TheChirurgeon’s Road Through 2022, Part 29: Day 3 of the GW Finale Narrative

Welcome back, Dear Reader, to my ongoing journey through a 2022 packed with Warhammer. In my last article, I talked about Day 1 at the event, and my first two games, plus some of the extracurriculars. With the 50 PL games out of the way, it was time to step up to the big boy games.

In addition to being the first day of our 100 PL games, day 2 is also the first day of the double elimination competitive brackets for Warhammer 40k, Age of Sigmar, and Kill Team. Our own James “Boon” Kelling is playing in the Best Overall bracket for 40k, so around 7:30 I invite him to join us for breakfast. We head down to the cafe and bet some buffet breakfast. The buffet isn’t amazing, but it’s pretty solid. The omelets are decent and the bacon is alright. We hang out shooting the shit until about 8:40, since our faction brief is at 9. That’s when I notice my phone ringing – I’m getting a call from Mike Brandt, GW’s head of Global Events and Consumer Technology. I miss the call fumbling with my phone but message him back.

Ahhhh fuck

I call him back again and he asks if Kelling is “dead.” I say “why no, he’s right here, eating breakfast with us, why do you ask?”

Brandt then – as calmly as he’s able to muster, I suspect – informs me that James is 40 minutes late for round 1 of his best overall bracket. I turn to James and say “James apparently your round started at 8am, not 9. This is news to James. He immediately grabs his stuff and heads up to the event. I tell Mike he’s on his way.

Look, here’s what you have to know about Kelling: He’s a bit of a jerk on line but in person he is one of the nicest, most cornball midwestern people you could ever meet. Very soft spoken, a real treasure to be around. He’s also extremely cursed. He gets into all kinds of weird shit at his events, through varying degrees of his own fault. As he takes off, I immediately start wondering if this will be another cursed event for him. I hope not – not only do I really want him to win, it’d be a really lame way to get DQ’d. Also: Who starts an event at 8am? That’s pervert shit.

We head up to our faction briefing. Surprise, it’s more yelling. We didn’t do enough, I guess. Today we’re being deployed to Lambda Rho, a Manufactorum facility. Once again we’re up against Battlegroup 6, the raddest of the groups. Once again, they pick tables and we pick opponents. Once again, I try (mostly in vain) to assign my novice Chaos Knights players to space marine matchups they’re likely to find winnable. Once again, it doesn’t really work and they lose pretty badly.

Mission 3: Raze and Ruin with Condit vs. Jack Hunter

This time there aren’t enough Imperium players to match into all of us Chaos folks, so Jack agrees to take on Condit and I in a 2v1 game. Jack’s an incredibly rad dude and one of the key executives who helps keep Goonhammer running, and I have never had a chance to play against him in a game. We’re playing Raze and Ruin, a mission I like and have played before – and I use this to my advantage to screw Jack over in deployment – by putting two objectives in the center band of the table wholly on Jack’s side of the table, I ensure that he’ll have four objectives in his territory, i.e. destroyable by us, while we’ll only have two on our side he can destroy. On top of that, the warzone leader informs us that units in this mission can take mortal wounds to just blow up an objective while it’s held by an enemy. This basically means Jack is fucked and can’t win.

One of the prettiest games of the event

Which isn’t to say he doesn’t put up an incredible fight. We get the first turn, but do absolutely nothing with it, failing to do more than kill a unit of Incursors. Our dice in the first three rounds of this game were just complete ass, while Jack’s were absolutely on fire. He made 5+ feel no pain rolls left and right and shrugged off major hits to cause us some real trouble early on, killing a unit of Possessed and Warp Talons with ease, then crashing into our ranks.

This thing would just not die

Through sheer determination – and a bit of piss, bile, and salt – we’re able to hold on through those turns long enough for the dice to slowly turn around. Despite being largely unkillable, Jack’s Storm Eagle whiffs killing my Master of Possession when it has a chance to (thanks for splitting fire, idiot!), then dies the following turn while the MoP runs to safety with his Obliterators. We’re able to wipe out Jack’s Terminators while Condit’s Noise Marines hold on to destroy his Sanguinary Guard and we blow up three objectives on turn 4, putting the game out of reach.

This was probably my favorite game of the event, even if it was a terrible losing battle for Jack. Jack’s a fun opponent to play, and it’s always cool to get a game in with friends you don’t ever get to play. We wrap up and eat lunch, some of the driest cheeseburgers in the world. There’s a bit of time before our next game, and we talk about the paint judging coming up that evening. I swing by to see how Kelling is doing. He actually caught up on play in game 1, winning and finishing before most of the other round 1 games. I think not being able to think about things may have actually helped him a bit. He’s on his second game now, and the table is in the middle of a three-judge pileup over the issue of whether an attack that converts damage to mortals suffers from damage reduction effects. They’ll rule in James’ favor, but it doesn’t actually affect the outcome in a meaningful way, and he’ll go on to win the game, then lose to Gonyo in round 3, punting him to the loser bracket.

