Eye of Horras Report: Pro Tabletop The Atlanta Open

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Hello again, Scott Horras “Heresy” here with another tournament report! This time I’m covering my experiences as the much-discussed Atlanta Pro TableTop Open. I’m going to deviate a little bit from our normal routine and condense my games a little bit. Partly because Pro TableTop (henceforth PTT) was an awesome event for me and I want to talk about stuff that happened outside of the game a little bit… and partly because I wasn’t totally in love with my list. Don’t worry though, I’ll still put in plenty of pretty pictures.

For this recap, I’m gonna go ahead and break it up by day. The PTT was soooooo much more than 7 games of Warhammer for me and I want to do my best to capture the atmosphere of everything that went down that weekend. PTT suffered from its fair share of interwebs bashing and drama before it fired, and… I’m gonna say this up front: It didn’t deserve it. It was a great event and I’ll be going next year.

 

Day 0 Mood: Tentative

Unless you’re living under a rock or you’re like… a totally normal person who doesn’t really pay attention to competitive ‘hamm slammin’ you’d know that the PTT Atlanta Open made its debut onto the ‘hamm slammin’ scene the first weekend of December. The event was preceded by unprecedented amounts of interwebs drama for a number of reasons. First there was the $5,000 prize. Why would anyone introduce real life money in our beautiful hobby of plastic army mans?!?!?!? Then there was the streaming set-up. How dare anyone stream such undoubtedly embarrassing event?!?!?! And then it was the sponsors. Event sponsors not directly related to the hobby, extremely standardized terrain, professional Warhammer players, human sacrifice, DOGS AND CATS LIVING TOGETHER… MASS HYSTERIA!!!

Okay so honestly, I hadn’t really had a ton of time to pay attention to, or participate in, the vast majority of the drama that went down before the PTT Atlanta Open. I spent the VAST majority of my hobby time getting my army ready for the event. Anything I had heard about PTT before showing up the day of the event was… largely secondhand and unfortunately, largely negative. I knew a few folks heading to the event and I wanted to hang with them, but I didn’t know if they’d be busy or have their own cliques to hang out with. I had a fellow Goonhammer author that I knew I was going to hang with (Editor’s Note: Goonhammer Contributor Axis of Entropy was also at the event), but otherwise I was largely traveling to this event without an established crew to hang out with when I arrived (TheChirurgeon’s Note: This was my experience at NOVA 2018 and it sucked ass on Day 1. Also, it’s me. I’m the editor). I didn’t feel great packing up my stuff to fly out Thursday night. I felt like I was spending a lot of money and time off traveling to an event I had only heard negative things about with an army I knew I couldn’t win with. Worst of all, I felt like I was doing it all alone.

It’s going to sound cheesy, but I’m someone who can pretty much have a good time anywhere so long as there’s some friends to hang with. Between my team and my ‘hamm slammin’ fiancée I usually have a travel partner, so these lonely feels hit me pretty hard leading up to PTT.

I got to my hotel at around 1:30 AM on Friday morning and couldn’t really get to sleep. I went over my list a few times and cracked open my copy of Cadian Honour after that. I think I finally rolled over and conked out around 3:00 AM.

 

The Event Format

It’s clear that PTT was interested in creating a new Grand Slam event in the vein of LVO, Adepticon, and NOVA – The event ran three days, with the first six rounds using Swiss pairings (read: Record-matching), and players then placed into single-elimination brackets on Day 3, with better records leading to placement in higher brackets.

The PTT Atlanta Open had a few unique twists on the ITC format. I didn’t really know any of these details going into the event because I hadn’t taken the time to read over the packet — which was a huge mistake. Going into the event I had incorrectly assumed that we’d be playing the basic ITC format. I was wrong.

PTT had made a number of modifications to the standard ITC packets and introduced a few nifty features like deployment style selection and slightly modified objective placement. Here’s a link to the event page if you want to check it out for yourself, but a few of the key highlights are:

  • All of the terrain was 100% standardized, so every single board was identical and extremely well defined
  • All objectives had been moved such that you could never control them from the opposite side of a terrain feature
  • Players negotiate their deployment style rather than randomizing them
  • Every mission used the Chapter Approved 2018 deployment style, i.e. entire army deployment, with the player deploying first having the first turn unless the other player could seize

The PTT Atlanta Open Table Layout

 

