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…