Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Tournament Report: Adam Tricola's BeastStar vs. the LVO (lots of pictures!)

Howdy, folks! Best get settled in for this one - I've got my full battle report from the 2014 LVO here, complete with what computer says is 80 pictures to aid me in my story telling.

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.


A few things before we start:

The tournament was set to play at around Noon on Friday, three games Friday, two games Saturday. The field was set to be somewhere approaching the 'ideal' 256 for a W/L/D 8-round tournament, with the top 8 players 'qualifying' for the third and final day of play on Sunday in single-elimination.

My goal was to (of course) win, but given my lack of experience with the list, I would just be happy with a top-8 finish. There were a lot of top players there, and I hoped I wouldn't have to play against any of them until the top 8.

Those hopes would be entirely unfounded.

Here's my list:

Adam Tricola's BeastStar - 1750 Points

Eldar (Primary):

Farseer w/ Jetbike, Stones of Anthalan, Warlord
Farseer w/ Jetbike, Shard of Anaris

20x Guardians w/ 2x Bright Lances // Wave Serpent w/ TL Scatter Laser
5x Dire Avengers // Wave Serpent w/ TL Scatter Laser
3x Jetbikes
3x Jetbikes

7x Warp Spiders

Wraithknight (stock)

Dark Eldar (Allies):

Baron Sathonyx

10x Dark Eldar Warriors w/ Splinter Cannon

Beast Pack w/ 5x Masters, 9x Khymerae, 6x Razorwings

Note: The main way I ran the BeastStar was with the Baron and the Farseer w/ Shard of Anaris (ShardSeer). My warlord would typically stay with the Guardians and stay in range of the Beasts should I desire to cast Fortune or other buffs on them.

Shout out to Jy2 from Dakka, who took this picture and posted it, unaware that I had somehow forgotten to take a picture of my army and would need to steal one from somewhere. :)


Game 1: BeastStar vs. Donald Anderson's Triptide Tau

When I first saw this pairing, I initially thought it was an elaborate joke - Don is one of the only people I play against, and the first round wasn't supposed to allow us to be paired at all. What made this all the more bizarre was the fact that earlier that day, Don had expressed concern about being paired against me in the first round, my response being something to the tune of "well, it's never happened to me and my friends in our first round at any GT of any size, so it won't happen here. Odds are like 1 in 200 that it happens."

So, of course it happened.

After a little bit of talking to Reece and Chip up front, we were informed that since we hadn't entered the same 'club', we had been eligible to play in the first round. As it so happened, there were a few people from another club paired up next to us, and Reece got us all switched up.

It was a good indication of how the tournament would prove to be run - Reece did a good job handling what issues/qualms I had throughout the tournament. While other tournaments have been similar in that regard, I will just take the time now to say that Reece did a good/professional job handling what issues came up on my end, even when he ruled against me (only once the whole tournament!)

Game 1: BeastStar vs. Mikko Carranza's OLD Nids

His List:

Swarmlord (Warlord)
1x Tyrant Guard

8x Ymgarl Genestealers
Doom of Malan'tai // Mycetic Spore

Tervigon
Tervigon
10x Termagants
10x Termagants

29x Gargoyles

Trygon
Trygon

The Mission:

Primary (4 Points): Crusade
Secondary (3 Points): Emperor's Will
Tertiary (1 Point Each): First Blood, Slay the Warlord, Linebreaker

Deployment:

Dawn of War

Nightfight:

NO!

Initiative:

Mikko won the roll, electing to go first.

Powers:

StoneSeer (Warlord): Fortune, Prescience, Guide
ShardSeer: Forewarning, Prescience, Perfect Timing

Swarmlord: Invisibility, Puppet Master, other inconsequential powers

Tervigons: Feel No Pain

...I'm not sure if we even rolled for Warlord Traits. Heh.

Pre-game Thoughts:

I was both a little happy and a little frustrated to be playing against the old bugs. While it was cool to get one last 'hurrah' in against the old book, I hadn't really game-planned about how to beat it. It would also fail to give me experience against the new book, which I would have really liked to get. That said, Mikko seemed like a cool guy, and I was relieved not to have to play my friend Don in the first round.

