Friday, October 28, 2011

NOVA Open 2012 - Brewings and ... Details Soon

Just a quick update for you all.

It's looking possible that NOVA Open 2012 will be Labor Day weekend 2012, for a variety of reasons - August 30-September 2 or so.

Dramatic improvements on all fronts, and an increase in the # and variety of events offered are all in the finalization to development stages.

Expect a significant offering as well for more casual and narrative loving gamers, as well as seminars and the addition of major painting competitions for pure hobbyists.  There's a TON in work, but we're getting close to formal announcements.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

NOVA Brewfest Fall 2011 and New Necron Thoughts

Well today is the Fall version of the NOVA Brewfest. This is a biannual reliably awesome good time outdoors with music food and of course brewze. I'm a little under the weather so will be the light drinker of the crew today ... but there are still a good handful of highly touted consumables I'll be targeting with my limited "under the weather" tolerance.

New Necron are going to pose an interesting conundrum for the 40k metagame/community as a whole in that they are like to be a finesse army. The nature of scarabs and relatively anti-tank-incapable Troops that also get rolled in combat and ride expensive or strangely operating transports will combine to force players seeking broad Necron success to master the movement phase and its nuances more than ever before.

Can you effectively apply entropy to enough vehicles in vehicle spamming armies to make your warriors anti-tank capable and thus compensate for the very Tyranid-like dearth of FOC-wide reliable ranged anti-tank? Can you master the movement phase well enough to keep your troops out of combat yet also in play on the board for widespread objective grabbing?

The dex will be a very potent one in the right hands, but trust it will be the precise opposite of GK's "point psyflemen psybacks and dca's at things" playstyle.

I'll be drinking brewskis but I'm interested in what the more focused among you has begun to think about how Necron can play ... I know I've already ordered tomb spyders and scarabs off ebay to supplement my existing collection.

Necron were ny first army, and I've been waiting for a new dex to inspire me off Strakenguard. Here's hoping ...

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Friday, October 14, 2011

Necronballs - For anyone who hasn't seen it yet

New Necron releasing formally on the 5th of November looks like.  The new Necron Lord looks kinda re-re- tho.

Other of the Necron leaks accumulated here, with first cred to Beasts of War:

My personal fave so far is the Overlord (one on left; one on right I believe is a Cryptek):

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Hey Jawaballs!

This is my payback for the scurrilously photoshopped image he provided of me in the following BOLS post:


Love ya Chris,
 - Mike

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Battle for Salvation Day 2 Bat Reps - Gold Bracket / Finals

Alright, to continue ...

After my Round 1 loss, I successfully fought back up into the "Gold" / Championship bracket for the BFS.  I scored well on sports and appearance, and earned nearly all possible quarters/objectives/vp in rounds 2-4, so I knew I had a "shot" at Best Overall.  Best Overall was determined at BFS based purely upon the first 5 rounds, after which players were eliminated and Ren Man / Overall scoring ceased.  So, I had to win my first round in the Gold Bracket.

My opponent was to be Jorge Ruiz, a fairly successful BA player from the NE region, and a NOVA Invitational attendee.

Let me refresh on my list:

Company Command Squad w/ Straken, 2 Meltas, Reg Standard, Med Kit, 2 Bodyguard, Astro
Dozer Chimera w/ Heavy Flamer


5 x Vets w/ 3 Melta, Shotguns, Chimera w/ Heavy Flamer

3 x Vendetta

Jorge was running the following:

Reclusiarch with I forget what

Sanguinary Priest w/ Power Weapon
5 x TH/SS Terminators

Death Company x 7 w/ Power Fist, Power Weapon, Rhino
9 Assault Marines w/ Meltagun, Power Fist or Weapon (I don't know), Rhino
5 Assault Marines w/ Meltagun, Twin-Linked Ass Can Razorback
5 Assault Marines w/ Meltagun, Twin-Linked Ass Can Razorback

2 x Speeders w/ MM/HF

2 x Autolas Predators

This is actually more of a nightmare style list for me than I really want to deal with, for the simple reason that if he can get his Death Company, Assault Squad w/ Priest, and Mephiston across the board at me ... they in addition to an "I'll probably cross just fine" Mephiston were going to ruin my day, especially in the mission.  I have a lot of meltaguns, and Straken can handle A squad/threat just fine, but when you hit me with 5 deep striking th/ss terminators *and* Mephiston *and* death company w/ a reclusiarch *and* a full assault squad ... well, things get hairy in a big damned hurry.  Alex Fennell used this very fact against me last year at the BFS to nearly take me down in the Semi-Finals.

SOOOOO ... onto the game.  Dawn of War / Kill Points, and I forget who won the roll but I went first.

Al'Rahem and Marbo reserved b/c they were required to
Straken and his 5 Chimera Vet guard rolled on Turn 1 on the left side of the board.  The 3 Vendettas "fast moved" on, relying on cover saves and dawn of war to stay safe.

