West Coast Mayhem

I'm still not sure these events are worth the time and energy I invest in them. I didn't win anything, but I'd like to see my score to see just how well I did. I think I played better at this tournament than at any since 1997! In 1997 I won my only 40K tournament at CanGames. I managed to go 1-1-2 with a massacre and given another turn or two or even two more terminator armor saves I could have been 3-1. 4-0 would have been tough some mission and army combinations are just not kind to Nurgle and no amount of carefully selecting targets or toughness and armor saves can survive a Titan and 100's of guardsmen in a dessert in broad daylight...

I had some fun, I'm particularly proud of my two ties as they were fun games and I had to claw my way back in both. Many pictures were taken of the Diseased Sons, I'm sure they'll end up on a website somewhere, Bolter and Chainsword maybe. A blue, pink, and white Eldar army won best presentation. As always there were some who wanted to see their scores right away, it would be nice to have a readily transparent system that no one has any beefs with, but it is impossible. People always complain. It is hard to make everyone happy, sometimes it is impossible to make some people happy, nobody knows that more than me. Maybe next time the organizers could bring a small printer to post the results. I know at the first GT I went to I had to leave the venue without seeing the results to catch my flight. In fact you usually have to wait a few days if you don't win a trophy to find out your score when it is posted online. I also seem to recall their was much slagging of DropZone by West Coast Mayhem attendees for supposedly never showing the actual scores at a tournament they ran. Say what you will about the Swiss system at least people have an idea how they are doing by what table they are playing at...

The tournament was a lot different than any other one I've ever participated in. It did not use the Swiss system, some of the tables could have used more terrain and some of the missions will have to be rethought. Twice my secondary objective was to control 4 or more buildings. That is extremely hard for an army that is slow and has few scoring units. If I ever enter another tournament I will have more speed/mobility, more cheap scoring units that I can afford to leave sitting in a building, and more long ranged fire power. As much as I've enjoyed stubbornly playing an all Nurgle army for over a decade I will be using unmarked and troops aligned to other gods at some point in the future if I continue to play Warhammer 40,000.

Game One: Speedfreaks

This mission was pretty wacky and my army was at a severe disadvantage because I played against a Speedfreaks army which because it was all mounted in wheeled vehicles did not have to Deep Strike on to the top of the mountain and hope for the best...

We got started right away and I have no complaints about my opponent Lee. His secondary objective was largely impossible for him to achieve because I only had one HQ an on EL and no FA. He was supposed to kill three units from those force org spots. I had to kill troops to achieve my secondary objective.

Lee's orks surround my lone plaguemarine squad on his side of the mountain

The first turn basically consisted of us standing on either side of the mountain, we both got to deploy a single unit of our choice. I deployed Syphilis. Turn two had little action either. Finally in his turn three perhaps some buggies roared around one side of the mountain and a Death Kopta flew around the other. Neither of them fared very well and when I returned fire they were all just smoking wrecks. Lee played that the wrecked buggies were difficult terrain so I spent the rest of the game walking through difficult terrain with Syphilis Squad.

Orks surround plaguemarines in H2H

In turn 3 or 4 I had to Deep Strike my first valuable units, previously I had walked on Blastmarker Billy and drove the predator and rhino onto the battlefield. I dropped the Nurglings early because who cares if they die? Two of my units ended up on his side of the mountain. What happened next was every ork vehicle would surround my two squads and shoot them with all their guns then charge any survivors. Then on the next turn more of my troops would scatter onto the battlefield and more orks would drive on and shoot and charge. My rhino got to drive on and its squad was I first I brought in, even before Billy and the Predator I believe. The Rhino got wrecked but Gangrene and the terminators proved hard for the orks to wipe out and I got some counter charges eventually.

Rounding the mountain on foot

My general scattered onto my side of the mountain but a colossal distance, where he was promptly vaporized by a strength 10 Zapp gun shot. When all was said and done I managed to earn a draw plus kill enough of his troop choices to achieve my secondary objective. This was a good result for me and I think I went to lunch and had a burger and a beer.

Game Two: More Speedfreaks

Speedfreaks roar forward

To my surprise I played Speedfreaks in my next game too. This was a completely different Speedfreaks army, no Battlewagon, no looted Demolisher, and unlike this previous army this one had Warbikes including a Warboss on a warbike with three Nobz on bikes. It also had Stormboyz which on the charge somehow got five attacks each!