His gameplan seemed obvious enough to me - get his guys into combat. Swarmlord had gotten Invisibility, which would really put a damper on things for me trying to shoot his units up. In addition, Swarmlord would be really tricky for my BeastStar to kill, as he had T6, a 4++ invulnerable save, WS9, and shadows in the warp to make my casting really tricky.

My gameplan was this: tie his big guys up with the Beasts and kill the Tervigons with my other support units. I got lucky and spiked both Fortune and Forewarning fairly early on, and this allowed me the luxury of my Masters and Razorwings being fairly safe in combat, even with the big S6 guys. Hit and Run would be vital for me to be able to tie up his units and 'release' them one at a time while my backfield cleaned them up.

Here's our deployment. I wanted the Warp Spiders (the models are snakes) on the table to help with rending/clearing out the little bugs as I saw fit. He decided to deepstrike his Trigons and Doom, and also had the Ymargls doing their thing, picking a piece of terrain that they would come in from, able to charge the turn they came in.

Mikko's deployment. Gargoyles had the cotton swabs on their base to give a cloud effect for them. Pretty cool :)
Bugs Turn 1:

Mikko cast Invisibility and FNP on the Gargoyles, and then jetted forward. The Gargs would get a 6" run, putting them 6" from my lines. Swarmy hid behind the massive ruins in the center.

Gosh, I hate feeling so intimidated by fast armies. I would need to kill those Gargs as quickly as possible before they caused too much mayhem.
BeastStar Turn 1:

I gave Prescience/Fortune/Forewarning to the Beasts, who moved within 1" of the Gargs. Guide went to the Spiders, and Prescience to the Guardians.

Guardians moved up within 12" of the Gargs, but used the cool sign to block their view from the closest Gargs to the Beasts so that they could kill models farther away and the Beasts could still get an easy charge. Warp Spiders jumped up to shoot at some Gants his Tervigon had pooped out the turn before.

Shooting went alright, killing a bunch of Gargoyles despite Invisibility, and the Warp Spiders killed all the Gants, netting me First Blood. Wraithknight shot at a Tervigon, got a "6" (to cause insta-death), but the Tervigon got its 5+ cover save and lived.

In assault, the Beasts charged and did just enough damage to wipe the Gargoyles out entirely.

Now we wonder - when will his reserves arrive? Will I be able to survive vs. the Doom?

Bugs Turn 2:

His Trygons both arrived, and landed next to my Beasts. Doom arrived and scattered slightly but still in 6" range of my Guardians and Beasts. Ymargls also came in from the red hill in my own deployment zone, ready to charge the Guardians.

He cast FNP and Invisibility on the Tervigon closest to Swarmy.

Tervigons pooped out Gants, again failing to 'run dry'. Swarmlord approached the Beasts, needing a 6" charge through terrain.

I rolled under my 10 leadership for the Beasts and Guardians both vs. the Doom. Whew, he would be killable next turn!

His shooting failed to hurt the Beasts, and the Swarmlord rolled a "5", which was not enough to get into combat. Ymargls got overwatched by the Guardians, who (with Prescience) ended up killing 4 or 5 of the hapless creatures, despite T5. In combat, Mikko rolled poorly against the Guardians, and put a single wound on them, which the Farseer tanked. The Guardians mostly whiffed, but the Farseer's witchblade (with Prescience) felled another two, and I won combat, though he was still within synapse and thus fearless.

Here's his reserves. Everything came in, which is both good and bad for me! At least now I would not need to keep track of his reserves! Note that because he failed to charge with the Swarmlord, he abstained from charging in with the Gants, as he (rightly) assumed I would just kill them all for no gain on his part. Wise move :)

Guardians apparently love killing Ymgargls. Who knew?
BeastStar Turn 2:

I managed to cast Fortune and Forewarning, though I got perils on both. I also got Prescience off on my Beasts, but got an "11" on my Guardians, despite being outside the Shadow in the Warp.

Beasts decided to go pick on his Tervigon and Swarmlord. My aim was to challenge the Swarmlord and rend the Tervigon to death with Razorwings, while multi-assaulting into his Gants as well.