Jorge banked perhaps on Al'Rahem not arriving on Turn 2, so he rolled onto the board with everything but his Speeders (simple reserved) and his Terminators (deep striking).  He put one rhino (assault marines) and one razorback (assault marines) in front of a 2 wide / 3 deep choo choo cover train, doing his best to place the middle LOS blocking terrain (a bastion in this case) in between my Chimeras/Vendettas and him.  He put his Autolas predators in the back, with the 2nd razorback and the death company rhino in the middle.  Hmm, I'd better make a Vassal image here ...

So the problem for Jorge here is Al'Rahem arrived on the Top of 2.  My 2 left-most Vendettas skiffed upfield some to get open sideshots, my central Vendetta skiffed right some, my Chimeras adjusted a little, and Al'Rahem came on in the bottom right corner, with open Multilaser shots on the side of his back Rhino (Death Company) and back right (from my perspective) Pred.
9 Multilaser shots can be surprisingly reliable, and they were so here, getting just open shots on the back pred and blowing a Lascannon off, and on the Death Company Rhino.  I shot the DC Rhino first with them, and wrecked it, spilling the DC out so that they were closer to Al'Rahem than to my core ... trouble for the DC in this sense.  I also immobilized the lead right Assault Marine rhino (9-man + Priest) and Vendetta fire wrecked the back left (from my perspective) Predator.

This left him with a lascannon down on one pred, two assault cannon razorbacks alive and well, an immobilized rhino, a dead death company rhino, and a dead pred.  Mephiston is there in the back.

In Jorge's Bottom 2 he decided he could / would try to get 6 kill points by balls to the wall'ing it at Al'Rahem and company.  Mephiston wing and ran through the ruins and avoided dangerous terrain successfully.  The Death Company walked and ran straight at Al in the bottom right corner.  The Assault Marines got out and joined in, also running across midfield toward Al.

One of two speeders arrived, as did the Terminators.  He plopped the Terminators down between Al and the Chimera core, hoping to help further box him in.  The speeder came on my far right, his far left edge, and knocked out one of Al's infantry chimeras with a solid long range multi-melta shot.

His Assault Cannon razorbacks moved up to the middle, and shot along with the preds for a net damage result of blowing a lascannon off my middle Vendetta, which I was naturally quite alright with.

On Top 3, I huddled further back in the corner with Al'Rahem and prepped to fire Multilasers off at more kill points (like the newly arrived speeder), and kept the guardsmen who were knocked out of Chimera in a position along the edge right side back, to further kite the Death Company out of material position (other than chasing Al and company).

Multilaser fire succeeded in immobilizing the newly arrived Speeder where it would do no more harm, and Vendetta fire succeeded in knocking out the other Predator.

Bottom 3 Jorge perils'ed Mephiston on boxcars, and walked him upfield a little more.  His Death Company, Assault Marines, and Terminators further trudged toward Al, but my shuffle back had kept me at least another turn out of any kind of charge range, and everything ran rather slowly.  His assault cannon razorbacks both sped up right into my face and popped smoke, hoping to get out and cause trouble in bottom 4.

His 2nd speeder arrived on Bottom 3 also, but missed with its Multi-Melta at its target Vendetta.

Top 4 I adjusted Straken and the Veteran core to unload a bunch of meltas on the newly arrived Razorbacks, shuffled Al back just a tiny bit further, and aimed my "only 2 left" Vendetta lascannons at Mephiston, who was stuck in the open.  This Vendetta earned its worth well above and beyond the call, and plinked both Lascannons successfully into the exposed Mephiston, dropping him to 2 wounds left.  The other 2 were too far away from that side of the board to shoot at him, so took aim at his Land Speeder and Assault Cannon Razorbacks, and succeeded in doing absolutely nothing (cover does work sometimes).  Between multilasers, heavy flamers, meltaguns, and the like, I de-meched one of his assault squads and blew the assault cannon off his other razoback.  My Al multilasers had little worth shooting at, so they fired at the immobilized speeder and immobilized assault marine rhino for kill points, but only blew the heavy flamer off the immobilized speeder.

Bottom 4 the Assault Marines, Terminators, and Death Company continued to trudge toward me, and Mephiston ... well, he boxcar perils'ed again, reducing himself to 1 wound and winding up sorta kinda still in the open, instead of flying and fleeting in to mess up Al'Rahem and co.  At this point by shuffling into the corner as much as possible I had Al'Rahem in his Chimera, a guard squad on foot, and a guard squad in a Chimera all slightly out of Terminator / Assault Marine / Death Company charge ranges, and Top of 5 coming up with a big kill point lead.

His assault marines in the middle, the ones who were previously de-meched walked up to a Veteran chimera next to Straken's Chimera and whiffed.  They charged it with Krak grenades and immobilized it.  Meanwhile, the other 5 got out of their weaponless razorback and shot at the 2-lascannons-left Vendetta, but only succeeded in taking off a 2nd lascannon.  That Vendetta now had weathered a meltagun, a couple of rounds of predator/assault cannon fire, and had done 2 wounds to Mephiston, while only losing 2 lascannons.

His Speeder that I whiffed on zoomed fast to center to contest the central objective, hoping to force the game to secondaries and tertiaries if the game ended on 5, as he knew by now he was either going to lose or barely tie kill points.

