Monday, 14 September 2015

GW Aberdeen Doubles Tournament- Introduction and Game 1

I recently attended Clan Clash, a 40k doubles tournament ran by Games Workshop in Aberdeen. I was joined by Colin and Scott to represent GW Dundee (along with Chris from GW Aberdeen who would join us to make up the team). Our armies were to be 750 pts using the Allies force organisation chart and I would play with each of our team members over three custom designed scenarios made by the guys over at GW Aberdeen.

I had never visited the Games Workshop in Aberdeen before, but the store is amazing. It features an upstairs gaming space with room for about a dozen 6x4 tables and some amazing boards and scenery (photos to follow in a future post). The walls of the gaming room are covered with a huge array of artwork and some brilliant full length standards, copies of some iconic banners from the 40k universe.

The Aberdeen store had held qualifiers for Clan Clash the week before, so only the cream of the crop would be competing at the tournament. Dundee had their own stringent criteria for attending the tournament, namely "Are you available?" and "Do you want to go?".
For my army I took the White Scars, consisting of:
Captain- Space Marine Bike, Power fist, Storm Shield
5 Bikers- 2 Grav guns, sergeant with Meltabombs
5 Bikers- 2 Grav guns, sergeant with Meltabombs
5 Bikers- 2 Meltaguns, sergeant with Meltabombs
5 Sternguard Veterans- 3 with combi-meltas in drop pod
I thought that this would give me a lot of mobility for seizing objectives and for maelstrom missions, as well as providing a decent amount of firepower.

An interesting twist on the missions was that each team was provided with some (trademarked) Dirty Tricks and Benevolence cards. These were special cards that conferred bonuses on your army or penalties to the enemy army. Each two-man team could take up to 3 cards per game to use at any point and gave a variety of interesting effects.
The dirty tricks included:
  • All weapons in the enemy army have the "Gets Hot" rule and no shooting attacks can be re-rolled.
  • Choose one unit in the enemy army, the unit goes in reserve.
  • Nullify any enemy psychic power and immediately apply a Perils of the Warp roll.
  • No model in the enemy army can move more than 6" that turn (including assault, run, turboboost, etc.).

The benevolence cards included:
  • Seize the initiative on a 2+.
  • Re-deploy D3 units in the army, including units that were in reserve.
  • Boost one of your own units by rolling D6; 1-2: +1 to armour save, up to 2+; 3-4: as 1-2 as well as +1W and +1 WS and BS; 5-6: as 1-4 and unit gets Feel no Pain and Fearless.
  • Roll 2D6 for your psychic phase that turn. You are immune to all Perils of the warp and if you roll two or more 6's, the power cannot be blocked.

As you can see, some very nasty cards are included in the deck that would have a big influence on the game.

Game one was a custom mission called Total War. This was a maelstrom mission using 6 objectives. Each turn, each team draws 6 cards to complete that turn. What makes this mission interesting is that for every card you don't score during your turn, your opponent get a victory point (unless the card was impossible to achieve, e.g. kill an enemy psyker when your opponent has no psyker). This means that you must try as hard as possible to achieve all your objectives in your turn as any you don't achieve will give your opponent points.

Each game was only 1.5 hours, so unfortunately, I didn't have enough time to write comprehensive notes for the game, so these will be loose battle reports based on my notes and photos.

In my first game, I was partnered up with Colin and his Dark Angels, consisting of:

Interrogator-Chaplain- Terminator armour, Mace of Redemption
5 Deathwing Knights
5 Tactical Marines- Lascannon
Drop Pod with locator beacon
5 Tactical Marines- Plasma cannon
Razorback- TL Lascannon

Our first game was against Mitch (Tyranids) and Craig (Space Marines) from the Aberdeen store. Their army consisted of:

3 Grav centurions in drop pod
10 Tactical marines- meltagun with drop pod
10 Tactical marines- meltagun with drop pod

Flying Hive Tyrant
3 Zoanthropes
20 Termagants
Mucloid spore mine

Before the game, Colin and I decided to take the boost one unit and redeploy benevolence cards and the limiting movement dirty tricks card. We wanted to use the boost card on the Deathwing Knights to make them a tough prospect to deal with and the redeploy to counter our opponent's deployment.