Wraithknight took another potshot at his far-right Tervigon, spiked another "6", and this time the Tervigon exploded, killing another unit of Gants. I then shot at and finished off his top-right corner Gants, freeing up the right flank entirely. Wave Serpents combined to kill off the Doom, who failed more than his share of saves.

In assault, I managed to kill the final Ymgarl with the Farseer. The Beasts slaughtered the gants and caused a single wound to the Guard, but failed to do anything at all (despite a 3+ re-roll to hit) with the Razorwings vs. his Tervigon. Of note is Swarmlord hitting/wounding my challenging Master 4 times and me passing all four 4++ re-rollable saves :)

Overview of the board - no more Ymgarls, Doom, or Tervigon on the right, and also 3 fewer Gant squads.

Wraithknight, Spiders, and DE Warriors all staring at the cleared-up right flank.

Bugs Turn 3:

Mikko knew he needed to kill the BeastStar as quickly as possible, so he charged in with the Trygons.

He caused a bunch of wounds, I saved against most of them, and the Razorwings caused four wounds to his Tervigon. They then Hit and Ran away so that the Guardians + Spiders + Serpents + Warriors + Wraithknight could shoot down one of his Trygons. This would be my plan for the remainder of the game.

As it happened, Mikko saw this coming, and decided to call it.

At this point, Mikko still has 2 Trygons, a Tervigon, and the Swarmlord. Not much else.

Close-up of what Mikko still had - those Gants on the left are dead.

Results: 10-1 Win for the BeastStar!

Post-game Thoughts:

Well, the BeastStar delivered when needed - I was fortunate to get Forewarning in this battle, as his Trygons could have done a lot of damage to my Razorwings. As it happened, Fortune worked well for me, and Mikko only managed to kill a couple of Beasts despite good hit/wound rolls on his end. Sometimes Fortune is just awesome, and I rolled extremely well on saves.

In the end, we decided I likely would have been able to kill the Swarm Lord, due to my firepower and ability to hit and run with the Beasts, so we called it 10-1, because I would 'forget' to kill his Mycetic Spore in my deployment zone, giving him Linebreaker :)

Fun opponent - Mikko had a great attitude, and is really excited to see what he can do with the new Nids! I'm excited to see what he will come up with!

The pairings were apparently 'swiss', which means that people with 10 points got to play other people with 10 points. This would mean that I had a great chance to play someone really good. As it turned out, that possibility would turn into a reality.


Game 2: BeastStar vs. Ken Brunner's (hippesthippo) Necrons w/ Chaos Marine Allies!

His List:

Necrons (primary):

Destroyer Lord w/ Sepiternal Weave
Necron Overlord w/ Warscythe

2x Crypteks w/ Voltaic Staff

5x Immortals // Night Scythe
5x Immortals // Night Scythe
5x Warriors // Night Scythe

6x Canoptek Wraiths w/ 2x Whip Coils

Annihilation Barge
Annihilation Barge

Chaos Marines (allies):

Typhus

20x Plague Zombies w/ Champion

Heldrake


The Mission:

Primary (4 Points): The Scouring (modified objectives - we each got a 1, 2, and 3 to place)
Secondary (3 Points): Purge the Alien
Tertiary (1 Point Each): First Blood, Slay the Warlord, Linebreaker

Deployment:

Hammer and Anvil

Nightfight:

NO!

Initiative:

I won the roll, electing to go second.

Powers:

StoneSeer (warlord): Guide, Death Mission, Fortune, **-1 to reserve rolls**
ShardSeer: Prescience, Misfortune, Scriers Gaze

Not much to be said for Typhus' powers, or the warlord trait.

Pre-game thoughts:

I didn't know this going into the game (sorry, Ken!), but Ken actually made the top 16 last year at Adepticon with me. I'm not 100% what list he took, but he did indicate that he's been playing this same list for a long time.

What I *did* know going into this game was that it was going to be a tricky one to win. One can often tell a good opponent from an average one by the care and deliberation they have when deploying their models. Ken didn't have a ton of models in his army, but he spent a while making sure he had a good deployment.

