Taking the Legion to war!

I rarely get enough time to play currently, and so when the planets aligned to allow me to take part in my local club’s summer tournament, I leapt at the chance to put some models on the table and roll some dice! However, with the list submission date already passed, I was having to bring something together quickly, without the possibility of really testing it prior to the event. I pulled a list together of things that I thought would be fun or enjoyable to play with, and were things that were painted relatively well so that at least I would have a visually cohesive force, that would hopefully be able to dish out (some) damage. Although I had the possibility of drawing from any current 40k Codex, or indeed 30k, I wanted to play with the most recent Chaos Codex – no allies, frills or gimmicks here! At least ‘ob sec’ wouldn’t be a problem – but building to a 1650pts limit was also another inherent challenge to face. The list I went with was:

+ HQ (230pts) +

Chaos Lord with Lightning Claws, Mark of Nurgle and Sigil of Corruption – 120pts

Sorcerer with two additional Mastery Levels – 110pts

+ Troops (672pts) +

6 Plague Marines with two Plasma Guns, Aspiring Champion with Power Sword and Melta Bombs, with a Rhino – 229pts

6 Plague Marines with two Plasma Guns, Aspiring Champion with Power Sword and Melta Bombs, with a Rhino – 229pts

6 Plague Marines with two Melta Guns, Aspiring Champion with Power Sword, with a Rhino – 214pts

+ Fast Attack (340pts) +

Heldrake with Baleflamer – 170pts

Heldrake with Hades Autocannon – 170pts

+ Heavy Support (405pts) +

Chaos Vindicator with Combi-bolter and Siege Shield (135pts)

Chaos Vindicator with Combi-bolter and Siege Shield (135pts)

Chaos Vindicator with Combi-bolter and Siege Shield (135pts)

1647pts

So I had a list – but I also hadn’t properly played Seventh Edition, and I felt it would have been poor form to show up without at least running the list through. I was lucky to find an opponent who, the night before, would put the list through its paces with a list involving a lot of Deep Striking Terminators. It was a great introduction to 7th proper, against a tough list – but I felt that the Death Guard acquitted themselves well under the circumstances, grabbing several objectives, and summoning reinforcements effectively through some Daemons! I’d dealt a lot of damage, and was probably in the ascendency when the game ended: but it ended in an 8-8 thriller draw. Certainly, I felt better about going to a reasonably competitive tournament with a list that I had road-tested, even if I couldn’t make any changes to it!

On the morning of the tournament, I felt positive that I would at the very least make a competent opponent for whomever I faced, and was very much looking forward to at the very least becoming more adept with the latest edition. Seeing everyone else and their superbly painted and modelled armies was a great boost, and I was definitely excited to play on tables that were fully painted and covered with an assortment of terrain. There were three games to be played over the course of the day, the first was ‘Big Guns Never Tire’, deploying as per Hammer and Anvil. The second, ‘Crusade’, would follow the Vanguard Strike deployment. The third, The Emperor’s Will, would deploy as per Dawn of War.

My first game was against an opponent with a Tyranid force, with lots of big creatures, and so at least facing him down the table would perhaps give me slightly longer to hurl demolisher shells at him. In terms of the objective placement, I knew that I would have to fight into the centre of the board, but I had to hope that I could make a sufficient dent in his forces first. In hindsight, I probably didn’t concentrate enough fire on his larger creatures, with a Toxicrene threatening my flank considerably. Despite summoning two lots of Plaguebearers, and a Great Unclean One, I simply couldn’t chew through his stuff fast enough. Despite having no shooting attacks, the distance narrowed and once in combat, there would only really be one winner. Forgetting my reserve roll in the first instance was probably not ideal – but I would still have struggled, either way!

A photo of the action:

DGTyranids

With the scoring adjusted, taking into account the tactical objectives achieved and kill points, I lost 17-3. But, a superb opponent meant I had great fun, and it was good to play an army that I rarely see gracing tables!

