Sunday, November 20, 2011

Road to Glory III - Mercury Rising results

The third event in the Road to Glory series of escalation tournaments I'm currently running was held in Gamers World in Dublin on Saturday October 1st. This time, the players had 1250 points to spend on their armies.

There were six players at this event, here are your contenders -
Stephen Coleman (Beastmen)
Eoin Lennon (Vampire Counts)
Brian Dolan (Lizardmen)
Colin Power (Lizardmen)
James Fitzsimons (Dark Elves)
Malcolm Cooney (Lizardmen)

As in the previous event, there was a total of 100 Tournament Points up for grabs. 10 for presubmitting an army list, 10 depending on what proportion of their army was fully painted and based as well as 80 points for game results (4 games at 20 points each). As before, I had a Dark Elf army available for bye-busting, but it wasn't required due to the even number of players.

The event was won by Malcolm Cooney, followed by Stephen Coleman and in third was Colin Power. As with the previous event, a gold, sliver and bronze dice were awarded to the top three. The event went really smoothly, thanks to all the guys for playing in a great spirit. There were a couple of interesting incidents, including when Malcolm turned Brian's Slaan Mage into a frog using Sijevir's Hex Scroll - who could have pictured a Slaan looking like a frog? Also we had James and his unorthodox Assassins, who didn't like to hide in their regiments, but preferred to run around throwing Rending Stars instead. Obviously they forgot that they're a little squishy with shooting and direct damage spells around.

The final scores were as follows
Malcolm Cooney 85
Stephen Coleman 76
Colin Power 67
James Fitzsimons 54
Eoin Lennon 33
Brian Dolan 22

As with the previous events, players earned points towards the overall Road to Glory leaderboard, which now stands as follows. The formula for points awarded to each player is (1250/n) x (n-p), where n is the number of players at the event, and p is the number of players who finished ahead of the scoring player.

Stephen Coleman - 2126 (+1042)
Malcolm Cooney - 2091 (+1250)
Colin Power - 1834 (+834)
James Fitzsimons - 1307 (+625)
Eoin Lennon - 1084 (+417)
Gerry Nolan - 834
Fergus Finch - 713
Nigel Kavanagh - 614
Jan Karnowski - 478
David McHugh - 410
Domhnall O'Brien - 273
Brian Dolan - 209 (+209)
Derek "Jarvis" Mitchell - 205
Ken Chambers - 137
Des Kenny - 69

Again, big thank you to all the players for showing up, playing games and helping to set up the boards and clear up at the end of the day. Also to Martin Kenny and his staff at Gamers World for allowing us to use their tables and scenery.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Irish 40K Grand Tournament (TOWNCON) report

I not so recently attended the recently revived Irish Warhammer 40,000 Grand Tournament held as part of a new convention, Conspiracy (or TOWNCON, as it has been dubbed). The event was held on Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th September in the Kilkenny Ormonde Hotel. The organiser for the tournament was Mr. Paul Quigley - Dublin Games Guilder, fellow Wargaming Ireland Podcast contributor and spammer of many Venoms. Paul was ably assisted by Mark Keaveney and Colin Cullinane of Wargames Association Cork. All three did an excellent job and the event ran very well.

I didn't stay overnight for this event, instead I travelled up and down both days. Thanks a lot to Ralph Risk for going out of his way to collect and deliver me to my parent's house, where I was staying since I was on my holidays from work at the time. At eight on Saturday morning Ralph arrived with Frank (playing as John Stowe for the weekend) and off we headed to Kilkenny with a brief stop to collect Jannik en route.

My army was as follows
Librarian (125) - Jump Pack. Blood Lance, Shield of Sanguinius.
Librarian (125) - Jump Pack. Blood Lance, Shield of Sanguinius.
Sanguinary Priest (90) - Jump Pack, Power Weapon.
Sanguinary Priest (90) - Jump Pack, Lightning Claw.
Honour Guard (230) - Jump Packs, 4 Meltaguns, Power Fist.
10 Assault Marines (235) - 2 Meltaguns, Power Fist.
10 Assault Marines (235) - 2 Meltaguns, Power Fist.
10 Assault Marines (235) - 2 Meltaguns, Power Fist.
10 Vanguard Veterans (385) - 2 pairs of Lightning Claws, Sergeant with Power Fist.