My opponent volunteered that he had only played with this army 3-4 times and I told him I'd played against Speedfreaks about that many times. We had a mission where we had to occupy buildings as our secondary objective, not exactly ideal for Speedfreaks. For reasons unknown to me, my army does well against Warbike heavy Speedfreak armies. I managed a massacre. I forgot to use my Parasitic Possession as my Predator fared the worse for many, many, Zapp gun shots. It survived as did one Zapp Gun Wagon. I immobilized it multiple times but it kept repairing itself. After I immobilized it again and having already destroyed its gun, I let it survive in the final turn, one of only 2 or 3 living ork models on the entire board.

Crucial H2H battle

The game had a big H2H combat which was the Warboss and his Nobz versus the Terminators who were bolstered by the Plaguebearers eventually. Nearby the Nurglings had the fight the Stormboyz. They held them up for a long time, long enough for the Terminators and the Plaguebearers to kill the other orks. This also allowed me to eventually gain control of the center building which was worth an extra 450 VPs!

Some trukk boyz got clever and charged Billy, but their power claw Nob failed to hurt him and I just walked out of combat and let them enjoy some blastmarkers after they had bunched themselves up. They kept shooting and trying to get into H2H with Billy but eventually I charged them with one of my Plaguemarine squads.

World's toughest Zapp gun buggie

Malefactor got to deploy at the top of a building and from there he had a commanding view of the board. He could dispatch light vehicles with his Kai Gun too. This was game he might have killed the most stuff with the Kai Gun, proving my tactic can work given the right opponent and terrain. The next game had no buildings, almost no cover, and a giant Titan standing the in the middle of the field.

Game Three: It's raining Guardsmen all around the Titan

As if things weren't bleak enough I drew the two demolisher, one leman russ, plus horde o' guardsmen army. He deployed his three tanks and 60 guardsmen all in one corner. I got first turn and roared my rhino at his lines. I also used the titan to kill one of his tanks. On your turn you could fire either of the titans guns, one was 10 Strength 6 AP 3 shots the other was 2 Strength 10 shots. I always used the latter. Also on my first turn I used one of my lascannons to wound the Titan which had AV 14 and was my secondary objective. I also started walking my infiltrators across the dessert and the Nurglings and Syphilis and the Right Hard Posse began their walks across the board.

How things stood on one flank after one turn

Turn two also went pretty good. He used the 10 shot Titan gun mostly throughout the game. The Titan had ballistic skill 4 too. He used it to help destroy the Burning Sores promptly, that left Malefactor looking really lonely in the middle of a desert. On turn one Malefactor had fired the Kai Gun at some penal troopers killing two, but dealing himself a wound. My opponent quickly did the math 8 points lost to gain 50 plus victory points.

Billy had a pretty good game, as did the Terminators. I forgot to shoot them once, but with so many guardsmen all those blastmarkers thinned the big penal trooper squads out quick. And when my rhino actually made it 20 plus inches across the board in two turns... I learned some things in my practice game the day before, one thing I learned was you could disembark transported troops even if you moved over six inches, somehow I had it in my head you could not. I even managed to kill a second tank with my predator. That was the end of my luck against armor value 14. Despite firing the Titan every turn at the the third Imperial Guard tank I only ever managed to penetrate once, even though I hit it at least five times with a strength 10 shot. I only managed to stun it or shake it or something...

How things looked after my half of turn two

Despite their numbers neither massed lasgun shots nor a large bayonet charge could damage Nurgle's finest much but the rest of the army which was all drop troops including heavy weapon squads multiple squads with multiple plasma guns and mealta guns hurt. It was like game one all over again, Malefactor went from being all alone on one flank to being surround by 5 or more guard squads. He survived! I fired his Kai Gun after he and Bob were the only models left from my infiltrators. He then single handedly dispatched and routed a squad of guardsmen with his bare hands. I dubbed my technique the human bunker because I basically was fighting 10 against 1 or close to it, so I didn't have to take being shot!

The penal legion charges

Malefactor managed to massacre one squad of guardsmen over the course of the battle, then roll well enough to reach the lascannon unit, then when another squad of 10 charged in, he still survived. I don't know how many armor saves I made, but a lot. Even a naked chaos lieutenant is pretty good in H2H and I made a joke about how many guardsmen it took to kill one Lieutenant, the answer over 30!

