Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Standish Standoff 2016

This past November 19th I attended our local annual hobby event. Unlike the monthly tournaments they host, this event is focused on the Hobby as a whole. "Soft" point make up more than half your scores for the day (90 was the max soft score and 60 battle points). Its a great day as most everyone spends several months building and painting up their armies for the day and try and get everything in tip top shape. Beyond having a 3 round tournament, they also have a pure painting competition with entries in 4 categories (25/32mm single figure, 40-50mm single figure, 60mm + single figure, squad). I brought my Tyranid list I term "Boy Band" to the Standoff. I had run a  practice tournament at my home to get in 3 solid games and try and time my play. I was a little slow at that event but on track to get games done. One of the locals has a computerized routing device that can cut into MDF and do all manner of cool stuff. He made me up a bunch of movement trays that let me mass deploy the gaunts in clusters of 5 all max spaced. It made all my games go much faster. I hit at least turn 5 in every game this time. I always feel like I'm cheating my opponent if we don't bring the game to a natural conclusion, and in the past I typically would run smaller elite armies to ensure getting games done. This time I had 76 models to run around the table, 60 of whom re-spawned on a 4+, making the army play more like I had over 100 models.

My first game was against a perennial opponent, Marchello. I seem to face him at nearly every event and this year was no different. Typically we end up trading wins back and forth. He played Chaos Space Marines with Chaos Daemons, all devoted to Slaanesh. He had a Keeper of Secrets and two squads of of Demonettes. He also had 4 squads of Noise marines a Lord and Sorcerer both of Slaanesh. A Maulerfiend and two laser destroyer tanks. I spent the early game shooting the laser destroyer tanks in the side armor to wreck them out. Then went after the noise marines. Marchello's Keeper and Maulerfiend coupled with the Demonettes ate through my left hand flank. I tossed a few gaunt squads that re-spawned along the left flank to help tie up the muscle in his list. By game end I had nearly killed all the Chaos marines, save part of one last squad, the Keeper and the Maulerfiend. With only three units left I was able to score a couple big turns of points and take out a small win.

Second round saw me facing up with my local buddy Warren. He laughed, as on the drive down we had been mulling new tips and techniques he could use with his drop pod army to try and score better through the missions. He played Ragnars great company with Murderfang. With nearly everything in a drop pod, aside from two Land Speeders and a Lone Wolf squad. I took first turn and moved out grabbing a pretty strong lead on maelstrom scoring 5 points turn 1. Warren dropped in like a hammer hemming in all around my Tyranids. I took a fair number of casualties and my warlord took a pair of wounds. I hid my warlord out past the drop pods keeping him out of range of the melta. I then made three assaults ganging up as many units into a single assault as I could and trying to keep Warren from using his Counter Assault rule to join in. Unfortunately I wasn't able to completely do so and saw an additional squad join in my assault on his long fangs board center. Fortunately they where strung out enough to minimize attacks from the Space Wolves. By the end of these combats although I had lost most of them, I had removed more points worth of Space Wolves than I lost and more importantly the combats ended on my opponents turn, giving me a chance to shoot them down. Game ended with my opponent having just a bare handful of infantry on the table, and a large monster mash scrum board center over king of the hill, I took a fairly decent win on this game.

Last up was Justin playing on table 3 of the last round, the host of our local meet up games. Also the fine man who made my movement trays. Now that I've said nice things about him I can besmirch his character for playing a Wraith Knight. Ok it wasn't that bad. 90% Dark Eldar with a small force of Scatterbikes, Farseer and Wraith Knight to back them up. This was a tough game and as we both pondered our deployment options I laughed as we both are terrified of each others army. All the flamer templates I could deliver on fast flyers would spell doom to his Venom/Warrior spam. All that Venom spam could put the hurt on my flyers, plus you know Wraith Knight. He took first turn and I failed to Seize on him. I think this cost me the game. He was able to make half my flyers Jink before they could hit the sky. Also Obsec Jet Bikes meant that on turn two he scored 10 Maelstrom points. Although I came back from that as best I could 25/20 Maelstrom points his win, and I nearly tabled him, he had a Wraith Knight left and nothing else. I just couldn't close that early gap. Still not bad for Tyranids on Dark Eldar/Eldar who should honestly mop the floor.

