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Month: October 2011

ETC Team Report: Rounds 5/6

The last two rounds shall now be detailed and the series concluded. Huzzah.

What? Ireland win the roll-off? Victory shall be ours. Or not.
They bid Space Wolves and our Dark Eldar are sent out. The attacker loses 5-15.
The Eldar are chosen as the first defender and the Swiss choose their Blood Angels. The Irish list is smashed 0-20.
The Swiss send their Imperial Guard into the fray and our Tyranids move in. The attacker wins 18-2.
The Irish Grey Knights are bid and met by Chaos. 7-13 defeat.
They throw out their Eldar and our attacker is Space Wolves. The Swiss defender wins 8-12.
Our Chaos list is the last defender and is jumped by Dark Eldar. Wiped out for 0-20.
Their Tyranids face off against our Orks in a horde match. 7-13 defeat for the greenies.
The champions are the Swiss Orks and Irish Blood Angels. A straight 10-10 draw.

Round Overview

Again, the Irish are outplayed. Just as with the Swedes, only one attacking list manages to buck the trend of defeats. The attacking match-ups are solid but the Swiss prove the better players. The Irish defenders face an up-hill struggle but have perhaps pushed their luck too far. Overall, the defending lists buckle heavily, suffering two full massacres.

The first two results reflect the fact that two Austrian players had run for home, to the severe annoyance of the judges. The pairing system was conducted as normal with 20-0 being given after the process finished. The first two match-ups turned out to be the missing players. This left our Orks and Grey Knights without opponents.

The first actual match sees the Austrians bid Imperial Guard and the Irish attacking with Tyranids for a 15-5 victory.
Our Chaos defender saw off their Space Wolves for a strong 14-6 win.
Their Orks were jumped by our Eldar and a 10-10 draw left honours even.
We bid Space Wolves and they sent in the Chaos, a great 15-5 win for the Irish defender.
Their Grey Knights were attacked by our Dark Eldar, who went down 6-14.
The Champion’s round went heavily against our Blood Angels as their Blood Angels worked their way to a 3-17 consolation for the Austrians.

Round Overview

Entering their game with a massive lead, the Irish team racks up some comfortable wins and put any chance of a comeback beyond their opponents. Without that massive lead, it would likely have been a narrow victory but shading dangerously close to a third draw.

The End… thankfully.

Tournament Report: Steamroller Saturday

Warmahordes in Dublin seems to be growing reasonably well with the monthly series of tournaments really bedded into the calendar, although it has yet to spill over into the convention circuit. The last tournament, on October 8, saw sixteen players gather in Gamer’s World to earn bragging rights for the rest of the month. I arrived with my brute/blunt force Menoth army to bring the pain, Mr T style.

Game 1
pKroess vs Gerry, Legion of Everblight, Rhyas

A man whose ill-temper is surpassed only by his fondness for animal cruelty and cheati…. No, wait, all lies. Gerry remained as gentlemanly as ever. Bah, humbug.

Assuming that he out-classed me in raw ability, I focused on attritioning his army to death in the hopes of establishing a run at a scenario win. Against experienced players, considering my lack of knowledge of factions other than my own, I always assume they have a brutal combination hidden away that will end me if it goes off. In response, I generally focus on removing as many pieces as possible in a bid to take out something he might actually need later. Luckily, this method plays into the strengths of Menoth units.

As his superior speed and strike range would tear me apart in the open field, I dug in on a plateau in my control zone. The Daughters and Zealots advanced to force his hand, he would either move under my guns to remove them or allow them to put a sizeable dent in his troops. Gerry chose to close in with part of his force.

With his caster well back and a decent portion Rhyas’s troops in the open, Kroess popped his feat early to knock the enemy off their feet and allow my humble soldiery to throughly stomp them. It went rather well. The Jacks picked off two of his three beasts without too much difficulty and set the tone. Although my infantry suffered heavily over the following turns, his force was rapidly reduced without major damage to any key assets.

