Monday, August 10, 2009

'Ard Boyz Semi-Finals Report: Part II

(This is part two of my report. For part one, click here.)

Here's the list of other armies I counted at Semis in Louisville:

6 Chaos (5 Mech and 1 Mixed)
5 Guard (4 Mech and 1 Six-Valk List)
3 Orks (2 Mech, 1 Horde)
5 Eldar (All Mech)
1 Tau (Mech)
1 Necron (Mostly Destroyers)
1 Black Templar (Mech)

I've been seeing Mechanized lists on the rise for the last year, but this was amazing. Of the 22 players, including myself, there were no less than 19 Fully Mechanized lists at this tourney. Even two of the three Orks players were Mech'd up!

Even amongst all the IG armor on hand, I got a lot of attention for not only bringing the most Chimeras (7), but for having Hydras too. I got the ultimate complement for my conversions when more than one guy asked if my Chimeras and/or Hellhounds were the new fall-release models. Hehe. :)

My List

185 - Commissar Yarrick
195 - CCS w/3 x Melta, Astropath, Fleet Officer, Chimera (Hull Heavy Flamer)

265 - 5 Ogryns w/Chimera (Hull Heavy Flamer)
105 - 5 Stormtroopers w/2 x Melta
105 - 5 Stormtroopers w/2 x Melta

155 - Veteran Squad w/3 x Melta, Chimera (Hull Heavy Flamer)
155 - Veteran Squad w/3 x Melta, Chimera (Hull Heavy Flamer)
155 - Veteran Squad w/3 x Melta, Chimera (Hull Heavy Flamer)

155 - Veteran Squad w/3 x Melta, Chimera (Hull Heavy Flamer)

155 - Veteran Squad w/3 x Melta, Chimera (Hull Heavy Flamer)

Fast Attack
120 - 3 Sentinels w/Autocannons
145 - Hellhound w/Hull Multi-Melta

145 - Hellhound w/Hull Multi-Melta

Heavy Support
165 - Leman Russ Demolisher w/Hull Heavy Flamer
330 - 2 Leman Russ Battle Tanks w/Lascannon
150 - 2 Hydras

Yarrick and the Ogryns were a late addition intended to bolster my center for the third game. I'd seen what the winner of the recent South Store tourney had been able to do with the same combination and a similar scenario. My reasoning was that Yarrick would be able to keep my guys from running when I needed to push what would possibly be several units off that center objective late in the game. I knew it was something of a gamble, since I normally consider Ogryns to be horribly overpriced. But it felt right. I figured that in the end I'd either fail big or do really well with them. :)

Game One: Mech Chaos

I'll call my first opponent Mr. Smile, as we were joking and laughing all the way through the game. Complete with funny voices and one-liners for the Demons and dying guardsmen. He was everything an opponent should be, hence this match was easily the most fun I had during the entire day.

Smile had a nice Mechanized Chaos List:

2 Winged Daemon Princes (One Nurgle, One Tzeench)

5 Terminators in a Land Raider

2 Rhinos carrying Vanilla Chaos Marines
1 Rhino carrying Thousand Sons
1 Rhino carrying Plague Marines

Heavy Support
1 Unit of 3 Obliterators
2 Predators with TW-Lascannon Turrets and lascannon sponsons.

This was the match I'd been the most worried about. I had pretty much written it off due to each of my Vet Squads being 4 KP with it's Chimera added in. My hope was to try and pull a draw or only a minor loss and then make up for it later in the last 2 games.

But remember that lousy terrain? I rolled first turn and chose the more open side that would allow me to move my tanks around. While Mr. Smile had his movement more constrained. So it pretty much became a game of line up on the cover and wipe his guys out as he came through the sieve. The Hydras made short work of his Daemon Princes (Go Hydras!). While the Stormies dropped right behind his Land Raider over on my left and wrecked it. Forcing Mr. Smile's termies to walk into my melta/lasgun fire.

Yarrick and the Ogryns beat down his Plague Marines in the center, while my Russes popped one Pred and knocked the turret off the other. I got just a little too agressive in the last couple of turns and put a Chimera too far forward into the ruins, losing both it and the squad inside, oh well. I can't say it was the most exciting battle ever, but my opponent's good cheer made it fun to play.

In the end, I won the mission by 2 KP. We looked at the rules sheet for the scenario, and were surprised to find that a draw was specified as both players having equal kill points. But a minor victory required one player to have 6 or more kill points than the other. WTF? There was no case for someone having 1-5 more kill points than the other! Good job GW!

So we went to the TO and asked for a ruling. He thought about it for a couple of minutes, going back and forth a few times (We didn't try to sway him.). Finally, he decided to give me a minor victory.

