Saturday, April 3, 2010

1 April 2010, at the Warmonger Club in NYC

Opponent: Lee (Tyranids).  One of the competitive New York City Warmonger club’s young turks, Lee had just returned from Adepticon where he had placed third overall*.  He was testing out a new twist to his Tyranid list, a beautifully painted army that is still in the process of being fully updated to the new Codex.  The last time we had faced each other, my Slann (Tau Empire proxy list) had virtually wiped out his tyranid horde, only to lose the game due to Lee having cannily destroyed my Troops choices… albeit only my Troops choices… and ending the game with more objectives than I.

(*in Fantasy, Lee pointed out)

My List: (1850 pts)
  • Palatine with Book & Executioner, with x5 Celestians (2 Meltas) in Immolator with Smoke
  • 3x5 Celestians (2 Meltas) in Immolator with Smoke
  • 3x5 Adeptus Arbites (2 Meltas) with Shotguns, in Immolator with Smoke
  • 3x5 Dominions (2 Flamers) in Immolator with Smoke
  • Inducted Guard Platoon Command with 4 Flamers
  • 3x Inducted Guard Squads with Autocannon
Lee’s Army: (1850 pts)
  • Tyranid Prime
  • 3x3 Hive Guard
  • 2x Tyrannofexes, kitted out
  • 2x Tervigons, kitted out
  • 2x10 Termagants
  • 1x30 Hormagaunts
Mission: Spearhead (corner deployment) and Capture and Control (2 objectives, one in each deployment zone)

Terrain: Cityfight.  A large ruined building very nicely provided cover (and blocked some LOS) in the center of the table, and smaller ruins clustered in each of our corners also provided more (if sparse) cover for units in each deployment zone.  We each placed our objective far back in our corners, behind the furthest-most ruined building.

27 March 2010 FrAG (Frederick Area Gamers) Tournament (Intro)

The 3167th is a “Revenant” regiment, nominally part of a Necromundan founding (and indeed, the largest single portion of the regiment is the several platoons of Underhive gangers that still makes up its infantry core), but consisting of orphaned squads and platoons from dozens of different, nearly annihilated Imperial Guard units.  As a result, the regiment is a constantly changing hodge-podge of traditions, uniforms, equipment, and units, but nevertheless an effective fighting unit due to the experience of the battle-hardened survivors that make up its highly diverse ranks.

3167th Necromunda “Revenants” (2000 pts)
  • Company Commander with Fleet Officer, Standard, 2 Bodyguards
  • 2x Platoon Command with 2 Meltas, each in Chimera with turret Heavy Flamer
  • 6x IG Infantry squads (3 per platoon) – 3xMissile, 2xLascannon, 1xAutocannon
  • 4x Autocannon Heavy Weapon Squads
  • x3 Scout Sentinels with Autocannon (in squadron)
  • Hellhound
  • Exterminator with three Heavy Bolters and Pask
  • 2x Executioner with Plasma sponsons and hull Lascannon

What did I bring?
After having fielded a basically unpainted Sisters of Battle army in two successive tournaments, I decided to change things up for this FrAG tournament.  It’s much nicer for opponents to face a fully painted army, after all.  My initial thought was to field a re-worked Slann (proxy Tau Empire) army list, with fewer Fire Warriors and with some converted Kroot and Piranhas making up the extra points, but I ran into a problem: I just didn’t have the desire to finish the painting in time.  Oh well.

Fortunately, I have several fully painted armies, including over 6,000 points of fully painted Imperial Guardsmen – I’ve been playing Warhammer 40K for a  looooong time, and Imperial Guard has been my army of choice for many years.  So I dug around my collection and threw together a list that (a) had all the autocannons I owned, shoe-horned into it, (b) was infantry heavy, and yet still (c) easy enough to transport and set-up without worrying too much about finding enough cover for every model.

