Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Rapid Fire Tournament report

Just back from Rapid Fire 2017, one of the longest running tournaments in Scotland, and one of the first tournaments I every went to about 10 years ago. Number were a little down at this event, but it was v2.0 of the event, the “main” Rapid Fire having taken place in October (I couldn’t make the date). It was hugely oversubscribed, so they decided to run another event a couple of months later. They had 34 at the first one, and 28 at this one. 

I was speaking to the TO, and he things they will do the same next year, but have one event more “fluffy” with some comp on army lists, with the other a little more “hard core”. Think that would work well. There is not a particularly deep pool of competitive players in Scotland, but those who are, are particularly competitive. Most people are casual players who just want to play toy soldiers with the friends over a couple of days. Often they “clash”, so having seperate events would I think work well.

Anyway, on with the bat reps

Game 1

Against Orks - 120 boys, Mega Nob Warboss, Wierd Boy and a Stompa. Was a little worried about this, as the stompa is notoriously hard to kill (T8, 40 wounds!), and the boy’s could just swamp me, and with “da jump”, one mob of them would be in my teeth turn one.

However, I needen’t have worried. The Venoms with Kabalites inside gave me the torrent of fire to kill a unit of 30 boys per turn (with doom from the Farseer), and all the Fusion Pistols killed the Stompa turn 2. The only worrying moment was when the Stompa blew up, killing my Farseer, a Troupe Master and 3 Starweavers!! I did think about whether to bother with the Stompa, because with -1 to hit on all my Vehicles he was hitting me on 6s. I could have just run away from him. However, mission was the Relic, and all he needed to do was land the Stompa on the Relic, and without killing it there would have been little I could have done to get it back. 

The other thing that was interesting is how you need to think about charges. The “interrupt” stratagem means that if you charge a mob of boys with 2 units of Harlies, you need to make sure you kill enough of them with your first unit to make sure the return attacks dont wipe you completely. So you need to whittle them down first.

Win to me, tabled him at the end of turn 4.

Game 2

Against Dark Angles, but not the usual Azrael gun line. Bunch of scouts, some characters a (pretty random) Predator and 2 big units of 10 assault terminators with Storm Shields and thunder hammers. Mission was Maelstrom.

He kept the Termies in reserve and dropped them down turn 2 onto objectives (!) It was a shooting gallery after that. I assaulted the termies (for the fun of the thing), but I could have easily just stayed in my boats, and killed them all at range. Tabled him turn 3.

Not really much to learn from this game sadly. It was a bad match up for my opponent. What ever he did I could just run away and shoot him.

Game 3

So after 2 big wins. I found myself on Table 3 against tau. Yes really!! He had a bunch of little guys - Breachers, Strikes, Pathfinders and Drones, a unit of 3 plasma suits, 4 Commanders (2 of them Coldstars), and a Y’varna. 

Now, I played Tau all through 5th edition, and at the start of 6th (stopped because everybody was playing them and they got a bit boring TBH), but I’ve kinda lost touch with where they are now because nobody seems to play them anymore, so some of the rules came as a bit of a shock! In particular, when he explained to me what the Y’varna did (3d6 S6 flamer that does a straight 3 damage!!), I started to pay attention. 

So I deployed conservatively, out of range of the Y’varna (or so I thought). He put all the little guys on the board along with the Y’varna and the Coldstars. All the XV8s were in their Manta, ready to deep strike in. I got first turn and decided to take it, moving up and killing 2 or 3 little units of Infantry for First Strike, still staying away from the Y’Varna. Then it was his turn. He moved all his stuff (one of the moves was a bit of a shock, see below), and then one of those things happened that sometimes happen in Tournaments. He forgot to bring his suits in from reserve and moved onto shooting. Sigh ..... I hate it when that happens, because I never know what to do - do you let him go back, or is it “tough luck”. In the moment I decided to let it slide and actually reminded him he had forgotten, letting him go back and bring in his suits. I wanted to “set the tone” for the game early. Not sure it was the right call, given what happened in the rest of the game.

Next, two things happened. 

