Monday, May 17, 2010

Reflecting on 'Ard Boyz

So 'Ard Boyz was yesterday and I had a great time. All 3 of my opponents were a blast to play against. I wound up coming in 5th overall out of 14 players, which isn't too bad when you consider that my first two opponents ended up taking 1st and 2nd place. Brian did an excellent job running the tournament, especially when you consider he ran two tournaments in as many days! So anyways on to the battles and how I fared in each round...

The first battle of the day had me paired up against Tyranids played by a guy named Brett. Brett was a really cool, laid back and funny guy. Unfortunately for me Tyranids are probably one of the worst matchups I could faced as I have never even opened their codex and  the only things I know about them are what I have read on the internet and things I picked up in two games against Jesse's 'nids. Not really having a good idea what my target priorities were I just focused on killing Guants and Genestealers since they are troops and it was an objective mission. This was actually harder than it sounds since he had an ability that gave one unit a turn the 'feel no pain' special rule and my Runes of Warding didn't see this as a threat and let it get through everytime!
Then he had a Tervigon (I think that's what it was!) that started pooping out more guants onto the objective late in the game! Alas though, I am Eldar and if there is one thing we excell at it's grabbing objectives. In turn 5 I knew there was not going to be enough time to get in another full game turn so I was able to safely go claim and contest. I already had a squad of Dire Avengers Controlling one objective and was able to contest one other with a Falcon that Tank Shocked a brood of Guants, and another with a squad of turbo-boosting Guardian Jetbikes. A brood of Termaguants (pooped out on turn 4) was controlling one that was out of reach for me and a brood of Genestealers was sitting in cover near another one that I wasnt' sure if I could get to without a turbo-boost, but knew that killing the brood of Genestealers and controlling it was my only way to a win. I figured that even if I would be out of range to controll it, if I could kill all the Genestealers I would at least end up in a draw, so I move my last squad of GJB's 12 inches towards the objective then fired everything from them and had the Dire Avengers Bladestorm into the Genestealers, just managing to wipe them out. Then I moved into the assualt phase where with my 6" Jetbike slide move I was able to get within 3" of the objective with about 1/4 of an inch to spare for the Minor Victory. It was very close to being a draw and if it had been anything but objectives he would have won the game easily. We needed to keep track of Victory points all day long and after adding it all up I had earned a measly 330pts while he had killed over 1500 points of my stuff. Ugh, not  a satisfying way to win, but still a fun game and a win is a win right!?

The second game of the day had me up against Jeff  (who owns the Barn where we play but otherwise had nothing to do with organizing or running the tournament, so it's all on the up and up!) and his Chaos Deamons. He is a very good player and has a very strong army that he has been playing for some time now. This time the mission was for straight up Victory points with bonus battle points being earned for controlling table quarters. I won the roll for deployment and 1st turn and passed 1st turn to him and then reserved everthing. My thinking was that I could see where his stuff came in at and then as my units became available I could move on to the table in relative safe zones and wolfpack against straggling units and otherwise play VP denial. Boy was I wrong! His army actually has quite a large footprint with his 16 bloodcrushers of Khorne and with me only getting one unit in (a guardian jetbike squad) in the 2nd turn I didn't have enough firepower to create any sort of pockets of safety for the next wave. I think he had his entire army on in the 3rd turn (if not he only had one or two units yet to arrive) and I hadn't done anything but kill a couple of bloodletters. Then in my 3rd turn everything but the Seer Council, which consisted of my Warlock squad joined by both my Farseer and Autarch, showed up. I managed to stay relatively safe with them, but it created a big bottleneck for my Council when they showed up on turn 4. There was nowhere I could have gone with them to keep them out of charge range of his bloodcrushers until I got fortune up so I decided that if it was gonna happen I might as well be the one to initiate it and pray for the best! The best didn't happen, unless of course you're rooting for Jeff,  (and if you are why are you reading my blog!) It was all pretty much downhill from there. I ended up losing in a massacre and didnt even pick up any of the bonus points for table quarters as he managed to wipe out all of my scoring units.  A couple of moments that stand out from this game are when I shot at his plague bearers with two squads of Fire Dragons managing to get all 3 intervening Flamers of Tzeench with the Exarchs Dragons Breath Flamers. I killed all of the plague bearers except the icon bearer and caused 6 wounds on the flamers. He made 5 saves then I pointed the scatterlasers from two falcons at them and caused 5 more wounds. He made all 5 saves! 11 wounds on 4+ invul save models and only 1 casualty! I did end up killing them in the final turn which I took as a small moral vitory. Another great moment was when I rammed one of his Soul Grinders with a Falcon that had been 'shaken' in his turn. He chose to 'death or glory' it and due to holofields and spirit stones failed to stop it and so the hit was resolved against the rear armour value. I penned and then rolled a 6 on the damage table for the most satisfying result possible, 'destroyed - explodes'!
Despite having my ass handed to me I had a fun time. As I said Jeff is a very good player and afterwards we talked tactics a bit. I do feel I took something away from the game at least. He was also very gracious chalking up his win to 'deployment issues' and his dice being hot and mine being cold. While all of  those played a factor in how badly I lost, I have to tip my hat and acknowledge that I was flat out outplayed and having better reserves rolls and more even dice would have only lessened how much I lost by!

