Saturday, October 3, 2009

My First tournament

Fair Warning: Long post ahead. Also, the upgrade to Blogger seems to have removed spell-check. I do not really pay attention as I am typing since I make a lot of typos, knowing I will catch them and correct them with spell-check...but not this time. So sorry about the typos...

Thursday night I did not get to bed until 6 in the morning. Friday got home about 9:30, by 9:40 had figured out the list I had built for today would not work since I could not get the Juggernaut assembled so back to square one. So I built the following:

Prince of tzeentch, level 4, tendrils of tzeentch.My thought process was this; he is an assembled, painted model that can fly around seeking out tough enemies. I should get off a charge with him. Why the points on level 4, tendrils and mark? Because he is only S5, T5 so he cannot really take on monsters without some help...

A walking level 1. Scroll caddy. The very definition.
Another walking level one with infernal puppet
A mounted level 2 with a Power Stone and another Scroll.

I wanted to build it around close combat guys but they needed mobility. Neither my flying tzeentch nor Juggernaut models were completed, and I was thinking I had no Walking Exalted heros so instead I went magic since I have had no success to speak of most of the time. So this would fit my own definition of a not-too-tough army.

Ironically, I have a painted and assembled Prince Sigvald and was told the modified Bret I have would have been acceptable for my overall Army Standard Bearer. So in retrospect, I would have built a vastly different army.

10 unaugmented Marauders twice. Fill 2/3rds of my Core requirements, easy for opponent to kill, no real useful function in this alignment.

12 Chaos Warriors with Shield, Full Command, War Banner. Meant to put khorne on them, inexplicably forgot, used the excess points I had at the end of putting the list together to add more Marauders...which I then turned out to not have the models for, so did not use. This was fatigue I will claim...

I took one 5 man Knight unit with nurgle, full command and the Banner of Rage to give them permanent Frenzy. They would be my front unit against shooting armies to be a bit harder to get rid of prior to getting into combat. Otherwise, I did not really care about the -1 to be hit.

Second 5 man Knight unit with khorne, full command, Banner of Rage to back up the other magic. would have been a better idea if I used it more than once. Should have put the War Banner on them and Banner of Wrath on the Warriors...not that it would have swung any games, but would have gotten me a couple more points overall...and that would have mattered.

Dragon Ogre Shaggoth with Great Weapon. He is my monster hunter. With 5 attacks at S8 where he should usually hit on a 3 and only rarely need a 4, he should do some real damage.

Then I went to print up my list. A week ago I purchased a printer but had not hooked it up since some people hereabouts might not conserve ink and paper. Just an educated guess....

Problem is, this plug and play printer took nearly 3 hours to install. I think the software installation disk was defective as eventually I had to uninstall everything, reboot the computer, go to the HP website, download the software from there to get it to work. But by then it was almost 2.

Did not get to sleep until about 3:45 or so and then some, ah, household events woke me up about 7. (Who makes cookies at 7 in the morning? Who sounds louder than front row seats in a rock conc ert to make cookies? these are the questions which man might ponder to the end of days...)

So now I am rolling a pseudo-strong goofy army (no skirmish screen, only 1 flyer)on about 10 hours sleep since Wednesday about noon. This could get ugly.

I had no idea what to expect at the tournament. I know how to guage my self against my regular opponents, but not total strangers. So I decided to play sledge-Hammer. Put my Knights as close to his units as possible and more or less charge them in tandem headlong into him. And I flat out told my first opponent that. I did not care if I lost so long as I got off a charge. He could redirect me into being double flank charged or whatever...I just wanted to get off a charge. My secondary goal was a draw or marginal loss. I would not complain if I got a Solid Loss or Marginal Victory. I just wanted to avoid Massacres either way.

Game 1, Versus Lizardmen

There were a lot of ironies here. Like, I told him I had nothing to guage it by and hoped my list was pretty mediocre. He looked at it, said the 10 power dice were an awful lot...and proceeded to have 14-16 power dice every turn. Is all good, I mostly thought it was funny.

