TheChirurgeon’s Road Through 2021, Part 10: The GW New Orleans Open, Part 2 (of 2)

Credit: Robert "TheChirurgeon" Jones

Welcome back, Dear Reader! Yesterday I covered the first four games of my experiences at the Games Workshop Open Grand Tournament in New Orleans. When we last left off, a rough game with some terrain misplays had left me sitting at 2-2. The way event pairings were set up, after game four players were reshuffled into a series of brackets with players of identical or near-identical records, starting with a cut of players for the top 16, then following with the 3-1 players, then the 2-2 group, and so on. That second loss meant that I was shuffled into the 2-2 bracket at the event. This was, on the whole, bad for my final event score, since it locked me into finishing in the low 50s, at the highest, but good for me in that it meant I’d be facing weaker opponents, and so my chances of running the table from here dramatically increased. By contrast, my colleague Dan Boyd finished 3-1 after losing to Space Wolves, and was promptly dumpstered in the 3-1 bracket, going 1-3 over his following four games. I think I could have managed 2-2 or 3-1 in that higher bracket, but a lot of it would have depended on not playing against Grey Knights or Thousand Sons, which was far from guaranteed since my luck is such that I’d have likely just ended up playing Goatboy again.

People shuffling in on day 2

The big difference between day 1 and day 2 is that on day 2 a series of “rolling WAAAGH!s” have started happening a few times per round. There’s a guy – presumably an Ork player – walking around with a cosplay Ork chainsword starting the yells and when they do, nearby tables join in and the whole thing kind of rolls through the hall like the wave at a baseball game. It’s also about as exciting as the wave, and your mileage on this will vary based on how fun/cool you think it is to do the wave at a stadium, I suspect. It’s also very loud and I’m still hungover, so my mileage isn’t super long but I’m also not about to poo-poo the process because it seems like good harmless fun.

Alright so I’ve got half a sandwich and a granola bar in me and it’s time for game 5.

 

Game 5: vs. Darin O’Brien’s Chaos Soup

Darin had a lovely list with a beautiful Mortarion

I needed a reset after that first game and I’m happy that Darin was my next opponent. Darin was my favorite opponent of the weekend – just an incredibly chill dude with a great army and a wonderful attitude. The game was fun start-to-finish and I was a little sad that I had to be the one to gingerly pick him up and place him in the dumpster. Darin wins my “best opponent of the event” award, edging out Adam and Thomas. We end up having a few beers later in the game when one of his friends stops by to spectate the back half.

My Secondaries

  • Grind Them Down
  • Spread the Sickness
  • Stranglehold

Darin’s Secondaries

  • Assassination
  • Data Intercept
  • Engage on All Fronts

My biggest challenge on this mission is that Darin has three units of Nurglings, which can start the game on the objectives and then after his first turn, will hold them until I show up to flip them. That’s going to make things difficult, for scoring primary points for holding more objectives, and could make Stranglehold a challenge. I still like it more than Engage however and I think Spread will do me better than Banner here. I’m also taking a chance on Grind but I think I can score it by just taking out the Nurglings and Fiends. There are enough small targets here that I can handle getting 2 kills per turn.

 

Darin's List - Click to Expand

++ Supreme Command Detachment +2CP (Chaos – Death Guard) [25 PL, 490pts, 2 CP] ++

Plague Company: Mortarion’s Anvil

+ Primarch | Daemon Primarch | Supreme Commander +

Mortarion [25 PL, 490pts]: 1. Miasma of Pestilence, 5. Curse of the Leper, Attendant’s claws and teeth, Gloaming Bloat, Phosphex bombs, Silence, Smite, The Lantern, Warlord

++ Patrol Detachment -2CP (Chaos – Daemons) [48 PL, 996pts, 10 CP] ++

Chaos Allegiance: Chaos Undivided

+ HQ +

Be’lakor [18 PL, 360pts]: Pall of Despair, Penumbral Curse, Smite, The Blade of Shadows

+ Troops +

Nurglings [6 PL, 132pts] . 6x Nurgling Swarms: 6x Diseased claws and teeth

Nurglings [6 PL, 132pts] . 6x Nurgling Swarms: 6x Diseased claws and teeth

Nurglings [6 PL, 132pts] . 6x Nurgling Swarms: 6x Diseased claws and teeth

+ Elites +

Fiends [6 PL, 120pts] . 3x Fiend: 3x Dissecting claws, 3x Vicious barbed tail

Fiends [6 PL, 120pts] . 3x Fiend: 3x Dissecting claws, 3x Vicious barbed tail

++ Patrol Detachment -2CP (Chaos – Chaos Space Marines) [26 PL, 510pts, -2CP] ++

Legion: Alpha Legion

+ HQ +

Master of Possession [5 PL, 95pts]: Bolt pistol, Cursed Earth, Force stave, Frag & Krak grenades, Mark of Slaanesh, Mutated Invigoration, Smite

+ Troops +

Chaos Cultists [3 PL, 50pts]: Mark of Slaanesh
. 9x Chaos Cultist w/ Autogun: 9x Autogun
. Cultist Champion: Brutal assault weapon and Autopistol

Chaos Cultists [3 PL, 50pts]: Mark of Slaanesh
. 9x Chaos Cultist w/ Autogun: 9x Autogun
. Cultist Champion: Brutal assault weapon and Autopistol