That said, his list was also solid. The deployment helped him a lot, as I would not be able to hide units from his flyers by making them choose what direction to go - he could just fly them in the middle and be in range of whatever he needed.

was pleased that I had gotten a useful Warlord Trait (-1 on his reserve rolls). This would serve to keep his reserves spread out so I could deal with them piecemeal.

When we deployed our objectives, I made sure to keep them as centrally located as possible - we were both required to place two objectives in our opponents' deployment zone, and one in the "neutral" zone each. As such, all six objectives were somewhere close to the center, which aided my Beasts - with their mobility, they could threaten every single objective on the final turn.

My plan (aside from central objectives) was to simply kill what I could of his as quickly as possible. I had the Misfortune power, which would help me to kill his Wraiths quickly once they were in range. Otherwise, my Spiders and Serpents would be conscripted to kill flyers as quickly as possible - I kept the Spiders in reserves, and intended to bring them in via Scriers Gaze only after his own fliers were mostly on the table.

TL;DR version: Kill his fliers ASAP while having the Beasts cause mayhem.

Our deployment. I had won the roll to choose sides, and I decided I wanted the far right side - I could keep my Serpents behind ruins in the top right corner, while the Guardians got to hang out behind the building for a couple turns to negate his shooting. Also note that the Beasts are exactly 30.1" away from his A-Barges, to force Ken to snap-fire against them, which would hopefully reduce their effectiveness.

Necrons Turn 1:

Ken was cautious with his Wraiths - he kept them back, waiting until I made a move. The A-Barges both hopped onto the hill and drew a bead on my Beasts.

Shooting killed a few of my Khymerae, who had yet to have Fortune cast on them.

Kill Point Count:
BeastStar: 0
Necrons: 0

Necrons don't really start playing the game until Turn 2 when their reserves come in, heh.

BeastStar Turn 1:

I cast Fortune, then put Prescience and Guide on my Guardians/Wraithknight.

Beasts moved up the middle to threaten his center line - I would hopefully be in range to charge Typhus next turn at the least. Guardians shuffled around.

Shooting managed to destroy one of his A-Barges for First Blood, and stun the other (which was ignored by Living Metal).


Kill Point Count:
BeastStar: 1 (Annihilation Barge)
Necrons: 0


I wanted to make sure I was spread out as much as possible in case the Heldrake came in, and also in a stance which allowed me to be flexibile to react to what Ken would do next.
Necrons Turn 2:

Ken rolled for reserves and got all three Night Scythes, while the Heldrake stayed off the board.

His Wraiths crept closer to my lines, and the A-barge tried to jump off the hill but failed, immobilizing itself.

Everything shot at my Beasts, who lost a few more Khymerae and perhaps a Razorwing Flock or two, but mostly survived intact.


Kill Point Count:
BeastStar: 1 (Annihilation Barge)
Necrons: 0


At this point I only had a few Khymerae remaining - I needed to hide the Beasts in combat ASAP for when the Heldrake finally came on the table.

BeastStar Turn 2:

Spiders came in from reserves in spite of Scriers Gaze, so I put them next to a Nightscythe.

Fortune went off, and I put Prescience on the Beasts, while Guide went onto the Wraithknight.

Beasts moved up to charge Typhus, and the rest of my army stayed mostly in my deployment zone, waiting to see what Ken would do with the Wraiths and Heldrake.

Shooting from my Serpents and Spiders killed off one of the Nightscythes, and the Wraithknight finished off the A-Barge with one HP remaining.

Beasts charged into Typhus after shooting a wound off of him, and managed to take another two wounds off, as well as kill a couple of Cultists. Typhus tanked a TON of wounds. Lots of FNP awesomeness from him. On the other hand, I was aided by the fact that Typhus rolled a "1" on his Daemon Weapon, taking a wound from the blade.


Kill Point Count:
BeastStar: 3 (Annihilation Barge, Annihilation Barge, Night Scythe)
Necrons: 0



Being stuck in combat would help the Beasts if the Heldrake decided to show up
Necrons Turn 3:

Ken's Heldrake again failed to show up - keep in mind that I *did* have a -1 reserves modifier as my Warlord trait. Still, that really hurt him - Heldrake would be a really tough thing for my army to deal with.

