Tournament Report – Blood & Glory 2018 – Part 2

An article by    Battle Reports Gaming        0

Who am I kidding I love this.

Introduction

Part 1

…and we’re back. After assisting with the spirited attempt being conducted by the assembled player base to drink the bars dry of beer the night before, I was “ready” to get back into the swing of things. Because we were on BCP, I knew what I was facing, and unlike at Glasshammer there was no last minute re-shuffle of pairings, so it was time to face the most dangerous game of all – the Knight Castellan.

Round 4 – Knights/Dark Angels

The Competition

Army List - Click to expand

Knights

Super Heavy Detachment

House Hawkshroud

Warlord – Knight Castellan (510)

2 x Shieldbreaker missiles and 2 x Twin Siegebreaker Cannons (94)

Plasma Decimator (0)

2 x Twin Melta Gun (0)

Volcano Lance (0)

Warlord trait – Ion Bulwark

Relic – Armour of the Sainted Ion

Knight Paladin (285)

Reaper Chainsword (30)

Rapid fire battle cannon w/heavy Stubber (104)

Heavy Stubber (4)

Knight Warden (285)

Reaper Chainsword (30)

Avenger Gattling Cannon w/heavy Flamer (92)

Melta gun (17)

Dark Angels

Battalion Detachment

Techmarine (45)

Servo-arm (12)

Power Axe (5)

Bolt Pistol (0)

Frag and Krak grenades (0)

Techmarine (45)

Servo-arm (12)

Power Axe (5)

Bolt Pistol (0)

Frag and Krak grenades (0)

Tactical Squad (65)

1 x Sergeant – Bolt pistol / Boltgun / Frag and Krak (0)

4 x Marines – Bolt pistol / Boltgun / Frag and Krak (0)

Scout Squad (55)

1 x Scout Sergeant – Bolt pistol / Shotgun / Frag and Krak (0)

4 x Scouts - Bolt pistol / Boltgun / Frag and Krak (0)

Scout Squad (55)

1 x Scout Sergeant – Bolt pistol / Boltgun / Frag and Krak (0)

4 x Scouts - Bolt pistol / Boltgun / Frag and Krak (0)

1750 pts – 13 Command Points

He added Endless Fury to his Warden for a CP. He also had the coolest objective markers of the weekend – there were painting points available for themed markers, and he’d done his as Knight graves numbered with rocks (I assume using parts from Titanicus Knights).

These are so coooool.

The Mission

Big Guns Never Tire + Targets of Opportunity. This is another match where it’s extremely unlikely to matter, because this game is almost certainly going to come down to whether I table him or not…

The Plan

…that having been said, he has no LOS ignoring missiles, and the terrain gave me a nice place to hide my rangers (while holding an objective through a wall). Given there’s a decent chance I can make a lot of maelstrom points over the first few turns, I figured I may as well stick them there – it’s just about plausible that if things go south he’ll finish kicking me out of the centre of the board around turn 4, and might not have time to make the move over in time to table me, so a really good Maelstrom run could buy me a draw.

Other than that, the plan is pretty much what it always is against knights – break hard to one flank and take out the knight on it, then roll through the rest, hoping (if he goes first) that I can tank a round of shooting. The terrain and deployment map both favour me considerably here, and his list isn’t maxed out from an optimisation point of view, so even if a vehicle gets wasted by the lance turn 1 I should still have enough firepower to roll through.

In an ideal world the Gatling knight is the priority target (as without it he’ll also struggle to chew through my infantry), but the way the board was set made going after the Battle Cannon one more optimal space wise (see below – its more strung out which makes it safer to go for, as it means I won’t get charged straight away by the others in response.

