Tournament Report – Blood & Glory 2018 – Part 1

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Who am I kidding I love this.

Introduction

Welcome back to another exciting episode of Elves on Tour 2018.

Red Boi is back with the squad ready to party hard.

Concluding my extremely busy month of tournament excitement, this weekend I was at Blood & Glory, a very unusaul beast in the UK tournament scene in that it’s a.) a fully fledged con and b.) has an AoS event twice the size of the 40k event. That doesn’t mean the 40K event was small though – at just under 80 players starting round 1 it’s still comfortably into the “large event” range, and I was ready to try and finally break through to 4-1 and escape the terrible 3-2 curse I’ve been labouring under. How did that go? Let’s find out.

If you want to see details of my army list and the event format, go have a look at the event preview I put up last week here.

As usual (and I’ve just spent 10 minutes turning the bare bones of this into a template in Notepad++ so the format stays), for each round I’ll be covering the following:

  • The Competition – Details of my opponent’s army (helpfully there’s a list doc again, though no specified format so prepare for battlescribe eye bleed if you click some of the expando-links.)
  • The Mission – Details of mission and deployment
  • The Plan – how I aimed to play out the game and target priorities.
  • The Summary – how the game played out at a high level
  • The Takeaways – points of interest and things I learnt from the game
  • The Score – my score after the game.

The player briefing clarified a few rules things from the pack. The “6VP for completing the main mission” thing turned out to be that the player who got the most EW points got 6 bonus VP, which significantly reduced my concerns about a lot of draws. Some rulings were made for Recon (this took about a 3rd of the player briefing) which made it fairly high stakes – it was ruled that you could spend CP to deep strike things not in your primary detachment, and they could deep strike if they turned up turn 1.

How that turned out we’ll see later, for now, lets head into round 1.

Round 1 – Nurgle/Death Guard

The Competition

Army List - Click to expand

Chaos – Death Guard Battalion Detachment (1360 points)

HQ

Warlord

Daemon Prince of Nurgle – 180 pts

Malefic Talons x2 (10), Wings (24)

Warlord Trait –

Arch Contaminator

Spells –

Smite, Miasma of Pestilence

Relic –

Fugaris Helm

Daemon Prince of Nurgle – 180 pts

Malefic Talons x2 (10), Wings (24)

Spells -

Smite,

Curse of the Leper

Daemon Prince of Nurgle – 180 pts

Malefic Talons x2 (10), Wings (24)

Spells -

Smite, Blades of Putrefaction

Troops

Chaos Cultists – 52 pts

Cultist Champion, 12 Cultists

Autogun

Chaos Cultists – 52 pts

Cultist Champion, 12 Cultists

Autogun

Chaos Cultists – 52 pts

Cultist Champion, 12 Cultists

Autogun

Elites

Blightlord Terminators – 226 pts

Champion (46)

Balesword (6), Combi-Bolter (2)

4x Terminators

Bubotic Axe (5), Combi-Bolter (2)

Heavy Support

Plagueburst Crawler – 146 pts

2x Entropy Cannon (40), Heavy Slugger (6), Plagueburst Mortar

Plagueburst Crawler – 146 pts

2x Entropy Cannon (40), Heavy Slugger (6), Plagueburst Mortar

Plagueburst Crawler – 146 pts

2x Entropy Cannon (40), Heavy Slugger (6), Plagueburst Mortar


Chaos – Daemons – Nurgle Battalion Detachment (388 pts)

HQ

Daemon Prince of Chaos (Nurgle) - 156 pts

Hellforged Sword (10), Malefic Talon

Spells –

Smite,

Shrivelling Pox

Poxbringer – 70 pts

Balesword

Spells –

Smite,

Miasma of Pestilence

Troops

Nurglings – 54 pts

3x Nurglings Swarms

3x Diseased Claws and Teeth

Nurglings – 54 pts

3x Nurglings Swarms

3x Diseased Claws and Teeth

Nurglings – 54 pts

3x Nurglings Swarms

3x Diseased Claws and Teeth

He added some relics to some of the princes, one from the Death Guard book (the Suppurating Plate) and one from the Daemon Book (some sort of sword of ultra murder).

