Monday, August 29, 2011

Blog Wars 2 - Scenarios and Ticket News

Firstly, just to say that Blog Wars 2 tickets will hopefully be available at the end of September. This is because the venue is changing the way they do catering and I want to get a firm price from them before I try and budget for the event and decide on a ticket cost. I'm hoping it'll be the same as June at £15 but the food should be a smaller proportion of that so there should be more cash available for prizes and general improvements to the tournament itself. Like last time I don't intend to make a single penny from Blog Wars and all the proceeds will be shared out in the prize pot once the food has been paid for. There's nothing worse than going to a tournament and shelling out for a ticket only to get a certificate for your efforts (are you listening GW?). Anyway, more details will be available towards the end of next month but for now I want to talk about the scenarios so you guys can play test them if you so desire.

As I've mentioned in previous posts Blog Wars 2 is going to be different (and hopefully better) than the last. Therefore, Matt and I have come up with some slight variations on the usual 40K scenarios to try to highlight the importance of the special character in your Blog Wars list. Last time around everyone had an SC but it varied whether you'd got them as a key part of your army philosophy or if you'd tacked them onto an already tried and tested tournament list. We want to encourage people to embrace the spirit of the tournament by centering their lists around a special character and choosing their units with them in mind. Please remember that I'm always looking for feedback and suggestions for any aspect of the tournament and the scenarios are no exception. If you test them out and find their too biassed towards army X or punish army Y too much then let me know and I'll try and address it.

We wanted a bit of a narrative campaign feel to the games so the missions will follow a sequence based on a very loose story. Whether you like that sort of thing or not doesn't really matter because the missions are pretty simple. It's there if you like it but if you don't just roll the dice!

Last time around we had modest numbers of attendees which meant we had quite a few clashes where people had already played. This time I'm introducing a slightly different scoring system where degrees of victory are more important (there won't be any soft scoring though). This should hopefully balance things out between different armies. For example, an army with very few units will naturally do well in kill point games so they're likely to win by a large margin. However, victory points will also be taken into account so this should go some way to levelling the playing field. I've seen this work out nicely at other tournaments and it means that it's always worth trying to hammer your opponent rather than just getting sneaky objectives at the end. Unless stated all of the missions have a standard 5-7 turn game length and allow infiltrators, reserves, deep strikes, etc.

Scenario 1 -  Halt the Advance
As the invaders make ground towards the defenders main settlements a force is sent out to intercept them and halt their advance. Their forward scouts report that the enemy commander is present in a force in this sector. If they can remove him from the equation the invasion will struggle to maintain its pace.
This mission is essentially an Annihilation battle played on Spearhead deployment from the normal rulebook but with the exception that each force's "Commander" (who will be a special character nominated by each general) is worth 3 KPs if they die. All other units (including any bodyguard) will be worth 1 KP each as normal. This could mean the difference between victory and defeat but you will still be rewarded for decimating your opponent's force. The secondary objective will be VPs with the tournament points broken down as follows:

5 TPs for having 5+ KPs more than your opponent
3 TPs for having 3-4 KPs more than your opponent
1 TP for having 1-2 KPs more than your opponent
5 TPs for having 1500+ VPs more than your opponent
3 TPs for having 1000-1499 VPs more than your opponent
1 TPs for having 500-999 VPs more than your opponent

Therefore a very narrow victory might result in 2 TPs for the winner (and nothing for the loser) whereas a tabling will give a maximum of 10 TPs.

Scenario 2 - Push the Advantage
With the enemy commander slain, the invaders try to consolidate their position by eliminating their enemy from the entire sector. By doing so they can secure an area to base their final assault on the enemy's headquarters. The commanders of each force are determined not to let their opposite number get the upper hand.
This mission borrows from the Cleanse scenario from the 4th Edition rulebook. The deployment will be Pitched Battle from the current book. Instead of objectives the table is divided into quarters with a point for each quarter that is held by a scoring unit and contains no enemy units. In this mission the special character on each side counts as a scoring unit. Otherwise it's the usual rules for scoring units from the 5th Ed book. The secondary objective will be VPs with the tournament points broken down as follows:

5 TPs for controlling all four table quarters
3 TPs for controlling 2 table quarters more than your opponent
1 TP for controlling 1 table quarter more than your opponent
5 TPs for having 1500+ VPs more than your opponent
3 TPs for having 1000-1499 VPs more than your opponent
1 TP for having 500-999 VPs more than your opponent

Scenario 3 - Final Assault
Having crushed the enemy resistance only one thing stands between the invader and total domination of the planet. The enemy's final stronghold and their supreme commander will be defended to the last man but buoyed by their previous triumphs the invaders are confident of victory.
Coming into the final game the player of the two with the most TPs (or failing that VPs) will get to choose whether to be the attacker or defender. The defender has a central main objective (3 points each) and four minor objectives (1 point each). The main objective must be placed in the table centre with the other four objectives anywhere on a 12" circle around the main objective (provided they are not within 9" of another objective). The defender sets up anywhere within an area 18" by 24" in the centre of the board. The attacker goes first and can bring anything upto his entire army on in the first turn. The defender's army will be Fearless until their commander falls whereas the attackers will gain Fearless at this point. All units on both sides retreat to the nearest board edge. Obviously the winner is the one controlling the most objectives at the end of the game, again VPs are the secondary objective (but with less importance) with the tournament points broken down as follows:

5 TPs for controlling 3+ more objectives than your opponent
3 TPs for controlling 2 more objectives than your opponent
1 TP for controlling 1 more objective than your opponent
5 TPs for having 1500+ VPs more than your opponent
3 TPs for having 1000-1499 VPs more than your opponent
1 TP for having 500-999 VPs more than your opponent

These are the three scenarios that will be played at Blog Wars 2 in the order given here. I'd be very grateful if people could playtest the hell out of them to see if there's anything I've not thought of. Obviously I don't want to penalise one army more than another but inevitably there will be an element of it. It should be a challenge to build a list that's capable of doing well in all three scenarios. For example, a mobile army that does well in scenario two might have difficulty as the defender in scenario 3. As you will notice you can still gain tournament points if you lose but kill more. However, otherwise there are no points for a draw or a loss so everyone needs to play for the win.