The Summary

Set up and ready to go (there are 17 space marines hiding in this picture)

He had one fewer drop than the lowest I can go, and went first. To be honest, there’s not a phenomenal amount to say about this game – from there the plan went off pretty much without a hitch. On his first turn his Battle Cannon knight went after the Hemlock (he’d drawn witch hunter) but did very little after Lightning Fast. Once he was hitting on sixes he thought better of continuing to try and kill it (quite sensibly) and aimed elsewhere, but thanks to good saves from me the Raider tanked endless fury, and all the Volcano Lance shots missed. My army went into my turn 1 near completely unscathed.

My punchback was then pretty brutal. My army broke hard towards the Paladin as planned, and with my psychic landing successfully just about managed to take it out, while the Autarch and smites took care of a Scout squad.

Refused flank is a game this army plays like a champ. Bye Paladin.

His counterattack was slightly better than turn 1, but not nearly enough to pull him back into the game – crucially, the Volcano lance whiffed again, getting only one wound onto a wave Serpent. On my turn 2 I took the Castellan down to 3 wounds, narrowly missing the Kill thanks to my Autarch being off hunting a character rather than buffing Guardians and the Archon missing a charge (thanks to Doom he would have had a strong chance of taking it down).

At its lowest profile even with the Hawkshroud trait, the Castellan was effectively neutered, and mostly what he achieved in his turn was ending a wave serpent and stomping on my Archon. His only real remaining chance was for his knight to go super boom and take out my entire army when i killed it with Psychic on my turn 3, but I’d made sure to hang at least some characters a decent way away in case that happened, and as it was even with the strategem it didn’t go boom at all. When i killed the Warden as well in the shooting phase he conceded.

Also crushed - my Archon, who the rest of the elves are having a good laugh at.

Resistance crushed.

The Takeaways

Another score the the updated list in my opinion. This is another situation where the Fire Prisms would potentially have been a weak link in my army, being the obvious target for all of his shooting. As it was none of my things were fantastic targets turn 1, and a turn 1 blink is all my army needs to clean up in the multi-knight matchup. As I said above, there’s not a massive amount to say about this one – my army basically just did what I was supposed to do, and I even did the right thing of planning around potential ways in which I could get the game stolen from me in the form of the 4+ explosion strategem. Also, beating a Castellan fair and square is always a good feeling.

The Score

25-6 VP, Major Victory

Match Score: 3-1

Stay on target…stay on target.

Round 5 – Daemons

The Competition

Army List - Click to expand

Total Points: 1750

Total Command Points: 13 (3 + 2 Battalions)

Army Keyword: Chaos Daemons

Detachment 1: Battalion (faction: Chaos Daemons) - 910

HQ - Sloppity Bilepiper (60) - 60

HQ - Poxbringer (70) (miasma of pestilence) - 70

HQ - Spoilpox Scrivener (75) - 75

TR - 29 Plagubearers and 1 Plagueridden (210), daemonic icon (15), instrument of chaos (10) - 235

TR - 29 Plagubearers and 1 Plagueridden (210), daemonic icon (15), instrument of chaos (10) - 235

TR - 29 Plagubearers and 1 Plagueridden (210), daemonic icon (15), instrument of chaos (10) - 235

Detachment 2: Battalion (faction: Chaos Daemons) - 755

HQ - Daemon Prince of Khorne (146), daemonic axe (10), wings (24) - 180

HQ - Herald of Slaanesh (symphony of pain) WARLORD (bewitching aura)(relic - beguiling gem)(66) - 66

TR - 21 Plagubearers and 1 Plagueridden (161), daemonic icon (15), instrument of chaos (10) - 179

TR - 19 Bloodletters and 1 Bloodreaper (140), daemonic icon (15), instrument of chaos (10) - 165

TR - 19 Bloodletters and 1 Bloodreaper (140), daemonic icon (15), instrument of chaos (10) - 165

Detachment 3: Fortification Network (faction: Chaos Daemons) - 85

Fortification - Feculent Gnarlmaw (85) - 85

This was one of the guys I’d played KT against last night (and narrowly beaten), ready for some revenge (and wearing one of the Team Draco shirts that are becoming really quite ubiquitous at the top tables of UK events. He added the Khorne bullshit axe to the DP, and Deep Struck/Bannered the Bloodletters.