After this game, we took a break for lunch, and had to set up our respective armies for display. I was very proud of my army, and it looked as follows:

DGArmy

DGArmySide

The loss ensured I would be on one of the lower tables, and thankfully, in terms of moving my stuff anyway, I remained on the same table I had played my first game on. My opponent had lost their first game, and I now faced a combined Imperial Guard/Iron Hands army, with two Forgeworld Vultures, with twin-linked Punisher Cannons, that would, in turn, cause some serious damage to my army.

Deploying on the diagonal was certainly a different experience, and perhaps in hindsight I could have chosen the other corner of the table and set my army up more defensively. But, I came for a scrap – and I wanted to show how tough those Plague Marines really were! Regrettably, failing to wipe out a Vanquisher that threatened most of my army early on meant I couldn’t then respond to the Drop Pod landing within my midst. Two Perils of the Warp attacks robbed my Sorcerer of the chance to manifest into a Daemon Prince, which may have secured a failing rearguard. My Lord spent most of the time running between bits of difficult terrain, and I was grateful that his Leman Russ Executioner destroyed itself, having chewed through more than enough of my left flank. Then, the Vultures entered and things became messy. Throwing twenty re-rollable dice at anything is going to ruin people’s days, and I didn’t really have a counter for them. The game finished with my Lord and a lone Plague Marine having finally got to combat and torn the opposition apart, sitting on an objective that counted for nothing. Regrettable! If I had remembered that, I probably would have placed that one out the way – rather than attempting to sit on it for most of the game. When the transports went, getting so few Plague Marines into combat was going to be a nightmare, and sadly I didn’t have the numbers to weather the storm.

My left flank (note, the far left is actually my ‘dead’ pile…):

DG/IG Battle

When I had things left on the board:

DG/IG Battle 2

When things went:

DG/IG Battle 3

This battle scored me a generous 19-1 loss. I’d killed a few things, but the cards were cruel, and entrenched objectives were unobtainable. Holding that one objective that was worthless was also an error!

I knew that for all my hard gaming, running 0-2, I would probably be in the bottom few. To be playing in the ‘wooden spoon’ match was pretty much what I had expected, but I was determined to claw this back! My army certainly had performed well in certain parts, and I hoped to get the synergy right in this game against Liam’s Dark Angels.

It started well: it always does. I’d set up in a way that meant I could get in close early, and hopefully hold the objectives long term, and racked up a healthy lead with some lucky cards, and some good rolling.

First turn - DA/DG

Summoning two Plague Bearer squads early on was useful, and despite being forced to deploy in the corner, it did offer additional protection for my rearmost objective.

Summoning

However, whilst I was casually marauding my Lord and retinue behind enemy lines, two Terminator squads teleported into the midst: and then proceeded to carve into my back line. The sheer fire-power they put out coming in (another great Formation that was used very effectively) meant that however much damage I would be causing to the rest of his army through my Vindicator and Lord, it was being reciprocated in kind through the parts of my army left behind on objectives.

Deep Strike!

That said, most of my army continued to fight nobly – and it was a fantastic game. With spates of luck and terrible/good rolling on both parts, it meant that when the game ended, both sides were thoroughly battered. That healthy lead I had built had crumbled when I was no longer able to hold objectives, and Liam racked up a win of somewhere in the region of 30 points to my still impressive 18, resulting in a 16-4 victory to him when adjusted. It was great fun, and although I still had my Lord, a Plague Marine and two Heldrakes, it would have got little better thereafter. Regrettably, such a loss secured my prize of the ‘wooden spoon’ for a last placed finish, and I was awarded a new game to try!

Marvel Dice Masters

All in all, it was a fantastic day – and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. In future, I think allying with Daemons for the benefits of Summoning would be appropriate, given that I tended to rely on that for the fun factor on this occasion. Or, more Troops may have helped… perhaps swapping out a couple of Vindicators for Maulerfiends may have also helped – but nonetheless, for not being able to play-test and tweak prior to the tournament, I’m very happy with how it performed and most importantly, how seventh edition plays in general. Hopefully, will be the first of many games over the coming months!

