Corrode at Battlefield Birmingham 14 – Day 2

Day 1 report here.

I finished day 1 with a positive record, 2 wins and 1 loss. This wasn’t what anyone hopes for from the first day, but it’s still decent and put me in a good position for day 2.

Game 4 – vs. Sid Sidhu with Dark Angels

Sid had a great-looking (mostly) Dark Angels army stuffed full of Dreadnoughts, with a Blood Angels Supreme Command. I love box Dreadnoughts even if they’re not great in this edition, so it was cool to see.

His list was:

  • Master with Heavenfall Blade and storm shield
  • Techmarine
  • 2x Venerable Dreads, 2x twin autocannons
  • 3x Dreadnoughts, 2x twin autocannons
  • Redemptor Dreadnought with gatling cannons
  • Nephilim Jetfighter
  • 3x 5 Scouts with boltguns
  • 3x slam captains
  • Mephiston

We were playing Retrieval Mission and Deadlock.

I was playing on the same board as game 2 and deployed in basically the same place, hidden behind the crates. I think this was the best game I played all weekend – I set up great screens with my Scouts and Infantry, preventing his slam captains from getting near my lines. He deployed the Dreadnoughts behind the same crates my second-round opponent used to hide his Sanguinary Guard, with most power concentrated on his left flank and just a few Scouts on his left.

He got first turn after seizing on me, and the Dreadnoughts went to work. A ton of autocannon shooting accompanied by a few other shots took the Crusader down to 11 wounds, while the Jetfighter shot up my central Scouts. On my right flank his Scouts shot mine and then forgot to charge – I thought this was intentional but in the end I think it wasn’t. The Redemptor had ambled forwards and shot the Scouts covering my left flank to no effect.

My turn 1 was a pretty damp squib. The Castellan targeted 3 Dreadnoughts and killed none of them, leaving one Venerable on 1 wound, another on 3 Wounds, and the last on 5. The Crusader finished off one Venerable and put a couple more wounds on the central Dreadnought, before my Helverin flanked left and shot it (still behind a strong Scout screen so his slam captains couldn’t get near it). Finally my Scouts charged his Scouts on the right, and killed them off to take the far right objecitve.

On the far left corner my slam captain had decided to go for a cheeky Warlord kill, charging his Master and throwing down 6 wounds with the thunder hammer. Sid failed 3 storm shield saves, but cleverly used his Warlord trait re-roll and a CP re-roll to save him. I also tied up the Redemptor, but he could fall back and play the DA stratagem to clear this up, and my CP farm had turned off completely so I didn’t have enough points to use Honour the Chapter. In retrospect I should have gone with my first instinct of killing another rifleman Dreadnought on the right flank instead, but I thought my shooting was going to take care of that. Poor play on my part.

His turn 2 didn’t really get anywhere. He had nowhere to charge with the Blood Angels captains so left them in deep strike, although Mephiston flew over to beat up my Captain now left exposed by the retreating Master. The Jetfighter zoomed up to shoot the Crusader, leaving it on 2 wounds after I re-rolled the final save to keep it alive. Sid closed the turn with the most depressing failed charge of the tournament, with his Scouts charging mine in my top-right flank, losing 2 guys to Overwatch, failing to do any harm to me, and then the other 2 dying in combat.

On my 2 I blew up his remaining Dreadnoughts and screened out his Captains once again, before killing the Jetfighter too. At this point Sid conceded. He wasn’t feeling well in any case and he recognised that he had nowhere to go from his position, with the majority of my army still active and the majority of his threats to it dead or incapable of reaching me. He’d played a good game but this was a list mismatch, and unlike the Eldar army on day 1 it went my way (even if my Castellan did fluff horribly on turn 1!)

That left me at 3-1 going into the final game. Unfortunately for me, game 5 was:

Game 5 vs. Stephen Box with Ynnari

I knew Stephen by reputation as he’s played a couple of my teammates before who both said how good a player he was. He also had a strong Ynnari list with a splash of Harlequins, and the benefit of having lost to an army similar to mine already this weekend – so of course he’d spent the time since thinking about how to beat it. On the other hand, I don’t know that much about Ynnari, and haven’t seen it played as well as he was about to use it, which presented a challenge to say the least. His list was:

  • Eldrad
  • Yvraine
  • The Yncarne
  • 1 Warlock
  • 2x Death Jesters
  • Solitaire
  • 9 Shining Spears
  • 6 Skyweaver Jetbikes with haywire cannons
  • 10 Dark Reapers
  • 10 Guardian Defenders with weapons platform
  • 2x 5 Rangers

I mentioned yesterday that we played Vanguard Strike in round 3 and it would be funny later. This was the time – I deployed my objectives hoping for Vanguard Strike, and dropped them in the wrong side such that when we actually did roll it I was deployed on completely the wrong side. This really messed with my plan, and threw me off for the rest of the game. This marks the second time in the same event that I’d tried to be cute with objectives and gotten stung by it – maybe a lesson to be learned here.

The game was Dominate & Destroy with Targets of Opportunity.