The Mission

Dominate and Destroy + Race To Victory

The Plan

This is an absolutely horrible matchup for this mission and I did not feel good about my chances going in. On any other game this weekend I’d have been ready to fight this list, but on the only progressive scoring mission I was going to be heavily unfavoured if he got to pick deployment zones (spoilers – he did). I also galaxy brained myself into placing the first objective badly – I decided I wanted to force him to stay as far in a corner as possible so put one right into one, but I hadn’t brained just how much ground his army would cover when deployed, and this only helped him. You could argue that the matchup in this mission is so bad that baiting him into going hard in a corner and hoping for the 1/6 roll of the corner map that doesn’t include the corner he’s stuck the objectives in is good plan as a hail mary way to win, and in hindsight there’s some merit to that, but I can’t honestly claim that was what I was thinking.

Realistically the plan here is to just try and collapse a unit of plaguebearers a turn and hope we go to 7. If I’d got to pick zones I’d instead have been planning to try and defend them, but that just isn’t viable with him doing so – even under the conventional plan of placing the first objective near the centre he’s going to be able to hold it pretty easily. I also have to be wary of bloodletters coming in, but I did find from the earlier game that people might slightly underestimate just how many of them I can waste with Psychic.

This was going to be tough, and was further not helped by him going first. I actually didn’t try to seize but that was also a mistake – while letting him advance into firing range was a correct instinct, the value of being able to loop my planes back to screen for bloodletters on turn 2 would have been of high enough value to me that I did want T1.

The Summary

I don’t feel great about this (not least that there are four objectives in there).

We’re damn well going to try though.

Very little happened on his first movement phase. Some plaguebearers shambled forwards. He scored 4VP on objectives. He also started a game-long trend of drawing defends for the objectives in his turn.

 

Shambling commences

On my turn, I also started a game long trend of drawing cards for objectives in his deployment zone. My army leapt forward to go after the first plaguebearer unit (also the small one), and used Smite and Executioner to bring them below the 20 threshold for the start of the shooting phase. I also landed Doom and Jinx, and was thus confident of crushing the unit (with all four avenger squads Autarch-buffed up and the Kabalites playing too, this seemed pretty plausible). Unfortunately, this shooting phase saw the opening of another disquieting trend.

My opponents Save/FNP rolls in this game (just those, attacks largely hit par or below and his psychic tests were hot garbage) were, I genuinely think, the hottest I have ever seen dice be in a game of 40K. Every time a clutch of FNPs got scooped up they would come up 2/3 passes, and even after I’d nerfed his save to a 6++ he still passed quite a few against things like Hemlock shots and Bright Lances. To my absolute horror, the 18 Plaguebearers who’s started the phase left two behind. I’d got myself quite badly on tilt and made the first of the two major mistakes I made in the game – when he auto-passed morale I Vected it. He then (thanks to the roll 2 dice ability from one of the buff characters) rolled a 1 for morale and put 6 Plaguebearers back into the unit.

Using Vect here was a dumb move – I’d got so focused on the fact that those Plaguebearers were “supposed” to be dead that I threw Vect into making sure of it – but 2 Plaguebearers were so utterly irrelevant at this point that I should have just left them, and honestly (unless it was an attempt to bait Vect, in which case, well played) even auto-passing from him was probably a mistake, he gets higher value in letting it ride on the morale-regen.

On his turn, he drew more great cards and dropped the first Bloodletter bomb in my back-line. Annoyingly, despite the fact that I had a reasonably good layer in, he rolled fucking 17 on his 3D6 charge (started 1,5,6, re-rolled the 1 to a 6) and got them all the way to wrap a ranger squad as well. They hilariously whiffed their attacks/my Dire Avenger exarch saved well though, with him being the only one of my models to die. The absurd distance did mean he was on all six objectives this turn though.