+ Heavy Support +

Obliterators [15 PL, 315pts]: Mark of Slaanesh
. 3x Obliterator: 3x Crushing fists, 3x Fleshmetal guns

++ Total: [99 PL, 1,996pts, 10CP] ++

 

 

Mortarion is an interesting threat. If you let him get close, he can absolutely rip through your lines and cause you headaches unending. On top of that Be’lakor is a nasty second threat, able to cleave through most of my hardier units with ease since he can ignore invulnerable saves and piss out damage. On top of those two threats, I need to worry about the Obliterators dropping behind my lines and messing me up, which can be an issue given how easily three of them can plow through my poxwalkers. That said, they only have a Master of Possession for support, and I know firsthand that Obliterators without re-rolls to hit can be pretty disappointing. The Nurglings here give Darin a nasty board presence, essentially letting him start with three of the four midfield objectives already under his control, and the Fiends are fast enough to help him cover ground. Engage is a good pick for him, and with Data Intercept he can start immediately scoring 3+ points per turn if I can’t pry his nurglings off objectives early, so my goal will have to be killing them all as quickly as possible.

The Mission: Vital Intelligence

Mortarion can be a real challenge if you don’t know how he works and how to deal with him. Unfortunately for Darin, I absolutely know how to deal with him, having played him many times before. Likewise, Darin’s list has some major flaws, the biggest being that his Daemons Detachment isn’t a SLAANESH detachment, so I don’t have to worry about Be’lakor being able to advance and charge and crash into my lines at the start of the game. I get first turn for the first time this event and it’s a HUGE advantage for me – not only does it give me two turns to act before Darin’s Obliterators arrive, but it also gives me two turns to pry Nurglings off objectives before his first Data Intercept action will finish, turning what could be 4-5 victory points to 2-3. This also lets me shoot and set things up for when Morty does arrive.

The key to dealing with Mortarion is to not give him any free charges. Mortarion’s big and can be deadly, but he can’t advance and charge and his output, while good, relies on him being able to get into combat with valuable targets like my PBCs. I need to make sure that he doesn’t get off a first turn charge and deny him the free movement, and to make sure that when I do engage with him, it’s on my terms and in a single, decisive moment. I don’t score any extra points for killing Mortarion, but taking him out will essentially blow this game wide open and ensure Grind becomes easy to score later, so my plan is to let him advance for a turn, then take him out. I bait out Darin in deployment, pushing him to the top of the table with Mortarion, and then set up my Blightlords to swing that way. I spend the first turn making sure all my units are more than 22″ away from Mortarion and Be’lakor – I get a 2″ cushion here thanks to the Ferric Miasma Stratagem from the Inexorable Plague Company. So I walk my Blightlord death star north and wait for Mortarion to advance my way. You can see the aftermath of Darin’s first Movement phase in the photo above. I also use my ranged shooting to take one unit of Fiends off the board, which leaves the Master of Possession without any protection from Look Out, Sir and so I go ahead and remove him before he can create problems for me with the Obliterators. I also press forward and take out a unit of Nurglings with my Deathshroud, who make a longer charge to close the distance. I don’t really want them fighting Be’lakor but they’ll act as a speed bump in a pinch with the Rhino.

Darin responds on his turn by killing the the Deathshrouds with Be’lakor and bringing Mortarion up to dance. This is where I shoot my shot. I fire off Flash Outbreak to give my Poxwalkers Ferric Blight for a turn and up their Contagion Range to 6″, allowing them to affect Mortarion as they walked closer. This gives me an additional AP boost on the attacks coming his way which doesn’t matter for melee but does for my Blightlords’ bolter shots. I bless them with the Tallyman for +1 to hit and then move them forward and open up with them, using Virulent Rounds to give them full re-rolls to wound thanks to the Blightspawn and at AP-1 it ensures they’ll actually be able to accomplish something with the shots, plus Eternal Hatred for +1 to wound. This, combined with Mortarion eating a -1 Toughness debuff from my contagion range, means I’m wounding him on a 4+ and re-rolling, and before I charge in I’ve already knocked 12 wounds off Mortarion. Then I give the Blightlords a Foul Infusion (6s to wound do mortals) from the Biologus Putrifier and they charge in and end up doing 6 mortals on top of a few other wounds, allowing them to finish off Mortarion while the Poxwalkers take out the Nurglings. Darin gets some bad rolls here to seal the deal, but I’ve got enough output to ensure Mortarion would need some pretty good luck to stay on the table.

From here it’s all downhill for Darin, who manages to take out another unit with Be’lakor before I shoot him off the table, but his Obliterators drop in and mostly disappoint, failing to kill my Rhino thanks to some bad rolls on his part and good rolls on mine. We get through the rest of the game quickly to resolve the blowout. He’ll finish holding the two objectives on the right side of the table while I max primaries, and pull 12 on Spread the Sickness and Grind and 9 on Stranglehold.

Result: 88-37, Victory

 

Hoo boy, I needed that. Not the win – that was great, but really I needed a refresher game against a rad person. Thanks, Darin! I’m sorry about your Mortarion. Lovely model, though. We have a few beers at the table and then pairings for round 6 go up. Time to go to work.

