Tournament Report – Glasshammer Open – Part 1

An article by    Battle Reports Gaming        0

Who am I kidding I love this.

Introduction

It’s that time again – I went to a tournament and now you lucky people get to read about it.

Time to party

This weekend past was the Glasshammer Open in Telford where I was battling with the latest iteration of my beloved space elves. If you’re interested in reading about the event format or the army list, take a look at the event preview last week. There’s one minor strategic point I didn’t cover when writing that which we’ll touch on in a moment, but otherwise we’re pretty much going to be jumping straight in.

Given feedback on the last one seemed relatively positive I’ll be using largely the same format (but with better section names and swapping the order of the first two sections for readability,). For each game I’ll be covering:

  • The Competition – Details of my opponent’s army (helpfully there’s a published list document so I can just copy them in from that)
  • 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.

I’ll round off part 2 with an overall review of what worked and what didn’t from my army.

As mentioned above there’s one strategic point I didn’t cover mostly because I had to write the preview quite early and realised this was a thing I could do quite late in the day. I don’t normally run warlocks because they’re very squishy for their cost and mine have a nasty tendency to perils and suck themselves and nearby key units into the warp.

However, given I did have a jetbike warlock in my glasshammer list that gave me access to a very powerful strategem – Seer Council. For 1CP, you pick a Farseer and a Warlock within 6″ of each other and they both get +1 to all casts for the phase. Given the Eldar game plan is often (and my list more than most) Jinx-Doom-Dead being able to significantly increase your chance of landing both is extremely worthwhile for a single CP. It also doubles the chance of the farseer landing a super smite, and makes landing their casts more reliable, making it more likley you can triple tap Via Unparalleled Mastery when needed. Assume I was using this in most situations where it was critical to try and land the powers.

With that out of the way, on with the games!

Round 1 – Guard/Knights

The Competition

All the lists are available on the Glasshammer Website. I’ve copied the ones for each of my games across.

Army List - Click to expand

CP’s: 15 - Spending 3CP on the Heirlooms of the Household.

Imperial knights main det, Battalion- House Taranis +6 CP

Knight Errant 285(warlord: Iron Bulwark Trait)

Thermal cannon 76

Melta Gun 17

Thunder strike Gauntlet 35

Artefact: Sanctuary.

Knight Warden 285

Avenger Gatling cannon 75

Heavy Stubber 4

Heavy flamer 17

Reaper chainsword 30

Artefact: Endless Fury

Knight Paladin 285

Rapid fire battle cannon 100

Reaper chainsword 30

2x Heavy Stubbers 8

Artefact: Armour of Sainted Ion.

Cadian Battalion +6 CP

Company Commander 30

Bolt Pistol 1

Power sword 4

Company Commander 30

Infantry Squad 40

Autocannon 12

Infantry squad 40

Autocannon 12

Infantry Squad 40

Autocannon 12

2 Basilisks 200 2 Heavy bolsters 16 [216]

Heavy weapon team 18

3x mortars 15

Heavy Weapon Team 18

3x Mortars 15

Officio Assassinorum Vanguard Det (No CP)

Vindicare Assassin 90

Eversor Assassin 70

Callidus Assassin 80

The Mission

This mission was modified frontline warfare (no restriction on where to place objective markers so you had to make a value judgement on if having a marker in your backline was worth it being more points for your opponent at game end) combined with Contact Lost (as rulebook).

Deployment was Spearhead Assault (short edge arrowhead).

Given the matchup (details in a sec) this is good for me – this is a game I’m planning to table my opponent in, so I’ll max out EOG objectives, and I have lots of highly mobile objective grabbing units to keep the cards rolling for Maelstrom.

The Plan

This is a classic game where, if I go first, I want to go extremely aggressive and attempt take out a knight turn 1, but make the opponent come to me if I go second. To this end, the plan is to use a setup I did quite often, which was to put the two fully loaded wave serpents (2x Dire avenger units plus farseer or spiritseer in each) + Autarch at the tip of the spear, and put everything else considerably further back. That way, if I go first I’m ready to go all out, and if I go second I can phantasm the two transports and autarch backwards and be much less vulnerable. The other on-board units I need moved up (Hemlock and bike warlock) have enough movement to come and join the party from a much more backlined position.