Now I appreciate the first two aren't really breaking any new ground or anything but if you can think of some reason why any of the three aren't suitable please let me know so I can rectify it asap. The main one to playtest is scenario 3 but hopefully people will try out all 3. We'll certainly be testing them out a lot between now and December so if I find any problems I'll address them.

Looking forward to seeing what people can put together for these missions. Finally, I might run a competition to design the Blog Wars 2 logo and offer some suitable prize for the best. Perhaps a free ticket to the event or something. More details of that to follow.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Final Game at End Times - Space Wolves vs. Tyranids Bat Rep

After two crushing defeats at Summer Skirmish to my Dark Eldar (sorry about that), Graham from Claws & Fists was keen to play a rematch against my Space Wolves. I'd managed to avoid the clash in the penultimate round but the final battle saw me pitted against him. On the adjacent table another epic clash between Space Wolves and Tyranids was being played out. The battles would determine who was the ultimate victor on the day, xenos or the mighty Imperium of Man.

However, with 3 hours to play 2,000pts, Graham and I decided to take things easy and allowed ourselves some time for a chat over a consolatory cupcake. We sat eating our baked treats and mocked the top table players for taking things so seriously. Then after sticky fingers had been cleansed we were able to think about starting to maybe have a battle! My 2,000pt list was very similar to the 1,500pt one but for the addition of my Thunderlord (Thorgrim Darksteed) and his thunderwolf cohort. The game was Seize Ground on Spearhead deployment. Graham had a (from memory), 2 hive tyrants, 2 tervigons, 4 raveners, 2 zoanthropes, 2 more zoanthropes in a spore pod, Doom of Malantai in a spore pod, plenty of "dogs" or termagaunts to the rest of us and a crap load of genestealers.

Space Wolves vs Tyranids (2000pts)
Graham won the roll off and placed all of his nids right up against the edge of his deployment zone ready to charge forward and into my lines. The only things in reserve were the pods. I deployed similarly aggressively with the exception of my long fangs who were towards the back of course. With the stage set for an epic conflict I rolled to seize and pulled it off!

I piled all three rhinos forward and brought my lone wolf and thunderwolves in close by. The drop pod landed right next to the front of Graham's lines. The dreadnought inside incinerated 7 termagaunts and caused a wound on one of the raveners. The rune priest then fired off murderous hurricane at the same raveners causing more wounds. The other rune priest set himself up for a dirty Jaws attack which lined up 4 chunky tyranid models including one of the tyrants. The only monster to fall was the tervigon which was the target all along. The long fangs hammered missiles into the zoanthropes and both failed their invulnerable saves vanishing in a puff of gore. The other long fangs scored wounds on one of the tyrants. Then, thanks to the deployment I was able to get off a first turn thunderwolf charge and slammed into the raveners but only the lord was in reach. He pass 5/6 to hit rolls but fluffed 4 wounding rolls meaning only a single ravener fell. Luckily for me there were no return blows.

Graham responded by charging most of his force at the thunderwolves. A tyrant, lots of termagaunts, a pile of genestealers and the raveners all let rip at their various initiative levels. All of Graham's attacks were on the squad so it wasn't long before the lord found himself in a very lonely position. The tervigon and genestealers tried to bring down the dreadnought but struggled allowing him to claim a few wounds on the tervigon in return. Elsewhere the grey hunters rapid fired into a genestealer brood causing heavy casualties. The Doom landed and killed 6 grey hunters instantly bringing him upto a maximum 10 wounds.

As the epic combat continued I charged into the zoanthropes who had arrived in their pod bringing them down over a couple of combat phases. The Doom passed ALL of his invulnerable saves against the krak missile barrage of two long fang packs. In response the genestealers charged one of the packs killing off a couple of the missile launchers but the wolf guard and squad leader conspired to finish them off a turn later.

The thunderlord thinned the genestealers out and kept on passing 3+ saves to stay in the fight. With genestealers taking out one of the grey hunter packs and the other dying to a swarm of termagaunts I was left with a single objective claiming unit. Luckily for me the tervigon stop spawning termagaunts. The Doom finally succumbed to missile fire as did the other tyrant. The grey hunters secured the central objective but with the tervigon sitting pretty on the other I'd need to win the combat to claim victory. With the news that the other games had finished and the xenos scum had the lead my thunderlord had it all to do.

The long fangs cleared up the remaining spore pods so everything Graham had left was now in combat with my thunderlord. Not wanting to risk losing my only remaining troops I had to hope he'd win through. I didn't fancy my chances when the tervigon also waded in though. Miraculously I continued to pass a sickening number of 3+ and 3++ saves to keep him in the fight. Having taken down the smaller stuff he was left with the tyrant and tervigon to deal with.

Thorgrim claimed the remaining wound from the tyrant in my turn 5 (remember we started this in turn 1!) and in Grahams turn he looked towards the tervigon who had 2 wounds remaining. With 3+ to hit and re-rolling 5+ to wound I had no trouble seeing off the remaining monstrous creature to complete the tabling. An epic combat which will go down in the sagas of the Space Wolves for all time!

