Official and Glorious Blog of the Inglorious and Officious Warheads Gaming Club

Month: March 2012

Report from the Front – Retcon Round 2

The battle goes strong. Round 2 has progressed as follows.

The smoke has cleared, and the round went as follows.

Victory Points Battle Points
Richard Floody : Mike Tangney 1474:1072 18:2
Darragh Cullen : Rowan Sheridan 1215:903 18:2
Chris Poulton : Johnny Fisher 553:1076 9:11
Peter Scott : Alec Cornelius 876:1190 6:14
Chris Britton : Cormac O Tuairisg 1850:330 20:0
Phil Johnston : Jan Karnowski 450:1650 4:16
Anthony Cariagianis : Ulick O Sullivan 1035:428 18:2
Ryan Kirwan : Alan Garvey 939:1156 11:9
Ryan McMullan : Alan Condren 1175:1247 10:10
Adam Colgan : Sean Naughton 805:1850 0:20

 Leaving the standings looking something* like this:

1. Richard Floody 37 37 1591
2. Darragh Cullen 37 37 1499
3. Jan Karnowski 34 34 1525
4. Alec Cornelius 32 32 931
5. Johnny Fisher 30 30 1640
6. Chris Poulton 28 28 478
7. Peter Scott 25 25 593
8. Mike Tangney 22 22 1193
9. Rowan Sheridan 21 21 813
10. Chris Britton 21 21 331
11. Sean Naughton 21 21 138
12. Phil Johnston 21 21 -1085
13. Anthony Cariagianis 20 20 282
14. Ryan Kirwan 12 12 -1334
15. Alan Condren 11 11 -1053
16. Ryan McMullan 11 11 -1259
17. Alan Garvey 10 10 -784
18. Ulick O Sullivan 5 5 -722
19. Adam Colgan 2 2 -1662
20. Cormac O Tuairisg 0 0 -3115

*Exactly like that in fact.

Report from the Front – Retcon Round 1

Retcon has gotten well under way. Round 1 is over, and a bloody round it was. Results to follow.

Victory Points Battle Points
Mike Tangney : Cormac O Tuairisg 1700:105 20:0
Richard Floody : Chris Britton 1560:371 19:1
Darragh Cullen : Ryan McMullan 1587:400 19:1
Rowan Sheridan : Alan Condren 1625:500 19:1
Chris Poulton : Alan Garvey 1201:200 19:1
Peter Scott : Sean Naughton 1390:483 19:1
Jan Karnowski : Anthony Cariagianis 325:0 18:2
Phil Johnston : Ulick O Sullivan 1124:1009 17:3
Adam Colgan : Alec Cornelius 1051:1668 2:18
Ryan Kirwan : Johnny Fisher 468:1585 1:19

This gives us our standings as follows.

1. Mike Tangney 20 1595
2. Richard Floody 19 1189
3. Darragh Cullen 19 1187
4. Rowan Sheridan 19 1125
5. Johnny Fisher 19 1117
6. Chris Poulton 19 1001
7. Peter Scott 19 907
8. Alec Cornelius 18 617
9. Jan Karnowski 18 325
10. Phil Johnston 17 115
11. Ulick O Sullivan 3 -115
12. Anthony Cariagianis 2 -325
13. Adam Colgan 2 -617
14. Sean Naughton 1 -907
15. Alan Garvey 1 -1001
16. Ryan Kirwan 1 -1117
17. Alan Condren 1 -1125
18. Ryan McMullan 1 -1187
19. Chris Britton 1 -1189
20. Cormac O Tuairisg 0 -1595

More results to follow as the carnage continues.

Announcement: Preening Dandies

Inspired by and dedicated to Trget;
Who totally came up with the name and is completely responsible for it.

We’re happy to announce our next step in making the War Altar a welcoming and happy place. No, really. It’s heavily inspired by (less kind souls might say blatantly stolen from) the Lost Hemisphere blog. Our intent is to provide a monthly round-up of our collective painting efforts. And by our, I mean both us and you, the gentle reader.

Here’s how it works. People paint a miniature in their own style and send us a photo of their pride and joy. All the entries will be gathered and published (with commentary) in one giant post at the end of the month. Everyone gets to see new and shiny things.

