The tournament was yesterday, the convention ended some time today. I spent most of today recovering from my efforts and trying to overcome the pain in my back and legs… I need a new hobby or a new body.
I put way more effort into preparing for my demo game on Friday than I did for Lee’s Warhammer 40,000 tournament. I picked my army the morning of the tournament. I basically took the army I used in my last game of 40K, removed one HQ choice, replaced it with a dreadnought armed with twin-linked autocannons and then with the 200 plus points I had left over I thought, what costs 225 points, a landraider. This required me taking my special landraider transporting case, but that didn’t prove a problem until the end of the tournament.
I was told to arrive at 9 AM, so I set my alarm for 6:30. I didn’t get up until well after 7 AM after a sleepless night. I couldn’t find my proposed army list for this year’s Astronomi-con tournament. It turned out to be in the Warhammer Fantasy Battle directory on my MacBook Pro… I also grabbed one lascannon model instead of the that squad’s autocannon model. Other than that I arrived and promptly had a half hour or more to sit around and wait for other people to arrive before we started game one around 10 AM.
My game one opponent was Space Marines, in fact all of my opponents were loyalists space marines. There were a lot of them, with only one Imperial Guard player, last year’s army of choice at Astronomi-con. There were actually three other Chaos Space Marine players. One was running an old army which had Kharne and I never got a picture of it. The other was running the hated, double deamon prince with lash, with doubt defilers and a bunch of obliterators Iron Warriors list. I’m not sure why you try to piss off and antagonize your opponent, but if you want to, that is the army list to do it.
There were lots of Blood Angels with perhaps only one Space Wolf army. There were one or two Sister’s armies along with several Grey Knights. There were at least two ork players along with some Eldar and Dark Eldar. Hopefully Lee makes a list of which armies attended and where they placed available.
I didn’t win.
I was using a far from optimal list, one with limited mobility, limited anti-tank capability and no dedicated assault squads. What I did have was a high model count and every autocannon in my miniature collection. That was kinda the theme.
My opponents name escapes me, I’d never played him before. He had a black space marine army, which was partially painted. Hopefully he gets it painted in time for Astronomi-con which is the highlight of the Vancouver 40K year. It still doesn’t have a date, but it will be sometime this summer. As the boys from Winnipeg like coming to Vancouver during the summer…
I do have his army list, he had Lysander with a terminator squad in a Landraider Redeemer. I basically never shot at Landraiders or anything that autocannons couldn’t hurt, instead shooting as much as I could at whatever squad looked the most expensive. He had two tactical squads, two landspeeders, and a devestator squad which must have spent the whole game in a rhino…
Missions were randomly assigned and kept secret from your opponent. This was a throwback to second edition. It also resulted in a lot of ties as in most of my games I accomplished my mission and so did my opponent. It also resulted in some surprised winners of overall and best general. Deployment was also randomly determined on a game by game basis, which worked less well in my opinion. It would have been just quicker to have all the games have a simple deployment or to have game one be Dawn of War, game two be another deployment, etc. etc.
The tournament was 1700 points. I think 1500 points is the optimal number for a game of Warhammer 40,000 played on a six by four foot table. As a result of it being 1700 points and neither me nor my opponent being the keenest of 40K players with every rule memorized, we struggled to get our game in. I think Lee would be wiser to switch to 1500 points or even smaller on a one day tournament. It would result in less special characters and increase the likelihood everyone would have their army painted.
My mission in game one was kill points. Some people don’t like this, but I could care less, a mission, is a mission. How you perform it is what matters. I ended up not succeeding in killing more kill points worth of stuff than my opponent. I did kill Lysander and his little friends. I also killed my share of tactical marines, a rhino, but I never could hit the damn speeders and I don’t think I shot once at his Landraider Redeemer. A better army list would have some power gloves, or melta bombs, or melta guns. I didn’t have any of that stuff. I had one combi-melta and one chainfist as that is what my terminators were armed with…
If I have time and energy to spare, I’d paint another combi-melta or chainfist model. It is a struggle every year to get my proposed Astronomi-con army done. This year I’m doing pretty well. I have five partially finished bezerkers to finish then four other models. Alas those four models include: a rhino, a daemon engine, and my general…
I think I ended up drawing on the secondary objective. The secondary objective was always four randomly placed objectives, one in each quarter of the board. With no dedicated transports I was hard pressed to get any that were far from where I deployed. I twice deployed in a single quarter, this is far from optimal when you have a Chaos Dreadnought in your army.