The priority target is his Thermal Spear knight – recent brutal experience shows that if one of these runs good it can absolutely shred my army, whereas all the other guns, even Endless Fury, have to run extremely good to do that, especially if my serpent shields are up. He has made this one the warlord so it will die a bit harder, but equally his screening is a little light, meaning that using smites and serpent shields to whittle it away in an alpha strike scenario is likely doable.

Assuming that goes down while my army is still a going concern it will be difficult for him to win – his Basilisks and mortars aren’t going to do that much to me thanks to Alaitoc, and the other knights are vastly less threatening to my vehicles. The beta strike of scourges should help take a second knight down on turn 2, allowing me to clear up, and at some point wave serpents will hit his gunline to lock it down.

The assassins are difficult to plan around – the presence of the Vindicare did motivate me to stick the Phoenix Gem on my warlock as I had previously planned for facing Shieldbreaker Missiles, but honestly otherwise I planned to just make sure I kept my characters bubbled in Avengers as I moved up the board – this was a nice thing about *not* having the backline archon as my warlord, in that once I was past the “Vect” phase of the game if my opponent really wanted to put a few assassins miles away from my army to kill him so be it.

Overall, I went into this quietly confident – the setup of this army is good for fighting other knight lists because the across-the-board melee weapons really threatens to mess them up in melee, but against me it’s short the weight of dice it really needs to do enough damage to my forces.

The Summary

Our heroes prepare a glorious alpha strike

The competition checks in

 

I took the first turn, and with a little bit of a wobble due to some dodgy rolling on some of my key units, just managed to take down the Thermal Spear knight. I got a little lucky in that I landed a super smite for six, but that was balanced out by various things underperforming, and I did have to blow bloth my serpent shields to stick the kill. I then used Vect to stop the Taranis strategem and claimed my Slay. He rolled well for his Callidus, so by the end of my first turn I’d used an eye-watering 12 CP (including pre-game ones), but that seemed worth it to achieve the alpha (and I rolled a 6 for Vect, which meant he lost some CP too).

Success!

From there the game was always heavily skewed in my favour, and that’s how it played out, though his punchback did a bit more than I’d anticipated. Endless Fury put a massive 12 wounds on a Serpent thanks to a run of wound rolls that was very good and very bad respectively, and various shooting cut the Hemlock down to two. However, this left me with my key units all still active, and I started closing the game down. Because he had access to the mechanicus strat as well as enough CP to Taranis again, I made the calculation that I was better off trying to profile both knights on turn 2 rather than risking narrowly missing on killing 1 (or it getting back up with Taranis), and I pulled this off via haywire and big guns. Meanwhile, my guardians were able to drop in on his flank near the Basilisk park, and take out an infrantry squad, threatening to lock them if not dealt with.

On his turn, his Assassins came in and his knights came up to fight, and there were a few high points. His Vindicare did, in fact, manage to put a 3W bullet through my warlock’s head, and though I had the Gem, I’d messed up and put him near too many units, so quite a few mortals scattered round my stuff. That was still a price worth paying, just about, but in a closer game it could have screwed me, and was a horrible mistake.

His other two Assassins did very pooorly though – shooting casualties let me increase the charge range on the guardians a bit, which the Eversor promptly missed, while the Callidus did make it into the Archon, but only did him three wounds, before being chopping in half with a Huskblade for her troubles (such is the fate of all shapeshifting jerks who steal 3 of my CP).

Elsewhere a wave serpent did get messed up by knight melee, but he’d ended up in the horrible position of having to choose between (probably) massively overkilling my hemlock with one of the remaining “big guns” on the knights, but probably not then killing enough of my army to stay in the game, or hoping some substantially lesser shooting would clear its last few wounds. He picked the latter option (I’m still going back and forth on if I think this was correct, so it’s clearly a hard choice) and didn’t get the kill, meaning it was still free to fly around doing Hemlock mischief.

