Welcome back to my report from LWG Winter Warfare. Yesterday we covered the highs and lows of day one, and today we’ll follow the event through to its conclusion, discuss my final thoughts, and briefly preview this weekend’s “Battlefield Birmingham” event, because with only a week’s turnaround I’m not going to have time to preview it separately!
(Apologies for the relative paucity of photos in this one – I forgot to pack my tablet on day 2, and without it sitting on the table to remind me I was less good at snapping shots!)
Round 4 – Imperial Knights
Army List - Click to expand
++ Super Heavy - Raven ++
Castellan (Cawls, Bulwark)
++ Super Heavy - Krast ++
Crusader (Endless Fury, RFBC, First Knight)
++ Battalion - Valhallan ++
3x Infantry squad (1 Mortar each)
An interesting innovative list here. When I first looked at it I couldn’t see what the point of the Armigers was, but then on second review saw the split in house traits and realised what he was up to. Having the actual Raven trait active on the Castellan and Helverins is no joke, as it makes them a lot more mobile, and Krast is obviously nice on the Crusader, as well as giving access to the Headsman’s mark in matchups where you want it (though here he took Endless to hunt planes). The list also isn’t as vulnerable to “titanslayers” as the conventional ones are (since most people will take “Kingslayer” on the Crusader) but gains vulnerability to BGH, so that cancels out somewhat. It also has the flexability to pick Recon in some matchups, as the Warglaives can push into the opponent’s half up the centre for turn 1 while the Helverins can go round the flanks.
I’m always really glad to see someone doing something different with a popular codex, so I was looking forward to this.
ITC Mission 4 – What’s Yours is Mine
We rolled “Hammer and Anvil”, and that all combines to be good for me – there’s almost no chance of him getting the Bonus unless he blows me off the board completely. I also made sure to place my target objective in his zone in a place where my Wracks could warp to in emergency.
Hammer and Anvil also lets me deploy very backlined, hopefully keeping stuff out of range of the Crusader and Shieldbreaker Missiles turn 1.
Time to see if the Scourges can perform, I guess. As outlined above, I’m definitely backlining like crazy here, and depending on how the setup goes, there’s some argument that I don’t even want the first turn – my army can definitely soak up a round of shooting from this if most of his stuff is out of range, and letting the Armigers etc. come to me will help kill them. On balance, however, if I win the roll I probably do go for it simply because taking out the Crusader (bringing some of my stuff forward from the backline as needed) would be such a crippling blow turn 1 that it’s worth playing for.
Assuming he does go first he’s likely to ram the Warglaives towards me and I definitely do have to kill them first – I don’t want them getting within 12″ because once that happens my army is very vulnerable to Melta. I probably save Vect for when he inevitably points a missile at my Farseer – If I lose him before at least the crusader is down it’s game over.
So, that leaves a schedule of:
Turn 1: Backline, probably go second, pop the Warglaives.
Turn 2: Aim to kill the crusader and chew through some infantry.
Turn 3: Prioritise finishing off infantry and tieing up Helverins in combat.
Turn 4: Castellan left as only threat, put whatever I have left into it.
If I follow that schedule I should end up with way too many fiddly little units left for him to ever beat me on objectives, and I should be able to get “kill more” on T1.
- Big Game Hunter
- Kingslayer (Crusader)
- Big Game Hunter
He went first, moved his Warglaives forward then whiffed with the shooting he had in range (most notably, the Volcano lance was the only thing on the Castellan with range, and missed). Prepared positions continues to be really, really good against Helverins. Eeexcellent. On my first turn, my army moved cautiously forward to take out the Warglaives and set up to fan out in the centre. The Warglaives died, although one of them inconveniently decided to blow up, taking out a few of my Wracks and hurting the Hemlock. Things looked good despite this – a normal turn of shooting shouldn’t massively screw me, after which with the Scourges coming in I should be able to comfortably take out his Crusader.
On his turn 2, of course, he blew up all three planes with a great round of fire.
That, as the youth of today say, was a bit of a “yikes”.
To add insult to injury, the Hemlock blew up even with a reroll and (I think) finished off the Wrack unit.
That meant it was time to see if the Scourges were going to earn their keep, and thankfully, my beautiful winged babies did not disappoint. Between Doom, Jinx, and some good rolls from two Scourge Squads and the Night Spinners I answered his good turn 2 by taking the Crusader off the board. I was also able to put the Autarch into one of the Helverins that had come up to claim recon, shutting it down, and to take out some guard on the lower flank (with assistance from a squad of Dire Avengers that were heading on up).
