Monday, February 24, 2014

Adam Tricola takes BeastStar to LVO: Game 5 vs. White Scar Bikers w/ Tau Allies!

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
Game 4: BeastStar vs. Matthew Jacobson's Iron Hands (Clan Roukan) w/ Inquisition Allies!!

Game 5: BeastStar vs. Rupert Pupkin's White Scars + Tau (from Australia!!)

His List:

Space Marines (Primary):

Khan (Warlord)
Chapter Master w/ Bike, Artificer Armor, Power Fist, Shield Eternal (you know the build, lol)

5x Bikes w/ 2x Grav Guns
5x Bikes w/ 2x Grav Guns
5x Bikes w/ 2x Melta Guns
5x Bikes w/ 2x Plasma Guns

Tau (Allies):

Tau Commander w/ C&C Node, MSS, PenChip, Irridium Armor (you know the build... again. lol!)

15x Kroot w/ 1x Hound

Riptide w/ Ion Accelerator, SMS, Early Warning Override, Target Lock (suspenseful music... why would he have a Target lock on a Riptide??)

3x Broadsides w/ High-Yield Missile Pods, SMS, 3x Early Warning Override

Bastion w/ Comms Relay

The Mission:

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


Vanguard Strike


NO!! (I got the warlord power to choose)


I won the roll, reluctantly giving him first turn.


StoneSeer (Warlord): Fortune, Guide, Death Mission, Trait: Choose Night Fight
ShardSeer: Prescience, Scriers Gaze, Precognition

Pre-game Thoughts:

Heh, well I knew three things going into this game:

1) Rupert had traveled all the way from Australia to play here and had won all 4 of his previous games handily.
2) I'd discussed his army with his first round opponent, who had traveled all the way from Canada with a nasty Serpent/Wraithknight spam army, which Rupert had apparently dismantled handily.
3) To this date, I had never played against a Khan Biker army of any sort, good or bad. This would not be a great time to learn how to play against it, against an obviously skilled player in a make-or-break round.

That said, I wasn't really sure how to approach this game. His ability to outflank would make my objective placement tricky, as I didn't want to make the objectives *too* easy to grab. However, I thought that if I put at least one near a board edge, he'd be a little more likely to outflank, as most/all of the objectives would incentivize his outflanking.

Thing is, in a game like this, it was *imperative* to be able to control the general location of where Rupert was going to have his models. None of his scoring models had very long range, and if I did things right, Rupert would be forced to either leave valuable scoring models in his backfield or come close to my own models with them, giving me a turn to kill them off.

I actually really wanted Rupert to outflank, as it would force him to come in piecemeal, and some of his models would likely outflank to the "wrong" side of the board, giving me more time to deal with him one squad at a time.

Other than that, I didn't really know how to approach the game. He had first turn, and it would be suicide to mess with the Relic - I figured if he decided to scout up and pick the Relic up with any of his squads, I would be able to shoot/charge them out of existence quick enough - a favor Rupert would repeat with his Broadsides if I chose to try something like that.

Rupert said it better than me: "It's going to be a Turn 5 game".

Here's our deployment. I made sure to keep 36.1" away from his Bastion with all my models. I reserved my Warp Spiders (DS), and both Wave Serpents, as well as both Jetbike squads. Rupert decided to outflank with all of his Bikes, aside from the Chapter Master who joined the Riptide and Buff Commander. Broadsides sat in the Bastion, and Kroot started on an objective in the top left ruin you can't see.

Bike/Tau Turn 1:

Rupert decided to go for the gold on Turn 1: I was a dumbass and had bunched up some Guardians close to my Warlord. Rupert had LOS from the Riptide, and the Chapter Master decided to use his orbital barrage.

As it turns out, that barrage is nasty when paired with a Tau Buff Commander - re-roll to hit, ignore cover, unlimited range, barrage with S10 AP1.

He scored a direct hit, getting 4 wounds off on my Warlord. I needed to lookout sir! all 4, or risk giving up Warlord, First Blood, and Fortune before I even had a single turn.

Luckily, I passed all 4 checks, and "only" 4 Guardians died.

Whew! This initial action more than anything clued me in that Rupert was a damn good player.

Lucky me - you can barely see my Warlord behind that building on the far right side of the table.

Ah, there we go! See the big chunk of Guardians cleared away from my Farseer? haha, madness! Those horrors clumped up on the table next to me breathed a sigh of relief he didn't scatter a few inches their direction :)
BeastStar Turn 1:

I put Fortune on the Beasts, and got perils twice trying to cast Prescience and Guide on the Wraithknight, boxcars both times.

Not an awesome start.

I decided to wall off the area that Rupert could get his Bikes into, and thus spread my Guardians and Beasts along the bottom right side of the board - this would limit the location the Bikes could arrive at. It would also thwart him from shooting at my Wraithknight with Grav Guns.