My List

I brought my brand-new Space Marines to the event. I was completely unpracticed with my list, only having managed to make it to a single 6-person RTT with it the week before to desperately try and work out some of the kinks. It wasn’t optimized, and had some glaring weaknesses like not having any board control to speak of, having a very low skill ceiling, including a Chapter Master, and not having an invulnerable save for my Repulsors. I was aware of the list’s deficiencies, but I didn’t really think I had time to adjust my painting schedule before the Atlanta Open to make anything better. Considering that it was effectively THE boogeyman Iron Hands list that got ruthlessly demolished by the FAQ on the Supplement two weeks prior to list submissions, I figured that maybe most players had moved on to consider scarier un-nerfed marine threats like Centurion-heavy builds you see running around, or much higher skill ceiling Iron Hands lists like the one Nick Nanavati ran.

Anyways. The general game plan for this list is to get 2 Repulsors and my planes, or all 3 Repulsors past turn 1 and take it from there. Obviously, all I can really try and do with this list is attempt to table my opponent or simply power wash them off of objectives on the bottom of the turn. So ideally I’m playing someone who can’t kill more than a single Repulsor on the first turn if they go first, or someone who I can sufficiently cripple in my opening salvo if I have to go first. To be honest, I’d prefer to play the games where I’m going second and not losing a whole lot of my firepower. I have almost no board control, so going second is really nice so long as I’m not losing like 600 points of my army for doing so.

This list is absolutely not a take all comers list. It’s a hard skew so be prepared to take big wins or big loses, but not much in between. Use with caution… That being said, I’ve come to love my Iron Hams

 

My Atlanta Open Army

Iron Hands Battallion

Primaris Chapter Master – Stalker Bolt Rifle
Primaris Librarian
Primaris Lieutenant – Stalker Bolt Rifle

5x Infiltrators (2 Squads)
5x Intercessors – Stalker Bolt Rifle

2xStormhawk Interceptor – Icarus Stormcannon, Typhoon Missile Lawn Chair

Iron Hands Spearhead

Irondaddi Guy Fierros
3xRepulsor Executioner – Heavy Laser Destroyer, Ironhail Heavy Stubber

Tactics

For each round we’ll cover the following:

  • The Plan – My opponent’s army, the mission, and how I aimed to play out the game and target priorities.
  • The Highlights – how the game played out at a high level
  • The Takeaways – points of interest and things I learnt from the game

 

Day 1 Mood: Doin’ OK

Considering that I maybe slept for… 4 hours the night before? I woke up feeling alright heading into Day 1 of ATL Open. Still feeling those worries from the night before… I pounded down some crummy hotel breakfast and headed out to arrive at Axis Replay at 8AM sharp. As soon as I walked into Axis Replay, everything I had worried about fell away.

 

This venue was awesome! First off, I had never been to a gaming lounge that was as clean and well furnished as Axis Replay was. I’m not going to pretend like I’m a regular at any places like that, but I don’t think I had been to a gaming lounge since I was in middle school. My impression of them was that they were super grimy and smelled like a McDonald’s ball pit. Axis Replay was totally the opposite. They had plenty of space to hang if you weren’t actively gaming, everything was clean, and I quickly learned that they had obtained an event liquor license and were serving beer all day. That settles my two largest concerns: I’ve got beer and I’ve got ‘hamms. this weekend is gonna be just fine.

To top it all off, I got some sweet swag. The standard FLG Mat used for the event and a pack of those mouse pad objective markers. I already have some from my team, but honestly… I think I like these ones better.

Round 1 – T’au

The Plan

Opponent: Allen Yepez
Modified ITC Champion’s: Scenario 1 – Seize Ground
Deployment: Dawn of War

Allen Yepez's Tau - Click to expand

Ta’u Sept Outrider

HQ: Commander in Enforcer Battlesuit w/3x Fusion Blaster, Drone Controller, 2x Shield Drone
HQ: Ethereal on Hover Drone

FA: Tactical Drones (8x Shield / 3x Marker)
FA: Tactical Drones (8x Shield / 3x Marker)
FA: Tactical Drones (8x Shield / 3x Marker)

T’au Sept Vanguard

HQ: Cadre Fireblade w/Shield Drone
HQ: Coldstar Commander w/4x Fusion Blaster, 2x Shield Drone

EL: XV104 Riptide Battlesuit w/Adv Targeting System, Heavy Burst Cannon, Target Lock
EL: XV104 Riptide Battlesuit w/Adv Targeting System, Heavy Burst Cannon, Target Lock
EL: XV104 Riptide Battlesuit w/Adv Targeting System, Heavy Burst Cannon, Target Lock