So after 2 battles  and only 13 battle points I knew I was pretty much out of contention, but I sat nervously awaiting the pairing announcements. Game 3 was the scenario that seemed like it would be an absolute nightmare for me. It was a modified kill points mission where anything that could move over 6" in any phase of the game counted as 3 kill points instead of the usual one and HQ's counted at 2 kill points. Since everything in my army can move over 6" a turn or is mounted in something that can I knew I would be giving up a lot of potential kill points, 38 in total. When the matchups were announce I found I was playing Jake, who runs a infantry/mech hybrid Imperial Guard army. Full mech would have been a better matchup for me as the Mech guard lists were going for around 50+ kill points but this wasn't bad either. Jake's army was worth a potential 33 or 35 kill points. So it was a pretty close matchup.
Going into this tournament I had expected to run into Imp. Guard and had put alot of thought into how I would want to play it if I did. Now was a chance to test my battle plan. I won the roll of for 1st turn/deployment zones and chose to go first. I deployed agressively with everything on the table right up to the edge of my deployment zone. he deployed most of his force with a mix of infantry platoons and vehicles spread out along his deployment zone. He kept a Hellhound and an Infantry Platoon led by Al'raheem in reserves, and declared they would be outflanking. (this is a special rule of Al'Raheem's) Then came the moment of truth... He tried to seize the initiative, and when a lone pip came up showing I breated a sigh of relieve and then got down to the business of wrecking face! I fortuned up the concil (same config as the other battle) and then turbo-boosted or moved flat out with everthing else. The council moved up 12" and another 6" in my assualt phase and I declared my turn over. Jake was clearly not expecting to run into anything with the sheer speed I have and he was just stunned that my whole army was nose to nose with him in 1 move. He did his best to try and slow me down, but with my whole army getting cover saves from moving so fast there wasn't much he could do! He did take out one of the Falcons and killed 3 of the Fire Dragons inside (then in my turn I killed the other 2 with failed dangerous terrain tests for moving around in the wreckage!). In my 2nd turn I disembarked the remaining Fire Dragons and the Dire Avengers before sending their respective transports off to get better angles at side armour on his vecicles. One squad of FD's moved up and shot at his artillery squadron with the Exarch's dragons breath Flamer managing to hit about half of the infantry unit in front of it. They blew off the cannon of the Griffon but failed to damage the colosus. They later multi assualted and blew off the colossus cannon and destoyed the griffon with their melta bombs and killed a few more guardsmen. The Farseer and the Autarch seperated from the warlock squad to go and charge a nearby infantry unit while the warlocks went to assualt the leman russ squadron. The other FD squad shot Creed and his retinues Chimera out from under them, 'exploding' it and killing a couple in the explosion then a squad of GJB's finished off the rest of the squad, except Creed himself because of Kell's special rules. My Falcons and Wave Serpents took some shots at Pask's Vanquisher, but failed to do anything. The DA's actually held off from shooting, because I didn't realize that he had commisars to make his units stubborn (that's my bad for not reading his army list thoroughly.) I simply assualted with them and the Autarch and Farseer, hoping to tie them up so I could prevent them from shooting in his turn and to in turn protect me from his shooting.
His turn 2 saw the arrival of the Hell hound which only managed to kill a single guardian jetbike. Pasks Tank took aim at one of my vehicles, but failed to penetrate the armour. Most of the combats stayed pretty much as they were.
By the end of my turn 3 the game was pretty much decided. I finished off the artillery battery. Took out Pasks Vanquisher, knocked the Flamer thingy off of the hellhound, killed off some of his foot squads and just consolidated towards the middle of the table to react to his outflakers if/when they came in.
 The rest of the game was just mop up. He did manage to take out one of the wave serpents and a squad of Dire Avengers, but in the end I won 27kp's to 8. I got the Massacre for 20pts and gained 3 of the 4 battle points available. The one I missed was for killing a total of 3000 victory points for the whole tournament. I did so poorly at killing stuff in games one and two that the 1,815 I got in this battle wasn't enough.
In the end I wound up with 36 total battle points, good enough for 5th place. I had a really good time, learned a bit more about some of the armies I am less familiar with and am now hoping that one more person drops out so I can move on to the next level (Jeff has already said he doesn't want to go so that means the 4th place player gets to go, if someone else drops or he doesn't want to it goes to me. Hope, Hope!)

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