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Star Wars X-Wing Tournament

A slight tangent from my primarily Death Guard orientated blog, but thought a review of the recent event I attended might be well received by those who play multiple wargames, especially as I had such a good time! Published by Fantasy Flight Games, the game appears to be surging, and although there are clear supply and demand issues at this moment in time, it’s a relatively affordable, quick and fun game – that’s easy to pick up and complex to master. You have models that represent a plethora of ships taken from the Star Wars universe, from which you create a squad that is either Rebel or Imperial. A somewhat different mechanism of manoeuvring to other games (models are moved using templates indicated on dials hidden from your opponent), matched with dice rolling and actions, makes for a rather intuitive game that leaves you guessing what the opponent is going to do next, and often cursing your luck and asteroids. You can find more information here: http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/103885/star-wars-x-wing-miniatures-game

I’d bought into the game via the reasonably priced starter set and then grabbed swathes over the Christmas period, trying to amass a collection but without actively playing. I lost a starter game to my dad with quick start rules – and did wonder if I’d bought into something duff. But, I unpackaged everything (pushing out card counters will be a nightmare, I promise) and put it all in my new case, and hadn’t really thought much of it, until I was able to help orchestrate an Epic-sized game at my local club. Although we (Empire) were probably going to lose, it made me keen to want to actively play more, as it was immense fun!

I’d seen that Chaos City Comics was hosting a Star Wars: X-Wing ‘Assault at Imdaar Alpha’ Prerelease Tournament a couple of weeks later, and so thought this might be a great time to get a few games in, attend and learn a lot – and go from there. With that in mind, I created a Rebel and an Imperial List, one to use and the other for a mate at the club to use (Cheers Andy!), so that I could really get up to speed before the weekend. I lost both, although with improvements in the second game, and did wonder if this was a game I would ever win at. A few tweaks to my list, and some optimism, I thought that at worst, I would hopefully get a prize for finishing last. Knowing that it would take a four round Swiss-style, I would at least be paired with someone of a similar ability, so had hoped that I wouldn’t be too badly destroyed, and I’d come away with a better understanding of the game mechanics and list building finesse.

Turning up on what was quite a miserable day, I was really excited. I then realised I’d actually forgotten my manoeuvre dials and felt thoroughly embarrassed – not the best start. Thankfully, other generous players were able to lend me their spares so that I could fly the following list:

Chaos City  – 100 points

Wedge Antilles/X-Wing with Swarm Tactics – 31pts

Biggs Darklighter/X-Wing – 25pts

Blue Squadron Pilot/B-Wing – 22pts

Blue Squadron Pilot/B-Wing – 22pts

My first highlight was getting one commemorative Bandit Squadron Pilot card for attending and playing on the day, and that alone was pleasing! Knowing that I was going into this realistically being 0-3 on the (vaguely) competitive games I’d actually played prior to the tournament, I intended to aim low, enjoy and learn. That said, with twelve players taking part, I’d only have to beat 2/3rds of the others to win a prize – as they cheerfully reminded us at the start of the day, although my problem would be beating anyone – let alone more than that!

The draw placed me on Table 5 against a really nice bloke called Simon – who was running an Imperial list, consisting of roughly: Lambda shuttle, Dark Curse, TIE Bomber with Missiles and two other TIEs. It was probably the closest to a swarm that otherwise would feature that day – and certainly the swarmiest list I would face. I set-up strongly, I thought, until I remembered that my B-Wings would rear-end my X-Wings, which meant I had to do a bit of re-arranging to ensure that I could actually start flying and not crashing. That said, I took first-blood – and it started to get messy. Eventually, I was able to grind out a modified win, taking a victory by 11pts – after taking Dark Curse out first, and a succession of fighters thereafter, for reasonable losses. Simon, although finishing 0-4, was a great opponent who started with as much as experience as I had, and will no doubt come back stronger for the experience. A great game, eased me into the day – and played in a great spirit. I was most certainly buoyed by this victory, but resolved not to make the mistakes I’d made in the first game cause me problems in my second.

