Its a solid event competitively speaking, attracting players from all over the country, with a slight northen bias.
I attended with 3 of the Cambridge Sons - trusty Bringer of Death/Steve, Adam and Sam - both of whom are new to the tournament scene (Adam attended the smaller War of the Roses tournament earlier in the year as his virgin tourney).
I rocked a standard and efficient Tau list of:
Crisis - Missiles n Markers
Max missile broadsides
No frills but also no spills - no things to trip me up like not getting psychic powers; I was really close to bringing the Tigurius/Farsight Bomb but decided if I didn't get Gate, I'd be screwed.
When the smoke had cleared..... I won my final tournament of the calendar year! Chuffed isn't the word!
Below is a recap and photos from the weekend....
Game 1 - Drop Wolves in Dawn of War/4 Objectives
|Tau looking on in fear as Jaws Drop Pods Seize Initiative...|
Dual Jaws later and we had a fight on our hands.
My 1, I killed the stuff that had podded in.
Turn 2 I weathered the fire from the Long Fangs by using cover and blocking LoS correctly.
Turns 3 -4 I killed the rest of the troops
Turns 5 -6 I killed the Fangs.
I didn't lose much - Warlord and Crisis Suits plus Broadsides to Jaws over the first turn, few wounds off a Riptide, lost a handful of Kroot to random Frag Missile fire.. but it was quite comfortable after the seize had me very panicky.
Top lad to play, Scott Allden, but quite technically sound from me and averages just killed him.
Game 2 - Screamer Council: Big Guns/Vanguard
|The Council surrounded, Tau awaiting opportune moment...|
I went first in this one, that was a big factor combined with the deployment type.
Turn 2 in midfield, he failed the Grimoire in his turn, my Turn 3, I killed him.
To be honest, that was the game and he knew it.
I'd already JSJ'd away all my units to a horseshoe around the midfield Council at 24", the only unit inside the assault bubble was the Broadsides at 22" away. A 10" charge is significant for a unit that is not Fleet - Mark charged in Turn 2 without the Grimoire, my Marker Drones caught a single hit and the Broadsides used it to annihilate over half the unit, even firing just one weapon system (remember, when I say half, I'd killed 4 Screamers in the opening volley of my Turn 1). He felt the game was kinda over when he didn't get Grimoire - he did consider turbo-boosting over to one flank and trying to roll up a flank at a time, trouble is, I'd still have been in range and whilst his chances of survival were higher, they were still slim.
So he went for it, lost a load and in my turn 3, I killed the Council. That really is it.
I didn't lose a single unit.
Game 3 - DE/Eldar Venom mech spam - Scouring, Hammer and Anvil
|Tau tease the DE into their trap..|
The highlight of the game for Chris was the mini-star of Baron, Farseer and 3 Jetbikes (not sure I can even justify the use of the word, contextually, 'Star' lol) managing to run down a Riptide and then the Fortuned Baron tanking over 86 saves in 2 turns... before dying like the miserable bitch he is.
Good lad and took it well. Was an interesting exercise in range exploitation and strategic decision making.
|Deep Strike Defence.. Nowhere to Pod in my lines..|
Eugh. I opted to go second meaning I'd at least get all of my shooting phases. I deployed with deep strike defence using all my infiltrating kroot. The mission was Relic and Draw Bore so this could have potentially meant I couldn't win the game bar a tabling. But it also meant I could 'safely' deploy a few units such as Riptides, Buff Commander (Warlord principal concern) and Broadies. He came down, one misshaped and went back into ongoing, shame it wasn't a '1' lol. But it was a Jaws Warlord. So I got one Jaws on T1, intercepted with Riptides and smashed 2 units of his troops, one of which left his Rune Priest alone. My turn one the Riptide with Fusion just fucked the lone Rune Priest. Then I wiped all marines on the table bar 1 sternguard. Turn 2 a couple of pods come down including another Jaws Warlord. He deployed super aggressive with this guy in a tiny ass space which meant he was fully clustered up..... yup, interceptor Riptide with Buff Commander and all the good stuff popped.. I dropped a 'hit' onto this unit and the Warlord failed his 5++ (Termie armour) and died along with his squad..