I deployed my Castellan way back, with the benefit of a big LoS-blocker in the middle, and a Helverin hanging out with him on that side. A squad of Infantry and a Commander hung out with them to screen out Rangers and push for the one objective on the left that was relatively undefended. The rest of my army deployed on the right flank, trying to push out early onto the objectives there. Stephen deployed his Skyweavers behind the central LoS blocker, with his Shining Spears facing down my infantry and Crusader, and the Reapers in the webway. Yvraine, Eldrad and a couple of others hung back in the top-right corner (from my perspective) in order to block deep strikers.

Here was the first Eldar thing it turned out I knew nothing about – Phantasm. Stephen won the roll to go first, and re-deployed Eldrad and the Warlock up behind the Shining Spears. This gave him the pile of buffs he needed to really make them crazy. I didn’t deploy nearly defensively enough – I should have pushed further back and forced him to draw further out (in particular, if I’d thought about the Harlequin bikes I should have forced them to have to jump over and be unable to Fire and Fade back behind a LoS blocker if they wanted to shoot my Crusader) but hey ho. Initially I thought that if I’d got first turn I would have wiped the Spears, but thinking back on it I suspect if he’d gone second he’d have re-deployed them well back behind the Guardian screen. Something I’d not seen before and one of those times when the lack of practice against some armies really shows.

In any case, he was going first and the inevitable happened, with the Spears charging forwards to push into my infantry, Captain, Mephiston and the Crusader, and the Harlie bikes jumping forwards too. The Dark Reapers also showed up next to Yvraine. A full hand of buffs went off on the Shining Spears, Doom landed on my Crusader, and a torrent of shooting tore it to pieces. A huge charge took out all the Infantry and Mephiston before he Soulbursted his bikes away from combat. The only saving grace was his Solitaire failing to kill my Captain.

In my turn things looked pretty bleak. I still had the Castellan and Helverin up, but not a lot else to work with. They failed to do much to the Shining Spears, although my Captain did manage to kill the Solitaire with some lucky rolling. I also cleared a squad of Rangers off my left side objective with the Infantry, which was great until the Yncarne appeared over there in a shower of gore.

Turn 2 rolled around and Stephen once again showed the power of the Ynnari. The Skyweavers jumped over their LoS blocker, and the Yncarne Word of the Phoenix’d them down to be in charge range of my Helverin. The Shining Spears re-appeared to fight my Captain, while his Rangers pushed onto my right flank objectives.

The jetbikes shot my Castellan although fortunately didn’t do too much to it thanks to some lucky Benevolence of the Omnissiah saves, before they and the Yncarne charged my Helverin and murdered it in short order. The Shining Spears charged down the Captain and once again failed to kill him, losing a couple more elves in the process.

At this point things looked pretty grim. Luckily the Castellan decided to lose his damn mind, wiping out the entire squad of Harlequins on the left with the first volley from Cawl’s Wrath (in retrospect I wish I’d aimed a couple of the guns elsewhere, but I did not expect to wipe the entire squad in one go!) The Captain took out the remaining Shining Spears with a closing Only in Death, and my Scouts killed off another squad of Rangers in combat.

The rest of the game was about Stephen wearing down the Castellan. At the point it was on 4 wounds it still managed to stumble forwards and wipe out the Dark Reapers, the Warlock, and the Yncarne in the same round of fire. If it could have killed Eldrad I might just have pulled the game back to a minor loss, but I didn’t quite have enough weapons to take him down and he dropped an insanely clutch super-Smite to take its last 4 wounds off before running and hiding behind Guardians for the rest of the game. Despite my huge early losses, it ended up being a pretty grim fight for both of us – I was left with one slam-captain cowering on an objective on my far left flank, and a squad of Infantry holding another on a hill, while he had Yvraine, a squad of Guardians, Eldrad and a lone Death Jester hiding behind a LoS-blocker as protection against getting tabled. The end result had a huge number of points on both sides, with Stephen winning 49-30.

That left me on 3 wins and 2 losses, and in 30th position overall. Not a bad event – one very soft loss, one very hard-fought loss, and 3 good wins. Overall I’m happy with it for an army I hadn’t practiced with beforehand, and with plenty to think about for things that could be done better next time. Unfortunately it’s once again FAQ season, so any such thoughts have to be put on hold until we know how things will look for the next few months before it all changes again with Chapter Approved – though luckily I have three more events before that arrives, so I can at least try and make some plans!

What was interesting is the armies the winners were playing. The overall winner ran Tau with 3 Tigersharks, which gave him a ton of ability to delete large hordes (apparently he erased 100+ models in a turn in his last game) while also being less vulnerable to Knights than most lists. 2nd and 3rd were both Chaos armies with different types of infantry horde – again, lists which offer very few targets for Knights and Blood Angels captains. It’s interesting to see a potential counter-meta evolving despite what we talked about in the FAQ posts recently.

My team did well at this event too, being the 4th best team overall. Naramyth went undefeated, though 2 draws cost him some positions. One_Wing I’m sure you’ll hear about shortly when he posts his own report on day 2. Overall a great event, and one I’ll be returning to in March when Battlefield Birmingham 15 arrives!