I more or less set up in a line. I tried to hide my Marauders since I could tell early on they had no targets. They were too slow to catch his many, many, many skinks. They could not touch his Temple Guard. They could not catch his Terradons. And they had no chance whatsoever against the 2 (TWO) Engine Stegadons he brought. I put my Knights side by each in the center of the table opposite where his Stegadons and Temple Guard were. Then I had my first real decision.

Where to put Shaggy? (The Dragon Ogre) If I wanted to win, there was only one place; right between my Knights. He was probably the only thing I had that could touch the monstrous Stegadons. Or I could float him out on my left flank to pseudo-protect the Marauders that I did not care about.

So I floated him out to the left flank.

Warriors of Chaos Turn 1

I went first. No charges (obviously) and did not want him charging my Knights with those impact-causing Engine-dons. Slow move forward. He pretty much dispelled everything except a Hand of Death thrown at his skinks on my left flank which got 2 of them.

Lizardman Turn 1
He moved forward more or less in a line, flying hisTerradons over Shaggy. I blocked just one thing using one scroll, but he got like 4 or 5 spells through. I don't even remember what they all did, but two knights died and that is the main thing I remember. That hurt.

 His shooting was scary, putting 4 (4) wounds on Shaggy between the Terradon rock droppers and his Blowpipe poison. Ouch.

Warriors of Chaos Turn 2
Time to charge. Shaggy charged the skinks who promptly fled...but were caught and wiped out. This was not the unit I had slain a couple with my Magic Missile, so that was good.
Another choice. If I was going to try to win, I should concentrate everything on one Engine. I should charge both units of Knights at it and my Prince. Or I could charge the 3 Knights at his Temple Guard and the Prince and other Knights at his Engine if I cared more about massive charges. You can safely assume I did the latter.

Now, to be fair, I knew  his Engine was tough but was also fairly sure that having 25 S5 attacks with WS5, another 5 S5 attacks with WS8 and 16 S4 attacks with WS 4 could have done some real damage. I also knew if instead of doing that if I took 3 Knights at his Temple Guard, I would probably lose the combat but with 10 S5 attacks should do some damage. Plus I think I thought I had my army battle standard and would be stubborn, holding up his Temple Guard who probably could not hurt me either more than once every couple of turns. Still, I knew it was basically a suicide charge that would ensure I lost.

Let 'er rip. In I went.

And promptly had I think the three most pathetic charges I ever hope to see from Chaos. My Knights whiffed completely on his Temple Guard. They might have done 1 wound? Which means even before he attacked, I had lost the combat to Rank Bonus, 2 Standards, outnumbering...And of course I broke and fled.

Meanwhile, the Knights against the Stegadon saw my Prince challenge and his Skink Chief accept from atop the howdah. So I flailed away madly at his Stegadon.

I figured he was so tough it would take everything I had to bring him down and the skinks were not going to hurt me. Plus I had 5 Knights with Frenzy and a Wizard flailing away at him, not to mention the horses.

Of course, I failed to wound him even once.

They did, however, take a wound.

Fortunately, I was about to take out his Skink Chief and get rid of that super-powered Radiance thing they do. 5 attacks needing 3s to hit. 5 dice come up with no number higher than a 2 showing.

Now that...that was awesome.

Right about that moment I knew this would be a massacre.

Making it worse, when my Knights against the Temple Guard broke, because of how I had positioned my Prince to get everyone into combat, his Temple Guard hit my Champion...which meant he outnumbered me, had rank and banner bonuses, and I would need Insane Courage to not run.

Note that if I had my battle standard bearer, I still would have been fine. I would have been testing on an 8 with a re-roll, giving me an 89% chance to stay in the battle and damage him. I could have brought my Warriors around and flanked his Temple Guard and since his other Engine was out of position, it would have no bearing on this melee.

Amazing how much more powerful that one model would make this army.

Or Stubborn Prince promptly failed his break test too. He would later rally and get into a challenge with the Skink Chief on the Engine that lasted for 9 rounds....but hurt.  I know it is a risk...but he has broken I think 3 of the last 4 times he has had the chance to.

