Had a great weekend at the Warrington GT, played 6 tough games against 6 fun opponents, but man it was hard.
I had read before that this was one of the most competitive tournaments in the UK, and I can see why. It seemed like about a third of the field had played in the ETC at one time or another, and the lists were just brutal (I played a 3 Wraithknight list, and a 9 Broadside one … neither of which went well!). Still, didn’t play any idiots and had 6 fun games. When the dust settled I went 3-0-3 and came 27th out of (I think) about 50 people … what can I say – mid table obscurity! I was nominated for best painted however, and I came 3rd on player voting, which was pleasing.
Usual format, (very) brief bat reps, and some general thoughts.
Against Necrons. He had a big block of immortals with mini lord, a bunch of Cryptecs with weird stuff, a devastation barge (I think – the one with the BSG – Big Scary Gun), 2 Annihilation Barges, 4 sets of Wariors in Scythes, and a Destroyer Lord.
Long story short I killed pretty much everything. The pivotal turn was turn 2 when all his flyers came on ….. and I shot three of them out the sky. Tau really are the hard counter to Necron Flyers.
The tournament had a really weird scoring system which I never really got my head around. We had to get a judge over to explain it! I won 18-2
Against the ultimate winner of the whole event – 3 Wraithknights (one of which was his Warlord), 4 wave serpents with dire avengers inside, and a Skyshield Landing Pad.
He sets up the serpents behind the landing pad for a 2+ cover save (the FAQ ruled it as a fortification granting a 3+, and with holo fields…..! Combine that with the FAQ ruling that “Ignores Cover” does not effect vehicles and Wave Serpents were pretty much unkillable!) The Wraithknights went on top of the pad. I got first turn and killed the Warlord Wraithknight for first blood and slay the warlord … but that’s all I killed for the rest of the game … and he tabled me…sigh!
This was good game (despite being tabled), my opponent was a great guy, and we had fun. HOWEVER, I think this game illustrates why tournaments organisers need to think carefully about FAQs. Now, I don’t want to argue rules interpretations. I know the Ignores Cover rule is controversial, as is the question of whether the Skyshield is a fortification or not. My point is rather that TO’s need to think beyond what is right or wrong, but rather what is balanced.
Does it really make sense to make something as powerful as a Wave Serpents even more powerful, by giving it a 2+ cover save, and then disallowing the only way to negate that cover save! And to be fair to my opponent, he agreed. He was actually trying to make exactly that point by taking the list he took.
Against Tau – 2 Riptides, 9 Broadsides, Commander with toys and marker drones, and a bunch of Kroot. Big Guns, Vanguard strike.
I go first turn and killed a unit of Broadsides for first blood and an extra VP for killing a Heavy Support unit. In his turn pretty much all his shooting either missed or bounced off … until almost the last shot of the turn. He fired an Overcharged Ion Accelerator shot at the Ethereal’s Devilfish. It hit, clipping a Riptide and some marker Drones. He puts a wound on the Riptide, and kills the Drones. He pens the Devilfish, I fail a 3+ cover save, he rolls a “6” and blows up the ‘fish, and only one of the Firewarriors and the Ethereal survive. The blast kills 3 more marker Drones. Sigh….!
It all went down hill after that!
When I saw my opponents army I knew I was going to struggle …. it was specifically designed to kill Tau. His list was a combination of Blood Angles and Space Wolves in 7 drop pods (with supporting Land Speeders and a pack of Long Fangs). However the key was that he had 2 Rune Priests with Jaws, 2 BA Libbys with Fear the Darkness and blood lance, and 2 Libby Dreads with Fear the Darkness and blood lance … oh dear!
Long story short I screwed up my deployment, and left 2 gaps he could thread pods into, that got him inside 24”. It was risky, because they were right on the board edge, and he needed to “hit” or he would scatter off the board … but he hit. TBH I really needed the third Kroot squad to bulk up the bubble wrap. I had to contract my deployment to make sure all the vehicles were within 12” of the Riptide with the Talisman of Arthas Morloch, and that meant I couldn’t push back the pods far enough with the 2 Kroot Squads I had.
Having said that, the Talisman was awesome. On turn one I denied 5 out of the 6 psychic powers, but the last Fear got through, the Riptide with the Talisman, failed his leadership test, and ran off the board (he had first turn so I couldn’t get “Stubborn” off from the Ethereal before the power hit).
I tried my best to claw it back, and killed a fair bit of his army, but once the Talisman Riptide ran off the board, Fear and Jaws ran riot.
Against a Grey Knight list – 2 Stormravens, 10 Terminators, and a bunch of Grey Knights and acolytes lead by Coteaz.
My opponent deployed poorly and one Ion Acceleraotr blast killed 3 terminators and 6 Grey knights. The terminators then broke and ran off the board. Luck was just not with my opponent. The Heavy Burst Cannon intercepted one Stormraven, on turn 2 blowing it out the sky, and killed the other one when it came in on turn 3.
I tabled my opponents for the loss of one gun drone!
Against Eldar and guard (with only one serpent, and no Wraithknights!). This was a tighter game, but I just had too much fire power.
High point (for me) was both Kroot Squads outflanking behind the Wave Serpent and knocking 2 Hull Points off the Serpent. My opponent then disembarked the Wraithguard that were in the Serpent, to deal with the Kroot. So, while not killing either the Serpent or the Guard, 130pts of Kroot effectively took both of them out the game.
I think I’m getting the hang of the list now. I’m making fewer mistakes (although far from flawless) and beginning to get a feel for what it can and can’t do. So what worked and what didn’t
· The Raven Commander worked well. Being able to jump him between the Double Death Rain Squad and the HBC Riptide allowed me to get the full benefit from his wargear, The stim injector was a good option. I made quite a few FNP saves.
· The HBC Riptide, with Earth Caste Pilot Array. This guy was really effective. The ECPA is made for the Heavy Burst Cannon, almost guaranteeing the Heavy 12, Rending profile on the HBC. Adding 4 extra shots, and rending, makes the HBC very effective against almost anything. Combining this guy with the Raven Commander made him particularly deadly.
· Ion Accelerator Riptide. As always, the low AP shooting this provides was invaluable.
· Double Death Rain Marker Squad. This is a great combination, particularly when combined with the Raven Commander. Being able to land 6 marker light hits, and then drop a S8 AP2 large blast on the target, which is very unlikely to scatter is really good.
What wasn’t so effective?
· Fire Warriors. It’s interesting, at past tournaments the Fire Warriors were star performers. However, in this environment they weren’t that effective. The problem is their fragility, and the fact they make up 2 of 5 scoring units. What this means is that they tended to stay in their ‘fish for far too long, not really contributing until they jumped out and killed maybe one thing, mid to late game. So my list has 400pts tied up in fire warriors (if you include their ‘fish) which only really contribute for 2 or 3 turns.
· Kroot. I think I’m using Kroot wrong. I was running 2 units of 10 as harassment/cheap scoring/ bubble wrap. I’m beginning to wonder if running them in bigger packs might be more effective.
· Skyrays. Still undecided about Skyrays. They were great in the games where I played flyers, and were great for one turn, but after that….! On the whole, for their points, they are a sound unit, just not star performers.
My next Tournament is Rapid Fire at 1850pts, but with no allies. I think I want to try something a little different.
Further thoughts soon.