As I'm sure you're reading all over the interwebs at the moment a little tournament called Blog Wars took place a couple of weekends ago in the beautiful heart of the East Midlands, Mansfield. Maelstrom Games to be exact, a venue fast becoming the choice for discerning Tournament Organisers all over the country despite the fact it's less than 30 minutes away from Games Workshop's own Warhammer World!
As you will have seen in previous posts on this very blog, the Claws and Fists crew were very much in attendance, even Darren managed to drag himself out of bed, on next to no notice, to cover for a last minute cancellation.
Anyway, as the title of this post implies this is going about my three games and my chosen Special Character (a requirement for the Tournament), Mephiston. Meph hasn't really let me down before but I was nervous about choosing him for this one as I feel his effectiveness has been hurt by the new Grey Knight 'dex and he's always less effective against armies with psychic defence. Also he's not much of a force multiplier, I accept that he's a Death-Star unit all on his own, but I think you get better bang for your buck from someone who makes the whole army, or at least sections of it, better.
In a probably unnecessary relay to start the morning, I drive to Gav's place who gives me a lift to Graham's house and Graham gives us both a lift up to Maelstrom … besides anything else at least we all get to chat and get into tournament mode in the car on the way up. Once we arrive the usual coffee, browse through Mick's copy of “The People” and complaining that 9am on a Sunday is too early to be concentrating on anything ensues before we head upstairs to find our tables for game 1.
Who should I see across the table from me, none other than the one army I was really hoping not to have to face, despite the fact I really like the paint scheme, it's Bully from Sons of Sanguinius's fabulous and deadly Deathwing army! I've got a fair bit of anti-2+ weaponry but not a single invulnerable save in the entire army so I new I could make him roll a lot of invulnerable saves but would be unlikely to survive the counter attack!
Bully's done a fantastic blow by blow account here so I won't go into details but I'll just talk about my tactics and where it all went wrong. The mission was Capture and Control with Spearhead deployment, my first mistake was to place my objective too far forward so he could easily march his army across to it. What I tried to do was to feed him units to slow him down. My first gambit was with my Furioso Dread but he got splattered (very unluckily) in the first round of combat to the loss of only a couple of Terminators!
That was a bit of a failure so next I resorted to sacrificing Razorbacks while positioning my jumpers and Sanguinary Guard for a counter-attack, unfortunately he was easily able to despatch my transports in his shooting phase with CMLs and then charge the squishy squad inside and consolidate closer to my lines. So rather than slow him down I actually accelerated his progress across the board! Bummer!
My Plasma-backs were ineffective with Bully casually rolling 3++'s when required so it was down to Meph and the Sanguinary Guard to get into the mix. They did not disappoint on the charge vaporising Belial and his Command Squad for the loss of two Guard. However, as predicted on the counter charge by the next squad they were soundly beaten with only Mephiston left, and with only one wound remaining he failed his leadership test and ran away. There was little else to put up resistance to the tank-like advance of the Deathwing and the game ended in a tabling and 2-0 defeat for the Yellow Blood Angels.
Bully was a great opponent, really good to play against and fun to chat to, I look forward to facing off against him again in the future, though not the Deathwing!
Game 2 was against Scott (a friend of From the Fang) and his Chaos Space Marines. He was rocking Abaddon with 4 Chaos Terminators, a winged Daemon Prince with Warptime, a unit of Berzerkers in a Rhino, a unit of Thousand Sons in a Rhino, a unit of Chaos Space Marines in a Rhino, a Deflier, 2 Obliterators and a unit of Havocs with Missile Launchers and a Lascannon. The mission was Annihilation with Dawn of War deployment and I won the roll-off to go first.
I did my usual DoW deployment, 2 razorbacks 7” on and Mephiston was placed in cover a little further up the board and Scott did a similar thing with his 'zerker and 1k Sons Rhinos and Daemon Prince. He chose to deep strike The Oblits and Abaddon and his unit of Terminators and I think this really hurt him because Abaddon and co. did not appear until turn 4!
