Monday, January 27, 2014

SCARAB GT Day 2: Game 5 and Closing Thoughts

For my fifth and final game at the SCARAB GT, I was matched up against Steve and his Flying Circus Daemons. The mission was an inverse of Game 3, with Big Guns as the Primary and Relic as the secondary with Vanguard deployment. And interestingly, I was on the same table as for Game 3. Steve's list was roughly the following:

~10 Plague Bearers
~10 Pink Horrors
~15 Flesh Hounds
Daemon Prince
Daemon Prince
Belakor (SM Ally)
~10 Cultists

I won the roll for deployment/first turn and deferred. Steve set up with his hounds and Daemons dead center of his line, with all of his troops off the board. I countered with the two Tervigons out front, and my Biovores, Hive Guard, and Flyrants behind the hill. The Mawloc and Hive Guard were on my far right, near one objective. In addition to the Biovores and Mawloc scoring, my warlord trait made the flyrant scoring as well. With his scout move, the hounds bounded forward into the central ruin. I decided not to try to seize.

Steve flew the four daemons up, nearly straight ahead, careful to stay out of Shadows from the tervigon. The two daemon princes and fateweaver cast flickering fire on the closest tervigon and killed her for first blood. Be'lakor cast invisibility on the hounds, who were content to stay where they were. One of the Daemon Princes tried to drop the Portalglyph on one objective, but it scattered well off.

In my turn, the remaining tervigon spawned a good sized brood who went to the right while she cast Warp Speed and ploughed forward for a fight with the hounds. My two flyrants flew up the right flank and ran into the ruins on the far side. Shooting from the Hive Guard killed a hound, and then the tervigon charged in and killed two hounds with smash attacks, with another one or two evaporating to instability.

In turn two, Be'lakor landed in the ruins to charge the tervigon while the other flying daemons hung a left and flew the minimum to stay out of Shadows range. The plague bearers and cultists walked on the board on opposite ends, with the plaguebearers on my far left and the cultists walking on near the flyrants. The shooting phase saw some termagants get blasted by Khorne, while flickering fire killed a single Hive Guard. In the assault phase, Be'lakor failed his charge and the tervigon dispatched a few more Khorne Dogs.

In the bottom of the turn, the Mawloc landed smack in the middle of the plaguebearers and on the objective, killing all but one of them. The Flyrants hung a left and went along the back board edge. Shooting killed the final plague bearer and some spawned daemonettes who had run onto Steve's somewhat center objective. The Biovores took aim at the cultists and killed a few, forcing them to go to ground. The doom landed next to the main flying daemon blob and managed to take one prince down to a single wound. In combat, the Tervigon continued shaving away a few hounds with a wound here or there in return.

At the top of three, the pink horrors landed smack dab on one objective while some spawned daemonettes ran to the Relic. The uninjured Daemon Prince landed next to the Doom, while the wounded Prince and Fateweaver flew away and out of Shadows, distantly trailing the path of my Flyrants. Vector strikes killed the solo Hive Guard and then flickering flames were largely denied. Be'lakor turned around and vector struck one of the flyrants, dealing a couple wounds. In combat, the Daemon Prince smashed Doom while the Tervigon continued working on the dogs.

In the bottom of the turn, the devilgants and termagants entered my board edge, with the termagants on my left side, well away from the action. The flyrants swooped off the board, both vector striking Be'lakor, who managed a ton of Daemonic saves, only taking a couple wounds (out of about 7 inflicted). The hive guard and biovores both passed their Instinctive Behavior rolls. The Hive Guard gunned down the wounded Daemon Prince while the biovores aimed for the center, where there were bunches of daemons. They scattered off and killed a couple termagants, but forced the daemonettes to ground and killed a couple. The devilgants put a bunch of wounds onto the remaining daemon prince, but couldn't kill him. In combat, the Tervigon took the hounds down to just a couple remaining, while the gants failed a charge on the surviving daemonettes.

In the top of four, the daemons continued circling, with Be'lakor again lining up a charge on the tervigon to save the last few dogs. In the end, it was unneeded, as the Warpstorm chart turned the tervigon into a herald. Shooting killed some termagants, including getting the devilgants to run off the board. In the bottom of the turn, the Tyrants swooped back on the board, with the warlord swooping on my right to get biovores and hive guard back in synapse, while the one on the left corralled the small termagant squad. Shooting pinned the cultists again, and the hive guard wounded the Herald, who they then charged and killed. The final hounds were shot down.

In the top of five, Fateweaver and the remaining daemon prince got out of shadows again and tried to stay out of trouble, but were unsuccessful in hurting the warlord flyrant. In the bottom of the turn, the warlord glided back to my rear objective, with the biovores holding the front objective. The other flyrant swooped over and killed some daemonettes and shot ineffectively at Be'lakor. The game continued onto six, but with largely the same song and dance. The cultists moved out to contest one big guns objective, but I still had two to Steve's 1. In the bottom of the turn I could have picked up the relic with my warlord and tried to free one big guns relic (likely with the other flyrant), but it didn't change the overall outcome of a Tyranid victory.

In the end, Tyranids claimed Big Guns (4 points) and Line Breaker, for a total of 5 points to Steve's 1 for First Blood. It would only be fair to point out that Steve forgot to use the Grimoire in the first three turns and at that point, decided not to use it at all. I'm not sure it would have changed the game entirely, but it could have helped.

I think my keys to victory were mainly keeping my flyers safe by flying away from superior numbers, and using the Tervigon to nullify the Hounds while creating a big no-go zone of Shadows and synapse in the middle of the board. The Mawloc earned his keep by bullseying one objective and removing all of Steve's units in that corner. Steve was a great opponent and we definitely took our time a little bit, to the point that we had Neil hovering over us since I needed to get my display board up to the front for judging, much to my surprise.

The other entries in the best painted secondary judging were lovely. I loved this display board for the Ultramarines.

It was much more dynamic than my own.

I ended up winning best appearance (though there was a bit of a technicality - see below) and in large part, I have to credit my Mawloc. Neil confided that he and the other judges had to keep telling themselves to look at the rest of the army and not just the Mawloc. Very high praise.

Technically, this daemon army won best appearance, but he also won Overall and Best General, so ended up only getting the Overall prize, with second in the other two categories (myself included) getting the Best General and Best Appearance prizes.

In the end, I had an absolute blast. On the drive down on Friday night, I questioned myself a bit, figuring I had to be crazy to be driving so far for an event at which I knew no one. But I am very glad I did. I met a great group of guys in the Columbia, SC Area. I am already looking forward to SCARAB 2015, and hopefully will be able to bring some of the guys from the blog with me. I also fulfilled three of my five Hobby Resolutions by venturing a little out of my zone, and participating in a great event.

"Winning" best painted has instilled a good bit of motivation to keep improving my painting and continue to try new things and make unique conversions like my Mawloc. With the new Tyranid MCs, I've been debating how to convert them; I have 5 of the new kits, and they're a little unfortunately mono-posed.

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