He spent the next few turns putting his Engines in position to double-whammy my stubborn Prince with their magic phase unblockable attack of doom, killing Shaggy with javelins and poison darts, and watching my WS8, S5 Prince do 1 (one) unsaved wound to his Skink Chief in 9 rounds of one-on-one challenge combat before being slain himself when the second Engine charged and did impact hits on him.

For what it is worth, I had the Chaos Warriors untouched and one unit of Marauders with 4 guys left. I also think he slightly eased up, because instead of coming to visit my Warriors, he used his Stegadons to go after 3 Marauders...

He lost 2 units of Skinks (Shaggy) and his Terradons (Shaggy).

My Magic was ineffectual, my close combat troops pathetic.

I did not really mind. I got off three charges. True, they were ineffectual...but they sure looked good charging in.

Result: Massacre

Knowing what I now know, I would have played it differently. The other guys were all talking about what a vicious list it was to bring two Engines. They are all but impossible to kill, he had more Power Dice than anyone else and more Dispel Scrolls...none of which I mind, but it does mean playing soft as I did meant I was doomed.

Since no hill was in play (thought the field had 4 of them), I would use my Marauders to screen, put my Warriors and Shaggoth in the middle of the field, the Knights to the side, and bring full blunt force trauma to bear instead of splitting out my army, attacking piecemeal when I had the option of ganging up and flanking him, and I think I would at the least achieve a draw...though with the complete lack of success I had with the guys who did make it into combat, I might still get massacred. I doubt it. Shaggy with 5 attacks at S8 is going to give no save to the Engines and that will take them down pretty quick. I would also include my BSB with the Banner to make me stubborn.

Game 2: Warriors of Chaos
I will say up fron this kid might be my favorite game of all time. He was a wise cracking goof-ball...we had a lot of fun with our table chatter. Awesome.
His list is vastly different from mine. He has 2 large units of khorne Marauders, 3 units of khorne Chaos Warriors, and a single tzeentch wizard.

This game would have "echelon deployment" where the table is angled.

Neither of us was subtle in our deployment. Marauders on each flank, I had my Knights/Shaggoth/Knights Chaos Warriors in the middle, he had 3 Chaos Warrior units in the middle, and 4 Spawn off on my left.

His Warriors of Chaos Turn 1

I let him go first. He moved slightly forward, he tried Infernal Gateway, I used a Dispel Scroll. My Dispel dice blocked his uber-magic missile.

My Turn 1
Lets see, he moved a Spawn within 14" of a Frenzied unit of Knights...and his Warriors were within 14" of Frenzied Knights...I best be charging Shaggy. I did, and the Kngihts and the Knights and slightly moved my Warriors forward so he could not flank me without getting flanked.

Magic was brutal. I used Treason of tzeentch on his Maraduers on my left. They promptly offed like 8 of themselves. (Rules error; about turn 5 we realized he had Frenzy and so was immune to psychology. Oops...) I used Infernal Gateway to knock off some random troops.

His Warriors took a thumping from my Knights. 8 fell, in fact, and he ran. Shaggy did some damage as well.
Not enough, however, and check out the picture below to see if you notice anything....

Yep, for the second game in a row, Shaggy bit the dust. And did not do anywhere near his points value, I might add. On the bright side, the Knights would have hit his Wizard who voluntarily started to run...only to not recover the next turn.

Meanwhile, I spent a couple turns wiping out Spawn on my left flank. 3 times in the game I had to use Scrolls to stop Infernal Gateway. He never got any magic off successfully. Correction; he got one spell off which did nothing.

By contrast, I got off Infernal Gateway on a big unit of Warriors...and rolled 12 for the strength which meant the entire unit was automatically removed.

At that moment I deliberately slacked off. I knew the game was mine and did not want to massacre him. So I did little things like making sub-standard I was still attacking and it looked like I was playing seriously, but I knew it was the wrong move. Stupid tournament play...but I was not out to crush the guy. Or even beat him.

Check out the upper corner. The guys on the right side of the picture are his deceased Warriors. I could have brought my Knights over by him , the Knights on the left of the picture, and my Prince all to bear on his humble half-unit of Warriors. I chose not to.

