Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Tolworth Mayhem - a "brief" tournament report

My apologies, this turned out to be anything but brief!!

Last weekend I attended the Tolworth Mayhem Oktoberfest tournament.  It was a six game affair with custom missions that I gather the club has been refining for the better part of a decade.  This really showed, as it was the most smoothly run and professionally organised tournament I have yet attended, as well as the largest.This was the first battle points event I have been to, and i have to say I loved it. The missions were so balanced that unless you completely dominated your opponent there was no way you could get full points.  Also, a massacre did not automatically give you the full 20 points, you had to complete the objectives set first.

First of all I will get a few minus points out of the way so I can get onto the mini-batreps for each game.
  1. The terrain was poor.  the quality of the actual pieces was excellent, but there was far, far too little that blocked line of sight.  This meant that shooting armies dominated utterly and completely.  Additionally, some boards (the themed ones) were horrifically unbalanced.  For example, one board was completely composed of trenches, and was thus fully difficult terrain.  Another was simply two lines of forts with a two foot gap in the centre with no cover in it.  yes, really.
  2. The way sportsmanship was scored was terrible.  At the end of each day, you had to rate your three opponents from best to worst.  Since everyone else knew each other, guys who came on their own (and there were quite a few of us) or teams who had not attended before (you cant play your own team members) got fucked, as people voted for their mates.  I firmly believe that sportsmanship should be a given at events like this, and if you want to make a special award it should be by nomination only. 
I will state again that these are two extremely minor points and they did not detract from my enjoyment at all.  anyone who wished to play an assault army though, or even a midfield one in some cases, should be very concerned about the first point.   However, everything else about the event was amazing.  The food was great, the quiz and raffle were good diversions, and the quality of players, lists, refereeing, and sportsmanship was quite brilliant. 

My list was the same as always:

Company Command Squad - 4 meltaguns, krak grenades, Chimera

Stormtroopers - 5 men, 2 meltaguns, Chimera
Stormtroopers - 5 men, 2 meltaguns, Chimera

Veteran Squad - 3 plasma guns, autocannon, Chimera
Veteran Squad - 3 meltaguns, autocannon, demolitions, Chimera

Veteran Squad - 3 meltaguns, autocannon, demolitions, Chimera

Platoon Command Squad - 4 flamers, Chimera
Infantry Squad - autocannon
Infantry Squad - autocannon

Vendetta Gunship
Vendetta Gunship

Hydra Flak Tank
Hydra Flak Tank
Hydra Flak Tank

So, onto the games.

Game 1

The first mission was spearhead deployment, with a 6" radius zone in the middle and two objectives in the middle of the neutral quarters.  The central zone was worth 6 points to a scoring unit, and two to any other, while the two other objectives were worth two to scoring units only.  From turn 5 onwards, night fighting would be in effect.  We even managed to remember this fact, but it didn't matter because by this point I was right in his face.

I faced another guard list quite similar to my own, though slightly less optimised.  He did have a 30 man commissar blob which I knew I had to stop from moving for the centre, three units of vets, some leman russes and a hydra battery.  I won first turn and deployed my entire army on the table ready to make a serious play for the centre on turn one.  I wanted to pen him in his deployment zone and keep him there all game.  He saw what I was doing and reserved 4 of his units, though his choice of which ones was odd.  A Russ, the hydras, a vet squad and an infantry squad.  strange.  As it happens, my plan worked pretty well.  On turn one I immobilised all of the 4 transports he had on the table, and my scout move + normal move took me onto all three objectives.  For the rest of the game he was on the back foot, and had to react to what I did.  He had some success at stopping my plans, but I did enough that by the end of the game I held both objectives and the central zone and blocked his routes to everything I could.  Sadly, he had two vets left who managed to run the 6" required to reach the central zone, denying me 6 bps.  It ended 14-6, in my favour, which was a fair result, considering he had the second turn on a pretty open table. 

Game 2

This was straight up Dawn of War, Seize Ground with 5 objectives.  I, amazingly, came up against a Fateweaver daemons list.  It was pretty standard stuff, bloodthirster, horrors, bearers, fiends and crushers, with a prince and a few bloodletters thrown in for good measure.  I went into it pretty confident but also very wary, as i had not played deamons in a very, very long time.  The table was again pretty open but did have some terrain to give him cover as he landed and some line of sight blocking terrain towards the edges.  The objectives were fairly central.  I again won the roll off and made him go first.

