Monday, November 28, 2016

2016 Warhammer 40k Invitationals Tournament Batrep - Fantastic Beasts

The 2016 40K Gamersaurus Rex Invitationals. The penultimate tournament of the season before we enter 2017, and one of the most competitive tournaments in the local scene. Thanks to the support from the Tables and Dice Wargaming club, I managed to sneak into the qualifying group thanks to the T&D people who voted for me. I decided to bring my Tyranids for a whirl, more details on list-building after the Batrep.
Death comes on Swift Wings,
With pinions of onyx, and in midnight clad.

List Building Restrictions: 1850pts, no Forge World, no more than 2 superheavies, and a maximum of 3 detachments.

Hive Fleet Sargas (1850pts)
Here there be monsters. The Tyranids of Hive Fleet Sargas.

Skyblight Swarm
1 x Flyrant with Twin Linked Devourers and Egrubs
1 x Hive Crone
2 x Harpy with Twin Linked Stranglethorn Cannons
3 x 10 Gargoyles

2 x Flyrant with Twin Linked Devourers and Egrubs
3 x 3 Ripper Swarms with Deep Strike
1 x Venomthrope
1 x Skyshield Landing Pad

1 x Flyrant with Twin Linked Devourers and Egrubs
2 x Mucolid Spores

Game 1 - Tyranids vs Hunter Cadre Tau 

The Crystal Tombs on the world of Khet had lain untouched for millenia, its erstwhile Necron architects having strangely disappeared. However, a nascent race's interference and study of the strange crystal had activated the crystal, sending an indecipherable energy pulse into the blackness of space. The pulse reached alien senses, and inscrutable eyes turned towards the distant light reflecting off the icy world. Slowly, inexorably, the Tyranids turned towards the source of the energy, preparing to feed...

Having played (with Harlequins) against my opponent before, I knew I was in for a tough fight. His list contained two Stormsurges and a Ghostkeel in a Hunter Cadre, with a whole load of marker drones, missile Crisis suits, and Broadsides. This would be a tough game, since most of his shooting would be able to ignore my armour saves. Luckily the ITC and GW FAQs meant that his combined firepower could not buff his shooting at my flyer, and reducing the marker lights he could use to ignore cover.

Deployment. This is actually more terrain than we normally see in the local scene. I took full advantage, castling my flyers on the Skyshield and sticking a Venomthrope in the Ruins with other stuff to take advantage of a 2+ cover. I had first turn, but I was worried I'd have the initiative seized.
Turn 1: Tyranids swoop forth, flooding up the board.
Shas'O'Neji pinged an alert to his cadre as his visor lit up with target vectors and intercept data. In his limited interaction with the gue'la, they had spoken of mythical plants known as Christmas trees, and his creed looked as they described. A blizzard of red and blue covered every inch of his screen, as the targeting AI logged hostile and unknown contacts. It seemed that the Earth Caste had inadvertently attracted the attention of the ever-devouring Y'he, known to the gue'la as Tyranids...
First Blood to the Nids! Concentrated S6 firepower from the Harpies and the Flyrants down a squad of Crisis Suits with marker drones, a broadside and missile drones, and a bunch of marker drones.
Shas'ui Borja nervously checked his XV8's systems for the umpteenth time as he scanned the area for contacts. The Y'he had been spotted in the sector, and he was duty bound to guard the Earth Caste as they went about their duties in the ancient crystal tombs. As newly graduated Shas'ui, he was determined to fulfill his duty to the Greater Good. Yet his determination and vigilance were for naught as a sudden rain of living ammunition tore through his accompanying marker drones and chewed their way through his battle suit. His comms systems damaged beyond use, no one heard Borja's final screams...
The Tau give as good as they get, killing off two Flyrants in short order. With both Stormsurges and Broadsides focusing their fire, the Flyrants are quickly shot out of the skies. You can see his target priority by the lack of other dead models on the table at this point.
Turn 2: Rippers arrive close to a Broadside, to steal the objective. The Tau opt not to intercept with their s7 shooting, allowing the Rippers to claim the objective. This was because he wanted to save his high yield missile pods for the FMCs.
Turn 3: Overwhelming numbers against overwhelming firepower. The Tyranids are in deep amongst the Tau lines, vector striking and/or bombing several infantry units. But the Stormsurges form an impenetrable bulwark, with nothing being able to hurt them. Key point of the match: The Hive Crone vector struck the lone Commander, and with a single S8 AP2 Ignore Cover hit, all I needed was ANYTHING BUT ONES. Guess what I rolled?
The hordes of flying creatures now surrounded Shas'O'Neji, as the Cadre ripple fired everything they had into the swarms. A loud screech made O'Neji look up, and his suit's systems moved just a fraction too slow as the wickedly barbed claws of a winged creature slashed at his pilot's compartment. With an almighty bang and a shower of sparks, the claws skidded off the compartment, leaving deep gouges but otherwise doing no harm. Having seen what those claws had done to other suits, O'Neji made a mental note to buy the Earth Caste scientists a drink...
End game. The Tau have reaped a bloody toll on the Tyranids, but there are still many creatures still in the air. The Nids have basically given as good as they've got, with only the Heavy Retribution Cadre and a few scattered fire warriors/battle suits left.
What a bloody battle. Unfortunately, there was nothing that could be done about the Stormsurges. Without high strength AP2 shooting or grav, there were far better targets to shoot at. Nick also rolled pretty well for the 4d6 number of shots, and with that volume of shooting, even hitting on 6s, some damage was bound to be done. 