FA: Pathfinder Team x5 w/Grav-inhibitor drone, 2x shield drone

T’au Sept Vanguard

HQ: Cadre Fireblade w/Shield Drone
HQ: Coldstar Commander w/4x Fusion Blaster, 2x Shield Drone

EL: Firesight Marksman
EL: Firesight Marksman
EL: Firesight Marksman

 

Alright, so Allen’s got your pretty standard T’au build for these days. I wasn’t super concerned going into this matchas I can do a good job of starving him of kills, and my Stormhawks are gonna be a real pain in the butt for him to kill considering his entire list has fly. We screwed up, and at this point didn’t know we were supposed to negotiate our deployment how PTT ATL had laid out. So we ended up with Dawn of War. That being the case and given the deployment, I really wanted to go first, and lay into his riptides with 3 Repulsors and start taking out those drones before I had to take any shooting. I was a little worried about his fusion commanders, but if I could go first I could buff up all three of my Repulsors to make them more difficult to kill.

The Highlights

I centrally deployed my Repulsors with a Stormhawk anchoring each corner of my deployment zone. All of my Infantry except for my Ironstone bearer and Feirros were embarked in my Repulsors to help starve early kills if he seized on me. Allen deployed his two Coldstars in reserves along with a squad of drones, but otherwise tried to hunker down behind his corner ruin.

Unfortunately for Allen, there wasn’t really any great place to hide his army as his Riptides were significantly taller than the ruins. He was able to hide everything except for his Riptides from my Repulsors though, so I’d at least have to kill his drones in an inefficient manner. I flew my Stormhawks in front of my Repulsors to get them into my Chapter Master and Lieutenant’s Auras for a super brutal Turn 1 shooting phase.

Turns out Space Marine shooting is really brutal when you can’t hide from it and it’s got full re-rolls… I ended up killing all of his drones and downing a Riptide on the first turn, putting me in a great position for the rest of the game. On turn 3 Allen managed to bring in his Coldstars from deepstrike and pop a Repulsor, but it wasn’t enough… he had taken two full turns of shooting from a full powered Marine army at that point, ending the game in a tabling on turn 4.

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The Takeaways

Honestly, this was more of less how I expected my list to function. Don’t worry, we’ll cover the results in depth when my list functions poorly. If I go first and you can’t hide your army very well I know two ABSOLUTELY TERRIBLE assumptions: 1. I’m gonna hide all of my vulnerable units and 2. kill so much that you can’t get back into that game, starving you of kills, and very slowly and conservatively falling onto objectives. I felt pretty decent coming out of this one, but I knew full well that I had straight up gotten lucky with the deployment and going first, but hey sometimes it’s okay to win off of luck.

The Score

Scott: 36 – Allen: 11

 

Round 2 – Mortarion and Thermal Chaos Knights

The Plan

Opponent: Austin Wingfield
Modified ITC Champion’s: Scenario 3 – Nexus Control

Deployment: Search and Destroy

Austin's List - Click to expand

Super-Heavy Auxiliary Detachment

LoWMortarion

Chaos Knights Super-Heavy Detachment

LoW: Knight Despoiler w/2x Thermal Cannon, Veil of Medrengard, Character, Warlord, Knight Diabolus, Iconoclast
LoW: Knight Despoiler w/2x Thermal Cannon, Dreadblade, Iconoclast
LoW: Knight Despoiler w/2x Thermal Cannon, Dreadblade, Iconoclast

Nurgle Battalion

HQ: Sorcerer w/Force Sword, MoN
HQ: Poxbringer

Troops: Nurglings x3
Troops: Nurglings x3
Troops: Poxwalkers x10

Oh man, Austin brought skew, and his skew beats my skew… really bad. The only option I built into my list was to kill my way out of problems… Let’s hope this works out! In reality, the only shot I’m really going to have in this game is just to limit the damage of the Knights. They’ve got a 12″ to 14″ movement depending on his pregame Dreadblade selections with an 18″ melta range. I figure to give myself the best shot I’ve got to keep the majority of the Knights outside of their 18″ range band and hope Morty fails a charge on Repulsors. All it’s gonna take for the game to swing hard in either direction is a single good or bad turn on either of our parts. I’m really just hoping I get lucky before he does.
Editor’s Note: Austin had a pretty good first two days, going 6-0 into day 3 before losing to eventual champion Richard Siegler in the first round of day 3.

