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"Pink isn't a color. It's a lifestyle." - Chumbalaya
"...generalship should be informing list building." - Sir Biscuit
"I buy models with my excess money" - Valkyrie whilst a waitress leans over him

Sunday, March 13, 2011

TSHFT Report, part 2

Round 3

Opponent: ??? (Apologies, the name escapes me)
Army: Space Marines
Pedro Kantor
Librarian (Null Zone, Avenger)
10 Sternguard (Melta, Combi-Meltas) (Rhino)
6 Sternguard (Plasma, Combi-Plasma)
Ironclad Dread (2 HF) (Drop Pod)
10 Tacticals (Lascannon, Melta) (Rhino)
10 Tacticals (Lascannon, Flamer) (Razorback)
Predator (Autolas)
Land Raider (EA)

Mech Space Marines, but not a particularly frightening setup. The Land Raider is a pain, though, as I don't have any really good way to deal with it aside from getting a MC into combat with it, which will still be iffy since it can just move 12". Deployment is... Pitched Battle I think? Mission is another variant of Seize ground, with the first two units placed each being the location of one of our two objectives. Opponent gets first turn and puts his two in the far left corner and around midpoint of his deployment zone. Most everything just goes in its transport, but a combat squad goes on his objective and his larger Sternguard also split up, with one half going in the Raider. Huh. I deploy into my half and put two objectives in cover, standard stuff. Terrain is mostly scattered hills with some ruins to break things up- pretty decent coverage overall, although the left side of the field is a bit sparse, bar the built-in hill from the Citadel Board.

He moves up his tank wall, with the Land Raider slowly creeping up the left side, and lasers the crap out of one of my Harpies, killing it in the first volley. The Ironclad drops in and fires off its flamers, but nothing happens. Whirlwind kills some Termagants, it's otherwise a pretty quiet turn. On my side I move the other Harpy more solidly behind a ruin for cover and begin pushing up my forces while maintaining universal cover. My Termagants on the left begin moving forward, creeping from cover to cover to try and contest his back objective; Warriors + Prime go with them in case he disembarks to go into combat. Shooting is pretty good- my Harpy wrecks his Whirlwind straight up and I break a Rhino with Hive Guard, though the other two bounce off his Ironclad. Having already pooped itself out, my Tervi on that side jumps into combat with it and I tear off a weapon after losing a wound.

Turn 2 ends up being more of the same. He puts some wounds on my Harpy and moves up several Rhinos to the other side of the ruin I am shielding my forces with. Combat continues with the Ironclad, I take another wound and get three hits, wrecking him. I dump some more 'Gants onto the field and continue moving slowly up the left side. Shooting this turn is less awesome (he pops smoke on several Rhinos) and I manage to immobilize one, but that's it.

Turn 3 is where it gets moving- he moves the remainder of his forces up and jumps some of them out, opening up with Sternguard and Pedro and putting my Harpy out of commission but leaving himself exposed to my charges. (He later explains that his priority was to eliminate all threats to the Land Raider, but I'm dubious- the Harpy was really in no position to attack it anyways and was not exactly a major threat. Still.) On my turn I go in and get some Warriors and Termagants into range, but the awkward nature of the terrain and my own carelessness make me mis-play a charge and lose out on one group of Termagants. Still, I cut down most of the Sternguard + Pedro that had gotten out, leaving only one guy and Pedro himself. My Tyrant + Guard are just out of range, unfortunately.