Credit to Graham for keeping a smile on his face as he took off handfuls of models throughout the game and not throttling me when I kept making saves on the thunderlord. After a couple of disappointing battles against opponents I'd have struggled to beat on a good day it was refreshing to play such a fun game. Overall the battle between xenos and the Imperium ended in a tie which I'm sure will please GW if no-one else!

Monday, August 22, 2011

End Times Tournament - Day Two

After a somewhat mixed start to the contest I found myself sat in 6th place out of 12 competitors. Not bad but not great. We'd now moved up to 1,500pts and I was up against Simon's Chaos Space Marines again... or so I thought. Cue the nerd rage (I apologise in advance).

The top two people in the tournament had played each other before and whilst one was happy to play again the other wasn't so in the interests of variety the tournament organiser decided to swap things around. Those in 3rd & 4th place had already played the top two so they were no help. This meant Simon in 5th place would play 1st place and I'd be playing 2nd place. I had issues with this for several reasons. Firstly, out of the 4 people only one had a problem so surely majority rule should've taken over. Secondly, the top two were already through to the knockouts so why did it matter who they played? Thirdly, they hadn't played at 1,500 points yet so they'd have totally different armies and it seems a bit much to bring Grey Knights to a tournament and then complain about having to play several Grey Knights on Grey Knights games. Finally, and most importantly, if Simon and I had played (and Matt had won the 3rd/4th position game, which he did) then we'd be playing for 4th place. Not that I'd relish being up against 3 GK lists but all the same it'd be nice to finish 4th at least.

However, all that being said Franco had to try and keep people happy and to be fair to him he did his best. It was pretty inevitable that at such small numbers there'd be duplicate games but I just felt Simon and I had been cheated out of our shot at 4th place. Anyway, onto the reports.

Game 6 - Wolves vs. Grey Knights
I found myself up against 2nd place man John with his unbelievably huge GK army considering how expensive they are and that we were at 1,500 points. There were a crapload of razorbacks (all with strike squads), 2 chimeras (with death cults/servitors and terminator inquistors) and 2 psyfleman dreads. We were playing Pitched Battle and Capture and Control. With the sheer amount of firepower at John's disposal I was going to need 1st turn if I were to have any hope of surviving the match. Sure enough John got it and I failed to seize!

At the end of his turn one after a barrage of fire I found myself with one long fang and a wolf guard out of both long fang packs, 2 dead rhinos out of the three and two squads pinned (rather unbelievably). My cunning plan however, was to bring in my drop pod dreadnought right on his objective and ensure that he'd have to deal with both in order to avoid a cheeky contest. John had other ideas and warp quaked on all of his strike squads meaning I had a tiny area at the back of his lines that I could drop into without risking mishap. I came down near one of the strikes squads and killed off a couple. The remaining long fangs wrecked a razorback (I was hoping for an explosion of course) and I retreated the remaining rhino back to my objective.

John's second turn of "bringing the rain" cost me one more long fang (the terminator just wouldn't die!), the final rhino and a few grey hunters. The dread lost an arm and couldn't shoot but was still able to move. My other "ace in the hole" was my land speeder which if it came on late might be able to contest and provided my grey hunters could hold on I could still steal a dirty win. Brilliantly he came on straight away on turn 2 and with nowhere to hide him I was forced to blast him 24" and hope. My rune priests killed a razorback each (rather satisfyingly) and the dread charged some strikers and killed them, leaving him open to shooting. The lonely terminator shook a razorback but it would be his last act of the game.

John swiftly dealt with the landspeeder wrecking it straight away with a psyfleman. Then he did his best to bring as much of his army towards my objective as possible. One hunter squad was still a little way away and they were caught by a strike squad charge. They held on for a couple of turns but when one of the inquisitors came to reinforce the grey knights it was game over for the hunters. I now had an immobilised dread and two hunter packs remaining to help me hold onto a draw. I got lucky and blew up a chimera (John immobilised the other moving it through cover next turn) and then I used Murderous Hurricane on the occupants. This killed the servitors and meant that the rest of the squad wouldn't reach me for combat.

The remaining (weakened) grey hunters had to hold off 1.5 strike squads and a terminator inquisitor in order to hold onto the draw. At the end of turn 5 it was all set up for a bloody stalemate but with me getting a turn 6 I knew I didn't have much chance. Sure enough I got wiped out in combat and then in Turn 7 John completed the tabling by killing off the drop pod. Can't say it was as one-sided as I thought it would be but I certainly never felt like I got off the back-foot.

Game 7 - Wolves vs. Blood Angels
Having been paired against Graham from C&F's Tyranids I found myself swapped AGAIN to play someone of much higher rank than me. This time in the form of Eddie's gorgeously painted Blood Angels with some really well executed conversions. We were playing everyone's favourite Dawn of War but this time coupled with Annihilation. I didn't get first turn but Eddie wisely chose to let me have it anyway. I brought on my entire army in turn one with my drop pod scattering off the table (behind a tactical squad) allowing Eddie to chose where it arrived.

Eddie brought on his entire army too (2 storm ravens, 2 dreads, death co. w/ librarian, 2 razorbacks with squads). The razorbacks' occupants and one of the storm ravens easily destroyed the dread and his drop pod and I was already 2-0 down. The other storm raven could only rip off a storm bolter from one of my rhinos though which was a lucky break. I managed to bring down the nearby storm raven but a torrent of fire from the rest of my army wasn't enough to kill the dreadnought (as he passed all his cover saves) instead he was just immobilised (which suited me fine). The death company had to charge a rhino and blew it up and the dread finished the other rhino wrecking it (yet again I got pinned on Ld10).