Game 1 vs. Nick Meade (Blood Angels)

Nick had a very small model count in his list. He had a Storm Raven with Mephiston, Storm Raven with 5 Assault Terminators, a Terminator Armoured Sanguinary Priest and a Furioso Dreadnought with Blood Talons as well as 2 Land Raiders both transporting 5 strong Assault Squads.

The missions were from this year's ETC, so each had a primary objective (worth 8BPs), a secondary objective (4 BPs) and Victory Points (8 BPs split depending on VP difference). In this mission the primary objective was Kill Points with the secondary being Capture and Control with Spearhead deployment. The two objectives were placed in the centre of the neutral quarters.

Nick deployed and went first, so he sent one Storm Raven and one Land Raider toward each objective. Since he had split up his forces, I decided to drop on one half of his force and hopefully annihilate that before Nick could bring his other half to bear. However, the plan didn't survive contact. One Assault Squad with a Librarian and Sanguinary Priest scattered 6" and couldn't be placed due to the Land Raider. One mishap roll later and that was the end of 450 points of my army. The rest of my arrivals blew up the Storm Raven, but couldn't kill the Furioso. Nick proceeded to assault with his Terminators and Furioso, later to be joined by Mephiston. My late arrivals failed to blow the Land Raider up, and my army just disintegrated. I had no success against the Furioso in combat, all I managed was to blow off an arm. I did kill off the Terminators, but that was as much as I could manage.

Nick wiped out my entire force and held both objectives. I had managed to kill a Storm Raven, the Terminators as well as damaging both a Land Raider and the Furioso, so I did manage to score a solitary Battle Point. I liked my chances pre game, as I fancied my chances with lots of high cost models, which my army usually excels at killing, but I needed to get my army down in force, which didn't happen. Half my units failed to show, and one important unit destroyed itself. Nick did play well and took the opportunity to pick my army apart, so fair play to him. 1-19.

Game 2 vs. Arran Quigley (Grey Knights)
Arran had a Grey Knights army with very few actual Grey Knights in it. His army consisted of Coteaz in a Razorback with a Henchman bodyguard, a unit of Psykers in a Rhino, a Vindicare Assassin, a Psyfleman Dreadnought, and 2 Storm Ravens. One Storm Raven had a Librarian, Techmarine and 7 Death Cult Assassins. The other held a Techmarine with 8 Death Cult Assassins.

The primary objective here was Seize Ground with 4 objectives, 2 of which had to be with 6" of the long edges. These would count towards the secondary Capture and Control objective. Deployment was Dawn of War. Arran got first turn, so I full reserved.

Arran zoomed his Storm Ravens towards the objectives on my side of the table, while the rest of his army camped around those on his own side of the table. I decided to attempt to get the drop on his Storm Ravens, take them out and then head for Arran's objectives. Again, the reserve rolls failed me and I managed to only get 3 units again. I managed to get a single penetrating hit on each Storm Raven, but only blew a weapon off of each. (With AP1 and the Ravens having gone flat out, I only needed 3+ to destroy them). In turn the Death Cults popped out and slaughtered my units. With the plan in tatters, I decided to drop my remaining units against Arran's home objective. The Psykers decided to help me out by blowing themselves into bits with a Perils of the Warp (wouldn't like to be the Servitor who had to clean out that Rhino!). I managed to get into Arran's firebase and even held his home objective on Turn 5, so started to pray for the game to end. Unfortunately it didn't, and my guys were in trouble. Arran flew in his Storm Ravens and turned his entire firepower on my army. Luckily for me I was able to remove the models nearest Arran's army as casualties, so the only thing available to assault my last remaining Assault Marine was the Vindicare Assassin. They both traded ineffectual blows until thankfully the game ended after Turn 6.

