My First Tournament in 16 Years – Part II

This is a continuation from “My First Tournament in 16 years – Part I.”

Game Day:

The big day came and I managed to show up a little early (well, early enough that it was just me and the judge there).  I had woken up at 7am, and had nothing to do, so I swung by the grocery store and picked up a 50-pack of chocolate chip cookies to share (for whatever reason, they always seem to be on sale on Fridays, and I wanted to see if they were still cheap on Saturdays.  $6 for 4 dozen cookies seemed more than reasonable to me).

And no, this wasn’t a ploy to score more sportsmanship points (though I’m sure it might have seemed like it to some in attendance.  I just figured that if I was going to buy myself something for breakfast, I might as well spend a couple of bucks more and bring enough for everyone.

But I digress.

Armed with a Tyranid force and a few dozen cookies, I made my way to the game.  Despite being hosted by the same game group  (and in the same location), the attendees were unusually varied from those that I normally play with.  In fact, there were a couple of blasts from the past.  Moe, I guy I played back around the time I last played in a tournament, and Tim—who I apparently played with back when I lived at my parents house.  It made for some great nostalgia of 2nd/3rd edition games.

The Breakdown:

In total, there were fourteen players in attendance, representing seven different codices:

  • Imperial Guard x4
  • Necrons x3
  • Space Wolves x2
  • Chaos Space Marines x2
  • Eldar x1
  • Tyranids x1
  • Black Templar x1

Naturally, I played the Tyranids.

I guess it shouldn’t be a huge surprise that IG, Necrons, & Space Wolves being “top tier” codices were heavily represented (making up over half of the total players), and CSM might be fueled by the upcoming hype of a new book this weekend.  I did find if somewhat surprising that nobody brought Grey Knights.  It’s such a small sample though; I can’t look into any of those numbers too much.

Game 1: Necrons

In my first game, I was paired up with Moe, and we both set out to play one of our first games of 6th edition.  His list looked a little something like:

  • HQ:
    • Immothep
  • Troops:
    • 10x Immortals w/ Tesla
    • 10x Immortals w/ Tesla
    • 20x Necron Warriors
  • Fast Attack:
    • 3x Wraiths
  • Heavy Support:
    • 1x Annihilation Barge
    • Doom Scythe

My apologies in advance for anyone who’s expecting a detailed battle report with pictures and turn-by-turn descriptions.  We were originally slated to play five games during the course of the day, which boiled down to 75 minutes per game.  If you average five turn games with three phases each, that gave 2.5 minutes per phase.  Frankly, I just didn’t have enough time to take proper photos, and play.  (For the record, the fifth game was eventually kyboshed, but that still only added an extra 17 minutes or so to each of the games.  With so many people new to the rules, it proved to be very high paced—at least for me).

Anywho, I won the roll to go first, and opted to take it.  I don’t recall what my Warlord power was (or even what chart I rolled on—which, by the way, is something I need to figure out).  Oh yeah, Moe rolled up “Night Attacker” (which was worthless with Immothep in his force).  Suffice it to say, neither of our powers made a difference in the game.

The mission was essentially “Big Guns Never Tire” out of the rulebook with exactly 3 primary objectives (The first of which was placed in the dead center of the board—which was on top of terrain for this game—and the other two placed normally).  The static number of objectives was a common theme throughout the games, and each was played on a 4’x4’ board.

This particular game was a sparsely populated jungle sort of theme.  I deployed my Hive Guard behind terrain and my Tervigons in front, with my biovores in cover.  Moe deployed his wraiths on the Western flank, with the rest of his army pretty-much taking up the Eastern corner.

I spent the game advancing into him, and throwing large blast templates all over the battlefield.  My Hive Guard whittled down the Wraiths before they could ever charge me, and my Tervigons pumped out babies most every turn (including a group to hold the center objective) without breaking their who-haa’s.

Doom proved to be pretty valuable when he did come in, sucking wounds out of three units at a time.  Eventually though, the game hinged upon a major combat between a few squads of Termagaunts + a lone Tervigon + doom vs. Immortals + Immothep.  Though I did win the combat, and he broke that turn, I failed to catch him in the ensuing break-off.  I also was unable to roll at least a 4” in my ensuing consolidation move, so I couldn’t take his objective.  In the meantime, he’d snuck some troops with his Scythe to contest my objective and I held the middle.  I’d earned a win with the main mission objectives, and he won the secondary (earning first blood for a ‘gant squad), plus he’d gotten some special extra victory points for one of my Heavy Support choices, while keeping his alive.