The lone wolf charged the immobilised dread and got himself killed but I'm not sure if Eddie remembered to lose an attack for being immobilised (not that it probably mattered). The tactical squad's plasma cannon thinned out my grey hunters who charged the death company. I managed to kill all but the librarian who managed to fight off both grey hunter packs taking both rune priests and passing all his storm shield saves. At this point it was pretty clear how it was going to go and despite killing the other storm raven and dread I was never going to win it and it was only because two grey hunters huddled behind cover that I avoided being tabled.

There's one more battle to talk about but it was so brilliantly epic and fun that I want to dedicate an entire post to it so I can get in all the gory details. I finally got to play Graham's tyranids in the end and with another 'nids vs. wolves battle on the table next door it was suitably awesome.

Overall it was a fantastic tournament and it was clear that the organisers had put a massive amount of thought and effort in to everything. Fair play to them for trying to keep everyone happy (I know from Blog Wars that it isn't easy). I'll happily attend again next year if they run it. Congratulations to Frank Marsh for leading his Eldar Army to a surprise victory over all three Grey Knights players, couldn't have happened to a nicer bloke. I'll leave you with some prize ceremony pictures featuring Nick Bayton from GW as a tech priest!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

End Times Tournament - Day One

Well after a solid 5 game day at Warhammer World I'm already knackered and there's 3 games left to play tomorrow. Matt and I had totally different fortunes today but we'll come to that. The first 4 games were at 1000pts with this list:

1000pts of Space Wolves
Rune Priest (Living Lightning, Murderous Hurricane)

3 Wolf Guard w/ Power Fists

3x 8 Grey Hunters (Melta, Wulfen, Standard)
3x Rhinos

2x 5 Long Fangs (4 Missile Launchers)

No really surprises there but since most of the games were going to be 1000pts today I wanted something solid I could rely on. Well I thought I could....

Game 1 vs. Chaos Space Marines
The opener for the day was against a great guy called Simon who'd got a list based around plague marines. We were playing Spearhead and Seize Ground with 5 objectives. The main factor for this game was that there were 4, yes 4, bastions on the field meaning wherever I deployed my long fangs were going to have a hard time getting to shoot. 

What followed was a very close game with me struggling to make the most of a couple of grey hunter squads charging with standards at plague marines. The rhinos survived a very long time (well two turns) which meant one of the hunter packs was crippled by a lash/plasma cannon (obliterator) combo that thinned them out severely. Simon made a sickening number of 2+ saves for his terminators which didn't help but wasn't really game changing. The main thing was the combo of defensive grenades, toughness 5 and FNP. I don't feel I was very lucky but I played the game wrong from the start. With very little shooting on his side I could've happily sat on my objectives and made him come into line of sight for my long fangs. It ended with a contested objective in the centre, one controlled my deep striking summoned daemons and one comfortably held by a couple of plague marines. 2-0 to Chaos! 371-310 on VPs though.

Game 2 vs. Space Wolves
Out of the 12 players there were 3 Space Wolves lists so it was pretty inevitable I'd get one of them. This game was Annihilation on Pitched Battle. Dave had a lot of vehicles in his list namely 2 dreads, a vindicator, predator, land speeder and 2 razorbacks. The long fangs certainly had their work cut out and would be crucial to my success. 

The game started well with the vindicator missing the long fangs and little else dying. The long fangs returned the favour by killing the rifleman dread and then the other squad achieved a crucial weapon destroyed result on the vindicator. Later turns saw me charge the two small grey hunter packs with a single pack of mine. Having thinned one out with shooting I felt confident but unfortunately I wasted attacks on the nearly dead squad and then didn't have enough to hurt the 6 strong one. This meant I lost the combat and started running. With 3 marines left in the squad I was going to be herded from the table by the impotent vindicator. Another hunter pack that had got out to shoot found itself charged by a dread and hunters. Despite taking heavy casualties the fist wrecked the dread but the hunters ultimately ran off. 

Trying to save the hunters from being shepherded off the table I fired a lot at the vindicator but only shook it having taking the storm bolter off it. This meant it was free to see the squad off the board edge. It met it's end soon after but it was too late. Elsewhere I killed a razorback and the land speeder. That meant Dave only had 4 kill points left in the form of the rune priest, grey hunters, razorback and pred. I'd only lost 2 grey hunter packs and a rune priest. A pretty solid win but I was frustrated by my poor grey hunter combat in the face of a strong performance from Dave. Still a win's a win!

Game 3 vs. Eldar
Matt had just tabled, Frank, my next opponent but since I have significantly less firepower I wasn't as confident. However, if my long fangs performed well I was in with a shout. Sadly, Dawn of War and Capture and Control made things more tricky. His army revolved around A LOT of S6 shots from war walkers.

With Frank reserving his entire army I was left cruising around in rhinos until he brought on most of his walkers in turn two. One outflanked and went at a long fang pack leaving one standing. The rest fired at my transports. Having forgotten to pop smoke really didn't help matters and I lost all three rhinos in a turn. Luckily there were no explosions so the question was could all that S6 deal with my hunters. Luckily for me the single long fang stood up to 3 war walkers giving him everything they had making a staggering 7 3+ saves. I apologised profusely but I can't say I wasn't relieved. The rune priest's squad made for his objective but with all that S6 and some help from fire dragons they didn't last long. The remaining long fang pack spent most of the game with no line of sight to his entire army thanks to another two bastions!! The only times they got some decent shooting opportunites they could only shake the wave serpent and then late on they needed some good frags on his guardians but with no HIT rolls he only lost one. 

With hammer from his entire army and very little I could do in defense my army slowly withered and died leaving me tabled by turn 6. I think the main problems here were forgetting the smoke, failing to down the wave serpent (the fire dragons hurt me by moving across the board late on) and generally not being aggressive enough for his objective. Mind you with the bastions I didn't have much chance and to be fair to Frank he played the game extremely well so I don't want to take anything from him.

