Thursday, March 6, 2014

Adam Tricola takes BeastStar to LVO: Game 7 vs. Eric Hoergar's White Scars!!

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!!)
Game 6: BeastStar vs. Gareth Hunt's 9x Thudd Guns w/ Inquisition Allies

Game 7: BeastStar vs. Eric Hoerger's White Scars w/ Forgeworld Allies!

His List:

White Scars (Primary):

Khan (Warlord)

5x Bikes w/ 2x Grav Gun, Combi-Grav
5x Bikes w/ 2x Grav Gun, Combi-Grav
5x Bikes w/ 2x Grav Gun, Combi-Grav
5x Bikes w/ 2x Grav Gun, Combi-Grav

Stormtalon w/ Assault Cannon, Skyhammer Missiles
Stormtalon w/ Assault Cannon, Skyhammer Missiles

Thunderfire Cannon
Thunderfire Cannon

Red Hunters (Allies):

Chapter Master w/ Power Fist, Artificer Armor, Shield Eternal, Bike

8x Bikes w/ 2x Grav Guns, Combi-Melta, Multi-Melta Attack Bike
5x Scouts

The Mission:

Primary (4 Points): Big Guns Never Tire
Secondary (3 Points): The Relic
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)


Hammer and Anvil




I won the roll, and elected for him to go first.


StoneSeer (Warlord): Guide, Doom, Death Mission
ShardSeer: Guide, Eldrich Storm, Fortune

Pre-game Thoughts:

Blah. I really didn't feel like playing against another White Scars army. They messed with me a lot in my Game 5, and I knew Eric was a top-notch player. I was also a little discouraged that it was Hammer and Anvil - if he chose to outflank, he would have an immense number of options, while my own reserves would have far fewer.

However, I was confident going in - I had a few great advantages, and I wanted to push those. It took until my 6th roll, but I finally got the all-important Fortune. I also got Doom, which would be extremely useful against a short-ranged army like Eric's. Despite the fact that Eric got to choose the deployment side (which was huge - I would have much preferred the other side), I still had ruins to hide my Guardians in.

I was also playing well - I had won 6 games in a row, and my game against the commonly-perceived "unbeatable" Guard list in Game 6 had boosted my confidence. Despite a poor mission/deployment selection for me, I felt I could win this game, especially with 2nd turn.

Eric had decided to deploy his Thunderfires, along with his "super unit" consisting of his Chapter Master, 9-man bike squad, and Khan. Otherwise, he reserved everything - Bikes + Scouts outflanking, and Talons reserves as usual.

My ideas were somewhat convoluted - they really depended on how his reserve rolls went, and what he decided to do with his big bike squad. Essentially, I wanted the keep the Beasts hanging out in the central ruins, along with the Guardians. I also had the luxury of keeping the Wave Serpents within 12" of the board edge, to keep his Talons from coming in and shooting them down immediately, as the Assault Cannon would be out of range the turn it came in.

My plans did go a bit deeper though - I wanted to protect my Guardians, but also wanted to find a way to bait his Bikes into getting close to me, and then Dooming them. Hanging out in a central location table-wise was going to force Eric to get close or face forfeiting the all-important Board Control.

Essentially, Eric wouldn't be able to beat me by hanging out on my periphery - he would need to get up close and personal, if he wanted to win, which would raise the stakes, but also give me a good chance to beat him.

Here's a blurry picture of his deployment - the weird bikes in the corner there are his Thunderfires, haha.

Here's my deployment. You can see the DE Warriors hiding under the ruins of the closest building to me, while the Guardians are hanging out in the central ruins, safe from his TFCs. I elected to deepstrike my Spiders and (randomly?) reserve my Wraithknight, as he would otherwise just die easily, giving Eric a too-simple Big Guns point.
Bikes Turn 1:

He moved his Bikers up a little, in range to shoot a couple Beasts.

Thunderfires and Bikes didn't do much - he scattered some, and his Orbital only killed a guy or two.

BeastStar Turn 1:

I moved the Wave Serpents up to shoot the bikes, and put Guide on the Beasts.

After a bunch of shots, Eric had failed a single 2+ save on his Chapter Master - I believe I did about 14 wounds to him all told.

The next turn would be HUGE - would Eric get the reserve rolls he wanted?

Not much going on yet... it would heat up soon though :)

Bikes Turn 2:

Eric got all 4 Bike squads in, and he got one on either side, and got to pick 2. One Talon also came in.

One squad of Bikers decided to play conservatively in the back, to make sure he could claim the objectives he needed. The others came up to mess with my Wave Serpents and DE Warriors.