That tipped things over into a critical point for him where he just didn’t have enough to stop my winning, and I closed the game out over the next few turns – on T3 Assassins died of smites and Hemlock, the remaining Knights had tragic Haywire accidents while the guardians wiped a second guard squad in shooting then wrapped the Basilisks against the board edge. The rest of my army spent T4 bouncing round clearing out everything except the Basilisks, then swung back round on 5 to kill them off and give me the table.

The Takeaways

While this game largely went to plan, I think it did show one of the strengths of knights quite well – their shooting is so good that they force the opponent to come to you, and deploying them a bit further back can significantly mitigate the alpha strike of short/mid range armies like Eldar. I’m reasonably sure my shooting here did low-roll a bit, but the amount of resources I had to spend to put the knight down was a bit alarming. Having my strong beta strike is good, but it would be nice to project a little bit more threat on board, as it really only takes a few units under-performing to seriously stall my attempts to kill key targets.

The Phoenix Gem does seem to be a solid buy in some cases, but needs careful use. I’m getting better at character positioning, but this isn’t the only mistake of this kind I made over the event, so is definitely something I’ll be focusing on next time.

This game also showed off the guardian bomb extremely well. I didn’t actually even land the psychic defensive buffs on them but it didn’t matter – they came in and absolutely destroyed a flank here. I have very favourable feelings about that unit after this weekend.

Finally, I remain deeply unconvinced by all non-Culexus assassins – I’m probably not the ideal target for them, but their performance in this game chimed with my experience of them – they need too much of a high roll to really excel, and if your opponent has any sort of auto-mortals can be cleared up quite easily. Culexus assassins don’t have the latter weakness to the same degree thanks to Smite immunity, are absurdly hard to kill with shooting and can cause your opponent serious problems just by existing.

The Score

33-2 VP (factoring in differential kill points). Technically any tabling got rounded to max points for the round, but I believe I have my actual scores all noted down, and figure that’s more interesting.

20-0 Battle Points

1-0 Match Total

Round 2 – Dark Eldar/Harlequins

The Competition

Army List - Click to expand

+ ARMY FACTIONS USED: Drukhari, Harlequins

+ TOTAL COMMAND POINTS: 10

+ TOTAL ARMY POINTS: 2000 pts

+ TOTAL REINFORCEMENT POINTS: 0


==Vanguard Detachment== Harlequins – mixed detachment +1 CP

HQ1: Shadowseer [7pls][125pts] (Twilight pathways, Shards of light)<Midnight Sorrow>

EL1: Solitaire (84), Harlequins kiss (7), Harlequins caress (7) [5pls][98pts]<Midnight Sorrow>

EL2: Death Jester (45)[3pls][45pts]<Dreaming Shadow>

EL3: Death Jester (45)[3pls][45pts]<Dreaming Shadow>

FA1: 5 skyweavers (6*30=180), 6 haywire cannon (6*15=90), 5 zephyrglaive (5*6=30)

[13pls][255pts]<Silent Shroud>

FA2: 5 skyweavers (6*30=180), 6 haywire cannon (6*15=90), 5 zephyrglaive (5*6=30)

[13pls][255pts]<Silent Shroud>

Detachment Total [pls][823pts]

==Spearhead Detachment== - Drukhari - Prophets of flesh +1 CP

HQ2: Haemonculus [5pls][70pts] (WARLORD): <Diabolical Soothsayer> (RELIC): <The Vexator Mask >

HS1: 1 Talos (225), 3 chain flails (3*3=9), 1 macro scalpels (1*4=4), 6 haywire blasters (2*8=16)

[6pls][98pts]

HS2: 2 Talos (150), 2 chain flails (2*3=6), 2 macro scalpels (2*4=8), 4 haywire blasters (4*8=32)

[12pls][196pts]

HS3: 2 Talos (150), 2 chain flails (2*3=6), 2 macro scalpels (2*4=8), 4 haywire blasters (4*8=32)

[12pls][196pts]

Detachment Total [35pls][560pts]

==Battalion Detachment== Drukhari - Kabal of the Black Heart +5 CP

HQ3: Archon (70), husk blade (6) [4pls][76pts]

