Friday, February 21, 2014

Adam Tricola takes the BeastStar to LVO: Game 3 vs. Alan Pajamapants (lots of pictures!)

Howdy, folks! I am taking far too long in to write my full tournament report, but would like to start getting a little bit of content out there nonetheless (I've already written quite a few reports, but need to delay writing the final ones for a bit). I am therefore going to try something I've never done - splitting my tournament report into several different game-sized posts.

I will then eventually combine all of the reports into one "large" report for your later reading convenience :)

I'll give a little background first. My initial goal for tournament season of 2014 was to get a Marine list up and working, which I would be able to unabashedly take to big tournaments and not entirely embarrass myself.

However, there was an RTT at my LGS which I could actually attend, and I had nothing approaching the required models for the current iteration of my Marines, so I decided to be silly and take my old Dark Eldar with a couple Eldar units as allies. I had so much fun, I decided to try to make Dark Eldar work. 5 or 6 games later, my list had morphed drastically, from an old-style MSU Dark Eldar list to a ridiculous BeastStar, taking Eldar as primary.

I felt as if I had betrayed the Dark Eldar. Depression had set in. But I had a list, and after a ton of effort painting, and playtesting about 5 games total (which is a TON of practice for me), I was packed up and ready for the LVO.

Game 1: BeastStar vs. Old Nids (my list is there as well)
Game 2: BeastStar vs. Necrons + Chaos

Game 3: BeastStar vs. Alan Bajramovic's BeastStar

His List:

Eldar (Primary):

Farseer w/ Jetbike, Shard of Anaris, Runes of Witnessing Warlord
Farseer w/ Jetbike, Runes of Warding, Runes of Witnessing

3x Jetbikes
3x Jetbikes
3x Jetbikes
3x Jetbikes

8x Warp Spiders
8x Warp Spiders

3x War Walkers w/ Scatter Laser/Bright Lance (each)
3x War Walkers w/ Scatter Laser/Bright Lance (each)

Dark Eldar (Allies):

Baron Sathonyx

5x Kabalite Warriors

Beast Pack with 5x Masters, 25x Khymerae

The Mission:

Primary (4 Points): The Relic
Secondary (3 Points): Big Guns Never Tire
Tertiary (1 Point Each): First Blood, Slay the Warlord, Linebreaker


Vanguard Strike




He won the roll, electing (after thinking for a long time) to go first. You'll see why.


ME:StoneSeer (warlord): Fortune, Misfortune, Prescience, Trait: Selected "no" to night fight
ShardSeer: Prescience, Misfortune, Hallucination (or whatever a "6" is on the Telepathy table)

Warlord: Fortune, Doom, Guide
JetSeer #2: Misfortune, Guide, Precognition

Pre-game thoughts:

In order to adequately explain my thoughts, I need to explain the madness of the situation.

First, here's our deployment:

You can see that I even deployed some of my Jetbikes there in the middle. I'll explain why in a minute.

Here's the relic. You'll note that his Farseer with Precog is attached to his own unit of Jetbikes. This is very important.

The Shenanigans:

So, I'm sure by now most of you understand how Eldar can gain an advantage on the Relic. It's simple - if they go first, they jump their Jetbikes up 12", hop onto it, pick it up, then turbo-boost 6" away with it. Immediate advantage, even if those Jetbikes inevitably die.

Here's the twist: the rules state that (not a direct quote) "A model in a scoring unit may pick up the relic" - this allows models which are not normally scoring (i.e. Independent characters) to pick up the relic.

There is no rule that states that the IC has to drop the relic at any point afterward, even if he leaves the scoring unit.

Alan was therefore allowed to jump up and grab the Relic with his Farseer, and in the next turn (assuming his Farseer isn't dead) jump into the unkillable BeastStar and run away from me the whole game.

This is aided by the fact that he got Precognition - an ability which allows that character to reroll failed saving rolls.

With his deployment of a squad of Jetbikes + Farseer in the front, I could tell that Alan would be attempting these shenanigans.

Pregame Thoughts:

Knowing that Alan would almost certainly gain the Relic regardless of what I did (unless I seized the initiative, which is never something you should count on), I was initially left scratching my head.

Here's the thing: Alan got Fortune as well, meaning that his squad of 25 Khymerae would be able to re-roll their failed 4++ invulnerable saves and would take well over 100 wounds on average to kill the squad itself - not a feat I was likely to accomplish in a single round of play.

However, it occurred to me - those Beasts would likely try to screen the Bikes who tried to claim the Relic, as they would be within 19" of my own BeastStar, regardless of how he deployed. I saw three possibilities:

1) Alan does not screen his Farseer + Jetbikes with the Beasts.