We won the roll for table half and deployment and chose to go first. My warlord got the Storm of Fire warlord trait. We deployed the army evenly spread with one bike unit on the left, middle and right hand side of the board. The tactical marines took cover in the ruins and behind the forest to the right.
Terrain and placement of objectives.

Our opponents countered by deploying one model. The Mucloid spore deployed in the forest in their deployment zone. We used our benevolence card to redeploy one bike unit and the Deathwing Knights got the maximum roll on the cards and became super-powered. Craig also used the super-powered card to boost his Centurions and got the maximum roll too.

In the first turn, we drew Harness the Warp, Behind Enemy lines, Objective 3, Objective 4, Objective 6 and Overwhelming Firepower. Using the speed and mobility of the White Scars, we would have been able to grab most of our objectives in this turn. Our opponents then hit us with the restrict movement Dirty Trick, severely curtailing our movement this turn.
Dundee Turn 1.

The White Scars drop pod crashed into the ground beside objective 6, the Sternguard piling out to grab the objective. The Dark Angels pod attempted to land beside objective 4, but scattered 12" away to the corner edge. The bikers and lascannon marines advanced towards the objectives (the little distance they could). The Sternguard fired at the Mucloid spore, causing two wounds on the tyranid.

We scored Behind enemy lines, objective 3 and 6 in our turn.

In their first turn, Mitch and Craig drew Objective 1, objective 1, Hungry for Glory, Hold the Line, Psychological warfare, Kingslayer.
Aberdeen Turn 1.

The Centurions arrived in their drop pod between the two White Scars units, while the second drop pod landed beside objective one in their own deployment zone. The Librarian cast Prescience on the Centurions, passing the roll but periling and taking a wound. The Centurions split fired at the two bike squads, wiping one out and wounding the Captain twice and causing three wounds on the second bike squad. The tactical squad fired at the Sternguard, killing one of the elite warriors.

At the end of their turn, Mitch and Craig scored Objective 1 (x2) and First Blood.

Dundee- 7
Aberdeen- 5

In the second turn, we drew Objective 1, Objective 4, Assassinate, Kingslayer, Witch Hunter and a special card for the mission; if we had more models in our opponent's table half than our opponent we would score a point. We could easily grab objective 4, but objective one was out of range and we could score the special card. If we could kill the Space Marine Librarian, we would score Assassinate, Kingslayer and Witch Hunter.
Dundee Turn 2.

The Deathwing Knights arrived, teleporting in near to the Dark Angel's drop pod. The remnants of the meltagun unit moved into the enemy table half to claim the objective. The Grav gun bikers and Captain moved up to engage the Centurions.

The White Scars and Dark Angels opened fire on the centurions, killing one of the enemy warriors. The Sternguard fired at the newly arrived tactical marines, killing one with their AP3 shots. In the assault phase, the White Scars bikers charge the Centurions, the Captain issuing a challenge that was accepted by the Centurion sergeant. The biker were unable to harm their enemy, while the Librarian slew three with his force axe. The Centurion sergeant then struck, slaying the Captain before he could strike back. The lone White Scars biker stayed in combat, hoping his sacrifice could help save his allies.
At the end of our turn, we scored two of our objectives.

I forgot to note down what Mitch and Craig drew this turn.
Aberdeen Turn 2.

The Hive Tyrant arrived, moving up towards the tactical squad in the forest. The final drop pod also arrived, landing beside the objective in our deployment zone.

