Sunday, 2 February 2014

Brothers in Arms - Tournament Report and an Explanation

I haven't played a game of 40k since 28th October, but despite my lack of effort in getting back into playing, I'd like to write a bit more. As such, here is a tournament report from the last event that I went to. It was a doubles tournament, with 750pts per player.

It was a really weird scoring system. It was a 20-0 system, with different tiers depending upon how many VPs you beat your opponent by, with each unit being worth as many VPs as you paid for it, and any objectives on the board being worth 200, secondaries were 100 (one Warlord per team), killing Heavy Supports in Big Guns Never Tire, an extra 50, and killing an Ethereal an extra...1

I had a few qualms with this as I felt it was too much of a Fantasy system and that people could just ignore the objectives and smash their opponents and win. Which I abused to full advantage. Me and my partner were essentially taking a modified version of my GT list. So my partner had Space Wolves, and I brought Imperial Guard.

Due to model constraints, the Space Wolves had a Rune Priest (Warlord), 2 squads of Grey Hunters with a Drop Pod for one and a Rhino for the other. Then there were 2 Lone Wolves, TH/SS and Terminator Armour. Plus a max squad of Missile Long Fangs.

I had a Primaris Psyker, a 40 man Guard blob, a squad of 10 vets with Plasma Guns, a Manticore, a Vendetta with Heavy Bolters, and another Vendetta with Heavy Bolters. 
Anyway, our first game, we were up against Tau and Space Marines. The Mission was Crusade, and the deployment for all of the games was Pitched Battle. The Tau had the Space Pope in a Bastion, and in there he also stuck a load of Sniper Drones with a Drone Controller, then he had a couple of squads of Pathfinders, a couple of squads of Fire Warriors, and a Riptide with Ion Accelerator.

The Space Marines were basically summed up in a couple of units. Some Scouts, I believe some tactical marines as well but I'm not sure, and a load of Grav Cannon Centurions with Tigurius.

So, we get first turn, and we deploy essentially with the Guard blob in the centre to give it greatest presence. Then  the Wolves on the sides, the Manticore in the only ruin that we have. Aside from the Bastion, the board is quite space. They deploy the Sniper Drones and Space Pope inside the Bastion, the Centurions opposite the Manticore, and the Riptide towards the other side near the Long Fangs. 

So, the plan, mash everything, forget the objectives, throw the Guard blob up, make it threatening, so that it can tank for the rest of the army, soaking up casualties that don't cost VPs, or at least as many if the whole squad is killed (205). Forget the objectives, although they are nice, just smash units when we get the chance.

And a great chance do we get in the first turn. They seize. The Drones hop out of the top of the bastion, and shoot into the Guard blob, however, they're not in rapid fire range, which is a grace as only a few Guardsmen go down. The Centurions hop forward, but luckily the Manticore survives, just about. Other than that, not much damage is sustained. What is huge however, is that the Drones roll snake eyes for their JSJ, so they can't get back into the bastion as it's a 3" move down (yes we got this wrong, they'd embarked that turn so they couldn't anyway). This allowed the Manticore to absolutely blitz them next turn.

Manticore fires, and happily obliterates the entire squad for first blood, and taking a couple of guys out of the Space Pope squad. The Pathfinders are reduced to 2 guys as well. 

Essentially. First Vendetta flies on turn 3, dies to interceptor, second one comes on turn 4, and by turn 5 all they have left is one Centurion, and he's facing down the Guard Blob and a Vendetta, the Lone Wolf and Grey Hunters down the left beat down the Riptide and friends, the Grey Hunters in the Pod melted the Bastion and punched the Space Pope in the face after helping the Guard hose down the Scouts and Tau, and at the end of turn 5, the Centurion took all of that to end the game on one wound, preserving a whole load of VPs.

Even so though, the game ended 20-0 to us.