Ken instead decided to go for the charge on my Beasts. I believe he needed a "7" to get to me. Nightscythes flew sideways and targeted ... something. Perhaps it was my DE Warriors on a hill?

Regardless, he did minimal damage to me, and to make matters worse, he failed his charge on the Beasts. I hit and ran away from the Cultists after killing a bunch of them (he was no longer willing to tank wounds on Typhus).


Kill Point Count:
BeastStar: 3 (Annihilation Barge, Annihilation Barge, Night Scythe)
Necrons: 0


Beasts are all clumped between Nightscythes. I actually re-rolled my Hit and Run result (Baron lets me do that) to get fewer inches away, the better to charge what I wanted next turn.

BeastStar Turn 3:

I needed to kill those Wraiths immediately. Typhus and co. were badly damaged and would not be in range to do anything but charge the Beasts next turn, which I was alright with.

I cast Guide on the Spiders and Prescience on the Beasts. I also got Misfortune off on the Wraiths.

I moved the Spiders within 12" of the nearest Nightscythe, and the majority of the Guardians to within 12" of the Wraiths (after their Battle Focus run move). Beasts got within 1" of the Wraiths as well.

Shooting commenced, and the Warp Spiders crushed another Night Scythe, while the Guardians opened fire with Bright Lances and Shuriken Catapults. The Bright Lances managed to down two Wraiths by themselves (insta-death, with Ken being forced to re-roll successful saving rolls from Misfortune FTW).

They caused a large number of rends and wounds with Shuriken weapons, and Ken decided that the rest of the game would likely go poorly for him - the Wraiths would almost certainly die in a round of combat against the Beasts, if they didn't get shot to death before that. After that, a depleted Typhus, 1 Night Scythe, and 1 Heldrake against my army would likely not be enough.

So, we called it there.

Ken was a cool guy - he even said he'd read my blog a few times! Thanks for a good game, Ken, sorry your Heldrake didn't come in earlier!

Results: 10-1 Win for the BeastStar!!

Post-game Thoughts:

Well, the game started off bad for Ken - I had all the objectives worth "3" really close to my own lines, while the "1's" were by his own. I won the roll to go first, and was able to defer it, as his shooting to start with was not as overwhelming as it would eventually be, and the ability to grab objectives last was a huge advantage.

Ken and I talked over what he could have done better, and I agreed with his analysis - putting Typhus on one end and the Wraiths on the other would have forced the Beasts to choose which squad to kill, leaving his other unit alive to kill my backfield.

He was a great player, and I think that had Ken gotten his 7" charge off on the Beasts, things may well have turned out differently. At the least, he would have probably put some wounds on the Beasts, and potentially crippled them to ineffectiveness, depending on my Fortune saving rolls. Ken said that this was the first time in a long time that he had been beaten this bad, and I wasn't surprised - he made a few mistakes, but overall his decisions were solid, playing was deliberate, and he put himself in a position to really cripple me with his Wraiths.

I felt very fortunate to have beaten him as quickly as I did. Thanks again for the game, Ken! See you at Adepticon!

Most of the top players were still in the tournament at this point - only 1/4 of the field had been culled, and I figured I had a chance to play against someone good, but not great, in my third round, which was also the final round of the day.

Instead, I would be thrown up against one of the top players in the country - Alan "Pajamapants", winner of multiple GTs and a player on Team America in the ETC.

To make things worse, Alan had brought his own BeastStar to the party. Who would play the mirror match better?


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

Deployment:

Vanguard Strike

Nightfight:

NO!

Initiative:

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

Powers:

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)

ALAN:
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.

*note*

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.

Onward.

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.

*note*

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...


