Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Battle for Salvation RTT 4/20/13

As discussed, I went to a one-day 2000-point tournament hosted by my friends at the Battle for Salvation!

Three games, using Battle Points. A system very similar to what Brendan of Gaming Etc uses...book missions are combined, victory point margin of win is used to determine battle points.

I carpooled over with my friend Sean McCloud...his Paladins probably felt dirty being in the back of my mini-van next to all those Daemons...and we hit Dunkin Donuts so I could get my pre-tournament two large coffees (actually one coffee, one iced mocha...yum!). We chatted 40k for an hour and got there, signed up, got ready to go...and found my iced mocha had spilled in the floor in the back seat where I'd set it (in the carry tray thing). Now my car REEKS of mocha. I mean, there are worse things I guess, but...gross!

I took two lists, as the Flesh Hounds I've ordered aren't in yet I only had Chaos Warhounds from fantasy to use. I wasn't sure they'd allow that, but they did...thanks guys!..so I got to use the list I wanted:

Slaanesh Herald (Steed, Greater, Beguile)
3 Fiends
3 Fiends
15 Daemonettes
11 Horrors
11 Horrors
10 Plaguebearers
10 Plaguebearers
18 Flesh Hounds
18 Flesh Hounds
20 Seekers (Icon)
Soul Grinder (Slaanesh, Vomit)
Soul Grinder (Slaanesh, Vomit)

My backup list dropped a unit of dogs for another grinder and Khorne Herald. This one works much better...tons of threats in the face right away!

I knew I had some bad match-ups  and saw them around the room...Land Raiders, Paladins, Tau, Mech Guard...but was very surprised when my first match-up turned out to be Daemons!

Lee had a very Khorne heavy army...lots of hatred between his Khorne and my Slaanesh stuff! He had, as best I can recall:

Bloodthirster (2 Greaters)
6 Crushers with Champ (Greater)
two big units of Bloodletters
two big units of Horrors
6 Screamers
4 Flamers
2 Skullcannons
Tzeentch Soul Grinder with Phlegm

My Herald (he/she/it needs a name!) got the Armourbane/Fleshbane. I have no idea what gifts Lee rolled...bad memory, old AND blond! The mission was Relic + Kill Points, with Hammer/Anvil deployment. Lee won the roll and had me go first.

I deployed Seekers centrally, flanked by Grinders, with Hounds flanking them. I put one unit of Plagues in some ruins, everything else was deep striking.

Lee deployed the Grinder centrally with the Thirster behind. Horrors flanked them. One unit of letters deployed a bit to his left, and to the left of them went the Crushers with Karanak, with Screamers behind them. Flamers and other Letter unit were deep striking.

We both scouted, I won the roll and had Lee scout first. I moved up the full 12" with the Crushers, I moved up dogs a bit on that side, and on the other the dogs went up full blast.

He chose not to seize, so off we went. His scout move had placed his Crushers in easy charge range of the Seekers, so in they went. Grinders took pot shots at Skullcannons, doing nothing. Hounds moved up and spread out to minimize damage from the S8 large blasts Lee had.

Warpstorm...interesting when it affects both of us! I rolled the -1 to Invuln saves. I was bummed, but actually it worked out great...the Seekers got to go before the crushers, and killed almost all of them before they could swing. Only Karanak and the Champ survived, killed a few Seekers, and popped on Instability.

That area in front of the Seekers...that used to be full of Blood Crushers and Karanak!

I feared the Large blasts, as I wasn't able to consolidate far at all!

Lee and I were both kind of stunned by the outrageous output of the Seekers. So he threw a bunch of stuff at them. Bloodletters and the Thirster went in to them. Warpstorm did nothing much. Horrors and large blasts took out several dogs. The Thirster had to come thru area terrain, so was going last. He challenged...I probably should have declined, but accepted with the herald, and did two wounds to him, but died. The Seekers killed too many letters, they couldn't get in to get attacks. Instability was fine, though (or maybe we forgot it...this was the first real game with these lists for both of us, I think, so slow brains are forgiven!)

My turn 2, I get in 1 Fiend unit and 2 Horror units. I dropped one Fiend unit next to the icon where it can get in to his backfield. One Horror unit tried to drop on the relic and scattered, mishap-ed  and Lee placed it way back in a corner. The other scattered just a wee bit, and landed on the relic. Woot!