  • I would charge him with Beasts, 
  • Challenge his Farseer with the Baron (which he would be forced to accept) 
  • And kill off the Jetbikes, winning combat by 3 and forcing his Farseer to take a Ld. 7 check. 
  • I would even potentially be able to kill them with shooting beforehand, as even though it generally takes 27 wounds to kill off a Farseer w/ Precog, my Guardians would also likely be in range, as would my Spiders and Serpents. 
    • ~36 wounds with shooting to kill the unit, earning me First Blood
2) Alan does screen his Farseer + Jetbikes with the Beasts.
  • I had the Misfortune power on both Farseers
    • Alan's Farseer with Runes of Warding was with the Bikes: Misfortune has a great chance to go off at least once on the Beasts, despite a re-rollable 5+ Deny the Witch roll.
  • If he wanted to screen the Jetbikes with the Beasts, the Beasts would *have* to be within 24" range of Misfortune.
  • Once Misfortune went off, it would negate his own Fortune, and make him take regular 4++ saves on his dogs.
    • While the squad would still be huge and tough to kill, I would be in range with most of my army to shoot, then charge with my own BeastStar - his own Beasts would have a tricky time surviving my massive damage output.
3) I have a 1/6 chance to seize the initiative, and get lucky.
  • I put my own Jetbikes close to the line, ready to snatch the Relic and run away. 
    • Alan has some shooting, but not enough to really even threaten 3 Jetbikes, especially if I put a Farseer with them, which I made sure to put into range of the Relic as well.
  • If that happened, I would just do what Alan was planning on doing - grabbing the Relic and forcing him to kill the entire impossible-to-kill BeastStar.
    • The difference was that I planned to keep my Warp Spiders as a screen against his Beasts charging, rather than my own BeastStar
      • He would be able to wipe out the Spiders, but I would likely already have First Blood, having the opportunity to kill an unprotected and exposed Farseer and 3 Jetbikes.

All that being said, his BeastStar was going to be central to my success in this game - kill/contain it and I would be alright. Let it run rampant, and there would be hell to pay.

I attempted to seize the initiative, and failed to do so.

Pajamapants Turn 1:

Alan cast Precog and Fortune.

Note: Alan had left his 6 Warwalkers, 16 Warp Spiders, and 3 Jetbike squads in Reserves, deploying only the BeastStar, Jetbikes, and his DE Warriors, which was exactly 6 on, 7 off, following the Reserves rules.

He did as I suspected, grabbing the Relic with his Farseer and backing up 6". The Beasts chose to screen his Jetbikes.

BeastStar Turn 1:

I cast Fortune and Prescience on the Beasts. I also put Prescience on my Spiders, and managed to get Misfortune off on his own BeastStar.


Alan did not realize that Fortune supplied a re-roll to Deny the Witch rolls. I did not realize that he did not re-roll it, and he later (after discovering his mistake) rolled a dice, which came up as "5" - assuming that dice roll much later in the game had been his re-roll he would have passed it. Keep in mind however, that I still had enough Warp Charges to cast it a second time, and we don't know if he would have passed it that time as well, or not.


I moved the Beasts up to his Beasts, the Guardians clumping up because he had no blast weapons, and got everyone in position to whittle away his BeastStar.

Shooting commenced, and I managed to kill a little over half his Beasts with shooting. His Baron was within 5 or 6 inches of my own Beasts, so I made the charge.

Here's the state of matters directly before my assault phase.

Again, same picture but zoomed out more I guess?

I got into assault, and all of my models were able to strike due to how close his Baron was. I actually rolled somewhat poorly in assault, but managed to take the Invulnerable save off his Baron (1W remaining), kill all but two dogs, and put two wounds on his Warlord.

We then rolled off to hit-and-run, and I won the roll, jumping into the ruins as you can see below.

Well, not quite First Blood, but I did manage to essentially eradicate the majority of his Beasts.
Pajamapants Turn 2:

Alan needed some reserves in ASAP, and got ALL of them in. He deepstruck the Spiders close to my own Beasts, got a squad of War Walkers on either side of the table, and put his Jetbikes close to my Beasts as well.

Fortune went onto his Farseer w/ Jetbikes, and Guide went onto some Spiders. He also got Doom off on my Beasts, but I was able to deny his Misfortune.

His depleted "BeastStar" moved to threaten my Warp Spiders behind a hill - a target he might be able to at least hurt.

Shooting at my Beasts commenced, and Alan managed to kill a large portion of them with his S6 shooting. He also managed to (randomly?) get a couple wounds on my Wraithknight with his WarWalkers on the left.

In assault, the Warp Spiders managed to overwatch and kill the Baron and his Warlord (remember - that squad was still Misfortuned but did not have Fortune anymore) and finished the dogs off in combat (Prescience FTW). This earned me both First Blood and Slay the Warlord.

Keep in mind his DE Warriors are behind the sign on the far left. His remaining Farseer still has the Relic, and is pretty far back now, and out of reach of the Beasts. In hindsight, I made a mistake as to where to hit and run the Beasts - the hill in the center would have been a much better position, as I could threaten more of the table with more of my units.