Game 4 vs. Space Wolves
The other Space Wolf list was an interesting one. In just 1000pts Andy managed to squeeze a tooled up Thunderlord and cavalry bodyguard. This meant just a couple of small squads in a razorback and rhino and a 6 man long fang pack. It would all come down to how effective the thunderwolves would be and as I know all too well they can be hit and miss. I had to hope for a miss! We were playing Seize Ground and Pitched Battle.

The game started off well for me with his shooting only killing a couple of long fangs whilst I took down his transports and easily dealt with one of the grey hunter packs with rapid fire. One of the other squads then lost their rhino and found themselves on the end of a TWC charge. The lord didn't miss with any of his thunder hammer attacks and despite causing a couple of wounds my squad was done for. Unfortunately, and as it turned out crucially, my power fist guy didn't attack as I simply forgot! For the next few turns I easily dealt with the other grey hunters meaning I had a good shot at a 2-0 win. 

The thunderlord had other ideas. Despite being left alone after easily wiping out another grey hunter pack (after passing a lot of saves and not missing any attacks again) he got to charge my now only remaining grey hunters. With him only having 2 wounds left I felt confident I could deal with him. Yet again I couldn't make the attacks count and he was saving well so I ultimately lost another hunter pack. With no troops left on the board my only hope of victory was a tabling. I moved my rhinos into position to hopefully shepherd off the long fangs if they ran and I hoped my rune priest could take the thunderlord remaining wound before he inevitably died. To be fair it was a hell of a long shot but we didn't get a turn 6 so I don't know how that would've turned out. An honourable and somewhat bloody draw with me taking it on VPs.

Game 5 vs. Tyranids
I always feel confident playing Tyranids as I feel their codex is the weakest of the 5th edition and Space Wolves are almost designed to beat them. Even so with 30 genestealers in Charles' list it could be pretty tricky. We'd now moved up to 1,500pts which meant I'd gained a dread in a drop pod, a lone wolf (of the chainfist persuasion), a speeder, a second rune priest and a cyclone wolf guard. We played Annihilation on Spearhead with Charles going first.

Charles started badly with one zoanthrope taking a perils wound and the other passing his test only to have it nullified. With his genestealers and trygon prime in reserve I then had a turn to shoot as much as I could of the rest of his army. The drop pod came in but the dread could only score a couple of wounds on his venomthropes. The long fangs hammered the tyrant guard and dealt with some of the warriors. In return the dread lost his assault cannon and got shaken whilst Charles moved comfortably out of charge range. He was unlucky to only get one of his genestealers to arrive totally on the wrong side of the board. I took the speeder over and flamed a few only to have him charge me, rip off the flamer and immobilise it. Shooting from elsewhere caused the genestealers to flee and they wouldn't return. The trygon scattered nicely away from the long fangs who were able to bring it down with help from murderous hurricane.

After a couple of turns of combat the lone wolf killed both zoanthropes whilst taking a wound. I now needed to get him killed in order to prevent him giving up D3 points at the end. One of the rune priests did a dirty Jaws attack that killed a warrior, venomthrope and hive guard in a single shot. The lone wolf dealt with remaining venomthrope and one of the hunter packs finished off the warriors. 

The other two genestealer packs turned up with one coming on to kill off the drop pod, the dread having been taken down by hive guard. Those genestealers then hugged the drop pod wreck for cover (I was hoping for a nice explosion - ah well!). The remaining genestealers came on and took two phases to kill off the larger long pack losing a few in the process. They proceeded onto the other long fangs with the squad leader holding on until the end, killing 6 genestealers over two phases and wiping out the squad!!! 

The hive tyrant did some nice paroxysm to help kill the long fangs but little else having been whittled down to a single wound and then finished off by a grey hunter pack. The other grey hunters mopped up the hive guard and Charles was left with a solitary genestealer brood hiding by the drop pod. With no turn 6 they held on until the end but it was all over anyway. Despite the lone wolf giving up 2 KP I still won by a comfortable margin in both kill points and VPs.

The luckiest long fang!
A good end to the day which sees me placed right in the middle in 6th. Some poor combats from grey hunters are what cost me with me struggling to take out plague marines and thunderwolves alike. Bastions really didn't help me much either mind you. Mine and Matt's placings are inextricably linked. If I win I rely on the result of Matt's game to determine if I'm in the top 4 play off. However, to be honest I don't want to be in the top 4 since it's most likely I'll have to play grey knights and based on the lists they've got I wouldn't fancy my chances. I'd much rather be playing off for the "Top Imperial Player" with the rest of them.

Anyway, we'll see what tomorrow brings. I've got some more great ideas for Blog Wars 2 out of it if nothing else!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Off to End Times Tomorrow at WHW

Just a quick post to say that Matt and I are heading to Warhammer World for the End Times 40K tournament this weekend. Unfortunately for the organisers they managed to pick the weekend when the ETC is happening over in that there Europe. At last count there are only 13 people taking part with one of the organisers having to step in to cover the odd number.

It's a massive shame that there aren't more opponents as it means that it's quite likely that I'll end up playing the same opponent twice and that there's a strong chance I'll get paired against Matt. Not that I mind battling him but we can do that without having paid for a tournament and travelled to Nottingham. The trouble with hosting a tournament at WHW is that they charge you to hire the hall. I personally think this is a bit disgusting when indepent venues, such as Maelstrom, provide the venue for free in the hopes of gaining some store revenue from competitors. Not only that but they offer 15% off during the tournament. I'll die of shock if GW every decide to do such a thing, All the same it's an excuse to go to Warhammer World and meet some new people, roll some dice and who knows, maybe I'll get lucky and do quite well!

