Sunday, February 24, 2008

Tournament: Dragon's Lair 2-23-08

In the two or three days preceding Saturday's standard 2k tourney at Dragon's Lair, I made and applied my own decals to my Space Wolves using one of the Great Company emblems listed on the annulus in the codex, specifically that of Engir Krakendoom - the Sea Wolf. So I'm ditching my old fluff and reincarnating the army as Hakr Varghoss's Crushing Wave.

Wolf Guard Battle Leader Hakr Varghoss is next in line to assume the mantle of Wolf Lord in Engir Krakendoom's Great Company. "Sea Wolf" recruits originate from a single, barely habitable island called Ublyn. Perpetually besieged by the devastating waves and terrible monsters of the Fenrisian ocean, the natives of Ublyn pride themselves on the hard-won bounty of their unusual fishery: juvenile kraken. Their immaturity notwithstanding, these savage beasts can smash a hunting ship to pieces in the blink of an eye, and must be taken from several angles at once. Krakendoom's kin often use a brazen frontal assault to entangle their foes before pinning them in with drop pod assaults on the flanks and rear lines.

Wolf Priest - frag grenades, wolf pelt, healing balms, plasma pistol

Rune Priest - frag grenades, wolf pelt, chooser of the slain, runic staff, frost blade

WGBL - terminator armor, pair lightning claws, wolf pelt
4 WGBG - terminator armor, 2 bolter-plasma guns, 2 assault cannons, 3 power weapons, 1 power fist
Drop Pod

6 Wolf Scouts - 2 power weapons, 2 plasma pistols, 1 meltagun, frag grenades

9 Grey Hunters - 2 power fists, 7 bolters, 1 plasma pistol/ccw, 1 plasma gun
Wolf Guard Leader - power fist, bolter, wolf pelt
Drop Pod

9 Grey Hunters - 2 power fists, 7 bolters, 1 plasma pistol/ccw, 1 plasma gun
Wolf Guard Leader - power fist, bolter, wolf pelt
Drop Pod

8 Blood Claws - 2 power fists, 1 flamer

Land Speeder - multimelta, heavy flamer

Land Speeder - multimelta, heavy flamer

2 Attack Bikes - heavy bolters

Land Raider - extra armor, smoke launchers

Besides the new emblems, I switched out the wolf guard battle leader riding with the blood claws for a wolf priest with balms and a plasma pistol, and ditched the master-crafted upgrades on the wolf guard assault cannons and the rune priest's belt of russ. Generally as tournaments go, I know what to expect at Ninja Pirates, and I know what to expect at Battleforge, but Dragon's Lair is always a mixed bag and I never can predict what kind of a competition it will be. Of the 8 people that showed up, it was about half veterans, half new or returning from an extended 40k hiatus, and the factions represented consisted of 4 Eldar, 1 Chaos, 2 vanilla/Ultramarines, 1 Dark Angels, and 1 Space Wolves. I got to play against three very friendly players, and once again the Space Wolves did well against power-armored foes but horrible against Eldar. I went 2-1 but didn't place.

Game 1 - Space Marines

Mike's marines detachment, called for the time being the Emperor's Lost Children, consisted of a flying chaplain with a small command squad, a commander with a large command squad on foot, both command squads including company champions and apothecaries, a lascannon venerable dreadnought, two 6-man tac squads with bolters in heavy bolter razorbacks, a 6-man scout squad with sniper rifles and a missile launcher, a 10-man tactical squad with bolters, a 6-man assault squad, and a devastator squad with 4 rocket launchers. I think all his marines had counter-attack and true grit. The mission was Recon. I set up my full land raider on my far left side and my bikes and land speeders on my far right. He deployed his forces in a straight line with the devastators and dreadnought covering the middle, the commander and small tac squads advancing on his left, and the chaplain and assault squads doing the same on his right. Taking first turn, he moved his jump pack units forward, and I was able to pull off a first turn charge with the land raider's passengers. It might have been nice if they had actually made an impact on their victims; the chaplain and his command unit suffered maybe one casualty, and my wolf priest and another one or two blood claws were were killed in return. It would take another two turns for the wolves' power fists to finally finish off their opponents, but only after the Rune Priest had also fallen. The blood claws jumped in the still mobile land raider and peeled off to get into his deployment zone. The first grey hunters drop pod came in near the middle and they immediately starting shooting up the large tactical squad nearby, with the return fire bringing both squads below scoring. The terminator pod came in nearby as well and after crippling the dreadnought with assault cannon shots to his posterior, helped the grey hunters finish off the large tactical squad as well as the devastator squad. The wolf scouts jumped from his left side table edge into the rear of the large command squad. I was just trying to tie them up a bit and prevent them from reaching my lines, but they dealt less casualties than expected and were quickly wiped out by the counter-attack. In the end I had the land raider, blood claws, a grey hunter squad, and the terminators in my deployment zone, compared to his command squad and small tactical squad. Space Wolves win, victorious slaughter.

