Tuesday, November 6, 2012

RTT: Gaming Etc. in Stratford, CT

I took Bobby with me to a 1500 point tournament at Gaming Etc in Straford, CT this last weekend...I wanted to try some different Daemon stuff, wanted Bobby to see what a tournament is like, and above all wanted to get some fun time in with my boy!

I was one of several Ordo Ineptus members that went to compete...Sean Nayden was there with his latest Dark Eldar meanness; Bob Gavlik was there with his CSM; Mike Gavlik with his Orks; and Steve with his Space Wolves.

I wanted to use a few things I've had on the back burner but haven't actually used in a competitive setting yet, particularly Soul Grinders and The Masque. Mercer at Imperius Dominatus seems to get good mileage out of his Grinders, but I was skeptical...so wanted to try them myself!

My list was:
The Masque
3 units of 5 Flamers
4 units of 5 Plaguebearers
2 units of 6 Screamers
5 Screamers
2 Soul Grinders with Phlegm

Gaming, Etc is a short drive for us in Danbury, less than an hour. It's designed as a "Tournament Center" for card games and console video games. Brendan (an 11th company host) has been getting the Warhammer events happening there more frequently, and it sounds like this will be a monthly thing...I'm very excited for that! He's got some great terrain for table (Stelek would hate it...Line of Site is actually blocked!), and has some really solid missions using combinations of book scenarios. His mission descriptions and terrain description rules were clear and descriptive with no ambiguity. I really really liked his format and the attention to detail he showed in his preparation. Awesome job, Brendan!

Our first game was against another father-son team, using the new Chaos Marines! They had Kharne, and a Khorne Lord with Axe of Blind Fury. 3 Units of Berzerkers (one in a Rhino), and a 4th CSM unit unmarked. For ranged support they had 3 units of Havoks with the Mark of Nurgle, each packing 4 Missile Launchers! A solid list, but Daemons are a bad matchup for Marines on foot...

The deployment was Hammer/Anvil; mission was Relic and Big Guns Never Tire combined...where the Relic was worth 5 points and 4 other objectives worth 3 each. I won the roll and had them go first.

They deployed as expected. spread out a bit with the Zerks thrown forward and the Havocs hanging back with the CSM supporting.

The game went according to my plan, as I got both Soul Grinders, a Flamer, all Screamers, and Masque in first turn. Flamers dropped next to some Havocs on a hill and killed all of them. Screamers dropped safe and Turbo-boosted to be out of assault range. Soul Grinders dropped in far back and spit Phlegm at Berzerkers...one unit had the Lord as the most advanced model, and he was killed when he failed his Look Out Sir and his Invuln, suffering Instant Death. The other squad took a beating as well.

Remnants of my first turn shooting.

Screamers turbo-boosted to relative safety, ready to leap forward on turn 2

On their second turn the now-Lordless Zerks moved to assault the flamers that had killed the Havocs, but thanks to overwatch and difficult terrain failed to make it in to melee. Kharne's Zerks hugged the giant wall in the middle of the table to avoid fire. The 2 remaining Havoc squads shot at a Soul Grinder, getting only one glance which I saved.

Berzerkers lose 3 to overwatch then fail their assault.

This Bastion-shaped rune was packed full of Havocs!

My second turn I dropped in some Plaguebearers, one mishapped and my opponents placed them right next to Kharne so he'd have something to eat next turn. More Flamers came in, dropping in the middle of his army to spray death. Flamers killed off the Rhino, the CSM squad, and the last of the Lordless Zerks; Screamers assaulted the Zerks that fell out of the Rhino, killing them, and Screamers assaulted Kharne's squad...Kharne killed 3 but the remaining three killed Kharne and the squad.

Not much left alive after my turn 2 drop!

Even less after my turn 2 melee!
The last few turns were spent digging the last two Havoc squads out of the ruins, which was done with the loss of a Screamer squad.

These guys (I wish I could remember their names!!!) were a ton of fun to play. They really adhered to the "forge a narrative" concept, something I wish I could do myself more. Everything had a reason and a fluffy story to it, we had a lot of laughs at the crazy dice (mine were hot, theirs were cold) and the Daemon-infected relic will be something I'll remember! Definitely got my favorite game vote!!

The part of Stratford we were in was still suffering from power outages, so Sean took us on a short trip to find a Subway for lunch. We got back and ate, but I got to chatting and ended up late for game 2! I was up against Vulkan!

The Marine list included a full unit of Sniper Scouts with Cloaks; 2 Tactical Squads (Lascannon and Meltagun); 2 Vindicators; a Thunderfire Cannon; an Aegis Line with Quadgun; and 2 units of 2 Multi-melta Attack Bikes.