Turn 4 his immobilized Rhino restarts itself and his Tacticals hop out and get ready to join the fray while his Land Raider continues to inch around the edge of the board, successfully hopping over a hill to get dangerously close to my objective. I'm worried, but unfortunately there's not a lot I have that can stop it. My strung-out Termagants are nearing his objective but some Tank Shocks have pushed them a bit off course, so it's iffy if they'll reach it in time. We go into the fight and it gets pretty bloody; he rolls quite mediocrely against my 'Gants and doesn't kill many of them, although he still wins combat by one or two. I take down Pedro and the last of the Sternguard, though, and shrug off the worst of the No Retreat wounds. On my turn I move the Termagants on the left up and get a poor DT + run result, so I'm forced to assume they won't make it to his objective there. My Tyrant + etc go into combat and basically scythe through his guys, taking out the Librarian, and most of the Tacticals. My Tervigon takes position blocking off the objective (as he has a functional Rhino aimed towards it), but I know the Raider is about to make its dash and I doubt I can stop both, so I need to contest at least one of his. We finish the mass combat and I consolidate north towards his other objective, but I get low rolls for my Termagants there and it's starting to look bad.

He does pretty much what I expect and rushes both the Raider and Rhino towards my left-side objective. The Sternguard in the Raider disembark and run around the side, throwing the maximum number of units into the fray; my Tervi's huge base works to my advantage here, though, as it's very iffy whether he's in contesting range. On my turn I make a mad dash north with the two respective wings of my forces, but neither of them quite make it, falling short by 3"-6" and it all comes down to the battle in the south. I give it an eyeball and go after the Rhino first, hoping the Sternguard are just out of range; I manage to wreck it and we roll a 2 to end the game, and a very careful measure puts his Sternguard at 2.9" from my objective. :( Ah well, so it goes. Secondary was killing units from different slots and I end up with a decent score of 10pts, as I took out TR, EL, HQ, and HS. (He didn't have any FA, so I missed out slightly.)

Round 4
Opponent: ???
Army: Space Marines again?
1 Librarian (TDA, SS, Gate, ???)
1 Librarian (TDA, SS, Gate, ???)
7(?) Assault Terminators (4 TH/SS)
7(?) Assault Terminators (4 TH/SS)
10 Sternguard (2 Melta, ? Combi-Melta) (Drop Pod, Locater Beacon)
10 Tacticals (Melta, Missile) (Rhino)
10 Tacticals (Melta, Missile) (Rhino)
3 Scout Bikers (Teleport Homer)
1 Predator (Autolas)
1 Predator (Autolas)

Huh, three times in a row. I guess this makes up for my not playing them at all recently at my local games. He's basically got one big rock list and I know those TH/SS are going to be a pain, but I do have some tools to deal with him and very little of the rest of his army actually frightens me. Deployment is short table edges (with table divided in thirds, with center one being no man's land), but it's basically irrelevant due to retarded mission rules. Basically, every army has to pretend to be Daemons in this mission- you divide in half, pick one, and on a 3+ you deploy them, otherwise you deploy the others. You're allowed to hold part of your "pick" in reserve, but the mission rules somehow override Drop Pod Assault and other things that normally come in first turn automatically. Oh, and after all that nonsense, the actual mission is... just Kill Points. I go first, which is both good and bad; means I have a shot at his Scout Bikers, but means my reserves will be a little weirder.

I take position in a back corner surrounded by some good-sized hills that make it awkward to get to in combination with a small ruin in the center. (Terrain on this table is pretty good again, thankfully.) I also succeed in getting the half I want and drop a Tervigon, Tyrant, Termagant squad, some Hive Guard, and Warriors- pretty much my army split down the middle. He puts down the two Terminator squads with Libbies attached, Scout Bikers, and "deploys" the Drop Pod, so it will arrive turn 1. He scoots the Bikes forward and we go into turn 1.

I open up on his guys with what little shooting I have, but with their 3++ the Scouts shrug off my Hive Guard and other miscellaneous stuff, which means I'm gonna have to deal with his mans right away. I spawn with the Tervi, putting up screens on both passes through the hills that lead to my forces. On his turn, both Libbies immediately Gate forward, as expected, and he Runs to spread himself out a bit. The Drop Pod comes in behind my lines in a slightly risky position, but he only scatters slightly and is fine, coming in just behind my Tervigon. He opens up with three Meltaguns and Hellfire ammunition and rolls like absolute trash, getting only one Melta hit and maybe five others (with everybody inside Rapid Fire range.) I take two wounds on the Tervi and he gets super-pissed. I do feel kinda sorry for him- I mean, that was a shitty dice roll and all, but that happens, it's one of the reasons the DSing Sternguard squad isn't all that awesome.

