We’re back from the most important event to happen this past weekend and boy do we have stories to tell. It’s got everything; losing, big lunches, Gundams, and a special surprise (or not really a surprise if you read the title) for those of you following along at home.
Norman: A small note from our last article that may not surprise people who know me: I changed my list again right before the deadline. Yes, yes, I know I said the last time was, well, the last time. Overall though I think it worked to our advantage. Greg and I were talking about our offensive output when I realized I wasn’t contributing a ton of help in that department, while I bemoaned the fact that I didn’t have any of the support structure that would usually help me chew through meatier threats. That’s when I realized by sacrificing some war gear and trading out one of the 5 man squads for Deathshroud Terminators, I could include a Biologus Putrifier. By also giving him Arch Contaminator I could now reroll all my wounds on dudes in range and do mortals on 6s. What I lost was 6 wounds of ObSec models, which I think is a good trade. Greater than that however, I compromised The Bit for the sake of trying to win. I had doubled my datasheets and now had 2 extra powers I needed to keep track of. No longer was this a braindead list, we were firmly in “chimp who has a basic understanding of sign language” territory. I hope Greg will find it in his heart to forgive me.
Greg: In retrospect, posting a statement of our intent to roll hard into a soft field may have been a tactical misstep. Between games, we talked to the Tournament Organizer, and unfortunately our last post had gotten shared on the local group’s Discord, and did some work convincing people to go harder than they might have otherwise, in addition to giving away basically our entire plan.
Another thing I have to re-learn at every event is that you should never, ever, look at the pairings and think about who you don’t want to play. If you can’t help yourself and do so anyway, at least don’t say it out loud. Putting that energy out into the universe, all it does is make absolutely certain that they’re your next matchup.
Game 1: Tyranids/Dark Angels (Tyler/Jack)
Right off the bat, we were in trouble. Out of 19 teams, this was possibly the worst matchup for us in the entire field, save for maybe who we got in round two. They had a bunch of Inner Circle Terminators and Leviathan monsters, all of them with permanent Transhuman Physiology, which blunted both my high strength shooting and Norman’s negative-toughness bit. We’d be wounding on 4s the entire game, and I have to say, that’s way more fun when you’re on the other end of it. I had a bad feeling about this one when I saw the lists, which became worse when they were both wearing matching jerseys, but I really knew we were in trouble when they put in a pair of shared earbuds and started vibing to a playlist that I assume was called “Thrash These Scrubs“ or something. By comparison, we did not practice, and barely knew what secondaries we were going to pick. Did we talk about it, in a post on this very site? Yes, provably. Did either of us think to remember what we discussed, or show up prepared with score sheets printed? Absolutely not. This would be our practice game, which as you can imagine, was not a recipe for success.
Norman: While we were getting our faces rolled in the dirt we did see our theories kinda come true. The Blightlords were definitely tough and could tank some damage, while the robots were definitely able to spit out some hurt. We don’t wanna say that this game came down to cold dice, Tyler and Jack’s list was well tuned and they knew exactly what they were doing, but I also didn’t roll a charge for higher than 6” all game which left my Blightlords out of position a few times, and that certainly didn’t help.
Greg: I did draw two high points from this game, at least. First, the look on Tyler’s face when he asked me what the damage was on the Stormsurge’s main gun and I answered “twelve”. Incredible feeling, worth all 340 points just for that. Secondly, a Riptide tanked the Swarmlord in combat for two full battle rounds before killing it, and having it bio-explode and kill the Riptide. The Riptide did not, unfortunately, also explode.
Tyler and Jack were great opponents. They absolutely rolled us, but we had a great time and they both had nice-looking armies that were tuned to be good, but not uninteractive or unfun to play into. I felt bad about the prospect of killing a bunch of Dark Angels, which was fine, because I actually don’t think I did kill any.
Lunch was tacos. A couple of Goonhammer readers hung out with us while I shoved a huge chimichanga in my face so we could make it back in time. If you ever meet me at an event, or have already met me, I would like to pre-emptively and also post-emptively apologize for how quickly and loudly I rip into a big plate of lunch. It’s one of my many unfortunate qualities.