The Beast Rabaan ended up killing at least 7 Nurgle Renegades. He may have killed a Grey Knight, but in the first game he was shutout and died to a multi-melta I believe. Multi-meltas are good, the only way a Chaos Space Marine army can get one is on a Dreadnought and unless they make dreadnoughts cheaper or give some other incentive to take them, they’ll sit on shelves like mine usually do.
It was very obvious this tournament who had a new codex and who didn’t. I still think historically Eldar are the best army in Warhammer 40,000 in the hands of a good player. But the way the marketing is geared and the way GW is set up it is to sell the latest greatest models. In order to do this they make the rules better for the current army lists than the old army lists. Grey Knights, Blood Angels, Space Wolves, and Tyranids were doing well. Imperial Guard seems to have had its moment in the sun, but currently it is probably the most versatile and cost effective army. 40K is close combat focused to a large extent so super characters, and wonder units both sell well and are rewarded when they get into H2H. The marines and the dark eldar have no shortage of ways to get their elite models into close quarters, Chaos is a tougher slog, especially when you choose to take no rhinos…
Apparently Imperial Armor stuff was OK in this tournament. That is a staple of Astronomi-con and that must be rubbing off on Vancouver tournament organizers. I didn’t know this in advance, not that it matters. I am broke and unemployed. What Forgeworld stuff I own is to improve the looks not the performance of my army. Not all Forgeworld stuff is cost effective point for point in-game, but it always looks cool.
I was doing alright after one game. I was never in the running to win. I just don’t care or try as hard as some people do. I play for fun and I use the models I’ve been collecting and painting since I was a teenager, which is getting, longer, and longer, and longer ago.
I drew Mark Spidal who is notorious for complaining about his luck and the unfavorable rules. He had a brand new one day old Grey Knight codex and apparently it was my option whether I let him use it or not. I did and he proxied some things. Hopefully he gets everything to his liking and painted in time for Astronomi-con.
No excuses then Mark!
I set my army up in one big long line with my Landraider on one flank and the dreadnought on the other. Once again I won the role to deploy first and go first but this time, my opponent successfully stole the initiative. Mark moved around but didn’t kill much of anything. At the start of my turn, my dreadnought went crazy and killed three Nurgle Renegades with his guns.
Turn two same thing, the Beast Rabaan goes crazy and blasts away more of my models. The rest of my army concentrated on killing his Grandmaster and the Grey Knight terminators he was with, as I reasoned they would cost the most and have the most spiffy rules. My actual mission was to keep my commander alive. To that end I put Lefty in my Landraider and he stayed there all game. Mission accomplished.
Mark must have been feeling it as his Grandmaster despite having his terminator buddies shot out from around him, charged my ten man terminator squad. He threw in another Grey Knight squad in support. It was ultimately no contest. Why would you charge a terminator squad that outnumbers you? Mark and the Grey Knights got to go first and he had a bunch of power weapons and special rules, but in the end I ground him down.
Mark then started retreating. He was down to about 8 Grey Knights at the end, plus of course two landraiders… Before his full fledge retreat and hide his Brother Captain and his squad decided it would be a good idea to advance on my Nurgle Renegade tactical squad sitting on the centermost objective. They were fresh off killing my Havocs in H2H and must have been feeling it.
Never walk within 12 inches of a stationary tactical squad. 2 autocannon shots, 2 plasma gun shots, and 16 bolter shots later none of those Grey Knights were alive.
In the end we tied. I kept my general alive and Mark’s remaining living Grey Knights allowed him to complete his mission. We both had a single secondary objective. Mark claimed after the game, he could have won by ramming my tactical squad with one landraider, but instead he shot at it. This all sounds wonderful in spirit, but I could have done a lot better with a couple of rhinos instead of a dreadnought which killed more of my models than it did his. Also his special rules and snazzy characters were killed by tactical squads and sub-optimal Nurgle terminators.