Mission 4: Supplies From Above vs. Brother Captain Rob

Next up we’ve been deployed to the Cargorium, a continent-sized warehouse filled with battlegrounds that have elevated roadways. I tell my Chaos Knights players that while these tables look cool, under no circumstances are they to play games on them – the roadways sit about 5″ off the table, making them a bit too tall to climb over in a single movement action, and too short for a big knight to walk under. It’s a terrible trap.

The objectives move D3+3″ in a random direction at the start of every round

After pairing everyone else up, I get matched into Rob and his Salamanders. Rob’s a great guy, and was an absolute pleasure to play against. His Salamanders look great, but he’s still putting the finishing touches on some of them. He’s running heavier on Flamers than melta, though he’s got a unit of six Eradicators, and those will be my primary concern. Rob gets the first turn and moves forward a bit but I’ve kept a good amount of my forces hidden, so the Land Raider avoids much real damage.

On my turn it’s showtime, and the Lord Discordant and Berzerkers surge forward, killing Rob’s outriders and Bray’arth Ashmantle before consolidating into a bunch of Intercessors. Unfortunately for me, Rob uses the Stratagem to have Bray’Arth stand back up with 1 wound remaining, after which he’ll completely shithouse my berzerkers before the Lord Discordant picks him up. On the left side of the table I use my plague marines to charge and surround Rob’s Land Raider, freezing it in place and forcing his Terminators to get out and walk around.


They kill the Plague Marines, but end up in the perfect position to be charged by my own Terminators, who manage to pick them up over the course of a couple of turns. Meanwhile, the Land Raider continues to weather Eradicator shooting as I whittle them down, and will stay on the board all game – it helps that it can use the Blasphemous Machines Stratagem for free, thanks to its Crusade upgrades.

Rob’s Flamestorm Aggressors

I’ll end up tabling Rob and we call it a turn early. He put up a strong fight but there’s not much he can do in this game without more meltaguns, especially after I collapse his left flank on turns 1+2. Still, fun guy and I wish him luck in the final round.

The Evening Entertainment

With the Day 2 games complete, it’s time to set up for paint judging and grab some dinner. A number of players have been invited to the showcase, basically putting them in the running for Best Painted, and I’m one of them. I like my army a lot, but it’s facing some very, very stiff competition. I think the toughest are probably Craig “MasterSlowPoke” Sniffen, whose Rainbow Warriors are insanely good, and Campbell “SRM” McLaughlin, who gets tons of character and amazing heraldry details onto his models. JD “TheArmorOfContempt” is also in the running, as his models are technically perfect, but tend to be a bit flat. And there’s Jack, whose Blood Angels look amazing, but aren’t quite as good as his Imperial Fists – if he brought those, I’d have no chance. As it is, I think I have OK odds, but will just be happy with a top 5 finish against these incredible hobbyists.

We head over to the hotel bar for some dinner and I manage to wrangle a burger this time. The bar has lots of special burger options but I’m not feeling any of that aioli shit so I just ask for a “regular ass burger” and they can oblige. Norman and co order a bunch of pizzas for the team, to fulfil his Blunderdome pizza party obligations. The pizza options out here are pretty dire, so they settle on a bunch of Domino’s.

The Blunderdome pizza party

After pizza is the briefing, which most of us skip, followed by the trivia contest and the night’s extracurriculars: Aeronautica Imperialis games. I haven’t had time to paint my planes so I miss out on the aerial warfare, but pop over to trivia and help team “Goons Hammer” win the contest. There are only three teams, but we’re at least around the same size as the 2nd place team. I was hoping for something a bit more involved. Note to self: Make a killer trivia competition for the next GHO.

We collect our armies and offer painting critiques to each other for a bit, looking at all the cool details on the GH submissions. I’ve gotta figure out a display board situation for this army. I had a rough plan for something better this year, but FLG couldn’t get me a new carrying tray and mat shipped inside of three weeks (and still haven’t so much as let me know the order status in the five weeks since my order was placed), so I ended up having to borrow a tray from Contemptor Kevin last minute.

I end up heading in early – around 11:30 – and crash for the evening. I don’t sleep particularly well, but waking up early means I can help schedule Goonhammer posts. Overall a fun day 2 at the event, with one to go. Check back on Saturday for the recap of the final day.

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