Arran's home objective was contested, and none of the rest were held, so both primary and secondary objectives were drawn. Arran was well ahead on VPs however. I almost stole this game by focusing on the objective while Arran got too focused on killing things. Arran made a couple of mistakes by not holding one of the other objectives and moving everything in to wipe me out, and then again by pouring too much shooting and putting his assault out of range - even if he very nearly succeeded. 8-12.

Game 3 vs. Colin Cullinane (Space Marines - bye-buster)

After my poor showing in the first two games I was down at the bottom of the leaderboard so I was drawn against the bye-buster army, Colin and an Imperial Fists army. Colin's army was Lysander, 5 Assault Terminators in a Land Raider, 10 Tacticals in a Drop Pod, 10 Sternguard with Combi-Meltas in a Drop Pod, Ironclad Dreadnought in a Drop Pod, 5 Tactical Marines in a Razorback and a Predator.

The primary mission was a Capture and Control mission, with Annihilation as the secondary. Deployment was Pitched Battle, Colin got first turn and as usual I reserved in order to Deep Strike. Colin had to land all his Drop Pods before I arrived from reserve. It left his units quite scattered and I was able to drop against it in force. The plan went well, I was able to quickly dispatch Colin's Predator and Razorback squad holding his home objective. This game went very well for me, I was able to get an assault off on the Sternguard before they devestated any of my squads as well as getting rid of the larger Tactical Squad. This left Colin unable to claim the objectives. Lysander and the Assault Terminators did some damage in return but I did my best to ignore them while killing off his other units and even destroying a couple of his Drop Pods for the Kill Points. In the end I wore Colin's army down to the Terminators and Lysander.

I held Colin's home objective as well as being quite comfortably ahead on Kill Points at game's end, although I did lose a couple of units and failed to kill Lysander or the Terminators. It was nice to see things go to plan and vehicles actually die to my AP1 guns. Very enjoyable game. 17-3.

That was the end of day one's play. I had a look around the hall to see how my clubmates were getting on. Jannik was kicking ass with his Footdar on the top table. Several others were well up there - Phil Johnston, Gerry Nolan, ETC Captain Fantastic Mike Tangney and Frank as well. Pearce Condren was gaining a lot of attention for his "tournament bunny" ears and tail in a solid mid table position, as was his dad Alan as well as Ralph. So it seemed at that stage if anyone was letting the DGG down, it was probably me, although with another day's play to go there was still changes to happen. On Day 2 I was back up nearer the middle tables and drawn against a Kan Wall Ork army. Not a good matchup.

Game 4 vs. David McHugh (Orks)

David, or Jiggy as he's better known, had a scary wall of Orks. He was fielding 2 Big Meks with KFFs, 2 squads of 6 Lootas, 15 Kommandos, 3 mobs of 30 Boyz, a small Grot mob, 9 Killa Kans and a Deff Dread with four combat arms.

Our primary objective was a 5 objective Seize Ground, with Annihilation secondary mission and Spearhead deployment. For this game I decided to start most of my army on the board, with the exception of the Vanguard, who could assault after Deep Striking anyway. Jiggy had his Kan Wall up front with his Boyz behind, all covered by his Kustom Force Field. I had little success early busting Kans with my melta weaponry, which resulted in most of them getting to assault, although I did manage to destroy those that did eventually. I got the Vanguard into the back of a large Ork mob, although they did die to the counter assault. I was lucky that Jiggy rolled poorly for his run moves in the turn he had called his WAAAGH!, but his Lootas made up for that with excellent shooting - he was hitting constantly with more than half his shots. One of my Assault Squads killed off the Kommandos and prepared to take on the Lootas, only to lose all seven models to a single volley (yeah, they hit on 5s, I've a 3+ save and FnP, I know. Lots of 6s for him, lots of 1s for me). They also killed off the lone Sergeant from another squad who assaulted them. I took far too many casualties on my way into assault to win combats quickly and efficiently, although an Assault Squad with Furious Charge should do better than 4 hits translating into a single wound. Jiggy ground me down to a final few Marines surrounded by Orks at game's end.