That left me in an extremely potent position – he was down to only two real alpha shooting units, and was forced to throw everything at defending them. He used what remained of his guard to stop me being able to drop guardians on the Castellan the next turn, which he managed, but his shooting was disappointing this time around (and he no longer had points to spare on aiming a missile at my Farseer) and the game toppled heavily into my favour from this point on – I maxed out the Primary on turn 3 and got the bonus every turn from then on, with basically nothing being left active other than the Castellan and Helverin once the guardians had crushed the rest of his screen. He was picking up “kill more” reliably, but as I was ahead on secondaries too and getting the bonus that didn’t really matter. The game ended on turn 6 with a solid win for me, with only the minor embarrassment that my final turn had managed to leave both the Castellan and last Helverin on a single wound, thanks to my traitor Wave Serpent rolling a 1 for its shield while standing next to the Castellan.
The Scourges did their job! This situation (knight player spikes and you need a comeback tool) was literally exactly why they were in the list, and it was delightful to see them pull that off. It was also nice to win relatively comfortably against a Castellan list having racked up both my losses to them at LCO. Deep striking the Venom continues to be a great innovation as well – it denies an easy kill turn 1, and between it, the Scourges and the Guardians I can create a huge amount of board presence, which can really help close the noose on a game where I start strong.
The only other thing to say is that this game was an absolute blast, my opponent was a really great guy and I hugely enjoyed the whole match (and then had a nice chat over lunch).
Secondary: 11-8 (I missed the final BGH point).
Round 5 – Drukari
Army List - Click to expand
++ Battalion - Obsidian Rose ++
4x Blaster Kabalites
++ Spearhead - Black Heart ++
2x Razorwing (Dark Lances)
++ Battalion - Alaitoc ++
Pretty standard stuff with the exception of the Obsidian Rose – that’s not a common choice, but is very good against me, as it’s hard to backline far enough to stop him chucking his blaster shots at me. The rest of this stuff is all pretty routine for Drukari – I’ve played against lists like it before.
ITC Mission 5 – Precious Cargo
Vanguard Strike deployment. Probably good for me, but I’m not certain map matters that much in this match.
I mean it’s a shooty mobile eldar mirror match, so the flippant answer is “roll better”. The first big question is whether I want to go first. if I do, I definitely want to try and take out his Hemlock (throwing a “Vect” at Lightning Fast) if needs be – for both of us, Hemlocks are so fantastic at trashing other planes that they’re the priority target on each side. Once that’s out of the way chewing through Venoms is probably my easiest bet, as depleting those blaster shots will make my life a lot safer – the Ravagers are also a big threat, but they die a bit harder, though what I can do here is aim to land just Jinx on one of them, as once that’s in place the CHs can trash it with their built in re-rolls.
The armies are basically just very evenly matched. The one argument for going second is that if my opponent’s Hemlock comes into shooting range I can then move my autarch up to trash it in melee, making it much more reliable to land the kill. I also get prepared positions to weather his first round of fire. However, I think he can do so much damage with a good round of shooting that I have to take the first turn and go for it if offered – letting him have one is just that bit too risky.
I went first, threw everything I had at the Hemlock (other than the Night Spinners picking off a Venom) and managed to leave it alive on one wound. Doh.
That’s obviously really bad but it isn’t an instant game over – he was obviously able to take out my Hemlock in response, but didn’t do that much else, and with a good counterattack I might be able to put myself back in it – especially as he’d left his warlock in a position where I could both drop my Venom and shoot him and also warp my Wracks (who’d been cut down to a single model) in to try for a charge.
Unfortunately, while some other bits of turn 2 went OK (I killed the Hemlock and a few other things), pretty much all the big plays I made whiffed – my opponent rolled a great string of saves to tank the shooting on the warlock (which should have comfortably averaged the kill) and the Wracks missed their charge (I realised at the end of the weekend that I think my opponents made every deep strike charge they tried over the event while I made almost none). Meanwhile, Scourges dropped in and shot at a Ravager for a grand total of one mortal wound. I’d also pushed my Autarch forward (way too aggressively – I was being over worried about getting a kill, this was my one actual mistake this game), and while he did manage a charge after a re-roll, he killed a grand total of 1 kabalite in combat. His turn 2 then went substantially better – the warlock got the hell out of dodge and he put a lot of hurt into my army, including taking out my suicidal Autarch. He also managed to take my Wracks off the board – my memory of this point onwards of the game will be defined by the moment he pointed a Phantasm Grenade Launcher (D3 shots, S1) at them and killed 2 of them, which was enough to make the rest of them run away thanks to the morale debuff and a high roll on the LD from me.
While I mopped up enough small units on 3 to take “kill more” the game was basically over after these early whiffs unless my dice had a truly heroic turnaround, which they, er, didn’t. Even slightly. The closest thing to a random hail mary cheeky comeback was the turn my venom in the backlines gradually grinding an archon down to 1W, and dodging most attempts to kill it, and I also managed to actually force his remaining full-health Razorwing off the board due to it being out of position, but with two Ravagers still active and plenty of random blaster shots left he was able to grind me back into my deployment zone, with I think just the Archon living to flee and fight another day.