 

Game 6: vs. Lassider Porte’s Imperium

Lassider’s Valkyries come screaming across the table

I check the list for my next opponent and slump a bit when I see the Grey Knights detachment… then I see he’s also running Astra Militarum. OK, nevermind. This is going to be much easier. The Astra Militarum are a drag on the list, taking away the insane secondary objectives Grey Knights get as well as tides. The Astra Militarum stuff Lassider is bringing isn’t terrible – Coteaz is a house and scions that can drop 5″ away and blast you with meltaguns is no joke – but it’s basically watering down what would otherwise be a nightmare opponent for me. The big downside is that this is on Battle Lines – my worst mission. Fortunately, I’ve been practicing this one.

My Secondaries

  • Grind Them Down
  • Assassination
  • Vital Ground

Lassider’s Secondaries

  • Assassination
  • Deploy Teleport Homer
  • Behind Enemy Lines

Battle Lines is still tough for me when it comes to secondaries. Lassider’s list gives me a 15-point Assassination option and I’ll gladly take that since I need to kill the Dreadknight anyways, and Grind Them Down is also a good take here since I’ll be chewing through weaker guard units. The only tough one here is my third secondary – Spread and Banners aren’t great here, and I don’t love having to hold both middle objectives for Stranglehold, so I opt for Vital Ground, which will give me partial credit for holding one of them. My plan is to try and score 10 points off it, which is a trio of single turns and one double. Lassider takes Behind Enemy Lines, signaling his turn 1 intentions – then Assassination and Deploy Teleport Homers. Engage was probably a better pick here but I see what he’s going for.

 

Lassider's List - Click to Expand

++ Patrol Detachment 0CP (Imperium – Grey Knights) [59 PL, 1,100pts, 12CP] ++

Brotherhood: Swordbearers

+ Agents of the Imperium [5 PL, 100pts] +

Callidus Assassin [5 PL, 100pts]: Neural Shredder, Phase Sword, Poison Blades

+ HQ [12 PL, 245pts] +

Grand Master in Nemesis Dreadknight [12 PL, 245pts]: 1: Gate of Infinity, 2: Empyric Amplification, 3: Unyielding Anvil, Brotherhood Psyker Power, Dreadfist, Dreadknight teleporter [10pts], Gatling Psilencer [20pts], Grand Master Chapter, Heavy Psycannon [20pts], Nemesis Greatsword [15pts], Omen of Incursion [2 PL, 30pts], Sigil of Exigence, Warlord

+ Troops [12 PL, 220pts] +

Brotherhood Terminator Squad [12 PL, 220pts]: Brotherhood Psyker Power, Frag & Krak grenades, Psyk-out Grenade
. Grey Knight Terminator Justicar [42pts]: Storm Bolter
. . Nemesis Warding Stave: Nemesis Warding Stave
. 3x Terminator (Halberd) [126pts]: 3x Nemesis Force Halberd, 3x Storm Bolter
. Terminator (Psycannon) [52pts]: Psycannon (Terminator) [10pts] . . Nemesis Force Halberd: Nemesis Force Halberd

+ Fast Attack [14 PL, 240pts] +

Interceptor Squad [14 PL, 240pts]: Brotherhood Psyker Power, Frag & Krak grenades, Psyk-out Grenade
. 5x Interceptor (Halberd) [120pts]: 5x Nemesis Force Halberd, 5x Storm Bolter
. 3x Interceptor (Sword) [72pts]: 3x Nemesis Force Sword, 3x Storm Bolter
. Interceptor (Warding Stave) [24pts]: Nemesis Warding Stave, Storm Bolter
. Interceptor Justicar [24pts]: Frag & Krak grenades, Psyk-out Grenade, Storm Bolter
. . Nemesis Force Halberd: Nemesis Force Halberd

+ Heavy Support [16 PL, 295pts] +

Nemesis Dreadknight [9 PL, 185pts]: Brotherhood Psyker Power, Dreadfist, Dreadknight teleporter [10pts], Gatling Psilencer [20pts], Heavy Psycannon [20pts], Nemesis Greatsword [15pts]

Purgation Squad [7 PL, 110pts]: Brotherhood Psyker Power, Frag & Krak grenades, Psyk-out Grenade
. 4x Purgator (Incinerator) [88pts]: 4x Incinerator
. Purgator Justicar [22pts]: Storm Bolter
. . Nemesis Force Halberd: Nemesis Force Halberd

++ Patrol Detachment -2CP (Imperium – Astra Militarum) [46 PL, 898pts, -3CP] ++

Regimental Doctrine: 133rd Lambdan Lions

+ Agents of the Imperium [5 PL, 95pts] +

Inquisitor Coteaz [5 PL, 95pts]: Bolt pistol, Malleus – Warding Incantation, Master-crafted Nemesis Daemon hammer, Psyber-eagle, Smite

+ HQ [3 PL, 45pts, -1CP] +

Tempestor Prime [3 PL, 45pts, -1CP]: Frag & Krak grenades, Progeny of Conflict [-1CP], Tempestus Command Rod [5pts], WT (133rd Lambdan Lions): Keys to the Armoury

