Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Adepticon 1850 Review and Overall Thoughts

Adepticon Wrap-Up

OK, with all good long posts, let’s give ya’ll the summary for starters …

The Good

Adepticon is incredibly well-run and organized, as far as I could tell. Delays were minimal, staffing was intense and well-prepared, the venue was gorgeous and perfect for the event, and everything seemed to work pretty smoothly.

It was nice to see so many people, the general attitude of most players was solid, the competitiveness of most armies that I ran up against was very sound, and the event was a good time.

The Bell of Lost Souls people, and several other individuals, all “recognized” Mike Brandt on my name tag, made the MVBrandt connection, and said hello – all were warm, congenial, and pleasant to chat with. I wish I’d had more time to chat with all I met.

My opponents generally gave great, competitive games, played through to the very end, and were tough gamers. I didn’t go up against anyone who just rolled over, and nobody quit early either.

With very few exceptions, armies looked AMAZING. I was proud of the work I put in getting mine up to standard, and my appearance score was fine honestly … in fact, it was only a few points behind several professional painters. While those few points were severely critical, it doesn’t displease me … I didn’t feel as though appearance score was a huge hindrance to me … I couldn’t have earned much more, I suppose. I’m not that great a painter.

Vendors were great, in all respects.

The Bad

Adepticon’s scenarios are not strong. As a general rule, they have too many side battle points and tactical bonuses to properly consider, and in the team tournament at least one scenario was terribly fail from the very get-go. I also dislike kill points, and they utilize them, but that’s simply my opinion.

There is no use of accelerated pairings or list-strength type pairings in the championships. I finished 7th in the blue heat, 10th overall, and played 3 people out of 240. The people who finished 1st in heats can’t say any different, which makes this a little frustrating. I don’t believe this tournament evaluated anything. It gave some nice prizes out to basically the one guy of numerous 3-0’s who pulled the easiest draws. Did he actually? That’s the thing, you can’t really tell. This is, at best, a purely hobby level competition.

The food was not up to my liking. Maybe b/c I’m not 500 pounds I can’t stand the notion of interspersing competitive play with greasy old hours-out pizza. It’s fine, though, I understand the why.

The four round doubles tourney was freaking LONG. I was one sore puppy by the end of two days.

Singles Tourney Coverage ….

First, Brandon Palmer’s (I think that’s his name) Pirates of the Caribbean themed CSM army was one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen in terms of miniature gaming. This thing was ridiculous.

Next, there were a lot of guard there, and a lot of competitive builds there. Most people were scored well on composition, sportsmanship, etc., where it was relevant … I was scored max on sports/etc., so there weren’t any soft score banging shenanigans to my knowledge.

The most important thing to know about Adepticon is it does not really tell you anything about best players. Goatboy from BOLS won the overall, facing up against black templars, tau, and non-lash/plague CSM. This isn’t a knock on him. I went up against 2 fairly optimized mech guard and a strong space wolf list. This isn’t a praise on me. The point is, there were 120 opponents in our heat, and we each went up against 3 of them, as did everyone else. It’s a fun time, but one should not take too much evaluation from it.

I left my lists at home today, so I will do my best to recreate the details of what these guys brought; names left off for people who don’t want their names revealed.

I took my Straken 1850 build, which is Straken + co in a Chimera w/ a few meltas, 4 vet squads w/ trips melta each in Chimeras, 2 vet squads w/ trips melta riding in vendettas, 3 vendettas (solo), and 2 demolishers (solo) … Straken and the Demolishers were the heroes. The Vendettas were the martyrs.

Opponent 1 – Space Wolves

His list was a …

Wolf Lord w/ Storm Shield and either Thunder Hammer or Frost Weapon … semi-irrelevant, as he rapidly ganked whatever he did actually charge, until I killed him. He also had 2 Fenrisian Wolves.