There'll be 8 games in total, 4 at 1000pts, 3 at 1500pts and the final game at 2000pts. Should make for some quick matches early on and plenty of chance to try my wolves out against a variety of opponents. Anyway, that about covers it so I'll post up some battle reports from it at some point. Maybe tomorrow night but it depends how shattered I am.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Upcoming Tournaments

After the somewhat mixed success of Summer Skirmish I'm keen to put in a better performance at the other ones I've got planned for this year. First off there's the End Times tournament this weekend at Warhammer World where we'll play several 1000 and 1500pt games followed by a final 2000pt game to wrap it up. With a lot of the top players away at ETC there might be a decent chance of me finishing in a respectable position but I'm not holding my breath.

After that Matt and I are returning to Warhammer World for the 40K doubles run by GW. The event in February was only our second ever outing on the tournament scene and we finished well up the table which I'm pretty satisfied with all things considered. It seemed rude not to attend when our photo is on everyone's ticket! This time around we're swapping the Blood Angels out in favour of the flavour of the month Grey Knights. We're pretty pleased with the list we've come up with and have been play testing with some of the guys from Roll With It. The scenarios GW have dreamt up aren't really very inspiring in my view but there are rumours abound that these events will be testing out the 6th edition scenarios so hopefully they'll be refined before then.

Then it's a 2 month wait for my next tournament which is the hotly anticipated (by me at least) Blog Wars 2!. I've been working on some custom scenarios with Matt and I hope to release details of them soon so people can start play testing. We've deliberately made them nice and simple so that it won't need much practice to get the idea. To be honest you could probably turn up on the day having not even read them and still get the idea. I think the mistake people make with custom scenarios is assuming that everyone will have time to test them out. The aim of them for Blog Wars 2 is to encourage people to really think about their choice of compulsory Special Character. This should hopefully prevent people from taking their usual tournament list and just ditching a couple of things to squeeze in an SC. 
More details on Blog Wars 2 soon. I'll have a lot more free time after this weekend since I don't need to painting anything for the doubles. I'm still toying with the idea of taking Dark Eldar to BW2 though so that might require a good bit of painting.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Thunderwolf Cavalry Finally Finished!

The End Times tournament is coming up at the weekend. It will feature games at 1000 and 1500pts and finally a 2000pt game to finish off the event. Since there's only one 2000pt battle and I'm unlikely to be in any position for it to be crucial I decided I'd have nothing to lose by trying out thunderwolf cavalry at a tournament for the first time. As you may remember from previous posts I've had my Mythicast TWC for quite a while now but I've failed miserably to find the motivation to get them painted. Needing them for a tournament was just the push required so here they are:

I originally planned on painting them all up with different shades/colours of fur but in the end I decided to paint the cavalry in a grey/white scheme and the thunderlord in dark grey/black. The fur is incredibly simple to paint. I started by basecoating them with Deneb Stone and then overbrushed/drybrushed Skull White on top of that to give the white fur some texture. Then I applied Badab Black to the top half of the model followed by another layer in a slightly smaller area. I was originally a bit worried that I wouldn't do the models justice but I'm pretty pleased with the outcome.

The marines are painted in the same way I paint all of my Space Wolves with the exception that I went for Liche Purple for the shoulder pads instead of my usual red. I wanted to differentiate them from the rest of my army and indicate that they're the bodyguard for the wolf lord. Incidentally, I've decided to call him Thorgrim Blackmount since he's the only one with a black/grey steed. 

The bases came courtesy of Scott who's far better at that sort of thing than me. The figures aren't quite flat footed so a bit of creative use of slate was needed so that all four feet would be on the ground. I'm impressed by the models themselves. They've got a lot of nice details like the bionics and armour plates. The marine legs on the back of the wolves easily pass for proper GW figures. The only problem I have with them is that some of the fine detail isn't well defined as a result of the casting process. Some of the edges that should be sharp e.g. around the armour plates, are a little dulled. That being said I'm very pleased with my purchase and it's been worth the wait for them to be finished. It'll be nice to use them in battle without any blu tac holding them together!

On the battlefield they've been pretty devastating at times. There's only been a couple of battles where they've been a damp squib. This was usually after they'd take a punishing amount of fire or had been forced to charge the wrong type of enemy. Even so, they distract your opponent from the rest of your army beautifully and if not then he pays the price for ignoring them. The lord himself has racked up an impressive amount of kills in his short career and 3+/3++ means he refuses to die sometimes! He's a bargain for 230pts and there isn't anything extra I'd like to give him. The wolf claw is brilliant for cutting through infantry which to me is their primary role. Let the long fangs deal with tanks and MCs and if they can't then the power fist and wulfen in the grey hunter packs usually does. 

Thunderwolves bring a lot of entertainment to a 40K battle and they're far more in the spirit of Space Wolves than some of the lists you see around. OK so they aren't perfect but there's something really satisfying about measuring 12" for charge range and seeing your opponents face as you move them into combat....

Monday, August 08, 2011

Summer Skirmish - Day Two: Battle for the Golden Spoon

After winning 4 and losing 5 of the 9 games on Saturday I found myself in the bottom group for Sunday's games. Tim's brilliant pooling system had meant that I'd had some really enjoyable games and everyone was at the same level. Although I was far from proud to be in the bottom pool it did mean I'd have a shot of still coming away with some sort of prize. The group consisted of only 6 players (since there were 30 not the required 32 in attendance). The armies were Tau, 2x Necrons, Tyranids, an IG list (surprisingly) and myself. As I mentioned yesterday my first game was against Tau.