Final Score:        Tyranids 12 – Necrons 10              (Win)

Game 2: Eldar (Biel-Tan)

As if the judge knew who I used to play with, I was pitted up in my second game against Tim and his beautifully painted Biel-Tan (spoiler alert: he would win best painted when all was said and done).  Anywho, his list looked something like this:

  • HQ:
    • Farseer w/ Guide
  • Elites:
    • 10x Warp Spiders w/ Exarch w/ double-spinner & blades
    • 10x Warp Spiders w/ Exarch w/ double-spinner
  • Troops:
    • 10x Dire Avengers w/ Exarch w/ twin catapults
    • 10x Dire Avengers w/ Exarch w/ twin catapults
    • 5x Rangers
  • Heavy Support:
    • Fire Prism
    • Fire Prism

I wasn’t terribly worried about the match up—the only things that bothered me were the tanks—since they moved so fast, I knew I’d have little to deal with them.  Luckily, I won first turn again (Though he did wind up stealing the initiative).

The mission was to capture a single objective: a Squig in the center of the table.  It would move around d6” in a random direction, and could be picked up/carried like a Relic—but it would do d6 S3 AP- hits to the unit that held it.  On the first turn, the squig jumped into the arms of one of my Tervigons (that was a troops choice), and it was all downhill from there.  I had started backpedalling into my deployment zone, and throwing walls of termagants in front to slow him down.  He’d created a pincher assault with a squad of spiders + a tank on each of my flanks, and they did a great job of thinning out my spawned units (Well, after they killed off the biovores, which were wreaking havoc on his dire avengers).  Ultimately though, he just didn’t have the damage output to break through the seemingly endless waves of spawned gaunts, and my Tervigon survived almost completely unscathed.

Interesting thing to note was that I’d completely forgotten to deploy the Doom during this game (not that I think it would’ve made much difference, since both the primary objective was based around holding the squig).  I’d managed to score 12 points for holding the primary, and he wound up with the secondary for scoring first blood again.  I also got a few bonus points for special mission objectives (all squig-based).

Final Score:        Tyranids 15 – Eldar 8       (Win)

Game 3: Chaos Space Marines

My third game was against Alex (and before you ask, no: I didn’t play with him 15+ years ago—as a matter of fact, I’m not sure he was alive back then).  He played a very pretty force painted in an Iron Warriors scheme lead by Lucius the Eternal:

  • HQ:
    • Lucius the Eternal
  • Troops:
    • 10x CSM w/ Plasma & Powerfist
    • 10x CSM w/ Plasma & Powerfist
    • 9x CSM w/ Flamer & Power Weapon
  • Heavy Support:
    • 1x Obliterator
    • 1x Obliterator
  • Fortifications:
    • Aegis Support Line w/ Quad Gun

I was happy to see a list devoid of flyers and vehicles.  It would be my first time seeing a fortification in a 6th edition game, so I was happy to see something new.  Also, it’d been quite a while since I’d seen a CSM army in action.

This game was set in a urban table, with lots of tall buildings to block LoS (I just now realized that I didn’t get a single picture of that game—Doh!).  The objectives were similar placed as in the first game, but added a mechanic of turning on/off the lights (the scenario was that the power generators in the area were failing, so it was randomly flickering between night-fight and daylight).  If you controlled multiple switches, you could turn on the lights nearby.  I guess it was a neat idea, but in practice, neither of us had much long range shooting, and we both forgot whether it was night or day.

Again, I won first turn and chose the side with more cover.  Deployment was pretty standard.  He put his defense line down in the one spot there was enough room, and I put everything I had right up against the line ready to run into his deployment zone.  The exception was my Biovores, which I put inside one of the buildings in such a vantage point that I couldn’t see them (which would lead to me forgetting to fire them at least half of the game).

My warlord trait gave me +1 VP every time I killed an enemy character in a challenge, so I used this game as the first in the tourney to trade out her psychic powers for Biomancy.  I rolled up Enfeeble & Warp Speed (never successfully using either power the entire game).