Rune Priest w/ Jaws

6-man Wolf Guard (3 with combi-flamers I think to split down to grey hunter squads, and 3 with combi-meltas) w/ a Drop Pod

4 x squads of grey hunters, 2 w/ meltas and 2 w/ flamers, in las-plas razorbacks

4-man squad of Thunderwolves w/ mixed equipment, including at least one PFist

3-man squad of Thunderwolves w/ mixed equipment, including at least one PFist

2 x 4-5man Long Fang Squads w/ Las + 2 Missile each

Mission was kill points. He went first, and blew a Vendetta out of the sky, plus took the multilaser off a Chimera. I deployed so that everything was covered across the board, so I was able to make a couple of cover saves and keep it from being much worse than that. He had a drop pod with 3 combi-meltas in it, and I’m sure he wanted to gank my poor demolishers (as they were the biggest threat to his thunderwolves), so I sacrificially put 2 full guard squads (the ones that would be in the vendettas) as “skirmishers” spread across my chosen vehicle deployment, so that he couldn’t drop the meltas w/in 6” of any of my vehicles. It was a little irrelevant … he scattered it off into difficult terrain, and the wolf guard would die along w/ their pod before they could do anything.

I used my demolishers to take pot shots at his Thunderwolves as they were coming in, and succeeded in killing the 2 fenrisian wolves and 1 other guy, reducing the wolf lord’s squad to 3 + lord instead of 4 + lord + 2 fenrisians. The other 3 thunderwolves were struggling with their “fleet” rolls on a flank. I kept the suicide guardsmen in the way, and they got charged down subsequently by the wolf lord + co and obviously ganked … to a man actually.

Turn 1 gave me my only early chance to fire downrange, and I used my multilasers + 2 vendettas to pop a razorback and immobilize another, plus shake the other 2 … this kept a turn of their fire off me, but the long fangs were unmolested … I really couldn’t go after them at this point.

Some of his shaken razorbacks moved up to support things, which turned out to be a bit of a mistake later on. The long fangs ganked another vendetta, and the other one would die without contributing much. They were empty, so what did I care.

I was able to blow the Twolves away with the lord before they could do much other than killing the vet screen, I lost a couple chimeras to long range fire and twolf charges, and by Turn 4 or so I had cleared up the TWolves and actually thought I was way out of it on kill points. Straken was on the ground at this point, but was saved from Jaws by line of sight + INAT shenanigans (I guess INAT or something rules you have to pick a target for Jaws and see the target model, or something).

I went 2nd, so on the bottom of 5 or 6 (I can’t remember which), with time in the round almost out, I charged and wiped a wolf squad w/ straken, charged another one with 2 guard squads after shooting it down to one wolf, and blew up another razorback in close with melta. I won by 2 or 3 kill points after this turn, to both of our surprise. My opponent was a gentleman, and probably could have made it closer if he’d just stayed back and let the thunderwolves distract me all game. I had a lot more VP than him at the end, and we both seemed to be OK with the result – neither of us were fans of kill points.

Opponent 2 – Imperial Guard

This army was “leafblower” ish in that it had a lot of long range ordnance, including Manticores, and regular LRMBT … which I actually thought was a positive thing. S8 ordnance is perfectly effective against opposing guard armies, and russes are far more durable than Manticores and Ordnance squadrons.

His list, as best I can remember it, was …

Command Squad w/ Meltas, Chimera

2 Vet Squads, one with trips flamers, Chimera; one with trips melta, Chimera; they both had carapace armor (questionable w/out Straken IMO)

Guard platoon with a heavy weapon team (weapons ended up being irrelevant, they got to fire once I think against a covered chimera and missed, I can’t remember what they were even), I think four grenade launcher guard squads meant for objective capturing, and a platoon command w/ I think flamers



2 x Leman Russ MBT w/ heavy bolter sponsons and hull mount

2 x Hellhound Devildogs with Heavy Flamer hull mount

Psyker Battle Squad in Chimera

Dawn of War, primary objective was capturing terrain elements by having infantry units wholly within them, or contesting them with any units wholly within them

I went 2nd, but he chose to reserve his whole army, so that he could get shots on me with each unit as he came in. I thought this was a mistake.

I beelined across the board as fast as I could with my guardsmen and straken, and demolishers, centering up when I started on the board, and popping smoke on Turn 1 in case the Manticore + russes + devildogs all came on right away.

