Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Facing the General Geek Returns from ATC 2018

A bit over a month ago I lead my second team into ATC. We went in with the expectation of being competitive in our games but no real expectations of winning, with the focus of having a good time and being ambassadors for our respective content outlets. As a bit of a spoiler, I think we exceeded our expectations in all areas, turning in a respectable 2-1-3 performance, good enough for 24th place.

The plan for this review is to briefly go over our rounds and games. Our team's lists are here, and the full set of lists from all teams can be found here
This year, the event began on Friday for rounds 1 and 2. For round 1 we drew Quality Control, a podium regular with three of their five team members representing Team America for ETC, including the current and previous Team Captains, Sean Nayden and Andrew Gonyo. We defended with Andrew's Blood Angels, while Quality Control put out Gonyo first. We countered with Geoff's Knights and Phil's Dark Angels, while they countered with Kurt's triple Vaults and I believe Dan's AdMech. Andrew took on the Vaults while Gonyo chose to fall on the sword and take Phil's Dark Angels.

For the second defender spot we talked our way in circles and I managed to mess up and put out Marcus as our Defender. What I should have done is put out Geoff as he was the only one with a solidly bad matchup remaining. They defended with Sean Nayden and his Harlequin Haywire list, meaning he would then be able to choose between myself and Geoff. Obviously he picked Geoff. Marcus got the choice between AdMech and a Magnus and Morty Chaos list, and chose the AdMech, leaving me matched up with Andrew and his Chaos.

In my game we got off to a slow start and while I was tracking the time, I didn't press to speed up, though I should have. We were mutually slow in deployment, and then my opponent's first turn took an extremely long time. I messed up in my deployment, leaving the front line of my deployment zone totally open on my left flank, right in front of my Hive Guard. Andrew smartly took advantage and deployed his Alpha Legion cultists there, shooting the Hive Guard off the table and then charging into my lines to hold things up top of turn 1. He also slingshotted Mortarion forward and killed off my front screens. In the bottom of the turn I pounced on Mortarion and killed him, taking off the last wound with an Implant Attack stratagem after fighting twice with a Flyrant. Turn two saw Magnus come forward and chop down a Flyrant and then get taken down to just a couple wounds by the end of the turn. However, because of our slow start this is where our game would end, with me only earning 7 points.

Across the team, things didn't go too well, with Andrew scoring 21 points, losing a close game to Kurt's Vaults, Geoff and Marcus losing hard fought games while scoring 17 points each, and Phil tabling Gonyo and earning a 31 point win. Overall, it amounted to a 222-178 round win for Quality control, just 3 points off from a draw. As an aside, full kudos to Kurt, the team captain, who was very concerned about my game only going two turns. He wanted to make sure I didn't feel cheated for one, and secondly, what his teammate needed to do to speed up. It was a class move in my mind, and the whole team are great ambassadors for the game and examples of what high-level 40k players should be.

After our round 1 loss, we were matched up with the GCWA Grimbillies team, captained by Robert Chandler. Whittaker drew the aptly named Bjorn, running Space Wolves, Geoff was against Robert's Blood Angels, Phil drew Billy and his Chaos, Marcus took on Kyle and his Drukhari, and I was matched against Austin and his Guard and Knights, featuring a Castellan and two Armigers, a couple Leman Russes, and some infantry.

In my game, I went first and moved up to mid board. Austin largely stayed put and had one of the worst shooting phases I've ever seen, doing a grand total of 3 wounds on a Flyrant in the open and killing a handful of Termagants and a ripper base. This was an extremely tilting game for both of us, as we each had terrible dice offensively and outstanding dice defensively. My lowlights were twice having Flyrants unload a successful smite and then their full compliment of shooting into a guard character and fail to kill them off. Overall though, I was able to push my advantage from the midfield position and regularly score hold more and kill more on the primaries, managing 25 points in a win in four turns.

Across the rest of the team, despite some surprising bad turns early on, Andrew turned in a team high 40 point win, with Geoff and Marcus contributing 35 and 27 points respectively in their own wins. Phil also managed to get 14 points in a loss. We wound up with a win, 252-148, ending Friday 1-1 with a +30 overall.

To begin Saturday we were paired with the Gateway Gamers. Andrew paired up against Guard and Blood Angels, Geoff faced off in a Knight fight, Marcus matched up against Daemons, Phil against a Hive Guard heavy Tyranid list, and I drew Tanner and his Tau, featuring two Tiger Sharks.