The second game, unfortunately, wasn't exactly a game. It was Relic, and we were against another Space Wolves/Imperial Guard combo, on the same table as we were on before. It doesn't really matter how we deployed, but just to set the scene, standard deployment, Manticore at the back in the corner, blob in the centre, Lone Wolves on the sides. However, they then make a massive mistake, and bunch up their vehicles. So in the first turn, the Manticore kills 2 Chimera, a Leman Russ, and strips 2 hull points and the battlecannon off the Vindicator. Their Lone Wolf goes down. They then drop in our face, the Long Fangs then finish the Vindicator, the vast majority of their foot troops are wiped by the blob, Grey Hunters and Lone Wolves, and then they call it there. Unlucky to our opponents, but at the end of the day, it's a tournament, and if I see a load of vehicles bunched up, I'm going to fire my Manticore at them.
So, for our last game, we're playing against a really difficult match up. The last time I played this match, it was against my mate Nathan at Battlefield Birmingham, and he tabled me in 4 turns. So I was worried. Because it was doubles, they no longer had full Dark Eldar, and instead had Chaos Marines as allies, with a Heldrake.

Now, I'm not going to mention names in this one, and if the guys that I was playing are watching this, sorry, but I'd really like to get this on record. I've been in the hobby for a long time now given my age, I'm 20, and I've been playing without break since I was 9. I've been on the top tables of tournament before, and I'm mature to them, having been there a few times, and normally they are fantastic games. However, this was - and I've had time to think about this now as I write this over 4 months after the event - the worst game of 40k (as in the least enjoyable) that I have ever played. To be fair to the guys that I was playing, it wasn't entirely their fault, but honestly, 75% of it was.

So we rock up to the table, and it starts off all nicey nicey as you'd expect, until I ask to see their list. And the older gentleman of our opponents (the other was about my age, probably), was saying 'oh, well, what do you want to know?' Now, this is fine if you're at an evening for your local gaming club, in a GW or playing on Vassal, that's fine, but I was insistant on seeing the list, for a couple of reasons:

1) Although I'm decently familiar with some Chaos Space Marine units (the ones I use), I have no idea what the rest do, and I am clueless on Dark Eldar at this point, so if you want to go down that route, I am going to ask about every single detail of your army, not just because I don't know what it does, but also because....

2) we're on the top table of a tournament. Albeit only a local one but a tournament non-the-less. It has cost me £60 to travel up here from Oxford and I'm not just going to hand you an advantage, I'm here, I'm on the top tables, I'm going to try to win.

It then annoyed me that I said that I wanted to physically see this list, and the guy was getting agitated, I was ok about it because, at the end of the day if it's going to be like a friendly game in a local gaming club, then it's all going to be laughy laughy and it'll be fine. However, from this point, my opponent got pissed. He somehow expected me to be able to find their list out of the massive pile on the TO's desk, even though I had no idea what it looked like, and I wasn't going to read every single one to see if it matched. His lack of patience was apparent when he came to find it, and then left shaking his head and laughing to my partner as though he was playing with a 4 year old.

From then on in, even after agreeing to turn over a new leaf with the bloke, everything I said was met with a snide, patronising, or rude comment. Therefore, I was getting pissed off, which pissed him off even more, which pissed me offf even more, and so on. Even my attempts to be polite when his rolls were poor were met with rudeness, apparently angering him even more. Perhaps because he was getting schooled by a 'child'. This led to a ref being called over. Unfortunately, there weren't any for our system. This was because the TOs were both playing in the event, leading to an odd number of pairings, meaning that our only ref also had to step in and play to even up the numbers, meaning, no TOs, and no Ref. Fabulous.

Therefore, we had the Fantasy ref over, meaning that now those guys also did not have a ref. This was not good news for me, I've had a run in with this guy before, and although I've been civil with him since, the fact that he came over, and immediately, he assumed that I was the problem. I have since taken an issue with this, yes, I wasn't on my best behaviour, but I was at least attempting to be polite to the other guys. But I have been a member of this club for over 18 months, at this stage, and very recently, the club had had an issue on one of their games nights with some new guys. The club is very welcoming, so don't let this put you off, the issue only came to light after the evening. Yet, I was the one being watched, which I found odd, but even more so, when I came back for Christmas, and the first thing that happens, is that I get a massively dirty look, from this bloke, the moment I walk through the door. At the end of the evening, I then attempt to engage a group including him in conversation, trying to be nice. And I get completely blanked.