First, while he had explained how the Coldstars worked, I hadn’t really processed it (they have a 20” advance). I had surrounded my Farseer with Venoms, but not well enough. Both Coldstars were able to get close enough to the Farseer to make him the closest model and killed him! Second, I had forgotten that the Y’varna could advance (duh). Now I could excuse myself the first mistake, but this was just stupid. So, he advanced his Y’Varna and drew a bead on a Starweaver ... but he was about 1” too short. He could reach the Hull, but not the base, and with Starweavers it’s the base you measure to. 

So, after the dust settled on his turn one, I had lost my Farseer (giving up Kill the Warlord), a Venom full of Kabalites, and a couple of Starweavers. More worrying was that the Y’Varna would be in range next turn. But my opponent had IMO made a mistake. He had deep struck his suits in behind, my Starweavers. That meant I could fall back, away from the Y’Varna, to deal with the suits, getting some (although not all) of the ‘weavers away from the big scary suit, but still deal with the little suits - which is what I did. That turn I killed the unit of 3 Plama Suits and 2 of the Commanders.

In his turn, he moved up, and killed a bunch of stuff with the Y’Varna, but it wasnt’ that bad. I was rolling an unholy number of 4++ saves. So in my turn, the Y’varna was in my teeth and I needed to deal with it so I could move onto objectives next turn (we were running out of time). And then he explained to me how the drone saviour protocols worked (to be fair he had explained it earlier but, again, I hadn’t really taken it in). He had 9 drones next to the Y’Varna (remember that number, it’s important), in 2 squads, one of 4 and one of 5. I asked him about the 4 man squad and he said “no, one died”. 

So, the way it works is that if the suit suffers a wound it can pass it off to a Drone. Note, not a point of damage, but a wound. So if my Fusion Pistol causes a wound, he can pass the whole d6 off to the Drones. Hmmmm ..... what that means in reality is that the Drones need to die, before you shoot at the suit.

So, I moved all my ‘weavers into double dice range, and moved a 2 man unit of Players (that had been shot up last turn) up too. So, in shooting I managed to kill all the drones, but my Fusions Pistols wiffed, and the Y’Varna was left with 2 wounds. I would need to assault it to kill it, but with that horrendous flamer......! But I had to kill it. So I charged in a ‘weaver full of Players, hoping it would soak up overwatch, but it died horribly ...... but then I had a brain wave. The Players that came out the ‘weaver could still asssault ... and there was a building they could get into just beside the ‘weaver which meant they were out of line of sight of the Y’Varna. So I could asssault the big suit, without it being able to overwatch, lock it in combat, and then asssault with everything else. My opponent was very unhappy about this, but it was all legit (after a trip to the TO to check). So the Y’Varna died.

So, it was my opponents turn 3, and we were running short of time. He wanted to make this the last turn, but I checked with the TO, and it wasn’t hard dice down, rather finish the turn you’re on. So I was pushing him to finish his turn, so we could both get a turn 4. He moved about a bit, and shot some stuff, but nothing of consequence. It could have been quicker, but I did get my turn 4. 

But I screwed it up! 

He had 2 objectives, and I had 2, so I needed to take one from him. He was holding it with a commander. I decided to get one unit of Kabalites out of their boat and run them onto the objective, planning to kill the commander to take the objective. I got the Kabalites onto the objective, but failed to kill the commander, In his turn he killed the 5 Kabalites with the commander for a draw, holding the objective. In retrospect, I should have swarmed the objective with both Venoms full of Kabalites. that would have forced him to kill both Venoms, and all 10 Kabalites ....... but i was pretty sure I could kill the Commander. 

So, with 2 objectives each, his Slay the Warlord gave him the win by one point!

One last piece of controversy! In his last turn he found a Drone in a ruin. It was the 5th Drone out of the 4 man team that was "attached" to the Y’Varna. It hadn’t died, it had just been left behind when he moved them. He wanted to go back and argue he could have put a wound onto that Drone, and thus saved his Y’Varna......! 

So, a loss, but really one I should have won if it hadn’t been for 2 silly mistakes (losing my Farseer, and not swarming the objective on the last turn).

