Monday, February 15, 2010

Genghis 2010 40k Tournament Report

Every year, the Denver Gamers Association has a con in which there is a 40k tournament, and a WFB tournament. I decided to compete in both, though my expectations were somewhat low for Fantasy. In 40k however, the tournament was a big deal.
 I'd been trying to win (unsuccessfully) Genghis or Tacticon for 2 years, and though I'd never lost a game at any of these tournaments, the scenarios always screwed me out of winning a prize.

This year was even bigger: the top two overall scores qualified to play at the Vegas GT in a year or so. I hadn't played in any qualifiers before this, and I wanted to make sure I had the option. I'd been working on a heavily converted Imperial Guard army for a while, and had finished it a week before, when our store had a 'Practicon' tournament, using the scenarios we'd be playing at Genghis. I was able to win that, and so it was on to a larger stage: a 60-man RTT.

Here's the list I used:

Company Command Squad w/ 4x melta, 1x plasma pistol, Astropath, Chimera
Company Command Squad w/ 4x plasma, 1x plasma pistol, Chimera
Veteran Squad w/ 3x melta, demolitions, Chimera
Veteran Squad w/ 3x melta, demolitions
Platoon Command squad w/ 4x flamers
Infantry Squad w/ Las Cannon, Grenade Launcher
Infantry Squad w/ Las Cannon, Grenade Launcher
Special Weapons Squad w/ 3x flamers
Psyker Battle Squad w/ 8 psykers, Chimera
2x Hydra Squadron
2x Hydra Squadron
1x Hydra Squadron

I had a total of 12 vehicles. Here's a picture of my army someone else took:

The Wrecking Crew were the judges for the tournament, and I hoped that meant the tournament would be well run. I was happily correct, the Wrecking Crew handled everything very professionally the entire tournament, and it went really smoothly.

I had made a list on my blog of armies I didn't want to play, that would potentially be really bad matchups for me, with Imperial Guard being listed as #2, IIRC. Sure enough, first pairings are announced, and:

Game 1: My Tzeench Imp Guard Traitors vs. Richard Coles' Steel Legion
His army looked like something like this:

8 Chimeras
1 Leman Russ
2 Armored Sentinels
1 Hell Hound
1 Outflanking Stormtrooper squad w/ grenade launcher
Company Command Squad w/ 4 plasma
Primaris Psyker
2 Huge blobs of troops, which each contained 2 missile launchers, 1 las cannon, a grenade launcher, Commisar, and 4 Power Weapons

I'd played Richard quite a few times before, since he was at my original game store in Laramie, WY. I've since moved, but we've remained friends. When we got matched up, and he told me he was playing our mutual friend CJ's Steel Legion my first reaction was 'ut-oh, this scenario is going to be a nightmare'.

The scenario:
We had to pick 5 of our own units to be counted as kill points, which were the ONLY kill points in the game. Secondary was to win by 500 victory points, and Tertiary was to kill all of an opponent's troop choices. There were 3 'kill everything in your opponent's FOC' bonus points possible.

My plan:
I wanted to pick units of mine that were low priority for him to kill in a normal game, thereby making it difficult for him to be able have proper target priority: either he killed my kill points and left my more dangerous stuff out, or he killed my dangerous stuff, letting my kill points survive. Otherwise, I wanted to kill the blobs of infantry. Not only were they kill points, they also had 3 heavy weapons in each. Killing tanks would be good as well. Pretty straightforward.

We rolled, and I got the first turn. I deployed all my guys behind giant walls but near the center, with my psyker battle squad peeking out from a hole in the wall. I kept only my two infantry squads in reserves. In my vendettas, I had my two flamer squads, and a melta veteran squad. The terrain at this tournament was very strange the entire time, and was one of my few gripes about the tournament overall.

If Richard had taken his entire army in Chimeras and just sat there, I don't think I would have done that well. But instead, he spread out his tanks in one big line with his CCS/psyker in the middle w/ the Leman Russ, and blobbed all of his infantry squads into two huge super-squads, that were in cover, but able to be shot at.

Richard's Chosen Kill Points: 2 Armored Sentinels, 2 blob squads, and the Leman Russ
My Chosen Kill Points: 2 Hydra Squadrons, 2 Infantry Squads, and my Psyker Battle Squad

I scouted my flamer Vendettas 12" away from his blob squads. He tried to sieze the iniative, and failed.