The Highlights

Austin deploys his army first. All three Knights and Morty have their toes on the starting line, ready to surge forward and start laying into me with their Thermal Lances. I deploy my army more or less in a corner behind the hill, but I can’t keep everything out of range. I didn’t have much, if any dead space to hide from the knights because they were so fast. So my flyers were pretty much completely exposed on the opening turn. I failed to seize and Austin instantly deleted 1 Stormhawk and brought the second down to a single wound with his first knight’s shooting. Great… Luckily, he isn’t able to kill anything else on the first turn.

On my first turn, I’m looking at 3 Repulsors and a Stormhawk that’s still alive. I figure I’m doing pretty good and I got enough gas in the tank to kill about a Knight and a half. Unfortunately, none of my psychic powers go off, so I can pretty much guarantee that I’m going to be losing my Stormhawk and two other Repulsors the following turn unless I roll super hot and kill two full Knights.

Welp, I didn’t kill a single Knight on the first turn. As you can guess, Austin came back and completely stomped my Repulsors. Ending the game on Turn 4 with Morty coming in and squishing my last character or two.

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The Takeaways

Live by the skew, die by the skew. I don’t really think this game was salvageable into a win, but I could’ve taken a more conservative turn 1 shooting and tried to completely focus down a Knight in the first turn. This would’ve netted me more points and possibly extended the game, but I didn’t do that because I figured that I had to take down two Knights or Austin was gonna cruise to an easy victory even if he lost a Knight on the first turn. I hindsight, I think I should’ve take the more conservative line of play and not gone all in on my turn 1 shooting goals. I could’ve taken more chances at getting lucky later in the game.

The Score

Scott: 13 – Austin: 36

 

Round 3 – Imperium Soup with Imperial Guard and Raven Guard

The Plan

Opponent: Nick Antzoulatos
Modified ITC Champion’s: Scenario 5 – Precious Cargo

Deployment: Spearhead Assault

Nick's Army List - Click to expand

Catachan Brigade
Specialist Detachment: Emperor’s Fist Tank Company

HQ: Col. “Iron Hand” Straken
HQ: Company Commander
HQ: Company Commander

EL: Ministorum Priest
EL: Bullgryn Bodyguard
EL: Platoon Commander

FA: Scout Sentinel
FA: Scout Sentinel
FA: 5x RIP Riders

Troops: Infantry Squad x10
Troops: Infantry Squad x10
Troops: Infantry Squad x10
Troops: Infantry Squad x10
Troops: Infantry Squad x10
Troops: Infantry Squad x10

HS: 3x Mortars
HS: 3x Mortars
HS: 3x Mortars

Tallarn Battalion

HQ: Relic Battle Cannon Tank Commander
HQ: Demolisher Tank Commanders

Troops: Infantry Squad x10
Troops: Infantry Squad x10
Troops: Infantry Squad x10

Raven Birds Successors Vanguard
You know… that one full of stealthy long ranged marksmen that wear Centurion suits around all the time…

Chapter Tactics: Hungry for Battle, Long-Range Marksmen

HQ: Jump Pack Chaplain

EL: Centurion Assault Squad x3
EL: Centurion Assault Squad x3
EL: Centurion Assault Squad x3

I felt really good going into this one. Being a Guard player at heart… I admired Nick for being true to his soul and sticking with Guard for PTT ATL. Also, being a much more talented Guard player than I am a Iron Ham player, I was really confident going into this match. Lists like mine are exactly why I retired my Guard until something changes with the meta… Nick didn’t really have any way to threaten my Repulsors on the firs turn, and given my Infiltrators and Repulsors… his Centurions were probably not going to be charging anything off of the deep strike either.

 

The Highlights

Nick gets to deploy his army first. He puts both Russes and all of his Centurions in deep strike. Otherwise, he hides all of his Guardsmen in his Ruin and does his best to backline the rest of his Guardsmen behind his hill. I deploy my Repulsors near my hill, with the plan that if Nick wasn’t careful with his move/shoot/move Tank Commander, I’d be able to see it from the hill and ace it with a Repulsor.

I decline to seize, and Nick is off to the races. He doesn’t have much turn one shooting to speak of, so pretty much fires his battle cannon and does his best to move his Tank Commander back behind his ruin. He pops some characters onto his objectives and passes the turn. On my first turn, I float a couple of my Repulsors up on top of my hill and begin screening out Nick’s Demolisher drops, pop his Tank Commander with a heavy laser destroyer, and clear a Company Commander off of one of his objectives with a Stormhawk. Turn 2 is fairly uneventful except for a Demolisher showing up in his back corner and acing my Stormhawk.