HQ4: Archon (70), husk blade (6) [4pls][76pts]

TR1: 5 Kabalite warriors [2pls][33pts]

TR2: 5 Kabalite warriors [2pls][30pts]

TR3: 5 Kabalite warriors [2pls][30pts]

HS4: Ravager (80), 3 disintegrator cannons (15*3=45)[7pls][125pts]

HS5: Ravager (80), 3 disintegrator cannons (15*3=45)[7pls][125pts]

HS6: Ravager (80), 3 disintegrator cannons (15*3=45)[7pls][125pts]

Detachment Total [35pls][617pts]

Army Total: [113pls][2000pts]
The mixed Harlequin detachment was there to give access to relics and strategems – the Death Jesters get access to a strategem that doubles all their hits for a turn, and one also took a relic that made their Shrieker cannon substantially more deadly. Meanwhile, the Masque the Skyweavers are in gets access to a “can’t be overwatched” strategem, which is obviously excellent if you run up against Tau or a Valiant.

One of the Archons also obviously took the Writ of the Living Muse.

The equipment numbers on some of the Talos appear to be slightly wrong but the totals (and what he played) were correct, I assume it was copy/pasted/updated from a different list.

The Mission

The mission was modified Resupply Drop and Deadlock. Resupply drop is changed so that rather than 4/6 objectives going away at the start of turn 3, 2 go away at that point and 2 at turn 5. As with all EOG objectives, this can often be irrelevant anyway – I find that given Eldar tend to be both murderous and fragile one army is usually not much of a going concern by the end of things. This was certainly true for the forces arrayed here.

The Plan

Urgh, I didn’t feel fantastic about this one. The tentative plan was to do a similar setup to before, with the option of Phantasming away from the Taloses (Talosi? Talii?) if needed. However, the strength of the army there is that the threat range on Skyweavers is so gigantic that it’s very difficult to really protect myself. I did also put one unit of scourges on the board to go for an objective early and possibly do some first turn shooting.

The range on all his threats also lets him control what I can really go after. If I do go first, the Talos and the Ravagers (as he’s extremely unlikely to be able to hide them all from the Fire Prisms) are first on the list, with the plan being to doom and jinx some Taloses and try and take them down. If I can unpick his durable threats a bit, maybe I can open him up enough to get ahead.

The Summary

Ominous

I did get to go first, which was nice, but my first turn was underwhelming in the extreme. I killed one Talos, but missed taking out the second by one wound. Meanwhile, my opponent made a very clever use of Agents of Vect to block my linked fire, so only one prism got to shoot with the upshot that the targeted ravager only took four wounds rather than being profiled/destroyed.

His counter attack was utterly vicious and I very quickly learnt to fear his stuff. I’d utterly misjudged how far a Solitaire could go, and it popped up behind my Farseer and warlock. Meanwhile, all of his haywire rolled decently and blew away a wave serpent and put the Hemlock low enough that it could be finished in Melee. Annoyingly, we also discovered that one of the LOS blocker types was *just* sort enough that the wingtips of scourges could be picked out from behind it with a little bit of elevation, and a ravager wiped a unit.

There was some upside in the fight phase though – despite 9 wounds from the solitaire coming in on my farseer (it turns out wounding a solitaire on overwatch is a bad idea, there’s a strategem where it literally only makes them angry), I rolled 7/9 4++’s on the initial round of saves and re-rolled one to another success, so my Farseer got to live.

That meant that I wasn’t actually completely out of it, though vastly on the back foot. Priority became taking out the unit of Skyweavers that was further forward and thus threatening my fire prisms. To this end the guardian bomb came in near them and I stacked Guide on them and Doom on the Skyweavers. I also put the Solitaire away with various smites.

The fightback falters and the evil clowns move in for the kill.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get the good turn I needed to get back in the game – only 8 wounds went into the Skyweavers from the guardians and pretty much everything else in my army badly whiffed – two more units of scourges had dropped in and barely touched a ravager (they ran very hot and cold all weekend, which is frustrating as they are actually *lower* variance than Skyweavers, which were super reliable for him here all game), my Autarch missed a charge on a ravager with a double 1 while needing like a 6, so not even worth re-rolling, and fire prisms did very little. I have a vague memory of a Wave Serpent unloading on a squad of Kabalites and killing one model. Not pretty all things considered.

