Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Dundee 40k Tournament after action report

On 24th May, Dundee Wargames held a one day 40k tournament that I was fortunate enough to attend. I thought I would write up my thoughts on my games (what worked and what could be improved).
The format was three games of 1500 pts chosen from up to two detachments. There were three different missions using a mixture of eternal war and maelstrom objectives. I decided to run my blog wars army minus the Chapter Master and Scouts to bring it down to size.
My army arrayed for battle.
The army was:
Kor’sarro Khan on Moondakken
5 Bikers- 2 x grav gun, sergeant with meltabombs
5 Bikers- 2 x grav gun, sergeant with meltabombs
5 Bikers- 2 x meltaguns, sergeant with meltabombs
10 tactical marines- Meltagun, sergeant with combi-melta and meltabombs in drop pod
10 devastator marines- 4 missile launchers, with Rhino
Attack Bike with Multimelta
Attack Bike with Multimelta
3 Centurions- 3 grav cannons and grav amps

Points were scored in each game for three missions; Primary missions based on Eternal war results (5 points for a win), Secondary mission for Tactical Objectives points (3 points for a win) and Tertiary missions for Slay the Warlord, First Blood and Linebreaker (2 points for a win).
Armies were also scored for painting/composition and you sportsmanship was scored. This was not the reason I brought along some homemade millionaire shortbread, I was not trying to bribe my opponents. I was trying to give them a sugar rush so that they would make foolish tactical errors!

Unfortunately, due to the time constraints on the games, I was unable to write detailed notes for each battle to do a proper report. I have taken some photos from each game and made some notes on some important or unusual events that occurred. In addition, the armies were on display for everyone to judge and contribute towards the "best army" category. There were some really nice armies on display that my shoddy photography skills will not do justice.

GAME 1- Blood Angels (Craig)
In a throwback to 3rd edition, this game was to be played by deploying in table quarters. The mission was purge the alien (victory point for each unit wiped out) with the addition of selected maelstrom cards (the ones dedicated to killing the enemy). We used Cloak and Shadow, so each got 3 secret objectives at the start of our turn.

Craig's Blood Angels Baal Strike force was:
Furioso Librarian- Mastery level 2
Two units of 5 Scouts- Sniper rifles and camo cloaks
Two units of 5 Tactical Marines- Lascannon and Plasma gun
Two Furioso Dreadnoughts in Drop Pod
Death Company Dreadnought
5 Assault Terminators- 4 with thunder hammers and storm shields

This had the potential to be a nasty game. His terminators would mess up any unit they assaulted and the Dreadnoughts could tie up my units as my marines would be unable to harm AV13 in combat. Added to that was a lot of shooting potential in the tactical marines and scouts. My plan was to use my mobility to stay away from combat where possible and use my anti-tank weaponry to take out the Dreadnoughts and Terminators. Then I could focus on the remaining troops. The scouts would be a target quickly, as hopefully they could give up easy victory points.

Craig won the roll for table quarter and for deployment and elected to let me deploy first. I put the Devastators in a ruin in my quarter with good views of the battlefield and the Centurions near the enemy in cover to fire on the first turn. The bikes were deployed on the side, ready to Scout forward and get closer to the enemy.
Craig deployed most of his army together, the terminators backed up by the Warlord and the Dreadnought. The tactical squads in cover. The Scouts chose to infiltrate, one unit to the left flank, the other directly opposite me.

Craig failed to seize, so I got first turn.
My deployment. The Flesh hound was a kind loan (I was missing a couple of bikers, my last opponent took them by mistake).

Craig's front line.

In my first turn, the scouting bikers moved round to target the scouts and terminators. The drop pod marines arrived in front of the blood angels lines. The centurions advanced on the terminators. The anti-tank weaponry took both dreadnoughts on the table (Librarian and Death Company) down to 1 HP and damaged them both. The Centurions wiped out the Terminators. This was brutal, Craig did not make a single invulnerable save on the Storm Shields and only a few feel no pain saves were made. Khan's squad finished off Corbulo.
The drop pod unit arrives to damage the Death Company Dreadnought.