Exactly the kind of list I'm designed to fight! :)

This mission was Dawn of War; and Scouring...except the objectives of different values were pre-set in accordance with Brendan's instructions such that no side had an advantage. This I liked a lot! I won the roll again, and had my opponent go first.

He castled up in a corner, with the Thunderfire inside the AGL along with a combat-squad manning the Quadgun. The rest of his force was shielded by a large hill, giving at least cover if not completely blocking LOS to ranged fire from mid-table. His Scouts Infiltrated in to a set of ruins.

On his first turn things crept forward and popped smoke, ready to spring in to mid-table for objectives on his next turn.

But I dropped in 3 Flamers, 2 Screamers, 2 Soul Grinders, and the Masque. Flamers focused on the guys in the AGL, with 2 units landing close enough to flame them, and another scattering off in to terrain, but no worries.

The Flamers wiped out the combat squad, and did only one wound to the Thunderfire. Screamers zipped up and spread out, ready to kill Vindicators next turn. I managed to kill a Scout with a Slash Attack, too!

Scouts overflown by Screamers, already dancing to The Masque's tune!

Flamers paid the price for attacking the Thunderfire, but got the job done!

He did what he could, shooting the Vindicators and Multi-meltas at Screamers, but their cover save and being spread out kept losses to a minimum.

My turn 2 was very brutal, as it tends to be. Screamers killed the Vindicators and a full Rhino exploded, leaving the troops pinned. The Masque bunched up the Scouts, and Flamers killed all of them. Flamers finished off the Quadgun and Thunderfire & Techmarine.

Screamers kill everything...

Those poor pinned Marines....

Turn 3 was his Attackbikes shooting at Plaguebearers, and Vulkan got out to deal with Screamers. Things ended quickly, though, as Flamers were able to kill off the pinned squad over the next few turns, and while Vulkan managed to finish off one Screamer unit, the rest of the Screamers handled him easily. Flamers finished off the Attack Bikes, and that was that!

As I said, this is exactly the kind of army that these Daemons excel at bashing, and they did it well. I think it took until turn 5 to finish things off, but it was effectively over on turn 2 when he had virtually nothing left that could move to any of the objectives.

It was at this point that I decided to accept the stigma and acknowledge that Daemons are broken, and I am not "that guy". :)

So round 3 comes along, and of course what's a tournament without me playing against Sean? Games against Sean are always so hard, no matter how good or bad things are going, he always finds some way to make things really difficult. I make a lot of mental errors in games, especially late in the last game of the day, and he's always prepared to take advantage.

Sean was using a very atypical Dark Eldar list, which included:

Baron Sathonyx
20 Warriors with 2 Dark Lances and a Blaster (he normally takes Splinter Cannons, but brought Lances when he learned I was bringing Grinders...what a dick! :P )
two units of 10 Wracks
9 Reavers with 3 Blasters
A big beast squad with 5 Masters, 5 Kymherae, and 8 Razorwings
and two small Guardian Jetbikes

I know he likes to get Invisibility on the Beasts and run amok with them, but luckily for me he didn't get Invis this time. He had Prescience, Mental Fortitude, Hallucination...and another that I don't remember, he never used it.

This was the Triangley deployment, and the mission was Emperor's Will plus 4 other objectives, with the Will objectives being worth more than the regular.

He won the roll and had me go first, and deployed...all over the place. He spread out so that I'd have little opportunity to do damage with flamers early, so I didn't drop them. I brought in 2 Grinders, The Masque, 2 Screamers and a Flamer. In retrospect I should have brought seven things in, specifically the third Screamer, so I could push him hard, because he made what I thought (and I think he'd agree) a pretty serious error...

He'd rolled the Outflank Warlord power, and got a bit overzealous with it. Instead of leaving the Baron with the Beasts as he'd intended, he decided to put the Baron with the Warrior blob and have them outflank. I should have piled all the Screamers in to his things early before the Warriors could come help, but instead I was relying on my Warlord power to reroll Reserve rolls to get me what I wanted on turn 2. Silly.

My thought was to get a Soul Grinder in to the Beasts. If I could do that, they'd have no way to get away, no way to hurt it, and I'd take away his most serious threat. Moreover, I wanted to use their S8 Phlegm shot to try to force some ID on Razorwings early.

I used the Masque to pull the Wracks he had screening his Beasts out so the Flamers could toast them, they left one alive, who ran away. I was then able to kill a Beastmaster and 3 Razorwing flocks with the two Soul Grinders!  I turbo-boosted the Screamers behind a big wall in the middle of the table, and in so doing handed him two free screamer units...

The last Wrack runs away!

Although it was explicitly stated in the mission packet that no terrain was impassable, I made a mental error and treated it as if it were impassable. I thought I'd be safe behind it, and would fly over to do ugly things next turn.