+ Troops [10 PL, 250pts] +

Militarum Tempestus Scions [5 PL, 115pts] . 4x Scion [36pts]: 4x Frag & Krak grenades, 4x Hot-shot Lasgun
. Scion w/ Special Weapon [14pts]: Frag & Krak grenades, Hot-shot Volley Gun [5pts] . Scion w/ Special Weapon [14pts]: Frag & Krak grenades, Hot-shot Volley Gun [5pts] . Scion w/ Special Weapon [14pts]: Frag & Krak grenades, Hot-shot Volley Gun [5pts] . Scion w/ Special Weapon [14pts]: Frag & Krak grenades, Hot-shot Volley Gun [5pts] . Scion w/ Vox-caster [14pts]: Hot-Shot Lasgun, Hot-shot Laspistol, Vox-caster [5pts] . Tempestor [9pts]: Chainsword, Frag & Krak grenades, Plasma pistol

Militarum Tempestus Scions [5 PL, 135pts] . 4x Scion [36pts]: 4x Frag & Krak grenades, 4x Hot-shot Lasgun
. Scion w/ Special Weapon [19pts]: Frag & Krak grenades, Meltagun [10pts] . Scion w/ Special Weapon [19pts]: Frag & Krak grenades, Meltagun [10pts] . Scion w/ Special Weapon [19pts]: Frag & Krak grenades, Meltagun [10pts] . Scion w/ Special Weapon [19pts]: Frag & Krak grenades, Meltagun [10pts] . Scion w/ Vox-caster [14pts]: Hot-shot Laspistol, Vox-caster [5pts] . Tempestor [9pts]: Chainsword, Frag & Krak grenades, Plasma pistol

+ Elites [2 PL, 25pts] +

Officer of the Fleet [2 PL, 25pts]: Laspistol

+ Flyer [19 PL, 360pts] +

Valkyries [7 PL, 120pts] . Valkyrie [7 PL, 120pts]: 2x Multiple Rocket Pods, Multi-laser, Stat Damage (Gunships)

Vendetta Gunship [12 PL, 240pts]: 2x Heavy bolter [30pts], Vendetta Twin Lascannon
. 2x Vendetta Twin Lascannons: 2x Vendetta Twin Lascannon

+ Dedicated Transport [7 PL, 123pts] +

Taurox Prime [7 PL, 123pts]: Stat Damage (Taurox Prime), Storm Bolter [3pts], Taurox Gatling Cannon [5pts], Two Hot-shot Volley Guns

++ Total: [105 PL, 9CP, 1,998pts] ++

 

 

The Vendetta and Valkyrie can be nasty, but they’re still guard units. I’m a bit worried about the Callidus as well, but Lassider makes the mistake of swapping it out pre-game for the Culexus, thinking that he’ll be able to use the Culexus to kill my Plaguecaster but this is a mistake. The Callidus’ ability to mess with my Stratagems is a much bigger deal. Outside of the Assassin, he has Gate of Infinity and the Interceptors for zipping around the table, plus the flyers for deployment zone insertion. There’s a lot of mobility here, and I expect Lassider to get up in my face early, which – good. That’s exactly what I want and I intend to make him pay for thinking that’s a good idea. If the jets get too close, the Fleshmower will intervene into them and mow them out of they sky, and I’ll take care of the rest from there.

The Mission: Battle Lines

I’m back to going second – that’s five out of six games now – and Lassider takes full advantage, zipping across the table with his flyers. He can only fit one into my deployment zone, and does so in the upper left corner, dropping off two units of scions and a Tempestor Prime next to my Plagueburst Crawler and Rhino. I’ve done a good enough job screening him with the Rhino here that he can’t get 6″ away from the PBC, but he’s still taking four shots. This is potentially bad for me but it’s not as big a threat as he thinks – four melta guns will, on average, generate about 1-2 unsaved wounds, and he scores some fairly average results with his shooting here, taking 6 wounds off the PBC with his shooting. He gets unlucky with his Vendetta shooting however and whiffs his shots. Meanwhile he whiffs on Gate of Infinity and rolls his Taurox forward to take one of the center objectives. The thing here is that I don’t really need the PBCs for this game – they’re neat but they’re almost more valuable to me doing what they’re doing right now, which is soaking up shots.

An alternate view of my deployment.

So on my turn I shoot down the Valkyrie, forcing Coteaz and a unit of scions onto the ground, where the Blightlords butcher them. The plague marines get out of their rhino and wipe out the Scions and Tempestor Prime in my deployment zone. The Poxwalkers and Deathshrouds spread out a bit to screen my deployment zone to stop a Dreadknight/Interceptors from dropping in, and I press forward with the Bloat-drones. I’ll get the Vendetta off the table next turn, and from there Lassider won’t score another point for Behind Enemy Lines. He’ll drop his Culexus into my deployment zone in the southwest corner and attempt to have it drop a teleport homer, but I walk up and blast it to death with the snot pistols on the Deathshrouds. At that point he just has the Grey Knights left and they put up a bit of a fight but end up being slowly mulched as Lassider aims to score as many points as possible. He does stop me from getting more than 8 on Vital Ground, but I max Assassination. I only get 9 on Vital Ground but that’s primarily just because he ran out of units.

