Thursday, December 04, 2014

Tournament Report - Allies of Convenience (1,650pt - Teams)

Firstly, apologies for the lack of posts recently. With my limited free time last week I was concentrating on trying to get my Tau army ready for this tournament. Since it was a team event and A LOT of the guys there were ETC players we knew we'd need to bring out the best armies we could to even be competitive. That meant I needed to convert up some more marker drones, paint Farsight, convert an existing commander into a buff commander (i.e. break off the weapons and stick on sensors), repair a damaged riptide (his arm fell off) and finally buy, build and paint a sky ray. I also had to spray Matt's C'tan too! Suffice to say I haven't found the time to blog!

This was my first event at the beautiful (but freezing cold) Sanctuary Gaming Centre. It's a disused gothic church turned into a gaming centre (hence the dark pictures) which makes for the perfect setting and the "all you can eat" lunch didn't hurt! Tempting me to move venue for Blog Wars! Anyway, there were 10 teams of 4 players who would be paired up over 5 rounds. In each round you had some control over what each of your lists was facing and the added dimension of bluff and double bluff was a welcome change from other events. Each team could only feature each codex once. Our lists were the following:

Tau (Me)
Farsight, 4 bodyguard, buff commander, two riptides, crisis missile team with markers, two kroot units and two sky rays.

Necrons/Assassins (Matt)
Overlord, veil/haywire court, two 5-man warrior units, 3 annihilation barges, transcendent c'tan with seismic shockwave, seismic assault, wave of withering and a culexus assassin

Eldar/SM (Frank)
Farseer on bike, 3 wave serpents with dire avengers, two wraithknights, CM on bike, 6-man bike squad.

Daemons/CSM (Rob)
Two flying nurgle DPs, 2x 10 horrors, 3 soul grinders, CSM nurgle DP, 5 nurgle CSM, mauler fiend.

The tournament was using what I understand are the UKGT missions which have a primary mission (Eternal War), secondary mission (Maelstrom) and tertiary mission (secondary objectives e.g. linebreaker). To get the maximum 20 points from a round you needed to win all three but could still win without. When I first read the pack it came across as a bit confusing but once I was into it I actually quite liked the system. Matt and I have never played with tactical objectives before as we think they're too random, however, with the reduced deck employed here I think they work pretty well (more on that later).

Round 1 - Tau vs. Tyranids/Eldar
I was paired against Nathan Roberts and his flying tyranids with eldar. We thought this would be a pretty decent matchup for me but hadn't reckoned on the eldar being used to summon daemons. To add to the problem Nathan rolled the infiltrate warlord trait bringing his crones right in front of me for turn 1. He took the first turn and I lost a sky ray straight off to the haywire missiles. In response the remaining sky ray took down a hive tyrant after hitting with both it's markerlights. The rest of the army combined to bring down a crone and it was looking like a decent start.

Of course the problem was that the tyranids were right in my face so I had to pretty much ignore the Eldar and their summoning. We were playing on a densely packed table (Nathan's choice) which didn't help matters. Ultimately he was simply killing me quicker than I could him and the spawning daemons made things worse. I was eventually tabled for a 0-20 loss with only Matt taking any points from his game (despite also losing) across the rest of the team. Still this was always going to be a tough matchup against ETC players who are well used to these missions.

Round 2 - Tau vs. Space Marines
Finding ourselves on the bottom tables, I was now playing Myles Davies who was running a flyer heavy Space Marine list. Since my list is pretty much designed to take down his it wasn't long before the largely foot slogging non-flyer portion of his army was reduced to a single marine. His four flyers arrived in two pairs allowing me to take them down piecemeal. It was one of those games where you feel incredibly guilty for bringing the army you have simply because it's a terrible mismatch. With me going first it was never going to be easy for him but with most of his army on foot and my bomb arriving T2 (instead of T4 as in my previous game) it was game over before it had really started.

I took the tabling for a 20-0 win with the rest of my team also securing 20-0 wins of their own for an 80-0 whitewash. I think out of all the rounds we played this weekend, this was the one where we really got out pairings right.

