Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Road to CAG-BASH: Part 5

...Bugs on the windshield, and I'm all out of Windex

I’m up 1-0 in the tournament after winning my first game.  And I’m feeling pretty good about it.  However, as soon as the second round pairings went up, my stomach dropped.


I hate Tyranids.  I couldn’t tell you what it is about them, but I always perform poorly against bugs.  I think they get a bad rap on the interwebz.  Tyranids are a tough army, and they have a lot of tricks in 6th edition that can push them to be top contenders.  The sheer number of Monstrous Creatures they are able to field can be overwhelming. 

However, I have one thing going for me this game that I think will tip things in my favor…

Kill points.  The scenario for round two is kill points.  Kill points are not awarded based on individual units.  Instead, kill points are awarded based on the percentage of the enemy army that you kill, with each 25% worth 4 points, rounding fractions (a fraction of 0.5 is listed specifically as rounding up, not down).  So, for example, an army with 10 units in it has 25% breaks at 3, 5, 8, and 10, respectively.  I think this method was a fairly ingenious way to do it.  This way, a low unit army (like Draigowing) is not unfairly advantaged over a high unit army.

My list:
Destroyer Lord
                        -Mindshackle Scarabs
                        -Sempiternal Weave

Daemon Prince
                        -Power Armor
                        -Black Mace
7x Gauss Immortals
                        7x Gauss Immortals
7x Gauss Immortals
13x Chaos Cultists

Fast Attack
5x Canoptek Wraiths
                        -2x Whip Coils

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

Aegis Defense Line
                        -Comms Relay

My opponent’s list, as best I can remember it

Doom of Malantai in Spore
2x Zoanthropes in Spore



Pretty standard Tyranid list.  For this game, I had 13 units, which puts my break points at 3, 7, 10, and 13.  He has 14 units, which puts his at 4, 7, 11, and 14.  This puts him at a slight advantage, because I have to kill an extra unit to hit 25%, but the crucial point is that we both break 50% at 7 units.

This also raises a rules question:  Do the units that the Tervigon's spawn count towards the Kill points?  We had to pull a Referee over for this one.  They ruled that they do not count, which is BS if you ask me, but that's the way they played it.  As a result of that, even though the Tervigons did spawn extra units this game, I didn't put them on the map.  A) They didn't count towards the Kill Points tally.  B) They played almost no role in the outcome of the game. 

Now, going in to this, I'm pretty certain that we will both hit our 25% marks.  He has enough swarm units, and I have enough shooting, that I feel confident I can take out 4.  Definitely the Termagants, and at least one of the monstrous creatures through sheer volume of fire.  Beyond that, it will really depend on positioning and the flow of battle.  So, I'm at least counting on 25%.

I also know I probably won't be able to stop him from killing all of my Anni Barges, the Cultists, and maybe not even the Wraiths and the Lord.  However, that only adds up to 6 units, so it is crucial that I keep him from hitting that 7th unit.  My secret weapon here is that his list can't do much to flyers, and three of my units are riding in flying transports.  So all I have to do is not get out of my planes, and I deny him a huge portion of my army.

As long as these conditions are met, I feel I can win this game on Secondary Objectives.  So, to summarize, here is my plan for the battle:

-Kill at least 4 units
-Prevent him from killing 7
-Get as many Secondaries as possible, with First Blood being crucial since only one of us can get it
-Stay in the planes

Yeah...Homey don't play that game

Game 2 vs. Tyranids

Dawn of War deployment with Kill Points.  Kill Points were awarded based on the percentage of the army that you killed, with each 25% worth 4 points.  Secondary objectives 1 point each.  For this particular game, 50% of each of our armies was 7 units.

He wins first turn, and 1 Tervigon, the Flyrant, and the Swarmlord all roll Iron Arm.  Because they aren't hard enough to kill already, of course.  I castled in a corner, he deployed Tervigons in both of his corners, with Swarmlord midfield attached to some Termagants.  Trygons, Doom, and Zoanthropes in reserve.  I put the cultists in reserve: A) to keep him guessing about where they would come on and B) To protect them from a Doom drop.

The battlefield:  For this game, there was a lot of open ground.  All the grey boxes are hilly area terrain.  The NorthEast and East boxes are tall enough to block LOS. The SouthEast box does not.  The ruin in the middle did not block LOS.  It was basically a circular bottom with six broken pillars and no top to it.  Enough to maybe give some cover to something, but not block LOS.  He also had some trees on his side.


I castle in a corner, basically taking one of the Tervigons out of the game.  Classic "refuse right" deployment.

Turn 1: Top

 First turn, Tyrant and Swarmlord move up to midfield. Tervigons shuffle forward.  He's playing it a little cautious and not moving flat out as fast as he can, but still being aggressive.  Tyrant is flying.

Turn 1: Bottom

The Prince isn't close enough to assault anything, so he flies into midfield in preparation for turn 2.

That Flyrant, however, is just begging to be shot out of the sky.  I move all my Anni Barges into range.  If I'm lucky, I can shoot down the Tyrant, possibly put a wound or two on him, then use my Wraiths and my Lord to kill him in assault.  That would be amazing if I could get First Blood and take out a unit in one go!  Sounds like a good idea, right?

Wrong.  So very wrong.  I did manage to shoot him out of the sky and do a wound, but it took all three annihilation barges to do it.  My Wraiths and the Lord make it into assault.  The Flyrant passes his Mindshackle test, then squishes a Wraith.  My Wraiths swing back nothing.  The Lord completely whiffs all his attacks.