Malefactor never died, but what lost me the game, besides my inability to penetrate AV 14 was losing my 4th terminator that gives my opponent 190 victory points. The fact I forgot to shoot them once might have been the difference. Another thing that did really well was Nurgle's Rot this game. The Nurglings also kicked some guardsmen ass. After dropping five squads or so in turn 2, he dropped the rest in turn 3. This time they rained down all around the terminators and syphilis. Billy even succumbed to Blood Rage and ran towards one of them, but I used Syphilis to kill the command squad so Billy wouldn't risk getting stuck in H2H.

How things looked in his half of turn three

On his side he massed up and retreated away from me both his second penal trooper squad and his functioning tank. I had some Nurglings, some Plaguebarers, and some Plaguemarines in his deployment zone after wiping out one squad of penal troopers. He was really afraid of the one mealta gun I had and unlike almost everyone else he seemed to pour his fire into the 3+ save plaguemarines not the 5+ save plaguebarers. I think I got to reach the second penal troop squad with a few scraps despite taking the fire of a Leman Russ tank and so many rapid firing lasguns.

Malefactor takes on his second and third Imperial Guardsmen Squad single handedly

My predator was destroy either by a heavy weapons team or the Titan. I barely lost this game and he forgot to get his secondary objective so I was still feeling pretty good about the outcome, considering that when people were lining up their armies a lot of people were afraid of this army, it had three big tanks, two huge penal trooper squads, at least three heavy weapons teams (one all lascannons, one all autocannons, and one all heavy bolters) he even had sharpshooters on the heavy weapons teams, or at least some of them, plus many, many squads that dropped from the sky. Despite that I never ticked the "Cheesy Army" box. Though I definitely think he must have done some careful accounting to get all that crap into 1700 points.

Not many armies could have survived walking across a dessert in broad daylight under the never ending fire of a titan, three tanks of the line, maybe sixty guardsmen originally plus another 50 or more that literally dropped onto my army which had no cover and I just watched him fire and fire and fire and fire in turns two and three. He had so many shots I honestly don't know if he remembered to take them all or if I could even count or figure out if he shot everything only once. He didn't go from the left to the right like I tend to do when shooting, he just kept saying make X armor saves and I kept rolling dice.

Game Four: The tournament organizer's Tau, at night, in a city, makes Billy go something, something, something...

In an unexpected twist instead of shifting over one table we shifted over two for the last game. This meant I went from playing an inexperience Nid player in a loot gathering mission to playing the tournament organizer's Tau in a city, at night, in yet another mission where I had to control buildings.

Tau and Nurgle face off in a darkened city street

Deployment alternated unit by unit. I put Billy on my extreme right flank but no Tau ended up directly opposite him, but 30 or so Kroot/Kroot hounds hid behind the building that he and Syphilis were sheltered by. It was set up so it was just outside my deployment zone. It was 12 inches wide, this combination would prove to be critical and would provide one of the three momentous events of the game and maybe the most amusing thing my opponent and anyone nearby had ever seen.

The rest of my deployment consisted of the Rhino in the center ready to roar forward and take a building. The terminators near the building in my deployment zone but not inside it. They were joined by the Nurglings set to walk up the street and the predator set to try and out shoot the Tau in the dark. I and my opponent both rolled double 1's or some other pathetic seeing distance. It hurt me badly but this turned out to be my best game of the tournament so I wouldn't really want to change a single die roll in hindsight. This turned out to be a game that the tournament organizer and others who watched it unfold will talk about for many a day. I think we and the Nurgle army behind me were the loudest in round four with many a cheer for a six coming up for Nurgle's Rot.

I infiltrated about the only place I could, their was a lot of Tau and he won the roll to infiltrate first. I put Malefactor and Bob's squad together and they would accomplish a lot as would Bubonicous and his squad, but it will be Billy who goes down in history.

A photo from early in game four taken by my neighbor gamer

Although I never planned for it, it said quite clearly the attacker got to go first. I was the attacker because Chaos is deemed to be more aggressive than Tau by the tournament organizers. So I roll my difficult terrain test to move Syphilis into the building and get a five as my highest roll. Then I famously say "Wait, I forgot to roll for Billy." Despite being the tournament organizer my opponent didn't know every rule, certainly not every rule for my army. He also had never heard of the rule where fearless troops outnumbered in combat can die by weight of numbers which I had only learned the day before. I'm as honest of a person as you will ever find in this world. So I rolled for Billy and there is a lot of terrain and a lot of dice on the table so I'm sure someone has lied about a key roll, but when I got a six, I at first wasn't too concerned.