Turn 2 I get almost my entire force in, bar one Tervigon + Termagants; I fly the Harpies in along with some Warriors+Prime to deal with the Sternguard and task the other Harpy with fire support on the Termies. I also spawn more Termagants (running out this turn) and have a mass of something like 30 of them in the north, with ~15 down south backed by some Warriors. I open up with shooting, have Paroxysm shut down by a Hood, and inflict ~3 casualties on him by weight of fire. My Harpy fails to kill the Drop Pod and my Hive Guard annihilate his Scouts. I charge, sending Warriors+Prime into the Sternguard, Harpy into the Pod, three squads of Gants into the northern Terminators and one + Warriors into the southern ones, where I caused the most damage with shooting. In the north I have full buffs, with Tervi and Tyrant nearby and I mess him up pretty badly, taking out the Libby and a number of the Terminators; he rolls poorly and still wins combat, killing off the smallest squad with No Retreat (he focused most all of his attacks there.) In the south he does better, killing the majority of the 'Gants off, but only causing three wounds to the Warriors, as I ensured that no Hammers could allocate attacks to them. I also don't have Tervi buffs in the south, which hurts a fair amount. He's pretty unhappy at this point, insisting that he should've won both combats handily (and, indeed, some of the rolls were somewhat against him), but I think he's drastically underestimating buffed Termagants. Eh, whatever. My Harpy fails to do anything to the Drop Pod (no penetrations or glances? really?) and my Warriors absolutely wipe the floor with his Sternguard, as seventeen power weapon attacks will tend to do. On his turn one Predator and one Rhino roll onto the board from a long edge and pip away at me to little effect and we go back into the fight. The Harpy kills off his Drop Pod and the northern Termagants do some more damage to his Terminators, getting them down to a relatively small number (three or four?) His swings take out a lot of the remaining squads, though, and along with No Retreat I'm looking at both units of Termagants on my turn. The other combat sort of stalemates, with his Libby failing to hit my Warriors and my Termagants not really doing much to his dudes. I lose combat slightly and largely shrug off the wounds.

Turn 3 rolls in and things are looking pretty good for me. His Termies in the north are set to break out, but I have plenty of units still left and I get more this turn as the last of my Termagants and Tervigon show up. I walk them in from the board edge close to the southern fight, which also nets me buffs for my forces there. My Harpies and Hive Guard shift north and start opening up on his tanks there, but don't do a lot this turn, as the Guard are still mostly out of range. Since there are only two Thunder Hammers left in the northern squad, I send my Tervigon and Tyrant into that squad and pour my Termagants into the south squad; my second squad of Warriors can't reach this turn, unfortunately. I pretty much clean him out in the north, with only a single Terminator left and take a pair of wounds in return, which is a perfectly fair trade for me. Things in the south decide that the status quo is best and his Libby misses, he makes all his 3++ saves on him, and my Termagants batter harmlessly off the remaining squad members. A few No Retreat saves later and we're back to his turn. His other Pred and Rhino roll on, ready to provide fire support, and he puts some wounds on my Harpies. I carefully note his range-drawing, as it turns out that my Hive Guard are ready to shoot here, which I silently rejoice in. We go to combat and I annihilate him up north and finally get some damage in the south, killing off his Libby and another Terminator, with him doing little back. At this point the game is looking... pretty bad for him.

Turn 4 is basically the end of things for him. I spawn more 'Gants off the fresh Tervi and dump AT firepower into his tanks up north, exploding a Rhino, tearing a gun off one Predator and stunning the other. We go to combat and my newly-born squad of Termagants, plus the Tervigon, plus the existing Gants and Warriors just annihilate the remainder of the squad as he is forced to make about a million saves. His turn is basically just a courtesy as one Predator shoot along with the Tacticals and nail the last wounds off one Harpy.

