Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Battle Missions Tournament Game 3

At this point, there were three people who had won all three games. One Lash Chaos, one Orks, and me with Necrons. The Chaos and Orks were paired up against each other while I was paired up with Nathan, who had one draw vs. Cory's Daemons who I played in game 2, and a win against the Chaos player I played against in round one. Now Nathan and I are good friends, and we play each other all the time. In fact, I had played him the day before and beat him in capture and control. We didn't need to exchange lists because we already knew them.

Nathan's list was:

Librarian w/ Bike, Null Zone and Vortex of Doom
Rifleman Dreadnought (2x TL autocannon)
10-man Tactical Squad w/ Flamer, Multi-melta, Power Fist + Rhino w/ Extra Armor
10-man Tactical Squad w/ Flamer, Multi-melta, Power Fist + Rhino w/ Extra Armor
2 Attack Bikes w/ Multi-meltas
2 Attack Bikes w/ Multi-meltas
2 Attack Bikes w/ Multi-meltas
Predator w/ Heavy Bolter Sponsons

So in this round we roll on the Battle Missions random chart to see what mission we get. We got the Tau Mission "Counter Attack" which is where the player who goes first can only deploy his HS and Troops choices, but they gain the Stealth USR. Deployment is Spearhead, and everything else must enter from the board edges that are not part of either players' deployment zone. The player who goes second can deploy anything. Objective is kill points.

He deploys his Vindicator and pred in forests, the vindy was quite far forward. His tactical marines were in their rhinos near his table edge.

I placed my monolith and C'tan forward. I had a crazy plan for this mission. My idea was to line up my guys along his entry point to my left so he had to come in on the opposite side of the board. With this in mind, I packed my scarabs, destroyers and one warrior squad as far to the left as I could. The other warrior squad was behind the C'tan and monolith.

Turn 1
He doesn't move anything. First shot of the game: his vindicator blows up my monolith. His predator downs a destroyer or two but they get back up.

I turbo-boost my scarabs to line up on the table edge to my left. The destroyers and warriors fill in the remaining gaps. Deceiver moves forward. My destroyers get side armor shots on his vindicator, which did not have cover, and they blow it up.

Turn 2
His dreadnought, librarian and one attack bike squad come in from reserves. The libby attaches to the attack bikes. In total his shooting reduces the deceiver to two wounds, and downs 3 destroyers.

One of my destroyers get back up, so there's 3 alive total. I move my deceiver forward and my shooting is useless : (

Turn 3
The rest of his reserves come onto the table, and he focus-fires on the deceiver, killing it.

Now that all of his reserves are on the table, I turbo-boost my scarabs forward so that next turn I can tie up his attack bikes. In shooting, my destroyers pop one of his rhinos.

Kill Points: 2-2

Turn 4
He repositions his stuff, and focus-fires on the scarabs, killing a couple but for the most part their 2+ cover save protects them.

My shooting fails and I charge my scarabs into his bikes.

Turn 5
He charges his tactical squad into the scarabs and one scarab lives through the fight.

My destroyers kill the other rhino, then the last scarab is killed in the assault. Nathan has killed way more stuff than I have, but we're tied in Kill Points at 3 each.

The game continues.

Turn 6
He moves his attack bikes forward and focus-fires my destroyers, killing them.

I move my warriors forward (I've also been moving them forward in the past couple turns). One of his attack bikes took a wound during the CC so I choose them as my target. The first squad of warriors fire at them, reducing it to one two-wound attack bike. Now, my other warrior squad rapid-fires, doing 6 wounds. Nathan makes 5 out of his 6 rolls, meaning the bike survives and the Kill Points score is 4-3.

The game ends.

Another close, exciting game. The monolith going down before I could even move was unfortunate, but that's what happens sometimes, and you have to work with what you've got.

In the other game, the Orks stomped the Lash Chaos army. This meant Alex, the Ork player, was the only one with three wins, so he got first place. Nathan, my last round opponent, got second place with 2 wins and a draw. I tied for third with Amin, the Chaos player. Muskie won Best Painted with his Death Guard which has beautiful free-hand on the Land Raider.

