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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

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Roland's Tourney Experiences: Gigabytes 2500 Tourney

Before I get into the awesomeness that was the Gigabytes 2500pt Tourney, I want to give you all a public service announcement. You see that fine looking chap to the left? Yes that one who's flipping us off. That's Kirby, the Evil One. Not the Pink Happy Go-Lucky Kirby, but the Pink One's evil twin. He's evil. And he cheats. Don't play him. EVAR. Ban him from your tourney's. Remember folks: Chris Kirby Cheats!

Ok announcement over. So the Gigabytes 2500pt Tourney. I'm going to go over the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, like I normally do, and then I'll follow it with a quick Lesson's Learned from my perspective for I learned A LOT from this tourney. I'll gloss over my 3 games briefly before the Lesson's Learned portion for the turn by turn play wasn't as important as what I took away from it. Without further ado, let's delve into the realm of THE GOOD.

: As with the CG2 tournament I went to last month, there's a lot to say here. I'll hit each point quickly.

Location: Gigabytes Cafe was AWESOME. Plenty of boards (13 in all), plenty of space, the owner is super nice and supportive of the whole scene, and they have a legit in house cafe that serves EXCELLENT food. Not your normal cheap pizza and soda, but like legit panini's, smoothies, an assortment of coffee's and other snacks. And it was all reasonably priced. The food alone won me over.

Missions: It was standard NOVA fair with primary, secondary, and tertiary objectives each game, rotating between 5X Objectives, Table Quarters, and Kill Points. The only twist was that unlike pure NOVA where if you claim the primary you win outright, you got 15 points for the primary, 10 for the secondary, and 5 for the tertiary. Thus if you dominated the whole game you could get a max of 30 pts. The only downside (if it's even a downside) is if you knew you couldn't pull off the Primary, you could go for Secondary and Tertiary and tie up with points for the game. If you and an opponent tied for one of the three (Primary, Secondary, Tertiary) no one got points for it. Pretty straight forward and simple, I liked it as it was a slightly different take on normal NOVA style.

Time Management: Even though the tournament kicked off about 15minutes late, the TO kept everything running smoothly and on time and regularly made announcements about time remaining and ensured everyone was tracking.

Players: Everyone I played was stellar. All gentleman, all were laid back and didn't take the 'Hams too seriously. They were all veteran tournament players too. There was none of that WAAC prickishness the interwebz seems to harp on. I would play any of my opponents again any day, whether for fun or in a tourney. They were great guys all around.

Armies: There was a wide variety of armies represented there and majority of them (excluding mine) were extremely well painted and showed a lot of time and effort. There were, if I remember correctly, something like: 6 GK Armies, 4 DE, 3 SW, 1 'Nids, 2 Vanilla SM, 1 BA, 2 IG, 1 Daemons, 1 Ork, 1 Sisters, and like 2 CSM. With 24 players it was a decent spread but you could clearly see the disparity in recent 5th ED codices and older ones. No one took Tau, BT, Necrons, or Eldar. Interesting (to me) was the lack of IG players (only 2) and how DE and GK had the most players representing. I expected that of GK, but seeing all those DE armies was a breath of fresh air, especially seeing as they outnumbered the SW players (of which I was one). 5th ED codex competitiveness FTW.

Terrain: It was beautifully crafted and there was plenty of every board. The one minor downside was that some boards had more than others with regard to terrain coverage and one could argue that all boards had a little too much. I didn't mind it at all, but the slight over-abundance became clear to me in Game 3 when everything had a cover save pretty much. Worked well for me as my opponent (CSM) only had like 3 or 4 long range shooting units (LR, Vindi, Defiler, 1 Termie with Reaper), as I had few covers to make and had good odds of making them. The opposite was true for him as every time I shot something he was usually looking at trying to make 2-3 cover saves at least. Eventually (meaning by turn 2) shit got through.

Now this review wouldn't be complete without some BAD and UGLY, so I'll air my one (very minor) grievance (if you could even call it that).

