Tuesday, June 17, 2014

SpikeyCon 2014, part 2, Bat Reps and Mission Thoughts

To follow up on my first post about SpikeyCon, Chandler and I participated in the Iron Man tournament from 8:00pm until 5:00am. It was a blast, and I'm still recovering. I took the FTN suggested DE allies with my Tyranids.

So, again, my list was my Tyranids with the addition of some Dark Eldar using the Crucible to potentially remove enemy psykers.

  • Tyranids:
    • Hive Tyrant: 2xTL Devourers, Wings, Electroshock Grubs
    • Hive Tyrant: 2xTL Devourers, Wings, Electroshock Grubs
    • Venomthrope
    • Zoanthrope
    • Zoanthrope
    • Tervigon
    • 30 Termagants: 20 Devourers
    • 15 Hormagaunts
    • Hive Crone
    • Hive Crone
    • 2 Biovores
  • Dark Eldar:
    • Haemonculus: Crucible of Malediction, Venom Blade
    • 10 Kabalite Warriors: Splinter Cannon
    • Raider: Enhanced Aethersails, Retrofire Jets, Torment Grenade Launcher
    • 3 Wracks
    • Raider: Enhanced Aethersails, Flickerfield, Retrofire Jets, Torment Grenade Launcher
The tournament was using the FTN Mission Pack, missions 1-3. I am really kicking myself for not taking pictures, particularly since two of my opponents, Josh and Kenny, have beautiful armies, and there's nothing like two fully painted armies going at it on nice battlefields like we had.

Game 1 was Realm of the Raven God against Josh's Necrons. Josh's list featured the only Lord of War at the event, a Transcendent C'Tan. His list, as memory serves:

  • Transcendent C'Tan: Transliminal Slide, Wave of Withering, Siesmic Assault
  • Destroyer Lord: Mind Shackle Scarabs, Sempiternal Weave
  • 5 Warriors: Night Scythe
  • 5 Warriors: Night Scythe
  • 6 Scarabs
  • 6 Wraiths: 2 Whip Coils
  • Annihilation Barge
  • Annihilation Barge

Josh won the roll for deployment and chose to deploy first, and got the Warlord Trait that allowed him to Infiltrate his warlord and three units. In the end, he deployed his two Warrior squads next to the objectives and the two barges in the middle. The Wraiths, Scarabs, Lord, and C'Tan infiltrated, countering my deployment and leaning a little to my right.

I deployed across the line with the Hormagaunts, Crones, and Tervigon on the right flank, with the Zoans, Venom, and Flyrants in the middle, and the Termagants and Dark Eldar on the left flank. Josh then gave me first turn.

I tried to take advantage of positioning and used crone flamers and devourers to wipe out the Scarabs for first blood. Josh responded by having the C'Tan slide over the crones, one miraculously survived while the other disappeared just like that. My dice got insanely hot as I didn't fail a single save or feel no pain roll for the rest of the turn.

On the top of two, I scored two objective points for mine and sprinted the hormagaunts up to contest one objective on the far side, while the Wracks' raider sat down on the other objective to contest it. Shooting scored me a couple wraiths and some hull points off one barge. Josh's dice got hot in the bottom of the turn, with the damaged barge, which had jinked, rolling up four 6s against one flyrant and blasted him out of the sky. His other barge wounded and grounded my warlord flyrant who was then promptly charged by the wraiths. He passed his MSS check and killed a wraith and survived the combat. The C'Tan cleared out my right side of the board, flaming the hormagaunts off the objective then killing the Tervigon, causing them to run back.

For the remainder of the game, I did everything I could to maintain the point lead I'd opened on the objectives, while the C'Tan dismantled my army. We only got through four turns unfortunately, me winning the primary and Josh taking just about everything else, with a final score of  19-14.

Game 2 was against Justin and his Imperial Guard:
  • Company Command Squad: Master of Ordinance, Master of the Fleet, Chimera, Psyker
  • Infantry Platoon: 
    • PCS: 4 Flamers
    • 3x Infantry Squads: Lascannon
  • Infantry Platoon:
    • PCS: 4 Flamers
    • 3x Infantry: Lascannon
  • 2 Primaris Psykers: Level 2
  • 2 Priests
  • 2 Vendettas
  • Leman Russ Executioner: 2 Plasma Cannon Sponsons, Lascannon
  • 3 Wyverns
  • Manticore
  • Aegis
Mission 2, Rage Fields of the Blood God is more or less a kill point mission. I won the roll for deployment and chose to go first, getting the Strategic Infiltrate trait, and choosing to infiltrate both flyrants, a Crone, and my termagants. 

Justin promptly seized the initiative and blasted a crone and my termagants off the field. My flyrants darted up my left flank and wiped out all three Wyverns. In the second turn, Justin wounded a flyrant, but was unable to bring them down, and the Dark Eldar Raiders on my right were shaken. Some of my reserves arrived and hid on my back corner, since they would not be doing much. The Warlord flyrant and Crone vector struck the Manticore, blowing it up, and flew off the board. The remaining flyrant warp lanced the Command Chimera and then killed the squad with his devourers. 

