Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Adam Tricola takes BeastStar to LVO: Game 6 vs. 9 Thud Guns!!

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!!)

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

The Eldars:
Adam Tricola (me) - BeastStar
Alan Pajamapants - BeastStar
Alex Fennel - Pink JetSeerStar
Nick Rose - Pure Eldar

The Others:
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/intimidating 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!

Game 6: BeastStar vs. 

. (cue suspense)
(more suspense)
... Gareth Hunt's Imperial Guard Thudd Gun Army of Doom!!

His List:

Imperial Guard (Primary):

Lord Commissar (not Warlord - he made Coteaz Warlord, lol)

Infantry Platoon:

Platoon Command Squad (stock) (Embarked in Vendetta)
10x Guardsmen (Embarked in Vendetta)
9x Infantry w/ Auto Cannon, Power Axe Sergeant
9x Infantry w/ Auto Cannon, Power Axe Sergeant
9x Infantry w/ Auto Cannon, Power Axe Sergeant
9x Infantry w/ Auto Cannon, Power Axe Sergeant
3x Sabre Platforms (TL Las Cannons)

10x Veterans w/ 1x Flamer (Embarked in Vendetta)

Vendetta w/ 3x TL Las Cannons
Vendetta w/ 3x TL Las Cannons
Vendetta w/ 3x TL Las Cannons

3x Thud Guns (9 Crew)
3x Thud Guns (9 Crew)
3x Thud Guns (9 Crew)

Inquisition (Allies):

Coteaz (Warlord)
Inquisitor w/ Rad Grenades, Psychotroke Grenades, Level 1 Psyker, 3x Servo Skulls

Skyshield Landing Platform

I'll let that list sink in for a minute.

Alright. Let's get to the other vital information:

The Mission:

Primary (4 Points): The Scouring
Secondary (3 Points): Kill Points
Tertiary (1 Point Each): First Blood, Slay the Warlord, Linebreaker

(can't find the tournament packet and it's off the main site - possible that primary and secondary got swapped)


Vanguard Strike


NO!! (damnit)


He won the roll and decided to go first. (damnit)


StoneSeer (Warlord): Fortune, Prescience, Guide, Trait: Make opponent models within 12" use their lowest available leadership
ShardSeer: Scriers Gaze, Misfortune, Prescience

Coteaz: Forewarning, Prescience
Inquisitor: Prescience

Pre-game Thoughts:

Alright, first I want to spell out the capabilities of this army.

First, Thud Guns: Heavy 4, S5 AP4, Barrage, Artillery.

This means that a unit that costs 150 points gets 12 small blast templates, barrage.
This means that if someone takes 9 of them, they get 36 small blast templates.
He can also cast Prescience on two of these units, allowing him to re-roll initial hits.
Each Crew is 9 strong, meaning I would have to kill 9 guardsmen at T7 (because of Artillery rule) before getting to the guns.
These crews are on a Landing Platform, getting a 4++ invulnerable save.
He will also put his Lord Commissar in the middle of them, giving all units around them Subborn Ld. 10

Second, Saber Platforms: Heavy 1, S9 AP2, Twin-Linked, Interceptor, Skyfire, Artillery.
They're 50-point guns that have two crew and kill everything that flies with TL Las Cannons.
They also count as Troops, so they score :)

Third, his Inquisitors w/ Blob:

Stubborn Ld. 10
Rad Grenades (-1 Toughness on all enemy models the turn they get into combat - charged or charging)
Psykotroke Grenades (chance for something incredibly nasty to happen to models charging in)
Forewarning: Blob gets a 4++ invulnerable save!

So, now we can move on to the thoughts about the game itself:

I really, really didn't want to deal with 36 blast templates every single turn. Just didn't feel like it was going to be a good time. My opponent had said multiple times before this game throughout the tournament that he was trying to make a point about how broken Thud Guns were.

I was hoping to get first turn, or get to choose my table quarter, or for it to be night fight. He "won" all three of these rolls.

It wasn't 100% bad - I got an interesting Warlord Trait, which I had to select over getting to choose Night Fight - I got to force him to use the lowest leadership in the squad. This meant that his stubborn Ld. 10 blob would only be stubborn Ld. 7.

I also got Fortune, which is never awful.

My plan was this: charge the Beasts into the Blob and try to break it on Leadership 7. I was also hoping to get the charge with my Wraithknight to steal his Overwatch. If I failed to break it, I would hit and run over the blob, keeping them in combat with the Wraithknight and then multi-assault his Thudd Guns.

If I could kill the guns in combat, I'd be able to pick his blob apart with my shooting and subsequent charges.

This scheme meant doing something I don't normally do with the Beasts - I had to put my Warlord in the BeastStar.

As such, I hid the Guardians under the little ruins in my deployment, safe from the ridiculous Thuds. I made sure to keep the Wraithknight behind the enormous ruins to gain a 4+ cover save.