THE BAD: Like the CG2 tournament, there wasn't anything major or that stood out as BAD. And my one issue was, well, sort of unexpected...

Armies: Wait what? I know, I know what you're thinking. "Roland, you said the Armies was a GOOD thing." And it was. Here's my gripe, that didn't detract from the tourney as a whole, it just made my personal experience a little "meh". Out of 23 other players, and numerous other armies, my first two games were against....Grey Knights. Not just that, but GK armies that were very, VERY similar in army build. Not to take away from the players, Alan and Mike were awesome upstanding guys, it just was a little of a downer for me to go from playing 1 GK army first round only to face a somewhat similar army in round 2. With all that diversity I was hoping to face a DE player and maybe one of the Guard or SW players. I wasn't the only one this happened to either. I was talking to one of the DE players and he had a similar story: he played DE his first two rounds. That's right, of the 4 DE players, 1 of them played 2 of the other players in the tourney. I understand the pairings probably had to do with points earned in Game 1, but was a definite "meh" moment. I was burned out on GK armies after two back to back games against them and going against a 3rd would have been too much in such a short tourney (3 rounds).

THE UGLY: Chris Kirby cheats. That is all you need to know. :)

Ok! Now that that's over with I'll go over (briefly) my 3 games and I'll post the army lists I have on hand.

GAME 1: Against Alan and his GK's
Mission: KP (P), Quarters (S), Objectives (T)
Deployment: Dawn of War
Army: Coteaz, Mordrak and 3X Ghost Knights with 2X Halberds, 2X Techmarines (Rad, Psyotroke, Artificer Armor, Psyker, Hammerhand, Warding Stave), 3X Inq. Warbands (1X DCA, 1X Jokaero, 3X Acolytes w/ 1SB, RBack with Psybolt), 2X Inq. Warband (7X DCA in one, 8X DCA in the other), 2X Storm Ravens, 5X Interceptors (1X DH, 1X Incinerator), 2X Dreadnoughts, Dreadknight with Teleporter, Doomfist, Incerator, and Great Sword
Result: Loss

Here's three photos: his army, beginning of his turn 2 (he went first), and the end of the game:

Synopsis: I for some reason decided to go second. That was Mistake #1. I'll get into it more later in the Lesson's Learned section. Why you ask? I don't know. I guess I was afraid he'd start nothing on the board and then zoom in his turn 1. Which I realize now would have benefited me as I'd have no degradation on account of night fight and could have brought ALL my shooting to bear on his SR's. Le sigh. It basically went down hill from that point on. It didn't help either that I COMPLETELY forgot that SR's were Assault Vehicles...derp. That was Mistake # 2. By turn 2 his SR's were in my lines (I tried to refuse failed) and the combined assault of 2 Techmarine led squads of DCA coupled with the 2 Dreads just overwhelmed my lines. He rolled me. Bad. I think I killed like...2 KP worth? he took all like 20 of mine. This baby seal was clubbed.

GAME 2: vs. Mike and his GK's
Mission: Objectives (P), KP (S), Quarters (T)
Deployment: Pitched Battle
Army: Draigo, Xenos Inq (Psykotroke, Rad, Scythian Talon), Vindicare, Paladin Squad (5X Pallies, 2X Halberds, DH, 2X Psycannon), Purifier Squad (9X Purifiers, 6X Halberds, DH, 2X Psycannons, Rhino), Inq. Warband (6X DCA, 5X Acolytes), GKSS (5X GKs, Rback with Psybolt ammo), GK Termie Squad (6X Termies, 5X Halbers, Incinerator, DH), 2X SR's, 2X DK's (Dual Doomfists, Incinerator, Teleporters)
Result: LOSS

Here's some photos: his army, middle end of the game, and the second to last turn of the game:

Synopsis: I decided to go first against all those SR's. I refused flank for the most part, set up in the bottom right with all my LF's in those ruins backed by a speeder and Rhino to the right (near the wall) and the RBack behind by the board edge. The rest of the Fangs, the other speeder, and a GH squad hide behind/in those center trees. TWC and all else are in between using the large center Temple thingy as cover. Turn 1 I wreck his Rhino but fail to do anything to the RBack. He had his DK's hiding behind that wall to my right, but the damned wal was too high so I couldn't draw LoS to the DK's behind it.