Stormtalon arrives.

The bikers advance.

Craig managed to kill a few bikers, but couldn't do much damage to my army through jink saves and armour saves.
In my second turn I was able to kill off a tactical squad, scout squad and the Librarian. One of the drop pods was destroyed with a snap shot off the grav gun biker.

After that, I continued to destroy the rest of Craig's army with very little loss of my own. He managed to get a few charges in, the +1 initiative for charging proved useful for slaying some of the bikers. The game ended on turn 4, Craig was down to 3 tactical marines and I was well ahead on points.

I got a full 10 points for this game.
Well done to Craig for being a great opponent. He was fun to play against, even when absolutely nothing was going his way, some of the worst luck I have seen for a long time. He struggled to draw any objective cards that he could achieve each turn.
Such a decisive win put me on one of the top tables in the next game, so I knew the competition would be tough.

GAME 2- Tau (Mark)
Of all the armies I did not want to face today, it's was Mark's fantastic Tau army

Tau are the perfect counter to a White Scars bike army, they have plenty of high strength, low AP shooting and can eliminate my cover saves thanks to Pathfinders. Add in a 4 foot by 4 foot table with very little line of sight blocking cover and there was literally nowhere I could hide from his guns. I knew this was going to be a very difficult game for me and I was not looking forward to it.

The mission was a modification of Crusade eternal war mission. There were 6 objectives to be claimed, with the tactical maelstrom cards focusing on the secure objective cards. We were also using the Spoils of War rules, meaning that you could claim any secure objective cards that were in your opponent's hand.

Mark's army consisted of:
Shas'o commander with 2 shield drones
2 Crisis team bodyguard
Two Riptides- one with Heavy burst cannon, the other with Ion accelerator
3 Crisis suits - Fusion and missile pods
3 Units of 10 Fire Warriors
Two units of 7 Pathfinders
Three Broadsides- High yield missile pods and twin-linked SMS

If I could get first turn, I could hopefully surge forward with everything and be right in his face on turn 1. If I could deal with the Pathfinders, my jink saves would be worth a damn and I might survive the onslaught lone enough to cause some damage and maybe even get in to combat. Additionally, my  mobility would help with seizing objectives around the board.

So naturally, I lost both the roll for table edge and the roll for deployment/first turn. In my mind, the game was pretty much decided on that one die roll.

I didn't really have a plan for this game. I wanted to see what would survive turn 1 and go from there.

Mark deployed a riptide on either end of the board, with fire warriors and broadsides in between. The pathfinder units took up position in one of the ruins and in the bastion, making them even harder to kill. I deployed with most of the army on the left flank (very hard to do on such a small board) and the Centurions and Devastators behind some cover.
The Tau arrayed for battle.

The White Scars ready to counter.

On the first turn, the Pathfinders removed my cover saves and I lost two units of bikers, 2 of the 3 centurions and one of the Devastators.
In my turn, I moved up with as much as possible and claimed some objectives. I killed a broadside and 5 firewarriors.
In Mark's second turn, I lost Khan and his squad, the drop pod and most of the tactical marines that had arrived in it.
In my second turn, I killed 5 Pathfinders and the rest of the fire warriors from one squad.
Behind enemy lines.

I might survive this.......

By the end of the second turn, I had about 450 points worth of models left and had killed less than 300 points worth of Mark's force. The game was over by turn 2.

For the remainder, I threw the attack bikes into combat with the Commander, where they were wiped out after 2 rounds, the last Centurion died and the rest of the Tactical Marines died. By the end of my third turn, I had about 8 Devastators and their Rhino left and had only managed to kill one of the Commander's bodyguard, another 8 firewarriors and one more Broadside.
I conceded at the end of turn 3 as there was nothing I could do, so a full 10 points went to Mark. It didn't help that in 3 turns, I did not make a single hit with any melta weapon for both my attack bikes and tactical squad.