I actually altered my deployment slightly after this to put more Razorwings near my Warlord. I knew Gareth would probably go for him, and figured the Razorwings would be more than happy to take a bunch of S5 hits in cover (stealth from the Baron FTW!

You can see his Blob is bubble-wrapping his Skyshield. Dirty Skyshield :)

I tried to seize, and was reminded that he had Coteaz and would thus only have a 1/36 chance to seize.

I decided to try anyways, and.....


didn't even come close.

Thud Guns Turn 1:

Gareth cast Forewarning on his blob and threw Prescience on two Thud Gun units.

He then shot all his Thud Guns at my Warlord, who took two wounds and sent the rest into my hapless Razorwings. I didn't lose much of the BeastStar, happily - two Razorwings shouldered the pain.

Gareth also put a single HP on my Wave Serpent, and one or two wounds on my Wraithknight with his Saber Las Cannons.

Kill Point Count:
BeastStar: 0
Thuds: 0

You can see the empty space next to my Warlord where all the vicious beasts selflessly somehow got themselves in the way of my Warlord, yelling "look out sir!!"

BeastStar Turn 1:

I got Fortune off on the Beasts, and didn't bother to cast any other powers.

Beasts and Wraithknight both moved up 12" then ran. I made sure my Warlord was hidden under some ruins (safe from Barrage) and the Shard of Anaris was close to Razorwings in case Gareth tried to snipe him out.

Wave Serpent turbo-boosted behind some cover.

My final action was to clinch my buttocks, as Gareth's next turn would bring yet more pain.

Kill Point Count:
BeastStar: 0
Thuds: 0

So far, this game has been AWESOME! haha :-p

Thud Guns Turn 2:

Only one Vendetta came on, and targeted my Wraithknight.

Between the Sabers and the Vendetta, he did another 3 wounds to my Wraithknight (at least, brought my total remaining wounds to 2).

Thud guns killed a bunch of Khymerae and a couple Razorwings, though Fortune helped a bunch (as expected).

Still no First Blood for either of us.

Kill Point Count:
BeastStar: 0
Thuds: 0

Gareth didn't want to use his wings on the Vendettas, as it would be faster without. I agreed. He did offer to put them on if I really wanted him to. No need :)
BeastStar Turn 2:

I cast Fortune on the Beasts, put Misfortune on his Vendetta (wasn't in range of the Blob), and got Scrier's Gaze off. I used Scrier's Gaze to keep all my reserves off the table.

Prescience on the Beasts... failed. YES.

I managed to take a HP of his Vendetta with shooting from my Wave Serpent, though I did not use my Serpent Shield.

I got the Beasts and Wraithknight in range of the Blob, and got ready to charge...

The Wraithknight declared first, and took another random wound from overwatching Autocannons, and got his 5" charge.

Beasts got in easily, and I killed a bunch of Guardsmen, after his Psycotroke Grenades gave him rerolls to hit and something else I don't remember. He also killed a bunch of Beasts, but I still won combat.

Gareth then had to roll his Leadership. He got an "8", which he initially declared to be good.

We looked closely at the rules, then got Reece to come over and make sure we were doing it right.

The result was that the Blob was Stubborn (due to his Inquisitor), but was still required to use his lowest leadership due to my Warlord Trait (lowest Ld. in the squad was 7). This meant they broke.

He then rolled really high on his Initiative, and I failed to catch him, meaning the entire blob ran off the table, granting me both First Blood and Slay the Warlord.

Kill Point Count:
BeastStar: 3 (Coteaz, Inquisitor, Blob)
Thuds: 0

Blurry picture of my poor Beasts, who are still outside the minimum range of the Thuds. Yikes.

**I think this is a good time to note that I didn't actually *want* him to flee that turn, as I would have just been able to Hit and Run my Beasts close to his Thud Guns, negating their Line of Sight and going within their minimum range. Meanwhile, the Blob would just stay in combat with the Wraithknight with no likelihood of hurting it (Coteaz has 3 swings that need a "6" to wound, AFTER his WS4 swings). Even if the Wraithknight died, the Beasts would be safe from the Blob for a turn at least, and capable of multi-assaulting all 4 weapons teams on my Turn 3.

Thud Guns Turn 3:

One more Vendetta came in from reserves.

The injured Vendetta swooped in for the kill on my Wraithknight, while the other Vendetta targeted the Wave Serpent, who had decided not to use his Serpent Shield.

The Thud Guns got antsy and killed all of my Beasts, aside from a single sad Razorwing, my Warlord (1W remaining) and the Baron. ShardSeer died an ignominious death, again dying to about 6 or 7 wounds, even with Fortune up (average is 27 wounds to kill him).

Vendetta and Sabers finished off the Wraithknight easily.