Jumping to table three, I then played Alex – who had also won his first game. His list was tough: three Interceptors that were tricked to the max. My initial set-up made it extremely difficult to pull this game back – with asteroids dealing as much damage as I did throughout, and although I came close to wiping out two of his Interceptors, by spreading myself too thinly, I struggled massively. A damaged pilot card crippled Wedge earlier than I would like, making him a rather expensive rookie. Having never faced a list with that sort of manoeuvrability, it was somewhat of a shock to see them wilfully pop in and out of my firing arcs – but is something now that I felt better prepared for in future. A very hard game against a top opponent – who went on to finished second overall, so I can’t really be hard on myself!

Now 1-1, I was back to table five, where I played Sam – a really nice guy who played in the best spirit, and truly embodies ‘flying casual’. However, seeing his list – I was fearful. He was running two tricked out Millennium Falcon, and having never faced one, facing two looked like a fearsome prospect. Duly, I revised my flying pattern to a more conservative formation, akin to the my first game but setting it up correctly – which stood me in good stead! Biggs died early, as Biggs is want to do. He is truly a brave pilot that draws fire, and I have to be grateful for his regular sacrifices! I may invest some more in him in future, to make him somewhat more survivable, but he did perform well in his short life. Taking down the first Falcon was a major achievement, as they flew round the edge of the board, their turrets reaping a toll on shields with wanton abandon. Eventually, running both Wedge and my last B-Wing into close range finished the second Falcon, scoring me an outright victory – and taking me 2-1. I was becoming more confident with my list, and how to actually fly, and some downtime allowed Sam and I to chat and to better understand how to play. Very worthwhile! He was extremely happy that he didn’t fly a Falcon off the board as he had in a previous game – and we both enjoyed

My final game saw me go back to table three again, with a face off against Alex who had the same record as me, and a list that looked extremely difficult. This didn’t appear to be a good matchup for me from the outset, but I’d hoped to deal some damage before the end at least. With Soontir Fel in an Interceptor, and two Bounty Hounters in Firesprays, it was a pretty tough list – especially considering Fel’s abilities and the Firesprays being both kitted and resilient, and I was concerned that I’d be unable to actually whittle through both the shields and hull points in time. That said, if I’d managed with two Falcons, anything was possible!

One-shotting Fel early on worked a treat – and this set the tone for the rest of the game, insofar as I rolled superbly – and Alex simply didn’t. Removing Fel early was a great boost, but then he was traded off for Wedge quickly, after some difficult flying. I don’t believe now that I’ve ever flown over an asteroid and not taken damage – and both Wedge and Biggs suffered during this tournament! With three ships remaining against two Firesprays, it was going to be an uphill struggle.

Another trade over time saw both Biggs (who lived far longer than could’ve ever reasonably been expected) and a B-Wing go for the loss of a Firespray, leaving a solitary B-Wing, and a Firespray, to duke it out. I thought this would be a foregone conclusion, but started a classic game of cat and mouse that was immensely exciting and altogether dramatic. After pounding the shields from one another, I was able to continue aggressively pursuing and just keeping out of his fire arc, and despite having maintained a target lock for approximately five rounds, didn’t need to use this with some obscenely good rolls (four hits, three hits and a crit, four hits… four hits…) ultimately destroyed the Firespray. I was overjoyed – Alex is a top player and really made it tough, and to grind out a victory in such a fashion was a delight, which left me 3-1 for the day.

I’d known that prior to this game I was residing in 6th, and to my utter astonishment, this win took me to 4th place – a prize winning position! After everyone else had chosen, I came away with the Z-95 Headhunter!

It capped a superb day of gaming, with some great people. I learned a lot from some experienced players, and nice to meet several people whose names I recognised from the UK/Ireland X-Wing group as part of a fantastic tournament. My thanks to all at Chaos City for hosting, Efka for his TOing during the day, the other attendees for being so pleasant, and all of those I played for their gamesmanship. I’m very much looking forward to the next one!