The Mission

The Scouring + Sealed Orders. My thoughts on Sealed Orders have been previously made known, but that’s mitigated somewhat by the limit on only scoring two cards a turn – it means one player getting an outrageously good draw compared to their opponent matters slightly less, because they can’t blow straight through five cards, discard one and draw more.

The Plan

That’s far from a bad list but isn’t hyper optimised and is probably quite a poor matchup against mine. The lack of fire prisms immediately shows its worth here – even as Alaitoc, Prisms would be quite a good target for those Crawlers, but they’re vastly less good against either planes (because they’re BS4+, so I can literally no-sell the shooting with Lightning Fast if I really need to) and Serpents (because the shield massively reduces the expected output of the Mortar).

It’s also a bit light on anti-infantry for the amount of models I have – a daemon prince will tear apart a unit of Avengers if I let it, but my infantry can comfortably collapse those cultist screens in a turn, and will be able to use the speed of Eldar to ensure they get the first strike to do so.

The real threats here are the Princes, and they’re certainly nasty, but without more bubble wrap they’re at serious risk of getting either Smote to death or murdered by angry roving flocks of planes. The terminators are also excessively vulnerable to the amount of Smite/Executioner I have in my army.

In general, this is a game I should definitely win. The plan is to make sure I screen sensibly against terminator drops and flying Princes, collapse his cultists off the board in as quick a swoop as possible, tie up his crawlers with bully charges where possible and gradually take him off the board. Key targets are the princes, and looking for chances to snipe one is high priority.

I definitely felt like this should be winnable. He did also mention that it was his first ever tournament and his first time ever playing against Eldar, which against a list like mine that leans heavily on tricks and combos rather than the raw and obvious power of something like Dark Reapers or Spears probably didn’t bode that well for him.

We set up objectives, rolled for deployment (getting Spearhead Assault) and got to it.

The Summary

The minions of Nurgle prepare to advance.

Cowardly space elves play it cautiously

I got the first turn, drew an OK grip of cards, including, notably, Scour the Skies and Witch Hunter. You know how I mentioned that my opponent had never played against Eldar before and the Daemon Princes were my priority target?

I’m very sorry for all the war crimes

The planes begun the first step in what my opponent described after the game as an “interesting learning experience” (he was a really great guy and fun to play against) by zooming across the battlefield to pick off a Daemon Prince, the Hemlock leaning on its frankly silly ability to advance 80″ and still operate at full efficiency. The rest of my army didn’t manage to to too much other than squishing some Nurglings, but that was a fine price to pay for deploying cautiously, and wasting the prince scored me my two cards for the turn. I spent the 1CP to discard all the rest but a defend I was now sitting on and passed it over.

His forces largely advanced upwards, and the crawlers took pot shots at various things, but were largely ineffectual thanks to modifiers – I think one entropy cannon shot dinged a serpent fairly hard but other than that not too much happened, only hitting on 5s with all your anti tank is pretty bad.

On my turn 2, the corner of death claimed some more victims as my guardians came in and blew away the screen on that side, while my avengers darted forwards to blow away the rest of the cultists.

My opponent also helpfully collaborated on action shots for this (again, great guy).

As well as that in the centre of the board, I decided I was willing to gamble on some bad charge rolls from my opponent and put my characters in a slightly dodgy spot to get off three charges for the “Khaine’s Wrath” objective – my opponent was scoring decently and I was mindful that I wanted to be a long way ahead on Maelstrom just in case he held on, as the Superior objective for the Scouring was under one of his PBCs. I also made sure to wheel my CH round to be within 6 of my farseer so it could use Forewarned to try and waste some terminators if they warped in. I also killed a PBC with my various anti tank fire.

In my opponent’s turn he made the correct that going full aggro into my lines was they only way they were going to salvage this, and pushed his princes forward, while the terminators came in (one being claimed by hot laser death from above). My warlord did indeed pay the price for recklessness, but I knew it was a risk I was taking, and damage elsewhere was minimal.