Instead I posed them in a semi-circle and let his other unit of Warruiors and Marauders live. What a sweetie!
Ha, in truth, I had 2 turns to get there and was pretty tired. I saw no point to driving hard after his guys who would have happily come to meet me, only to get swarmed under.

We totaled up the points and I deliberately claimed no table quarters (I actually had 2) and he got a table quarter (he actually had none) and he ended up with 897 points (the actual total should have been 797) while I ended up with over 2000. We reported it as a minor victory (though even with the 300 point extra differential, it still should have been a solid victory) and properly scored, I would have Massacred him,...exactly what I did not want, but nice to know since it tells me my army might be too strong if I can massacre a good Chaos army. Easily.

Round 3: Warriors of Chaos Versus Wood Elfs
Prior to the tournament i had talked to this guy and he seemed pretty cool. We compared notes on Wardancer effectiveness. His have been awesome, mine...well, not so much. He had won the first game against the other Chaos guy by Massacre and then lost by solid victory to the Lizardmen.

In that game I had seen his frustration growing. He was sweeping his slain models away, slumping down, huffing, complaining about the dice. I could tell that here is a guy who hates to lose. No problem, I will make a poor deployment and the Wood Elf shooting should take care of the rest. I will have gone 1-2, I am happy with that.

You can see my left most Marauders. My other unit was to their right. As you see, I set everything else up to the left...not as dumb as it sounds since there was a big forest right in the center of the table and he had been bragging on having moved forests x number of inches every turn and done mass damage.

So my plan was foiled. Because even as he watched me make an excoriable deployment, he put his Dryads (2 units), Glade Riders, a unit of Glade Guard and a Treeman (he had 2) off on my right flank...WHERE I HAD NO UNITS EXCEPT 2 BASIC 10 MAN MARAUDERS.

I cannot hand you the game if you will not take it. Just sayin'.

But I tried to give it to him anyway. I got choice of first turn. I took it. This is a poor, poor move, but I did it entirely for 2 reasons; one, let him do well, and 2, use something I spent 45 points for and have not used yet.

The Knights on top of the hill have the Banner of Wrath. I have not used it yet in the tournament. So that was my first move in Magic. Slew 2 Glade Guard. Other magic ineffective.

His shooting not so much as he shot down a Knight or two with some magic bow that always hits on a 2 and never allows armor saves and shot 5 times per turn. That is a pretty amazing bow I must admit.

He proceeded to charge my Shaggoth with a treeman, shot my Prince who promptly saved zero of 3 wounds needing 4s, hhis treeman saved 3 of 4 needing 6s, and he started complaining about he was losing because of the dice.

I changed focus. Now I wanted to win.

I twitched my Marauders, he fell for it and focused a unit of Glade Guard, a unit of Glade Riders, and 2 units of Dryads on them.

 Something like 600 points chasing 80 while he quit even trying magic after the first turn. He charged his Wardancers into the combat with Shaggy and the Treeman. I charged my Knights in. His Wardancers ran.

His turn, he said, "they keep running" and swept them into the impassable terrain that had killed one of his units. I killed his Treeman and had a choice what to do with Shaggy. Knowing his Wardancers were out of the battle, I turned towards where his other Treeman was locked in a battle with my Chaos Warriors.

He then charged my Shaggoth with the Wardancers. And my Knights with his Wild Riders (same models as his Glade Riders and had been shooting at me, so I was surprised again).

On the Wardancer thing, I must admit I was taken off guard. I had been so sure that they were done that it really took me back. It also, for the third time in three games, got the Shaggoth killed when he killed 2 of them but still lost the combat and was overrun...which put the Wardancers into combat with my Warriors.

After his Wild Riders drew the first combat against my vastly superior Knights, hisconstant whining had me going for a massacre result now. He was throwing models, saying it was all the dice when in fact he had rather good rolls...he simply put the wrong troops in the wrong positions at the wrong time EVEN WHEN I WAS TRYING TO DO THAT but he would not let me.