I believe I won the game when he chose Fateweaver to come down in his second wave, and got the side he wanted.  He deployed the thirster, bloodletters, crushers, and prince in the centre of the table and waited to see what i would do.  I rolled on 6" with everything and opened up on the bloodthirster, which was the only thing which could reach me on turn two, due to wings.  despite some shocking rolls to spot the thing, he was felled with the last shot I had, result.

from then on, this game was a textbook victory for the guard.  Despite some setbacks (damn the changeling), he all but wiped him off the board by turn 6.  I held 4 of the 5 objectives, and he held one with his bearers, who were the only thing left on the table.  Fateweaver did not arrive till turn 4, and that, really, cost him any chance at the game.  My firepower just destroyed him. 

Game 3

Pitched Battle, and Mayhem Kill Points, with 7 fixed turns to ensure maximum carnage.  These kill points are different because for every 100 points a unit costs, it is worth an additional kill point.  So a unit that is 95 points is 1 kp, but a 105 point unit is worth 2.  Incidentally, my list sucks for this, because I have a ton of units worth just over 100 points.   I came up against a totally optimised, stupidly powerful guard list, and got spanked 16 - 6, the score ending up as 16-4 in his favour due to the kp difference of 10. 

his list had a huge 50 man commissar blob with autocannons, 6 hydras, 3 vendettas, and a few melta-vets.  Even though i won the roll off I knew I could not compete with that long range firepower, so I had to get closer to use my own superior close range shooting.  This might have worked if I hadn't played like a cretin, and then got punished by my dice for doing so,  I spread out too much, didn't hit him in a single wave, and allowed him to destroy me piecemeal.  Despite the loss, I enjoyed the game.  I have played the guy at two previous tournaments and it was good fun.  Moreover, I learned a huge amount.  I have never played a fully optimised guard list and it showed, but I would be more prepared next time.

I finished day one on 2 wins and a loss and feeling pretty pleased with how I had done.  

Game 4

Pitched Battle deployment, with three moveable objectives deployed along the central line of the table.  One was worth 6 points, the others 2 each.  The restrictions on units who are holding the objectives really balance this mission.  Once you hold an objective you may move no further that turn, and may not run or get into a transport at all any more.  you may shoot and assault as normal.  This mission was fantastic, and the game was one of the best, and most closely fought I have ever played.  My opponent had a very well painted and quite nasty Black Templars list.  I was scared from the outset but resolved to be aggressive because I knew that once he had the objectives it would be hard to get them back.  Luckily I won first turn (again!) and deployed so that my scouting stormtroopers and vendetta mounted vets could seize all the objectives in their scout moves, and then run back on turn 1.  combined with a truly epic turn of shooting, this worked like a charm, until his landraider full of termies just managed to get into combat in the centre and stole the object on his own turn 1.  I of course shot the crap out of the termies, leaving one lightning claw guy standing, still holding the objective.  Fine I thought, he can wait for turn three.  My other units ran back, or shot more of his stuff, making for a good turn two. 

then things started going downhill fast.  In fact, we (both players and the three judges who happened to be standing there) that my turn two was the worst turn of anyone they had ever witnessed.  I shot around 1500 points of guard at a single terminator in cover, and he lived.  The guy passed around 30 2+ saves and 10 4+ cover saves (some of which he had to re-roll because of orders).  to make mattes worse, I charged in with about 15 men and he killed them all and they ran off the board.  Suddenly, the rest of his shit was in my lines because I couldn't shoot it in my turn.

From that point I was forced to play a very tight game and almost wiped him out.  On his turn 7 (yes we got to 7) I finally managed to wrest both minor objectives back from him (I had lost both in turns 4 and 5) and kill his last remaining crusader squad member who was holding the 6 point objective.  This gave me a 14-6 win, which in all honesty, both of us deserved. 

Game 5

This was the usual auto-draw mission, Dawn of War with Capture and Control.  Opponents objective was worth 7, and your own 3.  I faced a very unoptimised but skillfully played marines list with drop podding sternguard and tacticals, a devastator squad, a libby, some scouts, Telion, some more scouts in a storm, a few bikes, a landspeeder and a vindicator.  I am not kidding when i say this guy knew how to play his army. He almost outplayed me, but in the end I kept him from my objective, and narrowly failed to contest his.  It came down to whether he failed a break test on the final turn, and he passed, so it was a draw.  There was some very nice play from both of us in this game, and it was just a disappointment that the mission was so shitty and we were both left unrewarded.  

Game 6

Spearhead Deployment, with an objective in each quarter, each being worth more depending on how hard they are to claim.  I played a nasty Blood Angels list with Mephiston, A land Raider full of termies, a load of assault squads in las plas razors, and two autolas preds.  In other words, my worst nightmare. However, honestly, I don't think I have ever played a game as well as i did this one.  I came out with a 16-4 victory, holding my own and his objectives, and almost wiping him out.

