Boon’s Goonhammer Open US Tournament Report: In Search of a Belt

An article by    Battle Reports Competitive Play Goonhammer Open Warhammer 40k        0

Life in the COVID era has meant change the world over, and while I’ve been fortunate to avoid the worst of COVID in my personal life, my waistline has not been so fortunate. As a rapidly approaching middle-age meets the inactivity of the home office I’ve found myself staring into my closet searching in vain for clothes that might fit a once-athletic frame. Nowhere has the direness of the search been felt more acutely than in reaching for a belt. A simple thing, and yet such a demoralizing item – an impactful measure of a world gone soft. Stubbornly I have refused to give in to what lies ahead of me through my remaining 30’s and into my 40’s, but inevitably I am fighting a losing battle. So here I am, admitting that maybe it’s time to relax the loops and stepping out into this brave new world to search for a belt that fits.

A finer cummerbund I shall not find

My Chosen Weapon

I entered into the tournament with the same basically unchanged Drukhari list that I’ve used over the last two or three months – if it ain’t broke (lol) don’t fix it right? There’s a number of Competitive Innovations you can refer back to and get a sense of how the list works, but otherwise the army list is included below. In short, a lot of objective stealing, Raider-mounted, small units with Cronos to add a little stiffness and reliable shooting while a smattering of heroes to do absolute hero shit.

My list - click to expand

++ Patrol Detachment 0CP (Aeldari – Drukhari) [41 PL, 12CP, 730pts] ++

+ Configuration +

Battle Size [12CP]: 3. Strike Force (101-200 Total PL / 1001-2000 Points)

Detachment Command Cost

Obsession
. *Custom Coven*: Dark Technomancers (All-Consuming)

Raiding Forces – CP Refund

+ HQ +

Drazhar [8 PL, 145pts]

+ Troops +

Wracks [3 PL, 40pts] . Acothyst: Wrack Blade
. 4x Wracks: 4x Wrack Blade

Wracks [3 PL, 40pts] . Acothyst: Wrack Blade
. 4x Wracks: 4x Wrack Blade

Wracks [3 PL, 40pts] . Acothyst: Wrack Blade
. 4x Wracks: 4x Wrack Blade

+ Heavy Support +

Cronos [12 PL, 235pts] . Cronos: Spirit Probe, Spirit Vortex
. Cronos: Spirit Vortex
. Cronos

Cronos [12 PL, 230pts] . Cronos: Spirit Vortex
. Cronos: Spirit Vortex
. Cronos

++ Patrol Detachment 0CP (Aeldari – Drukhari) [58 PL, -2CP, 930pts] ++

+ Configuration +

Detachment Command Cost

Obsession: Kabal of the Black Heart: Thirst for Power

Raiding Forces – CP Refund

+ Stratagems +

Stratagem: Prizes from the Dark City [-1CP]

+ No Force Org Slot +

Court of the Archon [10 PL, 100pts] . Sslyth
. Sslyth
. Ur-Ghul
. Ur-Ghul
. Ur-Ghul
. Ur-Ghul

+ HQ +

Archon [5 PL, -1CP, 85pts]: Ancient Evil, Huskblade, Overlord, Splinter Pistol, Stratagem: Tolerated Ambition, The Djin Blade
. Splintered Genius (Black Heart): Splintered Genius

+ Troops +

Kabalite Trueborn [8 PL, 135pts] . 6x Kabalite Trueborn: 6x Splinter Rifle
. Kabalite Trueborn w/ Heavy Weapon: Dark Lance
. Kabalite Trueborn w/ Special Weapon: Blaster
. Kabalite Trueborn w/ Special Weapon: Blaster
. Trueborn Sybarite: Splinter Rifle

Kabalite Warriors [3 PL, 50pts] . 3x Kabalite Warrior: 3x Splinter Rifle
. Kabalite Warrior w/ Special Weapon: Blaster
. Sybarite: Splinter Rifle

+ Elites +

Incubi [4 PL, 80pts] . 4x Incubi: 4x Klaive
. Klaivex: Klaive

Incubi [4 PL, 80pts] . 4x Incubi: 4x Klaive
. Klaivex: Demiklaives

+ Dedicated Transport +

Raider [6 PL, 95pts]: Dark Lance, Kabal

Raider [6 PL, 105pts]: Chain-snares, Dark Lance, Kabal, Shock Prow

Raider [6 PL, 105pts]: Chain-snares, Dark Lance, Kabal, Shock Prow

Raider [6 PL, 95pts]: Dark Lance, Kabal

++ Patrol Detachment 0CP (Aeldari – Drukhari) [17 PL, -2CP, 340pts] ++

+ Configuration +

Detachment Command Cost

Obsession: Cult of Strife: The Spectacle of Murder (Restricted)

Raiding Forces – CP Refund

+ Stratagems +

Stratagem: Prizes from the Dark City [-1CP]

+ HQ +

Succubus [3 PL, 60pts]: 1 – Adrenalight (Combat Drug), Competitive Edge, The Triptych Whip, Warlord
. Agoniser & Archite Glaive

Succubus [4 PL, -1CP, 75pts]: 1 – Adrenalight (Combat Drug), Dark Lotus Toxin, Precision Blows, Razorflails, Stratagem: Tolerated Ambition
. Show Stealer (Strife): Show Stealer

+ Troops +

Wyches [3 PL, 50pts]: 3 – Hypex (Combat Drug)
. Hekatrix: Hekatarii Blade, Splinter Pistol
. 4x Wych: 4x Hekatarii Blade, 4x Plasma Grenades, 4x Splinter Pistol

+ Elites +

Incubi [4 PL, 80pts] . 4x Incubi: 4x Klaive
. Klaivex: Klaive

Mandrakes [3 PL, 75pts] . 4x Mandrake: 4x Baleblast, 4x Glimmersteel Blade
. Nightfiend

++ Total: [116 PL, 8CP, 2,000pts] ++

 

 