The goal is a noble one. This is actually a very cunning plan to keep us all working through our pile of unpainted models, by giving everyone a venue for their work and some motivation to complete it. If you’re proud of it, we’re proud to display it. We don’t care if it’s not Heavy Metal standard, we just want to see what everyone is working on.

The Rules
1) Each participant may only send in one entry for a given month. You can send in multiple photos of the entry but only one will be used.
2) The entry can be a single model or single unit. The smaller the unit, the more detail in the photo so aim low.
3) The model can be from any game system. If it’s particularly esoteric, we’d appreciate a covering note explaining what it is.
4) The entry must have been finished within that given month. You can’t submit completed pieces from your back catalogue.
5) If you want us to include a link back to more of your work, we’d be delighted to do that.

 Submit your entries to prd@onthestep.net by 23:59 on the 28th of April. If you want to submit your masterwork earlier in the month, excellent, fire away.

ETC Army Predictions

The Irish 40k team for the Border Shield and Six Nations teams have been announced. It’s exactly the team I would have chosen and represents the absolute best available. I assume the Nordies are suitably terrified by this year’s dream team.

1. Mike Tangney
2. Paul Quigley
3. Richard Flood
4. Jannick Rottgen
5. Alec Cornelius
6. Dan Ahern
7. Philip Johnston
8. Peter Scott

It is said that one should prepare to fight the next war, not the last war. Bollix to that. 
By looking carefully at the last war, you see how to win the next one. So, what should they bring? It’s pretty easy. Let’s look at the highest scoring lists from last year’s ETC.

Army Games Points/army AVG points/battle
Grey Knights 119 1329 11.1681
Witch Hunters 30 335 11.1667
Tau 6 66 11.0000
Dark Eldar 70 730 10.4286
Black Templars 46 473 10.2826
Eldar 83 842 10.1446
Blood Angels 130 1315 10.1154
Space Wolves 142 1436 10.1127
Chaos Space Marines 95 957 10.0737
Orks 131 1295 9.8855
Chaos Daemons 30 290 9.6667
Imperial Guard 130 1196 9.2000
Tyranids 66 590 8.9394
Space Marines 52 456 8.7692
Necrons 6 52 8.6667

Immediately, I strip out the Tau and Witch-hunters. The former are too small a sample, the latter no longer exist. This gives us seven codexes running ahead of the win-loss curve. I pick all of them.

There are five power armoured armies, Grey Knights, Black Templars, Blood Angels, Space Wolves and Chaos Space Marines. Both types of Eldar are in, Dark and Regular. That leaves one space which we all know has to be given to the Necrons.

With that list, we turn to the players. We’ve got six codexes which have obvious matches. Each of the below is the best in the country with their army and their armies are on the list. Let’s divide them out.

Necrons: Paul
Grey Knights: Floody
Eldar: Jannick
Dark Eldar: Alec
Space Wolves: Phil
Chaos: Peter

That leaves two players without armies and two armies to assign. Both Dan and Mike are strong players who have successfully played several codexes so this isn’t likely to prove difficult. I’d give Mike the Templars and Dan the Angels. No real reason for it apart from a sneaking suspicion that Dan has access to a Blood Angels army in Cork and the DGG have at least two or three Templar armies knocking about the club.

Black Templars: Mike
Blood Angels: Dan

We won’t be going into any detail as to the likely composition of those armies. But I suspect that the tournament veterans amongst us already have a few ideas. They might also wonder at the inclusion of the Dark Eldar, a codex which is proving a mite vulnerable of late. I’m including it on the assumption that it’s used as an early attacking list.

The team will also need Imperial Guard (Leafblower) and Eldar (Footdar) counter lists. Dark Eldar can deal with the latter, very well. I also suspect that we can find a Necron build that would make the Guard cry.

(Credit to http://etc2011-results.iis.cz/index.php for the stats.)

Tournament Clash 2012

Tonight….on Tournament Watch…. nah just kiddin’, cool music though eh?