So now I decided to bring the thunder. I wiped out his last Glade Guard unit, used magic to whittle down his Glade Riders (I checked to be sure that was what they were), charged into the melee involving his Treeman, my Warriors, his Wardancers and now my Knights. His Wardancers unsurprisingly broke...and then his Stubborn Treeman, after losing I think 5 rounds of combat, also broke. He promptly threw the model and conceded.

This was probably the second least fun game of Warhammer I have ever played. The first one was my own fault and I take full crdit for it. I was tweaking my army trying to find a balance that was a mix of being able to compete with any enemy army without being so tough that it could not be touched. I ran into an army that had me beat before I ever put a figure on the field and I knew it, at which point I for whatever reason decided I did not want to play.

I did play, and probably about as well as I could have with my knowledge of the rules at that time, but it was the first game of Warhammer I had ever played that I did not enjoy. The worst part was twofold; first, it wa entirely my own fault for the list I made, and second because I was not a good opponent for which I profusely apologized later, but the critique stands.

I resolved never to be that player again.

This time, it was not my fault that the game was not enjoyable. Expecting a 100% success rate on something that should have a 19% fail rate is not reasonable. Saving 6 of 8 tries when 33% should be saved and complaining about the 2 not saved while your opponent is failing 75% of their saves when they need 50% is borderline ridiculous.

Throwing models? Forget it. Grow up.

Losing a game your opponent is deliberately trying to hand you is hard to do...but I now know it is possible.

Except for that it was really fun.

Oh, and the irony; the Chaos I beat demolished the double-engine Lizardmen and won by massacre.

And had we accurately reported the results of the second game...I would have won the tournament by 2 points. Instead I finished second which, oddly, I am happier about than if I had won. But it is nice to know I could have :-)


Mark Evans said...

Great tournament report and congratulations on finished 2nd.

The Dragon Ogre Shaggoth is going to be the next miniature in my Warriors army. Just love the miniature.

Fullur said...

Quick corrections on first game:

It was actually the Chaos Warriors that took out the Terradons. He charged the Terradons into your flank (which I hope he learned was not a good use of that unit) and was summarily demolished. Okay, he did not lose that badly in the combat, but being outnumbered, outranked, and out-bannered and not doing much if any damage he was going to break. Using Flying Cavalry like that, especially if they're skinks, is only going to be a good idea in extremely rare circumstances. It is a better idea than I had thought since they are able to receive the bonus +1 for rear and +2 for flank attacks.

You did do one casualty to the Temple Guard. Your challenge was accepted by his champion who you did 1 wound to.

It is also worthy of note that during the battle you thought the Stegadons were unbreakable because that is what the guy said before the battle. However, they are actually just Immune to Psychology and Stubborn making them very difficult to break, but not Unbreakable. This would not necessarily have changed your tactics against them, but I think you would probably think of it the same way as Kroxigor in mixed units with skinks.

Darth Weasel said...

Thanks for the kind words. Ironic thing is more often than not the Shaggoth is actually not worth the points. But the model looks awesome and is a lot of fun to play.

The one time he is really worth it is to chop down dragons or something...if your opponent lets him live long enough. With nothing really but toughness to protect him (anything but poison that wounds him is strong enough to negate his save) he is surprisingly vulnerable.

With all that, he is so much fun to play that I am seriously considering adding a second one.

Darth Weasel said...

Fullur, on the corrections...

Good call. I actually was going off memory on all three games so really did not do a turn by turn break down and I probably got a couple other details incorrect on the games you did not see...I tried to recreate itfrom the pictures, but it was tough since against WoC we were having such a good time and going so quick (I think our game took about an hour and a half at most...) that I only took a very few pictures. And the last game, the other dude was so miserable, I just wanted to get it over with.

you are dead on correct about the Terradons, though. He did it again later, charging them into some Marauders. Now, on the one hand, that seems wise...he charged their rear and they were Marauders. On the other hand, that dude ramps up his Marauders and with their Heavy Weapons and light armor, they ran the Terradons off the table.

