Thursday, July 10, 2014

First 7e Tourney! Battle for Salvation May 31st!

Yeah, other than bitch about Geoff Robinson being a douche, I don't post much anymore. I'm lazy, nothing more than that. Sorry!

I have been playing a few 7e games on Vassal, got together a Daemon list I'm happy with, and went off to play in a small tournament at the Battle for Salvation gaming club in White Plains, NY. What army did I take? What things were popular at the tournament? Will 7e work for competitive play?

Read on!

So, Daemons.

I think Daemons are the army most changed by 7e. Malefic Daemonology Psychic Powers add summoning new units; FMC are significantly longer able to swoop around safely and contest objectives at the end of the game being the most debilitating change to how I used them; Objective Secured makes taking minimal/few troops not the greatest idea. Changes (Nerfs!) to D-Weapons make our invulnerable save functional versus Imperial Knights (or other Super Heavies if Escalation is being used). Telepathy (my primary go-to discipline for Daemon Princes) was changed with the inclusion of the very powerful Shrouded and Invisibility spells, while the game-winning Hallucination was beaten down to uselessness and rage-inducing Puppet Master was removed altogether.

So with all those changes in mind, I came up with a list with some help from you endlesschat!

Note that this tournament was 1750 points, only one Combined Arms Detachment, up to one other detachment allowed, using slightly modified book missions. Imperial Knights were explicitly allowed.

Herald of Tzeentch (Level 3, Disc, Exalted Reward)
Herald of Tzeentch (Level 3, Disc, Exalted Reward)
11 Horrors
11 Horrors
11 Horrors
9 Screamers
9 Screamers
Chaos Space Marine Allies
10 Cultists

Is there any surprise? Looks a lot like old-school Screamerstar, right? It will work a lot the same, but instead of rolling for Forewarning I'll be trying for Cursed Earth. Having Cursed Earth up on a Jetbike that can Turbo to get in the best spot seems great, and there's some redundancy in having multiple Screamer units.

But there's so much more here than one 2+++ Screamer unit!

Belakor casts Shrouding. Just one model from a unit gets within 6" of him (Turbo!), that model gains Shrouded, and it applies to the rest of the unit. When fired upon, they can then Jink for a 2+ cover save...and yes, Tzeentch still rerolls 1s. That means against non-Ignores Cover firing, the Screamers, Heralds, and Fateweaver are effectively immune to ranged fire.

As an aside, any pretense that a 2+ rerolling save was not intended should now be set aside. I could buy that it was an oversight when they put the Grimoire in the Daemon book. Then the Eldar came out, and there was a different way to achieve this. I could maybe see this being an oversight is GW, right?

Then years later they have a whole new Rules Edition with countless opportunities to modify the reroll mechanic or modify the specific items and/or powers that provide these saves, but instead THEY MADE MORE WAYS TO ACHIEVE IT.

Guess's intended. It's in there. It's on purpose. Forewarning + Grim; Cursed Earth + Grim; Jink + Shrouded; Protect + Fortune; Conceal + Fortune.

(Of course, it is GW...I reserve the right to be wrong :P )

Anyway, I have a 'formation' of Swooping Fateweaver and Screamers, all with 2+ cover. This is nice. I also have 4+ Invuln on the Screamers, and 3+ Invuln on Fatey and Belakor. That's nice too. Then I have Grim to throw on whoever (whomever?) I think will be the most threatened or vulnerable unit...or the one I just like the best. Even Belakor is a great Grim target, as his stock 4+ goes to a 2+.

But wait, there's more! (RIP Billy Mays!) Belakor also has Invisibility! You should all know by now how good Invisibility is, right?

So, terrain dependent of course, I can hide some things, while sending a few others out to do damage while under the protection of 2+ invuln from Cursed Earth + Grim, while the other has 4+ invuln and Invisible, as well as a 2+ cover save.

There are few things a unit of Screamers can't handle. Hopefully those things can be dealt with by Belakor. I'm looking at you, Wraithknights!

Because guess what...FMC can't assault the turn they switch to Gliding, but being Invisible is better than Swooping! So when necessary, Belakor can Invisible himself in preparation for assaulting things that probably don't want him assaulting them, and things are great, right?

Well, mostly. All these tricks require a wild barrage of dice rolls to go my way, and to get decent chances for these powers to all work I have to throw handfuls of dice at them, which makes it pretty damned likely that I'll kill myself while enacting this plan for tabletop domination.

Astute mathematicians amongst you readers will have already noted that this list sports 19 Power Dice. Most Psy Phases I'll have ~22 Dice to play with....and here's where this list gets really nice: I only NEED to cast two powers. A Cursed Earth, and a Shrouding. Anything else is gravy (for most situations). Depending on how many Deny dice the opponent has, I can safely (mostly!) cast those two powers and still have a dozen dice to play with. This will mostly be used for Invisibility on something vulnerable, but can also go to summoning something fun! Everyone loves a few free Bloodthirsters, right? :)

And the Gravy? I have Fatey's reroll to help with Perils (either by preventing or saving myself on the chart!)