Hounds on my left went in to the Horrors, killed them all. Hounds on my right went in to the Bloodthirster. Seekers and Hounds dog-piled on him, killing him outright. The Thirster smashed several dogs to death...I believe 4 died...but the seekers were left tied up with just 3 Bloodletters.

Middle of Turn 2...grinders staring each other down!

On the left, his Grinder and Skullcannon combined to kill a LOT of hounds...Screamer Slash Attacks helped. On the right, the Skullcannon did a few dogs, and the Horrors did a number on the Fiends, shooting then assaulting and killing them. He got his Flamers in, putting them on my left near the beat up Fleshhounds (the ended up not being able to fire as he killed off too many with other shooting!). His big Letter unit went in my deployment area, hoping for linebreaker and easy Plaguebearer or Horror points I think. His Grinder got in to assault with my dogs, which left just a few alive. Seekers finished off the Bloodletters.

Keep going, doggies!

On my turn I got in the Daemonettes and plague bearers. The Plagues I hid behind a hill (kill point mission, they had nothing to do but try to not die!) while the 'nettes went to help get Linebreaker. One of my Soul Grinders assaulted his freshy-arrived Bloodletters, while the other assaulted his Soul Grinder that was eating my dogs! Grinder on Grinder grinding action...very sexy! My remaining Seekers killed a Skullcannon. Hound unit killed Horrors. Soul Grinders tickled each other, and I had one dog remaining.

Turns out...Grinder on Grinder action isn't as steamy as it sounds...

He sent Screamers in to the Grinder fighting the Bloodletters, not much else to do. They only got a few hits, 1 pen and a glance, I saved the glance, and the Pen stunned me, which I ignored.

Screamers try to save the Bloodletters from the bad touches of the Slaanesh Grinder...

That was pretty much all she wrote. My Soul Grinder killed his, moved to hit his flamers. My Fiends went to kill his Screamers, and Lee graciously surrendered!

Game called here.

I ended up winning by 8 points I think. I didn't detail the warpstorms above...bad memory...but I know one more time I rolled the 4, which hurt him far worse than me as most of my stuff had higher Init. Nothing else interesting really happened with it. Good game, I was fortunate that the seekers...the only things I felt had a chance against the Thirster...were given the chance to take him down. If the Thirster had gone after Grinders or troops, things could have easily gone another way.

The next game was a match up that I remember thinking might be really horrible for me...full Ravenwing with Devastation Banner. Matt from Ordo Malleus had a very attractive force, led by Sammael and a Librarian in a Command Squad with the Banner of Meanness. I believe it was 3 (or maybe 4...I have a horrible memory!) Ravenwing squads with Attack Bikes and detached Land Speeders (Typhoon/MM), 2 Darkshrouds, and a unit of 2 MM/HF Speeders.

I felt concerned, as he had speed to match mine, tremendous firepower, and wouldn't fold over easily in melee. Moreover, the mission was Scouring, and he had lots of super-fast speeders to do late game tricks with.

He won the roll and decided to go first. He reserved to deep strike the unit of 2 speeders; the 'troop' speeders and one Shroud clustered together on my right; all the bikes, attack bikes, and the other Shroud clustered around the command squad and the banner of meanness a bit left of center.

I put the Seekers all the way to the left, trying to make them look innocuous and un-intimidating  The Dogs and one Grinder lined up right across from him (this is where the 4-point objective was), with a unit of Plagues camping the objective in my bottom left (sort of between the Seekers and Hounds); the other unit of Plagues went to the objective in my bottom right, with a Grinder to keep them company. Fiends went with the Dogs, and both Horrors and the Daemonettes were deep striking.

He won the roll and scouted first, taking away most of the board for my scout moves by zooming one unit forward. I moved up the dogs as far as I could, and awaited the storm.

He starts moving backwards after having scouted forward...

I tried to seize but failed, and off we went. He moved the things that had scouted backwards a bit, most things shuffling to get long range Salvo shots. His Speeders took shots at a Soul Grinder, but with Nightfight giving me super-save, they were ineffective. Bolter fire wasn't as horrible as I thought...a fiend unit was reduced to one wounded model and I lost a few dogs from one unit.

