The Prettiest Little Loser

So, the 2-Day 40K event has come and gone, and as predicted, it was a little more of a '1-Day 40K' event for me. The top half of the competitors from the two tournaments on Saturday went on to face each other Sunday, and given that I placed ninth out of ten, that sort of left me well down the line for coming back. But it wasn't a total loss; I was runner-up for 'Best Sportsman', and after a long string of runners-up I actually got 'Best Presentation', as voted by the other players there, which comes with a nice warm feeling and, hey, twenty dollars in store credit. Nothing to sneeze at.

Round 1: Jamie Goddard (Imperial Guard)

Army List:
Company Command w/Master of Ordinance, Officer of the Fleet, 2 x Body Guards, Camo Cloaks, Vox-caster
Platoon 1:
Command w/ Vox-caster, 2 x Flamer
Infantry Squad w/2 x Melta, Vox-caster, Melta Bomb
Heavy Weapon Team w/3 x Lascannon
Heavy Weapon Team w/3 x Autocannon
Platoon 2:
Command w/Vox-caster, Flamer
Infantry Squad w/2 x Plasma Gun, 2 x Vox-caster, Melta Bomb
Heavy Weapon Team w/3 x Lascannon
2 x Leman Russ w/Heavy Bolter Sponsons, Lascannons
Leman Russ Demolisher
Colossus w/Enclosed Crew Compartment

Deployment: Pitched Battle
Major Objective: Seize Ground
Minor Objective: Call Your Shots

First of all, sweet Christmas! I mean, I run a battlesuit-heavy list, so being outnumbered isn't hugely surprising to me; some Marine lists can have more guys on the field than I do. But this? This was madness! I've never seen so much AV14 ranged against me before, with so many Instead Death For Suits guns on them, nor have I ever had to deal with groups of lascannons that can make me re-roll my cover saves. Gah!

So, it should come as no surprise, given that little opening, that things did not go well for me. We were playing on a fairly terrain-heavy board, with lots of ruins and buildings and an L-shaped river segment dividing a quarter of the board from the rest of it, with two bridges across it. Jamie set his tanks up about equidistant from each other, the Russ squadron on my right and the other two on my left, both of them hidden behind enough cover to count as obscured. In front of those he scattered a variety of troop units, with his heavy weapon teams hiding out behind the cover of a landing platform's armoured edging and his infantry squads running around on the little island-quarter. I set my XV88s up so they could get shots on the Russ squadron, one on each side of the board, and sent my Piranha, Deathrains and Shas'el to deal with the Colossus, Demolisher and heavy weapon squads while my infantry, supported by Devilfish and my two Fireknife squads, went after the infantry.

To say I was out-shot would be the grossest understatement. That Colossus blew suits to pieces with casual ease; heavy weapons teams under orders blasted my XV88 to pieces, despite its cover; and on the island, despite the best efforts of my fire warriors, I simply could not kill enough Guardsmen to shift so much as a single unit. I did manage to run a squad into the ruins I'd hidden my objective inside on the last turn, claiming it, but Jamie got to go second, and those six poor little buggers didn't stand a chance when he dropped a S6 AP3 large blast ordinance weapon that doesn't allow cover saves on them. Gone, in a heartbeat, along with my Shas'el, both XV88s, my Hammerhead, one of my Devilfish and my Piranha, which died without getting to fire a shot. And in return I managed to down most of a command squad, some of an infantry squad, and one heavy weapon team. It was a major loss, but one I think I've learned from.

See, I don't deep strike my suits. I feel it's pointless, since nine times out of ten I need those guys on the board from turn one, shooting as hard as they can. But with only four guns in my army capable of penetrating AV14, and two of those unreliable at best (the Hammerhead and Piranha), this is that one time where deep striking would've come in handy. It would've been risky, particularly since he had his tanks backed up pretty well against the table edge, but I should have dropped my suits round the back of his tanks, and gone for rear armour shots. Their firepower wouldn't have been missed much on the board, since they rarely had decent targets to engage, and the loss of even one of those tanks could've changed the way the game went, particularly if it had been that Colossus; with it gone, nothing else could have killed my well-concealed fire warriors on the objective, and it would've been a tie.

A word on the minor objective for this game. The way it worked was, before the start of the game both players roll off, and the winner nominates one model from the enemy side that he intends to kill. Then the loser nominates two models he intends to kill. They go back and forth, at two models from then on out, and either one can stop calling his shots at any point. To claim the minor objective, you have to kill everything you called out, and if both players succeed in that, then whoever called more targets wins. Neither of us really understood this, so rather than just pick, say, one thing and make sure it died, we rattled off a half-dozen targets each, and failed to accomplish the secondary objective.

Round 1: Matt Towes (Chaos Space Marines)

Army List:
3 Terminators w/2 x Combi-Melta, Heavy Flamer, Champion w/Chain Fist
4 x Terminators w/Autocannon
4 x Terminators w/2 x Combi-Melta, Heavy Flamer, Champion w/Chain Fist
5 x Marines w/Icon of Chaos Glory, Melta, Rhino
5 x Marines w/Icon of Chaos Glory, Melta, Rhino
2 x Obliterators
Heavy Landraider w/Extra Armour

Deployment: Spearhead
Major Objective: Annihilation
Minor Objective: King of the Hill

Okay, I want to say something. I don't usually talk about luck. I find it usually balances out; one unit's spectacular failure against another unit's unbelievable success. Sometimes you have a run of bad dice, though. And sometimes, you have Matt Towes' Landraider. I must have put a dozen railgun shots against that thing, and the total result was one turn stunned, and one destroyed lascannon array. I couldn't hit; when I hit, I couldn't penetrate; when I penetrated, he got his smoke launcher saves; when I actually penetrated and there were no saves, I rolled almost exclusively 1s. That thing survived five straight turns of being the only target for two XV88s and a Hammerhead, almost without a scratch!