The Hive Tyrant attempted to use psychic shriek on the Sternguard, but this was blocked. It then cast paroxysm on them, reducing the WS and BS by one. In the shooting phase, the tactical marines targeted the Sternguard, wiping them out. The other tactical squad and Hive Tyrant shot at the Dark Angels tactical squad in the woods, killing three.
In the combat phase, the Centurions and biker failed to wound each other and the biker hit and ran out of combat.

At the end of turn 2, Mitch and Craig scored only one point, giving us 5 bonus points.

Dundee- 14
Aberdeen- 11

At the start of our turn 3, we drew Objective 1, Objective 3 (x2), Objective 6, Psychological warfare and another special card- destroy an objective secured unit.
Dundee Turn 3.

The lone grav gun biker moved to secure objective three, while the meltagun bikers and Deathwing Knights advanced on the centurions.

In the shooting phase, the Sternguard drop pod fired at the tactical marines. The Deathwind missile was on target hitting 7 of the marines, but not wounding a single marine (I didn't roll a single 3+ on 7 dice!). Shooting did not achieve much, we tried to take out the objective secured drop pod on objective one, but only got a single penetrating hit on it. The two meltagun bikers annihilated the Centurion's drop pod.

The Deathwing Knights then attempted to assault the Centurions on an 11" charge. Amazingly, Colin rolled a double 6 for the charge and they made it into combat (my shout of joy was heard on the other side of the vast gaming room, leading to a lot of curiosity). They then managed to wipe out the Centurions and Librarian using their Smite attacks.

This was a huge result for us. Odds were not good that the Deathwing would make the charge and we were fully expecting them to be wiped out by the Centurion's grav cannons in the next turn, leaving us with no real counter for them.

At the end of our turn we scored 3 points for objective 3 (x2) and for Slay the Warlord.

At the start of turn 3, Mitch and Craig drew Objective 5 (x2), Scour the Skies, Objective 4, witch hunter and Assassinate. Not a great round of cards for them, there were two that were impossible to achieve, but then again, we would not get the points for them.
Aberdeen Turn 3.

In this turn we used the restrict movement Dirty Tricks card. The Tyrannocyte carrying the Zoanthropes arrived and landed next to the Deathwing Knights. The other units moved as far as they could towards the other objectives on the board.

In the psychic phase, the zoanthropes cast psychic shriek on the Knights. They took three wounds, all of which were saved by their invulnerable saves.

In the shooting phase, the Hive Tyrant destroyed the Sternguard drop pod, while the Dark Angels tactical marines in the forest were slain by the enemy tactical marines. The Razorback was also destroyed. The Tyranids had objective 5 (the Meltagun bikers were about 1 mm outside of 3" for claiming Objective 5. I never thought about this when moving up to destroy the drop pod).

At the end of turn 3, our opponents scored 2 points and we scored 2 points from the objectives they could not complete.

Dundee- 19
Aberdeen- 17

At the start of turn 4, we drew Objective 6, No Prisoners, Hungry for Glory, Hold the Line, Supremecy and Ascendency. Not a great hand. Objective 6 was firmly in enemy hands and Supremacy could not be achieved as our opponents had too many objectives. Only No prisoners and Ascendency could be achieved this turn.
Dundee Turn 4.

I moved by bikers up to objectives 4 and 5, while the tactical marines advanced to claim objective 3. The Deathwing Knights moved in on the newly arrived Tyrannocyte. There was little shooting as we used our run and turboboost moves to get to the objectives.

In the assault phase, the Knights charged the Tyrannocyte, easily destroying the enemy pod. We scored two points this turn (No Prisoners and Ascendency) and gave up 4 points to the enemy.

At the start of their turn, Mitch and Craig drew Objective 1, Objective 2, Objective 3, Objective 4, Objective 5 and Objective 6- the full set! This would be good for us as we controlled 3 of the objectives and they were only in position to claim another two.
Aberdeen Turn 4.

The second Tyrannocyte appeared next to the Knights, the Termagaunts spilling out to engage the them. The tactical marines advanced on objective 6, but failed their run move to make it in range of the objective to score it (they only needed a 2, but rolled a 1 on the run move).