He won first turn and I knew I was in for a struggle.  Blood Angels are my worst match-up at the best of times, and this guy had a nice list with lots of AV i couldn't touch, and a lot of lascannons.  Because of this, I decided to try something new and outflanked both stormtrooper units, a unit of demo vets in vendetta, and kept one vendetta with a normal infantry squad inside in reserve. 

On turn one he screwed up my shooting quite badly, destroying two chimeras, knocking a few hydra autocannons off, and shaking a few other transports.  I replied the best I could and was rewarded with some lucky stuns and even an immobilise on his razorbacks with my remaining autocannons and multilasers.  On turn two he failed to do very much with shooting, and Meph rolled a 1 for running and a 2 for terrain and was left standing in front of my meltavets.

My turn 2, a stormtrooper squad came on behind his objective and my vendetta came on along my own edge, dropping a squad into cover near the objective.  My shooting was better this turn and shook or stunned a lot of his tanks.  Mephiston took two wounds, and the meltavets waited for the inevitable death that awaited them.  I didn't care, as this was miles from my objective. 

He again moved forward with his land raider, disembarking and readied himself for a multicharge, and his assault squad with jump packs came down in my lines, ready to charge next turn.  His charge was successful and he killed a tank and my normal infantry squad.  My objective was in peril.  There was a Landraider, 5 Assault termies, and 5 assault marines in my face, and more infantry close behind.

Then everything fell into place.  My flamer command squad, who had done nothing of use all weekend, got all 4 flamers lined up on all 5 of his termies, and toasted 4 of them, this meant the remaining pleb was dealt with by multilasers, enabling my other stuff to blow up the Landraider and nuke his assault squad.  Suddenly I was back in the game.  To make matters even better, by other vendetta came on behind his objective, and both of his preds were destroyed with lascannons.  With Mephiston so out of position, it was a simple matter of clearing up. 


So I ended the weekend on 4 wins, 1 draw and 1 loss.  Same as Brighton but within a substantially larger and I believe harder field of players.  I came 10th overall out of approximately 65 people, a result I am more than happy with considering I had genuinely zero expectations for this event.  Moreover, I learned a lot, and enjoyed every game a great deal, and you cant really get any better than that!


  1. Great write up mate, summarises the weekend very nicely.
    It sounds like a tough but enjoyable weekend..
    Shame about the terrain...

    So who was Game 3's opponent that spanked you so thoroughly bud?

    Any thoughts on tweaks or do you feel it's all about play style and tactical application to improve on that 10th? Which is awesome btw..

  2. his name is Steve Attoe i think. He is one of Ruperts bunch of nutters, who all seem obsessed with getting to the top of the UK ladder at all costs (and no, i dont mean cheating, before anyone gets all upset).

    He is a fun guy to play, but he also takes the game very seriously, and basically uses whichever netlist takes his fancy in each event. He got beaten pretty badly once at least i think, because once you break that sort of gunline, it has no tricks left, it just folds.

    incidentally, that is why i like my list, it always has a trick up its sleeve and it has the ability to deal with any situation i have yet come accross. you know in over 100 games with it i have never come close to being tabled, i have lost a few for sure, but never been utterly defeated. I honestly cant see any ways i would improve it.

    If i had played better in the game i lost, and in a few of those i did win, i'd have come away with a much better score. this is all about experience though. i have a solid grounding in how to beat certain lists, like Deathwing/Draigowing, BA, GK's and Nids, even Dark Eldar i have played a few times, but no-one else plays IG near me, or decent Wolves lists, so i just dont know what to do against them and it showed.

    still, as i said, i learned a lot, so next time i'll be better prepared.

  3. *never close to tabled* I believe my deathwing was the first (and only?) army to ever get your entire force out on foot?

    Problem with your army is you have so much, you might get rid of the tanks, but that usually means you have great AT and not much AI, so your now facing down 60+ infantry, and probably few tanks still. How many turns does it take to down 10+ AV12? A few, I know :)

    I like that the dude with a completely random list gave you a good game. This is the approach I am looking at, having a bunch of units I want to use, not 2, and spam them 17 times (ok 2/3/6/3/3). If I wanted to go balls to the wall competitive you take the list that is best at dealing with insane gunline (guard/gk/gk/gk/gk) or blood angel deathstar.

    And yes that was the problem with our store Andy, I'd probably do amazing against Guard because thats all I ever play.