This weekend Hive Fleet Nemesis descended on Maelstrom Games in
for Alex Brown's Blog Wars III. This is a friendly tournament which Alex runs
twice a year for members of the Blogosphere (great word!) and is always a very
enjoyable day. This year was no different. Mansfield
I had every intention of taking my Squats-as-Imperial Guard to this year's tournament, however my progress has been as slow as a Squat in a 100m sprint. Ahem. My excuse is that my girlfriend and I have just had a baby (5 weeks ago) so I guess that mitigates things a bit. That said, I have been talking about these Squats for three years now, and I'm fairly sure babies don't take that long to arrive, so perhaps I can't use that as a reason after all. So instead, I took my tried-and-tested Tyranids.
The army list is fairly settled now, with only minor modifications being made here and there - for example, I've dropped a unit of Zoanthropes and replaced them with Hive Guard, as I find that Zoanthropes are just too unreliable when faced with Grey Knights and other psychic defences. My other recent change is to replace a Trygon with a drop-podding Carnifex with Brain-Leech Devourer and Heavy Venom Cannon. This unit really adds to my ability to crack tanks open, ready for the Genestealers and spawned Termagants to eat the fleshy goodness inside. This decision caused a few raised eyebrows this weekend, but I find Trygons are just too big and obvious a target without having a strong ballistic threat to use whilst they spend a couple of turns getting into combat.
GAME ONE - PITCHED BATTLE & KILL POINTS vs. 'VULKAN' MARINES
Game one was against James Winsor of the Weemen blog. James was using a Codex: Space Marine army led by his chosen special character, Vulkan Hestan (for those not in the know, SC's are mandatory at Blog Wars). The rest of his army consisted of of a couple of Tactical squads, one with a Rhino, a Scout squad, an Ironclad Dreadnought tooled up for close combat, a twin-Autocannon Dreadnought, an Assault Terminator squad in a Land Raider, a Predator, a deepstriking Land Speeder and a couple of Attack Bike squads.
We rolled for set-up and James won, so he set up first. Being Pitched Battle, he had to set up his Marines across his back edge, but in particular he chose to start with his shooty Dreadnought, Attack Bikes, Rhino and Predator very close to his left-hand board edge. Here was my opportunity! In a feature which would become common to all three of my games, my outflanking units had the chance to move on directly into combat with the enemy! This is one of the beauties of an all-reserve army - opponents often seem unsure of how to counter them, and so set up in a traditional back-edge gunline.
Since all of my units were reserving, the game started properly on turn two when I rolled for my reserves. This is where all-reserve forces win or lose - a lucky batch of reserve rolls can really make the game viable. However, if your dice aren't so hot, your forces arrive piecemeal and are easy for your opponent to pick off at his leisure.
We started the game on turn two and I rolled for reserves. I got lucky and the vast majority of my forces arrived. Now for the second risk – rolling for where the outflankers would arrive! Again, I got lucky and all three units came in on the board-edge immediately beside James’ Predator, Autocannon Dreadnought, Tactical Squad, Bikes and Rhino. The Tervigon made short work of the Predator and one unit of Genestealers got stuck into the Rhino and Attack Bikes, but the other unit of Genestealers didn’t fare so well – they engaged the Autocannon Dreadnought, only for it to hold them up and whittle them down until turn four!
Meanwhile, the rest of my forces arrived via deepstrike and normal reserve. Whilst they landed in good positions and did manage to do some damage, James’ Melta-heavy list made relatively light work of them and when the game ended on turn five, it was just about all over for me. Whilst my outflankers had racked up six kill-points and 803 VP’s against the static backline, James had shot the rest of my army, garnering twelve kill-points and a massive 1619 VP’s.
Result: 25-5 loss.
GAME TWO – TABLE QUARTERS & HOLD QUARTERS vs. MARINES
Game two was, on paper, probably my best bet of the day with a spawning Tervigon, and though I did manage a win, it wasn’t Termagants that won the day for me as the momma-bug ‘jammed’ on turn one! My opponent was Jon Cox, who was playing in his first tournament, and was using a balanced Codex: Space Marine force featuring Terminators in a Land Raider, a Thunderfire Cannon, two squads of Scouts, some Vanguard Veterans and a squad of Tactical Marines. Jon won ‘the toss’ and set up all of his forces in and around a massive ruin near to his right board-edge. I decided to start with the Tervigon, Trygon, Hive Tyrant and Hive Guard on the table, mainly so that I could start spawning game-winning Termagants from turn one. As it was, this plan backfired and I only managed a single unit before the Tervigon gave up her maternal instincts.
