|Lots and lots of Guns|
Going into Game 5 I had amassed a total of 50 tournament point 5 from each of my 2 losses, 15 from my previous draw, and 25 from my win. I was also guarenteed an additional 5pts. As it turned out more people hadn't submitted their lists on time than had so it was easier just to give people who had 5pts rather than take 5 away from each player that hadn't. This meant that a win would just guarentee me a top half finish with a Khornate Chaos Space Marine army with no Heldrakes in it. Sweet.
The deployment was Vanguard Strike. My opponent chose the Deployment Zone but I chose who took first turn, and I gave it to him. There was a big Line of Sight blocker in the middle of the board. My opponent was running a Commander with Iridium Armour, Drone Controller, Twin-Linked Fusion Blaster, all that jazz. He had 4 squads of 10 Kroot, 3 with Hounds for Acute Senses, he had a squad of 4 Marker Drones to go with the Commander and the 2 that he already had. He then had 3 squads of 3 Broadsides with Missiles and SMS, plus 3 Riptides with Early Warning Override and a Twin-Linked Fusion Blaster each.
My strategy here was really to push for the late game win. I wasn't going to win the game off brute strength as the moment I got my Infantry out I'd get shot to death. My objective really was to minimise the amount of damage that my Troops took and holding him up for long enough to make a push late game.
In his first turn he doesn't really do much, he wounds the Bloodthirster a couple of times whilst in my turn I push one of my Land Raiders up with some Spawn to avoid scatters from his Overcharged Ion Accelerators scattering onto other Land Raiders, with the Spawn pushing up to tie up some Riptides and minimise his Land Raider killability. The Bloodthirster also pushes up for some target saturation.
Now, I may have made a bit of an error here, it's Game 5 of a tournament on the hottest weekend of the year, and it gets to me. I forget that his SMS also ignore cover saves in Area Terrain, and so he promptly smashes the Spawn apart for First Blood and a Fast Attack Point, the Kroot then come on and reduce the Bloodthirster to a single wound.
I then spend the turn smashing up his Troops choices, the Bloodthirster in its final act of the event beats down a squad of Kroot before getting shot by the Broadsides, whilst the remaining Spawn double back to devour another squad. A Land Raider is crippled in the next turn, and with the Riptides closing in I go hell for leather and smash as far forward as I can. The Raider dies and so do all bar 2 and the Axe Lord occupants.
I then split the Lord from the squad, charge the squad into a squad of Broadsides, whom the Tau army all overwatches at, before my Lord charges in, killing 2 and locking them in combat due to the Ethereal Stubborn Bubble (or, stubble). He does eventually kill the last guy but is brutally murdered going into another squad for giggles.
Essentially, turn 5 rolls around, my opponent has 2 Riptides left, both badly wounded, 2 squads of Kroot on objectives, and 2 Broadside Squads left, plus the Ethereal and commander squads. He has 5 points worth of objectives, First Blood and a Fast Attack kill. 7. I make my move. I speed a Land Raider 6" over the Aegis that has helped to keep it alive all game and pass my Dangerous Terrain, I disembark my Warlord's squad onto a 2 point objective, my Cultists remain hunkered down on a 3pt, and Bloodletters on a 1. I then have a Squad of Spawn that need to make a respectable run move to pounce on a 4pt objective, which they make and if the game ends here I win 10-7, 30-0 in tournament points and commanding about a 12th/13th finish.
Inevitably, the game goes on, and I shake his hand as I'm pretty much done. All of my Troops are out in the open and he still has about 2/3rds of his shooting left. However, my army has other ideas.
He Nova charges his Riptides for a 4D6 jump-shoot-jump move, one going onto my 3pt objective with my Cultists, the other onto the 4pt with the Spawn, he also kills 2 of the Spawn with shooting, leaving one left. Meanwhile, he kills 6 of my Chaos Marines on the 2pt objective and wounds the Lord.
To claim anything from this game, 2 things need to happen. I need to deal with the Riptide with 3 wounds in my deployment zone, and I need my lonely Spawn to do something. It can't deal with the Riptide all by itself, or its unlikely to, so I run it 12" into his deployment zone for a 7" charge, making sure to keep it out of Line of Sight as much as possible.
Meanwhile, I go after the Riptide in my deployment zone. The Land Raider turns around and shoots it, kicking it's capabilities up a notch and wounding the monstrosity twice, leaving it with but a wound left. My troops need no invitation, as the Cultists and Bloodletters jump on it finally removing its last wound before consolidating back onto their objectives.
Now turn 6 comes down to the Spawn. I declare the charge. If my Spawn is killed, I lose Linebreaker and my opponent wins the game on Secondary objectives. If my Spawn lives, but I fail the charge, we draw. If my Spawn makes the charge, and survives combat with the Kroot for a round of combat, then I win the game on Primary objectives. Because of my positioning, overwatch doesn't scratch the Spawn, leaving it fully intact on 3 wounds, and me confident that it can live in combat with the Kroot. Make the charge, and fail by an inch. We roll to see if the game continues, it does not. We draw the game.
To be honest, this game tipified what tournament play is like. It was still a hotly contested and highly competitive game don't get my wrong, but the game was played in a manner that showed that the joy here was not in winning, but having a good time. Sure everyone likes to win, especially in tournaments, but winning a game of Toy Soldiers is not worth being an asshat for.
I suppose this is easy to say from mid-table obscurity but I'm not always in that position. In a couple of tournaments now I've been a game away from coming away with top spot, and I still try to play in the spirit of the game.
To be fair though, if you know the rules better than me, and you pull open a page that shows me said rule, fair play, I've learnt something. After all, we're playing Warhammer 40k not Rampage 40k. If there's a contradiction in the rules, and we call a judge over and they rule in your favour, fair play, I'm not particularly fussed so long as there is a clear answer and we can still have a laugh and enjoy our game. Every single one of my games was a laugh and enjoyable, so if any of my opponent's are reading this (Tom Leighton), thank you for a fantastic game.
So, that's the end of another tournament report, as it happens I finished 19th out of 34, which I'm pretty pleased with given the fact that I'd played but 3 games with my army in real life before the event, and I didn't take Heldrakes. Apologies for the delay in Eldar scheduling, I'll get back to that on Monday.