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

His List:

Iron Hands Clan Roukan (Primary):

Master of the Forge w/ Servo Harness, Relic which allows him to repair vehicles on a 4+ (Warlord)

5x Tactical Marines
5x Tactical Marines

Land Raider Achilles (Thunderfire Cannon + 2x TL Multi-Melta Sponsons, immune to Melta and... lances I think?)
Land Raider Spartan (4x TL Las Cannons, Heavy Bolter, Immune to Melta)
Godhammer Land Raider (2x TL Las Cannons

Inquisition (Allies):

Coteaz
Inquisitor w/ Liber Heresius, Psyker Lvl. 1, Rad (maybe Psychotrope as well?) grenades

Henchmen Squad w/ 5x Deathcult Assassins, 2x Crusaders, Priest

Land Raider Crusader


The Mission:

Primary (4 Points): Crusade
Secondary (3 Points): Emperor's Will
Tertiary (1 Point Each): First Blood, Slay the Warlord, Linebreaker

Deployment:

Dawn of War

Nightfight:

YES! (I got the warlord power to choose)

Initiative:

I won the roll, giving him first turn.

Powers:

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


Pre-game Thoughts:

Well, I certainly wasn't expecting a Land Raider spam army. Not in the slightest. Matthew had won his first three games healthily, with 8,9,8 points respectively.

I got first turn, which was a huge huge roll for me. I would be able to threaten whatever objectives he chose to take on Turn 5. Further, Matt had very few scoring models. In fact, he only had three squads which scored.

However, there were a few things to look out for. His Deathstar unit in the Crusader was not to be underestimated - his Priest would let him re-roll failed saves in close combat (which is nasty on Crusaders with their 3++ invulnerable saves).

He would also be able to scout move his CultStar up 12" with his Wargear, which would immediately threaten my army.

I also had very few things to threaten his AV14. The Wraithknight was an obvious one, though the Bright Lances were another option. His Las Cannons would kill my Wraithknight relatively easily, so I needed to make sure I could do some damage to him. I decided that he would likely scout, and that my deployment needed to be such that I took advantage of the Land Raider scouting up. CultStar needed to die ASAP.

If I could kill his own Star, I could dominate the objectives.

I made sure to negate his deployment as much as possible since his Achilles was on the end, and therefore hopefully out of range with its Thunderfire Cannon (night fight). I especially wanted to wait until I had Fortune up before that thing took a bite out of my Beasts, being okay with my spread out Guardians taking the proverbial shaft. Note the Guardians are spread to maximum coherency. Also note that I deployed directly across from his CultStar Raider. Spiders, Serpents, DE Warriors, and Bikes are all in reserves (6 on, 7 off)

Iron Hands Turn 1:

Matt started by scouting his Crusader close to me, and then driving another 6" up. His shooting was limited, and he managed to take a wound off the Wraithknight as well as killing a couple Khymerae from the BeastStar. His Thunderfire was barely in range to hit my Guardians, and he managed to snipe out one of my Bright Lance platforms. :-/

His CultStar is in position to really mess with me, and is therefore within messing range
BeastStar Turn 1:

I got Fortune and Forewarning off on my Beasts, then took a Perils on my ShardSeer for trying to put Guide on the Wraithknight (with boxcars). Doh! He denied (on a 6) my attempt at Doom on the Raider.

I got ready to shoot at the Raider, also ready to charge with the Beasts if I got lucky and killed the damn thing.

I got one Pen result on the Raider with one of my shots, and Immobilized it. The Wraithknight (who was 1" away from the Raider) then charged and Smash-attacked the Raider, exploding it on my third attack and giving me First Blood. He took all 5 explosion wounds on Coteaz' 2+ - I wasn't sure he was allowed to allocate that way, but didn't fight it.

Well, unscathed CultStar is ready to assault something...
Iron Hands Turn 2:

He decided to try to go after my Wraithknight with the CultStar. Other Raiders shifted but did not move.

His shooting killed a couple more Guardians.

The Cultists charged my Wraithknight and killed him easily, getting Hammerhand off twice and Coteaz (at S10) force-weaponing him to death.

I now had a single ranged weapon which could hurt AV14.

Good-bye Wraithknight! I knew thee well!

At this point, I really really hoped my reserves would come in to help shoot the CultStar

BeastStar Turn 2:

DE Warriors failed to come in, but the Bikes, Serpents, and Spiders all managed to get in. They came in on the right, with the Spiders deciding to threaten his Emperor's will objective.

Shooting commenced, and I breathed a sigh of relief as I was not required to charge the CultStar - it died entirely from my shooting. Beasts ran to spread out, while the bikes Turboed around and tried to get out of line of sight.