That basically sealed things – his army was sufficiently untouched that it could gradually kill me with relative impunity over the next few turns – I think I got tabled on 4.

The Takeaways

Ouch. Very ouch. I expect you to see a lot of armies like this at tournaments because dear god the versatility and speed of the Skyweavers is just absolutely unreal, and it just has so much flexability in attack.

We chatted after the game and I wanted my opponents thoughts on what I’d done (he was part of a visiting squad from the Danish ETC team so worth learning from) and he thought I’d been too aggressive. He’s probably right, but I’m a little unsure of what else i could have done (outside of screening the characters from the solitaires better, which I could have done while still being aggressive).

The problem as outlined above is that it’s very difficult to go on the defensive against Skyweavers as a mech army unless you can literally flood half the board with chaff infantry, because they *will* come and get you (they can double move 44″ with psychic support and still shoot/charge) and they *will* kill your vehicles.

Also – how the heck are Death Jesters 45pts? I know they were famously overcosted for a long time, but they’ve got a full character statline and can do some nasty work with their guns (especially in multiples). Having seen the pieces in action, the mixed Harlequin detachment was a very clever idea.

This is the game that has left me with the most tricky questions to ask about my list – I think this match-up is currently pretty horrible for me, and I’m not immediately clear on what “incremental” changes I can make to improve it. We’ll come back to that in the wrap up and future list thoughts in part 2.

The Score

I only have VPs up to the end of turn 3 noted (by which time his victory was assured and I had stopped scoring) at which point it was 14-7.

0-20 Battle Points

1-1 Match Total

Round 3 – Ultramarines/Custodes

The Competition

Army List - Click to expand


Total points: 1993

Chapter tactic: ultra marine

Command points: 12

Super-Heavy Auxiliary Detachment (Imperium – Space Marines) [18 PL, 400pts]

LOW 1: Roboute Guilliman [18 PL, 400pts] warlord

Battalion Detachment +5CP (Imperium – Space Marines) [61 PL, 1113pts]

HQ [11 PL, 192pts]

Chief Librarian Tigurius [7 PL, 130pts]

Powers: 1) Veil of Time, 2) Might of Heroes, 6) Null Zone

Lieutenant [4 PL, 62pts]

Chainsword, Storm bolter [2pts] [64pts]

Troops [18 PL, 270pts]

Scout Squad [6 PL, 90pts]

5x Camo cloak [15pts]

Scout Sergeant w/ Combat knife, Sniper rifle [4pts]

4x Scout w/Sniper Rifle [60pts]

Scout Squad [6 PL, 90pts]

5x Camo cloak [15pts]

Scout Sergeant w/ Combat knife, Sniper rifle [4pts]

4x Scout w/Sniper Rifle [60pts]

Scout Squad [6 PL, 90pts]

5x Camo cloak [15pts]

Scout Sergeant w/ Combat knife, Sniper rifle [4pts]

4x Scout w/Sniper Rifle [60pts]

Elites [24 PL, 486pts]

Venerable Dreadnought [8 PL, 165pts]

Missile launcher [25pts], Twin lascannon [50pts]

Venerable Dreadnought [8 PL, 156pts]

Twin autocannon [33pts], Twin autocannon [33pts]

Venerable Dreadnought [8 PL, 165pts]

Missile launcher [25pts], Twin lascannon [50pts]

Heavy Support

Devastator Squad [8 PL, 170pts]

Space Marine Sergeant Boltgun/Bolt pistol

4x Missile Launchers (100 pts)

Armourium Cherub (5 pts)

The Mission

Modified Dominate and Destroy combined with targets of opportunity. This one was the biggest change from the default version – because ETC missions already have differential kill points, the kill points from D&D are replaced with drawing an extra card for each kill since your last turn, up to a max of six. This means you ideally want to be killing at least three unit a turn to ensure you draw the maximum number of cards.