A brawl commences

That really should have been the end of it, as wiping at least two princes should comfortably have been within my capabilities, but they decided to die hard. I did get one (while also heavily mauling the terminators with Executioner and Smite) but narrowly missed on a second because some pesty nurglings were refusing to die and meant my Hemlock and (by like half an inch) my Drukari squad couldn’t shoot the princes. His saves and FNPs were also pretty hot, the second prince definitely should have died this turn even without the last two units. I did hurt the PBCs some more as my guardians moved up to threaten a charge on one of them the next turn.

My opponent’s next turn did a decent amount of damage – at least one serpent got blown away and quit a few infantry died, while the remaining terminators mauled some dire avengers. I still felt pretty good about the game, but was starting to be a little wary and cagey about how I positioned things, because I was mindful that I probably wasn’t quite going to get him off the table for 5 and he was still squatting on the superior objective. This wasn’t helped by him getting some good luck in taking out the guardians faster than I’d planned – he sent a prince and his minor character back to go after them, once they charged the PBC, but they should have been able to tarpit for one turn even after morale – but he promptly rolled a super smite to blow six of them off the board, meaning that they all died.

However, careful planning paid off and I was on all of the non-superior objectives at the end of five – he did nearly take my drukari off one of them with a Prince charge, but I still had enough that one remained, immune to morale by this point thanks to Power from Pain, and even without that I would have been 7-4, having finally prised the Nurglings off one. As it happened the game went to 6 and took his remaining stuff off the table.

Victory!

The Takeaways

Not too much to take away from this one to be honest – mostly a reminder of how hideous Eldar can be if people don’t know the tricks up their sleeves, and an early validation of some of my choices – pretty much every change I made after Glasshammer pulled its weight here. It did remind me that Nurglings are real fricking good, and it puzzles me slightly how far out of fashion they’ve gone – they’re a legit pain to prise off objectives without a decent amount of punch involved.

The Score

36-12VP, Major Victory

(I put this down as 23-12 on the day as there had initially been some miscommunication that the 6VP for the most points in EW replaced them rather than being in addition).

Match Score: 1-0

Round 2 – Chaos Soup

The Competition

Army List - Click to expand

++ Battalion Detachment +5CP (Chaos - Daemons) [35 PL, 707pts] ++

+ No Force Org Slot +

Chaos Allegiance: Khorne

Rewards of Chaos (1 Relic)

+ HQ [11 PL, 212pts] +

Bloodmaster [3 PL, 56pts]

Daemon Prince of Chaos [8 PL, 156pts]: Daemonic axe [10pts], Khorne, Skullreaver

+ Troops [24 PL, 495pts] +

Bloodletters [8 PL, 165pts]: 19x Bloodletter [133pts], Bloodreaper [7pts], Daemonic Icon [15pts],

Instrument of Chaos [10pts]

Bloodletters [8 PL, 165pts]: 19x Bloodletter [133pts], Bloodreaper [7pts], Daemonic Icon [15pts],

Instrument of Chaos [10pts]

Bloodletters [8 PL, 165pts]: 19x Bloodletter [133pts], Bloodreaper [7pts], Daemonic Icon [15pts],

Instrument of Chaos [10pts]

++ Battalion Detachment +5CP (Chaos - Chaos Space Marines) [45 PL, 695pts] ++

+ No Force Org Slot +

Legion: Renegade Chapters

+ HQ [10 PL, 151pts] +

Dark Apostle [5 PL, 76pts]: Bolt pistol, Mark of Khorne, Power maul [4pts]

Exalted Champion [5 PL, 75pts]: Chainsword, No Chaos Mark, Power axe [5pts]

+ Troops [9 PL, 120pts] +

Chaos Cultists [3 PL, 40pts]: 9x Chaos Cultist w/ Autogun [36pts], Mark of Khorne

. Cultist Champion [4pts]: Autogun

Chaos Cultists [3 PL, 40pts]: 9x Chaos Cultist w/ Autogun [36pts], Mark of Khorne