You can see the Guardians moved up to shoot his CultStar, while the Wave Serpents kind of hunkered behind hills. I especially wanted to keep the Bikes alive.

Iron Hands Turn 3:

He pivoted tanks, and shot at one squad of visible bike squads, killing them with Las Cannons.

We also got into a slight rules debate on how the Thunderfire Cannon + Multi-Meltas worked. You see, he got multiple hits with his TFC, which killed a few Guardians as well as the Lance Platform. The next wound in line was my Farseer, but he was out of Thunderfire hits - we had to move on to the MM shots.

Pretty standard, until you take into account that my opponent was of the opinion that I needed to take the multi-melta wounds on the Farseer rather than the closest Guardians. We called Reece over, who clarified that my Farseer (who would otherwise have failed his 4++ and been insta-killed) would not have died, and that instead it was a hapless Guardian.

HOWEVER, a twist came, as I then failed my Ld. 10 morale (boxcars!) and only needed 5" to run off the table with my Guardians.

I then rolled snake eyes, and the Guardians + Warlord stayed on the table. Whew!

In this picture, I had taken off my Warlord, as I belatedly realized that he should not have died. Scandal!
BeastStar Turn 3:

I had no realistic way to harm my opponent's army, and realized two things:

1) My opponent was skilled enough to realize that he should focus on killing my scoring models.

2) My BeastStar would be strong enough in nearly any state to be able to kill/contest objectives threatened by at most 5 Tactical Marines and the MotF.

As such, I cast Fortune on my remaining Jetbike squad, and gave Forewarning to my Guardians.

The DE Warriors came in from Reserves, and I spaced them out on the bottom right corner of the board, where they would eventually be able to work their way into area terrain and also hold an objective which Matt was unlikely to be able to get to.

I then moved my Dire Avenger Wave Serpent flat out toward his Emperor's Will Objective, moved/ran the Beasts toward the center of the table to contest objectives, and got the Spiders into the ruins near his Emperor's Will objective.

No shooting, no charging. Exciting turn for the BeastStar :)

You can see the Jetbikes there behind the hill - only one of his Land Raiders can see them, and that's the one with the TFC, so it doesn't really matter if he sees me or not. He's likely far more interested in the exposed DE Warriors on the far right there...
Iron Hands Turn 4:

We quickly settled into the rhythm of him shooting me while I just moved around. His Raiders shuffled around a little bit to be in disembarkation range of some objectives.

His shooting killed a couple un-fortuned Beasts, but didn't do much. His TFC scattered off the table when targeting the DE Warriors.

BeastStar Turn 4:

We had plenty of time, so the game would likely go to at least Turn 6. I wanted to be sure I could hold/contest enough objectives to win if the game ended at 5.

So, the Beasts kept their move/running ways, and the DA Serpent again went flat-out near his Emperor's Will objective.

Guardians for the first time ever decided to get into their Wave Serpent, while the Farseer cast Fortune on the Jetbikes then joined them. I threw the 4++ save on my Beasts for fun, while the DE Warriors moved/ran into the area terrain.

Note that my Emperor's Will objective is placed strategically (dumbly) on the far left corner by his Land Raider. That Raider also happened to have 5 Marines in it. Turns out you can't see the objective, but have faith, it's there :(
Iron Hands Turn 5:

Matt disembarked his Master of the Forge in charge range of my Wave Serpent by his Emperor's Will objective, and his Tactical Marines from the same Raider toward a Crusade objective. His other Tac Marines got out and claimed my own Emperor's Will objective.

His shooting killed more Beasts, and his Tac Marines were forced to run 5" or more to get to their objective, which they got. :-p

MotF charged my Serpent and exploded it, killing two Dire Avengers, who passed both Morale and Pinning (woo hoo Ld. 9!).

You can see the Tacs on the bottom left of this picture, holding my Emperor's Will objective, while the top-left squad holds a Crusade objective. 
BeastStar Turn 5:

This could be the final turn of the game, and I wanted to make sure I could win if it ended. It would be a little tricky though, because I was fairly sure the game would continue, and I wanted to make sure Matt wouldn't be able to kill vital units of mine.