First turn and I zipped up as fast as I could. I had reasonable charges with both Hound units on his forward most Bike unit...one needed about 5", the other about 8". The surviving Fiend went along, hoping to add some init reduction to the party. Soul Grinders moved up too. Shooting phase and the Warpstorm chart...only time it did anything this game...I rolled the 3, and my Herald died. First Blood and Warlord in one fell swoop. Sigh. Grinders ran, unwounded Fiends ran and hid behind the central hill, Seekers got a solid 12" run and got in to his deployment zone, and I decided to use the damaged Fiend to eat the Overwatch...it died, but both dog units then got in easily, and though I took a few wounds the squad was wiped out.

Turn 1, and I'm on top of him! Note how many Bikes he has packed in to that tight area, all hugging the Banner and the Shroud!

I was able to consolidate a bit with the more damaged squad on to the 4-pt objective, and his shooting recommenced! He focused fire on the wounded dog unit. Most of his units were shooting thru his other units (they were very intertwined to stay close to the Shroud and the Banner), so I went to ground for a 3+ and survived with 4 dogs left. One Bike unit fired at, doing small damage, to the other dog unit and assaulted them. He won combat barely and I was fine. Speeders fired shots all over, one moving up to get a Melta shot on the soul grinder on the right, but missed...he ended up having abyssmal luck with his Melta shots, to the point he earned a pair of Ordo dice. With all the melta and krak going at my right Grinder, it still lived thru the game immobilzed and with his DCCW gone, but alive.

Losing dogs fast!

My turn, I got one Horror unit in, which went to the objective in his deployment zone on my right. Fiends went up to support the dogs already fighting the bike squad. Seekers went over the hill and assaulted another bike squad, losing almost half to overwatch and dangerous, and more to having to go I1 from the hill. Still, the survivors had more than enough to wipe out the squad. Rending is fun! Fiends and dogs left 2 Bikes alive, they failed morale, were caught, stuck, tried to hit and run, but failed. My Grinder on the right assaulted and destroyed a Speeder that had moved to Melta range. Go Grinders!

You can barely see one of my Horrors peeking out of the ruin at the right!

Quite the scrum over this 4-point objective!

His last Bike squad moved to engage the Seekers, while his Assault Bikes and command squad moved to shoot up the rest of the Hounds. Shooting was very successful, despite going to ground the Seekers were all destroyed, and the small hound unit was reduced to one model! His Bike squad fighting the Hounds and Seekers refused to die, hanging on with one model left.

Hey, where'd all the Seekers go!?

My Daemonettes came in, deep striking near the hill where the Seekers had just died, hoping to secure that objective. My Soul Grinders pressed forward some more, the one on the right killing the Shroud with the Vomit, the one on the left charging in to this last Bike squad...sorry you only have Krak grenades! In combat the Grinder killed 3 of them, they stuck and failed to Hit and Run. Fiends and Dogs finished off the other Squad.

Soul Grinder goes to work while the Fiends and Hounds stand by to be shot at again...

He zipped Speeders around, one of them trying to kill my right Grinder, but managing only to Immobilize it, with 1 point remaining. The others killed the Fiends. The Command squad aimed towards the Daemonettes, who went to ground and weathered things well...then the squad failed it's charge roll. The Soul Grinder beat down a few more bikes, who stayed tied up with me.

My turn, the final Horrors showed up. I dropped them near the 4-point objective, hoping their shooting could help me clear out his attack bikes and move to the objective. Daemonettes had gone to ground  so they just hung around. My immobile Soul Grinder took some shots but did nothing. Flesh Hounds killed his last Shroud (the mission was Scouring, so it was worth points). His last bike Hit & Run away from the Soul Grinder, moving 'behind' the Daemonettes to get to contest that objective.

Right Grinder barely hanging on, but he's running out of bikes now!

He sent attack bikes to try to contest objectives. Then his bad luck reared up even higher, as his last bike, trying to shoot plasma gun at the Daemonetes, killed itself. His Command Squad made it in to the Daemonettes, but only barely won combat and the Daemonettes stood strong. His last attack bike tried to assault the Plaguebearers on a 3-point objective, but failed.

I had bottom of the last turn, Soul Grinder went in to the command squad, leaving just Sam and the Apothecary. Horrors killed second to last  Attack Bike after moving to secure the 4-point objective.