The tyrannocyte fired on the lone grav gun biker and succeeded in killing him. The rest of the army shot at the Deathwing Knights, killing two of the Dark Angels veterans with the massed firepower.

At the end of their turn, they scored two points and we got 4 points.

Dundee- 25
Aberdeen- 23

We came in to the final turn of the game, drawing Objective 2 (x2), Objective 5 (x3) and Big Game Hunter. We could score half our points this turn by claiming objective 5. Objective 2 could not be scored and big game hunter would be tricky as the only unit in range was the Tyrannocyte. The Knights moved up to Zoanthropes, while the bikers moved to engage the Tyrannocyte (while making sure they were within range to claim objective 5). We would have loved to have sent the Deathwing after the Tyrannocyte, but they could not assault through the termagaunt screen to get to the monstrous creature.
Dundee Turn 5.

We managed to take 3 wounds off the Tyrannocyte form the meltagun bikers and plasma cannon, but could not finish it off to get the points. The Deathwing Knights assaulted the Zoanthropes, but only managed to kill one of the creatures. They failed their morale and fled from the objective.

We scored 3 points for claiming objective 5.

In their final turn, Mitch and Craig drew Objective 6 (x2), Behind Enemy lines, Ascendency, No prisoners and the special card- have more models in opponent's half than your opponent has.
Aberdeen Turn 5.

The tactical squad moved to grab objective 6 and the other objectives to claim Ascendency. In the psychic phase, the Zoanthropes tried to destroy the Dark Angels drop pod to stop us getting Linebreaker but failed. The plasma cannon tactical squad were wiped out by the enemy firepower and there were no assaults.

Mitch and Craig scored 5 points in this turn and we got one.

The game ended on turn 5, with only the two meltagun bikers remaining in my army.

Dundee- 30
Aberdeen- 32

A narrow win for the boys from Aberdeen. Thanks to Mitch and Craig for an exciting and tense game. We were winning right up to the final turn when the cards turned in their favour and they got the win.
Looking at the scores each round, if we had not been playing the special mission where your opponent scored bonus points for each one you could not achieved, the game would have ended; Dundee 13, Aberdeen 12. Again, a very close game, but the result would have swung in our favour. But we weren't, so it didn't!

That was a thrilling and very close game, with luck swinging wildly between bad and good. There were several factors that contributed to our defeat (other than the skill of our opponents):

1. The restricted movement Dirty Trick card in the first turn was a huge blow to our army (probably the reason why they took it). It stopped us from grabbing a lot of our objective cards in the first turn and from spreading out my bikers to prevent them being wiped out in the first turn.

2. The super-powered Centurions were a huge thorn in our side for most of the game. They had BS5, an extra wound and feel no pain, making them incredibly effective and tough to kill. They were able to wipe out my bikers and warlord with little effort. It took our own super-powered Knights to take them out.
I wonder if the Knights had been deployed at the start of the game, would the outcome have been different? Odds are the Centurions would have targeted them, sparing the two units of bikers to use their increased mobility to grab more objectives during the game. If the Deathwing had survived (3+ invulnerable, two wounds and feel no pain? Is it possible?), they may have been able to take out the Centurions.

3. I wish I had taken Khan in the army (this will be a common theme in all my games). The extra scout move would have helped in grabbing objectives at the start of the game.

4. It may have been better to use our re-deploy card to put the bike units in reserve. In this way they would have survived the initial attack of the Centurions and could have caused more damage later in the game. On the other hand, we may not have scored as many points at the start of the game had we done this, so it is difficult to tell how much of an impact this may have had.

I haven't played against any centurions yet with the new marine codex (since they got access to drop pods as a fast attack choice), but they are incredibly powerful now with the ability to deploy pretty much anywhere on the board. I will definitely be featuring them in my next White Scars tournament army.

Overall, a fun and very close battle and a good start to the day.

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