The PCSs jumped out of the Vendettas and flamed the two raiders, wrecking the vehicles as well. The flyrant on the field was shot down unsurprisingly. In the bottom of the turn, the flyrant and crone failed to down either vendetta. The remainder of the game saw the warlord flyrant get shot down when he failed a One Eye Open check in the middle of the board, while in even worse incompetence, the Executioner wrecked itself with Gets hot rolls (I didn't cause a single hull point all game on it).

Tallying up the points, Justin had killed 8 units to my 7, but I had cleared HQ, Heavy Support, and Elites, while Justin had only cleared HQ. No challenges had been issued as there had been no combats all game, and I had two table quarters to Justin's 1, bringing the final tally to a 17-14 Tyranid victory. 

In the final game of the night (or morning at that point), I was matched up against Kenny of Forge the Narrative and Next Level Painting. He was running a strong Double CAD Nurgle List:
  • Typhus
  • 3 Sorcerers: Level 3
  • ~100 Zombies
  • 2 Heldrakes
  • 6 Spawn: Mark of Nurgle
  • 2 Maulerfiends
The mission was appropriately Buboes, Phlegm, and Blood - Comes the Carnival of Chaos, an adaptation of Relic on Hammer and Anvil deployment. I won the roll and deployed first cramming all my units up on the line. Kenny did the same, with several units infiltrating thanks to his warlord trait. 

I almost managed to wipe out one blob of zombies with two flyrants and a crone, but first blood went to a Maulerfiend, who crunched the lead Raider. In the second turn, the second Maulerfiend was blown up by a lucky vector strike, and the Haemonculus jumped into the middle, catching the Warlord Sorcerer in his Crucible. 

The ensuing brawl in the middle saw the relic get dropped by my hormagaunts and then picked up by a sorcerer and eventually handed to Typhus. A failed flyrant charge could have made a difference at the end, but the Zombie numbers and murder-shuffling Maulerfiend carried the day for Kenny, with a 30-5 Victory.

I had a great time in all three games, against three great opponents. I really enjoyed the FTN Missions and think they apply well to 7th edition, which strikes me as streamlined and fun. 

For Mission 1, Realm of the Raven God, I benefited from the Primary objective being an all or nothing proposition. To some degree, that is the point - you have to play to those progressive objectives early on or fall behind. I was able to score enough points in the first few turns, and deny Josh enough that even had we continued for another turn or two, I'm not sure he could have caught me in this mission. 

Going into the game knowing my army would get beat up in the long term, this let me game plan to win the primary and forget the secondary and tertiary. By winning the primary I am guaranteed a win, but I think it can leave a little bit of a bad taste, particularly if the difference in that primary is small. The only tweak I might try is to make the Primary a sliding scale rather than all or nothing. For example, if the difference is 4+, the winner gets all 18 points; 3, 14-4 split; 2 a 12-6 split; and 1 a 10-8 split. Those are definitely ballpark and would need testing, but I think it might lessen the chances of a "bad-feels" situation. 

The second mission is all about the kill points and my game was a fun, back and forth bloodbath. I won, again, thanks to slightly more familiarity with the mission; I knew about the bonus points for closing out the force org slots on the primary while my opponent forgot. Honestly, I wasn't sure about this mission going in, but I liked the extra wrinkles of the force org slots and table quarters. The secondary objectives more or less did not come into play as there wasn't a single combat in the entire game for challenges to be issued. Considering issuing a challenge is one of the Maelstrom Cards, I like the direction though and think it adds a nice little wrinkle. 

In the third mission, the wording needs to be updated for 7th (considering that all units now score and can pick up the Relic). That said, the mission works and again my game was a slugfest, though this time it was almost entirely in the middle of the board and in combats. 

Something I like about this mission packet is the emphasis on the primary objective. In missions 1 and 3, if you win the primary, you are guaranteed a victory. However, to dominate in a battle point situation, you have to also perform the secondary and tertiary missions. I approached most of my games with a very W/L mindset, meaning I focused on the primary and cared less about the secondaries. 

On the other hand, mission two was much more fluid, and as a result, I felt like the secondaries (and more so tertiary) were more important, since we could be within a point or two of each other on the primary. 

Having a combination of these all or nothing and more fluid primaries in a tournament differentiates the missions even more, requiring vastly different tactical approaches. It almost makes them feel like a different mission set, but at the same time, should make it hard to "game the system" and list build to a packet. These missions require so many different things there definitely doesn't seem to be an auto-win button, which plays out in the event results

It was also interesting to note that out of 18 players, there was only a single Eldar player and no Tau. It's still early in the edition, and this is a very small sample size, but it feels like with interactive mission design as in the FTN missions, 7th has opened the doors a bit to more armies being able to compete.