The Games

Round 1: vs. Nate Eck’s Necrons

Sweep & Clear – Corners – Take & Hold Primary
  • My Secondaries: Herd the Prey, Direct Assault, No Prisoners
  • His Secondaries: Stranglehold, Raise the Banners High, Grind Them Down
Nate's List - click to expand

++ Battalion Detachment 0CP (Necrons) [97 PL, 1,998pts, 10CP] ++

+ Configuration [12CP] +

Battle Size [12CP]: 3. Strike Force (101-200 Total PL / 1001-2000 Points) [12CP]

Detachment Command Cost

Dynasty Choice: Circumstance of Awakening: Relentlessly Expansionist, Dynastic Tradition: Eternal Conquerors, Dynasty: <Custom>

+ No Force Org Slot [7 PL, 135pts] +

Bound Creation [2 PL, 40pts] . Cryptothralls [2 PL, 40pts] . . 2x Cryptothrall: 2x Scouring Eye, 2x Scythed Limbs

Dynastic Advisor [4 PL, 80pts] . Technomancer [4 PL, 80pts]: Canoptek Cloak [5pts], Staff of Light

Viral Construct [1 PL, 15pts] . Canoptek Plasmacyte [1 PL, 15pts]: Monomolecular Proboscis

+ HQ [20 PL, 425pts, -2CP] +

Catacomb Command Barge [9 PL, 190pts]: Gauss Cannon [5pts], Relic: Voltaic Staff, Resurrection Orb [30pts], Staff of Light, Warlord, Warlord Trait (Codex 1): Enduring Will

Chronomancer [5 PL, 105pts, -1CP]: Aeonstave, Arkana: Hypermaterial Ablator [1 PL, 25pts], Chronotendrils, Dynastic Heirlooms [-1CP], Relic: Veil of Darkness

Overlord [6 PL, 130pts, -1CP]: Dynastic Heirlooms [-1CP], Relic: Orb of Eternity, Resurrection Orb [30pts], Warscythe [5pts]

+ Troops [36 PL, 758pts] +

Immortals [4 PL, 85pts]: 5x Immortal [85pts], Tesla Carbine

Immortals [8 PL, 153pts]: Gauss Blaster, 9x Immortal [153pts]

Necron Warriors [12 PL, 260pts] . 20x Necron Warrior (Gauss Reaper) [260pts]: 20x Gauss Reaper

Necron Warriors [12 PL, 260pts] . 20x Necron Warrior (Gauss Flayer) [260pts]: 20x Gauss Flayer

+ Elites [10 PL, 210pts] +

Skorpekh Destroyers [10 PL, 210pts] . 2x Skorpekh Destroyer (Reap-Blade) [70pts]: 2x Hyperphase Reap-Blade
. 4x Skorpekh Destroyer (Thresher) [140pts]: 4x Hyperphase Threshers

+ Fast Attack [14 PL, 300pts] +

Canoptek Scarab Swarms [2 PL, 45pts] . 3x Canoptek Scarab Swarm [45pts]: 3x Feeder Mandibles

Canoptek Scarab Swarms [2 PL, 45pts] . 3x Canoptek Scarab Swarm [45pts]: 3x Feeder Mandibles

Canoptek Wraiths [10 PL, 210pts] . 6x Canoptek Wraith (Claws) [210pts]: 6x Vicious Claws

+ Heavy Support [10 PL, 170pts] +

Doomsday Ark [10 PL, 170pts]: Doomsday Cannon, 2x Gauss Flayer Array

++ Total: [97 PL, 1,998pts, 10CP] ++

I Go First

Direct Assault is such a good mission for Drukhari since the mission secondary is extremely easy for an army with multiple, very fast infantry units to maximize. The combination of the mission and playing into a Necron army that provides so many kill points makes the secondary selection automatic, and likely, very high scoring if not maxed outright. I thought his selection of Stranglehold and Grind Them Down were good picks, but I was much less enamored with the Raise The Banners pick against me with only a single home objective – it would be tough for him to gain more than a single point a turn. I rolled to go first which I think is tough for him in this mission. Nate pre-moved and adjusted back a bit which was good (a common mistake is to just auto-move up – which then gives me easy stepping stones). I rarely play to hold objectives on Turn 2 and instead setup for Turn 3 and beyond – that played out in this game as our turn 1 exchanges were fairly limited with my Cronos moving to the table center and dominating the board there – I would lose the objective to ObSec from turn to turn, but would always reclaim for the direct assault. The Raiders spaced the flanks with their Incubi and hero-laden manifests prepared to hop out and slam into some Warrior squads stretching out to sit along the board edges. Unable to effectively put enough firepower into me turn-to-turn Nate’s army slowly crumpled at the edges while his main Skorphek thrust hit hard into my Cronos center before evaporating to a Drazhar-led counter-assault. By the end of turn 3 it was mostly mopping up and the game slowly ground down as I wracked up final points on No Prisoners.

As a rule, with few exceptions, I play on a clock. The tournament format allowed for 3-hour rounds which is great (inclusive of setup and deployment), but I’ve found that at both extremes of the competitive player spectrum that games take longer than you might expect. Our game was no exception, as I learned that the GHO was Nate’s first ever major event. While his clock did run down we actually had plenty of time left and so we finished it up on my time. Afterwards we had spent some time talking about the game, but also spent time talking about the use of the clock –  something that I think is commonly misunderstood. In my experience, new players and top players playing other top players will run most of the time on their clocks. If I had to speculate, it’s because there is more time spent on thinking about the correct moves, either out of uncertainty (new players) or out of necessity (top players). As a result, the clock and the management thereof is an important skill that players seeking to attend events should start to pick up. In our conversation, Nate and I discussed how we might speed his movement, his deployment, and decision making to ensure that he’s not running short on time when it matters most.

Nate would go on to finish 3-2-1 and 16th overall (of 45), and while I don’t know if he played on a clock the rest of the event, I was glad to see he did very well in his first GT. Congrats Nate!