I put vet squads in all 3 vendettas and beelined them for the “tallest” terrain elements so that I’d rapidly have scoring units near terrain elements and vendettas at least able to attempt to be obscured behind buildings from some of his fire.

His devildogs were the only thing that came on turn 1, and they killed one of my Vendettas. The devildogs turned out to be surprisingly effectively during the game.

There’s not a whole lot to this one. I was in his face with a lot of pressure as he came on the board, I took a few licks but nearly tabled him. He had a guard commander stuck in combat w/ one of my squads with 1 wound left at the end of the game, and a Manticore in a corner nearby. The commander keeping 1 wound actually prevented me from scoring about 7 points I think … one of the 2ndary/tertiary objective types. Like in the first game, I lost all my vendettas, but him shooting at them enabled straken and all of the veterans to get where I wanted them to be, and lay the hurt down with melta shots and charges. I didn’t think this was a good match-up for my opponent … I was able to precisely target the most anti-straken weaponry with my melta squads, and then the Colonel was able to get out and eradicate an entire flank. I was too in his face for him to put any real pressure on me, so even if all my rolls failed miserably, I’d have had about 3 terrain elements to his 1 at most. As it was, “odds” were rolled for the most part (except for my poor vendettas), and I rolled the game.

My opponent was a really nice guy, who was losing his voice. He clearly had an army that he wanted to do a lot to me with, and he was a really good sport about what happened. He also gave it his all with every unit until the end, and that’s a pretty important thing.

Opponent 3 – Mech Guard

This was a whacky mech guard army, with a ton of units threatening me … I’m not sure if I have the count perfect, b/c he just had a metric fuckton of individual units. I won this mission largely by being stingy with letting my units get targeted, as he got a lot of good beatdown laid on me during the game, especially early on.

His list was ….

Command squad w/ Lascannon, Meltagun, Chimera

Inquisitor Lord w/ that psychic test that makes you take an automatic morale check at -2 LD

2 6-man Psyker Battle Squads in Chimeras

Platoon Command Squad in Chimera

Guard Squad x 2 w/ Lascannon, Chimera

Spec Wep Squad x 2 w/ Trips Flamers

3 Vet Squads w/ trips flamers, demolitions

3 solo vendettas (like mine)

2 solo hydras

I feel like there were a couple more chimeras on the board, but I can’t honestly recall; they all had heavy bolters instead of heavy flamers. There may have been another platoon with chimeras, or something. It got fuzzy.

He outflanked 2 of his vendettas, and tried to scout the other one, but the mutual size of our vendettas prevented him from getting a first turn demo charge off … he went first (I went last in all 3 missions)

The mission was to capture 3 objectives, with one being “primary.” He got to place all 3 objectives, I got to nominate the primary. I nominated the one in the middle of the board. He had one practically in his deployment zone, and there was another off to the side not really near where we would quite obviously be fighting.

One thing I noticed was he didn’t have much melta, and didn’t have any plasma. While multilasers can be a pain for Straken, that was about it … with FNP and 4+ armor he’s pretty flame proof, and I’m good at ensuring he has cover vs. things like heavy bolters. I also figured the Demolishers would be pretty safe if I could encourage him to fire his vendettas and ordered lascannons elsewhere. So, Straken + Demolisher time.

My vendettas went down really quickly; I don’t think they killed anything. I had a couple of pieces of terrain in the middle of the board that I raced up to ASAP and blocked off access to with Demolishers. This gave me control of that objective from the get-go. One of my Demos did immobilize itself though, and straken’s chimera immobilized itself trying to outflank. Ruh roh.

Sooo, I don’t know what to say about the early game here. Most of his shots found their marks, chimeras and vendettas all died without doing much, Demolishers blew up several transports and hydras by dropping templates that hit one and nicked others in side armor (yay for S5 + highest of 2d vs. av10), and I lost a lot of vehicles and crap, and had to suicide 2 vet squads.