I had made a minor mistake, but a costly one - I had moved one of my Serpents up just slightly more than 12" from my board edge, and his Storm Talon was able to shoot everything at it.

His big squad moved up 12", to within about 7" charge range of my Beasts.

Shooting commenced, and the Bikes + Talon were able to kill one Serpent, netting Eric First Blood. He even had to use his TFCs on it, with Tank Hunter haha (Red Hunters chapter tactic gives them lots of crazy USRs for one turn)

He then did something that changed the game entirely. I had made sure to keep my Guardians out of LOS from his Bikes, making sure they couldn't be messed with unless they got through a huge (read: impractical) number of Beasts first.

However, he DID have LOS to my Warlord, who was attached to the unit, and was over 12" away. I had placed him in such a way so as to get LOS to the Bikes for Doom next turn.

Here's where it got crazy: he declared a charge on the Guardians. I was like, "sorry, you can't see any of them you can get to." He was like "uh... only need to have line of sight to the unit, not the models I'm charging."

We flagged down Reece, and after hemming and hawing for a while pawing through the rulebook, he ruled in Eric's favor.

Eric then needed an 8" charge to get in - and got it.

I could only overwatch with a couple models, and after combat, I had lost by a TON. I tried to escape - and Eric ran me down, gaining him Slay the Warlord.

Huge, HUGE, turn for him.

Had he failed the charge or not been allowed to, I would have had a great chance to cast Doom on his uber-unit, Guide on my Guardians, and even on the Beasts. I honestly don't believe that unit would have survived the turn, with a mostly-intact BeastStar + 20 Guardians getting shots all with re-rolls to wound, and then a charge by the Beasts...


Instead, he killed my Warlord (taking away Doom) as well as getting Warlord.

Thing that killed me: it was EASILY preventable. I just didn't know the rules well enough.

His big Bike squad is just obscured by the big ruin by my Beasts. I think the Guardians caused like 1 or 2 wounds total with shooting and combat. Bah.
BeastStar Turn 2:

I failed to get my Wraithknight or Spiders in, both of which I desperately needed. Instead, I got both Bike squads in. Woo :)

At this point I was already getting desperate, but knew I could still win if luck turned my way.

I got the Dire Avengers out of the Wave Serpent, as Eric would be in range to charge the Serpent next turn regardless of what I did, and didn't feel like being glanced to death, auto-killing my Dires. I also desperately needed the firepower they would provide.

Serpent + Dires caused about 10 wounds to his closest Bike squad - he saved all 10. Yikes :)

DE Warriors shot and caused another 8 wounds on his other Bikes - he saved all those as well.

Beasts shot and caused another 5 wounds on the SuperBike unit, and he saved them all.

Beasts charged into the SuperBikes, and after all 80+ attacks they had, rolled well enough to cause Eric to take like 3 saves total. He failed one, killed some Beasts, and Hit and Ran out.

What should have been a devastating turn from me turned into a really mediocre one instead. One bike dead after my entire army shot at it. He didn't even use any 2+ saves, haha! Things were beginning to look grim indeed.

I still had some hope though - my Beasts were still mostly intact, and I still had fortune. I also had some good reserves still to come into play, and if the luck changed a little bit, I would be right back into it!

My Jetbikes are on either flank, away from Eric's bikes... ? Not the best placement for them, actually. 
Bikes Turn 3:

Eric's next Talon came on.

He decided to kill some troops this turn! He sent one squad of Bikes over to charge my DE Warriors, and the other two squads over to charge my Serpent + Dire Avengers. Super-Bikes went over to kill a squad of my Jetbikes, and the Talons both targeted my Jetbikes on the other side.

His Bikers managed to charge and kill my Serpent, shoot and kill one squad of Jetbikes, charge the other squad of Jetbikes, and charge the DE Warriors and Dire Avengers.

The DE Warriors actually killed two Bikers through overwatch + combat, but still lost and fled. The Dires also killed one Bike with overwatch + combat, and only lost one model, sticking in combat.

It was funny to me - I had caused more damage on HIS turn with units who were overwatching/not supposed to be in combat than I did on my own turn with full BS and Beasts.

BeastStar Turn 3:

My Spiders came in, but the Wraithknight decided to keep away. Dumb.

I needed to kill his Bikes in my backfield if I were to have any chance of winning this game. So, the Spiders deepstruck close by, with two models touching Dangerous Terrain, both failing their checks, then both dying.

Heh. Sometimes that's just how it goes! :)

DE Warriors regrouped, and got ready to snap-fire against his 3-man Bikes.