Despite the “controversy” I enjoyed this game. It was a little tense, and to use an expression that seems popular, “salty” at times. My opponent was a decent guy, but not a regular tournament goer, so was perhaps used to a “looser” interpretation of the rules than my approach to tournament games (especially when I’m sitting on 2 big wins!!). I always play the rules “tight” and there were little things throughout the game, I suspect irritated him. For example, I didn’t take his word that things were in range, and measured them exactly (on a few occasions stuff he assumed were in range were out), and I was pernickety with movement.

But the thing that really wound him up was the assault on his Y’varna. As I’ve said before, the assault phase has a lot of subtlety, and for Harlies you need to play it tight. However, what I take away from this game is that, playing the assault rules precisely, in accordance with the book, can give rise to some odd situations. Don’t really know what to do about that!

Game 4

So onto day 2, and I’m playing Demons with brimstone spam, Malific Lords, Flamers the Changling etc etc. One of the toughest match ups for Harlies. Long story short, it was a Malestrom Mission, he lost the roll off to place objectives (so chose sides), loaded one side with objectives, choose it, and moved his whole army onto 4 objectives. He then drew all the right cards, and I just couldn’t get through the brimstones - when I tried, he smited me (smote me?) of the table.

But, interestingly, I missed the Solitaire. There were a couple of occasions when a Sollitaire could have jumped the brimstone screen and assassinated the Changling, making everything much much easier. 

Game 5

Through the vagiaries of Swiss paring I found myself up against my first round opponent again (120 orksand a Stompa). This time my Fusion Pistols didn’t wiff and I tabled him at the end of my turn 3. Not much more to say really.

The list I took to Rapid Fire is in a previous post. Roughly, 2 Troupe Masters, 6 Troupes in ‘weavers with embraces and 3 Fusion Pistols in each Troupe, a Farseer and 3 Venoms with twin splinter cannons and 5 Kabalite Warriors.

What worked
  • The Farseer. Doom and Executioner were fantastic. Doom in particular makes the 66 poison shots from the Dark Eldar contingent deadly. With doom they were easily able to wipe out 30 orks per turn.
  • Troupes in ‘weavers with Fusion Pistols and Embraces are just all stars. So fast, so flexible so deadly.
  • The Venoms with their Kabalites were great at kicking out loads and loads of poison shots. I suspect however they wouldn’t be quite so good against things with 4+ saves, but against hordes (who typically have 5+ or worse saves) they are amazing. 
What didn’t work - well nothing really. However, the more important question is what did I miss?

First up, I didn’t miss the Shadowseer at all. However, that was largely because I didn’t have any Skyweavers. I’m coming round to the conclusion that Shadowseers and Skyweavers go together, particularly with the new stratagem in Chapter Approved to give them a 3++ after they advance. But, if you dont have Skyweavers, I don't think you need a Shadowseer.

It’s interesting, because on a facebook page I posted that I thought Shadowseers should come down in price to match that of a Farseer, opining that the Farseer was by far and away the better option. There were many who disagreed. But they’re all wrong (!).

However, the thing I really missed was the Solitaire. He would have been awesome I the Tau game, assassinating suits, and I suspect he could have taken out the Changling in the game against Demons.

So the dilemma I have for this weekend is to choose between this list, minus one Troupe and their Starweaver to add in a Solitaire, and a pure Harlies list, with a big block of Skyweavers and a Shadowseer to take advantage of the new stratagem.

An agony of indecision.



  1. Thanks for the report, very

    A Farseer seems a no-brainer for Dark Eldar, as well as making the poison shots better, they can also help against rubber lance syndrome against a key target. I haven't played with my DE in 8th yet (been concentrating on my Tau) but the Farseer has always been in my draft list to build towards.

    Nice to see the warrior gunboats worked well. I had three in my draft list, but recently changed one to a warrior blob to take advantage of the webway stratagem, not sure if it'll work, but it'll be fun to try out.

  2. The warrior gun boats work well. However, at the GT I began to feel that the games they helped me win I could have won anyway and that the Bikes and another boat of Harlies might be a better option for tougher match ups.