Thursday, 13 November 2014

Blog Wars Report

On Saturday I took a 'tame' Eldar Serpent Spam list to Blog Wars. As Blog Wars is a 'friendly-competitive' tournament, I decided to ask the event organiser Alex Brown (of the excellent From the Fang blog) to check over my list, to make sure it wasn't too OTT! Happily (for me) Alex was happy with my list, and so my army list was as follows:
 
Dino-Riders for the Win!
 
 
HQ - Prince Yriel
EL - 5 x Fire Dragons
APC - Wave Serpent w/Holo-Field, Spirit Stones, TL Scatter Laser & Shuriken Cannon
TR - 5 x Dire Avengers
APC - Wave Serpent w/Holo-Field, Spirit Stones, TL Scatter Laser & Shuriken Cannon
TR - 5 x Dire Avengers
APC - Wave Serpent w/Holo-Field, Spirit Stones, TL Scatter Laser & Shuriken Cannon
TR - 5 x Dire Avengers
APC - Wave Serpent w/Holo-Field, Spirit Stones, TL Bright Lance & Shuriken Cannon
TR - 5 x Dire Avengers
APC - Wave Serpent w/Holo-Field, Spirit Stones, TL Bright Lance & Shuriken Cannon
5 x Windrider Jetbikes w/1 x Shuriken Cannon
5 x Windrider Jetbikes
Wraithknight
2 x Warwalkers, each w/Bright Lance & Scatter Laser
So, yes - a very strong list! Though at 1850pts, there are filthier builds - triple Wraithknights, for example - so it could have been worse (yes, I'm still trying to justify it to myself, event after the event!).
 
 
 
GAME 1 - CLEANSE THE XENOS vs DARK ELDAR
 
My first game was against Blog Wars virgin Luke Capper, who was running an assault-themed Dark Eldar infantry list, supported by two Raiders and a fighter-plane (sorry, the exact type escapes me!). The mission was simply to kill the enemy, with points scored equal to the points-worth of each enemy unit destroyed. Unfortunately for Luke it was simply a poor match-up, with my Serpents able to deal with Luke’s foot-marching infantry quicker than they could cover the ground to get into close combat. There were still a few moments of excitement however, as I charged my Wraithknight into the forward line of Dark Eldar, only for them to take down the monstrous creature with their poisoned attacks. Oh well – you live and learn!
 
Game 1 result – WIN (1830pts vs 490pts)
 
GAME 2 – THE EMPEROR’S RELIC vs IRON WARRIORS
 
My second round game was against Chris Benstead, a fellow veteran of all eight Blog Wars and a really top bloke. In fact, I’ve made around a dozen really good friends through Blog Wars, which is the main reason I keep going back!
 
Chris was using an Iron Warriors Chaos Space Marine army, comprising a ‘dakka’ Heldrake (the one with the Autocannons) beautifully modelled as a Hell Blade,two three-man Obliterator units, a Dreadnought, a couple of CSM squads with double plasma guns in Rhinos, a Vindicator tank, a couple of units of cultists, and Abaddon leading a squad of three Terminators.
 
The mission was to claim objectives; ten points for the central objective, fifteen points for your opponent’s objective, and five points for keeping your own.
 
The game was dominated by one factor – Chris’ terrible dice luck! The amount  of ‘1’s that Chris rolled when rolling to save his Obliterators was frankly shocking – I killed five of the six Obliterators in the first turn, which destroyed most of his high-strength anti-tank capabilities. After that, I managed to immobilise his Vindicator, after which it was really just a case of staying over 24” away from it’s Demolisher Cannon to avoid it’s strength ten template of doom.
 
On turns four and five I crept forward, holding the middle ten-point objective with my Fire Dragons, and using my Serpents and Dire Avengers to try to winkle Chris’ Cultists and Dreadnought out of the large ruin where they were steadfastly defending his objective. By turn five, though, I had left my advance a bit late, and Chris was holding his home objective still, and he had teleported in Abaddon and the Terminators to steal my home objective from some rather delicate Jetbikes which had previously been minding their own business guarding!  So at the end of turn five, despite only having about six or seven models actually left on the board (and me having only lost a couple of Serpents and a few Jetbikes), Chris had the game sewn up...
 
So it was with a large amount of trepidation that we asked Matt Greenwood to roll a dice for a possible turn six. Luckily for me we did get another turn, during which I was able to clear Chris’ remaining forces off the board, giving me a 25-0 win on primaries and 3-0 win on secondaries. The game was a great laugh though and I’m glad that Chris hung on to have a chance of the win in turn five, after the disastrous dice rolls he had suffered earlier in the game!
 
