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Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Road to CAG-BASH: Part 4

...Making good time

So here we are.  CAG-Bash.  The Big Dance.  Varsity League.  My first large tournament!  CAG-Bash is a relatively large and growing event that occurs annually in Southwest Ohio (if you live in the area, check it out!) and draws people from Lexington to Dayton.  It's not as big as any of the National tournaments each year, like Adepticon, or the Bay Area Open, but at least to this first timer, it seemed pretty big.  The tournament had 34 participants this year, which seems like a good number.  And it grows every year!  I'm fortunate enough that I live in an area where 40k is very popular.  I can walk in to my local store almost any day of the week and find someone playing.  On Saturdays, the store is usually packed, which is great.

But this was not my local game store on a Saturday.  This was serious business!






The first thing I noticed about the tournament was that there were a lot of people there with really, really well painted models.  Some of that was because there was a separate "Armies on Parade" event where you could win prizes for best painted and such.  But wow I felt outclassed.  By comparison, not even all of my models were primed!  My Heldrake and my cultists were still plastic grey, which was a bit sad.

This is a good time to point out some of the rules for CAG-Bash.  Though some of my models were not painted at all, that had no effect on my overall score.  Painting was a completely separate event from the main tournament, which is something that I heartily approve of.  I HATE painting, which is not to say that I don't like having a painted army, because I do.  I just hate painting it.  To me, this game is mostly (90%) about playing the game, which is why I was very happy that painting had no effect on the tournament.  Even so, there were a TON of really, really gorgeous armies at the tournament. 


Wraithwing


 Steampunk Guard

 Chaos in all its Glory

Each game had specific objectives that were taken almost directly out of the rulebook, so we're basically playing rulebook missions here (no relic!).  Each game also had a 6 turn, finite ending, so no random game length.  No mysterious terrain.  Night fight was in.  There was also a rule for Fortifications:  when you place your fortification, you have to remove a piece of terrain from your board half.  I think this was done to prevent people who brought fortifications from having more cover than the other guy, but as you'll see in a lot of my games, it ended up allowing me to create really large open areas on the board for my firing lanes. 

Each game had a maximum of 18 points you could score for objectives/secondaries.  Final scores were calculated using Tournament Win/Loss Record first, then score, then strength of schedule.  There were 5 games total over 2 days, for a possible total of 90 points.  Each game had time limit of 2 hours and 15 minutes, but you were allowed to finish whatever turn you were on if time was called.

The second thing I noticed about the tournament was that (almost) everyone else had a display board.  For those who have never been to a tournament, a display board is a flat board that serves two functions:  it displays your army in a pretty way (obviously), and it allows you to move your models around to each table without having to pack/repack every time.  Handy, right?  I didn't have a display board.  Partly because I don't care if my army is pretty, and partly because I'm paranoid about leaving my stuff out where anyone can just take it.  Not that any of that happened, but I'm just weird that way.

For posterity, I'll post my army list here again.  I made some small changes to it right before the tournament, and this was the result:

HQ
Destroyer Lord
                        -Warscythe
                        -Mindshackle Scarabs
                        -Sempiternal Weave


Daemon Prince
                        -Tzeentch
                        -Wings
                        -Power Armor
                        -Black Mace
                       
            Troops
7x Gauss Immortals
                        -Nightscythe
                        7x Gauss Immortals
                        -Nightscythe
7x Gauss Immortals
                        -Nightscythe
13x Chaos Cultists

Fast Attack
Heldrake
                        -Baleflamer
5x Canoptek Wraiths
                        -2x Whip Coils

            Heavy Support
Annihilation Barge
                        -Tesla Cannon
Annihilation Barge
                        -Tesla Cannon
Annihilation Barge
                        -Tesla Cannon

            Fortification
Aegis Defense Line
                        -Comms Relay



I got there early, put my name on the list, grabbed my pre-registration packet, and got settled.  Soon enough, the first pairings were posted.....so here we go.

