Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Harlequins first tournament

Took my Harlequins to their first tournament at the weekend. It did not go well!

Out of a total of 80 possible points available over the weekend, i got 3, losing all 4 games. To be fair, it was a team tournament, and my list was by far the weakest list in the team, so tended to get "preyed" on, but it was still pretty woeful!

The list I took was

Troupe Master, Fusion Pistol, Carress
Troupe Master, Fusion Pistol, Carress

Troupe, 4 Fusion Pistols, 4 Embraces
Troupe, 3 Fusion Pistols, 4 Embraces
Troupe, 3 Fusion Pistols, 4 Embraces
Troupe, 3 Fusion Pistols, 4 Embraces


Starweaver x4

Skyweavers x3

Ravager 3 Dark Lances
Ravager 3 Disintegrators
Ravager 3 Disintegrators

Game 1

Against an Imperial Fists marine army, 4 Razorbacks with Twin Assault Cannons,  4 tac squads with Heavy Weapons, a Landraider with a tooled out assault squad and Primaris Lieutentant to go inside, and 2 units of shooty terminators, lead by Lysander. Bluntly I fancied my chances. We had the same number of drops, so I would go first if I placed the first model. The Ravagers should (!) take out a couple of razorbacks, and the Shadowseer could cast Twilight pathways to move one Starweaver twice, putting 5 Fusion Pistols up close to the Landraider. Then all I would need to do is weather the storm of the Terminators coming in, before moping up.

And I got to place the first unit!

Which all very well, but stupidly (and I still can't believe I did this), having counted the drops carefully, and worked it all out, I deployed the Solitaire rather than put him in a Starweaver, meaning I had 9 drops rather than 8. Worse still, I didn’t realise until I had deployed a few units aggressively, ready to take turn one. It was like getting seized on!

Long story short, we had a fantastic game, which I lost narrowly (despite the score line being 18-2). I more of less weathered the storm of his first turn, and wiped out the Terminators and Lysander with embarrassing ease. His armour was trickier, as we were playing Hammer and Anvil and it took a couple of turns to get the Fusion Pistols in Range, but at the end he had I think one Razorback left, and a handful of tactical marines, and I had a Ravager on 1 wound, and 3 players. Highlights (!) were missing with the Troupe Master's fusion pistol 3 times (he hits on a 2+), using a command point to re-roll it 3 times (in separate shooting phases) and missing again, three times!! Also, Landraiders are tough - it survived 7 Fusion Pistol shots (within double dice range) with 1 wound left. I had to assault it with the Troupe Master and the Solitaire to be sure. It then blew up, killing both the Troupe Master and the Solitaire!

On the bright side, my teammates won big and we took the round

Learning points - vehicles are a lot tougher to take down than I thought. Harlies are devastating in Assault - 2 Troupes (and the Solitaire) blew through 10 Terminators and Lysander as if they weren't there. I was beginning to wonder whether Fusion Pistols are the way to go.

Game 2

Not a lot to see here - I was "thrown under the bus" by the team, and drew a Grey Knight Stormraven list - 3 Ravens and 4 Grandmaster Dreadknights. Only 7 drops so he was going first. My only hope really was to seize, which I didn't. He took first turn and killed about half my army. My "mission" was to get 1 or 2 points, so I ran away a little, but the Ravens and a gating Grand master hunted me down.

Learning points ....... Ravens are really strong? Who knew!!

My team mates did reasonably well though, and we lost the round by only 1 point.

Game 3

Under the bus again - Demons (god I hate demons!). A bunch of characters and exalted flamers hiding behind brimstones and blue horrors.  Again, my "mission" was to get 1 or 2 points out of the game so I shot stuff to little effect, and ran away some more. Got a point out of the game which  gave our team a draw for the round.

Hmmm ..... don’t want to sound bitter, but my opponent's list is a good example of how to abuse the character mechanic and smite spam. The only things I could shoot were the horrors, which are -1 to hit with a 4++. If I assault the screen, I kill it, but I'm then "smited" off the table, and if not, the Demon Princes steal my lunch. At one point I had a chance to assault over the screen, and "might" have taken out a couple of Demon Princes .... but while it would have been fun to do, I would have died in return, and that wasn't my mission.

Learning points. That I don’t really enjoy the team format! Being "forced" to play a defensive game and run away, expecting to lose, but to get a point or 2 is no fun. If you're going to lose, you might as well lose big and have fun doing it!

Game 4

This time I wasn't under the bus, and drew a Tyranid List. I fancied my chances here to be honest. Swarmlord, 2 Exocrines, 2 Tervigons (the ones that spawns the little shooty guys), a Trygon Prime, a Spore Pod, some Rippers, and 2 squads of 30 Termigaunts with devourers.

However, I didn't know 2 things, first, that the Swarmlord can move again the turn he steps out the pod, and still charge, and that you can spawn 'gaunts from the Tervigons to replace losses. Well to be fair I knew that, but I didn't appreciate how it worked. He strung the gaunts all the way back to the Tervigons, taking casualties from the back of the horde, replenishing them from the Tervigons, and constantly pushing the the front line forward - and with 3 shots each from the devourers, they push out a hell of a lot of fire power.

So the swarmlord comes down and attacks a Starweaver, he then refused to die to massed shooting (he cast catalyst on the Swarmlord giving him a 5+ feel no pain). Yet again, I wiffed horribly with my Fusion Pistols, even with re-rolls. It took me 2 rounds of shooting to kill him while he "monstered" a Starweaver, a Troupe, and a Ravager, and by that time the ' gaunts were all over me. I just didn't have the fire power to whittle down the swarm, nor could I get into combat due to massed overwatch. We were playing Hammer and Anvil, so the Tervigons were too far away to kill.

Looking at the game again, I should have won. My target priority was way off. I should have played far more aggressively, pushing forward to get the Exocrines first, and then the Tervigons, accepting that I would suffer losses from the 'gaunts, but hoping I would get the big bugs, and then wipe the little ones.


Well, that was a bit depressing! To be fair, there was nothing I could really do against the Stormraven list, nor the Demons. I should have won against the Marines, and should probably have won against the 'nids.

Harlies are far from the strongest list in the game at the moment, which i knew when decided to buy the army, but I didn't really appreciate how tricky they were to play. Lots more thought required.

The main learning point however was that I don’t enjoy the team format. Being "forced" to play a game you don’t want to play, for the benefit of the team, isn't fun. I don’t mean the match up, but the way you actually play your list. Playing "conservatively" so you lose, but don’t lose completely, just isn't fun. If I'm going to lose, I want to lose in a blaze of glory - in the words of the Kurgan - "it's better to burn out than to fade away"!

And of course the format pushes you towards silly armies - at the weekend we saw quite a few smite spam demons, dark angle parking lots, Magnus a Khorne Lord of Skulls and 2 Knights, Tau Commander spam etc etc. I guess you get that sort of list at singles events, but once you lose a couple of games Swiss pairing usually means you get to play something a little more interesting.

Next post, some more general thoughts on my list, and tactics

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