My final opponent was another Vancouverite who I’ve played before at tournaments and local stores. He was using his Salamander Space Marines but he had changed his army list significantly in preparation of this year’s Astronomi-con. Turns out James has fallen in love with scouts, he had three squads of them. One on bikes, one in the fancy landspeeder, the final squad was more traditional with sniper rifles and a missile launcher. The assault scouts had sergeants with powerfists. The sniper scouts were led by a special character, Sergeant Telion. James had another special character, Chaplain Cassius.
Chaplains are inherently annoying and another thing loyalists space marines get that Chaos Space Marines do not. However anything that can be killed by an autocannon or a bolter I can kill, so Chaplain Cassius and his fancypants Vanguard died to massed fire eventually, but not before becoming the first unit to get rid of the Nurgle terminators, after they failed their break test and the last two were run down…
This game was hard fought. It started out with James scouting across the board with the bikes and the speeder scouts. He also dropped a dreadnought almost on top of my noise marines. I had gotten first turn, I think, but a lot of stuff was out of range or hidden from sight. The Beast Rabaan went crazy and killed some more Nurgle Renegades after I lamented how disadvantageous a Chaos dreadnought was especially in corner deployment. Maybe I should just stick him in reserve every game, or just not field a dreadnought which is the best plan for a Chaos player.
Loyalist dreadnoughts are a lot better. They get drop pods. But that doesn’t matter when you deviate off the board. That was the end of that fellow.
The Librarian warped across the board with the Sternguard to further threaten and surround the Noisemarines. They along with my sorcerer were shot at a lot then charged by two scout squads. The powerfists did their work and James must have been feeling it as he later charged my Nurgle renegade squad. Despite half of them not getting to fight in the first round due to being up a tower, I hung on and later routed both scout squads, proving the power of the humble tactical squad.
The Beast Rabaan went crazy again on turn three, this time though he ran towards the enemy, eventually getting into H2H with a preadator tank and ripping off it’s turret and immobilizing it. I continued to fail to hurt landspeeders despite shooting many autocannon and bolter shells at it over the course of the game…
The game was getting down to the nitty gritty and once again time was tight. I reorganized my troops to maximize fire on the scouts who were running away, plus the Sternguard and the Vanguard. I killed the scouts, all but one Sternguard eventually, but the landspeeder and Vanguard were luckier. The Sternguard and Vanguard charged the dreadnought and the terminators. I liked my chances but special rules did me in. Before he died the Librarian cast some power making him able to hurt the dread in H2H. And the lucky saves for the Vanguard continued and they won the combat with the termies, who promptly failed their break test and the survivors were cut down like the cowards they were.
The last Sternguard went and hid between two tanks and the scout bikes rallied and also hid. I had been redeploying my Havocs who finally got a bead on the Vanguard and along with the Nurgle Renegades I think killed all the fancy pants loyalists. In the end James and I both accomplished our mission, but I lost the secondary one I think. Not enough mobility and scoring units.
Then people started to clean up and wait to hear who won the various trophies and door prizes. I didn’t win anything, but this wasn’t a surprise or the goal of the day. Lee forgot to remind everyone to come to Astronomi-con Vancouver, but Dan Miner and the WCP crew are running another tournament next weekend. I don’t know if my back and life can handle two tournaments in two weeks.
I have lots of other priorities in my life and spend most of my hobby time painting, or reading online, or blogging.
Other attendees had fancier cameras than my iPhone so I’m sure more and better pictures will appear online eventually, I’ll try to link to pictures and accounts I come across.
Additional Tales of Trumpeter Salute 2011
- Vanhammer has tournament coverage on a Drupal site even
- The tournament results ended up on the WCP forum
- The Arch-fiend James Chen posted up his account on the Vanhammer 40K site as well
- Tournament account over on Dakka Dakka
- Warbard has posted a bunch of pictures of various other games people enjoyed
- Trumpeters is primarily a historical gamers club, they tolerate sci-fi, fantasy, and RPG players, here is one of many historically accurate miniature games that was ran.