This weekend saw the Claws and Fists crew attend another Blog Wars and, in my opinion, this was the best one yet!! With the recent unfortunate closure of the Eye of the Storm venue in Mansfield, the tournament was moved to the North West Gaming Centre in Stockport, more of a trek than I'm used to but only about a 90 minute drive so nothing to complain about really!
Then venue itself was perfect, plenty of space, great tables with nice terrain, friendly staff and all the other amenities you would expect. The tournament always has a great atmosphere thanks in no small part to Alex's (From the Fang) focus on keeping it a blogging community-centric event and this time was no different.
From my point of view I played 3 very enjoyable games against 3 very nice opponents with 3 very different armies; but before I give you a brief report on each game you'll probably want no know what I was taking:
Tyranid Prime: pair of boneswords; rending claws; regeneration.
3 Hive Guard
Tervigon: 3 powers; crushing claws; cluster spines; toxin sacs.
Tervigon: 3 powers; crushing claws; cluster spines; toxin sacs.
2 Carnifexes: 2x twin-linked devourers w. brainleech worms.
So, game 1 was Purge the Alien with Vanguard deployment and i was facing off against something I'd never seen before, literally a "barrel full of monkeys"! James had 5 units totalling 27 Jokaero and 1 unit of 9 with 2 Heavy Bolter Servitors, to make all of this madness possible he was running Coteaz as his HQ and the list was rounded out with 3 Chimeras and 3 Razorbacks with Assault Cannons.
As match ups go this was looking pretty dire for me, with 36 Lascannons, which could also be fired as heavy flamers should I get into charge range, I was at the whim of the dice and his BS3 monkeys!
The game panned out better than I'd expected, but not by much! I was able to score 6 kill points thanks to 4 wrecked Transports and 2 dead units of monkeys. Deathleaper was the star of the game taking 2 kill points on his own. He probably could have secured linebreaker but I was clearly going to lose anyway so, at the bottom of turn 6, I risked charging a Chimera out of cover hoping to get an extra kill point and still get linebreaker should the game end. Unfortunately he completely fluffed his rolls and couldn't manage a single glance! The game went to turn 7, the Chimera moved aside and 9 Lascannons vaporised the sneaky Lictor.
Score 6/0-11/3 Loss (Primary/Secondary)
And so began a familiar sinking feeling as I faced off against Robert's Space Wolves on Table 11. Logan, 2 Rune Priests (only 1 Jaws at least) and 5 Long Fangs with Missile Launchers gave me serious cause for concern. The mission was The Scourging with Hammer and Anvil deployment.
For the first couple of turns I took a hammering as I advanced but the Wolves were unable to strike a decisive blow; so as I got into range I had only lost the Prime and a single Carnifex. The remaining Carnifex made short work of the Long Fangs on the left flank while on the right Logan and his Terminators had fought hard to dispatch the Trygon but the arrival of both Tervigons saw that the Old Wolf and the remainder of his Guard were relatively comfortably dealt with.
What of the Rune Priests? Clearly they were a prime target for me, particularly the one with Jaws. Foolishly I had strayed into Jaws range with one of my Tervigons but true to recent form (denying Doom against Eldrad on 4 consecutive turns in a recent game at the club) he managed to Deny the Witch to resist being dragged below. In the following turn the Priest was in Shadows range and failed to cast and on turn 3 he was scilenced … permanently! The other priest managed to very ably cancel out most of my Biomancy powers until he was consumed by the swarm much later in the game. Runic Staves and Wolf Magic are the bane of 6th Edition at the moment, where’s their update?!?
As the game drew to a close Deathleaper appeared to capture a three point objective in Robert’s Deployment Zone, also scoring Line Breaker. And this time the fact that the game went 7 turns was heavily in my favour as a Tervigon made it to the 5 man Grey Hunter squad camping the 4 point objective, wiped them out and consolidated onto the objective to end the game.
Score 13/2-0/2 Win
The fates seem to put Claws and Fists on a collision course with From the Fang almost every time at Blog Wars and this time it was my turn to take on Alex and his sea-grey Tau. You can read about Alex’s list here but needless to say I felt I had my work cut out for me. For the third consecutive time that day, I lost the roll-off to go first and was forced to chance my luck at stealing the initiative … which I failed to achieve for the third consecutive time that day.
The mission was The Emperor’s Will with Dawn of War Deployment. Alex took a load of photos so I’m expecting a full write up there so I’ll just say that I managed to keep it close but my gambit to threaten his objective with deep striking my Mawloc and Trygon was easily quashed buy the fantastic weight of fire he was able to leverage. Looking back on this move I could certainly have done it better as I badly underestimated how much firepower he could bring to bear without really effecting what he was already putting out against my advance down the right flank.
In the end we both managed to hold on to our objectives, I took First Blood but Alex had taken out my Warlord and on the last turn of the game a turbo boost from Longstrike secured Line Breaker and a 1 point victory for Alex.
Score 3/1-3/2 Loss
When the dust had settled I was sitting at a very pleasing 10th overall in a field of 30, quite an improvement compared to last year's wooden spoon. But in as much as last year's result was mostly due to an absolute pasting I took in game 3, this year's result was due to a very flattering result in game 2 which would have looked a whole lot less decisive had the game ended in turn 5 or 6. I guess that's just the way it goes some times but the three games gave me some good things to think about in terms of tweaks to my list and/or how to play it effectively.
Deathleaper was probably my most outstanding unit in the first two games but the Tervigons were the consistent MVPs for the tournament. Before the event I would have put money on the Carnifexes cleaning up but their lack of range really showed them up here and that's given me some serious things to think about in terms of how/if I use them in the future.
Range, or lack there of, was something which really let this list down and countering that will form the focus of my thinking in terms of Tyranid list building in the future. Watch this space for more list development in the future.
Lastly I'd just like to make a single criticism on the event, I thought the terrain was a little sparse on the 3 tables I played on. That's it, I couldn't come up with anything else! I had a very enjoyable day out playing 40k with a good group of people at a very well run event in a great venue. Can't wait for the next one!