The first bloodletter bomb is repulsed for remarkably little loss, but I’m heavily on tilt and you can see my fatal mistake in the big gap behind my characters.

That went remarkably OK, and I was absolutely determined to kill some Plaguebearers this turn. Unfortunately, my tilt level was still really high, and while I screened well in some directions I completely brain-failed and opened up a massive hole behind my lines. Psychic and counter charges from my characters did near-completely wipe out the first bomb though, which did, as planned, catch my opponent off guard. Sadly, the indestructibility of the Plaguebearers continued unabated – I landed Doom on them (jinx failed), and volleyed 50 Shuriken shots plus some Drukari small change at them. I kid you not, one died. The squad that had re-genned to 8 also refused to die to longer range fire.

Realistically a second whiff there probably sealed this game, but we’ll never know, because leaving a gap for my farseer to get charged like an idiot certainly did. the bloodletters duly came in and killed him, and while I did eventually repel them and we had a good brawl in the middle of the board, he was so far ahead on progressive scoring and an excellent run of cards that only a tabling would do, and that wasn’t going to happen. By the time the game ended on 7 I had taken out everything except two plaguebearers squads and a character (who defied odds to the end by surviving the ministrations of the Hemlock and my Autarch), but that’s obviously still a comfortable number of things on the board.

The Takeaways

This is another one that hurt. I cannot stress enough how unreal his defensive rolls were throughout the game, and given that I recovered remarkably well from Bloodletter bombs, and took out a surprisingly large proportion of his units in the end, I cannot help wondering what would have happened with a normal (not even unusually good) first two turns rather than the horrible trash fires that they were.

Still, at least unlike game 3 I can legitimately point to a couple of horrible mistakes I made, meaning that the loss here wasn’t undeserved – for all that his dice were exceptional, my opponent also played a better game of 40K than me. The objectives thing is a write off that merely further convinces me that fixed placement is the way to go, but the Vect choice and completely brain failing on screening one angle (seriously, I had two squads of Avengers right there I could have closed the whole gap with) were both terrible plays. The Vect is more forgivable – it had worked so well the previous day and I was so desperate to get justice that I didn’t think all the way through “do those even matter any more”, but the screening mistake was just a plain unforced error.

Otherwise? Fuck Daemons – I’m not going to fault anyone for choosing a good army, but it’s not that much fun to play against, and has the problem quite a few armies have at the moment in that their core units are costed for their “basic” use case, but are only ever used in ways that cause them to outperform that (stacking character buffs on Plaguebearers and making absurd 3D6 charges out of DS for bloodletters). 7 points is potentially still about right for a bloodletter (as they at least die like chumps to a light breeze) but is definitely not enough for a Plaguebearer, especially as the latter is easier to stack buffs on and doesn’t even have the slim failure case the Bloodletter bomb has.

Those thoughts are probably coloured by the mission mind – this would have been a better game without progressive scoring (or even if I’d had objective advantage), and there is a degree to which I have to shrug and say it wasn’t supposed to be.

The power of the wrap and trap again shows here, and that’s a good argument for more totally expendable infantry that I can put further out on the wings to ward such things off. It also flags that I need to add to my “do I want to go first” calculus the power of circling planes back to guard my army against deep striking assault on two, which only works if I go first.

Bah. Bah I say. Curse you dice/mission gods.

The Score

VP: 24-62 (lol)

Match Score 3-2

A tiny violin plays.

Final Score

Matches 3-2

Match Points: 90/150

Match + Soft Scores: 136

32nd out of 80 players.

Army Thoughts

What Worked?

Part of the reason this one hurts more is that the honest answer to this question is “the army” – I’m very happy with how the list performed in general, and in the games where things went south it was identifiably due to bad dice, not the army failing to pull its weight.

The core strategy of the army, of being mobile and able to move around the board while dunking targets still holds up. Games 3 and 5 do provide cautionary tales that when the luck is really against you that plan can fall apart, but this is a dice game and that’s always true – and in both those games it was completely flubbing both turns 1 and 2 that put the nails in the coffins, which really shouldn’t happen that often. Right?