Jiggy won both objectives in this game, although he was not as far ahead on Victory Points as it appeared looking at the table. I was always going to be in trouble with so many Kans on the table, my army finds walkers to be a pain in the arse. Fair play to Jiggy, he played well and deserved his win - although those Lootas are bloody ridiculous, definately the men (Orks?) of the match. 3-17.

Game 5 vs. Alan Condren (Space Marines)

Last match of the event and I was up against fellow DGG member Alan Condren and his Space Marine army. He had Vulkan He'stan with 5 Assault Terminators in a Land Raider Crusader, 3 squads of 5 Tactical Marines in Razorbacks, 2 squadrons of 3 Land Speeders, 3 Attack Bikes and 2 Predators (one Twin Lascannon, one Autocannon/Heavy Bolters).

Our primary objective was Annihilation, while the secondary was 3 objectives (one in the board centre, the other two on the centre line 6" in from the side edges). Deployment was Pitched Battle. Alan deployed his force mostly central, but with one Razorback squad to advance on the side objectives. I dropped in on the right flank, and easily blew up the Razorback and slaughtered the squad inside, before heading into the centre while one squad held the objective. It turned into a tough battle in the middle, I killed both Predators and the Razorback squad, but Alan's bikes and Speeders did plenty of damage too. When my straggler Assault Squad arrived, I went for th Razorback squad on the left but failed to destroy the transport. Vulkan and his Terminators then arrived to save Alan's final scoring unit, driving off the Assault Squad before returning to the centre to contest the objective there. The game ended after 5 turns before the squads could get to grips with each other.

I had taken the primary objective on Kill Points, but we both held a single objective and had both scored a similar number of Victory Points. Despite playing with the DGG for several months, this was my first game against Alan. I was quite happy that the game ended when it did - Alan's Terminators would have ripped my squads in the middle apart, even if they couldn't hold the objective themselves. Another tough, really enjoyable game. 14-6.

I finished up the tournament with a total of 63 points, with 43 for battle, 10 for presubmission and 10 for having a painted army. This was good for 23rd place out of 33 players. It was about what I expected heading in to the tournament, there were plenty of very good players and tough armies running around the place.

In first place was Jannik with his Footdar, followed in 2nd by Captain Mike also with Footdar. Third place was taken by 2011 ETC Captain Richard Flood and his Grey Knights. From the DGG, Phil Johnston was 5th with his Space Wolves, Frank was 11th with Black Templars, Pearce 18th with Blood Angels, Ralph's Grey Knights 19th, Gerry 22nd with Witch Hunters and Alan's Space Marines 29th.

I had a great weekend at the event. I thought Paul, Mark and Colin did an excellent job in what were sometimes trying circumstances. From what I understand, Paul was only recruited to help out originally, but due to unforeseen circumstances ended up having to do the bulk of the work himself. He also got everyone TOWNCON bars, which was cool too. He also handled well some post-event whinging from some guy who wasn't even there about something that didn't effect him in any way. Thanks again Paul, even if you did forget to thank that guy who made those nice buns for the event.

I've come to the conclusion that my army needs to change dramatically to become competitive. While there are builds it absolutely slaughters, it's far too vulnerable to Dreadnoughts, Assault Terminators, hard ICs and deathstar units. It's also very dependent on reserve rolls, even with the re-rolls I still didn't get enough units in turn 2 against both Nick and Arran. Deep Striking in with the Meltaguns can be highly effective, but the units doing so end up clustered out in the open. Shield of Sanguinius and Feel no Pain can help out against shooting, but my units are in trouble if they are assaulted. I have ideas as to where I will go with the Flesh Tearers from here, but that's for another post.

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