One small worry was that the Ravagore had managed to light Kroess on fire. This slowly ground his health away and forced a certain level of haste. Gerry had not committed to the attritional fight blindly, using the skirmishes to move Raptors up to try for an assassination attempt. With no combat troops to spare, I mobbed my support troops into their path. The Raptors threatened to get a strike in but died/fled due to an unlikely series of events, involving a plucky choir-boy, a pointy stick and an unjustified outbreak of panic on their part.

That failure left the battle as a mopping up operation before I enacted a full advance on the enemy control zone. His cowering caster would have to fall back and I would take the scenario victory. Proving that the righteous will always triumph.

But Gerry clearly hadn’t read the same script. He decided to throw in a last desperate lunge, sending his caster on a suicide run. The charge saw Rhyas cripple a Reckoner in one almighty blow and return a measure of parity to the game. She then sat in the middle of my force, bloated with fury and ready to charge my caster. To my alarm, I realised that my key assets were all engaged elsewhere and unable to intervene. I responded with outright panic to this turn of events, hitting her with a selection of ill-chosen attacks before running my caster next to her to bat ineffectually at her face.

He was then stabbed repeatedly and fell over. First game, bitter defeat. With my chance at overall victory lost, all that mattered was finishing ahead of Anthony and Mark, two of my regular opponents.

Game 2
pKroess vs Anthony, Trollbloods, eMadrak

After taunting Anthony about his tournament record, notably his infamous all-losses tournament which has come to represent him in my eyes, the gods chose to punish me for my hubris by pairing me against him in the second round.

As ever, he had a cunning glint in his eye which suggested an carefully crafted plan to ensure my downfall. Rather than trouble my pretty head with the details, I went for the blunt force assassination run, throwing my invincible zealots into his front line, trapping his army in place and as it turns out, accidentally trapping elements of his force in the path of his giant rabid troll beast. Which inadvertently screwed his evil plan to trample through my troops and smash my warjacks. Nice.

The third turn saw Kroess pop his feat and knock his army off their feet. I had intended to use the feat to cripple his army but realised that my troops had some paths open to Madrak himself. The zealots lobbed a succession of grenades at his caster, which systemically burnt through his various damage allocation tricks one by one. Ten explosions later, he was out of devious ploys, troops to jump on the grenades and damage transfers. The Vanquisher and Reckoner then closed in and lit him up for a clear-cut assassination victory.

Score one for blind aggression.

Game 3
pSeverius vs Tomak, Mercenaries, Gorten

Tomak’s list had the potential to negate my beloved pop’n’drop assassination trick so I broke out pSeverius for his tournament debut. I suspected that he would use his feat to push me out of the control zones for a scenario victory so focused on pushing forward to keep his caster well back.

Both sides seemed to operating from the same hymn sheet, mid-range firefights and constantly seeking to preserve units from harm. We both threw units forward to clog the enemy’s advance, in his case, tough troll mercenaries, in my case, graceful if fragile assassins.

The heroes of the battle came from this first wave. Losing two troopers on the way in, the remaining four Daughters clogged up Tomak’s left flank for the entire game. Between the initial pinned down forces and those sent to extricate them, a five point unit tied up fifteen points of enemy assets and were still fighting at game’s end. This left him massively outgunned on his right and centre, the trolls stalled the advance for two turns but once downed, the drive brought the big guns into range and left his caster heavily wounded. Tomak popped his feat to push the warjacks back but as they stopped up against the units behind them, they simply weren’t pushed back enough. Even with their aiming thrown off by the feat, the Vanquisher and Reckoner were simply too close and they concluded the game by reducing Gorten to a cooked paste.

Game 4
pSeverius vs Steve, Circle Orboros, Kromac

Ah, yes, Steve. I remembered him. The man who lost me the Blood Bowl tournament the week before by pulling off some manner of ludicrious running/passing play with Dwarves to score a last turn equaliser. Revenge had to be mine. As I associated Circle with long range, teleporting assassinations, I chose pSeverius again to ensure I could keep my caster well away from the action and minimise the risk.

Again, I played the attrition game. Careful shooting and spell-slinging saw most of his offensive punch removed without the expected losses. The Tharn Bloodtrackers were almost entirely wiped out by a very lucky Ashes to Ashes. With my troops sitting just outside their charge range, the Tharn Ravagers were ignored until they eventually ran into combat in a bid to distract from his scenario play and were chopped down in turn.