One conclusion that I have come to in my experience is that smaller tournaments actually have the potential to be more competitive. Not competitive as in WAAC but rather that the tournament can be run very well and find who the best player is much easier. There were no soft scores at all in this tourney and nobody had any problems with sportsmanship or anything like that. Then again this may have been because most of us were friends. The Best Painted award didn't factor into overall scores but there was a fully painted requirement to enter the tourney. Everyone had nicely painted armies.

The only thing I would have changed is that you should only be allowed to have one list, but I can see the reasoning behind two because some of the Battle Missions are very oddball so it prevents you from getting totally screwed. Also at 1250 you don't really have enough to make a full army so parts will be lacking and having two lists partially solves this problem.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Battle Missions Tournament Game 2

This game I was up against Cory with his beautifully painted Chaos Daemons. I used the same army as round 1, and Cory had:

Great Unclean One
4 Blood Crushers w/ Icon
5 Fiends of Slaanesh
3 Flamers of Tzeentch
7 Plague Bearers w/ Icon
7 Plague Bearers
5 Plague Bearers
Soul Grinder w/ Battle Cannon thing
Soul Grinder w/ Battle Cannon thing

For the mission, I chose Implacable Advance. It was similar to pitched battle, but with 16" deployment zones and a 16" no-man's-land in the middle. An objective was placed in the centre of each deployment zone and one in the centre of the board. However, in order to capture an objective all you need to do is have a scoring unit on it uncontested at the end of that player's turn. The only way for the opponent to take this objective is to get one of their scoring units on it uncontested. Whoever has the most objectives wins. Also, all non-fearless units gained the Stubborn special rule, which was HUGE for Daemons vs Necrons.

I placed my monolith in the centre as forward as possible with the deceiver to the left. Warriors behind them in cover, with scarabs to the right of the warriors. Destroyers were behind the warriors, lined up on my table edge.

I got first turn on a roll of 2+ which I made. I didn't have a choice to give my opponent first turn.

Turn 1
I moved my monolith and Deceiver forward and portalled the warriors through the monolith. They captured the centre objective and then ran to spread out.

For his preferred wave, Cory chose a relatively balanced force: 2 Soul Grinders, flamers, fiends and the 7 plaguebearers with the icon. He got his preferred wave.

One soul grinder landed directly in front of my monolith and warriors, while the other one mishapped and was killed. The fiends were to the right of my monolith, and the plague bearers landed on his objective to secure it. His flamers of tzeentch landed on the left near my warriors on my objective. In shooting, his soul grinder killed four warriors from my front squad and his flamers killed a few warriors from the rear squad. My front warriors failed morale and fell back to be near the other warrior squad.

Turn 2
My warriors that had fallen back regrouped. I moved my scarabs to the left so his fiends would be out of charge range in his turn. I moved the monolith and deceiver forward. The monolith was right on top of the centre objective. My warriors rapid-fired his flamers, killing them. My destroyers and monolith killed a couple of fiends.

From his reserves, only the Great Unclean One came in. It landed right next to the scarabs. He would definitely be in charge range of my warriors next turn. Everything else moved towards my army. His soul grinder assaulted my monolith, immobilizing it.

Turn 3
The deceiver moved towards his soul grinder. My scarabs lined up from my table edge to my monolith, blocking his fiends and GUO from my warriors. I began to move my destroyers toward the left corner of the board. I shot at his GUO and reduced it to three wounds. The Deceiver charged into his soul grinder, immobilizing it and taking off both DCCWs.

From his reserves came his Blood Crushers and his 7 plague bearers. The Crushers land to the left of my warriors, within charge range of the Deceiver. His plague bearers landed to the right of my monolith. The GUO charged into my scarabs, killing all but two. The deceiver left combat from the soul grinder.

Turn 4
My warriors shot at the fiends, killing them. My destroyers, who were now in the left corner, killed one bloodcrusher. The Deceiver charged into the Crushers, killing all but one, while the GUO finishes off my scarabs.

The final plague bearer squad comes in from reserve. They land to the left of my warriors, below the Blood Crushers and Deceiver. The rest of his forces are now within charge distance of my warriors. The GUO charges into my eight-man squad nearest to my table edge, while the 7 plague bearers charge into my six-man warrior squad nearest to the monolith. Both remain locked in combat. The Deceiver finishes off the Blood Crushers.

