Monday, 9 December 2013

Counter Attack Tournament Report.

My faith in 40k is restored (despite GW’s determination to break the game!). Had a great weekend at Counter Attack, 5 great, pretty tough games against fun opponents.

My list was the one I posted in the last post, 2 Mark’O’Rain teams, 2 teams of Double Burst Cannon XV8s, a team of 2 double fusion gun XV8s, 2 packs of Kroot, 2 Skyrays and 2 Hammer Heads with Plasma Cannons.

Game 1

Against Orks (yes really, cant remember the last time I saw orks at a tournament!). Gazzy, with a bunch of mega nobs in a truck, Warboss on a bike, with nobs, 2 battle wagons with 20 boys each, and a big squad of lootas. Five objectives primary, kill points secondary, dawn of war – luckily I got first turn.

Now this could be tricky! If any of his fast moving units (and he has 4 of them) get into my gun line, I’m screwed. At all costs I need to stop/slow down 2 of them, so I can focus on killing one of them, while blocking the other one.

So I set up with a fire base in the middle of the board that includes all my suits, and the 2 Hammerheads. I put the Skyrays in opposite corners – the idea being to get side shots on at least one battle wagon. The Kroot were infiltrating. My opponent sets up pretty much straight across the board, ready to rush me. However, he deploys his battlewagons carefully, and I can get side shots on only one, with one of the Skyrays. I infiltrate my Kroot as close to the bikers as possible, the idea being to use them to block the bikes, giving me time to whittle them down. My opponent doesn’t seize!

In my first turn I move and run the Kroot right in front of the bikers. They will die in an explosion of feathers, but it will slow down the bikes. I then move the Skyray that didn’t have a side shot on the battle wagon, 12” so that it does get side shots. The plan is to drown the wagon in marker lights, and use them to bring in the missiles from the Skyray that moved. The shooting phase goes to plan and I explode one battlewagon. I also kill Gazzy’s trukk, forcing the mega nobs into a long slog across the board.

The rest of the game goes pretty much according to plan. The plasma turrets make short work of the mega nobs, and the bursters kill the boyz and bikers. The highlight was Gazzy making a heroic 11” charge, taking 2 wounds from overwatch, and then getting slapped down by 2 XV8s!

A win to me, a fantastic first game agastin a really fun opponent.

Game 2

Hammer and Anvil, Big guns primary, kill points secondary. Agasint Nids – Flying Hive Tyrant, 3 Tervigons, a Trygon, a Mowloc , the Doom in a pod, Hive Guard, a big flock of gargoyles and hundreds of little bugs. My opponent gets first turn.

I enjoy playing Tyranids – there is something down right scary about facing an endless horde of ‘gaunts, backed up by some big bugs …. but it’s a bit one sided against a gunline. Particularly when they need to slog the length of the board. And particularly after I seized and killed his Hive Tyrant in a torrent of seeker missiles.

It was closer than I thought it would be TBH. My opponent almost pulled of a draw on primary. The Double Bursters just mowed down the little bugs, and the Deathrains plus plasma turrets killed the big ones, but I had one horrible round of shooting when I could kill nothing. That allowed my opponent to push up with his Tervigons (the big guys that spawn little guys), which were all scoring. The doom caused his usual havoc, but died to a Fusion Blaster (kudos to my opponent, I put 3 wounds on the Doom, and he rolled 3 saves. However, one of the dice was slightly cocked, which, with no prompting, he rerolled, and rolled a “2”). Highlight was a pack of Kroot holding up a bunch of gaunts and a Tervigon in assault to contest an objective when the game ended!

Win to me

Game 3

On Table 2 against Khan bikers – Chapter Master of Doom, Khan, 2 Landspeeders, and as many bikes as he could fit in. Relic combined with Emperors Will Primary, Kill points Secondary. He gets first turn …… bugger!

This was always going to be a tough one, that many bikes in my face first turn is just brutal. I infiltrated my Kroot as far forward as I could, which limited his Scout move to 6”, but it just wasn’t enough. He did exactly the right thing, rushed me with as many targets as possible, expect to lose 50% of his army in one round of shooting, but know that enough would get in to finish me off.

There was a pivotal turn where I almost turned it round. I had killed around 50% of his bikes in return for losing a relatively modest percentage of my army. He split Khan from the Command Squad to go after one of my Deathrain teams, and sent the Chapter Master and the Command Squad after the double bursters, However, the Deathrains were tight up against a hammer head, which was in turn creating a little “pocket” behind an immobilized Skyray. On the other, side of the “pocket” was a fully functional Skyray. So, reaching for the extra strong cheddar, I moved the Skyray to close the Window, completely boxing in the Khan. I then jumped the Deathrains over the Hammerhead, pivoted the Hammerhead, and used it to Tank Shock the Khan, making sure that the HH landed on top of him. The rules say that if you pass your leadership test you need to move out from under the tank – however, if there is no where to go you’re dead. Because I had boxed the Khan in, he had nowhere to go, and died….without firing a shot.

And this meant I had lots more fire power to kill the Command squad. However, sadly, after the dust settled, the Chapter Master was still there along with the apothecary ….. who with the 5 or so remaining bikes tabled me!

Great game, but it really brought home to me the need to have a plan for scouting bikes, and that this list lacks the raw fire power of many Tau lists. Six Broadsides, and a couple of squads of fire warriors with an Ethereal would have made a big difference!

Game 4

Demons (have I said how much I hate demons!). But, to be fair, not a terribly abusive list. Fateweaver, 2 big (and I mean maxed out) packs of Flesh Hounds, each with a Herald on a Juggernaut, a unit of 9 Screamers, but only one Herald, and a bunch of plague bearers.