Sort Of Mistake # 3. It's a sort of as I should have tried harder to shoot the DK's but I accepted the "I have no LoS" and let it be. Oh and his Vindicare was on top of the wall. Needless to say his turn 1 he jumps over the wall andddddddd by turn 2 both DK's are in my supporting backfield wreaking holy havoc. I never recovered. Upside of the game is that Wolf Lord Tyr and his trusty TWC buddy went like 4 rounds toe to toe with the Paladin/Drago squad and literally made about 5-6 invuln saves a piece each round as they chewed through the Pallies. WTN + Wolf Claw rerolling hits against T4 + Warrior Born FTW. In the end though the loss of my fire support crippled me and he just pwned me in the close range and CC fight. Oh and if you're wondering aboutt hat speeder in the last photo that's on the got immob'd by a DK turn 2. Yay. It was forever to look away from the action.

Game 3: against Carter and his CSM
Mission: Quarters (P), Objectives (S), KP (T)
Deployment: Spearhead
Army: He had something like Sorcerer with lash, Ahriman, 2X 3man squads of termies (1 squad never arrived from Reserve so no idea what it had. The one on the board just had a Reaper AC), 1 Chosen squad (2 PGs, HB, Icon, Champ with fist), 1 CSM squad with like ML, CSM Squad (5X, PG, Rhino), Berserker Squad (5X, 2 PP's, Champ with fist), Berserker Squad (9X in a LR), Thousand Sun Squad, Defiler, Vindicator, Lesser Daemons.
Result: Win

No photos so quick synopsis: It was a forest heavy board so pretty much everything would have cover. I went first. Turn 1 uneventful. Turn 2, scouts arrive, slag his LR and the explosion kills 4 'Zerkers, LF squad and Speeder wreck the Vindi, Fangs wreck the Defiler, Fangs wreck the TS Rhino. TWC assault stranded 'Zerkers and pwn them in 1 round. That was the beginning of the end. It all went down from there. He conceded turn 4, I asked to play a quick turn 5 so I could get max points, he was cool with it. I moved some shizz around, killed the last few dudes, got max points.

LESSON'S LEARNED: Well there are only really 3 things I learned, and there quite obvious issues I've been working with since I began to play more competitive 40K. They're quite frankly my weak spots.

1). Lesson 1: Deployment: For some reason I have a tendency to bolo (i.e. jack up) my deployment. Whether it be not castling up properly or spreading out too much on the 12" line, I always somehow manage to do something stupid in deployment. Both of my first two games demonstrated this. In Game #1 it was opting to go second during Dawn of War. The reason why relates to

Lesson #2, but I'll get to that in a second. I (foolishly) decided that it was better for me to deploy second so I'd be able to gauge his set up and then get that first round of shooting. The thing I failed to factor in (which afterward I factored in heavily during deployment and is my first consideration now when playing DoW) was that 90% of all my long range fire support is mounted in...non-Relentless infantry models. That means if I go second during DoW I have EXTREMELY limited shooting at range. What this meant for me was I could not bring the brunt of my AT abilities to bear at once to knock out his flying DeathStar Storm Ravens. Had I opted to go first, I would have been able to mass accurate missile fire on his two Storm Ravens, which would have given me ample time to burst forth from the refused flank I deployed in. That is the trade off I (and my army) face when playing deploying and playing DoW in particular: do I go first and risk taking casualties but then get the first non-night fight shooting turn to retaliate, or do I go second, increasing the survivability (somewhat) of my fire support units, granting me an earlier chance to take out some of his force, but then have to suffer a full unaffected turn of enemy shooting? I think the only way I can honestly answer this is depends on the army I face. Against fast armies that can close the distance in 2 turns or so, then going first is a premium. For slower armies, I have the time to go second.