Top 5 came and I lined up all of my spare meltaguns not holding objectives on his 10 assault marines in center, and the weaponless razorback, to ensure I had the kill point situation under wraps under the presumption he would nail Al'Rahem finally on Bottom 5.  I raced one of my back left vet squads across the board with a 12" chimera move, flip/pivot, disembark and run to grab his side's top left objective.  I hopped the other back left Vet squad out to hold my back left objective, and put their Chimera to use firing at whatever popped its head up.  I skimmed my two left most Vendettas further around the corner of the bastion to shoot at the semi-hidden flat out moved speeder.  Straken's Chimera tank shocked over the middle assault marines to contest the central objective, and Straken got out to shoot meltas at the same fast moving speeder.  In the process he tried to stop the tank shock with his sarge, which had a power fist, and he went splat (Rolled a 3 on the pen roll).

I had 3 unused squads of Vets in the middle, and Marbo (who arrived on Turn 1 and had been hanging out with the Vet core b/c he didn't want to be an easy kp, and had no real good targets).  They bustled over and blew up the weaponless razorback and the 5 assault marines who'd gotten out of it to shoot my near-weaponless Vendetta.

Speaking of which, Al'Rahem ... knowing his fate one way or another ... got out of his Chimera nad moved to within 12" of the stumbling Mephiston ... he ordered Fire On My Target on himself, and did 2 melta and 1 plasma wound to Mephiston, who went to ground with his last wound and promptly made all 6 3+ saves.  Mr. Lone-lascannon Champion Vendetta meanwhile had lined up a single shot across no cover with his final lascannon at Mephiston in case Al missed, and sniped Mephiston away.  Good job, Crackerjack.

I rapid fired my 2 al'rahem guard squads into the Terminators, successfully killing one  (hooray), and used the surviving basic guard squad chimera to fast move onto and contest the objective in Al's corner just in case (though by now I had 2 objectives controlled, and only a speeder and 4 assault marines in the way of the 3rd at mid field).

Speaking of which, my third Vet Squad (whose Chimera had been immobilized by the middle assault marines) got out and shot down all but 1 of the middle assault marines, and would charge and kill the last thereafter.  Straken and the Vendettas combined in some capacity (I don't know which actually had the kill shot) to dust off the flat outed speeder at middle, and the vets consolidated off killing the last assault marine in middle to hold the middle objective.  I now had vets on the top left objective, vets on the bottom left objective, and vets protected by Straken on the middle objective.  I was up on Kill Points, and Jorge had an immobilized weaponless speeder, 4 terminators, 5 or so death company, and 7 or 8 assault marines (scattered multilaser fire by this point had tweaked a few of these out, as softer targets ceased to be).

The game wound up going to 7, but it was just gunning things down and mopping up as part of scoring as much as I could for Ren Man consideration there at the very end.

Jorge was one of the nicest and most fun opponents I faced all weekend, and his army was a bad match for me in seriuosly ugly fashion if he could get across the board.  Unfortunately he didn't pop all his smoke in anticipation of Al'Rahem's arrival on Top 2, and that was what spun the game out of reach in the end ... with one of his hammers struggling the wrong way across the board, it forced him to support them in chasing after Al, and a pair of assault squads in razorbacks weren't enough to hold off and deal with a Straken-supported veteran core.

I think also that a lot of his list depends on perhaps obsessive focus fire on the Predators distracting people, and I did my best to resist that ... I took shots where I could, but only after de-meching his two key rhinos.  Jorge mentioned maybe using Ravens or Raiders to get his Death Company across the board more reliably, but IMO the Rhino works just fine ... just need to be a little more careful with how he presents it as a target.  Also, this is another game (I've played a lot of them) where the value of having a bunch of "trash" Multilasers can't be overrated ... they can and will bang up a rhino or two here and there over the course of each turn, and that's more than enough in most cases to break up a person's game plan and get him ad-libbing.

I think a lot of people might look at Jorge's list and go DEATH COMPANY WHAT?!  The truth here guys is they are a pretty affordable hammer unit, and their uncontrollability becomes less of an issue when you can chuck 'em at something in a rhino while ALSO chucking Mephiston, 5 Terminators, and a proper Assault Squad at that same enemy core ... it's one thing to kite and deal with 7 death company and a reclusiarch.  It's another altogether to deal with those AND terminators AND assault marines AND Mephiston all at the same time ... suddenly 20 meltaguns doesn't feel like enough.  When you put them in the hands of someone like Ruiz or Fennell or others who can typically get 'em all across the board and into you, you really wind up in a trickier situation than the mathhammer would suggest before you know it.

Since this was a pretty long report, I'll hold off on the other two for subsequent articles, as I must be away for the evening!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Quick Recap and Short Batreps - Battle for Salvation GT

Alright, while some of this is fresh in my mind, I'm going to do a rapid fire recap of the blow by blow and overall impressions of the event.

First off, a couple VERY minor critiques ... and there'll be some ENORMOUS accolades in follow-up ...

1) Create and disseminate in advance a tournament FAQ (even if it's just to say: "Use INAT" or "Use NOVA FAQ" or whatever).  While nominally it is admirable to go with a "Rules as Written" stance, I think we all are aware there are some grey and fuzzy areas throughout the rules even with the GW FAQ's in play.  Answering them only when they are first asked creates unfair situations where two players finally play who see a rule differently, even if they've each played it "their" view / vision of it all the way up until that point in the event.  If you answer the big fuzzy questions in advance via a released document, you avoid this.