That game was absolutely brutal. I didn't think I played that badly, Mark's army just seemed to be the perfect counter to mine and he played it brilliantly. Had I got first turn, it might have made a difference, but maybe not by much. I could not launch many assaults, as the small size of the board meant that any unit I assaulted with could be fired upon for Overwatch by about half of the enemy army thanks to the Tau special rules (I am a big believer that Markerlights and Supporting fire are way too powerful).
Another big kicker is that Mark caused more damage on his Riptides supercharging their weapons than I did (I never managed to put a single wound on a Riptide).

I am not a fan of 4 foot by 4 foot boards for 1500 pt games. If we were playing on a larger board, I would have been inclined to deploy entirely on one flank and scout forward. This would allow me to get in close range and hopefully stay away from the majority of the guns. I could have then tried to roll up one flank and deal with the Tau firepower one unit at a time. I don't think I would have won, but it may have led to a more interesting game.
I thought about outflanking the bikers and attack bikes to keep them safe for a few turns and get up close quickly, but I was seriously concerned about getting tabled on turn 1 with only a couple of units on the board (it's ironic that if I had been tabled on turn 1, I would have scored more points as we would have drawn on the tactical objectives points with zero each).

Mark went on to win Supreme player of the tournament for his game results, painting results and sportsmanship result, so I don't feel too bad about losing to him. He had a very powerful list which he played well and was a great opponent.

GAME 3- Ultramarines (Zander)
My last game of the day was against Zander and his Ultramarines. His list was:
Chapter Master- Terminator armour, Burning Blade, Primarch's Wrath
Librarian- Mastery level 2, plasma pistol
2 units of 5 scouts- Sniper rifles and Camo cloaks
5 Devastators- 4 Plasma cannons
Predator- TL lascannon and lascannon sponsons
5 Assault marines- Power sword
5 Assault marine- Power swork
2 Landspeeders- armed with 2 multimeltas
5 Terminators- Assault Cannon

The mission was a variation of Big Guns never tire. We had to seize the objectives and got bonus points for each heavy support unit destroyed. In addition, we used the full tactical objectives deck and drew 3 cards each turn.
The start of this game brought up a pet peeve of mine. As I was taking notes, Zander handed me three psychic cards and told me these were his powers for the game; Hallucination, Psychic Shriek and Invisibility. I asked if he rolled and he said that he had, but I never saw it. I am sure he did roll for the powers, but with a game changing power such as Invisibility, it would have been nice to witness the rolls just so there was no doubt.

Once again, my opponent won the roll for table sides and for deployment/first turn. Mark deployed with the Scouts and Devastators in cover. The Vindicator in the centre, supported by the Terminators with Librarian and Chapter Master in the unit. The predator took up one flank, while the assault marines and landspeeders took up another.
I deployed with all of my bikers on the left flank opposite the Predator and the Devastators and Centurions in the middle. I scouted with the attack bikes and one squad of bikers to get closer to the predator.
Tanks and guns and terminators, oh my....

Refused flank (kind of).

Zander went first, moving forward with the Terminators, Vindicator and fast elements of the army. The Terminators were made invisible (this happened every turn except the last where he failed to manifest enough power).
The Rhino, some bikers and a couple of Devastators were killed by shooting. The Devastators failed their morale and fled to the board edge (just!).
This brought up an interesting rules query. When a marine unit falls back, they automatically regroup in the next turn and can move, shoot and assault as normal. Does the unit count as having moved for firing heavy weapons? I say no, my opponent said yes. The judges ruled in my favour. I was wondering how others would rule on this?

Zander then managed a 9" assault with one of the assault squads on the scouting bikers (a mistake, I thought they would be far enough away and he would struggle to make the charge).

In my turn, the drop pod arrived in front of the Vindicator. I managed to kill the Vindicator, the assault marines, the four plasma cannon devastators (with the Centurions), some scouts and severely damaged the Predator.
The tacticals arrive to slay the Vindicator and soon meet death at the hands of the invisible terminators.