As for my general set up in this, was a refused flank wise in this mission given the board I was on? I thought so. I had ample cover and was guaranteed cover. Downside I realized was that against fast armies like his I could easily and quickly become boxed in (as it just so happened). Alternative I was thinking of playing with was split corner deployment which now that I think of it, may actually have been best in this situation given this board. I took all this knowledge with me into Game #2, and set up better but still had one glaring weakness. I decided upon a refused flank with what I call a "strong center". Basically I put 2 GH packs (the 8x strong ones) along with the 5X man GH pack in the bottom right corner along with 2 Long Fang packs, a Speeder, Njal and crew, and at the edge of that bottom right table corner, the TWC and lord. In the middle of the board (it straddled the two table corners on my board edge) was some nice cover (trees really). I put a squad of Fangs in there backed up by a Speeder and a GH squad. This divided my fire support somewhat and gave me more board coverage with my missiles. Downside of this (well with ANY refused flank) was his super speedy Jumpy Dreadknights rolled up my right flank and in two turns wiped out about 75% of all my long range support. Lesson learned: I need to work on deployment and tailor my set up to terrain and my opponents army better. Refused Flank isn't the cure all panacea I somehow acted like it was.

2). Lesson #2: Know Thy Enemy: This one is short and obvious - become familiar with the different armies out there, their strengths, weaknesses, capabilities, etc. And if you're unsure or think you know how something works but not entirely sure....ask. I for some reason had this notion that Storm Ravens acted like Valkyries (it's a hold over from all the AirCav IG and Elysian lists I play...I automatically assumed any loyalist lying skimmer acts like a Valk..) and neglected to ask or clarify it with my opponent during my first turn. Had I been better informed I would have set up differently. After that though, it helped me as I learned my lesson in Game #1, so I was better prepared for the SR's in Game #2. Lesson Learned - no need to memorize every army codex out there, but it is vital to have a solid working knowledge of them all and never hesitate to ask questions of your opponent.

3). Lesson #3 (Sort Of): Don't Assume: This ties in (sort of ) with #2 above but it also applies to a wider range of the game. Never assume something. For me, I assumed I didn't have LoS to the two DK's in Game #2 that were behind the huge LoS blocking wall. Was I right? At the end of the game when I checked my assumptions were proved true, but I didn't know for sure during the game. I assumed I didn't have LoS so didn't bother actually getting model level to check. Which is another thing, get model level to check. I did it OFTEN and it really does help you get a better understand of distances, target availability, cover, etc. It will also prevent you from not shooting at some big nearby danger because you think you can't see it. Always be confident in your choices and make sure you have FACTS and not assumptions. Lest a DK jump 12" over some wall and then smack all of your Long Fangs in assault.

All in all though, the Gigabytes Tourney was extremely well run and a blast. Excellent players and armies all around, and everyone was a gentleman to play with. As for my list, since you all want to know (I can see it in your beady little eyes), it was:

Njal w/ Runic TDA
RP - CotS, SofBS, TW, LL
Wolf Lord - TWM, WC, SS, WTN, WTT, SofWB, MBs

5x Wolf Scouts - Melta, MotW
5X Wolf Guard - 2X TDA (1X Assault Cannon/PF, 1X Frost Blade/SS), 3X (3X Combi-melta, 1X TH, 1X PF, 1X WC)
Lone Wolf - TDA, TH/SS, MBs

7X GH's - Melta, MotW, Banner, Rhino
7X GH's - Melta, MotW, Banner, Rhino
7X GH's - Melta, MotW, Banner, Rhino
5X GH's - Melta, RBack with HK Missile

Fast Attack:
1X Typhoon Speeder
1X Typhoon Speeder

Heavy Support:
6X Long Fangs - Pack Leader, 5X ML
6X Long Fangs - Pack Leader, 5X ML
6X Long Fangs - Pack Leader, 5X ML

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