Game 1 vs. Chaos Daemons:


In the year that I’ve been playing 40k, I have never played a Chaos Daemons army.  Ever.  (As of this writing, that is also true for Space Wolves.  Nobody in my area plays these two armies.)  This tournament is occurring in the sweet spot for Daemons, when flamers are still awesome from the FAQ update (they ignore cover and armor), but the new codex has not come out yet.  They are a very popular army right now in tournaments, and I knew there was a strong possibility I would come up against them, so I’ve read about them plenty.  But c’mon, the first game?! 

Curse you fate!

I didn’t save every army list that I played in the tournament, but I do have this one.

His army:

Lord of Change
5x Flamers of Tzeentch
6x Flamers of Tzeentch
8x Pink Horrors w/ bolt
8x Pink Horrors w/ bolt
8x Pink Horrors w/ bolt
8x Pink Horrors w/ bolt and Changeling
3x Screamers
4x Screamers
Daemon Prince w/ Iron Hide, Wings, Tzeentch, Bolt, and Breath
Daemon Prince w/ Iron Hide, Wings

Vanguard deployment with 4 objectives, worth 3 points each.  Fast attack units were scoring and worth 1 point each.  Secondary objectives 1 point each.  A word on the terrain:  all the grey boxes on the following map are area terrain (in this case, small hills that don't block LOS).  The solid grey terrain pieces are ruins, but have substantial LOS blocking walls.  Aegis lines are purple, Necrons/Chaos are red, and Chaos Daemons are blue.  The Green Markers are the objectives for this match.

I win the roll and let Daemons go first.  Normally I prefer to go first, but this is a special case.  If I go first, he has nothing on the board, so it’s a wasted turn.  I would rather he go first, since he’s going to get the first strike in anyway.  At least that way I’m not losing a turn to sitting around.

He splits his army into two halves, one with a Prince, some screamers, some flamers, and two horrors.  The other half has the Lord of Change and everything else.  Lucky for me, he rolled the half without the Lord in it to arrive on turn one.  So, per old Daemon rules, he “deploys” first, but has nothing to put on the table since it’s all deep striking in.

Deployment


I deploy in a “castle” formation (with all the AV13 vehicles in front) in my corner to try to prevent him from deep striking behind my front line.  Cultists sit on objective behind Aegis controlling comms relay, out of LOS in the building.  The goal here is to survive his first turn, putting all my tender bits behind my hardy vehicles.  From there, I’ll push outward and move on the objectives.  I figure I can easily take the objective to my right, and hold my own objective.  Fortunately, I have 2 Fast Attack units in my army (The Wraiths and the Heldrake.  Yes, they counted the Heldrake as scoring for the tournament.), so I have 2 extra scoring units this game. 

Still, I’ve never played Daemons before, so I have no idea what to expect.  I’m kind of winging this.

Turn 1: Top




He deep strikes in front of my line.  Flamers take out an Anni Barge by glancing it to death.  His Prince lands successfully and is in threat range of my cultists if he jumps over the walls of the building they are hiding in, and his two troops stay back in his deployment zone near two objectives.  He gets first blood.  

Turn 1: Bottom

The Prince and the Flamers are my top priorities right now, with the Prince probably being the nastier target so I place him highest on my Target Priority list.  The worst thing that could happen would be for him to jump over the walls and kill all my cultists, which would also make it subsequently harder for me to get LOS to shoot him when my flyers come in.  I must kill that Prince.

Secondly, those flamers are nasty.  My best bet is probably to absorb the wounds with my Wraiths (thanks to their 3++) and lock them in combat.  To that end, I actually separate my Lord from the Wraiths.  He's going to be out of flamer range at the max 12" assault range.

My Prince flies downfield to be a backfield harassment unit.

The cultists play Duck and Cover.

Both of my Anni Barges unload on the Prince, and thankfully kill him with a torrent of wounds.  I think I managed a good 12 wounds on him, and he failed 4 of his armor saves.  Whew!