Result: Victory, 95 – 31

 

Round 2: vs. Daniel Axe’s Imperial Knights

Battle Lines – Hammer & Anvil – Take & Hold Primary
  • My Secondaries: Herd the Prey, Retrieve Octarius Data, Bring It Down
  • His Secondaries: Assassination, Stranglehold, Grind Them Down
Dan's List - click to expand

++ Super-Heavy Detachment 0CP (Imperium – Imperial Knights) [102 PL, 2,000pts, 10CP] ++

+ Configuration +

Battle Size [12CP]: 3. Strike Force (101-200 Total PL / 1001-2000 Points)

Detachment Command Cost

Household Choice: Questor Mechanicus
. House Krast

+ Stratagems +

Exalted Court [-1CP]: Exalted Court: 1 Extra Warlord Trait

Heirlooms of the Household [-1CP]: Heirlooms of the Household: 1 Extra Heirloom

+ Lord of War +

Armiger Warglaives [7 PL, 135pts] . Armiger Warglaive: Heavy Stubber

Knight Castellan [32 PL, 620pts]: Character (Knight Lance), Heirloom: Cawl’s Wrath, Warlord, Warlord Trait (Mechanicus): Cold Eradication
. One Siegebreaker Cannon and Four Shieldbreaker Missiles: Twin Siegebreaker Cannon

Knight Moiraxes [8 PL, 155pts] . Knight Moirax
. . Lightning Lock
. . Siege Claw w/ Rad-Cleanser

Knight Valiant [31 PL, 610pts]: Character (Exalted Court), Warlord Trait: Ion Bulwark
. One Siegebreaker Cannon and Four Shieldbreaker Missiles: Twin Siegebreaker Cannon

Questoris Knight Magaera [24 PL, 480pts]: Character (Heirloom of the House), Heirloom: Armour of the Sainted Ion
. Hekaton Siege Claw and Twin Rad-Cleanser

Dan Goes First

There’s always a little bit of anxiety when fighting into Imperial or Chaos Knights as Drukhari – especially on a map where I can’t easily space the board and am forced into relatively narrow lanes. The key issue here is that Drukhari just aren’t very good at bringing down Knights until they can get in close – and at that point you’re either all-in or you’re dead. Even when you do win the fight there’s a very good chance that the Knight explodes and just murders your fragile little elf characters and units with big time plasma core explosions. So a lot of these games kind of come down to what your Knight opponent is going to give you and then pick off any stray Knights or whether you can neutralize the more flexible elements (Armigers) before you don’t have enough to adequately fight back. Then of course, you have to take advantage of the biggest weakness the Knights have – the primaries.

In our game, with the long deployment and the suitable terrain, I was able to deploy in such a way as to minimize the shots in on me. In fact, Dan went first and on turn one he had zero-shots he was able to pull as he moved up the field – since I had chosen to put my Cronos in reserve, my turn was largely slight movements or shifting to put Dark Lance shots onto a single Knight while minimizing shots back on his Turn 2 and then positioning for my own turn 2. In all of 5 minutes both of us had completed turn 1. On his turn 2 he pushed the Mageara up one flank (top), the Valiant the other (bottom), and kept the Castellan back on his home objective with the two Armigers back near the top ruin, but in position to hop out in support of the Magaera on his next turn. He downed one Raider and killed some of the occupants but otherwise I was still mostly whole while he finished turn three atop 3 objectives, a Valiant on one flank (bottom), the Castellan on the home objective, and the Magaera pressing the other (top). One of my Cronos units came in on the flank with the Magaera, and a combination of Archon, Incubi, Dark Lances, and Cronos killed the Magaera which then detonated using the 4+ strat – doing some middling damage to my units but not outright killing any. I made a huge mistake and got so focused on the Magaera that I forgot to leap out my Wyches to steal his Valiant’s objective – they were sitting in the bottom building waiting for such a moment and the mistake resulted in a 10-point swing in his favor that threatened to make this a tighter game than it needed to be.

His Castellan and Valiant promptly ended my Cronos threat as his Armigers moved up to cover the top objective his detonated Magaera left behind. But with most of my Incubi and characters still in range, as well as the second Cronos squad yet to come in, this was a move that would seal the game for me. On my turn I used the Armigers to spring board Raiders and troops forward, while Mandrakes relocated into his rear-line and the second Cronos unit came in to wrap up my hold on the top objective. Both Armigers would be destroyed leaving him with only 2 Knights and thus unable to prevent me from holding primaries short of tabling me outright, nor could he prevent me maxing on Herd the Prey. He just didn’t have the shots to take down all of my rapidly advancing, spread, and deadly units – in the end, Dan struggled to retain any primaries without being able to close and threaten me, as I slowly sacrificed to take away his scoring capability. The Castellan would go down, failing to detonate, and before long the Valiant followed it. On a board with less terrain this matchup could very easily have been a nightmare, especially going second – but the ability to deny 1/5 of his powerful, powerful shooting was huge. 

Dan would go on to finish 4-2 and 11th overall. In addition he picked up the award for Best Painted with his beautiful Knights. Hope to see you at LVO Dan!

Result: Victory, 95 – 54

 

Round 3: vs. TJ Lanigan’s Nurgle

Overrun – Dawn of War – Domination Primary
  • My Secondaries: Herd the Prey, Raise the Banners, To The Last
  • His Secondaries: To The Last, Warp Ritual, Bring It Down
TJ's List - click to expand

++ Battalion Detachment 0CP (Chaos – Daemons) [66 PL, 11CP, 1,303pts] ++

+ Configuration +

Battle Size [12CP]: 3. Strike Force (101-200 Total PL / 1001-2000 Points)

Chaos Allegiance: Nurgle

Detachment Command Cost

+ HQ +

Epidemius [6 PL, 105pts]

Great Unclean One [14 PL, -1CP, 270pts]: Bilesword, Effluvior, Miasma of Pestilence, Plague flail, Plaguefly Hive, Virulent Blessing, Warlord
. Exalted Great Unclean One: 2. Revoltingly Resilient