Result: 82-50, Victory

 

Lassider was great. I had a fun time playing him, and his army was super neat – he was going for an old school, 5th edition Codex: Daemonhunters vibe, right down to the red-and-black paint scheme on the models. But he also insisted on playing out the game in excruciating detail at a time when I was fuckin starving. We finish the game right around when the round was ending, and after the Goonhammer crew have already gone upstairs for the GW event. Fortunately, the crew have grabbed a table. I walk up and meet up with them and end up eating a mediocre hotel bar burger. It’s not great but I’m so hungry that I don’t care. I spend some time talking to Boon and JD. Boon is 6-0 and looking at pairing into Siegler tomorrow. I’ve been rooting him on all day but now I tell him that it’s time for him to stop being a coward and win the event. He’s been slowly coming around on the notion that he might have a chance in the game, and we talk about what the strategy looks like for that game, and whether it’s worth watching the stream video from Siegler’s game against Mark Perry’s Orks earlier today. We speculate on the secondaries he’ll pick. Boon really wants to win, primarily so he can tell James “One_Wing” Grover “I told you so” about the terrain “not being so great for admech planes.” He’s incredibly wrong, but I can relate to wanting to tell Wings to eat shit so I am on board for it.

The GW party has a special screening of an episode of Hammer and Bolter that I don’t pay much attention to, plus a trivia contest, which fellow Goonhammer author CathexisZero wins the first round of. He wins a quick rummage in the “PRIZE BIN,” a big box of out-of-print and limited edition items. He snags a signed copy of the Guilliman novel, which is pretty dope given he plays Ultramarines. We leave after that – nothing left to prove – and head over to Walk Ons again, where we have a few beers. I head back early – I’m trying to avoid a hangover two days in a row – and go up to the room to jot down notes from the day’s games and review stream game footage from Siegler’s games. I send some notes to Boon and we talk for a bit before he crashes. I’m in Dan’s room tonight, and he rolls in just after midnight and we talk a bit summer-camp style before crashing. I sleep OK, and end up waking up around 6am and grabbing breakfast. It’s not a ton of sleep, but it’s better than my average.

 

Sunday

Sunday is a lot more subdued; a lot of people have opted to leave early and drop before day 3, either because they just want to hang out or because they’re looking to head home early. The Saints are playing the Giants today in the Superdome and it’s literally across the street from the hotel, so there’s a lot of extra traffic and if you aren’t leaving after 4pm it’s not worth your time to try and leave before then but after 2pm. I get a decent breakfast this time and spend the morning hyping Boon up by sending him hits from my workout playlist, which is primarily made of different training montage songs. I start with John Cafferty’s “Hearts on Fire” and then move on to Blackalicious’ “Passion” and Fort Minor’s “Remember the Name” before coming back to “St. Elmo’s Fire.” Dan asks me why I don’t put on Chariots of Fire and I tell him that song is for winners. It’s time for Boon to put up or shut up.

For my part I’m not more laid back coming into Sunday. I’m 2-0 in the bracket, and that means my next game (and potentially the game after that) matters for something. I mean yes, I want to go at least 4-4 and that mission has already been accomplished, but now 6-2 is on the table. That’s some pressure, but not so much so that I’m sweating it. It does mean that I have to care more about these games, and that throws me off a bit in the first of the two.

 

Game 7: vs. Allen Broussard’s Adeptus Custodes

Allen’s Custodes mix things up over the middle of the table

Mission 7 is Priority Targets… my least favorite mission. The secondary is poorly designed and often a free 15 points, the hold one/hold two means primaries will usually be 40+ points, and it’s got a semi-hammer-and-anvil deployment. The big upside for me though is that it does have a center objective, which does work in my favor. I’m not afraid of Custodes; they’re decent but they struggle against Death Guard, who seem tailored to giving them problems.

My Secondaries

  • Priority Target
  • To the Last – The PBCs and Blightlords
  • Stranglehold

Allen’s Secondaries

  • Priority Target
  • To the Last – the Venetari and two units of Sword-and-Board Custodes
  • Raise the Banners

Allen’s list may not be a problem for me but his skill is no joke – he’s thought about his secondaries and wound up with some tough picks. It’s unlikely I’ll ever get to those units unless he brings them forward, and he won’t risk taking obsec units off them on this mission. This also means that we’ll be fighting pretty fierce over the middle of the table, and he’ll be relying on his characters to hold that.

 

Allen's List - Click to Expand

+++ E Imperatus (Warhammer 40,000 9th Edition) [106 PL, 9CP, 1,999pts] +++

Shield Host: Emissaries Imperatus
Open the Vaults [-1CP]: Open the Vaults: 1 Extra Relic

+ HQ +

Captain-General Trajann Valoris [10 PL, 190pts]

Captain Commander Felix Strausse – Shield-Captain on Dawneagle Jetbike [9 PL, -1CP, 178pts]: Auric Aquilas, Captain-Commander, Hurricane Bolter, Indomitable Constitution, Misericordia, Superior Creation, Warlord

+ Troops +

Custodian Guard Squad [11 PL, 208pts] . Custodian: Sentinel Blade, Storm Shield
. Custodian: Sentinel Blade, Storm Shield
. Custodian: Sentinel Blade, Storm Shield
. Custodian: Sentinel Blade, Storm Shield

Custodian Guard Squad [11 PL, 208pts] . Custodian: Sentinel Blade, Storm Shield
. Custodian: Sentinel Blade, Storm Shield
. Custodian: Sentinel Blade, Storm Shield
. Custodian: Sentinel Blade, Storm Shield