Our game started with a bit of contention when defining terrain. Tanner had choice of table and chose a table with very little terrain. There were two box-like buildings on either side, and I expected them to be used like ITC Ruins, while my opponent didn't want them to work like ruins as the interiors were inaccessible. In the end it was ruled the interiors were impassable and so I was left without a place, however small, to keep some models alive. Once we got over that initial conflict we had a fine enough game. I got first turn and managed to kill off his Riptide standing out front. I then hung on for four turns while the Tiger Sharks picked up multiple units and monsters a turn, managing to scrape out 13 points in the loss.

Across the rest of the team, Andrew and Marcus pulled out victories, 37 and 21 points respectively. Geoff lost a close-fought Knight duel with a 24 point performance and Phil lost while grabbing 16 points. In all, we managed to scrape out a draw, 194-206.

During the lunch break, I set up my army for paint judging (optional and only considered for choosing a best painted winner) and took some shots of a couple armies that happened to be set up at the same time.

After lunch we matched up against the Motley Crew, lead by Joe Johnson, who's Dark Eldar army is featured above. Pairings set up as Andrew taking on Bobbi and his Guard with Shield Captains, Phil faced off against Troy and his Eldar, Marcus against Robert and his Necrons, Geoff against Cody and his Chaos pile of Dreadnoughts, and finally myself against Joe.

Joe and I had a fun, laid back game, which resulted in us having to speed through the last couple turns. Joe had first turn and moved up. I moved up in turn and managed to take down one Razorwing fighter and a Venom, but failing to pick up my third unit kill for a secondary. We traded blows in turns two and three, and then was able to leverage bottom of turn to pull ahead in the last couple turns with holding more, for a small 15 point win.

Across the rest of the team, Andrew lead the team with a 38 point win, Marcus scored 21 points, Phil had 19, and Geoff scraped 11 points in what ended up being a worse matchup than expected - we had thought the shooting was primarily S7, but was actually S8. In the end, we managed a draw, 208-192.

With a 1-1-2 record, we were matched against Four and a Half Men for round 5 in the last game of Saturday. Pairings wound up with Geoff against Perry and his Necrons, Andrew against team captain Robert and his Dark Eldar, Phil against Dustin and his Space Wolves, Marcus against Harlequins, and myself facing off against Will and his AdMech.

I got first turn and took advantage, jumping forward with two Flyrants and engaging both units of Kastelan robots. Will took out my lead flyrant in his turn. In my second turn a second flyrant looked to repeat the act. In an unprecedented roll of 6s, I cast Smite on a 12, did 3 wounds to myself, and 6 wounds to the closes Robot unit, killing one Robot. Will used a stratagem to automatically blow up the Robot, doing another couple wounds to the Flyrant and killing off its partner. In shooting, my Hive Guard killed off an Onager, which also exploded, killing off the Flyrant. From there, we managed to settle largely into a bit of a standoff, but I had control of more objectives and was able to max out my secondaries, turning in a 31 point win.

Across the rest of the team, Geoff got a team high 32 points, Marcus scored 31 points, Phil scored 28, and Andrew scored 26 points in a narrow loss. The 4-1 round got us a 252-148 point win.

For the last round of the weekend we were matched against Man Beard Gaming, lead by team Captain Zach Bowles. To start the matchups, Brandon Vallee, playing Dark Angels, wanted to call out Phil in a Dark Angels challenge, which we of course had to accept. From there, matchups were Andrew taking on Josh and his AdMech list, Marcus matched against Zach and his Daemons, Geoff took on Dan, piloting Tau, and finally I was paired against Jason and his Alaitoc list.

For the fifth time, I rolled up a Hammer and Anvil style deployment. I won the roll for first turn and chose to go second, having deployed fairly conservatively. I didn't take much damage from the alpha, and was able to punch back a little, moving up to mid-board. We largely were bouncing off each other for a couple turns before I made a bit of a mistake with my genestealers and Jason's dice turned around, knocking out my two remaining flyrants in a single turn. But, I had kept him back long enough and maxed out two of my secondaries, that I was able to pull out a win with 27 points.

Across the rest of the team, Marcus managed a team high 33 points, with Geoff grabbing 28 points in a loss, Phil got 15 points in his Dark Angels loss, and Andrew only had 8 points. In the end, we wound up with our third draw, 185-215. That brought our record to 2-1-3 for the weekend.

As expected, the event was a blast and I have already put ATC 2019 on my calendar. It's a one-of-a-kind event and one I highly recommend to anyone interested. We played six great teams, with players I hadn't seen or met at previous tournaments. I really enjoyed the expanded three day schedule as it gave more time to hang out with both my teammates and friends on other teams.

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