He seemed to have trouble with his army list, since he was doing the Engine Radiance in the wrong phase (not sure if that matters) and he played so fast that I am pretty sure there were a few things he did that really did not match what should have happened...but I did not care. I think that was the game where I told him the Knights were 1 harder to hit so he quick-scooped the dice and I am pretty sure hit me a couple more times than he should have...but I did not really care as that game was going to be his anyway. If my Knights actually did a wound or something would have had a chance but as it was, enjoyued 2/3rds of the games.

Hopefully you can get stuff assembled and painted. I used my tourney prize vertificate to get a model to use for my army battle standard bearer so I hope to shift up my list a bit before the next one...more Warriors and Marauders, no Magic, that sort of changes. We will see.

Fullur said...

When that guy rolled out his lizardmen army with no knights I was kind of astounded. I know I am not all that experienced (although he did not really seem to be either), but I cannot see rolling a tournament lizardmen army without Cold Ones. The only way most armies can handle them is to play a tactically superior game. From the little bit that I witnessed combined with your report, I do not think anyone but you could have done much to them. Of course, I could be wrong. The lizardmen player seemed a little presumptuous about his "anti-chaos" army too. I'm sorry but an army that has three models capable of dealing greater than S4 attacks is not an anti-chaos army. Especially when you have no ability to flank. Bottom-line, I think had the dice been more kind (think average-good) on your charges you would have beaten him, quite possibly stomped him.

Darth Weasel said...

I doubt he had enough points to take any Cold Ones since he took 2 Engines. Not sure how many points they are, but with them, a 4th level Slann and the 20ish block of Temple Guard, he had to be running low on points. And the double Engine was definitely a tough list.

I somewhat agree; I was actually beating him in combat with the engine even without my Prince, so had I put the Prince against the Temple Guard with the smaller Knight unit, I think I would eventually have finished off the Engine my 5 Knight + Wizard unit hit. They only lost the fight because his Temple Guard unit hit my Prince, who probably should have been placed more straight in front of the Engine.

As for the lists, the other Chaos guy Massacred him, using the Warriors with Great Weapons at S6 to hack down his Stegadons.

In the end, I am glad I did lose that game as I ended up higher in finish than I meant to...not that I am complaining.

On a side note, I should also correct one thing. My game against the other W.o.C. may have been my favorite individual game, but my favorite opponents, in order, are still kev and Fullur. I have had many enjoyable games against both of you and that trumps a single game for sure.

Fullur said...

He could have squeezed a unit in had he dropped the Terradons. I admit that they are a fantastic harasser unit, but in an army of cheap harasser's (skinks) I think a 35pt/model harasser is too expensive when it comes at the expense of not having any Cold Ones.

kennyB said...

The worst part about the Terradons IMHO is that they are a one-hitter unit for the most part. Normally, you use flyers for march blocking while you shoot up your opponent. Doesn't really help any if all you have is 8" ranged weapons b/c if you are close enough to shoot, you are already march blocking, and if you are not close enough to shoot, it probably doesn't matter if your opponent wants to march and not charge. So w/o a longer ranged attack (like the Regular Stegadon) it is a very expensive one-shot-drop unit. Or do they have ranged attacks themselves? Nonetheless, they are expensive and B.A.D at
h2h combat! o.O

Darth Weasel said...

The Terradons are good when used properly...i.e. to march block, to keep hit-and-run attacking with their posion javelin but never being drawn into combat.

I tend to agree with Fullur, in this list the Cold One Unik could have been great support for his Temple Guard; use the effectively unbreakable Stegadons (Stubborn with re-roll on LD9 using 2 dice...not Unbreakable, but will fail in a thousand? So effectively unbreakable) and Temple Guard (also Stubborn with re-roll on 9) to hold up units, flank charge with Cold Ones...lethal.

Of course, he never intended to get into combat. He would always flee his Skinks and Terradons if he was not charging and mostly planned to use the duel Engines to use their unstoppable attack to wipe everyone out.

Which, by the way, I think is what he meant by anti-Chaos. He doesn't plan to win via combat...he is just going to Magic attack them to death, allowing no saves.

So yeah, in this build the Terradons are massively over priced and probably not the right unit...although they could be used to provide points denial as it is tough to get points off the Engines or Temple Guard.