My Guard Turn 1:

I moved my Vendettas up, disembarked the flamers, and torched his two squads, killing enough to force a morale check on both. The Psykers hit his middle blob squad with weaken resolve, making their leadership 2 (works even against stubborn units). With any luck at all, that squad would be off the board this turn. My various shooting glanced a few tanks, and blew a few weapons off random tanks. When it was time for him to take a leadership on his Ld. 2 squad, however, he made it without even having to execute an officer! Jeeze, that plan went out the door real quick!

Richard's Guard Turn 1:

He responded by moving his forces up slightly, and trying to glance my vehicles. It didn't really happen that well, though he DID manage to bring down my two closest Vendettas, and the two flamer squads. Not much else to do for him, and it was my turn.

My Guard Turn 2:

Well, that was a somewhat sad result, but I decided to try the same approach: shake a few tanks this turn, and use the hydras to force a leadership on his guys again. Moving all of my chimeras forward, I popped smoke on all the chimeras besides the psyker one. I caused the 4 or 5 wounds necessary on his center blob squad again, and hit again with my psykers. I also shook his hellhound, and popped an armored sentinel. Next turn I'd be in melta range with all of my veterans. His blob squad this time failed their leadership, and ran off the board.

Richard's Guard Turn 2:

He rolled for stormtroopers and got them. They came onto my right flank, next to 3 hydras bunched up. He didn't really accomplish much this turn, shooting at my guys, and failing to do much more than shake a few chimeras. One almost notable moment was that he moved one of his chimeras on my left toward my vendetta with veterans in it, trying to ram me. I was able to roll a 3+, which simply placed it next to another chimera that I had stunned (couldn't move OR shoot) Otherwise, it was my turn.

My Guard Turn 3:

At some point my infantry squads both came in from reserves, and ran onto my bottom left corner. They were there to survive, nothing more. I ran them into cover, and they remained there the rest of the game. I disembarked my veterans on the left, ready to charge the chimeras with their melta bombs. Shooting helped me pop a few more tanks, including his leman russ and hellhound, as well as another chimera on my right side. His stormtrooper chimera was stunned.

The rest of the game was sort of a mop-up. His psyker's squad died turn 4, as did his remaining blob squad on the right, at the hands of a heavy flamer and some plasma gun shots insta-deathing his heavy weapons teams. He gave up before I could table him, but surrendered full points to me.


Victory for the Tzeench Guard!

48/48 points total. Ut oh... that means I'll have to play someone good.

Game 2: My Tzeench Imp Guard vs. Ron Santoni's Imperial Guard

Well, that wasn't the matchup I wanted. Ron is a great player, and one of the players in the area who I always seem to get matched up with in tournaments. We've played 3 times before, and of those games, I won one, he won one, and we drew. He's a fun guy to play, though, so I knew I'd enjoy the game, whatever came. I did know this: he'd won Genghis/Tacticon at least twice in years past, and those same years he also won the Fantasy Tournament. He'd gotten 5th overall at the final 40k GT in Vegas a while back with DEMONS. Pretty intimidating credentials for a guy whose best showing at a major tournament was 7th overall at BOLScon.

Here's his list (roughly... not sure why I didn't keep the list):

Company Command Squad w/ Las Cannon
Inquisitor Lord w/ Mystics, Heavy Bolter, Psychic Hood, Psycannon
Junior Officer Squad w/ Las Cannon
Infantry Squad w/ Las Cannon
Infantry Squad w/ Auto Cannon
Heavy Weapons Squad w/ 3x Las Cannons
Veteran Squad w/ 2x Meltas, 1x Heavy Flamer, Chimera
Veteran Squad w/ 1x Melta, 1x Plasma Gun, 1x Heavy Flamer, Chimera
Executioner w/ 5x Plasma Cannon Shots
Executioner w/ 5x Plasma Cannon Shots
9x Rough Riders
Hated Marbo

I THINK thats what he had. Certainly a lot of models, and lots of las cannons. The plasma tanks didn't concern me a WHOLE lot, but 5 shots from each are ridiculously hard to ignore. Lots of scoring units meant he was going to be hard to take out this mission too.

The mission:

Control table quarters. Enemy quarter was worth 10 points, the other two were worth 5 each. Your own was worth 15 (which was the secondary objective). The catch to it was that only normally scoring units could contest, making it easier to hold quarters. The tertiary was 'Wreck the Crew', making you destroy your opponent's highest scoring unit. His was one of his Executioners, mine was my veteran squad w/ chimera.

The Terrain:

The terrain was pretty evenly spread on this table. Lots of craters everywhere, and the blight of the board: a huge impassible house thing that pretty much blocked line of sight from one quarter to the other.