Golden Spoon Game 1 - DE vs Tau
Having lost so badly to Tau in the first game on Saturday I didn't exactly feel confident about winning. As I mentioned, my dark lances have been rolling as if I had BS 2 not 4 so I knew I'd struggle to deal with vehicles. Happily my opponent only had one devilfish full of fire warrriors, some sniper drones and two crisis suits. Luckily for me he elected to deep strike the suits so I'd get a turn or two to deal with the rest of his army. 

He got the first turn and managed to kill a couple of hellions but my raiders were happily unscathed. When he eventually killed one of them (I got lucky that few wyches died in the blast) he'd already disembarked his fire warriors (to finish off the hellions) allowing me to charge both them and the sniper drone team in the 2nd turn. The remaining dark lance couldn't hit the devilfish. The next turn the suits came in and hit their mark. With mostly anti-tank firepower they were only able to kill off my other raider and then suffered a charge from both wych squads. 

Despite the game being worryingly close for the first couple of turns the fact that the wyches stayed in combat for a while meant that the devilfish wasn't able to thin them out. It ended with one and a half wych squads and his devilfish on the table so I stole the victory.

Golden Spoon Game 2 - DE vs Tyranids
With a shocking sense of deja vu I found myself against Graham from Claws & Fists again. Having comfortably tabled him in the pool stages I felt confident. I was a little less confident when I found myself going second but knowing that Graham had to come to me meant I'd have a good chance of getting into combat early.

Sure enough, a devastating first turn's shooting and charge was enough to finish off all of his genestealers and I was left to mop up the raveners and zoanthropes. The hellions hung back since all of Graham's army was in cover and I didn't want to risk striking at initiative 1. The zoanthropes were pretty unlucky not to take out a raider with their shots scattering off target but with Graham's army having advanced so far I don't think it mattered.

Graham remained good humoured in the face of another tabling from me and I was left to find out who I'd be playing from the other semi-final which featured Guard and Necrons.

Golden Spoon Game 3 - DE vs Imperial Guard
I wasn't surprised to find that it was the Imperial Guard who had triumphed over the Necrons (despite me secretly hoping it was the other way around). I think he must've been pretty unlucky to be in the bottom group with guard at this points level so I just had to hope that luck would continue!

I won the roll off and deployed first. I made sure all my units were in cover though as I'd had the initiative stolen several times on Saturday (surprising when my army is I6 :P). Unbelievably, and I blame the commerorative tournament dice for this, my opponent took the initiative.

With his whole army at the back of the field he struggled to hit my raiders and luckily for me a passed a lot of cover saves. One raider lost it's dark lance which was frustrating but I was just happy not to have given up 70pts straight away. He advanced his rough riders up the middle.

I advanced the hellions up behind some area terrain in the centre and then moved up both raiders. One wych squad got out in the middle of the board and easily dealt with the rough riders claiming them a vital pain token. The other raider held on to it's passengers for now and stayed in cover. To my surprise I scored a penetrating hit on the hydra but could only stun it.

One of the chimeras came in the direction of the wyches and offloaded it's occupants. They proceeded to hose down three of the hellions who thankfully passed their Ld test. The wyches were subject to some rapid fire which cut them down a bit but FNP helped to minimise casualties. 

The hellions charged into the veteran squad and wiped them out but not before the helliarch found himself in a lonely position. The raider again failed to hit the hydra and the wyches managed to destroy the heavy flamer on the other chimera. Again I held my wyches in the other raider to minimise casualties. 

The helliarch went up in flames from the other chimera and now things were getting close. The wyches took a lot of fire from the remaining veterans and in my turn I retreated them back into cover hoping I could blow up the chimera and charge straight back out. 

What followed was a couple of turns of frustration and little else on my part. The occupied raider went down and I was forced to keep the wyches in cover until I could open up a transport. The other raider sat at the back of the field trying to hit something with it's dark lance but only managed to take another weapon off the already damaged chimera.
In order to seal what seemed like a certain victory the imperial guard advanced forward to try and finish off my wyches. The hydra incinerate the already dwindled squad and the remaining vets disembarked to line up some shooting on the rest. Fortunately no flamers were in range and I was lucky with my cover saves so they were able to charge straight out of the cover and cut down all of the veterans. 

In turn 7 my opponent just needed to take out a couple more wyches or my raider for the victory but opted for the wyches whose FNP meant they held on to half their number. With the remaining 5 wyches I got lucky and managed to take out the damaged chimera with plasma grenades securing an unlikely victory and the GOLDEN SPOON!

Massive thanks to Tim for organising this event. The sheer number of games meant that I got to play a good variety of armies (and Necrons for the first time). I was incredibly lucky to walk away with a prize and reward my Dark Eldar with a couple of new additions paid for with my store credit.

The tournament was fantastic and the pooling system worked really well. Thanks to all my opponents and I look forward to reading batreps from around the blogosphere.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Summer Skirmish: Day One

You may have read elsewhere about the Summer Skirmish at Maelstrom this weekend. Matt and I have been down and it's been great fun so far. The tournament features 13 games (yes 13) over 1.5 days and all games are at 500pts and are 40 minutes long. I've been a traitor to the cause and taken Dark Eldar instead of my usual SW, simply because I fancied a change and at this points limit it wouldn't mean many models. After very limited play testing I came up with:

500pts of Dark Eldar
10 Wyches (Razorflails & Shardnet ) w/ Hekatrix (Venom Blade)
10 Wyches (Razorflails) w/ Hekatrix (Power Weapon)
5 Hellions w/ Helliarch (Power Weapon)
2 Raiders w/ Flickerfields

Literally as soon as I got there I realised I should've brought a Ravager but since I've barely used DE before I never thought of it. Pretty obvious really but ah well. The other things missing are agonisers. It's worth ditching some other upgrades (and even a wych or two) to get them in since wounding on 5s against most things really is a struggle.

