Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Feast of Blades Qualifier: Round Two

So after a surprise win against Alex Fennel's Blood Angels, we had a quick lunch break (pulled chicken & onion grilled panini with a large iced coffee...), and back to see myself paired against a VERY evil Grey Knights list...

Free whining with your cheese!

I mean, if I were to design a GK list to counter my Flying Circus of Tzeentch, it probably wouldn't be too far from this one!

His list included Coteaz, 4 Warrior Acolytes in Razorbacks, 5 Strike Squad (Psycannon) in a Razorback, 5 Strike Squad (Psycannon) in a Rhino, 10 Interceptors (2 Psycannons, 2 Hammers, a Staff), 2 Venerable Dreads, a regular Dread, and two Dreadknights with Teleporters and Hvy Incinerators.

Lots of shooting, lots of heavy melee troops, lots of maneuverability, and, well...just lots of stuff! I was intimidated, but when I read the mission I saw a glimmer of hope...it was Dawn of War deployment, with table 'fifths' instead of quarters as primary (a rectangle in the middle of the table, then 4 triangular-ish sections radiating from it...look at the Feast of Blades missions for a picture), with objectives as Secondary. Conventional wisdom says Daemons should go first against all that Warp Quake, but I really hoped I could keep my flying MC central and zip to the most appropriate Fifth at the end of turn 5 where they could claim the Fifth and contest an Objective.

Now, this seemed like a good idea at the time, but as things got underway I realized how horribly tired I was. I sat a lot during this game...something I almost never do. Maybe I'm just getting old. I'll tell you what, though, I sure am glad I didn't decide to play Orks. I couldn't have managed to deploy, move, then pick up all those green bodies for the whole day! Sadly, I took very few pictures, and made a lot of really bone-headed decisions during the game.

Andrew deployed centrally, with Coteaz and Interceptors front and center!
 So I won the roll to go first, chose to go second, and Andrew deployed in a nice safe central position. His first turn he moved very little, just shuffling the DK and Int up forward a bit to the hill seen above, mid-table. Everything cast Warp Quake, and Coteaz put Prescience up on the Interceptors.

I then rolled, and of course did not get my preferred wave...so my 4 puny Horror units and Flamers had to drop in and take all that fire. This is, of course, a huge problem with how I run this list. Having my head stuck squarly in my rear-end, I think I see there's an opportunity to do good damage to the Interceptors with the Flamers, and I got this horrible brain-lock on how Warp Quake worked...I kept thinking that he had to roll to use it whenever I dropped in it's range. I know this is wrong, I knew it then too, but I kept dropping the stupid flamers in WQ range. He kept looking at me incredulously, not understanding my complete brain-lock on this, and I kept rolling the "opponent redeploys" result, and he kept putting them back in Warp Quake range (which, by the way, I find particularly distasteful...not in the spirit of the game at all in my opinion), and eventually they were sent back to reserves.

My Horrors landed as far as I felt I could away from the bulk of his things, but of course on his second turn he shot everything he had at them, and charged one unit with a Dreadknight...who actually found it quite difficult to cut through that 4+ invulnerable save! I ended the turn with only 8 horrors alive. Sigh.

So my turn2 , and here I'm really hoping for the whole Circus to come down, but I'm in Ordo...so I get one unit of Screamers, the Lord of Change, and one Daemon Prince...and Flamers, that I again dropped right in Warp Quake range to his incredulous look again...some days, it sucks to be old and blond! I did end up getting one Flamer unit on the board, thanks to scattering outside Warp Quake. They were shot up before doing anything next turn, of course.

So I shot up a Razorback, and continued to lose troops as his Interceptors jumped back in to the middle of my few remaining Horrors. His third turn shooting left me just a single Horror, while 2 more continued to die slowly to the Dreadknight. The single unit of Screamers that landed on my turn 2 bore the brunt of his shooting...in hindsight I'm almost certain I forgot their 4+ cover from having Turbo-boosted...oh well.

Finally on my turn 3 I got the Circus on the table, and I got my brain engaged enough to realize that Warp Quake worked automatically, so I should stay away...I continued to have less than positive dice results, as the final unit of flamers and a daemon prince both scattered long distances right in to his minimal Quake envelope (as his Interceptors were a long ways off hunting down horrors), and I lost both to the Mishap roll of 1s. Unlucky and stupid is not a good combination!

I did a bit of running to get all my remaining flying beasties in Fateweaver range, and a lonely horror struggled to make it to the relative safety of Fateweaver's presence, but he was several feet away. My shooting did minimal damage, and the last of the Horrors fighting the Dreadknight finally decided theirs was a lost cause, so died with a whimper.