All in all out of 12 games with this version of Tyranids I won 11 games, 9 being in tournaments. I would conclude my great Tyranid experiment was a success. I was able to make them competitive in my local scene. Although my finish in the overall event wasn't as strong as I would have liked, I did do a great job in the painting competition. Out of four categories, only 3 of whom I seriously entered I took home two first place ribbons and a second place ribbon. My pride and joy of the competition being the 60mm+ category. This was heavily contended for but my Alpha Legion Contemptor was able to bring home the gold. I also took gold in the Squad category with my Alpha Legion Tactical Squad. My second place was for my Ultramarine Chaplain. I'll be dropping a blog article up on him and the Captain at a future date. Until then happy gaming everyone.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Rockport Invitational 2016

Who needs prizes with these
A few weeks back I hosted my first ever tournament for 40k. I've moved out to the mid coast of Maine and as such I'm hours from game stores that host events, and a good two hours from the best store in the region that I've been going to for some time. We have an upcoming annual event coming up, The Standish Standoff, and my playgroup in the area wanted to get some practice in. I happen to have a pretty large basement, a number of catering banquet tables for work and had purchased a number of sheets of sanded plywood as table tops. We figured on rounding up 6 players, and maybe we would get 8 if we got lucky.

View from table 5 during round 1
Turns out a free tournament with BYOB and a BBQ lunch is a great way to draw people in. We hit 10 players, the most table surfaces I could get my hands on for the day. I also had the event scored as an ITC event even though we followed none of the ITC rules, FAQ, or missions. The goal being a warm up event we stuck to the event format for the Standoff. Missions where pre-selected and shared Maelstrom as primary (difference in points forming the basis for primary mission points earned, 0-14). Coupled with 3 secondaries worth 2 points each. Maximum score per mission is thus capped at 20. I spread out the secondaries such that each round had 1 both players could earn and two that only one player could earn. We ended up with a goodly diverse group of lists. Only one duplicate codex, Space Marines, and even then it was different chapters. One of the players brought with him 10 etched glass steins, one for each player with their faction logo on one side and the event name on the other. This really made the day feel like a 5 star event. We didn't have any kind of prizes as we didn't take any money, but the mugs made everyone, or at least myself, very pleased with the swag from the day.

During the day I set us up with a bit of tech. We used the Best Coast Pairings app to score and run the event. Once I figured out how to use it it worked like a dream. Sitting on a dedicated iPad for the day allowing everyone to self score and the program to run table pairings. I also set up an old iPhone in a camera clip screwed into an overhead joist. With this I Twitch steamed table 3 all day long. Everyone seemed to have had a great time with the day. My wife has already consented to make this an annual event. Hopefully I can make it twice a year instead.

I had three great games. I ran a slightly modified version of a Tyranid list I've been working on for a few months. I call it Boy Band, having 5 flying monstrous creatures and a horde of re-spawning gribblies. I had to retool to lower the model count from 103 to 74. I wanted to be able to get my games at least to turn 5 if not a natural completion in the time limit. So now I'm running 3 Flyrants, 2 Hive Crones, a pair of Malethropes and 3 of the bigger spore bombs, and an Endless Tide formation with 30 of both Gaunt types.