When you make a ruling on one of the fuzzies in Round 6 on a player who has played it the way he normally does with no opponent complaints Rounds 1-5 and say "well that's how we play/rule it" ... it doesn't help him much when it's changed up mid-game, or would have influenced his selections.  It also isn't fair to his opponent to rule in his favor on that issue - i.e., you can't very well go "well, we'd screw you if we ruled that way now, so we won't ..." etc. etc.

Long and short, there are too many fuzzy important questions in warhammer 40k (unfortunately) to not give your players a clue on them ahead of time.  It influences unit selection, army build, playstyle, etc., and often actually comes up in play at the worst imaginable times.

2) It's arguable that the NOVA put too much terrain toward the center.  I would suggest many of the BFS tables put too much terrain off in the corners.  The more toward the corners you place terrain, the more wide open / shooting gallery you  make your boards, and the less useful a significant % of your 25% coverage is for the average players.  The terrain was sound, and there was a lot of it per table, but it was effectively way too little in most games b/c so much of it was shoved off into the corners of the boards.  Finding a middle ground is good.  I may have some photos on my phone that can help show this, or I'll snag some from other post-event coverage.  Terrain creates a shadow behind it from the p.o.v. of firers; when your terrain is way back off toward the corners, you advantage armies that deploy and shoot across board ... and I suppose you advantage like, wolf scouts or something, and Manticores that can hide behind those deep corner pieces and shoot at wide-in-the-open models everywhere.

Everything else the BFS did was great ... I liked it a great deal, and would go again and again so long as my schedule and energy levels sustained.  Prize support was just right for the # of players, there were a lot of raffle giveaways (I got a captain off those, that was cool).  Most importantly, the BFS operators are AWESOME people.  The venue was in a good location for getting food and drinks post-day.

I wonder if 7 rounds is necessary for 64 or less players, as 3 rounds Saturday would have enabled better socializing post-event for a larger # of attendees, but it was no big deal either way.

On Friday we got in evening-time, and spent the evening drinking brews and bullshitting at BWW with Jawa, Bob, Shaun (Sean?) Kemp, Fishboy Johnson, Bob Evers and a host of others I'm forgetting b/c I'm forgetful.  Something I love about the circuit is the connectedness of folks, and the genuine joy you see in familiar faces' eyes when they see you and come up to shake your hand.

Saturday morning things kicked off, and the first round was the worst mission for my short-ranged high-KP army - Dawn of War Kill Points.

Here's my list, as I finally went with:

Company Command Squad w/ Straken, Carapace Armor, 2 x Vets w/ Meltaguns, Vet w/ Reg Standard, Vet w/ Medkit, 2 x Bodyguards, Astropath
Dedicated Chimera w/ Hull Heavy Flamer, Dozer Blade

Guardsman Marbo (and boy am I glad I chose him)

Infantry Platoon w/ 3 Dedicated Chimeras w/ Hull Heavy Flamers
Platoon Command Squad w/ Al'Rahem, 2 x Guardsmen w/ Meltaguns, 2 x Guardsmen w/ Flamers
Infantry Squad w/ Meltagun
Infantry Squad w/ Meltagun

5 Veteran Squads w/ Dedicated Chimeras w/ Hull Heavy Flamers
Veteran Squad w/ 3 Meltaguns, Shotguns
Veteran Squad w/ 3 Meltaguns, Shotguns
Veteran Squad w/ 3 Meltaguns, Shotguns
Veteran Squad w/ 3 Meltaguns, Shotguns
Veteran Squad w/ 3 Meltaguns, Shotguns

Vendetta Gunship
Vendetta Gunship
Vendetta Gunship

Round 1 I drew Brad Nichols' Deathwing.  This is not a good match-up for me on the mission.  He has 4 easy kill points and 7 extremely difficult kill points, especially for my army (which does the majority of its heavy lifting up close and personal, wearing someone down but trading kp).

Belial w/ SS/TH

2 x Typhoon Speeders w/ Multi-Meltas (not squadron'ed)
3 x Bikes w/ Power Fist, 2 Meltaguns
Attack Bike w/ Multi-Melta

5 x Deathwing Terminator Squads w/ Chainfist/Stormbolter + 3 x TH/SS + 1 x TH/SS/Cyclone

Godhammer Land Raider

Brad won the roll to go first and rolled onto the board somewhat evenly spread across, with his Godhammer on a far side.  I rolled on in a corner opposite with Straken + the 5 Vets, and reserved the Vendettas.

When the Vendettas started to arrive, they would take down the Speeders for Kill Points.  His attack bike and bikers rolled on and failed to kill smoked Chimeras, then died in return.  His Godhammer and missiles would kill Vendettas over time, and as the game started to fade it was about even on VP and KP, and we were working on tying the various other objectives.