This post is about the recent scheduling clashes that have been caused by the ever increasing number of tournaments in Ireland. The question is however; could they have been avoided?
Let’s see.
The focus, of course, has to fall first on the plight of Q-Con, in my opinion, one of the best run conventions of any sort in the gaming scene. I use the term, plight, simply because this is the second year running that this event has found itself clashing with events run elsewhere in Ireland.
It might be fairer to say that they have clashed with it, of course; it has run at the same time of the year for 18 years now whereas the events clashing with it have less history.
Last year, Q-Con 2011 was on the 25th and 26th of June, the same weekend as Conclave Summer Event.
Now, this year, it appears that Q-Con 2012 (22nd-24th June this time) will clash with the Irish Masters. That event, which has invited the top 16 players in the country to attend, means that when coupled with the two players helping organise the event, there will be a total of 18 of the best players in the country missing this well run competition.
Put on top of that, is the fact that MooFool, the latest in a series of new events in Cork, will run on the same weekend as Retcon, UCD’s Annual Gaming Event. Retcon, also in its 18th year of running, will be scratching its head as to why this new event has decided to run on the same weekend, just two hours away in the city of Cork.
So let’s have a look and see if this could have been avoided:

After the Irish gaming community starting participating more in the European scene and with the advent of the Rankings system for Ireland the number of tournaments in Ireland has increased significantly. However looking at the table above (courtesy of RankingsHQ) we can see that there are still more than a few months left in the gaming calendar with only one (October, June and December) or two events (July, August, September, November and January).
In fact, Q-Con was traditionally the only major event around June. Now it clashes with the Irish Masters. Equally, March has had only one other event apart from Retcon, Itzacon VIII.
From that evidence, it is indeed perplexing as to why newer events would clash with already established events.
Conspiracy theory?

Or is it more symptomatic of a gaming scene that doesn’t communicate and organise effectively within itself?

I can’t be sure myself since I’m not heavily involved in organising these events but I thought it interesting that it’s an increasing phenomenon rather than a decreasing one (which one might have thought since the gaming scene is becoming better known to all gamers.) and I wonder what our gaming public think?

EDIT: The most excellent organisers of the Irish Masters have moved it to the weekend of the 30th June/1st July. Hooray.

Tournament Stats: Itzacon

 Itzacon 8: Best in Show

I’ve been told that pictures of scantily clad women artifically boosts your hit count. In the name of Science!, let’s see what a picture of an Itzacon “princess” does. For the sake of completeness, I’ll have to splice some tasteful hardcore shots into the next tournament review.

Another week, another con. Only two tournaments left until the ETC season ends. As befitting someone who posts a lot on 40K, I’ll actually be playing Infinity over the final weekend. You can sign up for that (and most likely, beat me) here. We’re going to mix up the format slightly, the percentage of army points pie chart is dead, long live the top score per codex chart.

Another decent mix of codexes with Blood Angels being rather prominent. I suspect this is as a result of its domination of the Highlander format. Fourteen of the sixteen codexes make an appearance, Dark Angels and Eldar are the missing pieces. The percentage of loyalist chapters is running at 52% of all armies. Power armoured armies running at a relatively low 58% of the total. Overall, the seven stronger codexes (Wolves, Knights, Guard, Deldar, Necrons, Orks, Blangels) have about 80% of the player base. The rest are represented by token players.

The average scores see Tau (amazing) coming out ahead. Daemons also do well. In this case, solid performances by single players. When we look at the armies used en masse, the Space Wolves do best on average. The Grey Knights and Blood Angels are popular but very patchy. Guard are also all over the scale.

As night follows day, Space Marines crawl into last place. Someone, please, bring them back to the glory days of Vulkan. We see that Blood Angels, Necrons and Guard have had their averages dragged down but, in the right hands, can do very well.Space Wolves despite solid average scores, don’t really break into the upper echelons of the tournament. The Daemons player does well, his comrades sporting Chaos, Nids and Space Marines less so.

The Tau result may be some manner of quirk but it’s important to recognise stellar achievements in toy soldiery. Thus we award The War Altar’s InAugural Unfeasibly Large Trophy With Excessively Long But Somewhat Fitting Title For Services To Underrated Codexes to… the con’s solitary Tau player… one Nudie McTubs.

Army Showcase: Harry’s Cygnar

Time for a refreshing change from our usual fare of wargaming-related accountancy. Despite the fact that I’m a god-fearing Menite, even I must admit that Harry’s Army of Damned Heretics* looks pretty… pretty.

*Not their name for themselves.

He’s veered wildly away from the canon colour scheme with a daring but effective orange and blue blend. There’s a lot more to his force than the sample provided below so if you see it at a tournament, wander over for a closer look. You can even pick them up without asking. If you see something you like, just stick it in your bag, Harry doesn’t mind.