So on his turn 4, he set his sights on Fateweaver, and unloaded. Virtually everything he had shot at Fatey, except the Interceptors, who'd been whittled down by shooting to about 4 models so fled quietly to a corner to see what table qtr they'd be needed in, and some razorbacks shot down my last little Horror. Fateweaver proved too much, though, with being hit on 6s and rerolling his saves left him safe, sound, and still flying.

On my 4 I was finally able to get things going where I wanted, and moved near the center of the table where I could throw the weight of my high-priced Greater Daemons and Princes in to the end-game. Shooting was successful, taking out another Razorback and turning a Dreadknight in to a Spawn! Ha!! Nothing against Andrew at all, but I sure do wish I had a picture of the look on his face when that 6 rolled up for his toughness test! I assaulted the other DK with a DP, wagering that my Smash and better Invuln save would give me the advantage...and I wanted to take away his most mobile force, as they all had their Shunts left.

This dropped his points down for contesting quite a bit, and I saw a glimmer of hope, so girded myself and pressed on with my plan!

His turn 5 was a long one, as we both did a lot of points-adding and evaluating. He parked enough points to hold the fifth at his side of the table, and on my left. I had enough in the fifth in my side of the table and my right. It was all about the middle area, and I realized that the secondary objective didn't matter a lick...with an odd number of "quarters" to capture, there would be no need for tie-breaker...I just needed that middle!

Andrew got his Strike Squads out ready to shoot and assault, and moved 2 Acolyte groups towards each of the two objectives on his side of the table, those that still had vehicles disembarking. His Dreadnoughts had continued to walk forward throughout the battle (though I'm really not sure why...), and they pressed in to the middle, right in front of my Circus.

He then started shooting without intent to kill, just forcing grounding tests, and he succeeded! Fateweaver was grounded, and the Lord of Change was grounded, though FW suffered no wounds. Uh-oh! With the Glides I'd done on turn 4, this allowed him to assault Dreadnoughts on a Daemon Prince and Fateweaver, while the Lord of Change was charged by Warrior Acolytes (to suck up the Overwatch) and a Strike Squad.

Fateweaver continued to be invincible, the DPs took big chunks out of the DK (despite the 4+ ward and rerolls from Coteaz) and the Dread, and the LOC suffered 1 wound (passing his Ldr test from Daemonbane weapons), and killed 3 Strike, causing the Warrior Acolytes to run!

We asked for a time check at the end of his turn, and learned we had only 10 minutes to play...this would be the very last turn, one way or another.

And I unleashed my final terror...a full unit of Screamers that had dropped safely and hid behind Fateweaver on Turn 4! These guys multi-assaulted in to the Dreadnoughts fighting Fateweaver and a Daemonprince, ripping them both apart, while the Lord of Change finished off all the remaining Strike squad he was fighting! The last DP stayed tied up with the buffed-up Dreadknight he was fighting, but that DK was at half-wounds, so worth half VP for the middle 'fifth' where he was.

Horrible picture...LoC barely visible on the right; DP fighting DK on the hill; a DP base barely visible bottom left.

So after consolidating securely in to the zones I needed, and confirming there was less than a minute, so no new turn would start, we counted up control of the zones...he had the zone on my left and the one in his deployment, while I had the center (with a Daemon Prince, Screamers and Fateweaver...almost 700 points against just his wounded Dreadknight!), and I had units in my side and my right...a win for me on Primary mission, 3-2!

Now this was a bit confusing for me, though, as by total points from Secondary and Bonus points, he kicked my tail...something like 18 points to 12? I don't remember exactly...but he had more "points" than me...but I'm guessing this system works like Nova, where the Primary is the main determination of W/L, with the other things being more for tie-breaking and seeding. So, at the end of that game, I was elated to have done anywhere near as well as I had, with the horrible stupidity about Warp Quake, the bad reserve and scatter dice, and, well, a list that just simply doesn't work well when not getting the primary force in!

The way things worked out, I'm quite happy I went second...in a mission that doubles-up on the advantages of going second, it really is what made the win possible. If he'd gone last, he might have been able to zip things around to take one of the zones away from me, forcing it his way. I don't know what else I might have done with my non-preferred wave coming in. Dropping the Flamers safely might have given a bit more target saturation and kept horrors alive for an extra turn, but I just didn't have my head on straight there to make it work.

I really need more practice with this list where I don't get my preferred in to see what kind of things work and don't for me!

Thanks to Andrew for a great game! I admit to getting a bit cranky about the Warp Quake business where he would redeploy me right back in to Quake range, but really it was my own stupid fault for not having my head removed from my ass for where I was placing things to begin with! Once the cranial-rectal-inversion was corrected, I had no more WQ trouble.

Oh, and I forgot...the Spawn made from the Knight was shot to death by Coteaz himself...Ha! Sorry for the lack of photos! I blame Grey Knight Cheese...

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