First of all we looked up whether Billy ran or shot, he shot. But in the dark and with 12 inches of building between him and the Kroot it was ruled that Billy would turn around 180 degrees and shoot Syphilis. My opponent still didn't quite understand, but when I explained that Billy got to roll eight dice now. And started doing them one at a time getting one full and 3 or 4 partials for the most part because I didn't do anything scammy there. I used frag missiles and I rolled them first. The scary part was I hit myself 8 times or nearly 8 times, the plasma cannon hit twice. At the end of my first turn I had killed zero Tau, but I had killed over 100 points of plaguemarines.

My opponent moved the Kroot into the building and blasted away, killing a few more members of Syphilis. Not a whole lot else happened, except one Fire Warrior Squad and one unit of Stealth suits were dispatched to kill Bob, Malefactor, and the boys.

Blastmarker Billy refuses to calm down

My turn two, no way anyone will forget to roll for Billy. I pick up one die and once again it comes up six. I again grab four green dice for the Havoc launcher, two white dice for the missile launcher, and two red dice for the plasma cannon. I roll all eight at once and get quite a few ones, which combined with the fact I was in the building and not bunched up so much, I think I didn't lose a single plaguemarine. By now I was talking to Billy and patting him on the head and telling him to "calm down Billy boy". The guy on my left finished his game in record time and was all too helpful, he always managed to find something to remind my opponent of which usually resulted in more of my stuff dying, from defensive grenades to automated missile launcher systems, to some sort of Tau night vision thing. Finally I told him, hey I'm playing the tournament organizer here, my own dreadnought has killed more of my army than he has, he doesn't need anymore help. He then tried to think of advice to give me, I don't need advice, I need to roll better.

I got a bit lucky in turn two, I downed one of the flying tanks with my Predator or something when the night vision roll was kind. Never again would the night be kind to the terminators or the predator, they killed hardly anything all game. And with Billy gone crazy, and syphilis in ruins from eating three rounds of shooting in only one and a half turns, the entire offensive ability of my army was two squads of seven plaguemarines, my plaguebearers and my lowly Nurglings.

Despite forgetting to shoot Malefactor because I couldn't see him inside the building Bob and the boyz managed to dispatch a squad of Fire Warriors in their building by first shooting then charging. The flamer really helped getting 5 or 7 models under it. My other green plaguemarine squad wasn't rolling so well for their difficult terrain tests. Syphilis still had two plasma guns and I decided to rapid fire at the Kroot. One rule my opponent remember that I didn't was when you rapid fire, plasma guns overheat on 1's and 2's. He doesn't remember that a mealta gun is an assault weapon or all sorts of crap that the guy with the blog on Bolter and Chainsword reminded him of, but needless to say I killed another of my own models in Syphilis squad. I also did hardly a thing to the huge Kroot squad.

Our game had quite a few people who were either intently or casually paying attention. One thing people couldn't understand is why neither of us would charge in the building. The squads were literally two inches apart and they just rapid fired at each other. It was like the scene in the elevator in "Smoking Aces".

I think on his turn two he did a pretty good job of shooting. More members of Syphilis died as did most of my infiltrators, only Bob and Malefactor were alive. At some point some Nurglings got wounded but all five stands would get into H2H but the back stand was too far to contribute. These odd formations due to difficult terrain or terrain in general would prolong several assaults. I guess in my turn three there were four or more separate H2H battles as I thought I was safer in H2H against the Tau, but before I get too far ahead let me tell you what happened at the start of my turn three.

I got to go first and I use a craps dice from the Barbary Coast to keep track of turns so at the start of the turn I flip that over, it was on top of the big building in the center and then I pick up a random die to roll for Billy. People gathered around, what are the odds of rolling three sixes in a row? Pretty damn likely apparently as once again Billy went nuts. This time I picked up four green dice, two red dice, and two white dice and handed them to my opponent so he could shoot for Billy as clearly he had traded sides. My opponent was really enjoying himself and I think Billy only managed to kill one or two plaguemarines, by now there were two left when I finally got to move them. People kept asking why I hadn't moved Billy so that I wouldn't keep shooting my own unit...