Turn 3, Nick is forced to bring in the rest of his reserves, and given that he could only fire his outflanking Demolisher at my Ironstoned Repulsor, his drops didn’t do much. I picked up the tanks and Centurions in the following couple turns while Nick plays cagey to stay in the game and pick up the points he can. The game ends turn 6 in what ends up being pretty close to a tabling.

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The Takeaways

This matchup is exactly why I switched off of Guard. The AP of Marines just hurts Guard so much because there’s hardly any invulnerables to be found across the entire army. Guardsmen just get power-washed by the copious amounts of AP-2 shooting and a Leman Russ that can get shot with an HLD just explodes immediately. I was satisfied with how much my list was able to snub deepstrike-based armies, as I don’t really enjoy playing the meticulous mini-game of ‘Was that model bumped or is this a unit I can wrap off of my deepstrike?’. Nick wasn’t really going for that, but the non-interaction that Infiltrators presented for his Centurions off of the deepstrike was really really nice.

The Score

Scott: 35 – Nick: 16

Day 1 Record: 2-1

After Day 1 games wrapped up, I went and kicked it with fellow Goonhammer contributor, Axis of Entropy. We went out to diner with his buddy Adam at a pretty nice Japanese place. This was the first time I had traveled to an event since being christened a ‘Goon’ and it was super nice to know that I had someone to hang out with after the first day since I was traveling alone. We all bonded over the fact that none of us were in contention of any sort of prize at this event, but everyone was super pumped with the quality of everything.

Headed back to my hotel room, and tossed and turned until like… 2 AM again… I think my sleep cycle was all messed up from traveling the night before.

 

Day 2 Mood: This Is Great!

Day 2 had us play in our brackets for a chance at qualifying for the top bracket for some of that sweet sweet prize money. I hadn’t slept well the night before again, but I felt like I was on cloud 9. I knew I was headed into a full day of slammin’ ‘hamms and drinking beer at a nice event. Being 2-1 at this point, there was still a chance that I could win my bracket and play in the ‘finals’ on the last day. What more could you ask for?

Welp, if I could’ve asked anything… It would’ve been to not play thermal Knights again because I was about to have to play thermal Knights again.

Round 4 – More Thermal Chaos Knights

The Plan

Opponent: Davis Frye
Modified ITC Champion’s: Scenario 6 – Precious Cargo

Deployment: Spearhead Assault

Davis' Army List - Click to expand

Flawless Host Supreme Command

HQ: Lord Discordant on Helstalker w/Autocannon, MoS, Warlord: Ultimate Confidence
HQ: Lord Discordant on Helstalker w/Autocannon, MoS
HQ: Lord Discordant on Helstalker w/Autocannon, MoS

Chaos Daemons Battalion

HQ: Herald of Slaneesh
HQ: Poxbringer

Troops: Nurglings x3
Troops: Nurglings x3
Troops: Nurglings x3

Chaos Knights Super-Heavy Detachment

LoW: Knight Despoiler w/2x Thermal Cannon, Dreadblade, Iconoclast, Ironstorm Missile Pod
LoW: Knight Despoiler w/2x Thermal Cannon, Character, Dreadblade, Iconoclast, Ironstorm Missile Pod
LoW: Knight Despoiler w/2x Thermal Cannon, Dreadblade, Iconoclast

Honestly, I was pretty annoyed that I pulled thermal Knights again. Hopefully this goes better than my game against Austin. The plan here is to try and just kill one Knight per turn to stay on track. If I could cleverly use my flyers to make charging the tanks really difficult for the Discolords, I might be able to juggle that threat until turn 3 while I’m fighting Knights with my shooting.

The Highlights

I got to go first, which was awesome cause I downed a Knight and a half with my shooting. What was decidedly less awesome was the fact that I TOTALLY FORGOT that Flyers no longer blocked movement across their bases. I have no idea why I thought this thing, it was probably the crappy sleep I was getting the two nights before but it REALLY messed up my game plan. Davis launched a Disco-missile into my characters and started wreaking havoc while his two remaining Knights came around and popped a Repulsor. This being the case, I had to spend the next two turns cleaning up Discolords instead of shooting Knights, which conflicts with the whole killing a Knight per turn to stay on track plan I had devised earlier. On Turn 4 I lost my last Repulsor to thermal Knight shooting and Davis got me with a nice Boots on the Ground on the bottom of turn 5 for the win.