I was lucky in this game. It was scouring and I had both 3 point markers and the 4 point one in my deployment zone, forcing my opponent come to me. I also had first turn … and this seemed to freak my opponent out – he hugely overestimated my army’s fire power. He put Fateweaver in reserve, along with the screamers, leaving only the Fleshhounds and plague bearers on the board. After the game he admitted he was concerned that I would alpha strike the screamers and/or Fateweaver, but I’m sure he could have hidden them – there was los blocking terrain.

He set up to rush me, and I infiltrated the Kroot right in front of the Hounds to limit their scout move, and slow them down …. and then he seized … which really threw him. What he should have done was rush me anyway, with both packs of Hounds, but he decided to try and go around my bubble wrap, rather than through it. The inevitable happened – in my first turn I killed one pack of hounds, in turn 2 I killed the second one. Fateweaver came on and I ignored him (he’s not nearly as powerful when you deny the witch on 4d6), and when the screamer star came on they failed their Grimoire roll, and I blew them off the table. Win to me.

My opponent really should have won this one!

Game 5

Top table against the only undefeated player  - he was running Eldar with Iron hand allies. Spiritseer, 2 squads of Wraithguard, a Wraithlord, a squad of Dire Avengers, a Chapter Master of Doom, 5 bikes with Grav guns and a combi grav, 4 Hyperion Missile Launchers, and a Thunder Fire Cannon. I was hoping I would play this army. He had just “smashed” the Khan biker list, which I really wasn’t expecting, so I was guessing its General knew what he was doing.

Kill points primary and 3 pre-set objectives in the middle of the board secondary. Dawn of war, and I got first turn.

I set up everything front and centre, and he deployed, largely out of LOS and/or out of marker light range. However, I could see his thunder fire cannon, and the Hyperios missile launchers. They were my primary targets for turn one – the TFC, because it murders my marker drones now that it is a barrage weapon, and the Hyperios as it will double out my suits. If I took them out first turn, I fancied my chances. I infiltrated my Kroot to block the bikes, and positioned the burst suits to make him think twice about rushing me.

And then he seized.

It could have been worse, in his turn he managed to kill one Deathrain, and a Skyray, but he took out 4 drones in one of the Mark’O’Rain squads. In my first turn I killed the TFC, and 2 of the Hyperion Launchers, I took a hull point off one Wave Serpent, but (with a very lucky shot) managed to kill and explode another one. In his turn 2 he didn’t do that much damage, but he forced a leadership test on my Commander’s unit, who promptly rolled a double 6! However, one of the dice was cocked. We had a bit of a debate over whether it was cocked or not (my policy is – if it’s not flat, it’s cocked), and eventually agreed to “roll off” to decide. I won the roll off, but promptly rolled another 6! The squad ran off the board.

However, my luck turned next turn when my deep striking fusion suits came down right behind one of his wave serpents. I lost one to the Hyperios intercepting, but with the help of my 2 remaining marker lights, I killed that serpent, and my remaining Death Rain Squad killed the other one.

Over the next few turns I killed pretty much everything other than the Wraithlord (who hid behind a bastion!), the 2 remaining Hyperios launchers and one unit of Wrathguard. A squad of Kroot killed the bikes in overwatch (!) and the chapter master went down to the Double Burster Suits. However, he also killed most of my army … and I had more kill points than he did.

In the end he won on primary, I won secondary, and we though I had won tertiary for a draw. Later however, my opponent realised we had in fact drawn tertiary - he forgot his Wraithguard were scoring, which counted double in table quarters, so a narrow loss. Great game

List analysis

As I mentioned before, this list was far from optimised, but some things about it worked really well.

What worked

·         The Burst Cannon suits were stars. Twin linking one of the Burst Cannons makes them statistically equivalent to BS4 (I think), meaning they are much less dependant on marker light support. They are however a little fragile without stims. I think the optimum load out would be 2 suits with 4 Drones. This means the unit is much the same price points wise, a little less accurate, but more survivable.
·         Mark’O’Rains – as always these units were stars. The trick is to use one of the Skyrays to light up their primary target first, boosting the Shas’ui’s BS. However, 6 drones is probably too many. A few times I had “spare” marker hits - 4 is probably enough.
·         Skyrays. Again, they were “OK”, not awesome, but workman like!
·         Fusion Suits. I really liked having these guys around – killing a battle wagon in game 1, doubling out the Doom in game 2, deepstriking behind the wave serpents in game 5 – they add tactical flexibility to the list.

What didn’t work

·         The Hammer Heads. While it was nice to have long range AP2, as I suspected, they were just too static. Even with ML support, they didn’t really work. And while the low AP was good, long range torrent would have worked just as well.

General thoughts

Generally I was happy with the list as a whole, with one exception – it lacked a little bit of flexibility on deployment. If I was facing and army that was going to rush me, I needed to deploy the Double Bursters, which wasn’t ideal. Their 18” range limited how far they could reach out and kill, and in a couple of games they did very little for a turn or 2 (games 1, 2, 4 and 5). They are far more effective if they are deployed via deepstrike. What would be ideal is if I had something I could deploy that would provide the same torrent of fire! I suspect if I replaced the 2 Hammer Heads with 3 broadsides+ drones, it would be a much stronger army.

So my next event is a 4 man team tourni on 4th January. I then have a 1650pt 7 game (!)  tourney at the end of January, and an 1850pt hard core Scotland ETC selection event at the end of February….!

For a change I think I’ll take my bikes to the team event, a reasonably fluffy Tau list to the 1650pt one, and roll out the extra strong cheddar for the one in February!


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