Other high/low points of the game were the re-spawning gargoyles doing less than I had hoped, since they had to claim objectives which were on my side of the table. My opponent also forgot some of the twin-linked shooting, which would have possibly helped him shoot more stuff down. So despite a spirited fight, the Tyranids experienced a narrow defeat. Final score was 18-15 to the Tau!

The skies began to clear over the world of Khet, and O'Neji had the chance to finally catch his breath. The Y'he had been driven off, but at a terrible cost to the Tau. The cadre had little left to withstand another assault, and the air caste had indicated that more life forms were making planetfall. With great regret, O'Neji ordered the withdrawal. The Tau had won the battle, but lost the war...

Game 2: Tyranids vs KDK/Daemons/Foresworn Renegade Knight 

Game 2 was against the mind-bending forces of Chaos. With a list including a Lord of Change, two Bloodthirsters with D-axes, and a Renegade Knight with Gatling cannons, this was going to be an interesting matchup. On the surface, he would only be able to hurt me with Vector Strikes and the Renegade Knight, which should have given me control of the skies.

A living carpet of feeding organisms flowed over the bodies of the dead, both Tyranid and Tau alike. Streaming towards the glowing shard that had attracted the Hive Mind's attention, the swarms spasmed as reality suddenly bent around them. The wailing of the lost and the damned filled the air as the hordes of Chaos stepped through the breach, drawn by the blood letting that had gone before...

Deployment. He chose to park his ObSec Bloodletters on the objectives in his backfield, while I put my objectives within 15" of my board edge so that returning Gargoyles could claim them. I didn't have first turn, so I again castled up on the Skyshield, trying to avoid the shooting from the 24 shot Renegade Knight.Not that this was to matter, because...
My mistake gives him first blood! I chose not to jink with my Flyrant on the Skyshield, and he was promptly gunned down. Everything else takes to the air in my turn.
The winged tyrant swivelled on its perch as the Chaos force appeared around the shard. The barrels on the Renegade Knight known only as the Song of Ruin cycled into high gear as its daemonic sentience selected its winged target. A wave of ecstasy and pain passed through the withered creature that used to be a proud knight seneschal as he depressed the trigger. With a hail of explosive rounds, the winged tyrant disappeared in a cloud of ichor and bloody mist.