The first round when I tried to use Warp Speed, I failed with a Perils check and hadn’t given him FNP, so he took his first hit.  For the next two turns, his quad gun punched through two unsaved wounds per turn into my HQ (despite her having FNP and a 3+ armor save).  With one wound left, she spent the rest of the game slinking to the back of my deployment zone and hoping that the obliterators couldn’t lascannon her to death.

I was able to thin him down before I got into assault by just throwing massive numbers of dice.  Each turn, I was dropping five or more large blasts on him, and plinking him to death with fleshborers.  By the third turn, I’d charged him (after he’d failed a 4” charge with Lucius the turn before), and locked into a challenge with another of my Tervigons.  He managed to get two more squads into that combat, but through sheer numbers, I was able to whittle him down with hoardes of termagants.

They held long enough for the doom to show up, and suck everything dead (including Lucius—which is a good thing, because the Tervigon just didn’t have enough damage output to hurt him).  By the end of the 5th turn, his side of the board was wiped out, except two Obliterators that were positioned on top of a building in the opposite corner.  I simply wouldn’t have been able to get to them in time.

Without a doubt, Doom was my MVP of the game, finishing off a couple of squads and Lucius in two turns.  I had completed the main objective by holding more switches at the end of the game (all three), and also received the minor for earning first blood & linebreaker.  In addition, both of us scored additional victory points for working the switches during the game.

Final Score:        Tyranids 25 – Chaos Marines 3   (Win)

Game 4: Imperial Guard

My fourth (and final) game of the day was against Dan’s Imperial Guard.  Before the day started, I was talking trash to Dan that my army had been engineered to beat him, but in fact his was the one that seemed the most terrifying for me to face.  He was heavily armored and had tons of high strength weaponry:

  • HQ:
    • Command Squad w/ Sniper Rifles
  • Troops:
    • Platoon Command squad w/ Grenade launchers in Chimera (AC/HB/Stubber)
    • Platoon Squad w/ Autocannon & Plasmagun in Chimera (AC/HB/Stubber)
    • Platoon Squad w/ Autocannon & Flamer(?) in Chimera (AC/HB/Stubber)
    • Veteran Squad w/ Autocannon & Sniper Rifles
  • Fast Attack:
    • Armored Sentinel w/ Missile Launcher
  • Heavy Support:
    • Manticore
    • Basilisk
  • Fortifications:
    • Aegis Support Line w/ Quad Gun

To add insult to injury, the table we played on was about as sparse as terrain got during the tournament, and the mission we rolled up had no objectives: just kill points.

I figured my termagants were liabilities in this game, so I set them in my backfield, and resolved not to spawn any the entire game.  The good news is that because of this, the games played rather quickly.  I won first turn again (for those keeping track, I won the roll every game) and deployed my forces right up against the line.  The biovores and hive guard stayed in cover and the Tervigons were not.

Dan, in turn, castled up his force into the very back of his deployment zone.  He placed the Aegis out front, and cozied the basilisk/manticore behind them, ensuring I wouldn’t get to them before  the end of the game.  The rest of the squads, mounted in chimeras, held the front line.

Each turn, I advanced the Tervs, gave them FNP, and fired with the Hive Guard (and missed, or didn’t hurt the vehicles).  The biovores were more successful: lobbing spore mines into the guard behind the Aegis defense lines.  In response, Dan unloaded every heavy weapon into the closest of my Tervigons.  Despite forcing a lot of saves, he had only one gun that was AP3 (or better), so I was able to keep them alive for a reasonable amount of time.  In fact, throughout the game, each Tervigon made it across the board to attack (and subsequently destroy) one of the chimeras.

Though I was scared of his damage output (and my expected inability to deal with vehicles), I was pleasantly surprised by both.  Now, had he had more AP3 weaponry, that might have been a completely different story.

By the third turn, when the Doom came down, there were a few squads out of their vehicles that he was able to suck on, but he wasn’t able to gain many wounds.  In retaliation, Dan only really had two weapons in his army that could outright kill the Doom (the sentinel and the basilisk—but I was too close to his army to fire the basilisk), and wanted to focus the rest of his weaponry at other targets, and I managed to save against the missile.

From then on, the Doom played clean-up, sucking up wounds from the last straggling models from each squad.  While I was unable to hurt the defense line or the basilisk/manticore, everything else was hurting pretty bad at the end of the game.