Round 3 - Tau vs. Tyranids/Necrons
Back towards the top then and another ETC heavy team. My opponent would be another Tyranid FMC list but this time with some teleporting necrons to go with it. Once again my opponent rolled the infiltrate warlord trait so once again I'd got FMCs in my face far too early. At the end of my opponent's second turn he flew all of his FMCs off the table leaving a scattering of ground troops. I saw an opportunity to complete a surprise tabling and decided to go for it. It was a hell of a long shot but worth a go. Sadly the odds weren't in my favour and I fell some way short of the tabling. When the FMCs returned I struggled to deal with them thanks to FNP etc. I still had a chance of winning though since I was ahead on tactical objective scoring and there was only the relic to consider for primary.

The mistake came towards the end of turn 4. I had a tactical objective card that needed me to control two objectives and double my opponent's total. I therefore moved the recently arrived bomb towards one of the tactical objective markers instead of the relic. I realised too late that I was already controlling the required two with kroot units on the flanks. This left the relic wide open for one of the necron units who'd been locked in combat with my riptide for most of the game but now used hit and run to hop out of combat and teleport onto the relic in their turn. I managed to kill all but Obyron (or the other guy I forget) who was still clutching the relic when the game ended. With me winning secondary and tertiary objectives (mostly thanks to the disgusting luck I had with the 2+ saves for my buff commander) I took a 10-10 draw.

The rest of the team didn't fare so well. Matt won his game but Frank and Rob both lost which would mean a loss for us overall. Not a great end to the day.

Round 4 - Tau vs. Blood Angels/Imperial Knights
We returned for the second day to find one of the 10 teams had dropped out. The bottom team therefore played a mini tournament between them whilst the rest of us played on. We were paired up with the Claws & Fists team led by Graham Sanders. My matchup would be with Darren Grainger who's had a good while out of 40K but this wouldn't hamper him too much as he's a great player and was using a pretty straightforward to use Imperial Knights and BA list.

The three knights were deployed with the two BA drop pods in reserve along with a stormraven. I tried to down the knights as quickly as I could be should've fired off the sky rays earlier. Instead I intended to save them for use on the stormraven but perhaps would've faired better if I'd fired all their missiles at the knights to whittle them down. The bomb dealt with one of the knights with help from a riptide but were subsequently charged by the seneschal. The seneschal and the other knight survived the game but the BA forces were gunned down before the librarian could summon more than a single khorne herald (who my kroot shot down). Once again the buff commander kept the crisis team alive against the rapid fire battle cannons of the knights.

We were playing the Scouring as the primary mission and I held onto a 3 pt and 1 pt objective to tie with Darren controlling the 4 pt objective. I ended up taking the win on tactical objectives and tertiary mission. The rest of the team had all won 20-0 thanks to some good matchups again.

Round 5 - Tau vs. Space Wolves/White Scars
In our final game we reckoned on playing the team from the Outpost (our FLGS) but thanks to some duplicate matchups we were swapped to play the Peaky Blinders. They had a similar C'tan list, Eldar list and Chaos list to ours. Matt's Necrons were paired with their Eldar and Frank's Eldar were paired with their Necrons. The two Chaos players squared off leaving me to play the Wolves and White Scars combo. This is becoming an increasing common list from what I can tell with bikers supported by multiple TWC characters using the Champions of Fenris supplement. I'll do a more in depth report of this battle as I felt I played it pretty well despite the final result.

Joel was using scout bikers to help him Infiltrate some TWC characters and get them close to my lines straight away. This would negate any advantage I had from playing Hammer and Anvil. I therefore gambled on being able to win the infiltrators roll off with a unit of kroot. The gamble paid off and I was able to string a line of kroot down the centre of the board that prevented him from deploying anywhere but inside his own deployment zone. The kroot then also acted as a screen for my army since he had to shoot at them to make a hole to get his assault units through. Sadly he got the first turn but simply move then turbo'd/ran to get as close as possible.