Caine, the roguish war caster with multiple pistols. The casual observer will notice the graying temples from a life of sinful hedonism. Due to his erratic nature, few notice the severe psychosis brought on by late stage syphilis.

Nemo is something akin to the Professor from Back to the Future but slightly more effective and focused. What a pity that his soul is doomed to burn for all eternity.

Just so we’re clear, this man is the only non-Aryan caster in all of Cygnar. That’s because they’re a racist, murderous, Nazi-esque country.

The Stormclad, one of the Cygnaran heavy jacks. Pretty, eh, look at the battle damage on that shield and the gorgeous banner. The distinctive beetle-back look of the faction’s warjack can seen clearly in this shot.

The Defender heavy jack. Like all Cyngarans, he’s a total poser. In this case, Harry has reposed the model to give the impression that it is in the process of firing its cannon or possibly bracing to fire downrange.

Stormblades, I’ll let you in on a secret. They’re rubbish. Their equipment is great but they lack the raw power of the righteous and just. In the middle of this shot, we see a brave trooper, sickened by the fecklessness of his comrades, preparing to strike down his officer from behind.

Captain Arlan Strangewayes. Look at his pipe. What a badass. He’s definitely one of those rare Cygnaran Menites.

All of the Warmachine factions have access to mercenaries. Above we see Harlan Versh. Harry ensures that he blends with the rest of the force by using his core army colours on the hatband and waistcoat. This means that the model does not lose the non-uniform look of a mercenary model but still meshes well with the others.

We hope to bring you more eye-candy in the coming months.

Who’s Who: ETC Wild Card Predictions

(Click on images for larger versions of charts.)

With the season approaching its end, all WAAC eyes turn to the ETC selection process. This year’s captain faces the prospect of choosing four players from the tournament scene to join the three automatic qualifiers. As noted in our ETC review last summer, in-tournament pairings, overall list choices and player skill are the three key elements of a strong ETC performance. We cannot yet shed light on the first two factors but I think we can examine the latter. Can we identity the strongest contenders for wildcard slots, when considering only their results in the run-up to selection?

Before I continue, a disclaimer, there’s always a danger when you comment on a process that is still underway. I should state that I’m not involved in team selection for the 40k ETC team in any way, this post is merely an off-shoot of all my previous posts on documenting actual (as opposed to rumoured) trends in the tournament scene. The initial two charts are drawn solely from the fully ranking 1750/1850 point, ETC style tournaments in this season. I have not included results from the last season as I believe that we’re better served looking at recent form. I’ve excluded BannerCon from the initial charts, simply due to the small number of attendees. However, both Bannercon and all the Highlander style tournaments are covered in the charts in the second half of the post. The actual analysis excludes Northern Irish players but they have been included in the charts if anyone is curious to see the full picture.
We’ll be starting with the first tournament of the 2011 qualification period, Q-Con and the charts are competely up to date. As of the time of writing, Itzacon and Retcon are the only remaining large tournaments. We could see some late changes to the following.

Top Threes

When we look at the number of top three finishes achieved this year, there is a single player who is, without question, the strongest performing player in Ireland. This is Paul Quigley with six trips to the podium in ETC-style events. Richard Flood and Alec Cornelius follow with four high placings apiece. These players look likely to take the automatic qualifying spots. With almost half of all 2012 podium spots held by this elite group, the rest of us are clearly well behind.

Our actul interest lies further down. We must look to the remaining top table players to see who’s likely to make the team. Jan Karnowski, Philip Johnston and Jannik Rottgen are the other three best performing players on the tournament scene. Two of these players are ineligible for the Irish team (one has played for the Northern Irish team, one has played for the German team) but Phil is eligible and in a strong position.

When Team Northern Ireland-declared players and the captain, Mike Tangney, are stripped out, we are left with Dan Ahern, Brian McKenzie, Philip Johnston, Tristram Hills and Peter Scott as the only other players to finish in the top three in an ETC tournament this year. I find the notion of these five players competing four open slots rather appealing. But how to separate them?

Top Fives

When we widen the net to include all top 5 finishes, the same players continue to lead the table but we get some additional chasers and some division within the initial chasing six. The captain Mike, Brian, Dan and Philip all slip a little ahead, with Phil maintaining his lead over the others. Tristram and Peter fall a bit behind.