Instead Sean moved his beasts on top of the wall, and charged right through it. His Reavers took shots at a Soul Grinder, who saved the one Pen. Guardians moved to form a wall between the Grinders and where the Beasts were attacking, hoping to prevent exactly what I wanted to do!

The Beasts scale the wall and attack!

As this was developing, I really thought I was done...losing all those Screamers before doing anything was really going to put me on the book foot, and with Sean that's not a place I can recover from.

Then I realized he didn't have Baron, so I got to go first! Bobby rolled for one squad, and I rolled the other, and together we did something like 19 wounds to the beasts before they attacked! A really lucky turn that saved me. Several Screamers died, thanks to Prescience from Eldrad, but I won the combat big...but Eldrad had Mental Fortitude on them too!

On my turn I got another Screamer, and another Flamer in, as well as two Plaguebearers. The Bearers dropped on the 'high value' objectives, while Flamers mishapped, Sean placed them in a corner near the rest of my stuff, hoping to leave some Bearers isolated far from the rest of my force.

I was able to use the Masque to pull one unit of Jetbikes out of the way, while the other was handled by a Soul Grinder. This opened up a charge lane for a Grinder to get in to the Beast squad...he needed an 8, and got it thanks to Fleet!

The Soul Grinder gets in to the Beasts, as more Screamers move to support!

Flamers mishap in to the corner...

Bottom of 2 and Sean's Warriors came on my left table edge, near where all the action was happening. We realized at this point that we had less than an hour to play (Sean deployed very slow, and our games always go super slow) so things got a bit fast-paced and hectic.

He used Mental Fortitude on the lone Wrack to rally him, and on the Beasts, and Prescience went on the Reavers. The Reavers were able to blow up a Soul Grinder. The beast melee saw a few more wounds put on Screamers, while handfuls of beasts died.

The Warriors emerge on the Flank as the Reavers target a Grinder!

Top of turn 3, I got the last Flamers in. I dropped them near the Warriors, the mishapped Flamers moved up to join them, and the Masque moved the Warriors 5", letting me bunch them up nicely and kill 20 warriors and put a wound on the Haemonculus!

The Baron looks at the giant empty place where his Warriors used to be...

Bottom of 3 and the pace quickened even more, with Sean just moving things in piles. Things got fast-paced here, and are kind of a blur, but I remember a full unit of Screamers getting charged by a full unit of Wracks with Prescience, the screamers only killed 3 Wracks, and the Wracks killed all the Screamers! What?!?! That's not supposed to happen! Not to worry, as the Soul Grinder got in to them after finishing off the Beasts, broke them, chased after them, charged them again and eventually chased them off the table.

Remnants of Screamers did fly-over attacks to finish off the lone Wrack from the first unit, this left him Troopless.

The Baron jumped in to the Plaguebearers near the Flamers in the last pic above, to keep them off the objective nearby, and here I made my most serious mental error...I dropped my last Plaguebearers on that same objective. I'd forgotten the Baron's Hit & Run, which would allow him to tie up that objective and two troop units with only one model. Stupid!

His Reavers zoomed over and killed off the isolated Plaguebeares. This left me just one objective, with a unit of Bearers on it...and they were charged by Eldrad himself! He then poofed in to a pile of diseased goo, failing a whole handful of saves.

At the last minute, Sean bladevaned my one PB unit on the one objective I held, but only killed 4 of them. The Reavers were then wiped out by my remaining Flamers. The Baron was still contesting the other objective, having survived multiple combat rounds with The Masque, who couldn't kill him despite his down Shadowfield.

But one Objective is enough! I got 1 Emperor's Will objective, Linebreaker, First Blood. Sean got Linebreaker. A win against Sean is nothing to be taken lightly! I was very pleased! Things got so frantic there at the end as we were WAY over the time limit, my partner little Bobby finally asked..."Daddy, did we win or lose?" Poor little guy! His attention span is not quite up to a full 3-game day, but he did his best and we both had fun together!

Overall I took first place, Sean took second, the Vulkan player I'd played took third, and the other Father/Son team won Best Sportsmanship! A great fun day, made super great by all my Ordo friends and little Bobby being there to help me!

So, Daemons without FMC? I did fine. Not to disparage any of my opponents, but I really felt that Sean's list was the only real hard puzzle to solve, and while I pulled it out, if he'd not Outflanked he would have had the tools to take advantage of my error with the wall and wipe me out. I got lucky instead, and was able to take advantage of his error instead.

I loved the Masque, and will continue to try to include her in lists...I'm not sure on the Soul Grinders. In the first game, they got some lucky pot-shots on MEQ on foot, otherwise did nothing. Second game they did nothing. Third game, though, they were key, dishing out the ID shots on the Razorwings I needed. I don't think they were a detriment to the list, but I'm not sure why I'd need them instead of just a lot more Flamers and Screamers!

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