This allowed me to spend my first turn trying to gun down the grav bikers to protect my riptides. One unit was destroyed for First Strike (like First Blood but each player gets a chance to score it) and I reduced another unit to two bikers. I then moved my missile team forward and used their drones to create another screening unit to slow down the Space Wolves again. They soon fell to TWC but now the Farsight bomb arrived (this time with the buff commander attached). Two of the suits split off to try and finish the grav bikers but fluffed most of their shots (even with a re-roll to hit) and left a biker alive. The rest of the squad struggled to get past the TWC's storm shields but with help from a riptide they cleared some of the scout bikers out.

Joel now moved his ICs around so that the TWC unit no longer had characters in it but instead all of the thunderwolf characters were lined up to charge the bomb with devastating results. One of the riptides held it's own against the remaining scout bikers and a wolf lord but eventually succumbed. The TWC unit now smashed into both sky rays at once leaving just a riptide an a unit of kroot on the table. The riptide perished despite getting a 3++ save from its nova reactor which meant Joel had to cover the length of the board in the remaining turns to kill the kroot and take the tabling.

He sent over the chapter master with a wound left and a wolf lord with two wounds remaining. They got into charge range and I managed to put a wound on the wolf lord with overwatch. They then failed their charge giving me a turn to shoot them which was enough to kill the chapter master. In Joel's turn they again tried to charge after throwing a frag grenade which hit 8 but only killed 1. The kroot overwatch struck again finishing off the wolf lord at the end of Joel's turn 7. With the objectives in space wolf hands and Joel having taken a 10-5 lead in tactical objectives I was left with just the tertiary objectives which the kroot had practically won for me on their own by killing the warlord and scoring linebreaker! That has to go down as the best ever performance from such a flimsy unit that I've ever seen. Yes I lost the game but it was a great way to end the tournament.

The rest of my team had mixed results giving us 42/80 points which was just 3 points shy of the win threshold and hence netted us a draw and 5th place overall.

Considering we've never played in this kind of team event before I was reasonably happy with our results. We were unlucky with some of the matchups and particularly in the first round we didn't really have our share of luck with the dice rolls during the games. Matt's c'tan didn't manage to beat John Holland's wolves list for example thanks to some poor rolling.

I was happy with my performance but incredibly frustrated by my two losses to the nid players. On paper my list should be great against FMCs with the sky rays likely to kill a tyrant in a single volley if they get their marker hits. I'd love to replay the games without the sodding infiltrate warlord trait and see what happened. Still, the rest of the guys in my team probably wouldn't have faired any better as they lacked the amount of skyfire that I had. I was really satisfied with how well the kroot blocking paid off in the final game. Using them to prevent infiltrators might have helped me in the tyranid games had I thought of it then. It's a shame I didn't as things might've played out differently if I had. Of course the FMCs could easily hop over the kroot but they'd have been forced to deploy further back which would've helped.

The buff commander proved to excellent and made the missile team an extremely potent threat to ground and air targets alike. The combination of re-rolls to hit and Tank Hunters coupled with skyray markerlights meant they could deal with flyers pretty well. There was only one game where I put the commander in with the bomb as I was concerned about when they'd arrive and wanted to be making the most of his buffs with the missile team whilst they waited. In one game he then moved over to the bomb when they landed close by.

I must say I enjoyed the team format as a welcome change of pace. It added a different dimension to the games having to think about pairings in advance and relying on the performance of others. If the event is run again next year I'd love to go along. It was great to see Frank, Rob and Gary too and we're determined to get a mini tournament going between us with Jamie roped in as the 6th man (not that he knows that yet).

Finally, the use of tactical objectives has given me a lot to think about for Blog Wars 9. I'm extremely tempted to replace the marmite final mission with Maelstrom to give a bit of variety and embrace 7th edition properly. Watch this space.


  1. really interesting report alex, thank you. id heard about the event and had considered it (graham was one person down). always good to hear about the event from somebody else! thanks for the report :)

  2. Glad you guys had a good time. I will admit I got lucky vs Matt C'Tan round. That was the one game we expected a negative in.

    Will Matt and the rest being doing their own write ups as I would like to know Matts thoughts on Cards and the C'Tan.

  3. Could've been worse matey, I arsed it up right royally, lol! Here's to that mini tournament & going do my damnedest to be a BW9.

    Stay cool Alex!

    Ps Happy Xmas to you & family


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