Turn five is likewise brief, as I know I'm not going to get into combat with his troops so I smash the other Rhino and do my best to silence the Predators. His shooting doesn't do much of anything more and we roll up a game end I think? Or maybe it continued another turn, but in either case it was effectively over at this point, as I'm well ahead in KP. He still has both Predators in my deployment zone, though, which is our secondary, so I end up with a 15pt win and he gets a respectable 10pt loss despite being largely swept off the field. This all happens in something an hour and a half, so we have plenty of time left to talk after the match. Unsurprisingly he's not terribly happy about things, but we chat about his paint job (he has a pretty nice-looking Imperial Fists army) for a good while, and also a bunch of other stuff and he ends up being a pretty mellow dude. Can't say I'd be happy with a game like that, either, so all things considered he takes it pretty well.

Round 5
Opponent: ???
Army: Tyranids

3 Tyrant Guard (Whips)
Hive Tyrant (Wings, one set of Devs, OA, HC)
Doom of Malan'tai (Spore)
3 Zoanthropes (Spore)
3 Zoanthropes (Spore)
8 Genestealers + Broodlord
8 Genestealers + Broodlord
7 Genestealers + Broodlord
7 Genestealers + Broodlord

This was a pretty epic match- and I don't just mean it in the overblown internet sense. Dan (I think? Maybe? Sorry, sir, it was a long tournament and I'm really not very good with names) is an old-school player who's been in the hobby for a long, long time, and he's got some funky models (including the old Tyrant Guard) and some crazy-looking spores. Oh, and his "winged" Tyrant is burrowing out of the ground. His Genestealers are done in a pretty cool striped camo pattern, so it's definitely an interesting army to take a look at. Tyranids seem to be something of a secondary army for him, as he's somewhat unfamiliar with some of the stuff I have, but he knows his own army reasonably well so I can't fault him for that. Deployment is Dawn of War, mission is another Seize variant; each person deploys three objectives in his opponent's zone and you can only claim objectives that you placed, although you can contest anything. The table has one HUGE ruin in the center, about two feet by half a foot and diagonal down the center, along with scattered other ruins and hills; I lay my one dead center, one as close as the 12" permits, and one in a ruin on the far right; his are just along the left centerline, deep central in my DZ, and on the flank as close as he can get over on my right side. We roll off and I win, and since he's clearly got a reserve army, I give him first turn, which he's not really used to. Swarmlord + Co goes dead center by my objective and the two larger 'Stealer squads go on the flanks near his objectives; remaining Genestealers outflank and everything else Deep Strikes. I drop the Tyrant, a squad of Termagants screening it and a Tervigon, with the rest walking in first turn.

We immediately recognize that this battle is going to involve some crazy psychic bullshit; he forgets/doesn't realize that he can't hit me with Paroxysm first turn (I have to be over 18" away, and 12" range + 6" move won't cut it) and leaves Genestealers where they are. I spawn a big brood of Termagants and bring both Harpies in on the left, the Hive Guard in on the center, and my basic 'Gants and Warriors + Prime in the center, with the other Warriors hanging center-left so I have some options. I "wrap" the center in Termagants, stopping his Swarmlord from going anywhere on my half without fighting through a million little guys and I start throwing Hive Guard shots into him, taking out one Guard and wounding another. I also hit him with Paroxysm, insuring he won't be a danger if he charges this turn. My Harpies absolutely pound on his left side 'Stealers and force them to hit the dirt, going down to six or so guys.