That being said, though, I played this game atrociously. My continued failure to kill that Landraider gave me tunnel vision, which absolutely got me killed. Matt started with the Rhinos (with Marines), the Landraider (with Abaddon and 4 Terminators) and the Defiler on the board, while I had everything but my fire warriors, since I planned to de-mech his army then have my shas'la come on and fire at the exposed Marines trudging across the field. Unfortunately, with my railguns otherwise occupied, I managed to lose my Piranha first turn to the Defiler, along with a Fireknife squad second turn, while my other Fireknives were out of range at first and then busy killing a teleporting squad of 3 Terminators that wiped out my Pathfinders, and my Deathrains were badly positioned behind the Hammerhead and took their sweet time getting clear. The end result was that the Rhinos went unmolested the entire game, which cost me my Devilfish and one of my 9-tau squads, while Abaddon, the surviving Terminators and the Obliterators teleported into my deployment area and proceeded to lay the place to waste. In an orgy of multimelta blasts, daemon weapons, autocannon rounds and powerfists, those eleven models (Matt never fired the Landraider's guns, and the Defiler actually got forgotten about, hanging around in mid-field with nothing much to shoot at) proceeded to kill both XV88s, the Hammerhead, my Deathrains, my surviving Fireknives, my Shas'el, and two fire warrior squads. In return, I put a single wound on Abaddon with thirty rapid-firing pulse rifle shots, and that was that. I was tabled by the end of turn 5, and in return I'd killed three Terminators, blown a lascannon sponson off, and done one wound to the architect of the Black Crusades. A major loss, and well deserved.

Round 3: Aaron Plate (Orks)

Army List:
Warboss w/Power Klaw, Cybork, Warbike, Attack Squig
Big Mek w/Power Klaw, KFF, 'Eavy Armour, Cybork, Attack Squig
7 x Nobs w/Warbikes, Cyborks, 3 x Power Klaw, 4 x Big Choppa, Painboy, Waagh Banner, Bosspole
30 x Boyz, Nob w/Power Klaw, 'Eavy Armour, Bosspole
30 x Boyz, Nob w/Power Klaw, 'Eavy Armour, Bosspole
10 x Kommandos w/Snikrot
5 x Loots

Deployment: Dawn of War
Major Objective: Capture and Control
Minor Objective: Big Game Hunter

Yes, it's the infamous Nob Bikerz! Not a full list, but enough to cause me some serious trouble. Winning the roll-off, Aaron deployed first, and put his squad of bikerz right up on the mid-field line, with one squad of boyz behind them. In return, I left everything off the table, to walk in on Turn 1, save for my 6-tau squad. He brought his army on, leaving the bikerz along the middle and with a Mek-protected squad of boyz on the objective, while I went for an armoured wall; my Hammerhead and one Devilfish plugged a gap between two pieces of terrain, while the Piranha extended the line on my left, and the Devilfish dithd the same on my right, nearly up against the edge of the table. I opened up with everything I had, but the nigh fighting rolls weren't especially kind, and all I really managed were a few dead boyz, and the odd wound on his bikerz. With the two armies on the field, Aaron went on the offensive; the bikerz charged through a door in a section of the wall in front of me (a slightly dodgy claim, but I agreed to it), while the kommandos and Snikrot came at me from the back, both of them pushing against my left flank. It mostly devolved into a slaughter there, with Snikrot's kommandos and the bikerz chewing up a unit a turn, each, while I tried to pour enough fire into the bikerz to put them down. Sadly, my two Fireknife squads were the first casualties, and the Pathfinders went after them, meaning I was well down on ways to beat a unit full of wound allocation shenanigans and protected by 4+/4++/FNP. Though in fact, I should've put several more bikerz down than I did; I kept forgetting that the melta on my Piranha doesn't allow FNP rolls, which saved more than one wound, and that the bikerz are only T4 when it comes to Instant Death, which would've doubled the damage of those aforementioned un-save-able melta shots. Well, live and learn.

And live I did. For all the ferocity of the Ork assault, at the end of the game I had my 6-tau squad on the objective, the aggressive boyz mob wiped out to the last, more than half the bikerz gone, my Piranha, one Devilfish, one 9-tau squad, both my XV88s and my Hammerhead still in one piece. I had my objective, and there literally weren't enough possible turns for him to charge through and kill everything between his bikerz and my objective. I had mostly played the mission, rather than the enemy army, though I should've used my Piranha to contest his objective, and the end result? A draw.

Well, sort of. See, the minor objective kind of screwed me. Big Game Hunter gave you points for every Monstrous Creature and vehicle with an AV12 or higher you destroyed, and while Aaron only managed to kill one of my Devilfish (after it flechette discharged the bejeezus out of his boyz mob, then blew up and killed even more of them), that was one more vehicle than his entire army contained. Which means, of course, it was literally impossible for me to compete with him on that one. So, with that one lucky Power Klaw attack, he managed to secure a minor win for himself, and force me to take a minor loss.  But not a loss in spirit.

Overall Result: 9th, of 10 entrants

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