Key H2H combat on the left flank

After three consecutive turns of getting shot in the back by Billy there was no way I wasn't charging the Kroot even though they outnumbered me over 10 to 1 I would say. Syphilis got killed and I learned Kroot hounds are initiative 5. I learned a lot about Tau this game including Stealth Suits have a really good armor save and cost 40 points. One rule that came into play as H2H was about to be joined was Nurgle's Rot. Many stealth suits, fire warriors and even a crisis suit or two got sick over the course of the game. My opponent learned a lot about Nurgle including that Nurgle's Rot cost five points. He also learned what five power fist attacks can do if the lone model with the power fist makes all his armor saves.

Bob managed to just reach the Stealth suits and after letting them whack away at him, killed one or two but the squad stayed. The Nurglings also reached a Fire warrior squad. They ultimately killed it. I have to say probably every game the Nurglings paid for themselves. They never got wiped out except by the second Speedfreaks army and in that game I literally massacred my opponent down to two buggies, even gaining an extra 450 VPs on top of all that for securing the center building with my Plaguebarers. My plaguebarers had shown up by now and their Nurgle's Rot and their charge helped things in the center. They squared off against the stealth suits in H2H and Gangrene got to fight the Crisis Suits who in my opinion should not have gotten so close. I started giving my opponent advice too as clearly he needed it. There was no way the Tau at point blank range with the help of Billy shouldn't have blown me clear off the board.

No more Crisis Suits

Turn four was the last turn. My predator was done in by Tau shooting, the crucial fourth terminator was killed at some point. One fire warrior squad did nothing but sit in a building all game getting him an extra 100 VPs which proved pivotal. Although I never killed the second flying tank I think I may have killed the little flying vehicle in my fourth turn. The heavy tau crisis suit foolishly got too close to Bob and got sick taking a wound. Syphilis was just a memory at this point and Billy didn't go crazy for the fourth consecutive turn. It was ruled he could only see two Kroot hounds so they died. Billy killed two Kroot hounds all game but six or seven plaguemarines. With one more turn he could have contested a building maybe but I played most of the game without him and night fighting rules were not kind to my key shooting units.

So it was up to H2H. In the center the Plaguebarers were doing OK until the Kroot hounds charged, their high initiative and the stealth suits good saves and the fact it was like 25 to 7 meant they died. The nurglings killed off the fire warriors on the otherside of town at some point and Malefactor continue to use his bare hands and a vicious headbutt against the stealth suits. In the last turn Bob managed to kill the last of them. In my half of turn four I finally got my plague sword to do something as I got a single hit through the armor of the Tau commander. I was really happy to see the next six I rolled. That piece of wargear so paid for itself.

My opponent I advised to try and save his stealth suits by charging the Kroot out of the building. He did and man can Kroot hounds be vicious. I think they killed five plaguemarines on their charge. Eventually it was just Bubonicous and he managed to kill the last of the Stealth Suits which at 40 points each I was gunning for. He got dragged down by the Kroot but just like on the other flank having basically just my champ I made a lot of power armored saves over the course of the game.

The game ended in an official draw with neither of use getting our secondary objective either. I couldn't vote for the tournament organizer for favourite opponent so I voted for Lee. I think we forced him to vote for me, because he enjoyed having Billy kill off most of my right flank, plus there were so many key rolls in our game: for night vision, to hit, to save, to break, Nurgle's Rot...

Postscript

I didn't win a thing. I thought I might have had a chance at painting. One thing I will say is my army was heavily converted, I don't think the Eldar army had many conversions. My army list probably was kinder to my opponent's too which supposedly was a big focus of the tournament and probably contributed heavily to him not winning overall. Malefactor the Marred and Blastmarker Billy are both illegal in the new Codex. Malefactor will go back to being a Nurgle renegade with a heavy weapon, even though the gun he's holding isn't an option anymore (grenade launcher) and Billy's Havoc Launcehr becomes a hood ornament.

Lots of people on the boards have vowed to never to take a dread in the new Codex but me I still plan to use dreads. I got lots of ideas, but little time and energy. I'm going to try and take a break, try to fix my life assuming it is fixable...

This thing is pretty long already, but I might add to it even more tomorrow... West Coast Mayhem is supposed to be a yearly event now. Nick and Thor have raised the banner in the West after GW dropped it in their all out retreat back to their headquarters in Ontario. Go to their website and forums and keep tabs on what they have planned for next year.

Lessons Learned

More Pictures

It never ends

I wrote more crap, but it took about six months for it to get published.

Words and Images © Andrew "Muskie" McKay.
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