Sagittarum Custodians [7 PL, 150pts]: Sagittarum Custodian, Sagittarum Custodian, Sagittarum Custodian

+ Elites +

Praetor Eihnlazer Saotome – Vexilus Praetor [6 PL, -1CP, 120pts]: Eagle’s Eye, Guardian Spear, Ten Thousand Heroes, Vexilla Magnifica, Voice of the Emperor

+ Fast Attack +

Venatari Custodians [16 PL, 330pts] . Venatari Custodian
. . Kinetic Destroyer and Tarsus Buckler
. Venatari Custodian
. . Kinetic Destroyer and Tarsus Buckler
. Venatari Custodian
. . Kinetic Destroyer and Tarsus Buckler
. Venatari Custodian
. . Kinetic Destroyer and Tarsus Buckler
. Venatari Custodian
. . Kinetic Destroyer and Tarsus Buckler
. Venatari Custodian
. . Kinetic Destroyer and Tarsus Buckler

+ Heavy Support +

Caladius Grav-tank [12 PL, 205pts]: Twin Iliastus Accelerator Cannon

Caladius Grav-tank [12 PL, 205pts]: Twin Iliastus Accelerator Cannon

Caladius Grav-tank [12 PL, 205pts]: Twin Iliastus Accelerator Cannon

 

 

Ok first off, Allen’s named all his units, which is a complete king shit power move. Second, he’s running three Caladius Grav-tanks, which are absolute butt against my Death Guard. They’re fine, but Allen’s list is paying a lot of points for a lot of 2-damage weapons that just don’t do anything for him here. The biggest threat I need to worry about is that Dawneagle Jetbike captain, who’s insanely difficult to kill and with all his infantry having ObSec, he’ll be able to clown my Blightlords if they want to hold the center objective. The Jetbike Captain is also super mobile, and if I don’t kill him early he’ll make me pay for it by zipping into my backfield and wrecking my units.

The Mission: Priority Targets

This game is a nail-biter start to finish, and the closest game I play all weekend. Naturally, I start it off by fucking things up badly. Allen gets the first turn, which means I have to deal with Venatari on turn 2 and some early shooting, and zips his Jetbike captain right up to the middle of the table but behind cover. This gives me about a 14″ gap to cover moving his way, and I bet big on my Blightlords being able to take out the Captain with mortal wounds.

It doesn’t happen.

Through shooting and melee combat, I score a total of 0 wounds on the jetbike captain. All3n pops 4 CP to prevent me from having re-rolls and has me only wounding a 4+ and that combined with bad rolls means I get no wounds off on him. He’ll follow that up on his turn by nearly wiping out my Blightlords with the Venatari and the tanks, but I’m lucky here when I’m able to keep one alive – the Champion, who then lobs his Plague Skull at the Vexilla and drops it to 1 wound. I’m pulling him back while the Deathshrouds push forward with the characters and fortunately I’m able to use them to do the work I need, using a mix of shooting, psychic powers, and putrifier mortal wounds to take out Trajann, the Jetbike Captain, and the Vexilla that turn, plus a few of the Venatari using the bloat-drones. By turn 4 it’s a very close game and I’m pressing forward. Allen almost snatches victory from me by moving one of his tanks up to shoot my poxwalkers when I’ve left my rear, priority target objective slightly undefended, banking on 14 shots from his tank to kill all 10 poxwalkers. This is a tough play on his end but doesn’t require a ton of luck – slightly better than average rolls will take out the whole unit – but he rolls poorly and only takes out 5 of them and I’m able to get 4 back and move out of line of sight (average results here are something like 12 hits, 9 wounds, 1 save).

Allen will end the game with all three tanks and two squads of custodians still on the table, but unable to touch the center of the board. We both max Priority Target, we both score 10 on To the Last – but I’m able I score 12 for Stranglehold, having held it every turn since turn 2, while Allen only scores 10 for Banners, having put up two back on turn one. As a result, I squeak out an incredibly close victory against a tough opponent. Allen, you played a hell of a game.

Result: 92-90, Victory

 

I got a little defeatist early on against Allen after my Blightlords went down but ultimately I was able to recover, and that scare with the Poxwalkers reminded me that you have to always play the full board and keep your foot on the gas. Now I can’t finish with a losing record and there’s some kind of potential reward waiting for me if I can win my next game and go 4-0 in my pod. I almost didn’t end up playing my opponent; I initially was told the wrong table by Scott Horras “Heresy” and ended up going to report my opponent as a no-show. Dan Boyd and I were conspiring to play against each other at that point, and it almost happened – and would have been a great game – except as luck would have it, my opponent was standing next to me reporting me as a no-show at the same time. So we ended up playing.

 

Game 8: vs. Sean Burbano’s Black Templars

Taking on the Black Templars

Mission 8 is Sweep & Clear… again. I’m very OK with this because Sweep & Clear is easily my strongest mission. While it doesn’t have six objectives for me to Spread the Sickness on, it has a center objective with a secondary that rewards holding it and the shortest distance between deployment zones, which is perfect for moving out and charging. I don’t typically like going second, but I don’t mind it as much here because players will usually be forced to give me a free charge out to the middle with my Blightlords.