The Lances on the Serpents were definitely the right choice for the event – while it sucked that I rolled two matchups where they were very weak (the two Daemon-heavy games) they were instrumental in giving me the firepower I needed to take out key targets in games 1 and 4. I’ll be swapping back over to Cannons once I have a second CH Exarch in the list, as that’ll cover that base (as the amount of AT firepower this army needs is broadly “enough to kill a knight in a turn” which it demonstrably had, and the CH exarch is slightly better than two lance serpents on average) and give me a bit more anti infantry.

“Seer Council” is so good for this army that I genuinely don’t know how I ever managed without it – the bike warlock stays. The warlord trait did also pull its weight a lot here – on turn 1 of the Knight game the full re-roll took me from a double 1 to a successful Jinx on the knight. That having been said, I’m definitely considering changing that up because of the next point…

What Didn’t Work?

I still don’t have enough command points, and I’m looking at whether putting the Archon back as a Black Heart Warlord to deal with it, as that probably is worth 3-4 over the course of the game. It also doesn’t clash with my pre-existing plans to run a mixed Drukari detachment too hard, because at that point there’s a Drukari relic I actually want (the Blood Glaive), meaning I’m no longer “wasting” a CP to have the warlord at all. I’ve actually come up with an even more devious plan on this front which we’ll come back to in a second, but realistically that’s probably waiting till after CA and the new year now. Whether I go with this choice or stick with current traits is still up in the air for the AOC GT. I suspect they’re not allowing faction Maelstrom cards too, which leans further toward picking Drukari – the Eldar cards are legitimately so good (as long as your warlord is a psyker) that in a Maelstrom format that allows them they’re a genuine draw to having a craftworld warlord, while the Drukari ones are kinda trash.

Dire Avengers remain slightly too expensive – really they could probably bear to be 10PPM in a world of 7pt Plaguebearers. This is already a known issue and the solution (switching to a Drukari Battalion) is already waiting on my painting table for me to finish writing and get back to painting. They still did a lot of great work this event – people get consistently caught out by their strike range out of a transport. If Chapter Approves is a big point shakeup and these get the 2 point discount they need you’ll see them a lot more.

The one squad of rangers is kinda nothing, and never did anything much that another unit of Avengers wouldn’t, but they, again, are already on the chopping block.

Taking all of this together, and following the trend of last time, here’s my new “ultimate” 2K list. This is probably a lot closer to what I’ll actually take to the AOC GT than the one post Glasshammer was to this, but still has some interesting differences.

So Where Next?

Extreme Filth Inside Once Again

ARMY FACTIONS: Aeldari, Ulthwe, Alaitoc, Drukari
TOTAL COMMAND POINTS: 14 -2CP + D3 CP
TOTAL ARMY POINTS: 2000pts

Battalion Detachment, Ulthwe [938pts] +5CP
HQ1: Warlock Skyrunner (65pts), Twin Shuriken Catapults (5pts), Witchblade (0pts), POWERS Protect/Jinx - [70pts]
HQ2: Autarch Skyrunner (95pts), Laser Lance (8pts), Twin Shuriken Catapult (5pts) [108pts]
HQ3: Eldrad (150pts), POWERS Executioner, Doom, Mind War [150pts]

Troop1: 10 Guardian Defenders (80 pts) - [80pts]
Troop2: 19 Guardian Defenders (144pts), Guardian Heavy Weapon platform (5pts), Shuriken Cannon (10pts) - [167pts]
Troop3: 10 Guardian Defenders (80 pts), Guardian Heavy Weapon platform (5pts), Shuriken Cannon (10pts) - [95pts]

DT1: Wave Serpent (107pts), Twin Shuriken Cannon (17pts), Shuriken Cannon (10pts) - [134pts]
DT2: Wave Serpent (107pts), Twin Shuriken Cannon (17pts), Shuriken Cannon (10pts) - [134pts]