So, now that I've written a novel on my first 7e list, how about that tournament?

Well, as usual, I was far too lazy to take pictures...only managed two the whole day, so after all the build up, I'm just doing brief summaries :)

My first game was against a good friend, Sean McCloud, and his Grey Knights. Sean's typically a daemon player, but he hasn't played in ages and ages (new job, new baby, new house...the same old story of people losing interest in 40k due to fucked up priorities!) he wanted a low model-count army to sample 7e.

After my shenanigans, though, I'm not sure we're friends anymore.

His army was Draigo and a Grand Master with some Paladins in a Land Raider; some Strike Squads on foot, and a Jumpy Dreadknight.

The mission was Kill Points.

Other than the DK's template, he had nothing to ignore cover, but I didn't really want to get in melee with Paladins on his terms. Normally I'd be ok with tying them up with Screamerstar, but with Banishment all over the place, I didn't think I'd hold up in melee vs. them. So I danced around a few turns, and he drove his DK and Land Raider down my throat...and then I earned the Biggest Dick of the Day award...

I had summoned one Screamer unit with Incursion, for no good reason other than I could. That unit and one of my starting units turbo'd and mostly surrounded his Land Raider. The other Screamer unit and Belakor assaulted it. I was of course hoping to Wreck it, such that no models had room to disembark, and were therefore all destroyed.

Not a friendly move there...

Unfortunately, though, Belakor's Armorbane was a little too good, and one of his three Pen rolls was a six, causing the Raider to explode. :(

But no matter, I'm a dick, still had Fatey's reroll, so rerolled the 6 to a 3, completed the Wreck, and earned his icy stare and zero conversation for the rest of the game.

I love you Sean!

Next game was versus Zach from The Only Game in Town in NJ. Zach's a young but very experienced player, having won his brackets at Nova and 11th Co GT last year, and consistently doing well at local tourneys. He was using a slightly modified version of the Necron list that Nick Nanavati had just spanked me badly with a few weeks earlier, which included several Night Scythes with Warriors, three Annihilation Barges, and a "deathstar" of Zahndrekh, Obyron, a Destroyer Lord, a few crypteks with Haywire, and a bazillion (six?) Lords with Warscythes with 2+ saves. A tough nut!!

That "deathstar" (I really hate that term, but what the hell else am I going to call it?!) is  impossible to nail down, as Oby will just deep strike the unit out. Killing some models is not that hard, but they just get back up. It's got enough shooting that it's a threat if it starts popping Horrors...but really in melee is where I don't want to be with this unit. Not on his terms, anyway.

This mission is Scouring. We both thought that meant Screamers had Objective Secured until he actually read the mission. Apparently Scouring and Big Guns are a big FU to Fast Attack and Heavy now, as they give up additional points when killed but have no benefits. Dumb. Regardless, as it was an objective mission he wisely deployed first and chose to go second.

I buffed up, went mid-table, and waited. He tried to deep strike in to my backfield (which I'd left less defended than I should have, it being Hammer & Anvil I messed up). But I didn't leave good landing places (unintentionally)...he scattered and landed on some Horrors. He mishaped, rolled the 1.

But he had a Chorno, so rerolled it, and got a 2. I thought long and hard...I couldn't throw them in a corner as they'd just pop out later and do something ugly, so I decided to gamble on removing the unit completely (or at least thinning them down a lot), and I placed them where Belakor (who was Gliding) and all the screamers could assault.

So, my turn, I did. All buffed up with Invisibility and Endurance from Fatey and Grimoire, I even managed to get a Terrify on them to reduce that Ldr by 1...which was key. Because I won combat by 5, and he rolled a 5 (after a reroll from Chrono)...which would have passed if it weren't for Terrify!

So failing, I win Sweeping Advance (Thanks Belakor!) and with 20 models + Belakor (and even a smartly placed nearby swooping Fateweaver) I'm able to cover enough area to prevent any Reanimation, and bye-bye super unit!

The rest of the game came down to his Barges and Scythes trying to kill my Horrors while I tried to keep my Horrors alive and kill Scythes and Barges. End of game he had two Scythes left able to deploy troops, so he took the 4 and a 3 from me, but I held all the others for 8-7, plus I had Linebreaker, Warlord, and First Blood for a solid win.

Game winding down, as I hunt his Barges that are hunting my troops

FYI I managed to summon some Plagues and drop them on an objective, which required him to shoot them off taking up a big chunk of his firepower. I also got some non-OS troops from the Portal, which helped me get on every objective, making things very hard for him late-game.

So the final game, and drew what I think will become one of the new super-power-army-archetypes: Seer Council + Wave Serpents played by my friend Amir from The Only Game in Town. He got Fortune. He got only 1 Protect. He rolled a lot of Santic for Banishment. I was sad. Another objective mission, this one Vanguard. I won roll to go first and chose a side that had a combination of terrain pieces that made for a very large "shadow" where his Serpents wouldn't be able to alpha-strike. He won the roll and choice to deploy first, of course, then gave me first turn as I'd deployed hiding.