Poxbringer [4 PL, 75pts]: Fleshy Abundance

+ Troops +

Nurglings [3 PL, 66pts] . 3x Nurgling Swarms: 3x Diseased claws and teeth

Nurglings [3 PL, 66pts] . 3x Nurgling Swarms: 3x Diseased claws and teeth

Nurglings [3 PL, 66pts] . 3x Nurgling Swarms: 3x Diseased claws and teeth

+ Elites +

Beasts of Nurgle [18 PL, 315pts] . 9x Beast of Nurgle: 9x Putrid appendages

+ Fast Attack +

Plague Drones [15 PL, 340pts]: Daemonic Icon, Instrument of Chaos, Plaguebringer
. 8x Plague Drone: 8x Death’s heads, 8x Plaguesword
. . 8x Rot Fly: 8x Prehensile Proboscis

++ Spearhead Detachment -3CP (Chaos – Death Guard) [36 PL, -3CP, 690pts] ++

+ Configuration +

Detachment Command Cost [-3CP]

Plague Company: The Poxmongers

+ HQ +

Malignant Plaguecaster [5 PL, 95pts]: 3. Plague Wind, 5. Curse of the Leper

+ Elites +

Tallyman [4 PL, 70pts]

+ Heavy Support +

Plagueburst Crawler [9 PL, 175pts]: 2x Entropy cannon, Heavy slugger

Plagueburst Crawler [9 PL, 175pts]: 2x Entropy cannon, Heavy slugger

Plagueburst Crawler [9 PL, 175pts]: 2x Entropy cannon, Heavy slugger

++ Total: [102 PL, 8CP, 1,993pts] ++

I Go First

The last time TJ and I faced off was also on a Labor Day weekend, but in 2013 at NOVA. I was running my Craftworlds then and he Tyranids if my memory serves. He smoked me then, and so now I sought my opportunity for vengeance.

He had taken To The Last which covered his Great Unclean One, Plague Drones, and Beasts of Nurgle. Tough units but this was just as well as those three units comprised the greater strength of his army and one way or another I was going to have to deal with them. Of these, it was the Plague Drones that were my priority – far more mobile than the Beasts, they threatened to do what the rest of the army could not – keep up with me.

My first turn I moved out to threaten TJ’s right flank – looking to take his home objective on Turn 2. The rest of the army took a more defensive position, setting up to put shots into his Plague Drones and hoping to tease out the stratagem for a 4++ save and land a Vect on it. In the shooting phase the prospect of multiple Dark Lance shots successfully drew it out on the Drones and I switched to targeting a single Plagueburst but only landed a single hit for 5 dmg reduced down to 4.

On TJ’s first turn he moved the GUO into the middle of the field to support his Warp Ritual surrounded by the protective Plague Drones and then shifted his Beasts over to protect his right flank. The Plaguebursts took shots into my Raiders but a series of poor hit/wound rolls and good save rolls kept them untouched.

Turn 2 saw a focus into the Plague Drones with the Cronos moving out to flame and then charge. Meanwhile on TJ’s right, my Raider unloaded the whip Succubus and supporting Wracks and Incubi to snag the objective and clear Nurglings. The Cronos were successful in removing a large number of Drones while the rest of my combined shooting chipped at the GUO or Beasts. With just a couple of Drones remaining I charged in with Cronos to lock them up. They did not die, but most importantly did not roll a 1 on morale to bring any back – they would melt away in the next turn allowing me to focus the entirety of my army into the Beasts and GUO. Unfortunately for the Beasts they would spend the next 2 turns being forced to fight last from the Incubi – allowing me to chip them down and solely focus on the GUO.

TJ would complete his 2nd Warp Ritual but his forces were fully committed leaving only his support characters and Plaguebursts free to stem my rush. Unfortunately the second turn of shooting wasn’t any more successful than the first and at that point TJ and I discussed the poor position he was in – on my turn three I would go on to whittle down the Beasts significantly and limit his ability to press my objectives or rven hold his own flank- he could no longer focus on my Raiders and would instead need to shoot my infantry off objectives with the mortars indirect to limit my scoring. However, by turn 4 the GUO had completed its rituals and then went down to a combined series of character assaults while the Beasts, bogged down in his corner, never left and were similarly brought down. With his backlines overrun and no ability to push past the midboard it was over.

In writing about this game I’m not going to pretend there isn’t an undercurrent here, but I can say that our match was a good one and there were no issues. TJ and I had a solid, clean game and I enjoyed the match. It was also nice to even our series at 1-1.

TJ went on to finish 5-1 and 4th overall. I’ve been told that no one else had focused on his plague drones which is just absurd to me because they’re an obvious linchpin unit. Congrats on the finish TJ!

Result: Victory, 80 – 50

 

Round 4: vs. Anthony Vanella’s Drukhari

Vital Intelligence – Vanguard – Domination Primary
  • My Secondaries: Herd the Prey, Retrieve Octarius Data, To The Last
  • His Secondaries: Herd the Prey, Retrieve Octarius Data, Assassination
Anthony's List - click to expand

++ Patrol Detachment 0CP (Aeldari – Drukhari) [35 PL, 620pts] ++

+ Configuration +

Detachment Command Cost

Obsession
. *Custom Coven*: Dark Technomancers (All-Consuming)

+ HQ +

Drazhar [8 PL, 145pts]: Hatred Eternal, Warlord

+ Troops +

Wracks [3 PL, 45pts] . Acothyst: Electrocorrosive Whip
. 4x Wracks: 4x Wrack Blade

+ Heavy Support +

Cronos [12 PL, 215pts] . Cronos: Spirit Probe
. Cronos
. Cronos

Cronos [12 PL, 215pts] . Cronos: Spirit Probe
. Cronos
. Cronos

++ Patrol Detachment 0CP (Aeldari – Drukhari) [23 PL, 460pts, 9CP] ++

+ Configuration +

Battle Size [12CP]: 3. Strike Force (101-200 Total PL / 1001-2000 Points)