Turn 5
The deceiver charges into combat with the GUO. He lands three hits, and the GUO has three wounds left, meaning I need to roll 3 2+s  to kill it. I roll, and up pop... THREE ONES! The GUO reduces my warrior squad to two models, but they stay in CC. In the other combat, both sides have lost a couple models.

His other plague bearers which had landed last turn charge into combat with the warriors of the top squad near my monolith. They deal a few wounds but I think three warriors stayed alive. In the other combat, the Deceiver was once again unable to kill the GUO, so the GUO finished off my warriors.

So now it came down to the roll to see if the game goes on or not. If the game ends, I win. If it continues, it's about a 90% chance that Cory will phase me out. We give the dice to the store owner who was passing by. He rolls it, the dice rolls through the air, and comes to rest at the foot of the Soul Grinder. The roll is... a two! Necrons take the victory by the skin of their teeth.

This is about as close as games get. I had a blast, and I would have still if I had lost. The mission certainly gave me an advantage over a Daemon army. Anyhoo, it was a great game overall and it's games like this that are why I love 40k. The next game was great too.

Next game: Nathan and his Ultramarines!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Battle Missions Tournament Game 1

In the morning, I decided I'm just going to take one list and use it for all three games. The games were played on 4x4 tables. I forgot to bring my camera, so no pictures unfortunately. This was my list:

- Deceiver
- 10 Warriors
- 10 Warriors
- 5 Destroyers
- 8 Scarab Swarms
- Monolith

My round one opponent was Ray, with Chaos Space Marines. He had:

- Slaanesh Daemon Prince w/ Wings, no Lash
- 10 Chaos Space Marines w/ Heavy Bolter, Plasma Pistol, Power Fist
- 10 Chaos Space Marines w/ Heavy Bolter, Plasma Pistol, Meltagun, Power Weapon
- 8 Noise Marines w/ Asp. Champ w/ Power Weapon, heavy weapon + Rhino
- Defiler
- 3 Obliterators

This round, my opponent got to choose which mission we played. He chose Black Crusade (I think that's what it's called). It's pitched battle with 15" deep deployment zones, and the mission is Kill Points. Any non-vehicle unit goes back into reserve when it is killed. My opponent got first turn.

All positions are from my perspective. He deployed his oblits and defiler on the right, the CSM squad with the fist in the middle. His rhino and Daemon Prince lined up forward on the far left of the board, with his CSM squad behind them.

I deployed my Monolith in the centre, as far forward as possible. C'tan to the left of it, and scarabs behind. Destroyers were on my table edge to the left, and my warriors spread out on the right, one squad in front of the other.

Turn 1
He moved everything forward. Shooting was ineffective.

I turbo-boosted my Scarabs in front of my destroyers. C'tan moved toward the Daemon Prince, but it would be out of charge range. My monolith scattered off his rhino, and my destroyers took two wounds off the DP. Warriors killed a CSM.

Turn 2
He moves everything forward again. Shooting takes a wound off the Deceiver. He charges his DP into my deceiver and gets roflpwned.

I turbo my scarabs into the midfield. In shooting I destroy his rhino and 3 Noise Marines. I charge the Deceiver into his Noise marines and kill three, and the last two fail their No Retreat saves.

Kill Points: 3-0 for me.

Turn 3
Once again he moves everything forward. His Noise Marine squad comes in on the right-middle of the table. Shooting does nothing noteworthy.

I line up my scarabs in a wall in front of his oblits, defiler and CSMs. Monolith goes beside them to extend the wall. Shooting reduces his oblit squad to one model, and his right CSM squad to three without the PF champ. Big D charges into his left CSM squad, killing a couple but they stay tied up.

Kill Points: 3-0 for me.

Turn 4
His DP comes in on the left for round II with the Deceiver. The defiler and CSMs are blocked by my Scarabs. Shooting is once again rather useless, so he charges his CSM squad into my scarabs. He kills a couple and they stay tied up. Deceiver leaves combat.

I kill the last obliterator, rest of my shooting whiffs. Deceiver charges into his Daemon Prince and takes off three wounds. My scarabs remained tied up with his CSMs.