27 March 2010 FrAG (Frederick Area Gamers) Tournament (Game 1)

Opponent: Tien (Tyranids).  A cheerful younger gamer with an eclectic but quite punchy collection of Tyranid models, Tien was fielding a number of very nice conversions in his list, including Giger-esque Ymgarl Stealers, multi-legged kitbashes standing in for Tervigons, and an imposing Broodlord straight out of the Space Hulk game.  This was my first game against the new Tyranids, and I wasn’t sure how well my infantry-heavy Guard army would do, but there’s no better way to learn than to face the chittering horde.

Army: (2000 pts)
  • Hive Tyrant with lots of Psychic Powers
  • Carnifex with all Talons, and Bioplasma
  • Trygon Prime
  • Mawloc
  • Zoanthrope

  • x3 Hive Guard
  • x10 Ymgarl Genestealers
  • x10 Gargoyles
  • 2x Tervigons
  • 2x10 Termagants
  • x15 Hormagaunts
  • x10 Genestealers with Broodlord upgrade
Mission: “Cleanse” – table-quarters deployment, and the first two turns are played with Nightfight rules.  Primary objective: capture quarters (as objectives).  Secondary/Tertiary bonuses: gain the most VPs, and kill the enemy’s most expensive HQ choice.

Terrain: Cityfight.  The table had a lot of low ruins (about eight) scattered about, with two pieces of area ruined terrain as well.  There was one large intact three-story building in my corner, and a large multi-story factory building in Tien’s corner.  (We treated both as area terrain, to make things simpler).  Line-of-sight at ground level was decent, but with plenty of obstructing terrain no matter which direction you looked.

27 March 2010 FrAG (Frederick Area Gamers) Tournament (Game 2)

Opponent: Tim (Tau Empire), a.k.a. “Old Shatter Hands” from the Tau of War gaming blog.  A soft-spoken, thoughtful fellow with a beautifully painted Tau army, I discovered after the battle that Tim had intentionally reworked his army list in order to do something a bit less predictable with the Tau.  Fully aware of what the Tau were capable of, I was a bit nervous about facing them with the Imperial Guard, but at least I knew that neither of us would be making much use of the Assault Phase of the game.

Army: (2000 pts)
  • Commander (BS5) and two Bodyguards (BS4) with Plas/Missile, plus two Gun Drones and gear
  • Shas’el (solo, BS5) with Fusion/Missile
  • 1x3 Crisis Suits (BS3) with twin-Missile and Flamer
  • 1x3 Broadsides (BS4) with Smart Missiles and two Shield Drones
  • 2x8 Fire Warriors, in Devilfish with D-Pod and Multi-tracker
  • 1x5 Pathfinders, in Devilfish with D-Pod and Multi-tracker
  • 1x10 Kroot, plus 5 Kroot Hounds
  • x3 Piranha (BS4) with Fusion and D-Pods
  • x1 Hammerhead (BS4) with Railgun, Smart Missiles, D-Pod, Multitracker, Target Lock
  • x1 Skyray (BS4) with Smart Missiles, D-Pod, Multitracker, Target Lock
Mission: “Total Annihilation” – 12 inch deployment from long table edge.  Primary objective: kill points.  Secondary/Tertiary bonuses: get at least one Troops choice into the enemy deployment zone at any point in the game, and kill the most expensive enemy unit.

Terrain: Cityfight.  The table had several large pieces of area terrain ruins spread through the center of the table, three two-story ruins scattered about the table, a very solid bunker (on Tim’s side of the table), and a four-story ruin on the left side of my deployment zone.

27 March 2010 FrAG (Frederick Area Gamers) Tournament (Game 3)

Opponent: Marc (Space Wolves).  The entirely deserving winner of the Best Sportsmanship award, Marc is a boisterous, gregarious, hilarious, and also deceptively canny and skilled wargamer.  With Marc fielding a Space Wolf army capable of getting almost anywhere on the table it needs to, complete with some beautiful (albeit non-GW) Thunderwolf models, I knew that the game would come down to the first one or two turns of the game – could I stop the Thunderwolves and tie up the Drop-podders long enough to gain the advantage?  Or would the Space Wolves instead tear through my massed infantry?