It was all over bar the mopping up.
I took a few turns to kill the last troop unit and the drop pods - who spent the game smashing my Kroot. I ended the game with 3 Kroot on the Relic - my only troops left alive. Luckily, I tabled my opponent.
Could have been horrific IF I deployed like a chump....
|E/DE refuse flank aiming to capitalise on mobility|
Dan Sackett has been on a roll of late, performing very highly at tournaments - but then he has since his triple-Raven GK in late 5th.
We'd talked on the Saturday about what would happen if we faced off, Dan felt he'd played the standard Tau plenty of times and that he had a distinct list advantage. It was safe to say he was confident.
From my point of view, I wanted to play Dan - as we'd never faced off before, unless you count a bit of ETC practice... on the otherhand, Dan's list, when played right and with the right powers, could devastate me. I did know that if he failed Fortune..and if I got him in the final round...I had a strong chance - why the last round? Many tournaments leave the final round to be resolved between a straight up fight - Dow/KP... and as you can see from the Game 5 sub-heading... I got that.
Luck was with me this game. Only in the pre-game, everything else was standard and averaged out nicely. Dan failed to roll Fortune on 2 Farseers - which can happen quite easily over the course of a 5/6 game tournament, and then I proceeded to win the roll off...with a '5' no less (the roll required for Fortune on Runes of Fate)!! So despite the Baron aiding him, I was able to go first.
My aim was simple - keep the distance between us, eliminate his shooting first, then focus on the pack. I did this, killing his two Wraithknights over the first two turns and then dealing with his troops (which came on after Dan failed to roll Scriers Gaze in pre-game) and then smashed the Beast Pack.
That may sound cold and clinical, but it kinda was. The Baron could have been an issue (especially after the number of tanked saves in Game 4!) but he failed the second/third Shadowfield save and went down like a sack of shit. The Beastpack basically fell in a single shooting phase to concentrated fire.
I kept my dudes out of charge range and had infiltrated a Kroot screen, layered up in 3 layers, to absorb the beastpack charges should they get there. I had left a couple of mobile units outside of the screen for the first couple of turns to maximise shooing. Depending on Dan's deployment and first turn movement, I could always adjust them.
So I won... on MAX POINTS...I didn't drop a single point that I could get all weekend...It was kinda anti-climactic...but I guess that's what happens when power-reliant armies fail to get the power. Look at Game 3 and Mark Pocock's Screamer Council and Dan Sackett's Beastpack.. If those armies fail against a strong, experienced player with a strong list that he is experienced with... Forget about it.
In many ways, this vindicates my choice of not running the Tigurius/Farsight Bomb. It CAN be utterly devastating, but if you want a tournament win...then you have to run something more...reliable.
I genuinely struggled with deciding what to bring to this, my last competitive event of 2013, but overall I feel like I made the right choice.. I could have run any of the Deathstar armies that are doing well now.. I own them all.. from the Farsight Bomb to the Screamer Council, from the Beastpack to the Spyderstar.. but I really think they need more....reliability.
Battlefield Birmingham was an amazing event, great people, well, ran, incredible prize support even for spot prizes winning £40 board games... I won a trophy AND a copy of Horus Heresy...it's a £65 game...eBay? Wraithknight?
I'm hoping that the powers that be can sort it out, but it was my understanding that winning a 6th Ed tournament of over 40 players nabbed you a spot at the UK GT Final.... I sincerely hope it does...as I've missed or can't attend the Heats!
Just my thoughts on a CRACKING weekend.. I can't wait for the next one! 15/16th Feb 2014..now to convince the wife that we can do Valentines on the Friday and its OK for me to piss off on Saturday morning.
My next event is the 2014 Caledonian Uprising in late January at 1850. I cannot wait!