Other Vendetta failed to kill my Serpent, whose Shield was up.

Kill Point Count:
BeastStar: 3 (Coteaz, Inquisitor, Blob)
Thuds: 1 (Wraithknight)

Poor little Beasts. Will they be able to do enough damage to the Thud Guns?

The board looks so dead right now, though all the action is in the top right corner. 

Eldar Turn 3:

I didn't have Scrier's Gaze anymore, and so rolled regular reserves.

Spiders, DE Warriors, and some Bikes came in, as well as my final Wave Serpent.

Beasts got Fortune on them.

I had 3 models left in the Beast squad, not allowing a massive multi-assault on the Thud guns. In fact, I was not even in range to get two of the Thud gun units, and was therefore forced to remain content with one Thud unit and the Saber platforms.

The Spiders landed behind a Vendetta, and the Serpents drew a bead on the same Vendetta.

Shooting commenced, and I managed to get an "immobilized" result on the Vendetta, but no more.

I charged in to the Thud + Sabers, and won combat handily, chasing down both units. I actually was unaware that his Lord Commissar was up on the Skyshield - I had thought he was with the Blob at the time. One of the squads would have stayed on the board, even using their Stubborn Ld. 7, but I didn't realize they were stubborn at the time. :-/

Kill Point Count:
BeastStar: 5 (Coteaz, Inquisitor, Blob, Thuds, Sabers)
Thuds: 2 (Wraithknight, ShardSeer)

My consolidate was a "2", which was not enough to "go down" a level and stay out of LOS of the crew of the Thuds.

Thud Guns Turn 4:

His final Vendetta came in, and his immobilized (Vector Locked) Vendetta flew off the board to come in Turn 5, which would (due to time constraints) be our final turn.

Vendettas flew over to target my troops, but stayed in Zoom mode (or whatever it's called when a flyer isn't Hovering, lol).

He also lowered the walls on the Skyshield (despite me being on it as well) so I wouldn't get an invulnerable save vs. his shooting. I wasn't sure this was allowed since I was also "controlling" it, but we had gotten in about as many rules debates this game as my last 3 tournaments combined, and I decided it wasn't worth the fight.

**I should clarify that I don't think he was trying to cheat - he was hungover and I was tired, and we both made mistakes. Just happens, some games.

Thud squads shot their lasguns at the Beasts, and killed my final Razorwing, which would help him, as this was the Scouring.

Gareth also managed to kill one or two Jetbikes with a Vendetta, forcing a leadership check and making them run away!

Kill Point Count:
BeastStar: 5 (Coteaz, Inquisitor, Blob, Thuds, Sabers)
Thuds: 3 (Wraithknight, ShardSeer, Beasts)

You can see the Jetbike in the middle of the road there, fleeing. I should have put them in the lower level of those ruins, so they'd be untargetable. You can also note the DE Warriors on the bottom right corner, hunkered in a Ruin on an objective.

Eldar Turn 4:

Farseer + Baron got Fortune, and got ready to assault one more Thud Gun - they wouldn't be able to get to both, lol.

Jetbikes regrouped.

Rest of my army targeted the rear arc of one of his Vendettas.

Shooting killed the Vendetta, and the crash annihilated all but two Veterans. I had enough shooting remaining to finish off the Veterans.

In assault, the Baron + Farseer butchered another Thud gun squad.

Kill Point Count:
BeastStar: 8 (Coteaz, Inquisitor, Blob, Thuds, Sabers, Thuds, Vendetta, Veterans)
Thuds: 3 (Wraithknight, ShardSeer, Beasts)

At this point, Gareth has two Vendettas (one locked Vector) and the Lord Commissar + 3 Thud Guns.

Baron and Farseer hiding out under the skyshield, hiding from his Vendettas and Lasguns!

Imperial Guard Turn 5:

This would be our final turn.

Gareth flew his Vendettas to hold/contest objectives he had (wisely) placed on the top of buildings - remember that this was the Scouring, and Fast Attack can hold/contest objectives.

He also dropped his troops off near other objectives.

Remaining Thud Guns shot my poor Warp Spiders off the table. Such nasty units for 150 points!

His final shots were at my Dire Avenger Wave Serpent - it died, but the Avengers were unpinned.

Gareth was able to hold/contest 4 of the 6 remaining objectives and had killed two of my Fast Attacks. Could he win the Scouring?

Kill Point Count:
BeastStar: 8 (Coteaz, Inquisitor, Blob, Thuds, Sabers, Thuds, Vendetta, Veterans)
Thuds: 5 (Wraithknight, ShardSeer, Beasts, Warp Spiders, Wave Serpent)

Eldar Turn 5:

I decided I did not need to be vindictive and kill lots of his models, as I had enough units to contest/control the objectives in play.

So, I jetted the bikes to objectives and got the Dire Avengers out.