Army: (2000 pts)
  • Wolf Lord on Thunderwolf, plus another character on Thunderwolf, in a unit of 4 Thunderwolf cavalry, plus two “ablative” wolves
  • Runepriest in Terminator Armor with Force Lightning ability
  • 1x15 Wolves
  • 1x5 Scouts with meltagun, plus Wolfguard with combi-melta
  • 3x10 Grey Hunters with two Meltaguns in Drop-pods
  • 2x5 Longfangs (6 Missile Launchers, 2 Lascannons total), each with Wolfguard champ
Mission: “King of the Hill” – 12 inch deployment from long table edge, and each player gets to place one objective marker.  Primary objective: have the most units (of any type) within 6 inches of the center of the table.  Secondary/Tertiary bonuses: wipe out all enemy Troops choices, and capture at least one objective marker.
Terrain: My third Cityfight in a row!  Both Marc and I had already fought on this table, so we randomly re-arranged the terrain with the use of 3d6 and scatter dice, resulting in a circle of area terrain and ruined buildings surrounding a totally open kill zone in the very center of the table, easily 20 inches across, and almost 48 inches wide.  We each placed our objective on the leading edge of a large piece of area terrain, overlooking the Kill Zone in the center of the table.

27 March 2010 FrAG (Frederick Area Gamers) Tournament (Postscript)

Although I always enjoy participating in the FrAG and Inner Circle tournaments in Glen Burnie, I had a particularly good time in this tournament.  I faced three knowledgeable and extremely sporting opponents, all with distinctive and flavorful armies, and got a chance to field an old standby of mine (Imperial Guard) using the latest codex.  Guard are still quite shooty, and infantry guard are still very static and somewhat brittle – but much more effective in the current edition and codex than I feared they might be.  They're almost certainly going back into semi-retirement for the time being, but my Imperial Guard can now be certain that they can field a competitive list that I can credibly play at need; a good thing to know, particularly if I ever manage to begin regular club play again.

My Guard finished +1=1-1 at the tournament, and placed 8th out of 18 total, about right for how I did overall.  About the only gripe I could have about this tournament was my painting score – I earned 8 points out of 15, for an army that was fully painted AND heavily converted.  I earned fewer points than some partially unpainted and WIP armies (!), so I’m not sure exactly how this particular bit was scored.  That said, it’s not really a big deal, as I didn’t expect to win the event, and certainly had a great time against some class opponents, an experience I wouldn’t trade for just a few more points in the tournament.  I mean, honestly, what’s the difference between 6th or 7th place, and 8th (where I placed)?

About half the armies at this tournament (10 of 18) were Marine or Marine variants (including three Space Wolves, one Blood Angels, and two very vicious Chaos Marine armies), and there were a good mix of Xenos armies in attendance as well – three Nids, two Tau, and an Eldar player.  No Inquisition armies in this tournament, and the overall winner was a heavily mechanized Guard list.  Go, guard!

As for the future, in the next few months, I plan to keep working on revising my Slann (proxy Tau Empire) army list, and to begin putting paint to my Sisters of Battle immolator list.  I’ll probably take my time on the second project, however, as I understand that the Inquisition codex is due out later this calendar year, or possibly early in 2011.  I’ll keep tweaking and practicing with what I have now, but try not to get too locked into a single army design just months before a new codex comes out.

Thanks again to my three excellent opponents – Tien, Tim, and Marc – and to my earnest and hard-working hosts (and tourney organizers) at the Frederick Area Gamers.  I’ll be sure to keep coming down to Maryland and participating in tournaments, so long as you guys continue to put together such amiable and friendly competitive events.