Final score was 15 to 4! Max points for the Daemons!

Last of the Ravenwing make their stand against the Daemons!

Which meant my next match was against the guy ahead of me in points, Chris and his new, fresh out of the box Tau! Knowing almost nothing about the new Tau, I felt more than a little intimidated . Chris had tabled both his previous opponents in 4 turns...I was worried.

His list, from what I got from talking since I never saw it written, was something like this:
Longshot (with Hammerhead)
4 units of Firewarriors (I'm not sure how many in each...about a dozen or so I guess)
2 units of Pathfinders (10 in each?)
2 units of 2 Broadsides with missiles and shield drones
2 Riptides (I have no idea what the weapons are called)
5 Pathfinders

The mission was 5 objectives (Nova-style placement) with Big Guns in effect. Scoring Broadsides and Scoring Soul Grinders. Interesting! Deployment was Vanguard Triangles. Chris won the roll and had me go first. I had the Move Thru Cover warlord trait...handy for those damned Seekers!

The table had lots of good LOS blocking terrain, including a be-jungled Bastion (impassable) at table-center. He told me he had Skyfire & Intercetor with a Large Blast on the Riptides, so I was skeptical of deep-striking too many things. I chose to put Horrors on my extreme flanks...they'd be close to objectives, had large hills to hide behind, and could be used to engage Firewarriors that came out to get objectives. Dead center went the Seekers, hidden behind the Bastion. Grinders flanked them, Hounds flanked them. One Plaguebearer unit sat on objective deep in my corner in ruins. The Daemonettes and the other Plagues I chose to deep strike. I figured if he chose to Interceptor at them, the Hounds and Seekers would be less shot at on the subsequent turn.

My plan was to scout forward as much as possible, and move up for turn 2 charges from Seekers and Hounds, with Grinders and Fiends right behind. I knew he could remove a lot of my models with his shooting, but I was banking on having enough left to do significant damage in melee after only one turn of shooting.

Chris deployed deep in his deployment zone. He was concerned of turn 1 charges (which I hammed up a bit) and measured fastidiously so that there was no way I could scout then assault him. Eldrad had Prescience and Misfortune, no idea what the other power was.

So, off we went. I had a change of plan when I saw how deep he was. It was clear he had nothing with any speed, and that to win he'd have to come out of his castle to get to objectives at some point. I thought if I could stay on the objectives, out of LOS as much as possible, preserving enough force to slaughter any Tau that got close, I could win relatively bloodlessly.

To that end, I moved both Dogs laterally behind hills as much as I could, along with Horrors. Seekers moved in to Area around the Bastion. Grinders moved forward a bit...I wanted to put a bit of pressure on, and they need to be close to do it.

I rolled Warpstorm first turn, got the Instability result. First unit I rolled was the Horrors on my left...the ones that I expected to have to do a lot of work, and rolled a 12, unit removed. I once again gave up First Blood on my first turn thanks to the Warpstorm chart. Sigh.

The Tau lurking in the Shadows!

Look at those Daemons cowering behind the hills!

Things started going downhill for me quickly. Despite hiding behind things, he was able to kill about half the Hounds on the left and the Seekers. This wasn't completely unexpected, but frustrating none the less. He moved one of his Riptides forward a bit.

My Second turn, I pushed the Grinders up more. One went in front of the forward Riptide, daring him to charge me...the Seekers were a mere 16" behind him, and I felt they'd rip right thru it...pun intended. I dropped the Plagues in near his Riptide moving towards my Grinder. I tried to drop the Daemonettes nearby too, really giving him something to shoot at and stay home, but they scattered on top of the Plagues and I rolled the 1. No love from the dice gods today. Fiends moved up to support the Grinder...really I wanted to give him something to shoot at and motivate him to stay back in his castle. I took a lot of time thinking this turn, and decided I might as well go in with my un-blooded Hound unit as well. If he sat back to shoot at them, it would just take him that much longer to get to the objectives.

The Fire Warriors fear the Soul Grinder!

This worked pretty well. The only thing that really moved was some Firewarriors on my left, shuffling a bit, and the Riptide went in to the Soul Grinder. His shooting took out more hounds and 2 Seekers, but bounced off the Grinders that he was really shooting at. The Riptide didn't do great against the Grinder...I think he did a pen and a glance, and the Pen roll was a stun, which I ignored. The Grinder managed a few wounds to the Riptide too!

