Friday, May 7, 2010

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.

Finally, the key ‘tiebreaker’ that prevented me from having a shot at Best Sportsman was overall tournament victory I won.  Astoundingly, I managed to win the whole shebang, and with my wildly colorful and highly shooty Slann (Tau empire proxy) army, no less.  What helped give me the extra edge over some other competition – like, for example, Vaden “the Hobbybreaker”, who wiped the table with me in game two – was the absurd number of extra points I got for scoring secondary and tertiary objectives, and also the fact that the two evil strategerists in this tourney, Vaden (Hobbybreaker) and Scooter (Sisters!), played each other to a bloody draw in game three.  It turns out that a Sisters of Battle army is just mobile enough to completely block off the short side of a table in two turns and prevent most of the units in an outflanking Marine Biker army from making it onto the table.  Ouch.

So an unexpected but very happy-making victory for the Slann in this tournament, adding an additional positive note to a very successful tournament experience.

Philosophical Musings:
Not a lot of thoughts, but more a few short musings about the Slann list I fielded.  First and most obviously, of course, I need to finish painting my converted Kroot models, which are currently languishing with a very rough base-coat of colors.  A few touch-ups on some of the Crisis Suits is also called for.  When finished, the army should look more-or-less complete.

Second, I’m glad that I was persuaded to switch out Fire Warriors for two blocks of Kroot.  The Kroot are simply far superior melee screens than Fire Warriors, particularly if they find themselves in cover in woods.  Between being able to infiltrate (and thus deploy last, as well as potentially deny infiltration/movement to my opponent), and having the superior cover saves, to being significantly cheaper AND able to throw a few punches, and finally to having a lousy 6+ save and Ld7 in melee, increasing the odds that they’ll run away immediately…  Well, the Kroot are just better all-around than Fire Warriors at the sort of screening role that the Pathfinders and Suits really need.

Third, with all that said in favor of Kroot, the removal of most of the Fire Warriors from my usual list resulted in a very noticeable reduction in firepower.  Although I’ll grant that Fire Warriors don’t often have a ton of shooty punch, there were a few times (particularly against Bobby’s Ork Horde) where I missed having the massed shootiness able to sweep large numbers of models off the table in a single turn.  I can tell that the firepower upgrades to the Suits, and the substitution of Kroot for Fire Warriors as cheaper (and more effective) screens is a Good Thing, don’t get me wrong.  I’ve become a real believer in Kroot.  However, there were a few times I found myself wishing for massed pulse rifles throughout the tournament.

Finally, if I’m trading number of shots for quality (and power) of shots, then I really need to finishing assembling and painting my Piranha proxies.  Having fast-moving mobile screens that can add additional vehicle-killing shots (if necessary) would not only help keep my suits alive longer, and give my army more mobility, but it would mean that I wouldn’t have to rely solely on my Railguns to take out all the big nasty tanks.  As shown in my first game, even a little bad luck when firing only a few guns can mean a lot of frustration when facing a lot of AV13 and AV14 armor.

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