Between the Spiders and Beasts, I managed to kill all of Eric's middle two Bike units. He made another 3 or 4 saves vs. the DE Warriors.

At least I killed a couple Bikes finally?
Rest of the Game:

Eric finished off the DE Warriors with his closest Bikes, managed to kill off all remaining Warp Spiders with a single TFC volley (Spiders gave Eric's Bikes their aspect armor to wear on top of their power armor, HAHA), the Dire Avengers with another, and even grabbed the Relic.

In return, I managed to finish off his 3-man bikes, and... contest an objective or two.

One cool move that I give Eric some major props for (because I still had a chance to win, believe it or not!) was moving both his Talons over to the middle on Turn 4, then pivoting 90 degrees and blocking off all possibility for my Wraithknight to reach the objective he was close to. Really a sweet move I didn't see coming, and sealed my fate. Had he not blocked it, I would have actually had a reasonable chance to at least Draw, as I could have held that one and contested the other two Eric was close to.

I found it ironic that the Wraithknight survived this game when so little else did :)

Results: 10-1 Loss for the BeastStar!!

Post-Game Thoughts:

Yikes, so many things went wrong in this game! I was really confident that I could have beat Eric, until I found out he could charge my Guardians without needing LOS to the ones he was charging. The loss of the Guardians (who were the focus of my gameplan) really shook me up, and my riposte against him wasn't enough. Instead of losing 6 or 7 bikes to shooting and another handful to the Beasts, he lost only one. Hard to recover from two turns of fail like that against a top player.

That said, Eric was a fantastic opponent! He knew the rules better than I did, and therefore outplayed me. Credit where credit is due: he saw an opportunity and took advantage of it. Sucks to lose to something like that, especially when you're just one game away from making the Finals, but it is what it is. I won't fall for it next time, that's for sure!

As it was, I had gotten pretty far for only having played 5 practice games with Beasts (not even the same list every time!), and I was honestly a little bit (secretly) relieved not to have to play the final game, as I was exhausted from playing 7 games prior that weekend.

It was a good run, and I ended up taking 3rd place in a 200+ person field. I can't complain with that result, though it's always a little disappointing to get that far then fail so spectacularly! Kudos to Eric though, as he did make excellent decisions throughout the game, and absolutely deserved to win.

I'll get my revenge next time Eric :)

Post-Tournament Thoughts:

First, I had a blast! Most of my games were really enjoyable, and I loved the variety of armies that I played against! I was surprised not to run into one of the (many, many) 5x Wave Serpents + 3 Wraithknights lists in attendance, though I think I could have done alright against that sort of build.

I really really liked the terrain. Really good stuff, I was super impressed with how much good LOS-blocking terrain was there, and with good quality at that! Probably the best terrain I've ever seen at a GT, and those who read here consistently know I've been to several (read: more than 20 major events). Can't say enough for how awesome the terrain was!

The rulings by the judges (I actually think I only had a couple aside outside of my Game 6) were fair, and I thought the judge gave each issue the attention it required, which doesn't always happen at big events like this.

One thing I was a little disappointed in was the Venue - I liked Ballys well enough, but the gaming hall was far away in relation to the hotel rooms. It was really tricky and awkward to carry my army on its display board through all the other (often drunk) patrons. Just a minor point, but I would vastly prefer not having to do that again :)

The other thing that made me a little sad was that despite getting 3rd place I didn't get much in the way of prize support or even a plaque or certificate to commemorate my success. Not that I attended for prize support, exactly, but I was a little disheartened to have such a good showing and get a $50 gift certificate to a place I had never heard of, while someone else I had beat earlier got a plaque for being the "Best Eldar Player". I would much rather have a trophy or plaque than gift certificate. It wasn't a huge deal, and they definitely gave away lots of swag, but I felt like I had nothing to show for my troubles but a sore back.

I've made the top bracket in every single major event I've been to in the last year or so (besides the most recent Feast of Blades), including: Feast of Blades 2012, Adepticon, Nova Open, Top 8 of Nova Invitational, and now LVO. None of them have given me anything for my troubles. Even some sort of coin or something would have been nice. Just sayin' ;)


Overall, they ran a great event, so major props to Reece and the Frontline Gaming guys. I will definitely try to attend next year if at all possible!

Next up: Adepticon with their "infilcheating" and un-nerfed 2++ rerollable madness. Prepare for the most ultimate field of deathstars this game has ever seen. We'll see what I can do with my own Mini-star :)

Thanks for reading! I'll try to get these all combined into a single big Tournament report for ease of viewing.

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