We were given various different game end-times at various points, and this resulted in the game being called despite their being more time left to start a new turn, b/c of confusion here.  The net result was a game Brad himself said he didn't want - one where we both played "weird" b/c of Kill Points.  He won by 46 VP on final tiebreaker at the artificial deadline, but we rolled to continue the game and played out the rest to see what would happen, which was a several hundred VP finish in my favor.  Basically at the bottom of 5 Straken, Al'Rahem and some vets charged Belial and his surviving couple terminators, won the combat, but couldn't get the last wound off Belial or the last 2 terminators down.  By Turn 6 both died, but the artificial game end prevented that mattering.

This was a great game / great example of me doing all I could with a bad mission, and Brad doing what he had to do, and the game coming down to fractional time and dice ... aka two peers battling it out in a close one that was going to go either way by a nose hair.  Against many good opponents over the weekend, this would become a redundant theme.

Round 2 vs. Blood Angels (I don't have my army lists in front of me and can't remember for sure, but I think his name was Chris)

Really nice opponent, his list was:

Librarian on foot w/ Shield, Sword

2 x Sanguinary Priest w/ Power Weapon, Jump Pack
Sanguinary Guard w/ 3 Infernus Pistols, Banner

2 x 10-man Assault Marines w/ 2 Meltaguns, Power Fist
3 x 5-man Assault Marines w/ Infernus, Meltagun, Plasmaback

3 x Baal w/ Twin-Assault Cannon and Heavy Bolter Sponsons

I won the roll to go first and took it, in Spearhead - Quarters - Objectives - Kill Points.  I deployed the Vendettas centrally with every intention of scouting, and deployed Straken and his Chimeras centrally.

My opponent deployed his Baals in front of his Razorbacks, with all 6 models hiding behind the central hill and at the edge of their deployment zone.  He put his 2 Assault Squads in reserve w/ the priests attached, and put the Sanguinary Guard in reserve, all 3 squads deep striking.

I scouted the Vendettas so that they were in good open firing positions on his vehicles, with each Vendetta in a different location in case he tried to deep strike meltaguns onto them.  He proceeded to steal the initiative; we talked about whether he was committed to stealing, since he would be giving up cover against my first round of fire to take covered shots against my flat out Vendettas, but he went with it.  The other issue at question was the mission (primary and secondary being advantageous if going 2nd). The sum limit of his fire was 3 twin assault cannons and 3 lascannons, and the odds aren't THAT great to pen a vendetta ... his total odds after cover saves were 1.39 pens and .17 glances ... with my return fire being doubled on multilaser and surviving vendetta fire due to no cover on him.  He could have used his Baals' Scout move to firmly screen his razorbacks, and smoke, so that my first turn fire would do nothing, and leave me pants down (or force me to take a more cautious route).

My Vendettas and Chimeras proceeded to start de-meching and disabling his mobility and firepower by the Bottom of 2.

On Top 2 his Sanguinary Guard arrived in a deep corner going after 1 Vendetta, and one of his 10man ASM w/ Priest arrived in an opposite corner going after a 2nd Vendetta.  He shot a little at the third Vendetta and knocked a lascannon off, and shook one of my Chimeras.  The Sanguinary Guard killed their Vendetta, and the ASM immobilized theirs.

Bottom 2 saw Al'Rahem and Marbo both arrive thanks to the Astropath.  His 10-man ASM w/ Priest hadn't "Run" in order to shoot their meltas at their now-immobilized Vendetta target, so Marbo had his job.  Meanwhile Al'Rahem rolled on in the other corner right on top of the Sanguinary Guard, ready to unload 4 meltas a plasma pistol and a bunch of trash on those guys, which were not covered from the angles I arrived by.

This is the point where the game started to go pear shaped for him.  Spare multilaser fire immobilized and/or killed his remaining plasmabacks, Vendetta fire disarmed and/or killed all but one of his remaining Baals, Marbo's demo charge more or less waxed the assault squad out of functional merit, and Al'Rahem killed 3 of the 5 Sanguinary Guard, including all the infernus pistols.

The game ended with a Turn 6 tabling, and I lost a couple hundred VP (this was one of Marbo's only times dying).

Round 3 was against an interesting Elysian Guard list that was very nicely painted

His list:

Company Command Squad w/ Carapace, Officer of the Fleet, Astropath, 4 Plasmaguns, Plasma Pistol (Commander)

6 x Vet Squads w/ Lasguns, 3 Meltaguns, Carapace Armor

3 x Vendettas w/ Heavy Bolters
2 x Vendettas w/ Heavy Bolters
2 x Vendettas w/ Heavy Bolters

This was on a WIDE open board, with any meaningful terrain jammed in the corners.  I deployed Straken and his 5 Vet squads in a corner, figuring I was going to get de-meched but having a plan from the get-go that is akin to turning your head into the rain.  Al'Rahem, Marbo, and my own Vendettas were all naturally reserved, and my opponent was going first.  He deployed everything, and killed or immobilized 3 of my Chimeras with his 3 vendetta units.

I started getting out and moving with the squads that had been blown or immobilized out of their Chimeras.  Turn 2 he stunned a fourth Chimera and killed 2 more.  So, I now had a stunned chimera, an immobilized weaponless Chimera, an immobilized Chimera way in a tight corner, and a fully de-meched force of flak armor veterans and Straken run run running up the right side of the board toward midfield.  BUT he'd elected to hover over midfield aimed into the corner at me in order to take that 2nd turn's fire, which was what I needed.  Al'Rahem arrived.