The risk of standing off his force and picking at it , piece by piece, was that he would use the time and space to go for a scenario win. I took the chance, knowing that to score the scenario points, he would have to move into my killzone. It went much as planned as his beasts and druids attempted to clear the zone but suffered from some nasty outbreaks of bad luck. Having risked all to gain all and fallen short, my retaliation then chopped up most of his remaining infantry and beasts over two turns, suffering light losses. We take a moment to remember Holt, last seen being eaten by a giant supernatural werebeast. Strangely, the daughters had tired of their heroism in the previous round and spent most of the game in a panicked state, achieving nothing of note.

The loss of his beasts forced Kromac to shift into beast form and charge into the heart of my force in a bid to wipe out my jacks. He dropped the Reckoner outright but with my caster far far away and two more undamaged jacks in the area, Kromac succeeded only in choosing the place of his death. Eschewing the use of the fully fueled heavy standing nearby, I went for a more subtle assassination as a Revenger closed from behind and gave him a steel enema. Which is about as subtle as Menoth really gets.

Victory and 4th place. Or as I call it, third loser. Next time, Gerry, next time.

Although, I usually scoff at the claim that Warmahordes is inherently more balanced, claiming that Legion and Cryx remain inherently stronger factions, it is interesting to see that the top 11 positions see no repetition of factions and all but one of the factions represented. As there were no Minions players, that is probably a forgiveable failing.

Battlefleet Gothic Battle Report: Eldar vs Imperial

The First Battle of Cryvan

The Imperial planet Cryvan was an isolated, industrialised world. Its location on the edge of the Cryvan Expanse and position in a region cluttered with stellar phenomenon left it ignored by the tides of galactic conflict. Its orbital manufactoriums produced some advanced auspex systems but as a whole, its production did not justify anything more than a token defence force.
As is often the case, this left them hopelessly unprepared when the aliens struck. An Eldar warband of unprecedented size shattered their system defence networks and swept their stations from the sky. An full invasion was prevented by the strength of the PDF which, using the products of domestic industry, had successfully held near-space against the invaders. The pirates imposed a blockade and began probing the remaining defences to identify weak points. The desperate defenders called on the sector fleet to assist.