Detachment Command Cost

Obsession: Cult of Strife: The Spectacle of Murder (Restricted)

Raiding Forces – CP Refund

+ Stratagems +

Stratagem: Prizes from the Dark City [-1CP]

+ HQ +

Succubus [4 PL, 75pts, -1CP]: 1 – Adrenalight (Combat Drug), Competitive Edge, Stratagem: Tolerated Ambition, The Triptych Whip
. Agoniser & Archite Glaive
. Show Stealer (Strife): Show Stealer

+ Troops +

Hekatrix Bloodbrides [8 PL, 135pts, -1CP]: 2 – Grave Lotus (Combat Drug)
. Hekatrix: Agoniser, Morvaines’s Agoniser, Splinter Pistol, Stratagem: Hekatrix of the Crucibael
. 8x Hekatrix Bloodbride: 8x Hekatarii Blade, 8x Plasma Grenades, 8x Splinter Pistol
. Hekatrix Bloodbride w/ Shardnet and Impaler: Shardnet and Impaler

+ Elites +

Incubi [4 PL, 80pts] . 4x Incubi: 4x Klaive
. Klaivex: Klaive

+ Fast Attack +

Hellions [7 PL, 170pts]: 1 – Adrenalight (Combat Drug)
. Helliarch: Hellglaive
. 9x Hellion: 9x Hellglaive, 9x Splinter Pods

++ Patrol Detachment 0CP (Aeldari – Drukhari) [55 PL, 916pts, -1CP] ++

+ Configuration +

Detachment Command Cost

Obsession: Kabal of the Black Heart: Thirst for Power

Raiding Forces – CP Refund

+ No Force Org Slot +

Court of the Archon [10 PL, 136pts] . Sslyth
. Sslyth
. Sslyth
. Sslyth
. Ur-Ghul
. Ur-Ghul
. Ur-Ghul
. Ur-Ghul

+ HQ +

Archon [5 PL, 85pts, -1CP]: Ancient Evil, Huskblade, Overlord, Splinter Pistol, Stratagem: Tolerated Ambition, The Djin Blade
. Splintered Genius (Black Heart): Splintered Genius

+ Troops +

Kabalite Trueborn [8 PL, 140pts] . 6x Kabalite Trueborn: 6x Splinter Rifle
. Kabalite Trueborn w/ Heavy Weapon: Dark Lance
. Kabalite Trueborn w/ Special Weapon: Blaster
. Kabalite Trueborn w/ Special Weapon: Blaster
. Trueborn Sybarite: Phantasm Grenade Launcher, Splinter Rifle

+ Elites +

Incubi [4 PL, 80pts] . 4x Incubi: 4x Klaive
. Klaivex: Klaive

Incubi [4 PL, 80pts] . 4x Incubi: 4x Klaive
. Klaivex: Klaive

+ Dedicated Transport +

Raider [6 PL, 95pts]: Dark Lance, Kabal

Raider [6 PL, 100pts]: Dark Lance, Grisly Trophies, Kabal

Raider [6 PL, 100pts]: Dark Lance, Grisly Trophies, Kabal

Raider [6 PL, 100pts]: Dark Lance, Grisly Trophies, Kabal

++ Total: [113 PL, 1,996pts, 8CP] ++

Anthony Goes First

I’d been looking forward to this matchup all weekend as we’d narrowly missed each other in Dallas and have otherwise been dancing in the ITC rankings. I gotta be honest, I love playing Drukhari into Drukhari because they’re always great games that can swing bigly on a single mistake. The army just always has the speed and surprising power to claw back into a game that looks already finished.

Unfortunately, Vital Intelligence is not the mission I would have hoped for in our match – especially going second. One of the strengths of Drukhari is the ability to pen an opponent in their zone or corner of the board – even other Drukhari.  What Vital Intelligence does is accentuate that advantage by raising the stakes to control or even contest an objective which means primariesgoing second is always an uphill struggle. Going second into the mirror match requires your opponent to run afoul of some bad luck or to make a glaring mistake.

However, the only player to make a mistake in our game was me. I deployed my Mandrakes into an obscured position in one of the neutral corners to claim an early objective – but I did it WAY to early and without really thinking it through. Anthony then promptly placed some Cronos right near them – going first I didn’t really gain much of an advantage but going second I had wasted a utility unit for absolutely no reason.

We both otherwise deployed centrally behind obscuring ruins and he proceeded to leap out covering objectives on the flanks with Cronos and trading his Hellions to tie up my backfield. His Bloodbride and Incubi Raiders positioned to be in place to counter attack on the center two objectives from behind obscuring cover. It was a powerful position and to win I’d need to fight around the edges while kicking him off the center.

Unfortunately, this proved too difficult. After finishing the Hellions I tried to force a Hammer and Anvil game but couldn’t move fast enough while retaining the objectives. Shoring up his weak flank he moved his 8-strong Court out of his backfield and poured his Bloodbrides, some Incubi, and Draz in to my home objective thereby taking it, killing a Succubus in the process.

It wasn’t over persay, but I’d need some luck. I could clear some but not all of my contested objectives, and despite killing Draz and the Incubi, I failed to kill enough Bloodbrides with my Archon to retain the home objective with my Trueborn and survive the response. In the next turn, my Draz and Incubi would kill one set of Cronos giving me the potential to hold the two on that flank and strike into his home objective- but then Anthony’s Archon one shot my Draz and it was pretty much game at that point.

Anthony went on to win the whole shebang and take home the title belt. He’ll have to defend that belt next year and I look forward to our next match!