We rolled to see who went first, and I won the roll. I originally wanted to go first, since I know the kind of damage one imp guard army can do to the other one on turn one. This time however, I knew he didn't have the kind of anti-tank in his army that would allow him to REALLY cripple me turn one. It was objectives this game, and I wanted to be able to have the last shots of the game. Added in with the huge obnoxious house blocking line of sight, I gave him first turn.

The deployment was Spearhead, and Ron deployed his troops out in the open, as close to the 12" away from the center as he could. Behind them he placed his two executioners. In reserves he held both banewolves, his two veteran squads in chimeras, and the rough riders. His quarter was to my upperleft, leaving me in the lower right.

I placed two of my hydras at the very edge of my deployment zone, near my rear table edge, to get LOS on his tanks and troops right away. My chimeras I placed as close to the center building as possible, and kept my psyker battle squad chimera closest to him, so that he would target it first. My psykers are useless when the awesome psychic hood comes out to play, and I wanted him to waste shots on that chimera. To my right I placed my other 2 hydras, keeping a clear LOS to the right table quarter, knowing that at least a few of his reserves would be coming in from that direction. I only placed one vendetta on the board, with a flamer squad. The other two vendettas and my two infantry squads I kept in reserves. As in the last game, the squads would be there for holding quarters, nothing else.

Before turn 1, I scouted my vendetta up 24" closer to his line (12" away from his cluster of troops) and failed my seize the initiative.

Ron's Turn 1:

He only shot a few shots at my vendetta, shaking it. The rest of his fire he trained on my psyker battle squad for some reason, destroying their chimera on his final shot. Not much damage to be had.

My Turn 1:

I moved the non-shooting vendetta toward his lines, and dropped off the flamers, hoping they'd roll well. My Chimeras advanced toward his line, except for my veterans in the chimera, who stayed behind the house, waiting to claim the upper right quarter.

I popped smoke on my two HQ chimeras, and started my shooting. Hydras did a great (ish) job of killing 2 of his heavy weapons teams, and the psykers, though their numbers were depleted from their exploded chimera last turn, were able to reduce the leadership to 2 anyways, in spite of the psychic hood. My other shooting also went well, with my flamers killing his Company Command Squad AND junior officer squad outright. No more orders for him, as well as his being down 5 las cannons.

Ron's Turn 2:

A banewolf came in, as well as both of his veteran chimeras. Also... Marbo. One veteran squad came in on his upper left corner, and the other as I had predicted, on the upper right edge. The banewolf came in with his upper left corner squad. Marbo appeared by my rightmost hydras, ready to throw some demo love at them.

Shooting managed to knock my plasma command squad out of their chimera, and stunned my melta command squad. He also shook one of my hydras, and killed all but one of my flamer squad. Marbo whiffed, but standing in a crater, he didn't care (3+ save)

My Turn 2:

Both infantry squads came in, as well as my melta veterans in their vendetta. The vendetta rolled for the left side, and came in right next to his veteran squad's chimera. The infantry squads came in on opposite sides of the board. One came in on my lower left corner, into cover, from which spot they never moved. The other came in right next to sly Marbo, ready to shoot him down in a flurry of flashlight-pointing.

I disembarked my veterans on the left, knowing that they'd die next turn, but also knowing that I needed to get those veterans outside their chimera as soon as possible so I could kill them quickly and claim Ron's quarter.

Shooting started off sad, with Marbo saving against a combined 8 insta-death wounds, before I was forced to shoot him down with a hydra squadron. Other shooting went better, with me destroying the banewolf, both veteran chimeras, and shaking his Medusa. My remaining flamer flamed one of his infantry squads, killing 5 (of 9) and assaulted, with neither side doing anything at all (but him tying up the las cannon).

Ron's Turn 3:
The rest of his reserves came in. The rough riders came in on the middle, ready to charge my central vendetta. The banewolf came in on top of his already-destroyed banewolf, ready to flame some veterans.

His shooting wasn't that great this turn either, only shaking my melta veteran chimera. My veterans on the left DID die a very quick (and painful) death to his banewolf w/ Heavy flamer combo. jeeze those things toast guard! In combat, the rough riders did nothing (needed 6's to hit me, and used krak grenades), though his infantry squad killed my flame trooper. Poor guy.

My Turn 3:

My final vendetta came in on the left side, not willing to disembark its contents to destroy his rough riders. Not yet, when he could easily destroy them with his remaining forces.