GAME 2 RESULT – WIN (28-0)
 
GAME 3 – BOARD CONTROL vs NURGLE PLAGUE MARINES
 
By round three my nose was beeding, as I found myself on table two! Two decent wins had propelled me to uncharted territories, and I found myself up against a fluffy (and hard-as-nails!) Plague Marine army played by David Irving, another Blog Wars first-timer. David’s army consisted of four units of seven Plague Marines (each toting two Melta Guns each), Typhus and some Terminators  in a Land Raider, with two Heldrakes in reserve (a flamey one and a shooty one).
 
The mission was to gradually rack up points at the end of each player turn by claiming the three fixed objectives placed along the centre-line of the board.
 
I set up first and spread army along my board edge (pitched battle deployment) , with the Serpents a few inches back from my 12” deployment limit. My main concern was the serious amount of Melta that David’s Plague Marines were packing! I was perhaps too conservative with my deployment, but more of that later.
 
David set up to mirror me, with his Plague Marines right on his 12” line. His plan could only be to march forward onto the objectives, Melta away my Serpents and then try to survive my return fire with his 3+ save and 5+ feel no pain. My plan was to therefore stay out of Melta and charge range (close assault is easily the best way to kill Wave Serpents!) until I had taken out the Plague Marines, and then to push forward and claim the objectives.
 
The game turned out pretty much as I expected. I got first turn and concentrated the high-strength shooting of my Wraithknight, War Walkers and Bight Lances on the Land Raider, which satisfying blew up. David did suggest that this was a mistake and that I would have been better killing off the Plague Marines first (true) but I didn’t want a situation later in the game whereby I had nothing left to kill the Land Raider with. Anyway, it was gone, and so I started to whittle down the Plague Marines. This took a long while, as I have very little AP3 fire, so a 3+ save followed by a 5+ FNP meant the tough little buggers were very hard to dispatch!
 
In his turns, David pushed forward and parked his Rhinos and Plague Marines on the central objectives. This gave him opportunity to rack up points early in the game, but did mean that he was horribly exposed to the full weight of fire from my Serpents, Fire Dragons and Dire Avengers. As the game went on, things slowly began to swing my way. By turn five I had wiped David off the two outer objectives, and I began to rack up points. At the end of turn five it was 8-7 to David. At the end of my turn six it was 8-8 and at the end of David’s turn six I picked up the one more point I needed and I ended up winning 9-8 on primaries, and 2-1 on secondaries.
 
The game was very tight and with hindsight, I could perhaps have been slightly more aggressive in my early turns. This would have left my Serpents more exposed to Melta shots (though a 3+ jink is of course very useful in avoiding most of those!) and close combat assaults from the Plague Marines, but I would have racked up more points in the early turns – and consequently prevented David from getting so many points in his early turns.
 
GAME 3 RESULT – WIN (11-9)
 
So, three games and three wins! This is unprecendented for me, though of course largely attributable to the army I took. Was skill involved? Absolutely – you still need to correctly order your firing priority and make sure your scoring units are in the right place at the right time! BUT, the army (especially the Wave Serpents) certainly does make the job a damn sight easier.
 
In the end I came third. My last game, although a win, was only a small victory, whilst the guys around me managed more comprehensive victories and so they took the overall win. The top three places all belonged to Eldar (how telling!) and the top three looked like this:
 
# 1 - Daniel Lane
# 2 - Daniel Russell
# 3 - Graham Sanders
 
CONCLUSION
 
Well, what can I say? I’m delighted! After the absolute stuffing I’ve received at most of the tournaments I’ve attended over the last four years, I am happy to finally place in the top three. What I’m most happy about is to have an army which gives me the chance to regularly compete for wins, rather than have an army which can only compete in very specific circumstances.
 
Of course, I do feel a bit ‘dirty’ for taking such an obviously strong list to Blog Wars. I will be taking a very similar list to Caledonian Uprising in January, where I will have no such qualms – Cally is an absolute dogfight and ‘tough’ lists such as Serpent Spam are the norm!
 
For the next Blog Wars, I will tone things down a bit. Since the new models were released last week, I am re-enthused about Tyranids and so I shall try and build a competitive list using Tyrannocytes, Maleceptors and the ubiquitous Flying Tyrants. I always enjoyed playing ‘Drop-Pod Nids’ so that is my next challenge!
 
 

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