I didn't bother to charge my Warlord or Baron at his remaining Thud squad, or to shoot his Vendettas.

Guardians and Vendetta contesting a "3" while the Dires hold a "2"

DE Warriors hold a "1"

Lone Jetbike contests the "2"

Immobilized Vendetta holds a "1" while the Jetbikes control a "3"


BeastStar: 7 (6 objective points + 1 Fast Attack)
Thud Guns: 3 (1 objective point + 2 Fast Attack)

Kill Points:
BeastStar: 8 (Coteaz, Inquisitor, Blob, Thuds, Sabers, Thuds, Vendetta, Veterans)
Thuds: 5 (Wraithknight, ShardSeer, Beasts, Warp Spiders, Wave Serpent)

BeastStar: 3 (Warlord, First Blood, Linebreaker)
Thuds: 1 (Linebreaker)

10-1 Win for the BeastStar!!

 Post-game Thoughts:

Whew... what a game! That list was crazy, and the player behind it was really skilled. I was shocked that after getting the arguably worst matchup out there that I was able to get a full-point game.

Gareth approached me afterwards, telling me that he should have won the game, saying that if he had put the Lord Commissar with the Blob, he would have been able to use the Stubborn 10 leadership his Aura gives him.

I kind of disagree with Gareth - had he done that, the rule just says that guardsmen can use his Ld. 10 for checks, it doesn't actually change the leadership of the Guardsmen - they just have the option to choose Ld. 10. Their lowest leadership would still be 7.

At the same time, even if he was right, he did make the mistake. Keep in mind that he also used Ld. 7 for his Thud gun units who were in range of the Commissar rather than Ld. 10, or they would have stayed on the table, which was an advantage to me. Maybe he just forgot - not trying to accuse Gareth of cheating! :)

HOWEVER, I wanted to look at the game had the rules worked the way he said, and the Blob had stayed on the table:

  • I would have hit and run with the Beasts while the Wraithknight kept the Blob in combat for at least one more round of combat. 
  • Beasts would then have been able to get a multi-assault on all 3 Thud units, and been able to turn around and mess with the Blob. Keep in mind that it was very likely (with the Baron's re-roll) that the entire unit would have been able to be *under* the landing platform after their Hit and Run, and not even targetable.
  • Vendettas vs. other units interplay would have gone about as normal.
  • I may not have gotten First Blood or Warlord.
  • I very likely would have still won on Scouring.
  • We may have drawn on Kill Points - I'd be down by 3, though I'd have an extra Thud Gun. I'd also have my ShardSeer and Beasts, potentially. I also didn't really "play" my Turn 5, not even shooting one shot.
My point is, I think that once Gareth failed to wipe my Beasts out by the time I got to him, it was too late - I had a good chance to win the game regardless. I don't think it's fair to write the one Leadership check/Warlord Trait off as the only scenario in which he would have lost.

He even posted on the Wrecking Crew forums (after discussing the details of what had happened):

Me either. Not taking away from my opponent, who was a good player,  but I can say without any hubris that I should have won that game. 

I don't want to beat this into the ground here, but I have heard from a couple different people now that someone has been spreading the word that I cheated this game with regards to the Leadership thing. I really doubt it's Gareth (he could have easily said it on the forums if he felt that way), but I do want to clear my name/defend myself if at all possible. Kind of annoying to be called a cheat and not know who it is.

We DID have Reece come over and discuss it with us. He did not rule one way or another about what would have happened had the Commissar been in the Blob, as Gareth did not actually have him in the Blob to start with.

All that said, I thought Gareth was a great player, and never once got the feeling he was trying to cheat me, even when he got a couple things wrong (bystanders were watching as well, corrected us both from time to time). He took his loss well, and I understand the feeling of wanting to let me know how we'd (potentially) played wrong. I would probably want to do the same.

I hope we get another game in one day, and he can get a chance to destroy me then (preferably without so many templates) :)


I had won my sixth game in a row, and was now in the Final 4. I had played against at least two top players, and none of my opponents had been pushovers.

Only two games came between myself and the trophy I had no idea what I would do with should I actually win.

I was within striking distance. Who'd have thought? :)

The remaining players were:

Nick Rose - Eldar Guardian Spam
Alex Fennel - Pink JetSeerStar w/ Lots o' Wave Serpents
Eric Hoergar - White Scars w/ Allies from some Forgeworld Chapter

Each of these guys are top players. At this point, I was undoubtedly the guy each of them wanted to face. For my part, I knew Bikes gave me trouble (Game 5 comes to mind), and that JetSeerStar was not a list I cared to play against either, especially piloted by a great player.

Perhaps it was my destiny to finally play Nick Rose and his nasty Eldar list, talking smack until I dragged him out of the tournament, crying.

I was focused though, and ready for what came next.

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