I therefore decided to go for the Turn 5 "narrow" win with the Turn 6 and 7 "blowout" wins more likely.

Dire Avengers got to within 3" of his EW objective, and they + Warp Spiders shot at the MotF. I caused a TON of wounds (including a bunch of pseudo-rends) but he only failed one save after going to ground.

I shot at his Tacs with my remaining Wave Serpent (you can see the 'pile' of embarked Guardians on the right in this picture). They lost two of their number but passed their Ld. 8 and remained claiming my EW objective. Dead Khymerae is also just chillin' back there, being creepy.

After some debate and number-crunching, I decided to throw the remaining Jetbikes + Farseer over by his Crusade objective, as my Beasts were about 7" away from charging those Marines, but if he overwatched and killed one, I'd need 9". If I failed the charge with no backup plan, we would draw on Crusade, and he would win on EW. Therefore, I chose to contest his Crusade objective. You can see here the Beasts made it into combat, but it was best to be sure :)

One more picture of the Spiders and Dire Avengers staring down the gone-to-ground MotF, waiting for Turn 6 to kill him.

DE Warriors hanging out here, holding an objective - this picture is from my opponent's point of view.

In combat, the Beasts whiffed and caused zero wounds, took a couple of hits (they actually did lose a guy to overwatch, making me score a 9" charge), but I stayed because of Fearless.

My opponent hds the Secondary objective for 3 points and Linebreaker for 1 point, total of 4 points.
I had the Primary objective for 4 points, First Blood and Linebreaker for 2 points, total of 6 points.

If the game went on, I would almost certainly get the full 10 points.

Blurry end of Turn 5. By now you probably know what turn the game ended.

We rolled a dice to end the game, and my opponent rolled..... a "1", game over!!

Results: 6-4 win for the BeastStar!!

Post-game thoughts:

Wow, this list really caught me off my guard! Didn't see a 4-Raider list coming, and I really didn't have much to kill him with! My opponent was a good player, targeting my scoring units and really making me work for the win. I had two rounds where I didn't shoot a single shot, and two turns where I only shot with 2 different units!

That said, I was a little disappointed to only get 6 points, as I had the game in the bag at that point and just didn't want to take the chance to lose and therefore be eliminated.

Overall, I was happy with my success, especially with baiting his CultStar over to my lair where I could kill the one Raider that would have truly given me problems. My opponent had won 3 games in a row with a list that not too many people expected, as armor these days 'aint what it used to be, but despite only three scoring units, he managed to destroy his opponents easily enough!

This was a worthy victory, and I was kind of mad at myself for being so ungrateful for "only" getting 6.

Thanks for the game, Matt! (not that he's reading this - he swore never to read my blog again, haha!)

At this point, there were only about 12 undefeated players left in the tournament. Goatboy, Nick Rose, and Justin Cook (O'veStar, winner of Nova Open) had all lost their 4th round and I had defeated Alan Pajamapants in the 3rd round, though big names like Alex Fennel (Seer Council Eldar), Eric Hoergar (Khan Bike Marines), Jy2 from Dakka (Necron Wraithwing) and Gareth Hunt (9!! Thudd Guns + Blob) were still in the hunt. In addition, Blackmoor (new 'Nids) had Drawn his first game and won his next 3, giving him an excellent shot at getting into the top 8 if he could win his final game!

One more win, and I would meet my first goal, which was to make it into the Top 8.

However, if I lost, I would have virtually no hope of getting in, as my middling results in games 3 and 4 saw me far below even a few of those players who had lost a game.

It was win or go home... on Table 2.


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

Deployment:

Vanguard Strike

Nightfight:

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

Initiative:

I won the roll, reluctantly giving him first turn.

Powers:

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!!

Implications:

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!


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. 

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... 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)

Deployment:

Vanguard Strike

Nightfight:

NO!! (damnit)

Initiative:

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

Powers:

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
Prescience
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"

Results:

Scouring:
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)

Tertiary:
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) :)

Implications:

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.


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)

Deployment:

Hammer and Anvil

Nightfight:

NO!

Initiative:

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

Powers:

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...

Alas.

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' ;)

/endminirant

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 :)





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