With the coast clear on the right, my veterans moved up into the upper right corner, and popped smoke. They were going to have to kill Ron's remaining veterans sitting in their crater on the right side to be able to claim this objective. My melta command squad moved 12" toward his 'wrecking crew' executioner, disembarked, and got ready to shoot its side armor with 4 melta guns.

Shooting proved effective yet again, as I was able to destroy his leman russ, shake his medusa again, and kill a few rough riders. I also whittled down his number of veterans remaining in each wreck, and killed outright both of his remaining infantry squads.

Ron's turn 4:

He didn't have a lot to do, for shooting. He shot up my melta command squad, and took two weapons off my melta vet's vendetta, but failed to do any lasting damage. He ran out of shooting and simply assaulted a vendetta of mine, whiffing yet again.

My turn 4:

I picked off his last leman russ, the medusa, the banewolf, and his remaining veterans. All he had left were 3 rough riders and the inquisitor squad (which was strangely untouched).

We called it there.


Victory for the Tzeench Guard!!

47/48 points total.
95/96 points possible.... looks like I'm going to the 'top table'!

After this game, there was a lot of speculation, with the two opponents people figured I'd be playing being either Tulio's Jetbike Eldar, or a guy everyone simply called 'X-box' because he was wearing an X-box shirt. Neither opponent was someone I really wanted to play, since I'd played Tulio once already and knew he was a great player, and I'd played 'X-box' twice, both games being very unpleasant as he whined incessantly about 'bad luck' and 'out-playing me, but the game doesn't reward that' throughout every game. So, I was pleasantly surprised when:

Game 3: Me vs. Tau!!

His list:

Broadside squad x2, w/ 2 shield drones
Hammerhead w/ railgun
Hammerhead w/ ion cannon
Shas'o w/ Stim injector, Missile pod, Shield Drone, Plasma Rifle
Crisis Suit x3 w/ missile pods
Crisis Suit x1 w/ TL missile pods
8 Pathfinders
8 Pathfinders
2 Devilfish
12 Fire Warriors
12 Fire Warriors
10 Kroot
10 Kroot

I'll be honest: I rarely enjoy playing against Tau. They shoot really well, and every tank they have has a coversave vs. my army. Everyone says they're easy to beat, but I've never played an 'easy' game against Tau before. Never. And this guy had to have been doing awesome to have gotten this far with such a 'sub-par' army.

The board had almost zero terrain. One hill in each corner, and a big hill in the middle was it. My opponent insisted that the hills were in fact forests, and kept insisting until I finally suggested we dice it off. He natrually won it, and got his coversaves on EVERYTHING for his army, as well as a nice advantage for his kroot. blah...

We each got 2 objective markers, and I placed my two out in the open, and he predictably placed his deep in the forest.

The mission:

Primary had 4 objectives each worth 5 points. The secondary was to win the game by 750 victory points, and the tertiary was to have one unit in every quarter at the end of the game, whether they were scoring or not.

So we rolled off, and I got first turn, which I took this time. I wanted to alpha strike his railguns as much as possible before he got to shoot with them. I placed my vendettas spread out, two flamer squad vendettas near a each table edge, and one with melta veterans in the middle. The hydras I spaced around the big hill in the middle so that I'd have a clear field of fire to either side. The chimeras did the same. I again kept my infantry squads in reserve, ready to claim the two objectives out in the open eventually.

He deployed behind one of the hills, with a refused flank on the left. He placed the broadsides on the left hill, with his commander attached to the squad. All his vehicles he hid behind the hill. Also predictably, he kept his kroot in reserve.

I scouted all my vendettas forward 24", and he failed his steal the initiative attempt.

My Turn 1:

I moved my leftmost vendetta forward 6" and prepared to fire on his hammerhead w/ railgun. My chimeras (besides the psyker battle squad) moved the full 12" toward his lines, and popped smoke.

Shooting saw me immobilize and weapon destroy the railgun hammerhead, and kill all the drones AND one of the broadsides in the broadside/commander squad. I then used weaken resolve on them, and they broke, less than 50%.

Tau Turn 1:

He attempted a regroup with his commander/broadside squad (which he claimed had a bonding knife... and they didn't, since I have his list right here) but failed on an 11 anyways, and ran off the board. His shooting failed to inspire awe, though it did end up downing my leftmost vendetta and killing the flamer squad inside of it.

My Turn 2:

My shooting didn't do too much, this turn. I was able to destroy a devilfish full of firewarriors, killing a couple in the explosion, but every single shot that did any damage at all to his remaining hammerhead bounced off his 4+ cover save. Somewhat frustrating turn.