Result: Loss, 42 – 74

 

Round 5: vs. Brian Pullen’s Necrons

Retrieval Mission – Hammer & Anvil – Take & Hold Primary
  • My Secondaries: Herd the Prey, Retrieve Octarius Data, No Prisoners
  • His Secondaries: Code of Combat, Stranglehold, Raise the Banners High
Brian's List - click to expand

++ Battalion Detachment -3CP (Necrons) [76 PL, 1,547pts, 6CP] ++

+ Configuration +

Battle Size [12CP]: 3. Strike Force (101-200 Total PL / 1001-2000 Points)

Detachment Command Cost [-3CP]

Dynasty Choice: Circumstance of Awakening: Relentlessly Expansionist, Dynastic Tradition: Eternal Conquerors, Dynasty: <Custom>

+ No Force Org Slot +

Dynastic Advisor [4 PL, 80pts] . Technomancer: Canoptek Cloak

+ HQ +

Catacomb Command Barge [9 PL, 190pts, -1CP]: Rarefied Nobility, Relic: Voidreaper, Resurrection Orb, Tesla Cannon, Warlord Trait (Codex 2): Eternal Madness, Warscythe

Chronomancer [4 PL, 80pts, -1CP]: Aeonstave, Dynastic Heirlooms, Relic: Veil of Darkness

Psychomancer [5 PL, 95pts]: Arkana: Atavindicator

+ Troops +

Immortals [4 PL, 85pts]: Gauss Blaster, 5x Immortal

Immortals [4 PL, 85pts]: 5x Immortal, Tesla Carbine

Necron Warriors [12 PL, 247pts] . 19x Necron Warrior (Gauss Reaper): 19x Gauss Reaper

Necron Warriors [12 PL, 260pts] . 20x Necron Warrior (Gauss Reaper): 20x Gauss Reaper

+ Elites +

Cryptothralls [2 PL, 40pts] . 2x Cryptothrall: 2x Scouring Eye, 2x Scythed Limbs

Hexmark Destroyer [4 PL, 75pts, -1CP]: Dynastic Heirlooms, Relic: Gauntlet of the Conflagrator

Skorpekh Destroyers [10 PL, 175pts]: Skorpekh Destroyer (Reap-Blade)
. 4x Skorpekh Destroyer (Thresher): 4x Hyperphase Threshers

+ Fast Attack +

Canoptek Scarab Swarms [2 PL, 45pts] . 3x Canoptek Scarab Swarm: 3x Feeder Mandibles

Canoptek Scarab Swarms [2 PL, 45pts] . 3x Canoptek Scarab Swarm: 3x Feeder Mandibles

Canoptek Scarab Swarms [2 PL, 45pts] . 3x Canoptek Scarab Swarm: 3x Feeder Mandibles

++ Supreme Command Detachment +3CP (Necrons) [23 PL, 450pts, 3CP] ++

+ Configuration +

Dynasty Choice: Dynasty: Szarekhan

+ Primarch | Daemon Primarch | Supreme Commander +

The Silent King [23 PL, 450pts, 3CP] . 2x Triarchal Menhir: 2x Annihilator Beam

++ Total: [99 PL, 9CP, 1,997pts] ++

Brian Goes First

This game played out very similar to my round 2 game with Dan Axe. The deployment and terrain layout were the same, but with six objectives and only two in the open field, I had much less of a reason to move. Compounding that fact, Brian had selected two objectives that would inevitably force him into me (Stranglehold and Code of Combat) as I could place my Archon on the one exposed objective on my side and use the bodyguard rule of the Sslyth to shield him from any return fire without exposing any other parts of my army. In short, for Brian to score any of his points on Stranglehold or Code of Combat, he would need my help. My Cronos deployed on the board this time, within the bottom ruin – prepared to leap out and flame-away anything that approached. The Court and the Archon also deployed there to shimmy out onto the exposed objective. The remainder of my boats spaced behind the ruins avoiding any shots from the Silent King who deployed behind the bottom ruin on his half of the board. Our first turns were similar to round 2 – some slight jockeying, but otherwise no major movements or shots traded – my Archon did position on the exposed objective, protected by the Sslyth who were behind the los-blocking terrain. I had no reason to jump out on turn 1 and could afford to wait until turn 2 in order to get my advance + charge boost – instead I positioned some Raiders with Incubi, Succubus, and Wracks behind the top, leading ruin so I could reach out to one of his Warrior blocks on my turn and force him off the objective if need be on the bottom of turn 2.

With his turn 2 he jumped two of his Scarab swarms forward to deny me some points on the objectives but otherwise was unable to effectively draw sight to anything – and so on my turn I decided to make my move. I shifted my Cronos out to press on his bottom Warrior block while the Archon and Court held a party on my bottom, exposed objective and prepared to fight off the Scarabs should they survive through my shooting. On the other end, two of my Incubi/Wrack Raiders disembarked their Succubi and then lurched forward to claim his exposed objective from the Warriors, Cryptothralls, and Immortals gathered nearby. The Succubi advanced then charged into the Warrior blocks while the boats used their charge moves to zone out the objective from resurrecting Warriors. The scarabs were removed off my objectives and the Cronos were able to flame some more Warriors back into their tombs – but overall the amount of damage I did was a little underwhelming on both flanks. The Show Stealer Succubus tucked back between Raiders for protection while my Tryptich Whip Succubus just yolo’d into the heart of the Necron line. On Brian’s turn this would prove disasterous as it took the entire flank shooting at her to bring her down. His Command Barge and Skorpehks quickly moved in to support what was becoming a messy drawn out combat on his left (top) but unfortunately the Command Barge, having made its charge on my Razorflail Succubus, failed to kill her and was cut down mercilessly in response. Meanwhile, just like in my first game, the Skorpehks detonated whatever they touched, but now with a bunch of angry Incubi on the table and more to come, their hopes for remaining in the fight were quickly fading away.

By the start of my turn 3, Brian had lost one banner and one objective, and remained out of position to contest any of my home objectives. Moreover, one of his lords capable of scoring on Code of Combat just faltered, and the Silent King was needed to deal with the Cronos, Archon, and his Court pressing in on his remaining Warrior block. His scoring opportunities were going to be limited here on out. As I pressed through the annoyingly durable block of Warriors/Immortals/Cryptothralls on the top flank with the Razorflail Succubus, my boats, Draz, and his Incubi, I was able to sweep through to his back objective and begin threatening there. By the time his turn 4 rolled around it was increasingly grim. In the end, the Silent King looked to salvage what he could from the fight and bring home as many points as he could before his forces were swept away entirely.