Result: Minor Win

Game Two: Mixed Infantry/Mech Chaos

I'll dub my next opponent Mr Grim, since he was quiet and stand-offish at first. I had to keep throwing jokes and other silliness his way until he finally loosened up about half-way through the match. Considering how much of an introvert *I* am, this was really something.

His list was a mixed mech/foot force:

Winged Daemon Prince w/Mark of Nurgle
Chaos Terminator Lord
2 Summoned Greater Demons

4 Chaos Terminators in a Land Raider

2 10-man Plague Marine Squads in Rhinos
2 10-man Chaos Space Marine Squads with Lascannons.

Heavy Support
1 Defiler
3 Obliterators

I won't go into too much detail about our game as the actual playing of it didn't matter. There were good and bad rolls on both sides, but neither of us was able to push any troops into the other's deployment zone. The game was won on turn 4 when the second objective came up next to the first on the right-hand side of my deployment zone directly in front of 2 of my Chimeras. Mr. Grim's surviving troop choices were on the left-hand side of the board. So all he could do at that point was to try and get more kill points than me to deny a massacre, which he did. So major (pure luck) victory for me. Talk about hollow wins! The conspiratorial part of me blames this mission on the GW marketing department wanting to sell more Valks this quarter, as only armies with fast skimmers could hope to beat the dice in this mission.

The insideous thing about having a random mission like this for the second round was how it screwed up the ladder for the 3rd round. Since the ladder was luck-based instead of skill-based for round 3, there were a lot more one-sided massacres in round 3 than there would have been otherwise.

Result: Major Win

Game Three: Horde Orks

This is when my luck ran out. I've shown you the table already. There was only one good quarter to deploy in. Which my opponent chose after winning the roll-off. As if the placement forward on the hill wasn't bad enough, some kindly terrain bleeper had scattered a bunch of area terrain through what room I did have.

Here's a picture of my deployment zone and the effective areas to deploy tanks. My opponent wanted to say that any rock showing would be difficult ground for a tank to cross. But I argued him down to only having rock at least 1" high be difficult to cross, which gave me 2 small paths onto the mesa. Otherwise, I wouldn't be able to move up to the objective from behind the mesa at all without making butt-loads of difficult terrain tests.

As it was, I still had to put 3 Chimeras and 2 Hellhounds in reserve because I just didn't have room for them in my deployment zone.

I'll dub my opponent Mr. Shady, in honor of his sportsmanship. He took over 40 minutes to set up 150 models one-at-a-time from his foam cases. While my own deployment took just 5 minutes. He was a deliberately slow player. We only finished 3 turns in 2.5 hours, which is absurd. More than once I had to ask him to speed up his one-model-at-a-time movement. At one point I thought he was going to ask the TO a question. Instead he bought a drink from the girl at the register and had a short chat with her before I waved him back over to finish his turn.

Here's his list:

Warboss on a bike w/Power Claw, Attack Squig, and Cybork Body
Mad Doc Grotsnik

2 Squads of 14 Lootas

1 Squads of 30 Boyz w/Sluggas/Choppas
2 Squads of 30 Boyz w/Shootas
1 Squad of 20 Boys w/Shootas
1 Squad of Nob Bikers

Heavy Support
1 Squadron of 3 Killer Kans armed with Rokkit Launchas

Anyway, Mr. Shady had the advantage of a nice, open field to move across. While I had to fumble around in the rocks and leave a third of my tanks in reserve because I couldn't fit them into the room I had.

It was a massacre, of course. Could I have played it better, despite the table? Sure. In retrospect I should have deployed all my infantry on the Mesa to maximize Yarrick's stubborn bubble and my CCS's orders while I sent all of my Chimeras forward empty to flame and block with. But even then, we would have run out of time, possibly as early as turn 2 given my opponent's stalling. As it was, he did well enough in 3 turns that I didn't figure it was worth raising a fuss over his slowness. But I'm going to be much less tolerant of this sort of player in the future.


So there you have it. I won the missions I rolled first turn on. I assume most of the other players did as well. Good job GW! If you repeat this garbage again next year, I'm bowing out of 'Ard Boyz so as not to waste my time and money getting ready for epic fail like this.

As for Pet Shop Comics, it's obvious that they love the game, and I respect them for that. But they should also respect the competition enough to plan out terrain that's reasonably fair to all players. It's not about how pretty your tables are or "mixing it up". A competition shouldn't be won or lost based on a single die roll. So if I make the Semis again next year I'll skip them in favor of Dayton, which I heard was much better run tourney.

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