Al came on BEHIND 2 of his 3 squadrons.  2 of Al's Infantry Chimeras rolled 6 on preparing to multilaser rear armor on the squadron of 3, and Al himself rolled 12, spun and disembarked within 6 of the rear of one of his nearest squadron of 2 Vendettas.

I also had a Vendetta arrive.

My Vendetta immobilized one of his Squadron of 3 out of the sky (dead due to squadron rules).  My one immobilized multilaser chimera shook one of his squadron of 2 furthest from me.  Al'Rahem's Infantry Chimera multilasers shot and rear armor killed another from his Squadron of 3 in the middle (leaving 1 w/ command squad alive), and Al'Rahem used bring it down on 2 meltaguns and his plasma pistol to gank both of the vendettas in the squadron nearest him.

So, Top of 4 began and I'd made a game of it thanks to Al.  He had 2 disembarked vet squads on the left near Al's jazz, one of them pinned.  He had 2 vet squads still embarked in a shaken and open vendetta near the right back, closest to where Straken and his beat up horde of foot veterans were running toward.  He had a single vendetta in the middle that emptied its command squad to go try and order the pinned fellows back into the fight.

In the process of trying to deal with the sudden spurt of threats facing him, my one stunned chimera freed up and Straken hopped in, whereupon it promptly raced up into his deployment zone and smoked.  Marbo arrived and bombed a full carapace vet squad w/ his demo charge and "hit" ... killing I think 9 of them.  Al'Rahem's Chimera barbecued the vet squad he'd de-meched the turn prior.  Straken's vets were freed from taking much fire and advanced toward midfield, and used their meltaguns to bring down one or two of the surviving Vendettas at long range with orders.

Straken would eventually mow through two vet squads, and when all was said and done my Vendettas arrived later on and finished off his last Ven or two.  He had a banged up command squad alive at the end, with the rest of his army dead.  For the 2nd game after the first round loss, I picked up nearly full VP, 5 objectives, and 4 quarters.  I figured if I could max it out again, I could in theory make it back into the top bracket, or help my chances at Renaissance Man.

Round 4 vs. Simon Leen's gorgeous Blood Angels jump army using Seraphim models.

Simon's army was pretty straightforward:

Librarian w/ Jump Pack, Unleash Rage, Shield of Sanguinius

2 x Sanguinary Priests w/ Jump Packs, Combi-Meltas

4 x 10-man Assault Squads w/ Jump Packs, 2 Meltaguns, Power Fists
1 x 5-man Assault Squad w/ Jump Packs, Power Weapon, Infernus Pistol, Meltagun

1 x 5-man Vanguard Veterans w/ Jump Packs, Meltabomb/Storm Shield, Power Fist/Storm Shield, Power Weapon/Storm Shield, Nude Dude, Nude Dude

3 x 5-man Devastator Squads w/ 4 Missile Launchers each

Spearhead deployment with me going first (the only game I'd end up going first all weekend, due to the seize on me in round 2), Quarters/Objectives/Kill Points

He deployed his 4 10-man Jump Squads in lines one in front of the other along his deployment edge behind the central hill.  He spread his devastators about in cover in the back.  He deep struck his 5-man ASM squad and his Vanguard Vets (with Divine Intervention).

I scouted all 3 Vendettas sideways up the board until they had wide open shots on his front assault squad ... I think he probably could have been a little less "right on the edge of deployment" an d had them obscured better by cover.  He popped shield but lascannon and multilaser fire killed 6 of 10, rendering the squad relatively harmless.  Problem solving Simon's list wasn't hard, though the list itself was a major pain for me, b/c most of the damage I Could do to it would have to be done up close and personal with Straken and meltaguns ... meaning I was going to get hit by a lot of assault marines with furious and fnp.  Giving me 25% of his assault marines open to lascannon fire on turn 1 was a huge boon, b/c it took that much more threat out of the game.  The 4 survivors would hop behind a pillar and get set for quarters/objectives stuff later on.

His turn 1 he jumped up behind the hill and shimmied a little with slow run rolls, getting set to try and multi-charge all my Chimeras on Turn 2.  I felt like I would oblige that ... I much prefer people krak grenade and punch my chimeras to meltagunning them and charging the occupants.  Straken's auras and tons of meltaguns are such that I'd rather the Chimeras get banged and the vets get out and shoot things / charge things, than lose entire chimera + vet squad chunks at a time.

This worked ... by lining up my Chimeras he jumped across and mass multi-charged several of them with his 3 10-man squads (I think I killed 1 model with a multilaser on turn 2 ... a deep strike of 5 assault marines killed 1 of my vendettas and devastators killed a 2nd and shook the third, which skimmed flat out for cover on top 2).  So, 29 assault marines, 2 priests and 1 libby hit my lines.  The Vanguard also arrived, but scattered out of divine intervention range and into a nice little clump of 5 models.

His multicharge killed 1 Chimera and banged up a couple others.  Bait taken, I suppose.