His T2 he gets some kinda poor rolls, failing to get the Doom and one squad of Genestealers. Tyrant drops in a safe spot in his side of the field, watching the right flank objectives, and Zoeys come down on each side of the central building. Scatter puts him out of range of my Harpies (which didn't seem to be his main target) and his 'Stealers come in next to my Harpies, but I've ensured that he can't multicharge them without some amazing rolls and risk-taking. At this point basically the whole board is one giant clusterfuck of overlapping Shadow in the Warp, since we've both got tons and tons of Synapse on the table. He misses Paroxsym and about 2/3 of his Warp Lances, putting one wound on a Tervigon and a Tyrant Guard each. Genestealers charge the Harpy and manage to get a couple of wounds in, I stick in (not in Synapse) and it's my turn. I spawn a squad of Termagants and send them down towards the Genestealers along with my Warriors; my other Warriors start moving towards my objective, but I know I'm going to have to deal with his Tyrant on the way in, so I have to limit my movement so he can't keep my Whip out of combat. Termagants in the center begin moving towards the far objectives, as it's not looking likely that I can pry him off the center one- I run some quick math in my head and don't think I can get enough wounds to kill the Swarmlord before No Retreat takes me out. It's an iffy case, but I decide to hold back and draw him into a combat in the final turns instead, banking on him staying bottled up in there. My Tervigons push forward a bit and my Hive Guard set their sights on the Zoanthropes, which they devastate; some Termagants finish them off with shooting and charges and I manage to kill off one of his Spores as well. My Harpy + Warriors get into the fight with his 'Stealers and some mediocre rolls puts me winning the combat, but not wiping him out, which is going to be bad for me.

I am quite correct as his Doom and remaining 'Stealers arrive; the 'Stealers come in ready to join to mass combat and his Doom gets laid near the edge of my formation, ready to force a bunch of Leadership tests; thankfully, he scatters 11" out into nowhere, much to my opponent's dismay. More random psychic abilities are thrown about to no effect (I think he gets Paroxysm off on my Tyrant this turn?) and he brings the 'Stealers that went to ground earlier around to engage some Termagants. His Hive Tyrant shoots my Warriors, but I shrug off most of the shots and Paroxysm fails. We have a little Rules Moment trying to figure out what happens when the closest enemy to a Spore is engaged in melee, both agreeing that it doesn't shoot that unit but unsure whether it can shoot anything else. We dice off and it ends up not shooting. His Doom runs to get closer to my units, but rolls low and can only catch one Tervigon at best. (I don't have a lot of room to maneuver away from it, unfortunately.) Genestealers on the left an up north charge their respective targets. In the north Catalyst proves to be gold as I shrug off most everything, but don't do much back, resulting in a locked combat. In the south things go, er, south, as he kills off both Harpies and all but one Warrior with some good rolls (and some poor armor saves on my part.) I cause a few wounds back, but nothing special. We go to my turn and both Tervigons poop out this turn, which I'm pretty okay with given they made more than ten dudes every turn up until now. I cross my fingers and send my Termagants towards his 'Stealers in the south while also reinforcing my battle up north; I also wrap some of my line around into the ruin, aiming for my objective. My Warriors go for his Tyrant but I realize I won't make it this turn- accursed hills, getting in my way! His other 'Stealers are still sitting pretty on my objective on the right side, as his own objective is stuck out in the open where my guns (from Warriors, 'Gants, and Hive Guard) will tear him to pieces pretty quickly. Shooting is basically just my Hive Guard disposing of the Doom and some more unsuccessful tries to reduce the Swarmlord's squad to a managable size. My Termagants in the south charge his 'Stealers and I send more 'Gants into the other fight as well; in the south I get messed up pretty bad, losing the Warrior and all the 'Gants (although managing to take several more 'Stealers), but in the north I bring him down to just a wounded Broodlord, though my own casualties are hardly insignificant.