Kill Points: 4-0

Turn 5
His oblits come on in the centre. Shooting does nothing noteworthy, so my Deciever takes out the DP in CC.

My shooting also does nothing, but in the assault my scarabs took out his last CSM.

Kill Points: 6-0

Game ends.

This game was totally one-sided. Not much input I can add. But don't worry, my next two games are VERY close and exciting, so keep reading.

Next game: Cory and his Chaos Daemons.

Friday, March 26, 2010

1250 Necrons -- Battle Missions Tourney on Saturday

I was originally going to bring my Orks, but I didn't finish my battlewagon conversion, so Necrons it is. My list is pretty bad, as Necrons can't really make anything good at below 1750. Here it is anyway:

List A

[300] The Deceiver

[180] 10 Necron Warriors
[180] 10 Necron Warriors

Fast Attack
[150] 3 Destroyers
[150] 3 Destroyers
[48] 4 Scarab Swarms

Heavy Support
[235] Monolith

Total: 1243 Points

List B

[300] The Deceiver

[180] 10 Necron Warriors
[180] 10 Necron Warriors

Fast Attack
[250] 5 Destroyers
[250] 5 Destroyers
[84] 7 Scarab Swarms

Total: 1244 Points

I'm not too happy with it, but it'll have to do. I'll be taking pictures.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

My thoughts on Tyranids: part V – Drop ‘Nids & How to Counter Them

In my opinion the biggest change in the new Tyranid codex is the Mycetic spore. The Tyranids can now take an army that is all Deep Striking, and importantly all accurate Deep Striking. Couple this with their potential +2 reserves bonus, and on paper the list is very powerful. It reminds me of the old SM drop pod armies. I have played I think 7 games against dropping ‘Nids and I lost the first, but since then I have beaten them every time.

Anyway, your typical Ninja ‘Nids army looks like this:

- Flyrant w/ Hive Commander, dual TL Devourers with Brainleech ammo, whatever else
- 2 Zoanthrope squads in Mycetic Spores (I prefer 3-strong squads, some prefer 2)
- Lictor or Deathleaper
- Troops varies from list to list
- 3 Trygons

If I ran Drop Nids, my army would have 3x3 Spore Mines. They are very helpful for dictating your opponent’s deployment.

Playing against this army is very similar to playing against all Drop Pod armies, except the ‘Nids are better. It’s important to realize when you’re looking at a drop Nid list as opposed to a regular footslogging list. Usually it’s obvious: Does it have +2 to reserves and all units (sometimes not Troops) are capable of deepstriking or outflanking? Then they’re probably going to be dropping.

If you get the choice, always take second turn. This gives your opponent a difficult choice: do they Deep Strike everything anyway, or do they deploy? Usually, the right choice for them is to DS. If they deploy, you are now pretty much playing against a weakened regular Tyranid army.

MCs and Zoanthropes
If they Deep Strike, castle up and use smart target priority when they drop. If you’re a shooting army, you should have a bubble wrap unit or two spread out in front of your army, so the Hive Tyrant and Trygons have something to kill before they hit your gooey stuff. If you are a CC army, the MCs shouldn’t be a big problem. Remember, Zoanthropes will rape your vehicles, so you need to take them out or at least tie them up.

Lictors and Mycetic Spores
Mycetic Spores are generally placed on top of objectives to contest them. They are pretty easy to kill, but they can be an annoying distraction with their shooting. One thing to consider about Lictors & Deathleaper is that they are mounted on 40mm bases, so if you want to keep them away from your squishy guys you must leave absolutely no gaps in your castle.

How have you guys fared against Drop Tyranids, and what tactics have you used to beat them?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

New Blood Angels -- The Baal Pred Rush

One thing I think we will be seeing a lot of is the Baal Predator flamer rush. The new Baal has Fast and Scout, meaning it can move 18" before the game even begins. If the BA player has first turn, he can move up to 30" and then fire his flamers on turn 1. He will need to use other units to bust transports, but the codex has plenty of anti-mech so this isn't a problem.