Round 1 against Kyle
Game 1 had me paired up with Kyle, and his Iron hands in a Sons of the Gorgon decurian. He was running a small Librarian conclave as well as an Armored company and Skyhammer formation. Hello Whirlwinds! We played Cloak and Dagger with Slay the Warlord, King of the Hill and Last Blood. I decided the whirlwinds had to go first thing, they would be able to put to many wounds on the gaunts and prevent them from being able to be effective. So I used the swarm to bog down my table left (top of the picture) and ran the Boy Band on table right to first turn kill a whirlwind and put me in position to kill the second one the following turn. He dropped in a tough Sternguard unit complete with Librarian and Techmarine onto the center of the board (between the two grey buildings in the picture). This would see him earn King of the Hill as I never had the time to dig them out. His Skyhammer pinned in a fair number of my Gaunt units within my deployment zone, leaving me very few options to dig out the center with. We ended up 14/6 my win,

Stomp stomp stomp
Game 2 I paired up with a player I've yet to had the pleasure of matching up with yet. William brought some of the best painted Orks I've seen in some time. Of course he also had Buzzgob's Custom stompa with him. This would prove to be a surprisingly fast game. Both of us being primary a mob force that gets stuck in he drove his trucks right at me, jumped out and then chaos ensued. I've rarely faced Orks, its just not been an army anyone in my playgroups have played before. I was completely surprised with how devastating in assault they proved to be. I ended up loosing several units in a single round of combat while inflicting minimal damage back. Fortunately I got lucky on the re-spawn rolls and almost all of them came back. I immediately pushed them right up in front of the boys again in layers to allow him only a single unit to charge on his turn. The Boy band procedded to wipe a couple units and soften some of the remaining boy units up with shooting and psycic powers. I basically ignored the Stompa except during the psycic phase throwing most my dice at Paraxism to lower the BS of the Stompa to zero. This worked about half the rounds and between that and him having a lifta droppa (useless on non vehicles). I was able to keep the Stompa from being overly effective. Here I scored a fair bit better. Having gotten first blood off a truck, hold the line after wiping his units from my deployment zone and being mostly stuck in it myself, and due to the trucks actually scoring more kill points we ended 16/4 my win.

This brings us to my last game against Oliver and his KDK. Dogs bikes and a Bloodthirster to boot. It was epic music battles of history as the Boy Band takes on Khorne Death Metal. Again facing an almost exclusively melee army we got right into fighting it out. I've faced Olivers list before. Deploying Hammer and Anvil is always an issue with this list. The re-spawn units coming in from ongoing reserves then have a long hike back out onto the board. Knowing how fast dogs can be and not wanting my softer Synapse providing units to get smashed to early, I ran all my Gaunts out as far as I could to create a charge screen for Olivers dogs. My fliers similarly moved up the table fairly spread out. His Bloodthirster was able to get the first hit in but only managed to get 1 wound on a Hive Tyrant. The Boy band spent turn two finishing him off and softening up a couple of the front most dog units. I then charged or screened the entire front line. Again running if I wasn't in position to make a possible charge. I wanted to push the first batch of combats as far into the middle of the table as I could. The game was mostly about a slowly moving scrum that started in the middle of the table and worked its way slowly back into my lines. My re-spawning waves would rush forward to take additional charges and begin the fight anew. The Boy Band would focus down whatever unit of dogs was both closest to my deployment zone and not locked in combat. It was a brutal affair and many Gaunts lost their skulls to the Brass Throne. In the end I scratched out a win 10/8.

This put me tied for Battle points with Justin and his Dark Eldar/Eldar list, (mostly Dark Eldar). All in all I had three great games. One of my favorite points of this army is how in all the games I've played it has never been a blow out. My opponents always are hanging right in with me all game long. I'm loosing models left and right and although I've continued a winning streak with Tyranids (9 out of 9 games), I think my opponents have all had good matches as well. I wanted to end this by thanking everyone who came out to play, assuming your reading this. If I can host a similar event in the future I'd be happy to have any of you back.

Bird Dogs on the hunt
Posting will resume again after the 19th. I've been behind on painting for the Standoff and have not had time to blog. Although I have painted a fair amount since my last post went up and will have a good amount of content to share once I finish painting this list.