Friday, May 7, 2010

24 April 2010 FrAG (Frederick Area Gamers) Tournament (Intro)

The fine gentlemen of the Frederick Area Gamers were putting together another small-scale tournament in Glen Burnie, Maryland, and having had a long series of very positive tournament experiences with the Maryland crews, I was looking forward to another geat series of games.  Based on feedback from their tournament the previous month (in March), the FrAG guys chose to lower the points value for this tournament slightly, to 1850 points, to keep games moving a little faster.  Although I had done remarkably little work on my Slann (Tau Empire proxy) army in the months since I had used it last, I decided this was a fine time to debut the Slightly Modified And Updated (with Kroot!) army list.

The most significant changes this list sees at 1850 points are as follows: I have traded out 44 Fire Warriors (and several upgrades), for a Hammerhead, for Missile-Pod/Plasma-Rifle combinations on the Crisis Suits, and for two mid-sized units of Kroot with Hounds.  In other words, this means a moderate downgrade in S5 firepower (albeit from very static units), in exchange for more high-strength firepower and more effective screen/sacrificial units.  It also meant that I would be using the converted Chronopia Lizardmen models that got me interested in creating a 40K Slann army in the first place – but I just hadn’t found a good use for Kroot in 4th edition, and hadn’t gotten around to trying them in a 5th edition game yet.  Now was the chance to see what they could do!

What did I bring?
  • Third Servant (Shas’el) with Missile Pod, Plasma, Multi, Target-Lock, Blacksun Filter, and Target Array.
  • 2x 3-suit Rangers (Crisis Suits) with Missile Pod, Plasma, and Multi-tracker.
  • 2x 8-model Braves (Fire Warriors), with Ld8 upgrade
  • 2x 10-model Slann Warrior-Philosophers (Kroot), plus 4 Hounds each unit
  • 2x 8-model Scouts (Pathfinders), with Ld8 upgrade, in Transports with D-Pod, Flechette, and Multi
  • 2x 2-model Hornsuits (Broadsides) with Target Array, plus one model with Blacksun and 2 Shield Drones
  • Quasar-class Stonecruiser (Hammerhead) with Railgun, Smart Missiles, D-Pod, Target Lock, and Multi

24 April 2010 FrAG (Frederick Area Gamers) Tournament (Game 1)

Opponent: Dave (Blood Angels).  Earnest, soft-spoken, and pretty talented with the strategery, Dave was one of the younger gamers in attendance, and a good friend of Tien, my Tyranid opponent from the previous tournament.  He was fielding a dual Land Raider assault army, which had the additional intriguing (terrifying!) twist of being Blood Angel flavored – meaning who knows what, as I still didn’t have a copy of the codex.  But I was sure there would be any number of nasty surprises for me in the game, and I also knew that should either Land Raider get to my lines, the game was going to be over for my guys.  I sure hoped my Railguns wouldn’t let me down!

Army: (1850 pts)
  • Furioso Librarian with Assault and Jumping powers
  • 2x Vindicators
  • 5 Terminators & Librarian inside Standard Land Raider
  • 5 Death Company inside Redeemer Land Raider
  • 1x10 Tactical Marines with Lascannon & Flamer
  • 1x7 Tactical Marines with Plasma Cannon
Mission: “Storm of Annihilation” special mission.  Pitched Battle set-up (12” deployment), with night-fight rules in the first turn.  Primary objective is kill points.  Secondary objective is to capture (any unit may capture) the sole objective (the ‘vortex’), which moves 1d6” in a random direction at the start of each player’s turn.  Tertiary objective is to get a scoring unit into your opponent’s deployment zone at any point in the game.

Terrain: Some high hills scattered around the table blocked LOS to smaller (standard infantry-sized) units, but between those hills and some blocks of trees, there was plenty of cover but very little place to actually hide out of LOS if you were larger than an infantry marine or Fire Warrior model.

24 April 2010 FrAG (Frederick Area Gamers) Tournament (Game 2)

Opponent: Vaden “Hobbybreaker” (Space Marines).  Winner of the last tournament, the intense and deliciously sarcastic Vaden had earned his “Hobbybreaker” nickname due to some unusual circumstances that led to one of his (very unbalanced) opponents from that last tournament stomping out of the store mid-game in a huff, and subsequently place his (fully painted and converted!) army up for bid on e-bay, along with the rant about how he would never be playing Warhammer again.  “Hobbybreaker” indeed!  I had never played against Vaden previously, but he came with quality recommendations for being a good sport, and also a very good gamer.  He was fielding a fast and highly mobile Ravenwing-proxy army, using the Marine codex, led by none other than Khan (or at least, a proxy on a bike), a very different kind of list from his usual mechanized Imperial Guard.