Top 3 I had 3 assault squads in front of my 5 vet + straken core, a 5-man assault squad off away a bit that had just downed a vendetta, and a vanguard squad a couple inches behind his assault marines.  Marbo and Al'Rahem arrived.

Al came in off in h is own deployment corner, and started multilasering down devastators and controlling his rear.  Marbo dropped a demo charge on the vanguards and a couple of nearby assault marines who happened to eat the blast.  It killed several of the vanguard and the assault marines it hit.

I tank shocked half an inch into two of the assault squads that had multi-charged one of my chimeras, and this broke the game open.  One squad was fine, the other - with his Librarian attached - broke and fell back a bunch toward his board edge.  My surviving Vendetta immediately gave up any crazy ideas of shooting something and skimmed flat out 24" right next to their path, so that they'd fall back off the board with another couple of turns.  I crossed my finger it would survive his devastators shooting at it.

Every meltagun shot up one of his 2 remaining assault squads, clearing it, and also finishing off the Vanguard.

So at this point he had a 5-man ASM squad w/ infernus + meltagun near my "chase" Vendetta, a 10-man assault squad somewhat near it that had been part of the multi-charge with his surviving priest attached, and a few increasingly banged up devastator squads now having to deal with Al in their backfield, plus the 4 ASM surviving from the first turn lascannon volley.

I'd lost a Chimera and 2 Vendettas.

He knew he had to try and save his Assault Marines, so he jumped backward with his last 10-man squad and priest toward the Vendetta, jumped at it also with his 5-man squad, and aimed all his devastators at it.  His fleeing marines fell back to within 3 or 4" of the board edge, and within a few inches of center as well due to the stretched out position they wound up in off the multi-charge prior to breaking.

All his devastators, the fleeing marines' meltaguns, the 5-man meltaguns, the 10-man meltaguns succeeded in deweaponizing and immobilizing the Vendetta, which he subsequently charged.  I think he probably should have used his 10-man ASM to go block off my other units from doing what the Vendetta was doing (aka get close to and chase off another 30% of his army's punch), but he fixated on the Vendetta.  The charge killed it due to immobilization, but it did its job.

Al'Rahem was also totally unmolested, b/c the Devastators had to fire at the Vendetta.

Top 4 came, and I ran Marbo over to within 6" of the fleeing assault marines.  I raced Straken upfield as well just in case, and got him out so he could shoot at the 10-man ASM not yet broken/damaged if Marbo ran far enough on his own.

Several other vet squads that were still in-tact proceeded to move up and get ready to add their melta fire to the survivors around the wrecked Vendetta.

Al' advanced further upon the devastators and such, and positioned on his deployment zone objective, while one of his squads broke off for the isolated objective next to my deployment zone.  One of my vet squads stayed back on my deployment objective (I wanted every objective / quarter).

I killed several of the assault marines from the big squad, and a couple from the small squad, and all passed morale.  I killed some more devastators, and killed his 4-man assault marine squad with Al and co.

In bottom 4 he in desperation c harged his sang priest + surviving assault marines from both squads (10 and 5 originally) into Straken, and banged straken up pretty effectively, but not completely ... Straken killed a few marines in the process, dusting off the smaller squad.  Devastators didn't really do anything, with 3 survivors from one of the 2 remaining squads (the other suffered casualties and broke off board) charging Al'Rahem and 10 guardsmen, and losing over the remaining rounds to Al's power weapon hits.

I charged a vet squad and marbo into the fight w/ Straken and the assault marines, and ran some vets up to the top objective.  That eventually wound up with a cleared fight, Marbo finished the sang priest and straken finished the marine bodies.  I poured tons of fire into his last devastators, one of which survived through the end of 7 to deny me 65 more VP.

Simon's one of my favorite opponents ... he has a great attitude, he tends not to make to many mistakes, and he is just plain fun to play against.  This is one of my least favorite match-ups believe it or not ... I even labbed against it some, b/c I have a local buddy who runs a nearly-identical list.  He just made a mistake in deploying a squad too exposed, and a mistake in multicharging chimeras instead of popping them and charging their occupants with Meltaguns.  My next opponent would be the last one after Simon to buy any baits I laid out, and that would make life harder.

This ends my Day 1 recap.  I'll cover the quarter, semi and finals in a follow-up post.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

BFS Day 2

Round 1 loss on final tiebreaker by 46vp to deathwing in kp dow
Round 2 win max vp max quarters max objectives in quartets spearhead vs mech + jump hybrid ba
Round 3 win 1800vp 5 obj 4 quarters pitched objectives vs vendetta meltavet guard
Round 4 1935 vp 5 objectives 4 quarters win vs mass jump angels with devastators (simon leen) ... couldnt get last devastator

In Gold/top bracket vs Mephiston mech ba J. Ruiz and am the 4 seed. Only 3 undefeated and I'm the high seed 3-1.

Joining me in top are
Mannahin's CSM (4-0)
Holliday's GK (4-0)
Somerville's Guard (4-0)
Nanavati's Tau (3-1)
Ruiz's aforementioned BA (3-1)
Gilstrap's GK (3-1)
Hoerger's vanilla sm (3-1)
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Saturday, October 8, 2011

Here at the Battle for Salvation

Trying out blogger for android and getting ready to head over. Here with locals Mike Somerville Eric Hoerger Mark Aksel Ryan Holliday etc. Spent last night drinking and socializing at bee dubs with Joe Johnson (fishboy), Bob Evers, Sean Nayden, Nick Nanavati, Sean Kemp, Chris Jawaballs Dubuque, Ed Pissclams Miller, Bob Sinnott and many others.