This was one of those games where luck was on my side, I made few mistakes and those I did make were not punished. For example I played Mephiston too high up the board too soon and allowed him to get assaulted by the Daemon Prince, however Meph managed to take out the Daemon Prince for the loss of only a couple of wounds. Though let's not get too excited about Meph's performance here as he got punked shortly afterwards by the Obliterators.
With Abaddon off the table for most of the game I was able to focus down the rest of his units relatively comfortably. In fact by the time The Despoiler decided to join the party, Scott had only a few Chaos Marines and Havocs on the board and both were about to be wiped out. The great thing about this was that I could pretty much fire every unit left in my army at the Terminators cutting them down to a more manageable size. I intentionally did not charge them as Abaddon on his own could easily have taken out any of my units in a single turn and I did not want to give him the chance to get through more units than necessary. In fact I positioned my Sanguinary Guard away from the rest of my army to ensure I got as much firepower into the Terminators while drawing him away from the fight.
Scott took the bait and charged and wiped out the Sanguinary Guard but only Abaddon was left standing and he could not stand up to the combined fire-power of the rest of my army for another turn and fell under a hail of fire from all sides ending the game in decisive fashion, a tabling to the Yellow Blood Angels.
Two games down and I was 1-1. Game three saw a familiar face and his horde of mean greenies across the table from me, TheBaron himself. Uh oh, I've not beaten Darren's Orks yet and he's pretty damn good with them, it was nice to be able to relax a bit though, for me it's a different game playing against friends even in a tournament. The Mission was Seize Ground with Pitched Battle deployment and I gave Darren first turn.
The board was not what I'd call ideal, a big landing pad slap bang in the middle blocking LoS to a good potion of the board with other pieces of high terrain giving me only narrow fire lanes at about the half way mark across the board. Never-the less I set up to take as much advantage of the fire-lanes as I could and to protect my more fragile units from his Lootas on turn 1.
As usual Darren used his Kommandos, Storm Boyz and Deffkopta to split my forces and draw attention away from the main fight and objectives and even though I can see this happening, they are not the sort of units you can just ignore as they will mess up your lines if not properly dealt with. While the terrain meant I couldn't leverage what shooting I had, it also meant he could not advance a wide front across the board which limited his ability to get bodies into combat. This was particularly useful in keeping his Meganobs out of the early combats.
Speaking of the Meganobs, they were one of the key units of the game, around turn 3 or 4 I decided that I needed to take them out so I put Mephiston in the firing line as he was closest and best equipped. All went to plan, de-meching them and placing them within Meph's charge range however, when he really needed it he failed to get his S10 power off and could only kill two of the four. He paid dearly for this and was mashed in the return strikes from the surviving Meganobs.
The Sanguinary Guard finished them off later to keep one objective free. In his backfield Darren had strung out his grots to cover two objectives. It was on my right flank where the battle would be won and the Warboss was turning the tide in Darren's favour. I had little I could put against him to free up the key objective and behind him and his 'ard Boyz Darren had another large unit of Boyz ready to counter any assault I could muster. The last charge of my Assault squads was soundly beaten back and the game was over 3-1 in favour of the Orks.
As always it was a good game against Darren and I froze early on when I should have been moving decisively to engage further up the board but I was too obsessed with not getting charged. This meant I had too much ground to cover later in the game. I was outplayed again but I think I got more out of this game than either of the previous two, it was also closer (in my mind anyway).
To sum up the day, it was a lot of fun. The atmosphere was very different from other tournaments I've attended before, more laid-back and social but I guess that was the intention all along. The Special Characters angle was great, I love using Special Characters in my list and even though Meph let me down pretty consistently in all of the games I would be up for a similar format next time. The Sanguinary Guard were excellent in all of my games, because they are fragile they need support and proper application but they are pretty much universally devastating on the charge!
Overall I finished 15th out of 26 players which I'm actually a little disappointed with, I know it's not like me to say that but I seem to be stuck at mid-table in all of the tournies I've competed at since last September. I think Gav's got the right idea in just sticking with one list to get really good at it and perhaps that's what I need to start consistently threatening the top 25% of the field in future tournaments. Not so much back to the drawing board but a focus on consistency in the future, I guess we'll see how it goes.