The Imperial force dispatched to break the blockade was composed of all available ships in the 3rd Reserve Fleet. The name is misleading in that these were not untested ships, the crews had been blooded in earlier conflicts in M40.993 and M40. 997. These missions had included clashes with the Eldar. Admiral Caid’s flagship had survived two major fleet engagements against the xeno in the last campaign.In the centre of the fleet, the Bellerophon, Retribution-class battleship. On its rear starboard quarter, the Righteous Zeal, Overlord-class battlecruiser. On its rear port quarter, the Faith, Mars-class battlecruiser. The orange vessel was the Furious, a Dominator-class cruiser. And from the left of the pict, a squadron of three Tyrant-class cruisers, two Dictator cruisers and two Lunar cruisers.
A rare pict of the entire bandit force. In a bid to undermine morale, their advance on the system defence stations was contemptuously direct. Fleet Intelligence suggests that the fleet is composed of distinct two pirate warbands. The Burning Stars have operated in the region for decade and Prince Jari’s Void Stalker battleship, Thunderchild, can be seen in the centre of the fleet. The Hammers of Vaul under Lord Harohn are also spotted as his personal Eclipse-class carrier can be seen to its rear (in blue). Two Shadow cruisers can be seen, in white and blue. From the six o’clock position clock-wise, multiple squadrons of escorts. They consist of three Hemlocks, three Aconites, three Aconites, two Hellebores, three Nightshades, three Aconites, three Hemlocks, three Nightshades, three Hellebores.
The battle began with the Imperial fleet succeeding in that rarest of achievements, catching the Eldar unawares. They broke from the gas clouds and asteroids, intending to move into open space and eliminate the smaller element of the bandit force before the larger element could intervene.
The Thunderchild and her fleet were conducting patrols nearby. The reports of an Imperial counter-attack came as a complete surprise and caught them out of position.
The smaller pirate warband was orbiting the planet, launching strikes against Imperial ground installations and attempting to crack the net of defences thrown into low orbit.
Lord Harohn, commander of the smaller fleet, realised that an engagement around Cryvan itself would be the end of him. He moved to mirror his counterpart and they began a classic pincer movement.
Prince Jari, overall commander, was rightly hesitant to drive straight into the Imperial flank and risk those broadsides. His ships began to using an nearby asteroid field to screen their approach into the rear of the enemy taskforce.
Although surprised, Eldar helmsmen and gunnery teams remain unmatched, they reacted quickly and carefully. The Imperial advance had to be delayed or diverted to buy time, a split second decision was made and several waves of torpedoes were launched into the path of the Retribution class battleship.
Admiral Caid and his captains were rocked by the speed of the Eldar. They launched fighters to engage the torpedoes but far too late. The Bellerophon attempted to evade but it proved too unwieldly to adjust course quickly. Four torpedos crashed into its port batteries causing minor damage.
With the Eldar withdrawing after the torpedo strike, the Imperials found their guns out of range. The Furious fired its nova cannon into the heart of Harohn’s fleet, causing no damage. But the near miss buffeted several ships and alarmed the bandits. They closed on the distinctive vessel in a bid to destroy it and regain the range advantage.
The Overlord class battle-cruiser had proven deadly against similar pirates in the past. Its long range guns would lay down enough fire to scare any class of Eldar vessel and it is hoped its presence would deter strikes on the Furious.
However, the Eldar were as brave as they were malicious. Three squadrons swept into combat range. Their massed lance fire and torpedoes left the Furious on the verge of breaking apart. With no hope of continuing the fight, it cartwheeled towards the gas cloud and shut down all engines in a successful bid to disengage from the battle.
Prince Jari continued to race against time as his fleet charged into position. The Imperial rearguard began to look increasingly outmatched. But the asteroid field acted to hide the danger.
Having driven off the Furious, Prince Harohn’s ships pulled back out of range to limit the Imperial response.
Although the Eldar remained outside the range of the cruisers, the Imperial battleship and battlecruisers laid down huge swathes of fire at extreme range. The Eldar evade most of the incoming rounds but lucky shots blasted two escorts into kindling.
Admiral Caid ordered all fighters to form a screen behind the fleet. This veteran of several clashes with the Eldar knew that the disappearance of the larger enemy fleet would undoubtedly precede an ambush or surprise attack. The fighters awaited whatever threat the Eldar could bring to bear.
Prince Harohn’s fleet diverted crews to damage control in a bid to prevent the smaller Imperial ordance from crippling their vessels, but this reduced their firepower as the crew were diverted from the gunnery and targeting stations.
Prince Harohn ordered his Eclipse to disengage and withdraw. His command crew protested the loss of dozens of veteran pilots currently on attack runs. Coollectively, they had over ten millennia of combat experience. Harohn is rumoured to have stated “It only makes my sacrifice of their lives all the more noble.”
Rounding the asteroid field, Prince Jari, faces a wall of Imperial Thunderbolts. His favoured tactics, massed torpedoes into the enemy rear, will be ineffective against this tactic. The fighters will simply detonate the volleys as they close. Adapting quickly, he moves his fleet across the Imperial stern to attempt to link up with the abandoned crews and extract those escort squadrons from their predicament.
One ship, the infamous Overlord battlecruiser, blocks the escape route and several Eldar squadrons target it. The Righteous Zeal takes several hits but damage crews contain the fires and make patchwork repairs. Its guns continue to prevent a breakout.
Having failed to break the blockade and seeing his erstwhile ally quit the field, Prince Jari decided that the day was lost. Seeking to preserve his own fleet, he ordered his ships to turn and evade contact.
With their enemy abandoned by all allies, the Imperials closed into firing range and prepared to deliver the final blow. The gas cloud provided some cover but would not impede the upcoming storm of fire.
Abandoned and outnumbered, the Eldar pilots prove their true calibre. Their ships roll through massed clouds of incoming rounds with minimal losses as they press their engines to the limit. Non-critical systems are smashed as they push their craft beyond even the limits of wraithbone.
Taking advantage of a relative lull in fire, they made a final bid to destroy the Righteous Zeal and ease their escape. But the battle damage has taken its toll on the small craft and their guns fail to reap their expected harvest of Imperial lives.
To rejoin Jari’s fleet, they have to brave the full broadsides of the Imperial fleets. Praying to their fickle false gods, the Eldar choose to run ahead of the Imperial ships and attempt to outpace their vengeance.
Jari’s fleet rounded the asteroid belt in the exact inverse of their earlier lunge and made for open space.
Like a shark into a shoal of fish, the Overlords lunged through its prey, bringing both broadsides to bear at point-blank range.
The remaining squadrons suffer heavy losses and only a trio of ships succeed in escaping the guns of the Imperium, scattering into the outer reaches of the system.
With the Imperial fleet broadcasting their victory, the Furious engages its remaining plasma drive and limps into formation as the fleet stations itself above Cryvan.
Prince Harohn’s fleet gathered in a nearby asteroid field to conduct repairs and re-arm. As survivors straggled in, tales of his callousness provoked a near-mutiny.
Prince Jari declared the region lost to the lesser races and departed for safer hunting grounds.

