During Astronomi-con Vancouver 2008

After a little confusion on where at UBC the tournament was actually taking place, I thought it was the SUB and so did another gentleman. We arrived at Gage Towers with plenty of time to spare. That is one difference between Astro and other tournaments the timing seems to be more generous. I don't know if it is the earlier start or keen participants or what. The abundance of time probably cost me the first game.

Astronomi-con is actually six games combined with beers both nights and a lack of sleep due to my neighbors having a rager, it was a tiring weekend. I think I'll be more prepared next year. A week has almost passed and I didn't take that many photos, none the less here are the mini battle reports.

Game One: Tyranids and an Assasin

Game one see my first game against Tyranids since 2nd Edition, just in time too. This mission was in a sandstorm, think difficulty moving vehicles and seeing over 12 inches. And just for fun there was an Assassin in a tower with a fancy gun.

The battlefield for game one

I don't have army lists for everyone, but I can get names from the results spreadsheet. Les Sohier's army had a Hive Tyrant with wings, a carnifex, maybe two, a brood lord, at least two squads of genesteelers, two squads of termagaunts, hormagaunts, two zoanthropes, a lictor, a spore mine, basically lots of stuff. He got to go first and promptly ate the assassin.

Let the battle begin

Due to the sandstorm shooting was pretty ineffective all game as you need sixes to hit at over 12 inches. Les was keen to get into H2H at the start. The Broodlord and his little buddies came bounding over a building, waiting for them were the Burning Sores and Leperous. Three flamers later and of course some good old H2H there was no more Broodlord or Genesteeler bodyguards.

The carnifex with the big guns kept shooting at the landraider. Eventually the landraider did a wound to it but when one of my rhinos finally got to move after two failed sandstorm tests in a row, the carni popped it then went back to hiding from the landraider.

The Beast Rabaan tried to take an entire quarter by himself and was killing about two termagaunts a turn when finally they ran behind a hill. A Zoanthrope snuck up, passed its psychic test and destroyed the Beast Rabaan before he could get into H2H.

My other rhino with Bob the Necessary Evil in it was destroyed by a Zoanthrope and the Hive Tyrant. However when the Hive Tyrant saw Bob and his Powerfist he flew away just fast enough. The Zoanthrope got pulped right quick in H2H.

The biggest H2H fight starts

The big fight was the remanants of the Burning Sores plus Leperous against a 21 strong Hormagunt unit and the bigger squad of genestealers. It was a bit nip and tuck and Leperous managed to kill over a dozen Hormagunts but eventually he was left all alone. Rolling two ones for the deamon weapon this game hurt him, but mainly it was the sheer number of rending attacks. He made at least one crucial Unmodified save to keep fighting but his death hurt moral and cost me a tournament point.

Leperous fights on alone

What hurt more was my lack of scoring units. This game was a table quarters game and I lost because I couldn't get a unit into his quarter whereas he had the Carnifex in mine. I had driven the landraider into the quarter where the Beast Rabaan had died. Bob and his boys had a quarter but something annoying like a flying Hive Tyrant denied it. The havocs couldn't do much but would have killed anything that came close they did beat off the lictor in H2H in a single round without losing a model, but finally having a havoc squad and not being able to see was frustrating. They did a little damage but there was enough cover to keep the juicy bits out of sight. They might have killed some genestealers but it was the big mobs of termagaunts hiding at the back I had no answer for, that and the cowardly Carnifex and Hive Tyrant.

I lost earning but a single tournament point. When 10 minutes left was anounced, Les and I were almost finished turn four. This is standard operating procedure at GW tournaments. But at Astro they let people play well past the announced end turn. Another turn would have given me a chance to wipe out some little bugs and maybe finally get one of the big two... Oh well.

Game Two: Dark Angels and an Assasin

This was my glorious victory and another army list I don't have. Jonathan Dang had the Ravenwing complete with Samuel and a squad of Close Combat terminators. He also had two big bike squads, assault marines with jump packs, two speeders and two attack bikes. I hate both of those little toys.

This mission had a drop pod with a sleeping assasin in it. Of course he woke up on the very first turn so before I could even move he charged over a hill attached a mealta bomb to my rhino and blew it up. The squad got out and they were pissed. I promptly killed the Assassin but his quick death denied us some bonus points.

Ravenwing surround Plague Marines

Now it was all about killing, I put a high priority on the attack bikes and their multi-mealtas eventually killing both. The working rhino roared across the board. I took some pot shots at Samuel but he and the bikes even the speeders didn't want to play, always turboosting around the edges.