Game 2 - Eldar

Nick was playing his Eldar army on Saturday rather than his usual Black Templars, and as both of us got the only slaughters in the first round, we were paired up in the second round with Seek and Destroy as our mission. His army was (approximately) Eldrad Ulthran, an Avatar, 5 or 6 fire dragons, 6 harlequins, 5 wraithguard with a warlock in a wave serpent, 10 dire avengers, 30 guardians with 3 bright lances, a viper with 2 shuriken cannons, 2 falcons, and 5 dark reapers with an exarch. Definitely not the most overpowered Eldar force possible, but still strong enough to quickly make utter mincemeat out of the Space Wolves. It didn’t help that Nick is a very able commander or that my horrible dice luck really got rolling, as it were, in the second round. I couldn’t roll over a 3 to save my life and suffered at least 2 overheat casualties, maybe 3. The land raider was destroyed first turn without having moved an inch, and though I had started the blood claws and priests on foot behind a nearby bunker, they were quickly dealt with by falcon, dire avenger, and fire dragon shooting. I veered around his right side with my land speeders to try and inflict some nominal casualties with their heavy flamers, but guardians and wraithguard jumped out and brought them down just by looking at them. When my terminators’ drop pod came in, one of them promptly killed himself with a plasma overheat, and even with 8 assault cannon shots the squad only killed a single dark reaper. The wolf scouts emerged from Nick’s table edge to finish them off, but the Avatar rebuked them for their folly. The 4 surviving terminators were wiped out by huge volleys of fire from the assorted guardian squads and grav tanks standing nearby, and that was that for the Wolves’ rear guard attack. The grey hunters both came in at the same time in the middle on my right, one squad wiping out the fire dragons with plasma and bolter fire, while the other tried to shoot up back of a nearby falcon but only succeeded in shaking it. Both squads were destroyed in the next Eldar turn and the Space Wolves essentially phased out (lolz). Later I heard Nick say my tactics had been sound, but I’m not so sure about this. I think tactically I might have been better off getting a lower margin of victory in the first round so I wouldn’t have been paired up against him at all! He’s a nice guy and I think he felt a little bad for having our game play out so one-sidedly, but it was no big deal. Once I saw the composition of his army, I pretty much knew what was coming (we both did), and the only thing that irritated me during the game was the two or three spectators (not tournament participants) that walked up on several occasions to ask really superb and tactful questions such as “wow, where’s all the space wolves?” Once again, I feel the need to put spectators on notice: if you walk up to a random game (especially between people who are strangers to you) and see that one side is losing tremendously, you can safely assume both players are quite aware of how the game is going and they don’t need any on-the-scene cub reporting, so pretty please just hush.