Wraithknight took two shots at his Bastion, but failed to even glance the damn thing. No point in shooting at the Riptide - invincible Chapter Master was in front to tank wounds.

Bike/Tau Turn 2:

He rolled for reserves and got Khan + Grav squad, Plasma squad, and Melta Squad. Khan came in on the left, and the others got to choose, coming in on the top right corner of the board.

Rupert played cagey and shot a bit at my Guardians, hiding his Bikes from the majority of my firepower. Khan and company turbo-boosted. Guardians were down to around 10 men at this point. He also put two wounds on my Wraithknight with his Riptide, using Monster Hunter and ignoring my (always dependable... /sarcasm) 5+ cover save. Doh!

BeastStar Turn 2:

I got a single Wave Serpent in from reserves, as well as my Warp Spiders, DE Warriors, and a squad of Jetbikes. I tried to place my Bikes enticingly within range of his Riptide to induce an attempt at using his Ion Cannon on them, but he didn't take the bait.

I would only be able to kill one Bike squad, as Rupert had hidden the other squad perfectly behind a piece of terrain. My objective this turn was to get First Blood, and to put my Beasts in a position where I could strike where I needed.

One thing I should explain is that I was quite loathe to get into combat with his Riptide/Commander/Chapter Master, as if the Beasts charged, they would have little chance to significantly hurt that unit, and Rupert would then be able to Hit & Run out of combat into my squishy backfield. I needed to stay away from that if I could. This is the reason for my BeastStar's conservative actions.

Shooting went reasonably well, killing off the full Melta Bike squad and earning me a late First Blood.

I also managed to kill a single biker from Khan's Grav unit.

Finally a picture! You can see the Beasts are spread out, waiting to see where Rupert's final reserves would come in, and waiting to see what his remaining Bikes would do as well. Wraithknight is slightly out of range of Khan's Grav weapons. I flew a squad of Jetbikes up near his Plasma Bikers to bait Rupert into killing them rather than a more important unit (such as Warp Spiders, who can actually hurt Bikes).

Bikes/Tau Turn 3:

Rupert's final Grav squad came in on my side. He decided to try to kill my Wraithknight, and his PlasmaBikes decided to kill my all-too-enticing Jetbike squad.

In a move I hadn't really foreseen, he split his Chapter Master off from the Riptide and moved to charge my Beasts.

When the smoke cleared, my Wraithknight was dead, and his Bikers were about to charge my hapless Jetbikes, attempting to get stuck in combat to negate a turn of shooting at them.

Chapter Master charged the Beasts and took a wound or two, causing no real damage to the Beasts. I won the roll-off to Hit and Run, and did so, leaving the Chapter Master hanging out in the center of the table.

His PlasBikes slaughtered the Jetbikes with no casualties.

At this point, I was well and truly surrounded. Rupert was putting pressure on every possible side of the board, and I was unsure as to where to throw the Beasts.
BeastStar Turn 3:

My final Wave Serpent and Jetbikes came on.

I was initially unsure of what to do. His Riptide + Commander were getting close to my lines, and his Chapter Master would kill whatever he decided to charge. Rupert also had 15 Bikers within charge range of my backfield. He had placed them all excellently so as to keep my Beasts from multi-assaulting any of his units.

It was a question of target priorities. Chapter Master would kill whatever he chose to mess with, and was the biggest threat. He was also centrally located, so the Beasts could react on Turn 4 to where Rupert's models were going.

I next needed to kill the Grav bikers in my backfield. My shooting *should* be able to manage that.

I would just need to delay his PlasBikers. Poor Jetbike decoys...

So, I moved the Beasts to charge his Chapter Master, while turning all my backfield shooting on his Grav Bikers. Warp Spiders got close to shoot his Plas Bikers.

Rupert rolled excellently on saves, and I managed to kill all but one of the GravBikers, despite more than 15 wounds caused. Warp Spiders killed only two of the PlasBikers, so I flew my hapless Jetbikes over near them to entice them again.

BeastStar charged in, and killed Rupert's Chapter Master.

You can see Khan with his Bikes on the bottom. You can't see the remaining Grav biker (just a regular marine) on the far right side of the table.
Bikes/Tau Turn 4:

We had taken a while to play, and this would be the last turn we would be able to complete. We agreed at the start of the turn that we would finish the game on Turn 4.

As such, Rupert got his Broadsides out of their Bastion and ran them 4" to his back objective, barely within range.

PlasBikers charged and killed my Jetbikes, but also ensured they wouldn't be contesting any objectives.

Khan split off from his unit to charge my DE Warriors and contest my bottom right objective, while his Bikers remaining sitting on another objective nearby - he got his 8" charge and killed enough DE Warriors that they fled off the table, and Khan got enough consolidate movement to contest my objective.