It's at this point that I realize that it doesn't matter if the DLord is outside of the range of the flamers.  Due to the Wall of Flame rule, the flamers get D3 hits automatically.  Oops.  Guess I'll assault with the Wraiths first.  They lose 3 to Overwatch, but make it into range and get stuck in.  DLord doesn't make his 12" range roll.  Bit of a miscalculation there.

Turn 2: Top


His second turn was a crucial point in this game, as he failed all but 2 of his reserve rolls.  Not good for him at all.  One unit of flamers came in, scattering too far away to do anything, and a unit of screamers scattered back away from my units.  His horrors shoot at my Prince, but don't do anything.  His first unit of screamers move up and try to go for the Destroyer Lord, but fail the charge.  His flamers die in the assault phase to my Wraiths.

Turn 2: Bottom



All my reserves come on.  I split my fire between priority targets.  The heldrake and one Scythe go after a Horrors unit (PH3 on the map), killing all but 3.  The Prince lands and assaults Horrors (PH4), taking a wound in the process and getting stuck in.  One Scythe and both Anni Barges take out the unit of Flamers.  The last Scythe puts some wounds on the Screamers before the Wraiths and DLord combo assault them and finish them off.

At this point he has a few models in PH3 and PH4 left, and the Screamers in the NorthWest corner.


Turn 3: Top


The rest of his army comes in from reserves.  He puts most of his horrors in the back, probably trying to keep his two objectives, and uses his Lord of Change and last Prince to make a final aggressive move on my table corner.  The screamers move up but are not in range of assaulting anything.  PH4 dies in the assault phase to my Prince.

Turn 3: Bottom


Once again, my biggest priorities this turn are the things in assaulting position of my backfield.  The Prince.  I rejoin the DLord with the 2 Wraiths and move them into assault position.  They have range on both the Prince and the Screamers, whichever I need the most.  The two Anni Barges aim at the Prince.  One Scythe moves to shoot down the Lord of Change.

The Heldrake and my Prince gang up on the Horror unit to the west side.  My two other Scythes drop their contents and take aim at the other Horror units. 

The Anni Barges again take out the Prince, leaving the DLord and Wraiths free to assault the Screamers.  The Scythe shoots the Lord of Change out of the sky, doing a wound and grounding him.  The Prince and the Heldrake clean up PH1.  My Immortals (I1) finish off what is left of PH3.  The remaining 2 Scythes and I2 put some wounds on PH2, killing about half.

Turn 4: Top


DLord and Wraiths are stuck in with the Screamers, trading blows.

The Lord of Change takes off flying again and goes for my backfield.

His last Horrors unit finishes off my Immortals (I1) and sits on the objective.

Turn 4: Bottom


 All my Scythes and the Heldrake fly off the board this turn.  The Prince and the last Immortals unit converge on PH2 and finish them.  The two Annihilation Barges take out the Lord of Change through volume of fire.  The DLord and the Wraiths kill the screamers in assault and consolidate towards the objective.

And that's game.

According to the TO, because I tabled him I'm allowed the max possible points I could have achieved.  I still had enough scoring units to cover every point, so get all the objectives.  I also get Slay the Warlord and Linebreaker.  I get 2 points for killing both of his Fast Attack units.

Result: Victory
Final Points: 16

Conclusion

I'll be the first to admit that he was unlucky this game.  Failing most of his reserve rolls combined with not getting his preferred wave on Turn 1 was damning.  It allowed me to focus fire each of his units down one at a time because he came on piecemeal.  The Chaos Gods are fickle that way, I guess.  This was my first game ever against Chaos Daemons, and I learned quite a bit.  My army is predicated on the “shoot it till it dies” mantra, and this worked very well against Daemons.

I also succeeded in winning a game at a major tournament!  Go me, my mission is accomplished.  Of course, there are still 4 games left, and in a tournament like this, anything can still happen.

Next week I'll be posting my second game for the tournament, where I go up against my most hated army, my arch-nemesis, and my personal Achilles heel....Tyranids.

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