The Daemons poised and ready...in other words, hiding like girls...

Ok, now things are interesting...I have things I can charge! The Hounds on my left go in to the Broadsides; Hounds on my right and one surviving Fiend went in to the Broadsides over there; and the Plagues went in to some Firewarriors. The Seekers, as planned, went in to the Riptide. Unsurprisingly the Seekers ate the Riptide, and both Hound units beat the Broadside units, and ran them down. The Plagues didn't do well, but at least the Fire Warriors were tied up. We had some contention this turn, sadly. I tried to charge Fire Warriors with the unengaged Soul Grinder. Only at this point did I learn that he had a Special Character in the Hammerhead nearby that allowed it to Overwatch. I pointed out that I didn't know this, he'd never told me, and I never got a copy of his list. It wasn't that big a deal, it was a frustration for me...nobody likes to be surprised by something game-changing like that...and frustrating for him as well as I was grumpy about something he thought was obvious. I let things go, the Grinder was destroyed by overwatch, and we moved on. Actually the explosion from the Grinder killed a big chunk of his models hiding in the ruin...probably hurt him more than me! Also key during this turn...the Warpstorm killed all the Eldar Pathfinders (sorry, I don't remember which one it was...I think the Nurgle?)

The Daemons finally strike!

Still deep in his corner...

I was actually thinning out the shooting a bit, but was getting a bit thin in the 'attacking' troops myself. He spread fire around a bit, taking out the last Fiend, some Hounds...and really I don't remember what else. it wasn't as terrifying anymore! The Plagues and Fire Warriors whiffed at each other some more, and we went on...to the top of 4!

I realized that we were somewhat low on time, and if I could keep the pressure on...keep his troops home for one more turn...I stood a good chance of pulling off a win. I threw Flesh Hounds in to the Fire Warriors the Plagues had been fighting (only one dog left at this point, I believe!), and the others in to the Hammerhead (I wanted that last Heavy point!). The Seekers moved to join the Hounds on the Hammerhead. The Hounds lost a few models to over-watch  only had two in the fight...the Seekers didn't do as well, losing all but the Herald who had but one wound left. Really key this turn was Khorne getting angry...the unit the Ethereal and Eldrad were in was hit, and they were tightly clumped in the ruin! I gambled, centered the template on the Ethereal, it Hit, they took like 5 wounds, and there was a failed LOS and a failed Save and the Ethereal died! Warlord! Sadly, I left my Warlord out to die also, but I'd take it!

We were told at this point that this would be our last turn. Chris realized the danger. His last Riptide fired a Large Blast at the plagues in my deployment zone, it scattered a bit, and I only lost 1 Plague. The Hammerhead tried to take down the Grinder holding the center objective...hit...pen...failed save...and he rolled a 2! The surviving Fire Warriors and Pathfinders killed off the Herald, and that was game!

Right before the end...my Herald died, the Grinder didn't, and that was the game!

We added up the final points...I had 3 objectives, Warlord, Linebreaker, and 2 heavies for 13; he had 1 objective (almost none...my flesh hound needed to consolidate 4" to contest the one he held, but he went 3...), first blood, warlord, and a heavy for 6. 7 point win for me!

The totals were tallied...22 participants I believe.

3rd place went to Vulkan Drop Pod marines...no allies!

2nd place went to Dark Eldar...mostly mechanized, with Eldar allies!

and 1st place went to me!

I was really thrilled and surprised to have pulled it out. I'd done a lot of theory-hammer, but this was the first real test of the list I'd come up with, and all seemed to work as planned. I had three tough match-ups  nothing I'd really "meta'd" for...and luckily avoided the things that I felt I'd have trouble with...fliers, Grey Knights, Land Raiders. So, first test successful, time to apply some paint and press on for others!

For taking first place, I got free admission to my favorite GT, the Battle for Salvation in October! I hope to see you all there...GREAT tournament run by GREAT folks! Thanks to Bobby, Ed, and the rest of the BFS crew for hosing a great RTT, and thanks to Lee, Matt, and Chris for three great, fun, nail-biting games of 40k!

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