. Cultist Champion [4pts]: Autogun

Chaos Cultists [3 PL, 40pts]: 9x Chaos Cultist w/ Autogun [36pts], Mark of Khorne


. Cultist Champion [4pts]: Autogun

+ Elites [18 PL, 278pts] +

Khorne Berzerkers [9 PL, 139pts]: 7x Chainsword and bolt pistol [112pts], Icon of Wrath [10pts]

. Berzerker Champion [17pts]: Chainaxe [1pts], Chainsword

Khorne Berzerkers [9 PL, 139pts]: 7x Chainsword and bolt pistol [112pts], Icon of Wrath [10pts]

. Berzerker Champion [17pts]: Chainaxe [1pts], Chainsword

+ Dedicated Transport [8 PL, 146pts] +

Chaos Rhino [4 PL, 74pts]: Combi-bolter [2pts], Combi-bolter [2pts], No Chaos Mark

Chaos Rhino [4 PL, 72pts]: Combi-bolter [2pts], No Chaos Mark

++ Supreme Command Detachment +1CP (Chaos - Thousand Sons) [20 PL, 348pts] ++

+ HQ [20 PL, 348pts] +

Sorcerer [6 PL, 104pts]: Death Hex, Force stave [8pts], Infernal Gaze, Inferno Bolt Pistol [1pts]

Sorcerer [6 PL, 104pts]: Force stave [8pts], Gift of Chaos, Inferno Bolt Pistol [1pts], Tzeentch's

Firestorm

Sorcerer in Terminator Armour [8 PL, 140pts]: 6. High Magister, Doombolt, Familiar [9pts], Force

stave [8pts], Inferno Combi-bolter [3pts], Warlord, Warptime

++ Total: [100 PL, 1750pts] ++

The Mission

No Mercy and Recon. Oh Lawd.

The Plan

Normally I’d be extremely confident going into this matchup, but Recon really throws a lot of things out of kilter. Specifically, I have to try and deal with the very real risk that if he goes first and rolls well, he can drop Bloodletter bombs with a 3d6 charge right in my face, and if that happens I might simply get overwhelmed.

I followed the army splits I’d planned out in the preview article, and the basic plan here was if I ended up with either set with a plane in, to deploy hard in one corner with the plane out in front – he has limited anti-tank shooting, and while on some maps I risk it catching a few smites, I’m honestly better off losing a plane than getting fully bloodletter bombed without my full army in place.

If I get through the first turn, the plan is to be extremely cautious until the letters drop, screening out as far as possible with either sacrificial units or, where possible, the planes. Once the Bloodletters come in, I want to drop the hammer on them as hard as possible by bringing in my guardians – if I can clear out all three units with my army as a going concern, I should comfortably be able to clean up enough stuff from there to win (though I probably won’t get a tabling here – too much of my first few turns will go into staying alive).

The Summary

I rolled up the set of units with my guardians in it and put them in DS. My opponent didn’t roll up his bloodletters, and unsurprisingly put all of them in DS with banners (and the two Khorne characters as well). I deployed as planned out above (though honestly I should actually have put the warlock and raider even further into the corner), with the exception that I decided if he wanted to blow a bloodletter bomb to kill five rangers I was happy to let him and put them on the far side:

"That doesn't make any sens-" "I SAID COWER!"

“Everyone cower behind the plane!”

His on-board presence was minimal, and because he’d rolled up the set with a transport and a character he under-dropped me and won the roll. He made the decision to go second which suited me fine and I kicked off the plan.

Elves – small or just far away?

As expected, not that much happened on the first two turns. Helpfully, everything in my army rather than the Archon turned up turn 1, but completely fluffed killing anything, meaning the first turn was outrageously bloodless. A decent chunk of his stuff turned up on 1, but he decided to hold the bloodletters until he could be sure they would all come in at once, as otherwise he expected (correctly) that I’d pick the units off one at a time. Luckily, this gave me a low pressure environment to ensure that at the end of my turn 2 the board looked like this (the Rhino died in my shooting, I took the shot while he was checking charge ranges for the passengers):

The rangers and the raider will probably pay for this – so be it.