My friends and I are currently working on figuring out strong counters to the Baal rush. The fact is, you need to sacrifice a unit if you want to stop the Baals from flaming your important stuff. Infiltrators are great for this. Armies like Tau for example are not going to have much problems because they can line up Kroot and keep the Baals 12" away. This essentially limits their scout move to 6 inches, if you line up as far forward as possible. Spreading out is important because it reduces the amount of models hit by the flamers, and increases the buffer zone for the scout moves.

The Blood Angels codex is very flexible. They are able to create an army that plays very similar to mech Eldar, or they can play like vanilla marines with cool additional units like the Sanguinary Guard. Blood Angels are one of my favorite SM chapters so I'm glad to see them having success.

EDIT: One thing I forgot to mention is that the Baal rush reminds me of the Bane Wolf rush, where people used Creed to scout the Bane Wolves forward and then flame enemy infantry on turn 1. If you have had this tactic tried on you then you know what it looks like. However, the Baal rush is stronger for 2 reasons:
a) The BA can have 3 Baals in different units.
b) Baals are AV13.

Monday, March 22, 2010

My Thoughts on the Tyranids: part IV – Anti-tank Shooting

I'm going to condense the rest of my Tyranid analysis so that I will have more time to write tournament reports, opinions on other codices (especially Blood Angels) and some other tactics that I have made use of but have not seen a lot of on the interwebz. I also want to post pictures of my models and a current conversion I'm working on, turning a LRC into a battlewagon.

Hive Guard and Zoanthropes
There are 3 units in the Tyranid codex capable of reliably killing vehicles at range: Zoanthropes, Hive Guard and Tyrannofexes. Zoanthropes and Hive Guard are far more efficient than the T-fex. The problem is that they are both in the Elite slot. A mycetic spore is pretty much manditory for Zoanthropes. As far as I'm concerned, you must have either Zoanthropes or Hive Guard to have a competitive Tyranid list. Which one to choose is usually pretty simple. In a drop/ninja Nids army, take Zoies. In a foot army, take Hive Guard. There are of course exceptions to this and I will go into them in a later post but for the most part this is a good rule of thumb.

One big advantage of Hive Guard over Zoies is that they are able to be in range of enemy vehicles on turn one. They are also more resilient with their T6, and they are better at killing lightly armored vehicles like rhinos. Zoanthropes are more versatile because they can kill infantry with Warp Blast. They can also kill AV-13/14 with ease, unlike Hive guard. It will be interesting to see which choice triumphs in the long run. As of right now though I think the better choice depends on the rest of the 'Nid list.

Tyrannofexes are a totally different beast. The only real reason to take them is for the Rupture Cannon, so we'll ignore the other options for now. First of all, I believe the Tyrannofex is way overcosted. You are paying 265+ points for one STR10 hit per turn. That said, we must consider the T-fex in the context of it's codex, and it's the only non-Elite anti-tank shooting in the whole book. If you want to run a shooting-themed list, the Tyrannofex is a decent support choice, but I would recommend it only if you have maxed out on Hive Guard already.

I think the best loadout for the T-fex is Rupture Cannon, Cluster Spines and Electroshock Grubs. On the tabletop the Tyrannofex should advance along with the rest of your army, but keep a squad of gants in front of it so that it can't be charged. Most people don't bother to shoot at the T-fex because of its 2+ armor, so you can place it in front of your other MCs (especially tervigons) and give them cover. This should be relatively easy because most peoples' Tyrannofex models are huge. The secondary weapons can be useful for the T-fex if you have killed the enemy transports or if they never had any to begin with.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

My Thoughts on the Tyranids: part III – Termagants, Tervigons and Ripper Swarms

In my experience, most of the competitive Tyranid lists have been using at least one small squad of Termagants. They are generally only taken so that the Tervigon can become a troop choice, and I would say you should always take a Tervigon for every Termagant squad. However, the in-game utility of Termagants should not be overlooked, because they can really help out the Tyranid army. Fleshborers are now very capable anti-infantry weapons, so when you have large amounts of Termagants they will do damage in the shooting phase. The other weapons are garbage, so just skip ‘em. The CC boosts if you have points left over, go for it. With Adrenal Glands, termagants can be a decent CC unit.