After some dancing around basically Jonathan's entire army surrounded the disembarked second plague marine squad. I forget what killed the rhino. Then as if all the shooting wasn't enough he charged the survivors with two bike squads and the assault marines. Still Germie the Overprepared lived. Which actually sucked as it meant the rest of my army couldn't shoot at a lot of things.

Plague Champion fights on alone

So we shot at what wasn't in H2H, this included a speeder and Samuel and little else. One speeder lived long enough to get a lucky rending hit on the landraider and destroy it. Samuel I eventually killed through shooting, he wasn't careful enough with him, or he should have gotten him into H2H. After killing the AXE Gang, the bikes and assault sqaud spread out a bit, then I got the other two plague marine squads and Leperous into H2H and it took a while due to the three powerfists Jonathan had and his refusal to fight Leperous, he used that ticky tacky rule where if an independant character isn't in base to base contact even though he joined the unit he couldn't fight. Didn't matter in the end I beat down every bike and assault marine.

About this time Jonathan realized he had forgotten to roll for reserves. The terminators showed up but they had no guns so they couldn't do much. The game was random turn length and at Astro you test after five turns. Every time I let my opponent roll and ever time the game ended at five turns. Except for the time we ended at four and the time I conceded...

Game Three: Tyranids and no Assasin

This game was against James Russo and his Tyranids. He didn't have two carnies either, one of the Tyranid armies did not necessarily the ones I played, maybe the Albertan? I have his army list and he had a Hive Tyrant with Brood Guard, a twelve strong unit of Genestealers, 15 Hormagants, two squads of 8 termagants, two squads of 3 Tyranid Warriors, plus the now really popular Zoanthropes and a Biovore.

Deploying in the trenches

After playing this scenario and losing I learned that in addition to my troop choices I could have one unit of my choice to start of the game. That would have helped as would have slightly tweaked deployment and another turn. As it was James thought I won when he rolled no additional turns. However he had just managed to get a few units into the first trench and my lack of scoring units cost me. Like my first game against the nids, the Nid player could have just waited me out due to sheer number of scoring units. His Termagant broods are 40 points, my cheapest scoring unit my 115pt dread and it was anything but reliable.

The Beast Rabaan holds the line

Here is how it went down, I was on Dyer's table and I put one plague marine unit in or behind each barracade/trench. There was another trench of craters outside my deployment zone that counted as difficult terrain. I got a battlecannon and James got never ending orbital bombardments basically for free. My lord started on the board but he never did anything except look expensive. Another reason I like cheap HQs is games like this. I should have been more aggressive and put all three of my plague marines in the first trench another winning strategy was just to wait behind the second trench, sure no one can shoot anything but the sheer distance that has to be run was too much for some armies.

The Beast Rabaan Alone against many

Imperial Guard had a field day defending the trenches. James thought he lost, I even left my trenches to get into flamer range but I rolled a little poorly on my difficult terrain test. The Havocs and landraider came on a bit late to do much, the Battlecannon was my MVP. James's orbital bombardment was better at stunning vehicles then hurting the forces of Nurgle. The Beast Rabaan came on and valiently tried to take on the entire Tyranid Horde singlehandidly. If it wasn't for the Carni...

I would have liked a rematch or even another turn. I lost two of my games on the first day but killed a lot of bugs. My army is still good against bugs I just need more scoring units to accomplish certain missions. Fifth edition will even the playing field some for elite armies versus horde armies in this regard.

End of Day One

Day one was good, drank a little, got a massive dose of Mike and his medieval fighting stories. Probably should have scored a bit higher but I didn't sweat it, there was always tomorrow. The building next to me threw another large party so I didn't get to sleep until after 3 AM... Maybe that affected my performance on day two. I was a bit out of it in the first game that morning, but at least I showed up on time...

Game Four: Tzeentch VS Nurgle

Tzeentch and Nurgle are arch rivals so you would think they are evenly matched, this is not the case. I've learned both in the previous codex and in this one too, Tzeentch has the advantage. The reason, in a battle of bolters the Rubric marines can dictate the fighting range and even with my rhinos I don't seem able to get there fast enough or together enough to win the battle in H2H.

Another fair start to a game

This mission was "Convoy Raid" or some such and the Tzeentch guy did not have all Thousand Sons but some regular marines as well as chosen and havocs, no vehicles. This helped him as only footsloggers got to start on the boards. This combined with my tournament long terrible reserve rolls, helped his cause but mainly it is the bolters that ignore power armor.

We almost destroyed the convoy in the first turn, he was worried that there would be no loot. My general made a mad dash across the board into the combined firepower of two units of thousand sons and two units of CSM. Despite all those bolter shells he reached the Tzeentch lines with a single wound. Rolled six on the deamon weapon but all those invulnerable saves helped. He didn't pay for himself and was dragged down shortly after, the sorceror may have had a hand in it.