Things went well for me in that I was able to use the demolishers and giant pile of dead chimeras to hide all of my veterans left – ALL OF THEM – from fire from his stationary heavy bolter type chimeras, and his psyker battle squads, which meant no veterans getting nicked up and running away off the board. This was a good thing, b/c I basically wasn’t going to lose that primary objective unless he manned up and ran at it, and he waited too long. Meanwhile, Straken by turn 3 made it out of his immobilized ride and started annihilating things, using proper timing and multi-charges to wax through a vet squad, all the spec wep teams, 2 guard squads, and a couple of psyker battle squads. He came an inch shy of contesting my opponent’s only “controlled” objective by game’s end. Keeping the vets alive forced my opponent to race his last vendetta w/ vets in it at top of last turn to the other 2ndary objective, and since I was going last (alpha strike can go fuck itself, it’s not that big a deal) I was able to run right into the open and melta him in the face.

It’s important to remember that in a tournament setting, you almost NEVER end up rolling dice for turn continuation, especially when multiple mech armies are vs. each other. We were both playing as fast as we really could, and we still only got to Turn 5, so there was no random roll for end … we had 20 minutes left going into the last turn, and we had 3 left when we finished both of our turns, so we weren’t going to start a 6th. This made it really safe for me to race my vets out of their hiding spots and 9xMelta his vendetta in the face.

In any event, this was a really close game, hard fought by both players, but my opponent suffered from too many flamers and psykers and not enough close range anti-“heavy” weaponry. Straken was “safe” in that he always got cover saves and mostly got FNP saves. Demolishers were safe b/c meltas couldn’t find them and las has a hard time doing anything to them, plus I always left covered side-armor Chimeras as appetizing odds-based targets for the las.

Tough game, and definitely one we were both into winning, but I pulled it out pretty significantly. By the time it was said and done, straken and the demolishers had broken the back of his main army, and my vets had cleaned up most of his vendetta + veteran outflanking crew. Good guy, though … I think he honestly thought with all the chimeras and vendettas he cracked early that he had it in the bag, and didn’t really think hard enough about what I was doing. In all three games, opponent going first made it look like I was suffering as a result … but if your army is built right, you have the layers of durability and sheer bodies / vehicle hulks to keep in the game and keep on shouldering on. Straken, finally, gives a guard army the capacity to “punch back” when things are forced into more desperate or tight situations … if my army had just had a pair of company command squads at the same points cost, with double the melta, I might have just lost 2 of those games.

I finished the tournament placed 7th in my heat, 10th overall out of both heats (240 players). Each round had 5 secondary conditions, with points values from 1-14, with each "win" being worth 21. I scored high 30's in every round in battle points. All three of my opponents were tough competitors with solid enough armies. In the first mission, I lost 14 points possible b/c I couldn't kill all troop models and all troop vehicles, for instance. I don't really approve of this, but I understand why they do it. Food for thought for Adepticon? Re-brand your event. Acknowledge that people will only get to play 3 of 240 competitors each, and that it doesn't really evaluate anything. It doesn't mean it can't be a great time, and my 3 rounds definitely were!

Regardless of my thoughts on the matter, I was happy to place top 10 at my first major out-region GT. Every other tournament I've attended, even the large ones, were all in the DC/MD area ... so it was nice to stretch my wings a little and beat some out-of-town face while meeting some great out-of-town folks.

Hope to see some of them at the NOVA Open! Sadly I won't be playing ;)


  1. A good review, overall - thanks. :)

  2. Nice report, glad to hear you did so well and enjoyed yourself.

    Now I'm all stoked to use my Straken army :D

  3. good coverage! too bad I couldn't make it.

  4. I enjoyed this article - 'grats on the wins!

    As an aside, somewhere someone posted about putting down a 'chef's mat' to stand on, basically to save your feet. That sounds like it might be a good idea - thoughts on that?


  5. A mat for comfort would have been nice, but we had chairs ... still, I prefer playing standing up, and I did the entire time. What would be far nicer is some kind of catering "table to table" service where I can get food while playing. I didn't eat at all during the day either day - team or singles. Just never really felt like I had the comfortable time.

  6. I get that - I eat and drink the atmosphere, but tend to get too wrapped up to feel comfortable getting food. I can't abandon my models unattended to get food, and I wouldn't expect someone to watch them for me. I'm so British. lol