Tervigons (in Troops because nobody ever takes them as HQ)
A monstrous creature Troop choice, what’s not to love? I suppose the idea behind the Tervigon is that it’s a big force multiplier to the army. Catalyst and Onslaught are both useful powers, and I think one of them should be given to every Tervigon. You can’t take both, so have to consider how it will affect the other units in your army. Obviously, the main purpose of the Tervigon is to poop out Termagants. Usually you will roll doubles within the first 2 turns, so don’t rely on ever getting more than 20. In objective games, you can use the spawned Termagants to delay incoming enemy assault units. In Annihilation missions, you don’t want to give away free Kill Points, so the Tervigon tends to be a big points-sink in Annihilation. For that reason, I would say never take 3 or more Tervigons, and even 2 is pushing the proverbial envelope.

Ripper Swarms
I have never seen anyone use these, but I think they can be great sit-at-home objective holders. Let’s say you take 3 bases for 30 points. Keep them in cover, and go to ground whenever they are shot at. Now you have 9 wounds with a 2+ cover save, along with Fearless. Good luck getting rid of that. On the downside they can be an easy Kill Point, and you must always be in Synapse range for them, or there is no point in taking them at all.

My thoughts on Tyranids: part II – Warriors, Genestealers and Hormagaunts

I’m starting off with the troops choices because I think the Troops should be the foundation of all lists. Always remember the most important role for troops is objective capturing, and anything else is secondary. The tyranids overall have good objective holders, but make sure the small bugs have synapse.

Tyranid Warriors
It seems to me warriors are designed to be a jack-of-all trades unit for the tyranids. They are relatively resilient, with capabilities in shooting and assault. However, they are very slow and they have no way to get into the assault quickly. Their shooting alone does not justify the points spent on them, so overall I just don’t see a use for these guys. It’s unfortunate, because I like the idea of an all-warrior army.

Genestealers are an excellent example of a “glass hammer” unit. They do a great deal of damage in the assault, but they are very easy to kill. At 14 points base for what is essentially an Ork, they are very vulnerable. For deployment, they have the options to infiltrate, outflank or deep strike via mycetic spore. I personally would never simply infiltrate, because they will be shot off the board on turn 1.
The brood lord can be very effective, especially when spammed. I have a list which I will post at the end of the review that includes 6 broodlords in mycetic spores with the Doom of Malan’Tai. Of course, the functionality of this list depends greatly upon the GW FAQ ruling. So in my opinion there are two main uses for genestealers:
a) Podding Broodlord spam
b) cheap, scoring outflanker

Both of these roles minimize the weakness of genestealers (resiliency). Option B also forces your opponent to either line up a bubble wrap on the table edge, or deploy in the centre of their deployment zone if they don’t want to sacrifice a unit.

Well, if you want a swarm of assault gribblies charging across the board, take lots of hormies. Adrenal Glands are a no-brainer; always give it to them. Keep in mind you will need strong synapse support to keep these guys under control, and these guys can’t kill vehicles. However, if you surround a transport and then glance it to death, the vehicle will not explode, and models inside won’t be able to disembark, meaning they are killed. This is a very evil trick that I have been using with kroot and scarab swarms for a long time. I don’t suggest using it in friendly games.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

My Thoughts on the Tyranids: part I – Intro

The first series of posts I’m going to do is a sort of codex review for the Tyranids. It’ll be unit-by-unit, covering every unit in the book and then a few list build ideas and tactics to go along with it. I have played about 10 games against the ‘nids and a couple with them on Vassal, and my experiences have been interesting.

To be honest, I feel sorry for the die-hard Tyranid fans. It’s not that their codex is bad; it’s just that it is not on the same level as the recent codices, namely IG and Wolves. I think that when a codex comes out, it should be slightly more powerful than the previous one. The ‘nid codex was a small step backwards. While not a problem at the moment, in five years I think the codex will be crap, unlike IG & SW.

In the period since its release, a certain build seems to be very popular. That is the dual troop-tervigon build, usually with 6-9 hive guard and 3 Trygons. Podded Zoanthropes sometimes replace the hive guard. In the posts to come I will talk about the strengths and weaknesses of this build, along with some other lists that I feel have gone under the proverbial radar.

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