to all those within 18” (among them Counter Assault and FnP, I think), but also allowed you to add 1 to all your dice rolls.  This was so confusing for a while, and altered the game dramatically.  Marines were clomping around in what amounted to Terminator Armour, my Forgefiend was firing Heavy 8 Lascannons and the Bloodthirster was hitting everyone on a 2+.  That game went strangely!

The +1 to armour save (although AP3 weapons would still nullify it) helped his army’s staying power immensely, but it was just a war of attrition and I had more guns and greater numbers.  It was a shame the game couldn’t have been more dynamic, but all credit to my opponent, he was very sanguine about the whole thing.  He’d been playing Thousand Sons for well over a decade, and knew the risks and weaknesses of the choice. I still felt bad though.

Regardless, that was the recap of the Friendly.  My team trundled through to victory, doubtless spurred on by florid Britishness in the face of adversity and the entire team walked away with a box of Cultists!

A very good time indeed, and if subsequent Friendlies are going to be similarly offbeat, I would thoroughly recommend them!

Friday, 10 May 2013

AutoBrit & Adepticon: 40K Friendly: Round 2

Game two was against Dark Angels, an enemy I have a fair bit of experience going against now.  There are a lot of Ravenwing fans where I come from!  This army was a mix of raven and regular, with the seemingly obligatory Sammael leading them to unlock some bike troops choices.  The army consisted of a big Ravenwing squad, an attack bike, a couple of speeders, some Black Knights and then, rather incongruously, a squad of scouts, an Aegis Defence line with a quad gun and a Vindicator.  Fortunately for me, the mission rules were against my opponent slightly.  The main objectives were kill points, with Fast Attacks being worth two points apiece and if the opponent’s entire Heavy Support was destroyed, you got a bonus three.  As I was only packing one Fast Attack choice and three Heavies, and my opponent was the other way round, I definitely had the rules in my favour.  He started off with a very defensive setup.  You know that you can do things in the game that make tactical sense as far as the rules go, but don’t really fit in a narrative or cinematic sense?  This was one of those examples.  He used his defence line to form a rough corral and stuck his Vindicator in it.  It makes sense rules-wise, but who goes around fencing in their own tanks?
Anyway, he took first turn and tried for a cheeky first blood, with a scouting multi-melta Attack Bike and one of my Soul Grinders.  It’s always a risky proposition that.  When the melta failed to do anything noteworthy, the bike was swiftly annihilated, giving me the first blood instead.  He was just in range of too much of my stuff to last the turn.  There were a couple of interesting things that happened in that game, but they centred on the additional special rules.  The big special rule for this round was ‘Stuck in the Cocoon’, where one unit of your opponent’s choice would be unable to do anything, or be attacked by anything until they freed themselves.  6+ on turn 1, 5+ on turn 2, 4+ on turn 3 and auto-free on turn 4 (thankfully).  I chose Sammael (forcing the bike squad to soldier on without him and separating him out for the rest of the game) and my opponent chose the Bloodthirster.  Can’t say I’m surprised at the choice!  I’d most likely have done the same thing in his place.  But the rules bit me a little hard as Sammael freed himself on turn 2 and my poor Bloodthirster had to wait until turn 4.  Arse.  To make matters worse, we only got to turn 4 before time was called, so I only had one turn to have him accomplish anything.  He jumped out in front of a lone Black Knight, ready to grab a nice juicy kill point for himself, and the Slaanesh butts his/her androgynous head into the game and decides: No, I’ll kill that biker.  And I’ll fling two wounds on the Bloodthirster for giggles.  I get the feeling it won’t be the last time I call out a god for kill-stealing…
The other big thing that happened in that game was that my Warpsmith challenged a Black Knight Champion, beat him raw and bloodily into the ground and then spawned himself.  Surprisingly, that’s the first time that’s actually happened for me.  It puts my Warpsmith at one ascension and one spawnhood, so he’s batting average.  On the plus side, he didn’t actually die.  He spent the rest of the game rambling up the board and ended it tearing some scouts apart.  Who could ask for more, eh?  Anyway, with the game ending the way it did, it was a pretty big win for my army.  There was not enough anti-tank in my opponent’s list to deal with the armour I was bringing and the victory conditions themselves put the situation in my favour regardless.  Sometimes you just get good matchups.  You just have to play well enough not to botch them!

Friday, 3 May 2013

AutoBrit & Adepticon: 40K Friendly, Round 1

I’ll start off by saying that the Friendly was a great deal of fun.  3 games with a points limit of 1,500, which was surprisingly small (most American tournament tend to err on the higher side in my experience).  There was a theme to the event, which was Spinal Tap.  An odd choice, but the TO really made it work for him!  It would not have been as fun without that guy’s endless bellowing enthusiasm and occasionally distressing leather trousers.  There were 52 players split into four teams and, through whatever metric the TOs deemed appropriate, I was made the leader of the yellow team, thereafter referred to as Bo-nana. 