But back to the game. We deploy similarly to the previous games. They then have all of their Dark Eldar vehicles behind a building, and 42" away from the Manticore (just). However, they have made a horrible mistake, again. They may be outside of the Manticore's Night Fight vision, however, they are within 36" of the Rhino, and in an attempt to avoid the Manticore, they have bunched up in the corner. So, Prescience the Manticore, drive the Rhino forward, light them up, smash. Venoms go flying. However, 20 minutes later, the guy comes back and starts questioning whether we were in range. We know we were in range, we measured it before hand, yet this really aggrieved me, as this guy turns up to a tournament, is not fully prepared to take part in it with only one list, and then starts playing in a WAAC fashion. He then just let it go but seemed as though he felt as though then in as though there was an injustice. Which there wasn't, he just played it badly.

They also seemed to be stuck in the 5th ed rules set, thinking that having a guy in cover gives the whole unit cover, etc, and this was so frequent, that we only got to the end of turn 3. Now, this is where it got interesting. Because, at the end of turn 3, they were saying, 'oh, we haven't got much time left, so let's call it there, we win'. I was confused here, and upon asking why, they were saying it was because they were on more objectives. Now, I'd read the rules pack, and when you're 3 games into a 3 game event, to which the rulespack has been up for months, I'd expect you to know how the event is scored. These guys didn't so I decided to give them a chance, inform them that actually, we were probably winning, and offered them another turn, because they would have finished off the blob, and it would have been a big swing. But they were having none of that, so I just said, 'right, let's just call it there then, and we'll see'.

During the counting up though is when I really got irritated, the guy just seemed to make up a number of how many VPs of units we'd killed, so when I went to count up myself (as I didn't exactly trust the guy), I was met with a wave of verbal abuse, at which point, I just left. I had taken this constantly for the last 2 hours, and I'd just had enough, I had spent a lot of money to come up for this event, and I really had 't enjoyed it, and was really upset. So I went off, cooled down, and came back about half an hour later.

After the game, the guys seemed perfectly pleasant. During the game, they were assholes. As it happened though, because it had ended turn 3, we had won the game either 16-4 or 17-3, however I wasn't sure which because, I wasn't there for the countup.

The icing on top of the cake though was the placing. There were about 16 teams at the event, and despite only dropping 3 points the entire day, we came second. This was for 2 reasons. Firstly, because the scoring system had magically changed without anyone knowing about it, rather than the 20-0 system, we were now using pure VP countback. And secondly, despite having the maximum number of points going into game 3, we were playing on table 2, a completely baron board, against a horrible matchup, whilst, in game 2, the TOs played against a team that had already lost, despite winning their first game, and in game 3, when they should have played us, as everywhere else was swiss system, they played, another team that had already lost, on a dense board, with their Daemons.

So, in summary, the Tournament Organisers won their own event, in very dodgy fashion. Hence, I was not impressed. I'm not going to give the name of the club. They have since had a massive overhall of their events team, and I very much enjoy going down to the club, as a lot of the guys down there are really nice.

However, what I am going to say is that, the event hit me really hard. I'd spent a lot of time and money on it. Including a 2nd vendetta specifically for it (it has not been used again), I then played one good game, then I removed some models from the board, and then a horrible game. And then, I honestly felt robbed at the end of the event. We had had to play so well to grab that draw at the end, only to get screwed by the event being, quite honestly, fixed. And yeah, maybe I am getting a bit hung up on unjustly finishing second, but that isn't the main reason I'm upset, consider it the dessert, with the non-existant/terrible games being the main course, and the time and effort being the starter.

If you have any issue with how I feel or why I feel it, and would like to send me some abuse for it. Please send your complaints to It will probably not get read, but if it makes you feel better. Go for it.

The reason I'm posting this now, so long after the event, is because I felt I owed everyone that reads this, an explanation. The event hit me hard, and my recent interest in League really gave me something to fall back on, and any attempt to get back in was quashed by GW's attempt to ruin their own game pushing me further into League.

Therefore, I am sorry, see you soon. - Tom Leighton

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