My Secondaries

  • Grind Them Down
  • Direct Assault
  • Stranglehold

Sean’s Secondaries

  • Assassination
  • Oaths of Moment
  • Stranglehold

Direct Assault is an easy take for me because it’s exactly what I want to be doing anyways, which is just sitting my fat, disgusting butt down on the middle of the table and forcing Sean to come to me. He’s playing Black Templars, which means he’ll oblige. Beyond Direct Assault I’ve got Grind for taking out small units and Stranglehold combos very well with Direct Assault here because if I’m scoring one, I’m scoring the other. Sean’s going to try and take the middle from me since he’s got Oaths and Stranglehold as well, and he’ll depend on using Rites of War to give his units ObSec in order to do it. Everything plays into my game plan here. It’s just like Apocalypse said: “I am the rocks of the eternal shore. Crash against me and be broken!”

 

Sean's List - Click to Expand

++ Battalion Detachment 0CP (Imperium – Adeptus Astartes – Black Templars) [104 PL, 1,996pts, 8CP] ++

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

+ No Force Org Slot +

Cenobyte Servitors [1 PL, 18pts] . 3x Cenobyte Servitor: 3x Close Combat Weapon

Company Veterans [3 PL, 48pts] . Company Veteran: Astartes Chainsword, Storm shield
. Company Veteran Sergeant: Astartes Chainsword, Storm shield

+ HQ +

Chaplain Grimaldus [5 PL, 95pts]: 1. Litany of Divine Protection, 5. Fervent Acclamation, Litany of Hate

Primaris Chaplain on Bike [7 PL, 140pts]: 3. Exhortation of Rage, 6. Canticle of Hate (Aura), Ancient Breviary, Chapter Command: Master of Sanctity, Litany of Hate, Rites of War, Warlord

Primaris Chapter Master [7 PL, 130pts, -1CP]: Chapter Command: Chapter Master, Master of the Codex, Stratagem: Hero of the Chapter, The Aurillian Shroud
. Master-crafted auto bolt rifle

+ Troops +

Crusader Squad [5 PL, 75pts] . 4x Initiate w/ Chainsword: 4x Astartes Chainsword, 4x Bolt pistol, 4x Frag & Krak grenades
. Sword Brother: Astartes Chainsword, Bolt pistol

Crusader Squad [5 PL, 75pts] . 4x Initiate w/ Chainsword: 4x Astartes Chainsword, 4x Bolt pistol, 4x Frag & Krak grenades
. Sword Brother: 2x Astartes Chainsword

Crusader Squad [5 PL, 75pts] . 4x Initiate: 4x Bolt pistol, 4x Boltgun, 4x Frag & Krak grenades
. Sword Brother: Bolt pistol, Boltgun

+ Elites +

Apothecary [5 PL, 110pts, -1CP]: Chapter Command: Chief Apothecary, Selfless Healer, Stratagem: Hero of the Chapter, The Crusader’s Helm

Bladeguard Veteran Squad [10 PL, 175pts] . 4x Bladeguard Veteran: 4x Frag & Krak grenades, 4x Heavy Bolt Pistol, 4x Master-crafted power sword, 4x Storm Shield
. Bladeguard Veteran Sergeant: Heavy Bolt Pistol

Redemptor Dreadnought [9 PL, 185pts]: 2x Storm Bolters, Icarus Rocket Pod, Macro Plasma Incinerator, Onslaught Gatling Cannon

Redemptor Dreadnought [9 PL, 185pts]: 2x Storm Bolters, Icarus Rocket Pod, Macro Plasma Incinerator, Onslaught Gatling Cannon

Terminator Assault Squad [9 PL, 205pts] . Assault Terminator Sergeant
. . Thunder Hammer & Storm Shield: Thunder hammer
. 3x Assault Terminator w/THSS: 3x Storm shield, 3x Thunder hammer
. Assault Terminator w/x2LC

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 +

Whirlwind [7 PL, 125pts]: Whirlwind castellan launcher

+ Dedicated Transport +

Land Speeder Storm [3 PL, 55pts]

++ Total: [104 PL, 8CP, 1,996pts] ++

 

 

The biggest threat to my center-of-the-table hegemony, besides the chaplain sporting rites of war, are the vanguard veterans. They’re reasonably tough and they’ve got 1-damage, high attack AP-2 weapons that will be annoying as hell against my terminators. My goal should be to whittle them down first, if not remove them entirely. The Redemptors are also a problem, but not a massive one. Their damage output is only OK and wasted on my terminators and without an invulnerable save they can be laid low by my Entropy Cannons. Still, I’d like to kill one early. The big thing will be keeping the band together and forcing him to make bad charges, while keeping an eye out for where Devout Push can get him into combat.

 

The Mission: Sweep & Clear

This was my favorite kind of game: The kind where an opponent underestimates the terminators and my combat prowess, charges into me, and breaks entirely. I get the first turn for only the second time this event, and spend it advancing with the Terminators. Since there’s no need for spread this mission and I can lock in objective control early with my Rhino – and because he has a whirlwind at the ready to shoot my poxwalkers behind LOS – I just go ahead and drop them along the front lines. I can use them to screen out early charges if I go second. Fortunately I don’t, and I can press them forward and get pushy. I also get aggressive with the bloat drones – he doesn’t really have the shooting to remove them and I need to advance the heavy blight launcher one to take a 4th objective for turn 1 stranglehold points. Advancing the HBL drone is basically free since it can still shoot after advancing. I love that stupid thing – best decision I’ve made with regard to my list.