Another mildy frustrating loss here because, in common with the other Eldar game this weekend, while I did make a few errors none of them were fundamental enough that I couldn’t have won with better dice, and that given the dice I had I don’t think I could ever have won the game. Again it’s a bit cynical, but there’s an extent to which you can sum this game up as “it was Eldar vs. Eldar – I missed multiple Doom casts, he didn’t”.
It was a good fun game while it was in progress mind – while my dice were bad, I was never so far behind that there didn’t feel like there was something to play for, but the fates kept giving me a kicking. Another great opponent who I had a nice chat with at the end too. He made a good suggestion for improving my list, too – one of the mistakes I know I make (as here) is being too aggressive with the Autarch, and now that I have the Night Spinners sticking a Reaper Launcher on him (at least in ITC where Index options are allowed) would be a good shout – it motivates me to think carefully before committing him, and means that he’s not only buffing things when he stays back. Having a random highly accurate shot to finish off a target on low wounds can only be helpful, and I’ll definitely be looking to squeeze this in at some point.
Other than that – on to the next event, and hopefully I’ll get a game against Eldar with better luck, as I’m confident in my list having the tools to win the games, it’s just not quite getting there.
Secondary: 11-12 (I missed a point of Recon)
Match Score: 3-2
Match Score: 3-2
Swiss Score: 3139
Position: 13th out of 59
Not a bad placing in the end, which was a nice pep-up – I’m annoyed that I’m still stuck in a 3-2 rut, but at least I’m scoring high even when I lose, and the people I’m losing to are near the top (the opponents that beat me finished 2nd and 4th).
The army. For all that it still didn’t make it up towards the podium places, I’m confident that this is the list I’m sticking to for the forseeable future barring some very minor shuffling. Every piece had its part to play, and all of the new tools shined in the situations they were supposed to shine in – the Night Spinners basically handed me game one where previous lists wouldn’t have been able to do it, and the Scourges thoroughly derailed the knight heartbreak train in round 4. I was a bit frustrated that the Scourges wildly underperformed in games 2 and 5, but they are a very swingy unit so that’s the risk you take – I’ll just be happy that they swung hard for me in the two games involving LOWs.
What Didn’t Work?
Not that much. Being more careful with the Autarch is the main thing I still need to work on, but otherwise I definitely came away from this one feeling like I’d played some of my best 40K yet – again barring the mistake in round 5 and a few mis-eyeballings of deep strike bubbles I didn’t feel like I made any serious errors, and was consistently hitting all of my beats and remembering to use all my tools correctly.
So Where Next? Battlefield Birmingham Preview
Yeah so I have another tournament this weekend and time I could have spent painting new models has instead gone into this.
Battlefield Birmingham is ETC rather than ITC, but the things that were making the list perform here (being able to flood the board with pesty things) will still be good there, and the fact that I have a pretty decent alpha strike when I can choose to go first with no consequences will come into play more.
The only mild concern I have is Assassins – the rules are going to be live at the event, and I’m expecting every Imperium player to turn up with the new hotness in their pocket. That puts a bit of a question mark (well, massive crosshairs, but whatever) over the head of the bike warlock, as a Vindicare can blow aforesaid head clean off about half the time.
I’ve got 15 points to play with once I complete the one change which I am planning to do (swap the Bright Lances to Starcannons on the second hunter plus my one free point), with which I can either:
- Add a second grav platform to the Guardian bomb.
- Swap around the Farseer and warlock so that the former is on bike and the latter hiding in a Wave Serpent with the Falcon’s Wing, only coming out when needed.
After a bit of thought, I’ve decided to just go ahead with the first one – a 50% chance of success is also a 50% chance of failure, and BB is usually pretty good for LOS blocking terrain as well. Because of Jinx’s shorter range, the Warlock needs the mobility from the bike more than the Farseer, and I don’t want to reduce my lists efficiency to account for only one of my matchups. Once I have time to do some painting, the “real” solution is to have them both on bikes so that I can put the Phoenix Gem on the warlock when needed rather than having to buy the wing for the Farseer – while it’s still not perfect (as unlike something like Guilliman’s resurrection, the Phoenix gem doesn’t end the attack sequence, so Headshot can keep going) I feel that would be the most reliable way to shore this up.
For now then, just pop the extra platform in. I think I can then find the points for the other change by potentially swapping Shuriken platforms to Scatter laser ones (since they’re primarily there as defensive tools) and then probably cutting the whip from the Haemoculus, which was much more of a “nice to have” now he wasn’t chasing a Succubus around. Oh, finally, no Index options in ETC format, so no Banshee mask, but the Autarch still does enough that he probably stays in the list (though is definitely a lot more “cuttable” in ETC). The only thing making me hesitate on that is that for his 105 points I could have both a “spare” warlock cowering in the Wave Serpent and the Succubus back in, which does have more than a little bit of appeal. Hrmm.
Write up your tournament kids – it’s the best way to come up with ideas!
That’s it for now – but now is very brief this time. Tune back in next week