Brian went on to finish 4-2 and 7th overall. He and his partner in crime Adrian (2nd overall) will pick up where they left off over at Tabletop Titans with a viewable tournament this weekend.

Result: Victory, 88 – 67

 

Round 6: vs. Sam O’Brien’s Blood Angels

Surround & Destroy – Dawn of War – Take & Hold Primary
  • My Secondaries: Herd the Prey, Raise the Banners, Assassination
  • Her Secondaries: Stranglehold, Assassination, Oaths of Moment
Sam's List - click to expand

++ Battalion Detachment 0CP (Imperium – Adeptus Astartes – Blood Angels) [111 PL, 1,998pts, 7CP] ++

+ Configuration +

**Chapter Selector**: Blood Angels

Battle Size [12CP]: 3. Strike Force (101-200 Total PL / 1001-2000 Points)

Detachment Command Cost

+ Stratagems +

Relics of the Chapter [-2CP]: 2x Number of Extra Relics

+ HQ +

Captain on Bike [8 PL, 140pts, -1CP]: 3. Soulwarden, Astartes Chainsword, Bolt pistol, Chapter Command: Chapter Master, Stratagem: Hero of the Chapter, Teeth of Terra

Primaris Chaplain on Bike [7 PL, 140pts, -1CP]: 2. Artisan of War, 4. Mantra of Strength, 5. Gift of Foresight, 6. Canticle of Hate (Aura), Adamantine Mantle, Chapter Command: Master of Sanctity, Litany of Hate, Stratagem: Angel Exemplar, The Armour Indomitus, Warlord

Sanguinary Priest [6 PL, 120pts]: Astartes Chainsword, Bolt pistol, Jump Pack

+ Troops +

Assault Intercessor Squad [5 PL, 95pts] . 4x Assault Intercessor: 4x Astartes Chainsword, 4x Frag & Krak grenades, 4x Heavy Bolt Pistol
. Assault Intercessor Sgt: Astartes Chainsword, Heavy Bolt Pistol

Incursor Squad [5 PL, 105pts] . 4x Incursor: 4x Bolt pistol, 4x Frag & Krak grenades, 4x Occulus bolt carbine, 4x Paired combat blades
. Incursor Sergeant

Incursor Squad [5 PL, 105pts] . 4x Incursor: 4x Bolt pistol, 4x Frag & Krak grenades, 4x Occulus bolt carbine, 4x Paired combat blades
. Incursor Sergeant

+ Elites +

Bladeguard Veteran Squad [5 PL, 105pts] . 2x Bladeguard Veteran: 2x Frag & Krak grenades, 2x Heavy Bolt Pistol, 2x Master-crafted power sword, 2x Storm Shield
. Bladeguard Veteran Sergeant: Heavy Bolt Pistol

Death Company Marines [8 PL, 180pts]: Jump Pack
. Death Company Marine: Thunder hammer
. Death Company Marine: Thunder hammer
. Death Company Marine: Thunder hammer
. Death Company Marine: Bolt pistol, Power fist
. Death Company Marine
. . Bolt pistol and chainsword

Sanguinary Ancient [7 PL, 110pts, -1CP]: Angelus boltgun, Encarmine sword, Rites of War, Stratagem: Hero of the Chapter, Wrath of Baal

Sanguinary Guard [17 PL, 224pts] . Sanguinary Guard: Angelus boltgun, Encarmine sword
. Sanguinary Guard: Angelus boltgun, Encarmine sword
. Sanguinary Guard: Angelus boltgun, Encarmine sword
. Sanguinary Guard: Angelus boltgun, Encarmine sword
. Sanguinary Guard: Angelus boltgun, Encarmine axe
. Sanguinary Guard: Angelus boltgun, Encarmine axe
. Sanguinary Guard: Angelus boltgun, Encarmine axe

Sanguinary Guard [17 PL, 224pts] . Sanguinary Guard: Angelus boltgun, Encarmine sword
. Sanguinary Guard: Angelus boltgun, Encarmine sword
. Sanguinary Guard: Angelus boltgun, Encarmine sword
. Sanguinary Guard: Angelus boltgun, Encarmine sword
. Sanguinary Guard: Angelus boltgun, Encarmine axe
. Sanguinary Guard: Angelus boltgun, Encarmine axe
. Sanguinary Guard: Angelus boltgun, Encarmine axe

Vanguard Veteran Squad [14 PL, 300pts]: Jump Pack
. Vanguard Veteran: Lightning Claw, Storm shield
. Vanguard Veteran: Lightning Claw, Storm shield
. Vanguard Veteran: Lightning Claw, Storm shield
. Vanguard Veteran: Lightning Claw, Storm shield
. Vanguard Veteran: Lightning Claw, Storm shield
. Vanguard Veteran: Lightning Claw, Storm shield
. Vanguard Veteran: Lightning Claw, Storm shield
. Vanguard Veteran: Lightning Claw, Storm shield
. Vanguard Veteran: Lightning Claw, Storm shield
. Vanguard Veteran Sergeant: Lightning Claw, Storm shield

+ Heavy Support +

Eradicator Squad [7 PL, 150pts]: Heavy melta rifle
. 2x Eradicator: 2x Bolt pistol
. Eradicator Sgt

++ Total: [111 PL, 7CP, 1,998pts] ++

Sam Goes First

This was probably my favorite game of the event. First and foremost, it’s always interesting to walk up to a table where your opponent is currently smashing with an army that is decidedly off-meta. Yes, Jack Harpster recently took 3rd at Orlando with a Blood Angels list, but the terrain layout of GW events fully supported an army that could move all the way to mid-board without ever taking a shot. So to see the same in an event where that’s not the case is reason to pause a moment and ask “What makes this so special?”. My conclusion is that it’s simply the player behind it.