Turn 4 continues to hold the stalemate at the center and he sends his 'Stealers desperate racing back towards the left side objective, or at least what remains of them; both squads are down to ~4 members at this point, not exactly a formidable force. He shuffles his right side 'Stealers forward a bit but is hesitant to emerge fully, again obviously because of my guns. He declines to make any charges and combat continues, with the Broodlord managing to hold off my dozen-ish Termagants by some small miracle. I frown- that wasn't in the plan, and it's going to hurt my overall strategy a lot. On my turn the Tervigon moves ponderously towards his objective, avoiding the Spore that remains there, and my Warriors go in for the kill on his Tyrant. We finish up Broodlord Vs. the World (bad ending) and I consolidate... 2". D'oh. I'm on my middle objective, but he's contesting with Swarmlord and I don't thing I can pull him far enough off with a charge. I'm aiming for the north objective, but poor combat result and consolidate mean I'm going to need a very good Run roll next turn to get to it- fortunately he doesn't really have much that can stop me at this point. My Warriors annihilate his Tyrant, losing the Prime and taking a wound in return, and I consolidate... 1". >.< This is not exactly helping me get to my objectives, but thankfully some Termagants are still with them, so maybe... Turn five: the final frontier. He runs his Genestealers onto his left side objective and seems to decide contesting my objective is more worthwhile than taking his. (He doesn't have enough models to do both at this point, as I've put some miscellaneous wounds on the squad with earlier shooting.) He rolls Difficult Terrain for the Swarmlord, and for a moment hope springs as I think he's going to move out of the area- or really, move at all- but he rolls a 3 and decides to sit still. We talk later and he realized belatedly that this would've cost him the game, but at the time I'm not sure what he's trying for, as the only thing in charge range is the Termagants (which he's been avoiding all game) and the Warriors (which would be pretty bizarre and suicidal for us both, I think.) We go to my turn and my Termagants dash north for the far objective as fast as their little legs can carry them, but with a 3" run roll it's just not enough. I move in Warriors and Termagants on the right and get in range for a charge with the 'Gants, but I realize there's no way they'll beat five Genestealers (including a Broodlord) without shooting support, and any shooting will probably put me out of charge range, as I'm just at barely 6" already. I decide to go for the shooting anyways, figuring I can still make it on a good Run roll and that's really all I've got at this point- not that I am going to win the tourney or anything at this point, but always give the win your best shot, I say. Hive Guard and Warriors put a bunch of casualties on his squad, but not enough to wipe them out (have I mentioned how awesome no-LOS shots on Hive Guard are?) and the Termagants are about 7" away, not enough to make the charge when I try. My Tervigon on the left dive into his Genestealers and he doesn't annihilate it in a single turn of combat- thank you for that at least, dice. With the tourney almost over we call it a draw (all objectives are contested) and shake hands over a very good, but very weird, game. I probably should've suicided into that Swarmlord earlier with the main body of my forces, but I was never confident I could win the fight and losing would've basically let him have free reign over my support units, which would've gutted my late game pretty badly, so I dunno. Overall Thoughts
A pretty cool tourney with some decent prize support; comp/painting is done the "right" way and there are separate awards for Best General, Best Overall (combined of all scores), Best Comp, etc, as well as different tiers for new participants and returning regulars. It took an awfully long time (almost two hours?) to calculate scores after the last round, which seems odd considering everything except the final round results and Favorite Opponent choices were handed in before that, but I suppose it's not a big deal. Terrain for some of the tables aside it was a very nice setup and although I felt some of the missions and secondaries were a bit gimmicky, none of them were completely idiotic. His deployment types definitely favor shooting armies pretty heavily- between Spearhead, Short Edges, and Diagonals most shooting armies can expect to see 36"-48" of empty space between them and the enemy. However, the folks there were very cool- I didn't ever meet anyone I would consider to be a jerk and a lot of the people were quite friendly. Though I was totally outclassed in the hobby department no one was rude of snippy about that and it didn't feel like I was wandering into a clique as an outsider.

All in all it was a fun tourney and it was nice to meet Fluger and some of the other folks. I'll be aiming to make it again in September, but Labor Day weekend is a bit iffy for me so we'll see how things go.

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