Dan had been playing to down my Tervigons before they crashed into his line.  By the middle of the game, he had doubted his strategy, and figured that he’d earn far more KP’s had he fired into the rest of my models (which only had 4+ saves, at best).  Had he taken this tact from the beginning, it might have been a different outcome.

Final Score:        Tyranids 20 – Imperial Guard 0  (Win)

Summary

After all four games had played, I was worn out.  Earlier this Summer, I had a fall wherein I threw out my back, and though I’m thankful that I can walk around and generally function, things like standing and reaching over a table for 8 hours in a day tend to wear me out.  I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy myself, but by the start of that fourth game, I was officially funned out and just wanted the day to be over.

Naturally, I was happy with the fact that I won each of my games, so at least I had that to be proud of.  Moreover, I was pleased with the fact that each of my opponents were good people.  Though there were some rules questions (due mostly to my unfamiliarity with 6th edition), everything was settled quickly and amicably.  The fact that I enjoyed myself throughout the day was due entirely to the people that showed up.  I’m glad we have a nice little community here.

Best Painted:

I don’t have the official record of how they tallied the scores for painting.   I did look at it in a previous year though, and know you got points for each category that you completed including: basic painting, basic basing, highlighting, unified theme, stand-out characters, squad markings, etc.

Though each of us was scored by the judge in those categories, best painted really turned out to be a ‘players choice,’ sort of category.  Each of us setup their armies to be judged, and everyone got to submit favorites.  Most of the votes went to Tim and his beautiful Biel-Tan, so he walked away with that prize (despite having to leave early).

Best Sportsman:

Again, each of us was judged after every round by our opponents.  We were given a score-card where we had to answer five questions about the game.  I don’t remember them exactly, but it was something like:

  • Did you enjoy your game?
  • Would you play your opponent again?
  • Did your opponent seem to deliberately slow-play?

Naturally, there were more than I can’t recall directly.  They were so generic though, that it seemed practically absurd that anyone would score less than the full points each game.  According to the judge, virtually everyone scored full points every time though (which is good to hear).

Then, at the end, we had an opportunity to rate our opponents as to who was our favorite to play against.  We also received an optional way of penalizing someone who was a poor sport, but had to provide rationale should we choose to do so.

Best sportsman is normally reserved for Tony (former blogger here on the site), but he’s since fled the State.  In his absence, the humble Brandon stepped up to claim the prize (and though I didn’t play against him, I can agree with that—he does seem to be quite gregarious).

Best Overall  (1st & 2nd Place)

When it came down to the final scores, second place was announced first (to build tension, I suppose), and Danny walked away with the prize.  I was a bit shocked by that, as I expected him to walk away the big winner, but I guess he didn’t fair well on the last game against Cole’s dice (even if it was Shawn that was rolling them).

Up until that point, I figured I was in 4th or 5th place, and there wasn’t much hope—but after Danny took second, and knowing that I beat Dan, maybe there was a shot.  So, when Cole announced that the winner was “the guy who doesn’t play in tournaments, “ I was pleasantly surprised!

As the winner, I walked away with a hand-crafted trophy (courtesy of Andrew), and a squad box of my choosing from Hobbycraft (I went with Chaos Space Marines).  Plus I got a general good feeling (not that it superceeded my aching back, but after a week, I still have a little overflow of pride from winning, and the back pain has subsided.

I’m glad that I participated, and I’d consider doing so in the future.  Thanks to Andrew for hosting, Cole for judging, and Hobbycraft for prize support.  And thanks for everyone involved being good players, and making this a great community.

What I Learned:

So, this isn’t a true battle report, but I learned a lot from these games, so I figured I’d throw this in as well.  The first few bullet points are about tournies, and the rest are about the game/6th edition rules.  Since I played four games, this might also get a little long winded (but if you’re still reading by now, I’m sure you won’t mind):