I am happy to commit to attempting to kill three units a turn.

The Plan

This is an extremely good matchup for me. Between the Fire Prisms outranging the Missile/Las Vendreads that threaten them, and a mixture of lightning fast, the Alaitoc trait and prepared positions for the rest of my army, either I go first and alpha strike multiple dreads off the board (in hich case the game is over) or I go second, am very likely to tank his attacks with minimal losses, and then counter attack with the advantage of his bike captains being in range to tag with smites and serpent shields (as if I make sure to focus the Autocannon dread losing the shields doesn’t matter that much).

Target priority is a bit non-linear here – the ranged alpha threats want to go after the vendreads (obviously) while shorter ranged threats want to take out the captains that come forward first. After that, the infantry needs to hold Guilliman off while smites seal the deal.

I was able to deploy one unit of scourges carefully out of LOS, with a bit more care this time to make sure the building actually hid them (tiny stubby boxdreads are also much easier than tall floating ravagers).

The Summary

My opponent did in fact get the first turn.

As predicted, prepared positions (which he kindly let me declare after I forgot to do it pre-first turn, something that’s alarmingly easy to do) and while I’d been a little (consciously) greedy in how far forward I’d placed my serpents, the charge was still enough that the shield captains failed it. This did showcase the incremental way in which the FAQ holds things like that back – I think his first one needed an 8 to get in, and his second would only have needed a 10 but for the fact that it now would have to go round the other captain, so after the first one failed the charge got harder.

From there, this was unfortunately a bit of a bloodbath – the matchup is already very good for me but my dice were also red hot while his were quite cold. The front two shield captains got dispatched as planned in a flurry of mortal wounds and doom/jinx enhanced shurikens, leaving the mid board firmly mine.

I failed to take pictures pre game. This is my opponent’s dead pile around his turn 3.

The on board Scourge squad decided to beg for forgiveness for the previous game by popping out of cover and straight up one-shotting the autocannon vendread with an exceptional high roll. Which then exploded. Doing 3 wounds each to the other two Vendreads. Yeah.

As could be reasonably concluded from this, luck was just outrageously not with my opponent here, and while my fire prisms did actually manage to whiff and not kill a 5W vendread after that, the damage was done, – another round of remaining vendread fire didn’t do nearly enough to cripple my army, and once my reserves came in I just started surgically picking things off the board and whack-a-moleling Guilliman down. The game ended with a tabling for me after my Autarch and some scourges hunted down the last scout squads hiding in buildings.

A defiant last stand

The Takeaways

Make sure your brain doesn’t leave pre-game setup mode till you’ve declared prepared positions or not. My new mental catch for this is to review and make the decision “am I going to declare prepared positions if I lose this” at the point where I’m about to roll the seize die and immediately call it if I don’t manage to seize. The UK tournament scene is on the whole extremely pleasant about letting people catch forgotten things and mistakes (this was notable even at an event as hardcore as Glasshammer), you don’t want to lose because you get the one guy who won’t let you take back an obvious error. Thanks to my opponent for not being that guy.

Space Marines VS Craftworld Eldar is still usually a horrible one-sided bloodbath. Guilliman is definitely a good thing to have against them, but with the advent of prepared positions the kind of tools that often accompany him are less effective on the alpha strike against my style of eldar in particular, which is a big problem. The Shield Captains are a nice way to counterbalance this – they can give a lot of Drukari and Harlequin stuff a run for their moeny, and this genuinely felt like a matchup where all the changes I’d made to my list (more psykers, lots of Shurikens to fill doomed things with) really shined. My opponent made some good plays (keeping one shield captain back to try and scare off the Hemlock and keep it out of the enfilade was nice and that captain did a decent bit of work before going down) but really this match needed outrageous luck against me to go his way, and as discussed, the opposite happened.

The Score

21-16 VPs

20-0 Battle Points

2-1 Match Total

Not a bad showing day 1 – two big wins and a big loss, but at least with the loss I felt like I’d put up a bit of a fight and been slightly betrayed by dice. Part 2 covering the last 2 rounds and my takeaway thoughts will be up tomorrow.

 

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