This was good, because on his turn epic boss battle music started playing and we got what is (I’m going to tell you now) easily the coolest photo of the event:

Hello elf sirs, have you heard the good word of KHORNE?

In the centre and right the plan pretty much held – the raider obviously got spectacularly killed by the centre blob, but no charges could be landed past the CH. On the left I’d messed up my positioning – I needed to skew the rangers slightly further to the left, because as it was the Bloodletters could set up for a 10 inch charge on the Wave Serpent, which they easily made thanks to their buffed banner. They pile-in wrapped a ranger, which meant I couldn’t go after them next turn, but couldn’t get far enough to wrap the serpent thanks to it being hard against the wall, which meant I would still be able to bail passengers out on my turn (there’s also only one squad left in, the second DA squad is holding an objective just below shot, while the spiritseer has also already got out).

On my turn I went for the next stage of the plan. I brought the guardians in to try and collapse the central blob, while the DAs from that rather doomed serpent got out to interpose themselves between where the left Bloodletters would end up and the guardian position. Helpfully, my spiritseer also landed restrain on them, which meant that while they would assuredly waste the rangers in my turn, they would probably only get as far as killing one DA squad on my next, giving me time to prepare to take them out.

Meanwhile, on the right, the Hemlock and wave serpent wheeled into a blocking position – this pretty much guaranteed that the Serpent would get murdered by the Prince in combat, but holding up that blob for a turn would hopefully buy me time to win.

It’s a good thing I did this because my guardians spectacularly under performed in the centre, only taking out 9 or 10 bloodletters despite Jinx and doom having been landed and being in the Autarch bubble (I was rolling appalling numbers of 2s). The dire avengers and Kabalites got a decent way through finishing the job, allowing my autarch to finish them off, but I had less firepower to throw at the right blob than I’d like. I did still manage to kill 8, and got the best use out of Vect for the whole event by stopping his auto-pass – leaving 7 more to flee thanks to a four on the dice after re-roll and the Hemlock’s aura. The second Rhino also died.

That swung things heavily in my favour, but things weren’t over yet. My CH had ended up at his end of the board, and his sorcerors rolled exceptionally well to take it off the board in a single Psychic phase, while his prince obviously did cleave the serpent in half.

The fight for the game became the massive brawl in the bottom right of the board, as my stuff layered to try and keep his remaining threats away while I dealt with the left bomb, and then to mop up his characters and berserkers. The game ended up very tense – neither of us had scored many Maelstrom cards, meaning the game was going to turn on Kill Points and the six bonus VP for having most, and I had no hope of ever taking out the two remaining cultist squads at the far end of the board (which he used to bubble his sorcerors). I did eventually win the brawl in my dep zone, clearing out all but an outrageously hard-dying dark apostle, but my change to seize a comfortable win escaped when my Hemlock completely flubbed an attempt to murder a sorcerer after he messed up and let me land behind him atop a Ziggurat (that would have scored me a card and a kill point and pretty much guaranteed the Hemlock would live). As it was the Hemlock died, and so while I was pretty sure I had it, counting up kill points was still tense. In the end, the fact that all of my characters were still alive, and I had two squads (a dire avenger unit and kabalites) with one model each left plus the guardians and a full avengers just sealed it for me – I was three ahead of him.

Khorne is probably pleased surveying the carnage anyway

This was frankly a relief, because maths wise both his sorceror and apostle should have died on the last turn, so if I’d lost by 1 point or something I’d have been extremely salty.

The Takeaways

I’m torn here – I do think this was a more interesting game that we would have had with these armies not playing Recon, but to be clear – fucking Recon. I’ll freely admit to being an overly aggressive player sometimes, but were I my opponent I’d have taken a punt on going first and lobbing a bloodletter bomb in my face – especially because once he knew my guardians were in “proper” deep strike, they wouldn’t have been able to come in and help. I can certainly see why he made the choices he did – there is a risk that I can then collapse them bombs one at a time, but the problem I would then have is that I’d be having to set up my army relatively “piecemeal” to go after his first bomb, and with at-most 6 inches of screen – at which point his other bombs could come in and crush them.