Advancing on Tzeentch gunline

Russ had given his sorceror the flamer template power and warp time, not the Tzeentch one which I still maintain is the best power, better than Lash. The sorceror was on a disk further confirming how good they are. I'm going to be using sorcerors more. They can't be quite as cheap as a lord, but can be more versatile for your 120-130 points.

Tzeentch and Nurgle fight on

The Sorceror did well but in the end I didn't have enough scoring units or enough speed to win this game. I conceded after my last plague marine unit was wiped out. I still had my dread, landraider, and a rhino. He had trouble with armor, despite four mealta guns and four missile launchers, there was a lot of H2H blocking line of sight for a while. I argued I didn't have anything with a hand so he won. He liked that logic and we got an early lunch or something.

Game Five: IG VS not very much

Finally I have some troops on the board

After playing on Jason's table I played Jason. He's been ducking me for years. Alas this scenario didn't favour me. It was another one where the IG could hunker down in hard cover and blast away at the oncoming enemy. I'm a gamer but when I started with zero units on the board, ie nothing to move or do on my first turn I knew things were going from bad to worse.

The second turn my havocs showed up. Lack of scoring units and failure to roll well for reserves was the theme for the tournament. They went into cover but everything that could, shot at them. It was another nightfight. I forgot about my rhinos and even my landraider had lights... Oh well the pilot had taken off before that stuff showed up. My plague marines on foot and my dread never did show up.

Bob VS Colonel Schaeffer

With Jason having basically won before I got to move more than one unit it was just for pride/fun. Colonel Schaeffer charged Bob's squad and he got the Colonel down to one wound. His can't be instant killed rule saved him. Eventually the Ogryns showed up and the Colonel lived but all his little buddies were killed.

I rolled horrible for my plasma pistols and mealta bombs. I scared one Basilix backwards but failed to destroy it. You'd think the fact I could have taken control of the lift off site would have counted for something, this was another game that ended on turn five, right when my guys were starting to get into the action.

It takes a lot to kill Bob the Necessary Evil

The fact that Jason's 1500 point army defeated my Havocs wasn't much to worry about, the fact that 4-500 points of stuff never even showed up the entire game... I was playing way below points, was beyond my control. I really suck at important dice rolls.

Game Six: Orks, I hear they're good now

Well I thought I could at least win my last game, I mean I had to be reaching the bottom of the barrel in the Swiss Rankings but no I got Mega Nob'ed.

There were many Ork armies and they did well even winning best general. However the Eldar won overall, I think the Eldar are a more versatile and effective force, the orks can roll a lot of dice and as I learned Mega Nobz are nigh unstoppable.

My landraider takes on an Ork Army

This is another game where random stuff started on the table and stuff arrived randomly in random places just like last game. I started with my Landraider, it survived the game but actually had to retreat from the sheer number of power claw attacks. Orks can field more power claws/fists than anyone else and even at 25 points are worth it because they kill stuff dead and can even hurt armor, even Armor Value 14.

The early turns was the Orks hiding from the Landraider. Eventually more stuff arrived and it was the Meganobz I should have been priortizing but stupid me I killed the first truk that rushed forward. Lots of his troops did nothing, even his general I beat down or would have eventually beat down in H2H if once again the game hadn't ended on turn five. We were the first game finished. I have to play slower, try thinking for a change.

It's lonely being a Landraider

The Mega Nobz and a spare nob with a powerfist threatened the landraider, killed the beast Rabaan. I kept taking the odd one down but the two wounds kills me. Just when I think one is finally dead after failing a save, it just takes a wound. After losing my dreadnaught I advanced and got out of my rhino with my plasma pistol squad. I thought 3 plasma pistols would do something. I also fired everything else at them, I think one died, so I charged, that was a mistake but I figured sacrifice one squad and then get my lord over there, plus I was disappointed with how little the shooting phase did. The Mega Nobz killed or helped kill two plague marine squads and the dread. My lord was once again avoided as the Mega Nobz rampaged so my just arrived Havocs charged the mega nobs. This gave my lord some ablative wounds but mainly I just wanted the Mega Nobz dead. Finally I defeated them with weight of numbers. Power weapon/deamon weapons helped.

The rest of the battle didn't matter much I killed both his Looted Wagons that got me some points. However according to the rules or Doug's math or the mission I lost. The 300 point meganobs almost single handidly handled three quarters of my army. Once again things arriving piecemeal robbed me of my shooting, the Havocs only act was a last turn charge!

Damn Mega Nobz start their rampage

Tournament Wrap Up

With all my games done it was only a matter of waiting to hear who really won. I knew I was out of the running after going one and five.

Words and Images © Andrew "Muskie" McKay.
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