In the first turn I kept my head down, and only advanced my Trygon and Tyrant cautiously, though I did manage to cast Paroxysm on Jon’s advance scouts (the Tervigon loitered on my back edge for the whole game). In return, Jon started firing and took out one of my Hive Guard.
Again, the game relied – for me at least – on making some lucky reserves rolls in turn two. My two outflanking Genestealers both arrived as soon as they could, one unit arriving on either flank. This was a double-edged sword for me. Whilst I really needed the offensive capabilities of both units of ‘Stealers to eat through Jon’s infantry, having one deploy far away from the opponent at least meant they would survive unscathed to claim a quarter later in the game. The unit that did arrive next to Jon’s forces, however, were magnificent! They managed to engage three units immediately, eating through a Thunderfire Cannon (and it’s Techmarine), a squad of Tactical Marines and the Vanguard Vets in two turns. As they were finishing off this assault however, Jon’s Terminators waded in and kept the fight going until turn five, when a single Terminator – the sole survivor of Jon’s forces – kept the surviving Genestealers at bay long enough to contest his table quarter. Meanwhile, I had spread my other forces out and managed to claim two uncontested quarters to take the win.
Result: 19-7 win (1650 VP’s vs 1169 VP’s)
GAME THREE – DAWN OF WAR & FIVE OBJECTIVES vs. NECRONS
In my final game I was in the relatively lofty position of table seven! My reward was to face Peter Barrett of Buckeroo Mathammer and his Necrons, which were a mixture of Warriors, Immortals, Triarchs and Destroyers. Peter won the roll-off and set up two units of Warriors very aggressively, placing them on the 24” line. I decided to keep everything in reserve again, and this time I wasn’t quite so lucky, so whilst the majority of my forces arrived on turn two, a reasonable amount didn’t come on until turns three and four. Luckily though, my outflanking Tervigon and a unit of Genestealers rolled onto Peter’s right flank, and the latter survived long enough and in sufficient numbers to to make a turn three assault on his Immortals. Once again though, the Tervigon only managed to birth a single brood of Termagants, to Peter’s pleasure and amusement!
In truth, this game hinged on the Doom of Malan’Tai’s wound-sucking exploits. He arrived on turn two and I managed to place him amongst three units. In the two turns he survived, he managed to wipe out most of two units of Destroyers, a squad of Warriors and some Lychguard. Peter was wise to Doom’s powers though, and immediately assaulted him, which neutralised him in turn three, though to the cost of four of his own units.
In the end, Peter just didn’t have enough surviving units after Doom’s antics to counter the rest of my army and when the game ended on turn six (or possibly turn seven?), his sole surviving model was Trazyn (I think), whom I had killed at least three times! In the very last roll of the game, Trazyn reanimated again and prevented a tabling. However by that point I was holding two objectives so I was victorious for the second time that day.
Result: 16-8 win (1570 VP’s vs. 897 VP’s).
The last thing to mention about Blog Wars III is the stunning armies that were on display. The best two by far were two Star Wars themed Imperial Guard forces, one largely Imperial and one fully
. Unfortunately I
didn’t get any pictures of the Alliance X-Wings (counts-as Vendettas) but I did
a couple of pictures of the former list. My particular favourites were the Rebellion
heroes on display in the Command Squad and the Imperial Speeder-Bike riders. Alliance
The other force of note was a full Jokaero army! The list consisted of several squads of monkeys mounted in Chimeras, supported by Heavy Weapon-toting gorillas. Simply brilliant!
Finally, a quick word about my progress with the Squats-as-IG army I’m working on. I have now got five tank chassis’ and guns built and part-painted, which will go on to be two Hydras, a couple of Medusas and a Manticore. I also have two larger Ramshackle Games’ tank models made up and part-painted, which will be used as either Leman Russes or Manticores, but only at Maelstrom tournaments as they are non-GW models.
Once these are finished, I will be respraying the two airships (counts-as Vendettas) and four Termite Tunnellers (probably counts-as Chimeras or even Hellhounds). Then I will finish off some more infantry – I have around forty Squats painted so far, and I’ll probably need around double that amount for any competitive list.
As far as army list, I have already posted my target list on my Rogue Trader blog. However, I will definitely be tweaking this list when 6th edition arrives in around four weeks’ time, so watch this space!