I’m obviously glad he didn’t do that because a.) There’s a decent chance I’d have lost and b.) it wouldn’t have been a terribly fun game, and I think that’s really the rub of the problem – with the armies we had we managed to have a fun time, but any game in this mission where, say, a Castellan was involved is likely to turn massively on the rolls of the deployment and reserve dice. Ah well, I can go back to not thinking about Recon now.

On more game-specific things – bloodletters, it turns out, are quite scary. I’d never faced them before this game and the 3D6 charge thing was (terrifying) news to me. It definitely does show one of the reasons I want to move to having some truly expendable dark eldar infantry in the list – against an army like this, you really do want something you can just have massively out in one direction and not mind at all losing. A third plane will also help with this – the blocking ability of my two here was extremely clutch. All of these factors are only going to get more important with Ork Meta on the horizon, so I’m glad that real experience is pointing towards me being on the right track.

Also – Restrain almost never comes up until it suddenly is the best thing ever in a situation – here it to all intents and purposes took out a bloodletter unit for an entire turn, something that was obviously outrageously valuable in the circumstances. Sadly that will be one of the things I have to lose to make the “more Drukari” plan work, which is a bit of a shame, to the point where I am looking at if there’s any way I can make it work still (I could run an Eldar patrol instead of an Air Wing and spread the planes between detachments).

The Score

VP: 23-11 Major Victory

Match Score: 2-0

Round 3 – Aeldari

The Competition

Army List - Click to expand

Aeldari faction

total command points (14)

Total Points [1750]

++ Batallion Detachment +5CP (Drukhari) (Prophets of flesh)

[893]

HQ1: Urien Rakarth (90) [90]

HQ2: Haemonculus (70) Stinger pistol (5) Ichor injector (5) [80]

Troops 1: 5 Wracks (45) [45]

Troops 2: 5 Wracks (45) [45]

Troops 3: 5 Wracks (45) [45]

Heavy 1: 2 Talos (150) 2 Macro Scalpels (8) 4 haywire blasters (32) 2 chain flails (6) [196]

Heavy 2: 2 Talos (150) 2 Macro Scalpels (8) 4 haywire blasters (32) 2 chain flails (6) [196]

Heavy 3: 2 Talos (150) 2 Macro Scalpels (8) 4 haywire blasters (32) 2 chain flails (6) [196]

++ Spearhead Detachment +1CP (Drukhari) (Kabal of the Black heart) [447]

HQ1: Archon (70) Venom Blade (2) [72] WARLORD, Writ of the living muse, labrinthyne cunning

Heavy 1: Ravager (80) 3 Disintegrators (45) [125]

Heavy 2: Ravager (80) 3 Disintegrators (45) [125]

Heavy 3: Ravager (80) 3 Disintegrators (45) [125]

++ Batallion (+5cp) (aeldari) (alaitoc) [410]

HQ1: Farseer (110) Singing Spear (5) [115]

Smite, Doom, excecutioner

HQ2: Warlock (55) [55]

Smite, protect/jinx

Troops 1: 5 Rangers (60) [60]

Troops 2: 5 Rangers (60) [60]

Troops 3: 5 Rangers (60) [60]

Troops 4: 5 Rangers (60) [60]

The Mission

Resupply Drop and Tactical Gambit. This is almost completely irrelevant here – this is almost guaranteed to end with someone not on the table (and tablings were major victories).

The Plan

Fundamentally, what you see above is pretty much standard for a high-end Drukari list – several prominent UK players reckon that Talos might be the best single unit in the game right now, and they’re probably right – really only Castellans or Ynnari Spears can compete. They have that key combo of being tough to kill for their cost and being (at least in the basically objectively correct weapon configuration, as seen above) good against everything. Haywire and Macroscalpel Melee (especially buffed by Urien) are great against vehicles, and Chain Flails are outrageously good for clearing chaff infantry.