Army: (1850 pts)
  • Khan Special Character, on bike
  • 5-man Command Squad with Storm Shields, Apothecary, and misc close combat gear
  • 3x 5-man Troop Bikers with twin meltaguns, and attached (6th-man) multimelta Attack bikes
  • 3x Rifleman (two twin-linked Autocannon) dreadnoughts
  • 3x Typhoon Landspeeders with Heavy Bolters
Mission: “Rogue Trader” special mission.  Pitched Battle set-up (12” deployment), with five objectives placed before deployment.  Primary mission is to capture the most objectives.  Secondary objective is most victory points, and tertiary mission is to kill your opponent’s most expensive HQ choice.

Terrain: One sewage treatment pool (and attached building) created both cover and some LOS-blocking in Vaden’s far-right (my far left) corner.  Otherwise, a moderate amount of trees and craters, and one low hill, provided plenty of cover, but no real way to hide out of LOS, throughout the table.  My side of the table had a crater, the sole hill, and some trees; Vaden’s side had the sewage treatment plant, some craters, and some trees, with some more trees and craters in the middle.  The objectives were mostly on ‘my’ half of the table, with only one on Vaden’s half of the board.

24 April 2010 FrAG (Frederick Area Gamers) Tournament (Game 3)

Opponent: Bobby (Orks).  One of the FrAG club’s long-time core members, I’d known Bobby for a number of years but don’t believe I’ve ever had the pleasure of playing him.  A cheerful and avid gamer, he was fielding a classic Ork horde list, and I felt particularly lucky to have the chance to face off against such a fluffy and characterful Warhammer army. 

Army: (1850 pts)
  • 2x Big Meks with Kustom Force Fields
  • 3x 30-ork Slugga/Choppa mobs, including 2 Rokkits, and Bosspole Nob with Powerklaw
  • 1x 30-ork Shoota mob, including 3 Big Shootas, and Bosspole Nob with Big Choppa
  • 1x Deff Dread with 2 Skorchas
  • 2x 2-ork Deffkopta squads, with twin Rokkits each
  • 3x 3-kan Killa Kan mobs, two mobs with Grotzookas, one mob with Rokkits
Mission: “Domination” special mission.  Spearhead deployment (corners, with 12” radius from the center-point a no-deploy zone), with night-fight rules in effect for turns 6 and 7 (if the game lasted that long).  Primary objective was to control the most board corners at the game’s end.  Secondary was to kill all of your opponent’s Troops choices, and tertiary was to kill your opponent’s most expensive non-Troop choice, not including dedicated transports.

Terrain: Four very tall hills blocked LOS, but only one was positioned between two catercorners; the other three were well off to the sides, providing great vantage points to shoot from, but basically not going to play much of a role otherwise.  Several large clusters of trees provided additional cover to units, but there was plenty of open “killing ground” between all the terrain.

24 April 2010 FrAG (Frederick Area Gamers) Tournament (Postscript)

After another highly enjoyable and entertaining day of gaming with the FrAG (and Inner Circle) gaming crowd in Glen Burnie, I realized several surprising things:

First, the mix of armies and codices in attendance at this tournament was (unusually) majority non-Marine!  In all, among 14 attendees, there were seven Xenos players (2x Orks, 2x Tau, 2x Eldar, 1x Demons), two Imperial non-Marine players (both Sisters), and only five Marine lists (2x Blood Angels, 2x Marines, and 1x Dark Angels).  Ironically, given the mix of armies in attendance, I played two of my three games against Marines.  But still, an excellent time had by yours truly, and I particularly enjoyed the opportunity I had to face off against the classic Ork horde list fielded by Bobby in my last match.

Second, I received very high sportsmanship scores from all my opponents, and would have received the Best Sportsman award were it not for some tiebreakers.  While I’ll admit to occasionally being a fun opponent, I’ve never thought of myself as an extremely sporting and friendly fellow.  What’s more, in my experience I tend to do worse on sportsmanship when fielding very shooty armies (like, for example, the Slann army I was using in this tournament).  Indeed, at one point in my gaming career, my sportsmanship scores were exceptional for being especially LOW.  I guess I’ve grown up a little – that, or all three of my opponents were smoking something of remarkably good quality.