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The Takeaways

WHOOPS You ever just mess up something so tremendously bad that you can’t help but be impressed? Well, file this game under that category for me. I’m honestly usually pretty good solid with my rules, and moving under Flyers has been a thing for a looooooooooong time now. I truly have no idea why I thought you could move block with Flyers anymore. Maybe it was just some suppressed memory of my Knight Lancer getting move blocked by Crimson Hunter Exarchs in the bonus round at LVO 2019…

Anyways, I totally lost this one for myself. I opened right up and let a Discolord get into my characters, the following turn this let a character get locked in combat by Davis’s Herald of Slaneesh with the Forbidden Gem which shielded a Disclord from shooting. I made so many mistakes, I totally deserved to lose this one. As far as this game goes, I did a decent job of playing a good game despite my massive mistakes. I actually was pretty close until Davis realized that all he had to do was pick up a few Infiltrators on Turn 5 and he’d win with a nice and comfortable lead.

The Score

Scott: 23 – Davis: 30

 

Round 5 – Imperium Soup

The Plan

Opponent: Justin Lois
Modified ITC Champion’s: Scenario 1 – Seize Ground

Deployment: Search and Destroy

Justin's Army List - Click to expand

Adeptus Mechanicus Battalion

Forge World: Stygies VIII

HQ: Daedalosus
HQ: Tech-Priest Enginseer

Troops: Skitarii Rangers x5
Troops: Skitarii Rangers x5
Troops: Skitarii Rangers x5

Eltites: Fulgurite Electro-Priests x10

FA: Sydonian Dragoons w/Taser Lance x5

HS: Skorpius Disintegrator w/Belleros
HS: Skorpius Disintegrator w/Belleros

DT: Terrax-Pattern Termite Assault Drill

Iron Hands Successor Spearhead

Chapter Tactic: Master Artisans, Stealthy

HQ: Chaplain Venerable Dreadnought w/Twin Lascannon

HS: Mortis Dreadnought w/2x Twin Lascannon — Made a Character using the Stratagem
HS: Thunderfire Cannon
HS: Thunderfire Cannon

Blood Angels Battalion

HQ: Captain w/Jump Pack, Thunder Hammer, Storm Shield, WARLORD
HQ: Captain w/Jump Pack, Thunder Hammer, Storm Shield

Troops: Scouts w/Bolter x5
Troops: Scouts w/Bolt Pistol + Sword x5
Troops: Scouts w/Bolt Pistol + Sword x5

Uh… Yeah. So when I first saw this army, I thought to myself ‘Man that’s a lot of shenanigans packed into one list’. Having already played this game at the time of writing this… I can confirm; there’s a lot of shenanigans happening here. Ideally, I can go first and mitigate the effectiveness of Forlorn Fury on Slamguinius and just stay 22″ inches away from the guy and try and clean up the rest of his army. My impression was that, while Justin wasn’t exactly light on anti-tank shooting, he wasn’t exactly heavy on it. If I could keep his Dragoons, smash Captains, and Electropriests from doing significant amounts of melee damage to my Repulsors, I could come out on top of the ‘killing things’ game. Board control was going to be an issue even going second, so hopefully I can at least keep Slamguinius out of combat on the first turn if I end up on the bottom of the turn.

The Highlights

Whelp, I didn’t get to go first. So Slamguinius got to move twice, advance, and then charge on the first turn; resulting in a total movement of about 46″ between moving, charging, fighting. Luckily, between Justin’s Shooting and Fighting he was only able to take down a single Repulsor on his first turn, so I went into my first turn fairly optimistic about my chances of making it a game. I slammed both of my Repulsors into his Dragoons to kill them right out of the gate, and then I sent my Stormhawks to got try and take out his diet Slamginius and Mortis Dreadnought. Unfortunately, my first Stormhawk biffed it killing a squad of Scouts shielding his Diet Slamguinius so I tried to adjust by shooting the Mortis Dreadnought with my second one. Unfortunately, he biffed it too so I had effectively just thrown away both my Stormhawks on the top of his turn 2. He cleaned up my wounded Repulsor and both Stormhawks on his turn 2, leaving me to play the game out with a single Repulsor to finish the rest of the game with.