ETC Team Report: Rounds 3/4

So, we move on to the middle section of the ETC, rounds 3 and 4. We face the Swedes in the last round of Day 1. Sweden winning the roll-off.

We bid our Chaos list and they counter it with Eldar. Our defender is utterly wiped out, 0-20.
They send out their Space Marines and our Dark Eldar respond with a kicking, 18-2 to Ireland.
Our Eldar are bid second and they choose to attack with Dark Eldar. The defending list suffers a solid defeat, going down 5-15.
They bid their Grey Knight list and we choose our Blood Angels, the attacker crashing to a 1-19 defeat.
We present our Orks and they mirror it with their own Orks. It goes badly, 4-16 to the Swedes.
The next Swedish defender is the Imperial Guard and Ireland sends in the Tyranids, the attacker fails, scoring 6-14.
Next is the reverse of an earlier match-up with the Irish Grey Knights facing off against the Swedish Blood Angels. It does not go as well and the Irish lose 1-19.
The champions round sees a second mirror match with Space Wolves featuring on both sides. The Irish list suffer a 3-17 defeat to cap a disastrous round.

Round Overview

One Irish win makes up nearly half of our score as player after player collapsed in the face of those damned Viking raiders. Really, they demonstrated their superior skills, winning regardless of bid position. A round to forget for almost all concerned. By and large, the attackers and defenders fail equally with margins of defeat ranging from solid to utter.

As is traditional, our glorious captain loses the roll-off. Frankly, he should have practiced a little harder in that area. Recognising his failing, he falls on his sword.

We bid Grey Knights and they reply with Tyranids, the game ends in a 10-10 draw.
They bid Grey Knights and our Space Wolves pounce for a 13-7 win.
We volunteer our Chaos to be met by Witch-hunters, the defender scores a solid 13-7 win.
They throw their Space Wolves to the … wolves and our Dark Eldar step up … and promptly flip upside down and catch fire. 1-19 to the Danes.
We choose Orks as our defender and they are targeted by Chaos, they grind out a 8-12 defeat.
The sixth round sees the Irish Blood Angels attacking the Danish Blood Angels. Honours even due to a 10-10 pub draw.
The Irish Tyranids are assigned to the Danish Orks and scratch out a 12-8 victory.
The Champions round sees our Eldar score a convincing 16-4 win over the enemy Imperial Guard.

Round Overview

The Irish finish three points short of an outright win, leaving every player wondering if they could have snatched a few extra points in their own games. The teams were closely matched in ability, with the Irish running slightly ahead. Barring the anomaly of the fourth match-up, games were close and points rather hard-won. It comes as no surprise that the final standings saw both teams finish side by side.

Entirely subjectively, I believe the differing results in both rounds give a fair idea of the standard of the Irish player. Slightly ahead of the Danes but falling well short of the Swedes.

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