I continued to hide, but got powers up, with one 2+++ screamer unit, and one 2+ cover/Invisible unit, while Fatey and Belakor hid. I also summoned a Tzeentch Herald that knew Possession.

He avoided coming within range of Screamers while maneuvering for shots to try to thin stuff out, and basically turned the table in to Hammer & Anvil style. Then he decided to flex his Santic muscles and Gate of Infinity the Council in my face. He threw three dice at it, got a 1, 1, 5. That guy died, but the council still got the power off. They scattered in to terrain, where he lost another to Dangerous because he'd done this before casting Fortune and Protect. Woops! As I recall, he then failed his Protect, but as I had nothing to shoot him with or to assault, it didn't matter. He shot 4 Serpents at Invisible 4+ Invuln / 2+ Cover Screamers, and did 1 wound (admittedly my save dice were hot, but it was still hilarious and gratifying to see the much-feared Serpent shooting be so ineffective!)

My turn 2, and I fail Grim on Screamers. First time today, I was due. A smart conservative player would have then hidden that unit by Turbo-boosting, and played it safe...but I crave action and destruction. So I Invisibled them instead, and went after a 6" charge on a Serpent, while the other Screamer unit moved to support. Note I made a grievous error here, as I measured to be out of Council charge range when I started the turbo of the second unit, but then redid my move a few times and ended up giving him an 8" charge out of sheer laziness. Belakor Glided up to support, Fatey stayed hidden, and the summoned Herald from turn 1 was Possessed by a Lord of Change, that swooped in, then ran a mighty 12" to almost mid-field, immediately being a threat! The Screamers wrecked the Serpent for First Blood (note that this was wrong but not noted at the time and made no difference, but he should have had First Blood from the Herald turning in to a LoC)

Amir's turn 2 he got some Dire Avengers out of their serpent, and the other DA from the Wrecked serpent made a Bubblewrap around the now empty Serpent. The Fire Dragons he had in another Serpent got out to pick on the "weak" Failed-Grim Screamers. Those Screamers of course Jinked and the Melta bounced off. The Council tried to throw a Banishment on the non-failed-grim Screamers, again using three dice, again rolling a double and killing another Warlock, and I easily Denied it (as I denied maledictions from a Lvl 1 guy on 4+). The assault still wrecked me though, after Instability I had 3 Screamers left (2 wounded) and the Herald with 1 wound. However, I did manage one unsaved wound, which as luck would have it was required to go on the Protect soon as the Protect guy dies, the unit loses Protect. He then lost another Warlock to Dangerous Terrain.

My turn 3, and we realize we've been playing over 2 hours already and are out of time. My new LOC Glides behind middle table terrain blocker, as does Belakor. Engaged Screamers get Grim'd up. Unengaged Screamers get Invisibiled and multi-assault Avengers, Dragons, and an empty Serpent. I only got one Glance on the Serpent, killed all but 2 DA, and a couple Dragons. Nobody ran away, however, and of course the Council/2+++ fight was a wash. He'd had some Jetbikes fly on, so Fatey and some Horrors threw some dice to try to shut them down, but I did nothing. :(

We had no time, so he simply talked thru his last turn...the Bikes contest one of my objectives, his Serpents tank-shock me off others, and he wins 3 obj to 1.

I very much believe if it had gone on and we'd played out the rest of the game (which at our pace would have taken about 6 more hours) I had this one in the bag, but we'll never know! As it was, he scored a 20-0 over me, and I have no complaints, it was a fun game where we both learned a lot about how our stuff works in 7e!

I've used this army a few times on Vassal as well, and it is pretty effective when the dice cooperate. In fact, it has that very typical daemon flavor of 'when it works, it's abusive, but a quarter of the time it doesn't work and falls apart' that I'm very used to. Though really...I don't know if I should say I'm used to it. It stresses me out and drives me bonkers most times, actually! :)

The thing though, when everything does work it's really not very much fun to play with or against. Units that can't be hurt; new units popping out all over; long drawn-out psychic phases.

So it took me a month to finish writing this post. Next 40k event is right around the corner now, Connecticon in Hartford July 11-13! It's a giant anime/cosplay event, lots of gaming (video, role-playing, and some tabletop) and geeking. I had a great time ogling the hotties last year, and of course am going back this year!

The 40k event is 2000 points, with few restrictions on force organization (basically straight from the book). so I'm taking basically the same as above with an extra screamer unit and rearranged the troops so that I have a second Daemon Combined Arms Detachment with Nurglings instead of Cultists.

But really, I've not played much 40k at all in the last month. The few games on Vassal I mentioned, some 1k pickup games at Gamers Gambit, but nothing else. What I've been investing my time and energy in is World Cup and Malifaux!

Malifaux is incredible! I'll blog about that soon! :)

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