Turn 1 I advance over to the Southeast objective to claim it and advance up my poxwalkers while walking my blightlords – no need to run with them at this point. I use my early mortar shooting to take out 5 of the Vanguard Veterans, significantly reducing the chances they’ll be a threat to me. I don’t score Grind, but I do get 3 each for Direct Assault and Stranglehold, while the poxwalkers being ObSec means Sean has to do something about them. It also lets me use them as a screen – on Sean’s Turn 1 I use Cloud of Flies to make the Blightlords untargetable, and so he has to waste time shooting the poxwalkers. He brings up his Redemptors while dropping his Vanguard Vets back to heal up and regain a model. On my turn I push to the middle again and fire on his vanvets again with Disgusting force, which now splashes to half a dozen other units, killing a servitor and damaging several units, then I take out one Redemptor with the Blightlords in melee, charging them a bit out of position. This makes it possible for them to be charged from the far side without getting caught in the stench-vats aura, but they’ve also got good objective coverage. Then Sean breaks. He brings out his 6 VanVets (he got another back) and his Terminators and charges the Terminators and the remaining Redemptor into my terminators, then charges the vanvets into all four of my non-Blightspawn characters. The Vanvets are still within 3″ of my Blightspawn and forced to fight last. So his five Terminators and Redemptor swing into the blightlords and… I get pretty lucky. They only manage to kill a single Blightlord. Granted, they were never going to wipe the squad, but I expected to lose 2-4 of them. They retaliate by wiping the Terminators and next turn they’ll kill the dreadnought. Meanwhile the Chaos Lord steps in with his 2-damage relic sword and is able to kill all but one of the vanvets, which the Plaguecaster knocks down to 1 wound before he flees. I’ve now essentially broken Sean’s army and the game wide open. We do some loose play for the rest of the game. There’s no reason for me to challenge the other two objectives, and I’ll score 15 on Direct Assault and Stranglehold, but max out at 9 on Grind just because he’ll run out of units. Meanwhile Sean’s able to finally kill a couple characters with good suicidal charges but can’t score much more on Oaths and only gets 3 for Stranglehold.

Result: 94-68, Victory

Holy shit, what a game. Sean, hat’s off to you – that was a real tough one for you and as soon as I got first turn that cemented it. I had fun playing you and hope we meet again.

 

Final Result: 6-2, Champion of the Lieutenant’s Bracket

You’re goddamn right I hung this on the wall

6-2 is much, much better than I was hoping for and finishing 4-0 in my bracket means I’m one of four champions in the bracket, which means I go home with a hastily-framed signed sheet of paper telling everyone that I am a champion of the Lieutenant’s bracket. And I fucking love it. It’s going to look wonderful on the walls of my gaming space, and it’s a pretty crazy testament to how far I’ve come in this stupid game. On the five-and-a-half hour ride home Swiftblade looked at me and said “Rob if you say you’re a mediocre player after this again, I swear to shit…” and I had to begrudgingly admit that he was on to something there. So as of this moment I will no longer refer to myself as a “bog-standard, run-of-the-mill 40k player,” but instead an “above average” one.

In all I finished 56th by placings at the event, which is kind of weird because the bracketing system meant I was somehow lower down – and scoring fewer ITC points than – people who started 3-1 and then finished 3-5. That’s weird, but whatever – I can live with it. I ended up winning a signed copy of Plague War by Guy Haley as my prize from the big prizes bucket, and that’s pretty neat. I may even read it, now. The drive home was pretty uneventful but long – we hauled ass as best we could, mostly talking about our games. Boon tragically lost to Siegler in round 7 – something he’ll talk about more in his write-up – but went on to finish third by beating Jony Velazquez in round 8. The scores don’t reflect that either, once again showing how weird the ITC/BCP/GW event relationship/handoff is. Swiftblade finished 2-3 at the Age of Sigmar Event, along with RagnarokAngel, while JoeK went 3-2. Most of the crew finished 4-4 or better – a pretty good showing for the Goonhammer crew!

This drive home is pretty rough; we’ve been yelling for three days straight, we’re exhausted, and to top it all off we have to stay awake past midnight. We stop at McDonald’s on the way back and just end up housing a few dozen chicken nuggets and making the rest of the drive fueled by caffeine. I wouldn’t fully recover until Tuesday but I was glad to be home and sleeping in my bed that night. It was a hell of an event and as always, knowing people there is what made it memorable. The real wins aren’t the ITC points or the plaques, but the friends we made along the way.

 

Next Time: What the Hell Am I Gonna Do About This List?

I’m probably taking next week off, but I’ll be back in two weeks to talk about more practice games and list adjustments. I still need to figure out how to structure the thing ad whether or not I want psykers in it at all. And on top of that I need to figure out how I want to adjust things after giving it another 8 test games at NOLA. My quickfire take is that Gift of Plagues is coming back out for Miasma, which is just more useful and something I wish I had much more often… if I keep a psyker, anyways. I also need to think about whether I’m going to run the Terminus Est list. Probably not, but worth considering. Until next time, if you have any questions or feedback, drop us a note in the comments below or email us at contact@goonhammer.com.