Predator assault.

In Zander's turn he managed to kill a Centurion with psychic shriek and the terminators assaulted and killed the tactical squad.

I don't have too many notes on the rest of the game. I used my mobility to stay away from the invisible terminators and to kill the rest of his army. He managed to use the firepower of the terminators to kill Khan and his bike unit. The assault marines were able to kill the centurions before being finished off by the Devastators. One of his scout units died while the other was untouched but failed to cause a single wound the entire game.

Assault marines supported by Landspeeders.

The game ended with me controlling 3 objectives vs zero for the Ultramarines, while Zander had scored the most tactical objective points (10 to my 9) and tertiary objective points (First blood and slay the warlord, while I had linebreaker). The game ended with a draw; 5 points each.

Thanks to Zander for such an exciting and close game. There was plenty of give and take with units being annihilated on both sides. This game was one of the first times I saw psychic shriek actually work effectively (it has never done so well when I have used it). Invisibility is obviously a very strong power to use, without focusing on the terminators I was able to take down the rest of the army without wasting firepower on them, but they were able to use their firepower to take some of my units with very little reprisal.

So at the end of the tournament I scored one win, one loss and one draw and 15 points out of a possible 30 for games, so was pretty happy with my results overall (yah, I'm average!). I also got a lot of nice comments on my army and my objective markers.
Thanks to the guys at Dundee wargames for putting on such a fantastic event, I had a lot of fun on the day and had some very interesting missions and the battles they led to.

I'm not a big fan of 1500 pt battle on 4 foot by 4 foot boards, but this was down to space and boards available on the day. I think that for the White Scars it inhibits one of their key aspects; mobility. They still have the speed to claim objectives and get to the enemy, but on such a small board they are unable to outrun the enemy guns or focus on one part of the enemy army with less reprisal. In the third game, the terminators were in the centre of the board. With a 24" range of their guns, they were able to cover over 90% of the board with their firepower. With a larger board, I would have been able to get outside their range with the bike squads and would not have lost Khan and his unit due to shooting and psychic shriek.
If I was taking my Orks or Guard (primarily foot slogging forces for my army), I think I would have struggled to deploy my whole army in the deployment zone. But, a good general does not complain about the battle that should have been played, they must play to the mission and the battlefield before them.

I didn't win a single roll for board edge or deployment/first turn the entire tournament. I think this only had a significant effect in the second game.

I was pretty happy with how most of the army performed. The Centurions are absolutely lethal when they get the chance to fire. I just need to find a way to protect them better. The bikes performed as expected, though I'm not sure the meltaguns really saw much use for tank hunting, I think the range is too small. By the time I got up close to the enemy, I had already dealt with the armour by other means. The attack bikes were a bit hit and miss. They performed really well in the first game, taking care of the Dreadnought, but I didn't score a single multimelta hit in the second game (only 3 turns, but still). Khan performed well enough; his scouting ability was very useful. I never got him into combat in any of the games, I think he is a solid character, but he is not a powerhouse like a bike mounted chapter master.
I have never used outflank through Khan's ability. I like the idea of outflanking, but with reserve rolls and random table edge deployment, I'm not sure how useful this would be. Maybe with the meltagun squad, they could get in range of backfield armour quickly. Does anyone use outflank on a regular basis? Does it work well or does the army arrive too piecemeal?

My opponents for the day were great, lots of skilled players and amazing armies on display (pictures to follow in a future post, this one is long enough already). Once again, thanks to the tournament organisers, the event was fantastic, a great way to spend a Sunday. I can't wait for the next tournament that the guys run.



  1. Sounds like a solid performance, well done:-) That Tau game must have been brutal...

    1. Thanks Marc. It was pretty brutal. I might try playing it again with me getting first turn (if my opponent would be up for it). I reckon if I managed to take out the Pathfinders on turn 1, I may have had a shot since I would get my Jink saves from then on. But then again, maybe not, it all depends how the dice roll on the day.