Anyway onto battle reports from Day One (I took my camera but never actually took it out of my bag so no pics I'm afraid).

Pool 1 Game 1 - DE vs Tau
Even though I got first turn I deployed in cover, good thing really since my opponent managed to Seize! That was really the turning point. One of my raiders got wrecked straight away meaning the wyches would have a long slog. The other raider advanced but missed with it's dark lance. The hellions made their way up the board only to be gunned down before doing any damage. The other raider fell pretty soon after leaving just my wyches who managed to take out two squads of fire warriors before meeting their fate. First game, first loss.

Pool 1 Game 2 - DE vs SW
I found myself up against Mick from Claws & Fists with his Space Wolves. In short my dark lances failed to down his rifleman dread and I couldn't destroy his razorbacks either. One wych squad didn't manage to take down 5 grey hunters (which was pretty unlucky). The hellions hit his long fangs and unfortunately did so in one phase leaving them in the open to get shot to pieces. With both raiders falling and wyches hiding in cover with no targets it was pretty obvious that this was another loss.

Pool 1 Game 3 - DE vs Necrons
With no chance of coming 1st/2nd (and advancing to a higher pool) I simply had to save face by beating the undead robots. It had been ruled that Phase Out would be ignored in this tournament so I'd have to do it the old fashioned way. Shooting from the hellions dealt with one of the destroyers but the return fire finished the hellions. One raider was immobilised but the other lived on. One squad of wyches multicharged the tomb spyder and warriors whilst the other took on the destroyers. After a long slog of combats I eventually used the raiders to shoot down the tomb spider that fled and finished off the destroyers with a sweeping advance. Unfortunately I could only claim half points for the warriors but that was academic. First win with Dark Eldar then!

Pool 2 Game 1 - DE vs CSM
My opponent only had havocs (with flamers/meltas) and a CSM squad both in rhinos. The havocs took down one raider but only after pulling up right in front of it. Shooting from my whole army and a charge from two lots of wyches were enough to kill them off. The CSM in the other rhino gave me a scare though since even in combat with all of my army they held their own with a good number of saves. I eventually had one wych squad running and one at half strength but I'd brought the CSM to half too so I claimed a narrow victory of about 80 VPs.

Pool 2 Game 2 - DE vs Tyranids
Another Claws & Fists game, this time Graham and his tyranids. He immobilised one raider with his zoanthropes and his infiltrated genestealers advanced. After softening them up with poisoned shooting I finally got a first turn charge, which I'd hoped for all day, slamming into both his 'stealers and his raveners. My 4+ save won the day and despite heavy losses the wyches beat the genestealers and the other squad comfortably dealt with the raveners. With only the zoanthropes to deal with the wyches had no problem securing my first tabling. Things are looking up!

Pool 2 Game 3 - DE vs Orks
Yet another Claws & Fists bloke in the form of Andy Lane. He seized the initiative and, luckily for me, game straight at me. A combination of shooting and charges from both hellions and wyches killed off one mob of boyz whilst the other wych squad dealt with the other mob and big mek. The deff dread flamed then charged the other wyches finishing them off but not before I'd managed to get the rest of my army clear of it. After 10 dark lance shots (which I missed half off) the dread was only immobilised so Andy just held on.

Pool 3 Game 1 - DE vs BA
Having moved up in the world after 4 straight wins I was feeling a lot more confident. However, my first game in the new pool soon changed that! If ever there was a case for having a ravager this was it. I lost one raider to a multi-melta shot from his land speeder with the wyches then trying to slog it on foot. The other raider failed to destroy either of his razorbacks which made my pay for the failure by incinerating my wyches with twin-linked heavy flamers. The hellions made their way towards the devastators but failed a morale test just before they got there and then fled the board. The other raider soon fell and the flamers made the wyches inside nice and crispy. If ever there was a rock vs scissors encounter this was it! Tabled 0-500!

Pool 3 Game 2 - DE vs GK
Things didn't go much better in this game either. My opponent had the GK list that seems to be flavour of the month at the moment. Psybacks and psyflemans were everywhere in this tournament. With the GK getting the first turn my raiders didn't last long. It didn't help that I failed more than my share of flickerfields saves but it was still inevitable. My wyches charged 5 strikers and somehow managed to lose the combat and were chased down and shot to death. The other wyches made it into combat with the other strike squad but met a similar fate (this is why you need agonisers!). With no de-mech ability my hellions were soon gunned down too. The only thing stopping me getting another 500-0 tabling was that the psyfleman immobilised itself in turn 1!

Pool 3 Game 3 - DE vs Eldar
With the loser of this game being relegated to the Golden Spoon competition I almost wanted to lose this one. I didn't fancy my changes in the Trophy competition but we'd have to see what happened. I got first turn but could only blow the turret off his fire prism. The combination of twin-linked scatter laser and shuriken cannon from his wave serpents easily dealt with my raiders who missed with their dark lances again! The dire avengers got out and gunned down the wyches who were stranded in the open. Not quite a 500-0 but not far off again!

So as we go into day two and the knock-out stages I'm facing Tau in the first round of the Golden Spoon. Given my inability to shoot down transports I don't fancy my chances. With the exception of the CSM the only opponents I've beaten are on foot. The sheer number of mechanised armies at this thing meant that without a ravager I simply didn't have enough anti-tank fire power. Poisoned shooting is great for everything except bloody vehicles!

Anyway, I'm still in with a chance of winning something, albeit the booby prize, but to do so I need three wins on the trot. Can't say I can see that happening!


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