Battalion Detachment, Mixed Drukari [502pts] +5CP

Archon (70pts), Husk Blade (6pts), WARLORD Labyrinthine Cunning - [76pts] [Black Heart]
(Pay 1CP for Alliance of Agony)
Succubus, Archite Glaive, Splinter Pistol, COMBAT DRUGS: Adrenalight, TRAIT - Hyper Swift Reflexes, RELIC - The Blood Glaive  - [50pts] [Red Grief]
Haemoculus (70pts), Electrocorrosive Whip (6pts), Hexrifle (5pts) TRAIT - Diabolical Soothsayer, BUYS RELIC The Vexator Mask - [81pts] [Prophets of Flesh]
Troop1: 8 Wracks (72pts), Acothyst (0pts) - [72pts] [Prophets of Flesh]
Troop2: 5 Kabailte Warriors (30pts), Shredder (8pts) - [38pts] [Black Heart]
Troop3: 5 Kabailte Warriors (30pts) - [30pts] [Black Heart]

DT1: Raider (65pts), Disintegrator Cannon (15pts) - [80pts] [Black Heart]
DT2: Venom (65pts), Splinter Cannon (10pts) - [75pts] [Black Heart]

Air Wing Detachment, Alaitoc [560pts] +1CP

Flyer1: Hemlock Wraithfighter (200pts), Spirit Stones (10pts), POWER - Jinx  - [210pts]
Flyer2: Crimson Hunter Exarch (135pts), 2 Bright Lances (40pts) - [175pts]
Flyer3: Crimson Hunter Exarch (135pts), 2 Bright Lances (40pts) - [175pts]

I should stress that it’s extremely unlikely I’ll ever run this list outside of something completely out there like a trip over to the LVO or something – the mixing of Alaitoc and Ulthwe when everything is painted the same way would be a step too far for me in most contexts.

The big upgrade to my plans (again inspired by what my R3 opponent had) is to go in on Alliance of Agony for the Drukari Battalion. Those three characters become, at that point, an incredibly dense concentration of all the very best things from the Drukari book, and the Haemoculus combined with the Wracks also gives me something I’m currently mission, which is an actual relatively tough forward screen. There are only 8 of them, but they are T5 in the aura and have a 5++ followed by a 6+++. Importantly too, if they’re out in front and something glass cannon-y like bloodletters charges them, if I use the Vexator mask to make thems trike last I’ll probably take out a few, potentially blunting some of the assault, and even more in the Haemoculus can intervene in himself. The Succubus is also a complete murder engine at this point – she has 5 S6 attacks hitting on 2s with re-rolls at AP-3 and D3 damage. Joining the wracks on the raider, the Haemoculus and the Succubus make a very potent roving murder squad. As additional gravy, the Wracks also get access to “Black Cornucopia” (i.e. Tide of Traitors), allowing me to pull some nasty surprises if they get slightly depleted or I see an opportunity to seize upon.

Given that I’m trying to write the best list possible here rather than what I’m actually going to use, I figured optimising the main eldar force to Ulthwe made sense – with the planes safely off to one side in their own detachment there’s really no downside to doing so, as it means I get a trait that tends to end up slightly better on my infantry and access to a good special character (Eldrad) and a good buff for the Guardian Bomb (discipline of the Black Guardians). As long as you have a mobile Autarch, the latter means you can skip out on “Guide” and dedicate Eldrad entirely to being a psychic murder machine from hell.

I’m likely to try and put together the “Drukari Superfriends” components of the above over Christmas, but sooner than that we have the AOC GT (and of course chapter approved which might ruin all my devious plans). I’ll be back to preview that around the 26th-27th November.

Wrap Up

…and that means that this is the last of these you’ll get till December. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about the wild ride of the last few weeks (I’ve certainly had fun). Join me next week for a (probably much shorter) article about tricks I use to do math-hammer quickly in my head, and how that can help you in your games.

 

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