He picked up my last tank on the top of Turn 4 and bled me for points the rest of the game by killing a single unit and passing the turn.

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The Takeaways

Oof. When you get Slamguinius moving 30″ and charging on the first turn… there’s not a whole lot I could’ve done to stop him from getting into combat on the first turn given that deployment. That being said, I could’ve done a better job with the game I was given. Had I targeted the Mortis Dreadnought with both Stormhawks shooting and positioned them a bit farther away from Diet Slamguinius, there’s a chance that I could’ve had both of those Flyers and another Repulsor heading into turn 3. The consistent output of those 6 lascannons coming out of that untargetable firebase really hurt over a couple of turns, and having them around allowed Justin to easily finish my wounded Repulsor and plink away at my last one.

Had the Mortis died, I may have been able to hold unto my planes and last Repulsor for the rest of the game, which probably would’ve resulted in a lot more ‘Kill More’ on the scoreboard for me. That being said, I think Justin would’ve won it on board control even if I played my best game.

The Score

Scott: 12 – Justin: 40

 

Round 6 – SPESS MEHREENS

The Plan

Opponent: Matt Talley
Modified ITC Champion’s: Scenario 3 – Nexus Control

Deployment: Spearhead Assault

Matt's Army List - Click to expand

Raven Guard Successor Battalion

Chapter Tactic – Long-range Marksmen, Master Artisans

HQ: Captain w/Jump Pack, Thunder Hammer, Storm Shield
HQ: Chaplain w/Jump Pack

Troops: Scout Squad x5 w/Sniper Rifle
Troops: Scout Squad x5 w/Bolter
Troops: Scout Squad x5 w/Bolter

EL: Centurion Assault Squad x4
EL: Centurion Assault Squad x4

HS: Thunderfire Cannon
HS: Thunderfire Cannon

White Scars Battalion

HQ: Captain on Bike w/Thunder Hammer, Storm Shield
HQ: Librarian on Bike w/Force Stave

Troops: Scouts x5
Troops: Scouts x5
Troops: Scouts x5

EL: Company Veterans on Bike x5 – 4x w/Storm Shield, Thunder Hammer on Sgt.
EL: Company Veterans on Bike x5 – 4x w/Storm Shield, Thunder Hammer on Sgt.
EL: Vanguard Veterans x6 w/Storm Shield, Thunder Hammer on Sgt.

So going into this one, I was pretty confident that I had it in the bag. Matt had almost no shooting to speak of, and my list is really difficult to charge, even if you’ve got a number of ways to ignore Overwatch. I was obviously concerned about his various flavors of Smash Captains and Assault Centurions getting to combat with my tanks, but that’s going to be difficult to do unless he seizes on me or something to that effect. Otherwise, once those two threats are taken care of, I can pretty much push my Repulsors around the board deleting whatever I please with impunity.

The Highlights

So remember how I said that it would be difficult to get into combat with me unless I got seized on? Well… I got seized on. This was the last game of a long weekend were I wasn’t sleeping very well, so admittedly my deployment was sloppy. I just… didn’t really feel like accounting for the seize. Full disclosure. So Matt gets his Raven Bird Smash Captain, Bike Smash Captain and a squad of Assault Centurions into one of my Repulsors on the top of turn 1 with the redeploy Raven Bird Warlord Trait and some White Scare shenanigans to move his White Scare Bike Smash Captain really far.

Matt punches my lead Repulsor super dead, and I ask if there’s any reason I can’t fall back next turn. He tells me that his Bike Smashtain prevents fall back on a 4+, so I decide to auto explode my own Repulsor in the middle of my army, with the hope of doing enough wounds to his Bike Smashtain to Smite him off of another one of my Repulsors the following turn. Well, I didn’t have to cause I rolled a big old 6 when rolling mortal wounds on the Bike Smash Captain, to pick him up right out of the gate. As a bonus, my explosion didn’t manage to kill any of my own characters.

On my turn 1, I cleared out the Raven Bird Smash Captain and Centurions right in front of me while building out my deep strike denial for turn 2. Over turns 2 and 3 Matt brought in his deep strikers but wasn’t able to effect much as he wasn’t able to get any charges off. From there I coasted to a pretty comfortable victory ending in a tabling on the top of turn 5.

