Yesterday's tournament at Tabletop Games was very enjoyable. For one thing, the store is definitely equipped for tournament play. Not only do they have a bunch of tables - we used 8, and there were easily 3 or 4 more for open gaming - but they have the terrain to fill them. Every table had some combination of hills and forests, and a number had ruins of various types. Most impressive to my friend and I were the number of forests. We don't have a lot of area terrain where we play, but after playing three rounds in and around it, we're definitely planning on adding more. Because of the area terrain, which all happened to be wooded, my Kroot went from being made of tissue paper to being unmovable bricks. I take back every bad thing I've said about them; they were easily the most resilient thing I had on the board (so long as templates weren't involved). Tabletop also gave everyone a cafeteria-style tray for displaying/moving armies around, which made things a lot easier. You can see my army above in its green (and mostly painted) glory.
We had a good breakdown of armies, as well:
- 3 Eldar (including my friend, Dennis)
- 2 Blood Angels
- 2 Imperial Guard
- 2 Witch Hunters (this was a surprise)
- 2 Space Marines
- 2 Tau (including myself)
- 1 Tyranid (beautifully painted)
- 1 Ork (also very well painted)
- 1 Chaos Marines
Pairings were set, tables were assigned, and we were off!
Round 1: Capture and Control/Dawn of War v. Eldar
My opponent's army consisted of:
3 squads of 5 Dire Avengers in Wave Serpents w/Twin-linked Shuriken Cannons
3 squads of 5 Fire Dragons in Wave Serpents w/Twin-linked Missile Launchers
2 Fire Prisms
1 Night Spinner
A typical Flying Circus Eldar build, but it's a build I haven't faced before (Dennis plays a very different Eldar list). He wins initative, and sets up his objective behind a stand of trees near his table edge, and puts Eldrad and a squad of Dire Avengers in front of it. I put mine in a long area of trees, between two lines of Kroot who fit perfectly in the woods, along with my Deathrain commander just behind. First turn, he rushes forward, and manages to spot and kill my HQ with a missile. My first turn, I move up and start threatening his vehicles. The game goes back and forth like this each turn: he attacks and kills/immobilizes something of mine, my remaining forces counter-attack and do the same to him. He is unable to throw the Kroot off of their objective, though; their 2+ cover save protects them from all but one or two casualties, and even tank shocking them off of the objective fails. He's unable to get anything close to contest, either. We end up going 7 rounds, and by that point everything on the table is immobilized. Eldrad gets locked into combat with one unit of Fireknives until the end of the game. I'm unable to shake his troops off of his objective, but a last ditch gambit ends up winning me the game. My Devilfish is immobilized about 15 inches from his objective. On turn 7, I disembark the gun drones and move them forward, and then jump them for their assault move to within 2" of the objective. I end up winning the game 1 objective to 0. Had I not been able to contest, we would have been tied, and then scoring would go to kill points, where he had me beat 9 to 8.
Round 2: Annihilation/Pitched Battle v. Blood Angels
Here, I was facing off against:
Librarian and Command Squad in a Land Raider
2 10-man Tactical Squads with Lascannon, Plasmagun, and a Sergeant with a Power Fist in Rhinos
6-man Assault Squad with Jetpacks
Predator with Autocannon and Lascannon sponsons
Baal Predator with Twin-linked Assault Cannons and Heavy Bolter sponsons
Dreadnought with Twin-linked Lascannon
My opponent chose to go second here, and went for a null deployment. There was a large hill in the center of the board, so I castled up with my heavy guns pointing at the firing lanes to each side and screened the rest with Kroot. On the first two turns, I held steady. On his third turn, the Land Raider, one Rhino, and the Dreadnought come in near the center. He rolls up the Land Raider, pops the Librarian and his squad out, and he drops Fear the Darkness on me. My Kroot, set up in large curves going towards my table edge, break and promptly run off the table, one after the other. I manage to wreck the Dreadnought, and I rush my Piranhas forward, but I only manage to delay him a bit. It doesn't matter, though. Once his Librarian hit the center of the table, he continued to use Fear the Darkness and scare my infantry off the table. Over half my army disappears over the rest of the game with few shots fired either way. He's then able to focus on my vehicles, and easily picks me apart. Again, we go 7 turns, and by the end all I have remaining is a Hammerhead with no main gun. In that time, I managed to score a few casualties in his units, but the only other kills are the two Rhinos. I lose badly on kill points, 3 to 15. It's a rout in every sense of the word. Looking back, I should have set up two firebases in the corners, which would have lessened the impact of Fear the Darkness.