BeastStar Turn 2:

I got Fortune off, put Prescience on the remaining Beasts, and drew a bead on his War Walkers on the far right. BeastStar moved up to threaten his Warp Spiders.

Shooting killed off his War Walkers on the far right, but Alan rolled like a boss and only lost a single Warp Spider to my shooting. He also denied my Misfortune on one of the Spider squads.

In assault, the Beasts managed to get the charge off on both Spider squads, but he again rolled well, and saved all but two wounds I caused on the Spiders.

Spiders can hit and run, and both squads passed their checks to do so.


I was hoping to get lucky here, and chose not to Hit and Run with my Beasts. I had two reasons:

1) If one of the Spider squads rolled a "6" (happens 1/3 of the times this scenario plays out), the Beasts will be protected from Alan's shooting for a turn, which will in turn spell doom for Alan, who needs to kill the Beasts immediately.
2) Even without Hit and Run, I was within easy consolidate range into cover for most of my Beasts.

Calculated risk, but one that did not pan out, sadly. (This was after I realized that Spiders had Hit and Run, which I had somehow forgotten, lol)

The Beasts trying to assault both Spider squads was a mistake - I forgot they had Hit and Run (inexcusable since I have Spiders myself) .

Pajamapants Turn 3:

He managed to put more wounds on my Wraithknight, and killed my entire BeastStar after a spat of just awful rolling, involving a series of exactly 6 saves on my fully-healthy ShardSeer's 3+ re-rollable armor saves, which killed him.

BeastStar Turn 3:

I kept the aggression up, and was determined to (for some reason) put pressure on his remaining models. Alan again saved wounds on his Spiders like a boss.

Pajamapants Turn 4:

His Spiders jumped up and were kind of just out of range to shoot my stuff. His other shooting killed off my Wraithknight, making us "even" in bonus points for Big Guns Never Tire.

It was this turn that we realized that the Relic was the Primary - we'd both been playing it as the Secondary. This was *huge*, as if Alan was able to draw on Big Guns, he would win, despite my First Blood and Warlord.

The Spiders jumped into the ruins to contest objectives on Turn 5, which would be our final turn due to time constraints.

BeastStar Turn 4:

I moved my units into range of objectives, and got the Guardians into position to shoot his Spiders. I managed to kill most of his Spiders, but none of his Bikes.

It was going to be a tense Turn 5.

Pajamapants Turn 5:

It was our final turn.

Pajamapants moved guys up to contest all the objectives, actually controlling 3 of them on the bottom of Turn 5.

He failed to kill my Dire Avengers' Wave Serpent, however.

BeastStar Turn 5:

I needed to kill a single Warp Spider on an objective and contest all the other 3 in order to give me Secondary, and the win.

Warlord Turbo-boosted over to contest his objective in the top left corner.

One squad of Jetbikes turboed over to contest the other on the left side.

Another Jetbike squad  contested the top right corner. You can see his single Warp Spider on the objective I needed to claim. I killed it easily with my Guardians. I also managed to kill his Jetbikes on the top objective, as Alan wanted me to make sure that his not blocking off the top left objective didn't cost him the game.

Here's a blurry, incomplete final picture of the board. Heh.

Results: 6-5 Win for (MY) BeastStar!!

-(Alan got Primary (4) and Linebreaker (1) for a total of 5)
-(I got Secondary (3), Linebreaker, Warlord, and First Blood (3) for a total of 6)

Post-game thoughts:

Well, that got closer than I thought it would, given my strong first turn!

Really, just a close-run thing. We both got Fortune on our first or second roll, and were thus able to get some good powers outside of Fortune. I was Fortune(ate) (HA!) to have gotten Misfortune twice, as it allowed me kill his BeastStar. Really, the game would have been very different had one or the other of us not gotten Fortune. It also would have been very different if I had gotten first turn, or his reserves had come in later, or I had rolled better on my re-rollable armor/cover saves, or he had remembered the re-roll on Deny the Witch.

My point being that this game is just one of many outcomes that would have shifted the game in an entirely different way. Hard to say what would have happened had even one of these variables gone differently.

I was sloppy in a few things, such as where I hit and ran to, as well as how I played my Wraithknight. While I failed every save possible on my Wraithknight (literally), I should not have put him in the position to get owned that easily, regardless. Alan played well after his disastrous first turn, and retained the all-important Relic.

In the end, a good, close game and some revenge on him for (barely!) beating my Grey Knights at the Feast of Blades a few months ago! Always nice to beat one of the top players in the nation, though perhaps a bit stressful to have to play him so early in the tournament!

This would end Day 1 for me. I was still two wins from getting into the Finals, this day being one of the rougher Day 1's I've had: an "old bug" veteran, an Adepticon Finalist, and one of Team USA's players who has recently won a couple different large events.

If Day 1 was rough, what would Day 2 hold for me?

Torrent of Fire put pairings up before we left, but I didn't recognize the name.

All I knew going to bed that night was that the guy played Space Marines...

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