Tau Turn 2:

He had a pretty good shooting phase, his invincible ion cannon hammerhead destroying my melta command squad chimera. His kroot came in on either side, one waiting in a forest ready to claim an objective and the other squad next to my lone hydra on the right flank. His other random shooting saw him using random S5 shots to destroy chimeras everywhere despite smoke being on them, and pinning squads everywhere as well. Not a great turn for me. The hydra on the right wasn't destroyed, however, despite 30 kroot insta-hits, they couldn't get enough immobilized/weapon destroyed results, and they stayed there.

My Turn 3:

My vendetta with melta veterans decided to try downing his final devilfish, since his ion cannon hammerhead was out of range. They disembarked, and did as they were supposed to- frag the stupid thing. My flamer vendetta on the right dropped its troops and they moved in on the kroot, killing all 10 easily.

Other shooting took out one of his pathfinder squads (the one on the right hill) and an entire fire warrior squad. All my las cannons went for the hammerhead, and it again saved vs. 5 pen results. I did have a squad of veterans on the right side of the board whose chimera had been destroyed make it to the far right hill/forest and into cover though.

Tau Turn 3:

He continued to use JSJ with his crisis suits, hiding behind my destroyed vendetta. This time he targeted a hydra squadron, and destroyed it, despite my AV12 vs. S7 shooting. My command squads, both forcefully disembarked last turn, got raped by smart missile systems and the pathfinder squad's carbines. The hammerhead then turned its sights on my middle vendetta, killing it. The veterans that had fragged the hammerhead last turn got crushed by the remaining pulse rifles, despite there not being many of the rifles left.

My Turn 4:

Well, I didn't have a ton left to give. His hammerhead was invincible, and I only had 4 scoring units left. My psykers had failed their leadership every time after their initial success vs. the broadsides, and things were looking ugly. I decided to turn my attention on the crisis suits JSJing behind my wrecked vendetta, since they were about the only thing I could see with my remaining hydras. I killed the drones and one of the suits, but failed to kill the other 2. My veterans on the right tracked down and killed the lone crisis suit on the right behind the hill. The hammerhead again shrugged off 2 penning results from my vendetta.

Tau Turn 4:

He shot more, but this turn failed to do anything too crazy. Jeeze... about time he didn't have a crazy killing spree turn! The kroot on the left were getting very close to the objective, however...

My Turn 5:

My flamers had re-embarked on my vendetta last turn, and this turn the vendetta moved the full 12" toward his table quarter, shooting and yet again failing to touch his hammerhead. Everything else remaining (3 hydras) shot at the kroot in the forest, and failed to kill the 3 necessary to force a leadership check (with leadership nuked by the psyker battle squad). The psykers instead did a concentrated blast that killed about 3 kroot, but they held.

Tau Turn 5:

He ran his kroot forward toward the objective, to contest. With his remaining shooting, he killed a few of my infantry squad sitting on the objective, who failed their leadership, and ran.

My Turn 6:

The infantry squad failed to regroup, and ran off the table. My Vendetta didn't have the range or ability to get to his objective in the left corner (or the ability to get the pathfinders off it anyways), so I was faced with a dilemna: claim my own objective with the flamer squad inside the vendetta, or move it into his table quarter for the +10 tertiary points I'd be awarded. I chose that, and moved the full 24" into his quarter. Shooting crushed the remaining 4 or 5 kroot left on the objective, though it made little difference in the long run.

Tau Turn 6:

He failed to destroy my vendetta or any of my scoring units, and the game ended.


Victory for the Tzeench Guard!

I ended up with 29/48 battle points on this mission.

Hm, I was for sure disappointed with how this game went. With me nuking his railguns on turn one, it should have been easy from then on, but he made some outstanding rolls to get back into the game, destroying my transports easily, and made some even better rolls on his indestructable hammerhead and kroot squads. A rather depressing game for me, despite the fact that I won it.

Tournament Results:

I ended up with 2nd overall, losing by 2 overall battle points to a guy on table 2. I qualified to go to the Vegas GT, which was nice, though I was still pretty disappointed by not winning the whole thing. I know I should just be glad with how I did, that I qualified and got closer to winning than I ever had, and I am, but for some reason I was still a little sad- I wouldn't have minded giving up the Venerable Dreadnought box that I won if I could have had 1st.

Still, a good showing for my 2nd tournament with my guard, and Adepticon is getting closer and closer. Plus, the weekend wasn't over- it was time for some laid back games of Fantasy on Sunday...

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