Winner: Blood Angels
Round 3: Seize Ground (5 Objectives)/Spearhead v. Imperial Guard
This was my first time facing off Imperial Guard, so I had only a theoretical knowledge of what I was up against. My opponent was running:
2 10-man Infantry Squads with a Sergeant and Autocannon Heavy Weapons Team
1 5-man Infantry Squad with a Sergeant and a Heavy Flamer
2 10-man Veteran Squads with 3 Meltas and a Sergeant, mounting in Chimeras with Multi-laser and Heavy Flamer
Squad of 3 Mortar Heavy Weapons Teams
Squad of 3 Heavy Bolter Heavy Weapons Teams
Squad of 3 Lascannon Heavy Weapons Teams
Squad of 6 Ogryn in a Chimera with Multi-Laser and Heavy Bolter
Company Command Squad
Leman Russ Battle Tank with Lascannon and Heavy Bolter Sponsons
Leman Russ Vanquisher with Lascannon and Heavy Bolter Sponsons
We set up objectives, and they end up all being in wooded areas. He wins the initiative and sets up first, putting his Manticore in the back corner, his Mortar and Lascannon teams in one stand of trees, his Heavy Bolter squad in another, and puts everything else as far forward as he can. I set up my army aggressively as well, and infiltrate my Kroot squads into the woods near two separate objectives, one in the center, one in the far right-hand corner from me. His first turn is relatively ineffective, with my Kroot going to ground and resisting all the fire he can put up that turn. I then move forward my anti-vehicle elements and fire on the line of armor he's pushing forward towards me. In what has to be the absolute worst turn of shooting I've ever had, I fail to put even a scratch on any vehicle; I either miss or fail to penetrate in every case, even with the railguns and fusion blasters. At this point, he starts to break into the center of the board while running troops along his long and short table edges towards objectives. Flamers take out half my Kroot in the center, but they hold. I start mounting a counter-attack the next turn, picking off a vehicle here, a squad of Ogryn there (who run off the board after taking one round of shooting), but it's still looking grim. Before long, he's got Mortars sitting on one objective, 2 squads on foot sitting on a second objective to my left, his veterans on a third in the center, another squad moving towards my far-right Kroot, and the center Kroot not long for this world. He also starts tank shocking my units to shove them aside or rush them off the board.
Around turn 4, though, the winds of fortune change. First, his Vanquisher loses the ability to hit me for some reason - he's rolling 1s and 2s to hit the rest of the game. I'm able to pick off one squad of Veterans, and then the Fireknife squad with the HQ stops running off the board from a tank shock 2" from the edge. They rally, turn around, and clear out the other squad of Vets. I'm able to focus fire on the left-most objective, clear out those infantry, and run in my Fire Warriors to claim that objective. The Kroot in the far right never break, and both vehicles he rushes forward to contest end up getting destroyed by one of my Hammerheads. It is a drawn-out, bloody affair, going the full 7 turns once again, but at the end, I am sitting on two objectives, with him only having a Mortar Squad sitting on one. In my first game against the Imperial Guard, I manage to claw my way to a win.
So my final record is two wins, one loss. Far better than I expected, so I have nothing to complain about. Even with the round I lost, I can look back and see what I would have done differently that might have pushed things into my favor. All my opponents were friendly and polite, and while there were no holds barred, I never felt like they were hyper-competitive or being jerks about anything. In fact, my third opponent said that our game was one of the most fun games he's ever played, and I have to agree. I had a great time in all three rounds, and I will definitely go back to Tabletop to play in future events. Dennis had a great time as well, and managed to take third place with his Eldar, so congratulations to him!
On a side note, I got several compliments on how my Tau were painted, with people really enjoying the color scheme, the edge highlighting, the way I was using the sept color to denote rank, and even the basing. I really feel like the work I've put into my army has been totally worth it. I may not be a Golden Daemon winner, or even likely to score higher than a 6 on Cool Mini or Not, but if people think my army looks good on the table, I've succeeded at my goal.