By Turn 3, I manage to take down the Imperial Knight with concentrated shooting from my Flyrants. Just before this, I really needed Catalyst, because the Feel No Pain was invaluable against the Imperial Knight. However, when I roll.....

PERILS. From Top to Bottom: Warp Charges used, Perils Result, and Leadership check. Are you kidding me. My opponent and I have played together before, and this is the second time this has happened. Even he said "Not this sh*t again". Lol. I joked that he had a Collar of Khorne hidden somewhere that caused this to happen.

End game. I would shortly lose my Flyrant Alpha to a Vector Strike from a Bloodthirster, and proceed to lose the Relic to the Khorne Dogs as I elected not to bubble wrap the Relic in Gargoyles. This was a big mistake, as I had assumed my ObSec would allow me to steal the Relic instead. Cost me 5 VP in the end, and lead to defeat for the Hive Fleet.

18-13 to Chaos! This was probably the most demoralising game of the day. To roll that perils sequence again was painful. Damn you and your Favour of Khorne Renzus! Heh. On a more serious note, the big mistake from this game was not moving my Gargoyles up to secure the Relic, thinking that ObSec helped.

In the final photo of the game, I hadn't moved the Gargs from the turn before, and I could/should have jumped forward and run to get in range of holding or at least contesting the Relic. That would either have drawn the game, or swung it in my favour. Also, in hindsight, perhaps I should have targeted the Khorne Hounds more, reducing their numbers to prevent Renzus from claiming the Relic, instead of going after the big guys.

Animal instinct met soulless fury and desire as the Chaos Daemon and Tyranid monster clashed across the snowy planet of Khet, both striving to control the strange crystal that called to them equally. Neither side giving quarter, both quickly came to realise that the conflict was futile. As on the world of Shadowbrink, the Tyranids had no true souls to corrupt, while the Daemons provided no biomass to the Great Devourer. Unlike Shadowbrink however, the Hive Mind sensed that it had no real use for the strange crystal that had first called, and wasted no more biomass in contesting the world. Slaying the last of the winged red beasts, the remaining synapse creatures and gargoyles took to the skies, leaving Khet in the hands of the fast fading Daemons...

Game 3 - Tyranids vs Armies of the Imperium 

Private Kevryn of the 201st Armageddon Fusiliers watched the sun creeping above the horizon of the world called Fury's End as he moved near to Company Command's Chimera for warmth. While the low temperatures were nothing to a man of Armageddon such as he, men of Armageddon were also practical people, and there was no sense in turning down extra comfort. Seconded to the dreaded Lord Inquisitor Torquemada Coteaz, the Fusiliers had set up a defensive perimeter while the Inquisitor did his work. Kevryn knew better than to question what that work was, or why it was taking so long. Sudden motion on the horizon caught his eye, and he dashed for the comm unit as his brain processed what he was seeing. Black wings silhouetted against the rising sun...

With two losses on the board, I headed into the final game of the tournament against another T&D member, Lum. He brought Coteaz, an Aquila Strongpoint with Vortex missile launcher, the Emperor's Wrath artillery formation, and a bunch of Grav Scar bikers. Unfortunately for him, aside from the Grav, everything else used blast templates, which meant that he couldn't touch me in the skies.