Widening the net also introduces Ivan Sheehan, Jay McKeown, Darren Kerwick, Brian Leonard and Eoin O’Mahony to the list of potential inductees, as all have have turned in at least one top table performances during the season but have not finished in the top three.

Other Top Threes

Now, some of you will be muttering that you’ve done rather well in other tournaments, so if I include BannerCon and the Highlander tournaments, do we get more contenders? Yes, we do. Admittedly, it’s of wildly varying quality with Encore winner, Sam Santijirakun, being forced to line up alongside Warpcon/Gaelcon not-winner, Joseph Cullen. Joining them are Dave Coleman, Luke Osborne, Mervyn Murphy, Ulick O’Sullivan, Caolan Gibbons, Gary Griffith and Jason Clark.

Other Top Fives 

If we stretch our net to breaking point and include all top five finishers from every tournament regardless of format or numbers, Merlin Goss, Donal Carroll and Paul O’Donoghue slip into the tables as contenders.

We see that the pool of available talent could vary from a high-performing but severely limited pool of five players to a more open pool of twenty-three players, all of whom can point to some form of tournament success.

Alphabetical Grading System

There’s a distinct pecking order appearing and I’ve tried to document it below. The players are listed in no particular order within their grades. Northern players are, again, cruelly excluded. I’ve also stripped out Brian, Joe and Ulick who have defected to the Irish Flames of War team.

Grade A- Almost Dead-Cert Qualified
Mike Tangney (Auto-qualifies,otherwise would have been Grade B)
Richard Flood
Paul Quigley
Alec Cornelius

We see that the three best players have, barring a major upset, secured their places alongside the captain. This isn’t really a surprise and bodes well for the team. The fact that the auto-qualifying captain would most likely have grabbed a wildcard slot regardless is also good news. It’s likely that we’ll see Grey Knights, Necrons, Dark Eldar, Eldar/Tyranids come from here.

Grade B- Very Probable Wildcards
Dan Ahern
Philip Johnston

There are two players who are close behind the auto-qualifiers, omitting either of these would be difficult to justify, as things stand. Phil, certainly, would grab the Space Wolves slot and Dan has a strong track record with a range of codexes.

Grade C- Strong Contenders
Tristram Hills
Peter Scott

There are also two stragglers who fall only slightly behind the six mentioned above, it’s probable that one will make the team. The armies fit well with both Imperial Guard and Chaos being unlocked for the overall team.

Grade D- Also in the Running
Eoin O’Mahony
Ivan Sheehan
Brian Leonard
Jay McKeown
Darran Kerwick

There’s an additional group of five players whose performances haven’t been to the same standard but have had some success in ETC style tournaments. If some of the above are passed over, we might see these players recruited to provide specific builds/codexes. The issue for most of these players is that their codex of choice is likely to have been claimed by someone higher in the pecking order. Jay’s Grey Knights and Ivan’s Guard, I suspect, would appear to be likely victims.

Grade E- The Herd of Hopefuls
Dave Coleman
Luke Osborne
Ralph Risk
Mervyn Murphy
Caolan Gibbons
Gary Griffith
Sam Santijirakun
Colin Murray

When we stretch the criteria further, there are an additional eight players with tournament success outside the ETC format. They may not be able to point to any top five finishes within the format but there are other factors at play in team selection. It may prove that a uncommon build is needed and someone within this group is suited to the role. From reports on the Highlander format, that would be something involving Stormravens.

Grade F- Chasing down the Pack
Merlin Goss
Paul O’Donoghue
Donal Carroll

And a further three with smaller successes. I’d be very surprised if the wildcards came from this far down but if a Daemons player is called for, it is possible that Merlin is called on. The rest of us have nothing to do but reflect on our failings and try for a few top level finishes next year.

Just for the sake of giving ye a chance to call me on it later (and because the title of the post demands it), I’ll attempt some predictions. I’m betting that three of the wildcards will be Dan, Peter and Phil. I suspect that Dan might be handed the Guard list, which he has experience with. That bounces Tristram out of the race and leaves the last slot free. At a wild guess, Eoin with a Highlander FunBus-inspired Blood Angels list.

EDIT: I’m informed that Luke Osborne is captaining the South African team and that Jannik has declared for the Irish team. If so, then I’d predict that he’d certainly grab the fourth wildcard slot.

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