Clearly these are my priority here. Ravagers are certainly nasty, but this is another place where moving away from Fire Prisms helps me a lot – Ravagers are terrible against a “shields up” serpent, and drop off distinctly against planes – even with re-roll 1s on hits and wounds your only looking at ~3 damage per turn per ravager at full operation once you’re hitting on 5s.

The good news is that the Talos only really have one plan here which is “come towards me”, and I am ready for that plan. I want to deploy reasonably far back, and be fairly cautious if I go first – I probably want to just use the opportunity to take some pot shots at the Talos, but stay at 24″ to keep out of charge range, while the Hemlock and hunter go harass some of his backline stuff. In that scenario, I’d hope to pick off a Talos with anti tank turn 1, then ideally finish that unit and take another turn 2. That’s possibly a bit optimistic but not by a huge amount, as I have a lot of psychic I can bring to bear.

If I go second the plan is to drop the hammer turn 1 – the avengers plus my anti tank should still comfortably account for a unit if I get doom off, and the engagement range for my stuff is good enough that if I take out the front unit the second isn’t a sure thing for a second turn charge. I then need to clean up a second squad on turn 2 (which should be very doable with guardians helping) and hopefully take out a ravager as well. It should be plausible to execute that with relatively minimal damage to my own stuff, at which point I should win the attrition war.

The Summary

I’m afraid I have only one photo of this as my opponent asked me not to spend too much time taking them to make sure we didn’t time out (which i thought wasn’t too likely to be a problem here, but I always ask before taking photos and won’t go against what my opponent wants).

My army while my opponent finishes setting up his units.

He got the first turn, and moved Talos’s forward. He’d only gambit-ted one, but the only card he could really do was Big Game Hunter, so with only four Talos in range he Vected my Lightning Fast to increase his chance of the kill – but still didn’t get it (which actually is mathematically correct with only four shooting). This should have been a great start for me as it would give be a big CP advantage, but unfortunately he rolled a 6 for Vect and got also one back from his warlord. Still, a failed gambit from your opponent is a good way to start any game.

Unfortunately, that was about the last thing that went well all game – my army surged out of transports to take up firing positions against the Talos (I did make a mistake here – I’d intended to park my CH within 6 of my farseer to snipe a raider but forgot when I changed my mind about where I wanted the seer), while my Hemlock swooped over to make setting up his ravagers in the archon bubble way harder (keeping in range to shoot the Talos). The first bad thing that happened was that despite using Seer Council and having a full re-roll my warlock failed to even cast Jinx, though doom did at least land, which with the amount of shooting I had coming up should still see off the first squad.

Not, unfortunately, with the way my opponent rolled his saves. The combined firepower of three avengers squads (one was at the back scoring a defend), the Hemlock, the Drukari, the CH, both wave Serpents and a few smites I managed to do a sum total of 6 wounds to the doomed Talos, because my opponent would not stop passing invulns. I think I landed 5 wounds with D6 damage weapons, of which he saved four and I rolled a 1 (after re-roll) for damage from the only unsaved one. The squad would have trivially died if I’d landed the jinx, but it was not to be. This looked a bit grim.

However, on his turn I got just the tiniest sliver of a reprieve. His ravagers came in, but couldn’t all go in the re-roll bubble (I did take some pot shots with a Wave Serpent via forewarned, but was rewarded with a passed invuln and another 1 after re-roll for my troubles from the lance shots) and didn’t do too much. His Talos obviously finished off the raider in shooting, and did a decent chunk of damage to one Serpent. but when we got to the charge phase a thing of beauty happened.

In my turn, expecting to kill the front unit of Talos I’d stuck Restrain on the next one back to slow them down. This had done it’s job reasonably well – they were in a ruin so had limited space to move, but with careful measuring my opponent had worked out that the following was how to get his units closest to my army:

Numbers are for the Talos units

After he’d charged with the unit that wasn’t in the ruin, he went to charge with unit 1 from the diagram, and just as he was about to roll the dice I had the joyous realisation and said “you can’t”.