Riptide and Commander moved up, ready to attempt a long jump-contest to my back unit. Their jump move would not be far enough to matter (he had actually intended to Nova-charge his Riptide to get the 4d6" jump move (and succeeded) but then forgot to detach him from the Commander - I do not believe his jump would have been far enough even with an extra 12", as his initial 2d6" was not very far at all, but who knows?)

His remaining Gravbiker got ready to charge my Dire Avenger Serpent. He would succeed in killing it, but the unit would remain unpinned.

Rupert currently holds three objectives, and Khan is contesting the far-right one.

BeastStar Turn 4:

The situation was a little worrying at first - Rupert would win the Primary (Big Guns Never Tire) if we drew on objectives, since he had killed my only Heavy Support choice (Wraithknight). That meant I needed to contest enough objectives and kill him off of one objective to be able to hold more than him.

In the end, a solution surfaced.

My Warlord was within 48" of his Kroot-held objective, so flew to contest it.

Shard of Anaris was within 48" of his Broadside-held objective, so flew to contest it.

Baron split off from the Beasts, and contested the more central objective.

Dire Avengers moved then ran to claim the objective in the bottom-right, while the Beasts and the rest of my entire army drew a bead on Khan.

Khan died, and the game ended.

See both Jetseers contesting objectives here...

Baron was perhaps a bit out of place in this picture, but was contesting the objective here, while Dire Avengers held the objective in the bottom right.
...The game ended.

Results: 7-1 Win for the BeastStar!!

I ended up claiming the Primary 3-1, and got 4 points, plus Linebreaker, First Blood, and Warlord.
Rupert, despite an extremely well-played match, ended up with only Linebreaker for a single point.

Post-Game Thoughts:

Wow, Rupert's play was fantastic!  I was simply not prepared to play against an army which had so much flexibility! I knew it would be a tricky fight, but Rupert kind of flew (drove?) circles around me! The amount of pressure he exerted from so many different angles was honestly both extremely worrying and very impressive in equal measures.

We discussed the match a bit after the game, and Rupert told me he had been hoping my Beasts wouldn't have gone against his Chapter Master, and that he had been purposely baiting me with his Riptide/Commander by not using the Nova Charge to get a 3++. I'm glad I saw through it, as that would likely have cost me the game.

In the end, I was fortunate to have finished as well as I did, as Rupert had me down to two scoring squads.

Very well played, Rupert! Awesome game, can't wait to play again next year!!


I had won 5 games in a row, which meant that I would by default make it into the Top 8 on Sunday and play a single-elimination tournament to discover who the Tournament Champion would be!

Top place for the tournament went to Gareth Hunt, who had just annihilated every opponent with his Thudd Guns. Second Place went to Eric Hoerger and his Khan Biker army after defeating Dakka champion Jy2 during Game 5. I ended up claiming 3rd General, receiving a couple random gift certificates to places I'd never heard of.

Alex Fennel had also gotten in with his Seer Council/Serpent Spam list.

In a twist, none of the Draws got into the top 8, and that meant Nick Rose and Alan Pajamapants (both with one loss and 4 very strong wins) had qualified for the last day. They didn't use seeding, and that meant I could end up playing against anyone on Day 3!

Funny note: Alan Pajamapants from my Game 3 won "Best Eldar Player" despite losing to me. He got a plaque, which kind of made me jealous because I didn't get any sort of trophy or anything. Just meant I needed to win the ridiculously large trophy as Tournament Champion :D

Going into the day, the 8 finalists (in no particular order, since seeding didn't matter) were:

Adam Tricola (ME) - BeastStar
Alan Pajamapants - BeastStar
Alex Fennel - Pink JetSeerStar
Nick Rose - Pure Eldar

Gareth Hunt - Imperial Guard w/ 9 Thudd Guns
Eric Hoergar - White Scar Bikers
Justin Adams - Chaos Marines w/ Daemon Allies
Christopher Morris - Necrons (lots of forgeworld I'd never seen)

Of the 7 guys I could play, I honestly wasn't sure who I'd rather. The Chaos list looked like a lot of fun to try my luck against, though if Justin had won 5 games in a row with it, I had the potential of underestimating him. Probably a trap game.

Same with the Necrons - I was confident against most Necron lists, but I didn't know what his did!

I didn't want to play any of the Eldar guys, as they were all known as top players (myself excluded). Eric Hoergar is also a top player, and (though I had never met him until this tournament) Gareth Hunt was also well known, and possibly had one of the most frustrating armies to play against.

So... any of my matchups would be a bit unfortunate. Of them all, I guess I wanted to play against Nick Rose, as we've been dodging each other in tournaments for years, and our lists are very similar. We're friends, and I was hoping for some good smack talk if we got to play on Day 3.

One way or another, Day 3 looked to be epic :)

Pretty sure everyone saw me as the guy they wanted to play in such a tough field. Haha, I was just pumped to have done as well as I had done with a list I'd played 5 practice games with beforehand!

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