The three rounds each had their own special rules, with a variety of the standard mission objectives so people weren’t scrambling around in confusion too much.  To add even more flavour to the event, at the beginning of each round, the team captains had to spin a special rule on a wheel their entire team got that special rule.  These were highly variable, running the gamut between +D6 to run moves, +1 to hit with Plasma Weapons, eternal warrior for your HQs and a lot more besides.  It was nice an occasionally funny to have these ad hoc rules flying about, but they never seemed to ruin the game or spoil the balance, so I have nothing but praise for that aspect. 

My list was very similar to the one I posted in my buildup section of the blog, so have a look at that if you want.  The only changes I made were to replace the Quad Gun with an Icarus Lascannon and ditch a few cultists from the big squad in order free up some points for the Baleful Torrent upgrades from my Soul Grinders.  I may tweak it a little in the future but overall I’m quite pleased with the list.  The Bastion didn’t ride roughshod over anyone and the list was good and resilient, with my Troop choice not collapsing into bloodied piles of mush as often as I expected.  The only changes I’ll make would probably be to find 20 pints somewhere to give my Bloodthirster a Greater Reward (4 out of 6 of them play very well with him and the weapon upgrade is always useful as an alternative to the roll result).  Oh, and change the Heldrake to a Hades Autocannon instead of a Baleflamer.  Maybe it’s the contrarian streak I’ve got, but there was barely a single CSM player there not packing a Heldrake with Baleflamer, and I don’t want to add to that number. We’ll see.

In the first round I was pitted against Tyranids in a standard objective mission. Tyranids are one of bane armies.  I seem to have a bit of blind spot when I’m up against them.  Even when I was running my DE they were a concern, despite all the poison and lance I was bringing.  I just don’t have a great track record against them, so this wasn’t looking massively positive.  He was bringing a Tervigon, a flying Tyrant, a couple of Gaunts, the Doom of Malantai, a few Warriors, some Hive Guard and the Swarmlord.  A tough list, but definitely not ‘teh hardcorz’ as the kids say.  Nevertheless, I don’t think anyone looks forward to fighting the Swarmlord…

Anyway, there were a few interesting things that happened that game.  The first was that in my first roll on the Warp Storm table, I got the Psyker Possession result and, wouldn’t you know it, the Swarmlord was randomly picked to have a Herald explode from his chest!  Almost a reverse ‘Alien’, if you will.  Unfortunately, he manage to pass his 3D6 Ld test with flying colours (only 6 in total!) and that particular sliver of awesomeness was suddenly removed from my game.  Turnabout’s fair play however and when his Doom landed, it was unable to kill a single Cultist, despite having three tries.  Neither of us was failing our 3D6 Lds in that game!

It was bit of an odd game, all told, with the Tyranids having to move up and cope with the Chaos firepower before steamrolling the close combats.  This tactic works fine for me, as the majority of the close combat elements in my army are there for counter-assault and if the opponent is going to be weakened by defensive shooting, then so much the better.  Unfortunately, I made one crucial mistake during that game, and that was to fall prey to the ‘epic’ factor.  I had two options for targets for my Bloodthirster:  the Tervigon or the Swarmlord.  The Tervigon could roll up the flank because, although it is a poor assault MC for Tyranid standards, my MC takedown is usually in my vehicles and with Smash attacks being what they are, even the Tervigon can cause some major damage.  The Swarmlord is an assault monster, but would realistically do not better than the Tervigon versus my vehicles.  Tactically I should have gone of the Tervigon and taken it out of the picture quickly, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity for a titanic duel between two of the heaviest hitters in the game.

The Bloodthirster started well, scored a couple of wounds and couple of Instant Death attacks on the Swarmlord, but they were all saved.  From that point, I knew it was over.  Unless you’re packing eternal warrior or massive numbers, you do not survive more than one round of combat with the Swarmlord.  And so it was that the Thirster died after having scored zero wounds during the entire battle.  Luckily for me, the Swarmlord’s next target was my Forgefiend, who won MVP that game by stubbornly refusing to die until the end of the game.  He didn’t punch back or anything, but holding up the Swarmlord for three straight turns definitely helped the situation.  My Heldrake did well enough, hurting things and setting stuff on fire, as he is wont to do, but it was the indefatigable Forgefiend who truly earned his keep.

The end result of the game was a draw, hard fought by both sides.  It could easily have gone either way, but outrageous luck for both armies kept everything on an even keel.  And that was game 1.  Next up, the inventively named ‘Game 2’.  But that can wait until later.

Until next time, Underlings…