Just back from Preferred Enemy in Stirling. About 24 of us turned up for a 7 game 1,650pt tourni. It was the first big test for my revised bike army using the new codex.
Against Chaos Space Marines. Big squad of Nurgle Bikes with 2 Sorcerers, squad of Plague Marines, squad of CSM and 9 Obliterators. Crusade, Hammer and Anvil. I think I got first turn. I rolled “Burner of Worlds” on the Ordo Hereticus Warlord Trait Table. So 3 orbital bombardments and 2 thunder fire cannons later, the Nurgle Bikers weren’t looking quite so scary. It was pretty much over after that!
The Chapter Masters were awesome, murdering Oblits and Plague Marines, but most importantly acting as tanks for the Grav Gun Squads.
Iron Warriors. Warpsmith, 3 squads of CSM with all the fixings in Rhino’s, 4 Oblits, a Hell Drake, a Vindicator and a small squad of Terminators. Kill Points, Dawn of War. I rolled Burner of Worlds again!
My opponent got first turn and moved up with everything, popping smoke. In my first turn 3 Orbital Bombardments killed 2 Rhinos, Grav Guns killed one more, and knocked the gun of the Vindicator, and the TFC’s murdered the CSM who bailed out of the Rhinos (one TFC put 20 wounds on a squad hunkering in the ruins of their Rhino!). After that it was just a matter of the grav guns killing Oblits, and the Chapter Masters butchering the remaining CSM.
The Helldrake was a bit of an issue, and the Stalkers didn’t really shower themselves in glory, but eventually they put it down. What was helpful was being able to “shelter” the bikes behind the Chapter Masterss artificer armour.
And prescienced TFC’s are just brutal on clumped up troops!
This was a tough game against a friend from the non-club. He was running Imperial Fists lead by a Master of the Forge with Conversion Beamer, 3 units of scouts in Land Speeder Storms, a unit of sniper scouts, a Storm Talon, a Stormraven with 5 Thunder Shield Terminators inside it, and 3 Devastator Centurians.
I have never (and I mean never) had such bad dice in any game I’ve ever played. It was unbelievable. For example – every turn I prescience the TFC’s and only once in the whole game (and there were 6 turns), did the first shell fall on target. So in 12 prescienced shots, I rolled a “hit” once! Both orbital bombardments scattered off target. My Stalkers could not scratch the Stormraven, in 2 round of shooting and I could not pass a 3+ save ….. at all!
It was woeful – I can not remember a more frustrating game of 40k. I don’t often lose my cool, but I’m ashamed to say I did in this game. Eventually I managed a narrow win.
Top table Chaos Demons, Flying MC’s. Sigh …. ! I truly hate playing this army. It’s just no fun. Even if you win, its no fun. And I lost – in fact I was tabled.
This game showed me that Chapter Masters need to be Eternal Warriors to give them a chance of killing Demon Princes, otherwise they just get butchered. I don’t have the fire power to kill the DPs from shooting, so the CMs need to be able to accept a challenge, to kill them in combat.
And my bad dice continued. I never denied the witch once all game (and when you think about how many psychic powers he was casting that’s kinda unlucky) and I rolled handfuls of ones and twos for my grav guns.
Against Little Geek’s Eldar (table 3 …. not bad for a 13 year old!). Essentially a Farseer 4 wave serpents with 5 Dire Avengars in each, 2 squads of jet bikes, and 3 Fire Prisims. Hammer and Anvil, big guns.
The amount of fire power this list can kick out is truly horrifying, and it is so mobile. Combine that with how resilient the tanks are and it’s going to be an uphill struggle. Luckily I had first turn … in which I managed to knock one hull point of a single wave serpent! I made the mistake of trying to use my Orbital Bombardments. This of course means my Chapter Masters can not turbo boost forward. I should have ignored the bombardments and boosted as far forward as possible. The only way I was really going to kill these tanks was in assault.
In Little Geeks turn, 2 squads of bikes evaporated (bad dice continued – I had 8 3+ saves to make on one a 5 man squad, and I failed 6 of them!), but the Chapter Masters tanked enough wounds to get my bikes in close, and in turns 3 and 4, I managed to kill enough tanks to pull of another narrow win (bad dice continue – CM assaulting a tank, 6 Power First attacks on the charge …. takes of one hull point! I’m beginning to think the gaming hall is cursed!)
However, this game showed my how crucial Chapter Masters are to allowing you to get into a gun line. Being able to tank wounds on their artificer armour is what won me this game. The were monsters!
Against a very nice Red Scorpions army (using Iron Hands Chapter Tactics). Chapter Master, 2 Tactical Squads in Rhinos, Landraider with 5 Thunder Shield Terminators, Stormraven, with 6 Sternguard, and 2 Thunder Fire Cannons. Kill points, Vanguard Strike. He has first turn, but it’s night fighting.
He deploys , and I deploy more than 36” away from all his shooting. In his turn, he surges everything forward, and pops smoke. I move up, but stay far enough away so the Termies can’t assault. I fire at nothing.
He moves up again, and does some ineffectual shooting. His Stormraven comes in and stuns one of my Stalkers. In my turn 2, it was as if all my bad luck in the last 2 games falls away, and I have the most amazing turn of shooting. One Stalker kills the Stormraven (I hit 4 times and rolled 2 sixes and 2 fives for 2 penetrating hits and 2 glancing hits, he fails one of his jink saves and I roll a 6 to blow him out the air!), the ‘Raven blows up and kills all the Sternguard. I kill both Rhinos and the Landraider. The Thunder Fire cannons then butcher the tactical squads (this game the TFC’s just never seem to miss – I put 25 wounds on one bunched up squad of Tactical Marines!).
In his next turn, he assaults one bike squad with the terminators, I kill one in overwatch, and he wiffs, killing maybe 2 bikes, and I hit and run away …. and that was about it. By the end of the game he had his Chapter Master left, and I didn’t lose a unit!
Against the same Demons player as Game 4. I almost conceded at the start. I just couldn’t face it again, it’s such an irritating army to play. But I was persuaded this wouldn’t be fair on those playing for the other top spots, so I played him.
He rolled the usual collection of confusing nonsense, flew up and killed me. I shot back, but it all bounced off (at one point one of the Demon Princes was T7, had a 3++, re-rolling ones, and 4+ feel no pain!). I tried my hardest to out manoeuvre him, out rules lawyer him, and out assault him, but all to no avail (stupid challenge mechanic!).
At the end of the game it was so frustrating I vowed to simply concede every time I face this army again, I hate it so much! I’ve calmed down a little since then, but it really isn’t a fun game. Even when I play this army with my Tau (which has the tools to deal with it more effectively), it’s still not fun. It just flies on the board, hides, and then flies off again, coming on on the last turn to contest everything …… sigh!
So, I came 3rd overall. What was pleasing was the non-club coming 2nd,3rd and 4th.
Thoughts on the list to follow, however, what this tournament illustrated, is that to win a tournament in the current meta, you need to tailor your list to make the hard games easier, even if it makes the easy games harder.
So for example, putting the Shield Eternal, and/or the Gorgon’s Chain on my Chapter Masters may mean I had to drop a Scout Squad and Land Speeder Storm. It would have made games 1,2,3, 5 and 6 harder, but would have made games 4 and 7 easier.
“It was ever thus” I hear you say, but now I think it’s even more prominent. Seems to me that games like 40k are a balance of list building, tactics and luck. You can argue what the balance between these 3 elements of the game should be, but it seems that 6th ed places more emphasis on list building and luck, than tactics.