Why not? New fly rules. In the charge phase, his Talos don’t fly. Thanks to that, in the position above, neither unit can charge out of the ruins. Unit 1 can’t get out because there’s not enough space between the models in unit 2 for the back one to come through. Unit 2 can’t move out because unit 1 is blocking the door.

If we’re being honest, this is a terribly easy mistake to make given how recent the rule change is, and had I spotted it in the movement phase I probably would even have pointed out to my opponent that it would stop them charging, because I don’t like winning on “gotchas”, but given:

a.) It was entirely an error rather than merely forgetting something.

b.) After my terrible luck on first turn it would potentially be literal game over if all three units got in.

c.) We’d rolled far too many dice and done far too much other stuff to make reverting things practical.

…the decision stuck (and fair play to my opponent, his response to me pointing out was basically “welp, that’s unfortunate on my part, let’s move on”).

That having happened, a really great turn 2 could just about put me back in the game, but unfortunately the dice still had it in for me and it wasn’t to be. This time Doom only scraped through on the cast and got denied, meaning that only Jinx was on the unit. That significantly reduced the effectiveness of the guardian bomb coming in (classic really – in turn 1 I landed Doom when Jinx was more important, turn 2 Jinx when Doom was more important), and once again the targeted Talos unit got through without losing one (his saves were still great on 5+), and a bunch of other things going narrowly wrong like failing to kill Urien in combat.

A second turn of completely whiffing was enough to seal my fate, and while my character did various valiant things, any hope of the slightest comeback or bright kept getting stomped on by the comedy of errors that was my dice. Suffice it to say that the turn after running out of CP (and they’d done naff all this game, because I kept rerolling 1s to 1s or still failing casts after buffing) a wave serpent blew up and took my warlord with it, and its buddy then rolled a 1 on its attempt to detonate its shield to kill his archon for assassinate (though he did finally fail an invuln against a passing Crimson Hunter on that at least). I dropped my rangers hidden in has backline to try and avoid getting tabled, but a Ravager was able to come round and kill them, leaving only my Hunter on the board and me tabled thanks to Boots on the Ground.

The Takeaways

This one hurts – I had a good plan, the averages should have been with me and I just got absolutely turbo-dunked by the dice. Even without the Jinx, I’m pretty sure that the maths favours a Talos unit going down turn 1, but he just would not drop a save against my high quality weaponry. If that had gone off correctly the mistake with the Talos might well have brought me the time to get on top of the game. Not getting T1 hurt here too – I wouldn’t have gone all out aggro turn 1, but again my shooting has a good chance of knocking off one Talos there, and it gives my Hemlock a free turn to harass his back-line stuff.

Talos are definitely just a bit too good – especially with the Prophets of Flesh buff to their invulns, they’re just too much of a pain to kill. The same thing happened against Talos at Glasshammer – a unit shrugged off my army’s shooting despite doom, and they’re so hideous in combat that you really can’t afford to miss a punch thrown at them. If you could go back and change the Codex, they should probably have one fewer attack, and have to choose between double flails or double scalpels (which would bring their attacks back to their current number) – being able to have both just means they’re way too flexible. As it is, a point hike is the only real option.

Restrain continues to be deeply amusing when it works.

The Score

VP: 12-32, Major Loss

Match Score: 2-1

Day 1 Wrap Up

While the last round had been very painful, I was definitely happy with how the army was playing – given what I had available it felt like I’d made the right choices. I was still hopeful I might manage 4-1 with a good run the next day, but that’s a story for tomorrow.

Also, some Kill Team happened:

No Mats? No Problem. CRATE THUNDERDOME

My beautiful Dark Green sons went 2-1, punching out some guard and out-marining some Grey Knights, but getting clowned on by some Death Guard thanks to some super hot injury and Disgustingly Resilient rolls from him.

My opponents rolling super well on saves was starting to feel like a bit of a theme, and I could only hope the next day would be better on that front.

Would it? Join us tomorrow to find out.

 

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