Deployment. Yes that's a vortex missile launcher opposite my sky shield landing pad, and a Manticore in the ruins. Thankfully the terrain on the boards was dense, which meant a full scatter barrage.
Lum re-rolling to Seize with Coteaz! Thankfully doesn't seize.
Turn 1: Everything takes to the air for safety, and I focus fire on the only things that could hurt me, the Grav Bikers.
Turn 2: By this time Lum is basically down to taking pot shots with his artillery at Gargoyles who are hidden behind LOS blocking cover, and a few bikers. The "No Escape" special rule also comes into play, as I use the Hive Crones S6AP4 drool cannon to flame his Scouts sitting in the Aquila Strongpoint. S5 Haywire templates also help in clearing them out.
All eaten up by brainleech worms...
End Game: Lum concedes at the end of Turn 4. The Mucolid spore is about to melt the Biker, and the flyers are taking his remaining artillery apart.
Snicker snacker, chitter chatter. The Rippers swarm around a lone biker...
The roar of the Flyrant Alpha resonated across the cityscape as Hive Fleet Sargas descended upon Fury's End. After the biomass spent in fighting for the useless crystal on Khet, the demise of Fury's End would replenish the Hive Fleet greatly. Already ripper swarms and other feeder organisms were consuming the organisms of the world, and rendering the fallen into the thick gruel that would be sucked up through the capillary towers to the Hive ships above. Satisfied that nothing left could contest Tyranid dominance over the world, the Flyrant Alpha took wing, preparing its consciousness to be re-assimilated into the Hive Mind...

Victory to the Tyranids! Finally a victory, and it was unfortunate that it had to come in such an overwhelming fashion against a fellow T&D member. His list was just not set up to deal with mine.

With that, the tournament was over and the scores were tallied. To my surprise (and everyone else's I'm sure), I came in second! Considering I had 2 losses and 1 win, I didn't expect that I could place that highly.

Just as planned. I score hot bug-chicks. Mwahahaha. (Random art, that's not me.)
Wow. There's something to be said for losing small and winning big, I suppose. 

I certainly didn't expect to place so highly when the field was literally filled with tournament winners. My only aim was to prove that you didn't have to bring the latest and biggest guns to be competitive, and that a less competitive codex could do well in the right hands.

I therefore planned my list to be a "poison pill"; I might not be able to outright smash the other tournament armies, but I'd hold them to either narrow victories or draws. As it turned out, while everyone was beating each other to a pulp, and in some cases scoring half points due to not playing till Turn 4, I was slowly building up the points to climb up the table. The final 30-0 game helped my score immensely, as did the eventual champion beating the 3rd placed player 30-0. A confluence of factors that all came together nicely to push me up the table, and it does show that you do need some element of luck to perform well.
The list was built on the assumption that most players wouldn't bring enough Skyfire to deal with a flying monstrous creature list. Once the higher toughness and multiple wounds of the big creatures were thrown in, I figured that it would take some serious firepower to damage this list. Scoring is a well known issue with flying circuses though, and I therefore took the Skyblight and a CAD of Ripper Swarms to provide me with a bucketload of cheap scoring units. 

Several of the players commented that bringing flying monstrous creatures was the equivalent of the psychic power Invisibility at almost all times, since opposing units would only hit on 6s. As it happened, the way the games played out meant that I gave everyone a tough fight, with the one victory being one-sided since the majority of my opponent's shooting consisted of templates/blasts.

Nevertheless, the list has weaknesses. There was nothing I could do to harm the Tau Stormsurges, and it took several rounds of shooting to deal with the Renegade Knight. Additionally, target priority is very important when your deadliest shooting is wrapped up in a few durable but not invincible packages. Every turn that went by without a Flyrant doing damage was a turn that risked me losing 1/4 of my major firepower for no return.

I wouldn't have been able to do it without the unwavering support from Tables and Dice Wargaming. Special mention goes to a select few (you know who you are) for their invaluable input on the list, and for the practice games.

Many thanks also go to Gamersaurus Rex for organising the tournaments throughout the year, and I'm definitely looking forward to the 3v3 in December!

You are not alone... They are coming for you.

Friday, November 25, 2016

WIP: Some Elves for Blood Bowl

I got a copy of the new Blood Bowl box set. The new miniatures are really nice for the Humans and Orks. However, I'm more of a Wood Elven fan. And I remembered the Wood Elves Fantasy Football Team I got from Greebo Games a few years back.
I painted one as a test model this evening. Did not go with lots of colors. Just went with a bright green with turquoise accents.
Looking forward to putting paint to the other 11 ladies of the Wood Elven team.

Wow! Its been a while since I posted something!

Have a great weekend all!


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