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The Takeaways

Sometimes you get lucky, and sometimes I’d rather be lucky than good. This instance was one of them. I started off tremendously unlucky by getting seized on, but was able to bring it back with some luck of my own with a really nice explosion roll. To be honest, Matt probably would’ve had a better game had he not seized. Losing his ability to keep me from falling back was a huge blow that he was never really able to recover from. This was another game were I really appreciated my Flyers and Infiltrators, as they did an excellent job of shutting down deep strike shenanigans.

The Score

Scott: 32 – Matt: 15

Day 2 Record: 3-3

Day 2 Games wrapped up, and I was firmly out of the running for that sweet, sweet prize money. Honestly, it’s fine. I really had no delusions that I was going to win it anyways, but I would’ve been nice to end the day with more wins than losses. I head to dinner with a number of the players there to a pretty sweet indoor market nearby, kick back a few beers with them and head back to the hotel room again because I’m ridiculously tired.

Apparently it didn’t matter how tired I was… because I wasn’t getting asleep until about 2 AM again. Thanks body, I hate it.

 

Day 3 Mood: Still Tired

The Summary

For those of us that stuck around for Day 3, we basically had our own RTTs to compete in for other event prizes. I got knocked out in the first round by Schuyler Quinn’s T’au, running a list that was significantly better kitted out to deal with my bullshit than my first opponent. The long and short of it is that he brought velocity trackers on all of his stuff instead of target lock (a move that Siegler also used to great effect), and committed his fusion Coldstars on the first turn. Resulting in all of my Repulsors getting picked up by turn 2.

Schuyler's List - Click to Expand

T’au Sept Battalion

HQ: Coldstar Commander w/4x Fusion Blaster, 2x Shield Drone
HQ: Ethereal on Hover Drone, Warlord, Puretide Engram Chip

Troops: Strike Team x5
Troops: Strike Team x5
Troops: Strike Team x5

T’au Sept Outrider

HQ: Cadre Fireblade w/2x Shield Drone
HQ: Coldstar Commander w/Drone Controller, 3x Fusion Blaster, 2x Shield Drone

FA: Pathfinders x5 w/Recon Drone, 2x Shield Drone
FA: Drones (7x Shield / 2x Marker)
FA: Drones (7x Shield / 2x Marker)
FA: Drones (7x Shield / 2x Marker)

T’au Sept Vanguard

HQ: Cadre Fireblade w/2x Shield Drone
HQ: Commander Shadowsun w/2x Shield Drone

EL: Dahyak Grekh
EL: XV104 Riptide Battlesuit w/Heavy Burst Cannon, Advanced Targeting System, Velocity Tracker
EL: XV104 Riptide Battlesuit w/Heavy Burst Cannon, Advanced Targeting System, Velocity Tracker
EL: XV104 Riptide Battlesuit w/Heavy Burst Cannon, Advanced Targeting System, Velocity Tracker

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Afterward, I played a practice game with my teammate Shane for a GT we were headed to the following week. I had some tweaks to my list in mind, considering that the Faith and Fury Psychic Awakening stuff would be valid for that event. For what those changes were and how that shook out… you’re just gonna have to tune in next week!

 

Conclusion

Let me say it one more time for the folks in the back. PTT ATL was a great event. And if you were disappointed by that then well, you’ve got the wrong attitude. It was completely different than any tournament I’ve ever been to, but it was extremely refreshing. I’m super glad I went, and I’m excited for ‘hamm to get some more eSports style event support because it was pretty rad. More money, sponsors, and interest in events for this hobby is a good thing.

For anyone wondering if ‘hamm is a vehicle capable of supporting professional play… Look to PTT. Although not the largest of the Grand Slam style events run this year, the crowd at PTT was the highest concentration of skill of any tournament of its size has seen. Given those conditions, folks who haven’t hung around the very best competitive players may have expected sportsmanship issues to arise, especially given the stakes. They didn’t. I can tell you from personal experience at the middle tables, and you all can judge for yourselves on the top tables via the stream, that the players at this event were all class acts.

At PTT the world saw Nick and Richard battle it out over a $7,500 game of ‘hamm with some excellent displays of sportsmanship and an adorable hug at the end. Granted, they had a menagerie of judges watching the event, but personally knowing Nick, and having seen Richard play at a few other high-stakes tables, I’m confident that those two players would’ve been able to play an equally respectable game unsupervised.

For me, it was a little weird that all that the critics of PTT seemed to be so focused on the $10k prize pool. While I’m sure it was nice for Nick and Richard to walk away from the Atlanta PTT Open with $7500 between the two of them, if you were to ask me, the true prize was probably the friends they made along the way.

 

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