That was probably the second dumbest move I will make in this tournament.  I'm now in a bad position: my Wraiths and DLord are stuck in and I didn't get First Blood.  This is not a "all hope is lost" situation, but it's not good.  I'm hoping I can survive to the next turn and get my Prince in there for some backup.  What I should have done was stick to the plan and play hard to get, forcing him to chase down my units all game and utilize my superior shooting to wear him down.

Turn 2: Top

Crucially, the only reserve roll he passes is the Doom.  All three Trygons fail their reserve rolls.

Doom drops and starts taking wounds off of my Lord/Wraith blob.  

Swarmlord joins the midfield melee, although I manage to survive with my Lord and two Wraiths still kicking, basically by a miracle.  Both Tervigons roll doubles and stop spawning units (now you see why I didn't bother to put them on the map).  

Turn 2: Bottom

My second turn, everything comes on.  I desperately need First Blood, and have lucked out so far.  Heldrake uses his Forge ability and Flames some gants for First Blood.  I shoot the bejesus out of the advancing Tervigon with all my barges and all my scythes, but only do 5 wounds to it.  My Lord manages to survive the combat, somehow, with a single Wraith.

The Prince flies around uselessly.  I didn't want him to join the melee in mid because I thought the Swarmlord would tear him a new one.

Turn 3: Top

His third turn.  Flyrant and Swarmy finish off my lord, but 1 Wraith is still left.  All three of his Trygons finally arrive from reserve and deploy in front of my castle.  Two more Zoanthropes arrive by spore but do nothing.  

 Turn 3: Bottom


So at this point, I'm demoralized.  My Lord is dead.  My Wraiths are about to die.  I know my Prince can't take Swarmy head to head, so I don't know how I'm going to get Slay the Warlord.  I've only killed one unit, and I need to kill at least 4.  Now, I'm not the kind of person who gives up.  I will never just lay down and die.  But I'll be honest, and I was mentally beaten at this point.

The annihilation barges and a Scythe finish off the mostly dead Tervigon (T5).  Heldrake and a two Scythes flame/shoot the back troop to death.  

I throw my Prince into the middle melee.  If you're going to go out, you might as well go out with style, right?  I issue a challenge, thinking it's going to be Swarmy and the Prince, mono a mono.  He accepts....with the Hive Tyrant?!  I was not expecting that.  The Prince trounces the Hive Tyrant in the challenge!  Swarmlord finishes off the last Wraith.

Turn 4: Top

Zoanthropes take some pot shots, but miss.  The Trygons move up and eat two of my annihilation barges.  Swarmlord destroys my Prince in assault (as I predicted), but takes 1 wound in the process.

Turn 4: Bottom

Well, amazingly, I got 4 unit kills (2 Termagants, the Hive Tyrant, and a Tervigon), so I at least made it to 25%.  If I'm lucky, I might be able to pull a tie off here.  He has Slay the Warlord, but I have First Blood.  If I can keep him under 7 unit kills, I can tie this.  I already planned on him killing my Anni Barges, but he did get the Prince....I still have one barge left though.  If I can keep him alive....there might just be a chance.

My Scythes fly off the board for lack of anything to shoot at.  Heldrake flames the Zoanthropes, doing nothing.  Annihilation Barge runs away as fast as it can.

Run Anni, Run!!!

Turn 5: Top

His moves the rest of his army towards my cultists.  Both Trygons make it into assault and wreck the cultists.

The Zoanthropes shoot at the Anni Barge...Penetrate!  Not good for an open-topped vehicle!

I save it with a Jink!

Turn 5: Bottom

All my planes come back on, and unload everything into the Swarmlord.  He dies!  Holy crap, that gives me Slay the Warlord.  I have a chance to win this now, if I can just keep that Annihilation Barge alive!

Run Anni!  Get to da Choppa!!!

 Tyranids is after you!  RUN!
Turn 6: Top

Final turn.  His Trygons make some ineffectual shooting at the planes.  The Zoanthropes take one last shot at the rear of my Anni Barge....and miss! 

Turn 6: Bottom

And that's it.  I move a Scythe to his side and drop a single Immortals troop for Linebreaker.

I get 4 points for killing 25% of his army (5 units), 1 point for First Blood, 1 point for Slay the Warlord, and 1 point for Linebreaker.

He gets 4 points for killing 25% of my army (6 units), 1 point for Slay the Warlord, and 1 point for Linebreaker.

Result: Victory
Final Points: 7


This was a very tough battle.  I made some huge mistakes, and probably should have lost, but he was unable to kill the final Annihilation Barge or shoot down a plane, and only killed 6 of my units, falling short of 50%.  I killed 5 of his, so we tied on Primary Objectives.  We both had Slay the Warlord and Linebreaker, but I had first blood, so I pull a victory by one point.  In the end, I think my initial strategy was correct, but I made many mistakes on the way.  Moving the Wraiths/DLord out so early to make a play for his Flyrant was too aggressive and put me on my back foot early in the game.  I think a lot of my over-aggressiveness stemmed from the knowledge that once those Trygons hit the table, my back troops were going to take a beating, so when I saw the opportunity to take out the Flyrant, I went for it.  I should have played more defensively, forced him to come to me to kill all my ground troops, and just never landed with any of my flying troops.  I also probably could have taken out a Trygon with my Prince, and it was stupid to try to take out the Swarmlord, but I thought I had lost the game at that point and was not thinking clearly.  Lessons learned.

Tyranids continue to be my Achilles Heel.  I don't know what it is about them, but I always have the worst games against Tyranids.   In this case, I was able to squeeze out a win, which brings me to 2-0 in the tournament overall. 

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