  • Our local tournament scene is relatively scarce on WAAC gamers: Though there were a fair share of people bringing large amounts of flyers, or otherwise very powerful lists, sportsmanship scores were relatively high across the board.  I can’t say that there weren’t any WAAC sorts in there, but if there were, I didn’t see it.
  • Tournament Pairings are based upon battle points: Well, at least this one was.  It turns out that I was actually in 2nd place overall going into the last game, but by battlepoints alone, I was in 3rd (and only barely).  Because of this, I didn’t have to play against Danny for the last game (which would’ve lead to drastically different results, I presume).  I’ve heard about people trying to win their initial few games by small margins so they didn’t have to play the best armies in the final tables, and I guess that’s what I unwittingly did.  Who knew?
  • Tervigons are Smashing: Like I said earlier, I did a review of Tervigons in 6th edition, where I thought they would make reasonable can openers for vehicles (maybe I’ll even post it one day!), and they didn’t let me down.  On the charge, they received three attacks at S10, which was enough to crack open tanks with ease.  They’ll never be massive troop slayers, but I still think they can be properly kitted out to deal with characters in a challenge though…
  • Large Blasts are Great: I’ve always sworn by anything with a large blast template.  I don’t care what the AP or strength is: if it has a large blast, it’s worth using.  Of course, if it’s high strength and low AP, that’s better, but the ‘nidz don’t have such things.  In my army I had seven large blast templates in my army and an oodle of fleshborers.  Between those, it was enough to get things done.
  • Barrage Weapons are Great: Due to the fact that they count cover from the center of the hole (RB-34), I was able to lob biovore shots into units that would’ve normally had great saves to completely decimate them.  On top of that, the weapon type itself allows for indirect fire (I’m not sure that was the case in 5th edition or, if it was, I wasn’t aware of it, but it does mean that they don’t require LoS).  I didn’t know about this during the tourney, but it’s something I’ll have to remember for future games…
  • Doom of Malan’tai is King: He was great in the last edition, but he’s even better in the new edition based upon the new rules for disembarkation.  In the old rules, he had to remain within 2” of the pod as he came out, but the new rules allow him to be as far as 6” away.  Because of this, you have some more flexibility with how far the pod deviates.  Plus, with the fact that you can pre-measure everything, it’s simple to position him where he can do the most damage during the shooting phase.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go assemble some Chaos Marines…

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12 comments on “My First Tournament in 16 Years – Part II

  1. Glad you had a great time!

    I was not surprised you did well, i know your a great player despite how often you play, your paint jobs are always good (which as you see is a big part of “overall” scoring), and of course sportsmanship is certainly not an issue for you.

    I had a great time setting it up and it makes me quite happy that after all my coaxing to get you there you had a great time! I personally love the scene, sure i enjoy the competition but more then that i enjoy spending almost a whole day on my hobby with others cut from the same cloth. Hopefully this means we have another joining us more often =)

    • I’m not sure my back can take much more of that, but it was pleasant enough for the first three games.

      I do appreciate you dragging me out–it’s good to change your paradigm periodically.

  2. I’m glad you see now that the tournament scene here (or really anywhere I’ve played ever) isn’t filled with power-gaming douches. Hopefully that means we can get you out to more tournaments.

    I’m glad that Cole apparently melted his dice again, but this time on the wrong side just to appease me. I’m touched by the gesture, and so were my wood elves.

    I had an awesome time at the tournament – loved the missions. Last game was a little frustrating, but I can’t help that, and neither could my opponent. Nothing like having an seemingly invincible Necron Lord on chariot 😛 All my games were fun, and I have no complaints at all about my opponents.

    Still need to get in a game with you Rob!

    -Danny

  3. And so it began… Rob’s descent into WAAC tournament fiend-dom! Winning is like a drug!

    It sounds like it was great fun – if only to get a bunch of games in against new (but nice) people. And it sounds like most stuff was painted too.

    By the way, you’ve got 2 ‘game 2’s in your report…

    • Who said I was scared? I don’t mind losing (granted, I don’t prefer it), I just don’t like to argue with people over a game, or see people bring crazy uber armies that are “unbeatable.” I’m glad to see that wasn’t the case this time though.

      • Just a turn of phrase 😛

        Unrelated, you really need to do article exerts on your front page. Makes life SO much easier when you’re looking for a particular article so you’re not scrolling through entire articles trying to pick out headlines.

  4. I assume you still have the same WYSIWYG editor on articles? Assuming you do there should be an ‘Insert More’ button on the top right, just right of the half-way mark. That lets you manually insert where the ‘Read More’ link appears.

    • Oh, that. Yeah, it’s an avaialble feature. I never used it on my old blog (instead, I had the front page coded so it only showed X characters of a given post). You think using the “read more” function actually helps a blog?

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