I come to the BFS to support Ed and the guys who are always there to help me out, and to connect with the great social environment present.

I anticipate 2-2 today ... that's my gut feeling at any rate.

I'll try to update during.

My final list is

Straken kitted with Dozer
5 chimera shotgun meltavets
Al and his two inf squads in chimeras
3 vennies

Till I'm able to post again ... happy Saturday all.

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Thursday, October 6, 2011

Mantras for Tournament Attendees - BFS Incoming

So as I get ready for the BFS, I begin my standard internal tournament prep.

Here's how I go into each game:

1) This is an opportunity to develop a connection with a peer, a fellow gamer and hobbyist, a fellow human being.  If nothing else comes out of this game, let a positive connection come out of it.

2) This is an opportunity to play a game you enjoy.

3) Do the best that you personally can do.

4) Care nothing for the outcome, presume your opponent is excellent and will take you down.

I go into every game looking to make a connection, expecting to lose, and seeking only to compete with myself in an effort to be at my best - socially, ethically, competitively, and overall as a human being.

Here's another good one for you all ...

At the NOVA, a player in attendance got into a bit of a scuffle with his opponent during the course of the game.  Things started off that way b/c his opponent did not pop smoke at the end of each vehicle's movement, and then at the end of the movement phase went "these all popped smoke."  This is technically illegal, but is a bit of a throwback to the game's history, and is the way a lot of people play it.  Instead of allowing this, the player flatly refused to permit the popping of smoke after the fact.

There are some players who are so focused on the game and not the experience of competing against a peer ... they will NEVER permit anything like this to be fixed.  They won't even allow it once and ask for playing more specifically by the rule thereafter.  I AM NOT THIS GUY.  AS a general rule, if you forget something and it's more or less just after the fact, I'm going to let you go back and do it.  If I win, I want to win against you having a good game, and you at your best doing what you intended to do.  If I lose, I want it to be doing the same - that's to say, I certainly would like the same behavior in reverse.

What kind of gamer are you?  Do you ruthlessly act unforgiving of all your opponent's simple gaffes?  Do you see the game as an opportunity to develop a friend first and win at warhams second?

I fully anticipate losing a few games this weekend at the BFS; it's a tough crowd and I'm looking forward to some tough games.  I know I'll come out of each game on friendly terms with my opponent (if I Can at all manage it), scoring highly on sportsmanship, and winning only if I meet or beat my best possible performance, and get a little fortune and favor along the way.

PS - I know Jawabals and I and several others will be getting brews together in the Palisades Center on Friday night of the BFS ... anyone care to join us?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Battle for Salvation Incoming

Well, back up to the Battle for Salvation this year in just a couple of days now.

The BFS is a 7-game, 64-player GT held up in New York.  I attended last year, lost Renaissance Man (Best Overall) by .01 points, and took Tournament Champion (solo undefeated up the brackets) while tackling some of the better players around, including Simon Leen, Bill McFadden, Alex Fennell and Andrew Sutton.

I got MAD lucky all over the place last year, and I don't anticipate the same good fortune this time around.  Looking forward to getting some good games in, and anticipating that someone (or multiple someones) is going to take me down this year at some point on Day 1.

My guard army is in a bit of a shambles right now with a ton of banged up / broken models I haven't been able to fix up in time, so I'll be borrowing portions of Andrew Gonyo's very well painted Imperial Guard.  Since the paint job won't be mine, I'll be bringing that to the attention of appearance scorers at the very beginning of the event when I'm judged.  If they follow the NOVA approach, I'll be scored as standard for Ren Man scoring, but ineligible for individual appearance awards.  Just as well, b/c Andrew's got some gorgeous models in the army.

This caused a bit of a mental segue for me into wondering how many people simply play dumb on this sort of thing, and don't mention to the appearance scorers that the army wasn't painted by them at all.

Anyway, I'm still trying to zero in on the final list I'll use, and the final points expenditures I'll make if I go with the guard again ...

My guard army at present looks something like:

Straken + 2 Melta + Banner + Medic + Carapace + 2 Bodyguard + Astropath + Chimera w/ HHF - 345

5 x Meltavets w/ Shotguns, trips melta, Chimera w/ HHF - 775
Al'Rahem w/ 2 Melta, Chimera w/ HHF - 175
Inf Squad w/ Melta, Chimera w/ HHF - 115
Inf Squad w/ Melta, Chimera w/ HHF - 115

3 x Vendetta - 390

Last year's BFS list, sans 85 points (2 bolt pistols and the GK BC w/ Hood).  So, the question continues to be where to spend those 85 points ... I've ranged from giving dozers to a couple chimeras and picking up Harker, to picking up flamers on Al'RAhem's squad (2) and a Hydra.  I'm up for input here if anyone would care to.

The Grey Knights list I'd use would be much more akin to some of the ones I posted a while back.