Round two was a bye. We’d already rushed through lunch, so we just kind of bummed around for three hours. I bought too many Gundams (Huzzah has a nice selection, and I was able to score the Cup Noodles kit that Fowler reviewed here a month or so back), and we chatted with the TO and staff for a while. It was nice outside. I would have preferred a third game, but it is what it is, someone had to have the bye, and we made the most of our impromptu down time.
The nice thing about the event is that it was one of the first times I picked up a lot of attention by virtue of being From Goonhammer instead of just some guy. It’s still deeply strange to me, to be recognized at things. Not in a bad way – I’m not uncomfortable or anything, in fact I love it – but it feels surreal that anyone cares who I am, and doubly so that they do know and don’t want to kick my ass. I’m sure I’ll get used to this at some point and figure out how to be cool about it, but for now it goes straight to my head. It’s cool, being Somebody! I suppose I just like talking to strangers, and if being a Z-tier person of interest allows me to do that, so much the better. At any rate, the event was super welcoming, and had great Vibes.
Game 3: Space Wolves/AdMech (Erik/Malcolm)
Ok, back to work at the Warhammer Factory. This was a much better matchup for us. We hadn’t used the impromptu four-hour break to plan or anything you might expect from better players, but one thing I had decided was that I’d deploy my three big robots immediately, then re-deploy them after the first-turn roll, just to be a shithead. I don’t know if it helped, but I enjoyed myself, and that’s what matters.
Norman: Our list really came to life here with every piece really doing what they needed. The 10 man Blightlord squad weathered 3 entire rounds of 1000 points of Admech shooting plus a bit of Thunderwolf Cavalry punching while using ObSsec to steal objectives and mortal wound output to get around some pesky storm shields. Meanwhile the Riptides and the Stormsurge were blasting threats from the board with wild abandon while tanking thunderwolves in melee. Turns out lots of wounds with a 4++ and a 5+++ is pretty good. High points included using a coordinated strike to delete two out of the three thunderwolf squads in round one, and using the Break Their Spirits stratagem to cause the last model of the third to run away to morale, which cost our opponent Oaths for a round.
Greg: I have intense unironic respect for anyone running AdMech in a competitive event. It’s an army that I straight up know, I realized from the moment I first laid eyes on the codex, I will never have a wrinkled enough brain to handle. Too many moving parts, well above my skill ceiling. Malcolm did his level best keeping up with it, but this was just not a good matchup for them. We did win, but if a few rolls had gone the other way – the Blightlords hadn’t tanked as well or the Riptides hadn’t put so many holes in the Thunderwolves – we’d have been in real trouble. We pulled out a solid win, and ended the day with the most unbelievable perfect record: 1-1-1 W/L/bye. All things in moderation, perfectly balanced.
Greg: We stuck around for the awards at the end, and I’m glad we did, because we won something. With our perfect record, we’d placed 10th out of 19 teams, and received the “Middle of the Pack” award for being Incredibly Normal, and having the most Regular Day possible. Norman went up to grab our prizes while I, ever helpful, started screaming “STATISTICALLY AVERAGE” and ran around high-fiving everyone in the room. Hey, I’ve never won anything before, this is a big deal for me.
Norman: I’m gonna interrupt Greg’s celebration here to say thanks so much to both Huzzah Hobbies and the guys over at Plastic Crack Anonymous (the group who organized the event) for the great time. The dudes over at PCA have a podcast which, if its half the quality of the event, is almost certainly worth a listen. In fact I think I remember Tyler and Jack talking about hosting it so if you want hear more about how badly we lost keep an eye (ear?) on their upcoming episodes. The space was great, the people were nice, the terrain was plentiful and the vibes were immaculate.
Greg: Anyway, we got paid (store credit, but it still counts), so I’m literally a professional Warhammer player now. I’m going to start becoming insufferable. I’m sorry, but not actually sorry. As a perfectly replacement-level player, I am on exactly the same level as any random opponent I pair into. I understand that you may have questions, or concerns. Chief among them, whether this signals the end of my brand of being a lovable loser. My response to this, and all other questions is: check the scoreboard before you dare speak to me.
We did it! I got my first event win of 9th edition, and Norman…well Norman wins games every day, so this is probably less of an occasion for him, but we had a good time and he got to listen to me talk about Gundam for a while, and I’ll assume he appreciated that.