Game 3 – Chaos

* photo censored by the Inquisition *

Brandon had a big unmarked Chaos force, with some great dreadnought and terminator conversions. Our mission was Take and Hold, with the terrain being mostly mixed woods and ruins, with an especially large rectangular ruin piece in the center (if you've played at Dragon's Lair, you probably know the one to which I'm referring - the overgrown courtyard with the fallen statues). He had a terminator lord with a chainfist, a small terminator retinue with a heavy flamer and a couple more chainfists, a small squad of chaos raptors with a meltagun and a flamer, a dread with a plasma cannon and missile launcher, another dread with a twin-linked lascannon, two squads of 10 chaos marines with a meltagun each in rhinos, one of them led by a powerfist champion, a squad of 10 chaos marines with a missile launcher and plasma gun, a 8-man havoc squad with heavy bolters, a defiler, and 2 obliterators. We both set up the core of our forces hiding behind the big ruin piece, ready to jump out and start wading through the difficult terrain into what promised to be a big fight for the center. Still, he had a much larger line than me, so his heavy bolter havocs, the tac squad on foot, one of the dreadnoughts, and the defiler all spread out wide on either side of the ruin. The first turn consisted of both of us moving up slightly with few casualties on either side. I managed to wound both obliterators with the land raider’s lascannons but he made their invulnerable saves. Luckily his return fire wasn’t able to penetrate the big tank’s armor and I had another turn to shoot, this time bringing both of the hulking monstrosities down. One of my landspeeders went long to try and bring down the defiler, but missed with its multimelta, and the defiler responded by destroying the skimmer with its reaper autocannons. Later he popped around a corner and threw a battle cannon shell into a mass of my troopers, luckily only killing two grey hunters with the blast. The Land Raider responded by zapping it dead with a twin-linked lascannon shot. I tried to shoot up his tac squad on my far left with my attack bikes, but they were reduced by half by the return fire and I pulled the survivor back to chill out for a while. My scouts charged in from his deployment edge and attacked the havoc squad, killing 6 of them before the raptors counter-attacked and wiped them out. I dropped the terminators into the center ruins, their opening assault cannon volley shredding his lascannon dreadnought, and then moved the blood claws up nearby to back them up if necessary. One grey hunter drop pod landed right behind the center ruins, and the other landed late on my far left side, but as it was they were both too far away from the enemy forces to make much of an impact. Both of his rhinos full of chaos marines were approaching along one of the big ruin’s sides, so I sent my surviving landspeeder over to try and knock one out. I managed to destroy one of them with a multimelta shot, and the riders were entangled. Casting storm caller on my blood claws and priests, I charged them in and routed the pinned marines in assault. Back in the center, both of our terminator squads stood for a turn and tried to stare each other down. I moved mine forward and opened fire with the assault cannons and combi-plasma shots but couldn’t manage to inflict too much damage. In the following turn he shot down three of my five terminators with a ton of low AP shots before assaulting them with his own terminators squad. Bad move - since my squad went first, the last 3 traitor termies were cut to pieces by the battle leader’s counter-attacking lightning claws, and his own IC whiffed with all five chainfist attacks. He broke from combat, never to be heard from again. We had started the game a little late, so we only got to the end of the fourth turn before time ran out. I had my blood claws and one grey hunter squad occupying the center, and he had his raptors and one of the chaos marine squads contesting it. I ended up winning by around 205 victory points, just barely avoiding a draw. Space Wolves win, solid victory. Brandon was a nice guy and I hope he starts playing regularly around town. I think there were a few rule nuances he wasn't quite aware of and I hated to "spring" them on him, having been in that position many times myself.

For the next few Wolves games I'm probably going to switch back to the battle leader instead of the wolf priest (he never made that much of a difference to warrant the extra points), switch out the plasma guns on the grey hunters for meltaguns and add a second plasma pistol to each, and experiment using a predator annihilator with heavy bolter sponsons instead of the attack bikes. Not that I need another reason to have one besides the pure pleasure of painting a tank, I hear higher armored vehicles might be getting a power bump soon, and I thought I might try to get used to the movement and shooting tactics involved with a second one in the army. I was thinking in time I might even get a second annihilator and sub it in for the land raider in the 2k list, giving the blood claws a rhino instead. It would add another scoring unit and separate my main anti-tank from my assault troop transportation, even if it was at the expense of some durability and general badassitude.


Anonymous said...

So did the second game result keep you from placing in the tourni? It really seems like you are getting better with the wolves and I like how each tourni you take a slightly different force.

Keep it up.


ubermosher said...

Great batrep.

I'm curious as to what you use for your decals. I've tried a couple of different kits with mediocre results.

Any tips would be appreciated.

bullymike said...

@kings - yep, the 2nd game basically made my record equivalent to having played out 2 draws. i think i would have done better in the last game if we had been able to play two more turns - at the very least i would have gotten the 2nd grey hunters and the land raider into the center to add more points. and whether i'm getting better with them, mm not so sure, the wins have usually been against newer players and/or un-optimized/hobby armies. i'm tinkering around with different ideas to make it more competitive but i think there's going to still be a ceiling until 5th edition comes out.

@ubermosher - I would call my own results mediocre. not the best decals i've ever seen but they do look consistent across the entire army which is fine for my purposes. i was using experts-choice clear decal film sheets, printed on an inkjet, finished with spray gloss, then applied onto a spot of microset, then painted over with microsol. everyone loves to tell me how microsol dissolves the glossy film around the decal and makes it look like it was painted right on, and i used 2-3 thin coats, and they're definitely BETTER than not using Sol at all but i can still see a little glossy finish around the edges of the black decal. maybe it matches with other people's models but my paint jobs always seem pretty matte looking so its noticeable. oh well

if you look closely you can see a sort of marbling of the printed ink from the inkjet but at arms length they look good.

Anonymous said...

Can we see an example?


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