During deployment Sam had asked a question, more to herself, but it told me a lot about her as a player. Simply put, after winning the deployment roll-off, Sam merely asked herself aloud if there was any objective “[I] could forward deploy my Mandrakes too and hold?” After surveying the board and determining there wasn’t much reason to deploy first, she passed it too me. It’s an extremely minor detail and relatively low impact. However, its not the question itself but the thinking behind it that I found fascinating. I learned right off the bat that Sam understood the board was perfectly balanced, accurately picked out the one thing in my list that could offer me a pre-game advantage, how it might be impactful, and that no – the correct move was to simply make me deploy first as the board was otherwise 100% balanced and zones didn’t matter and she’d have more information to work with after I dropped my first unit. It’s a small decision, but it was the correct one – and tells me that Sam was prepared to find advantage in even the smallest details. In short, she was a great player.

In any case, she covered her objectives with her Incursors and Intercessors before stacking her right flank and center with Jump Pack infantry. My own Wrack, Wych, and Mandrake squads covered my objectives and then the Raiders spaced the board behind Obscuring, with the Cronos taking shelter in the center and my left. It was game 6 and while I still wanted to win, I was ready to be done and so I didn’t really dig too far into the capabilities of the various Jump Pack units and just said I’ll figure it out as we go. Sam had just played Anthony and so had a good idea of what I was bringing to the table (and had also played many games of TTS into Drukhari) – so we jumped into it. Sam went first and just launched out – telling me she knew she’d be picked apart if she didn’t try to just go all in and pressure me right up front. So a whole bunch of Death Company, Sanguinary Guard, Vanguard Vets, and their supporting characters filled the dense craters in the mid-board – then her Death Company slammed into my Cronos through the wall. I had to laugh here – Sam had warned me about her Death Company and the capability to one-shot a squad of Cronos but I kind of just stubbornly went with a “we’ll see”. After seeing her first turn movement I started to calculate the math in my head and realized with a smile that I was about to trade down in a bad way – some bad rolling on her part saved one of my Cronos, but that hulk deserved to go down hard.

Looking at the state of the board, I was okay sacrificing my left-most objective where the Death Company were currently mean-mugging my remaining Cronos – who promptly fell back while retaining the capability to shoot. I did, however, want to trap squads in that corner as long as I could. So I disembarked a raider with Wracks, Incubi, and my Succubus and prepared to hunker down to draw some units and fight a protracted engagement after clearing the Death Company. The rest of my army moved out to the middle of the board – I wanted to turn this game into a hammer and anvil fight in the open, taking the central objective on the side of the board far from her jump infantry while working my way into her far corner objective protected by only a small squad of Incursors. I advanced one of my Raiders to tie up the Eradicators braced against the central ruin wall – making sure that Sam was only playing a one-phase game. I tried to cut down as many of the incoming Sanguinary Guard as I could but some good saves kept most of them alive – killing only five from a single squad, a single Bladeguard, and then I cleared the remaining Death Company in my assaults.

On Sam’s second turn, she dedicated both squads of Vanguard Vets, the Chaplain, and the Banner character into my corner – it was fully half of her offensive power and I think more than anything (well almost – I’m playing Drukhari into Marines) probably cost her the game. She wanted the Succubus dead and to claim the objective, but the remaining Sanguinary Guard, Chapter Master, and Bladeguard couldn’t hope to face down the remaining army by themselves. I did help her out a bit by both remembering to retain 1 CP for an emergency disembark in her movement phase on my Raider currently tagging the Eradicators and in a position to be surrounded. Then I promptly forgot about that and blew my last 2 CP on an interrupt I didn’t need – I did manage to get a few models out, including my Razorflail Succubus but lost an Incubi squad and most Wracks for no good reason – could have been disasterous. The remaining Sanguinary Guard and character assaulted my Cronos – using the character who tucked into a ruin prior to charging to deny the overwatch -one squad of Vangaurd Vets and the banner character killed off the other Cronos while the remaining Vanguard Vets blew apart the Succubus and the Incubi. The Chappy picked up my Wracks and my boat just kind of looked on at the carnage. Next turn it’d tie up those Vangaurd Vets and Chaplain for another turn. The central Cronos took a good beating but didn’t die off completely. On my turn, the Archon, Draz, and my remaining Incubi + Razorflail Succubus had the opportunity to clean up what remained in the center of the field – and they did. Clearing both squads of the remaining Sanguinary Guard, Bladeguard, Chapter Master, and Eradicators it left Sam without much to threaten my half of the board. She’d finish my Raider in the corner and move out, but I’d clear off her far corner objective with my Razorflail Succubus and move to solidify the central objective nearest her – making it impossible for her to hold more than 2 objectives or score on Oath in the center of the board. Raising banners where I could, the game would wind down from there. It was a game to remind me that you can’t just sleep on a faction even if you’re piloting a superior one because a good player will still force a game of it.

Sam finished 4-2 and 6th overall. After beginning brilliantly 4-0, she had piloted into back-to-back Drukhari which is a finish no one, much less a Space Marine player, looks forward too – but she certainly taught me a new respect for what the Blood Angels can do!

Result: Victory, 97 – 72

Final Result: 5-1, 3rd Place Finish

 

Final Thoughts

The GHO was an event that I’ve been excited about attending for a long time, and it really has more to do with the people and culture of the event. Sure it was a well-run, well-executed event, and the space itself was great. But being able to see the people I only otherwise interact with via discord or the site was refreshing and a lot of fun. I did notice that my play throughout the event was just sloppier than usual – making mistakes that I shouldn’t in nearly every game. That got me thinking a bit about my game and I realized that it’s very much a factor of just not playing very many games at all outside of tournaments. I play enough tournaments that I can maintain a certain floor, but not enough to just avoid small mistakes that can have big consequences against opponents who can make me pay. It’s a sort of realization without a good answer other than to simply play more or take more time to just think through each turn. In any case, I eagerly anticipate more GHO’s in the future as the search for a suitable belt continues.

 

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