2008 West Coast Mayhem 40K Tournament

Bryce Jensen's Eldar Army

Once again the Diseased Sons were summoned forth from the Warp to take the field of battle at West Coast Mayhem. I really didn't feel like playing 40K last Friday night, but I was glad I got out of bed and made my way to Burnaby even if I was late. I got to see some old friends and some cool minis and I even managed to win a game against no one less than Jason Saunders. :-)

Before proceeding you might want to read how things went last year. Big thanks to the folks at Mighty Miniatures, Thor and the Nick and the rest of that motley crue. U2KR ran both tournaments this year and it was a noticeable improvement over last year on the 40K side of the room. There was still some grumbling about scoring especially around army composition. No one complained that Bryce Jensen won best painted... Who invited that guy anyway?

Non-Tournament Area

Themed Table for convention side

West Coast Mayhem is more than just a 40K tournament, it is also a Warhammer Fantasy Battle Tournament! Oh and in another room is a bunch of demo tables, displays, tutorials, a painting contest, a bunch of prize draws, a store, and probably some stuff I've forgotten. I took a few pictures over there in between games, but not as many this year as I was so sick during the entire thing and I spent time catching up with a few people. Me and my army are starting to become recognizable even blasť.

Those Fantasy Guys

One of the better Warhammer Fantasy Battle armies

This year there were more fantasy guys, but some notable fantasy guys played on the 40K side, apparently people were shocked to learn Dan Miner was playing Warhammer 40,000, like it takes some kinda of intelligence to play the game or something. There were some cool armies but the best painted stuff was once again on the 40K side of the hall. A couple of fantasy guys complained there was too much terrain on some tables, heresy! You can never have too much terrain! On the 40K side we had a building at least three feet tall, if not more, you could hide a titan behind it, which is probably the intent.

The Warhammer 40,000 Tournament

The Sister of Battle Army

There was a Warhammer 40,000 tournament, which I entered despite not putting years more work into the Diseased Sons and being so sick I could barely get out of bed. I didn't win. I didn't win anything. Not even a door prize. But I enjoyed myself and learned a thing or two which hopefully will allow me dominate Astronomi-con Vancouver next year or West Coast Mayhem, whichever I'm not picky.

My Army List

The theme such that it was for this version of the Diseased Sons was no Plaguemarines and lots of lesser demons. 2000 points was more than I expected but I have plenty of painted models. I also wanted to include seven green guys that had never been part of a tournament army that I dubbed, "The Sinister Seven". I included two squads of tactical renegades, one squad of renegade havocs, a squad of chosen of Nurgle, forty marines in all. I had two toughness six HQ choices, 28 plaguebearers, and my AV 14 tank. Basically I planned to outflank the enemy and summon demons. I also hoped to do some shooting with my heavies and use my demon prince and landraider to distract my opponent.

My army in its tray

It only worked perfectly once. Turns out I missed not having some plaguemarines or an elite close combat squad. The fact I had no plaguemarines, no unit champions, and a few other staples of Chaos Spacemarine armies amused more than one person and I managed to get a perfect score in army composition. Here is the complete army in Excel format.

Game One: Necrons: U2KR Ringer: Jason Saunders

I showed up late for the tournament. I was sick. There was doubt. Anyway once that was sorted out I played the U2KR Ringer which turned out to be Jason Saunders. He of the award winning Chaos Space Marine army. Apparently he's friends with Simon Sung too, the fool!

Jason reacts to flank attack

Anyway Jason set up his completely foreign army and tried to do his best. I sent my bike up on one flank and the Landraider also rounded that corner. On the other flank Slim carefully advanced. In the middle were a whole bunch of Necrons including two units of Destroyers one of which were heavy and the Destroyer Lord was in there too. I shot so many heavy weapons at those things, after three turns I'd killed one.

During all the early action, I got my sorcerer in position to summon in some demons and when the Chosen showed up on that flank Jason had to react. He sent over a bunch of stuff to deal with them, eventually including the Destroyer body Lord. This pulled his resurrection orb away from the rest of the destroyers. On the other flank Slim and a few friends tried to take on a huge horde of Necro foot soldiers, another Lord and the flying pyramid.

Flank attack continues

Amazingly I won. Slim and friends beat back the necrons wiping them out when they lost the initiative test and ran. The immortal lord might have done better, but the heavy rate of fire eventually softened up the centre. The landraider would start a trend of being almost unhurtable. Through careful casualty removal I kept my heavy weapons firing and the smaller squads of demons helped in holding objectives.

Plaguebearers briefly capture centre objective

I can't remember if Jason finally warped out or if he had run out of tricks and valid scoring units. I had two objectives and the rest may have been contested. I don't remember, but I did win. I also got the scenario bonus as the Immortal Lord failed to kill my sorcerer and even was taken down to zero wounds once, the other lord died when his little buddies broke and ran and Slim chased them down and massacred 'em. H2H seems more decisive in 5th edition, less bogging down in neverending hoedowns.

Game Two: Eldar: Adrian Schaeffer

I knew I was going to lose this game. I had scored maximum battle points or whatever the game before. This basically never happens to me and on the first game of a tournament is even rarer. Now I would be facing someone else who had crushed their opposition, whereas it took me three turns to kill a single enemy model! The fact that Adrian had Eldar was not good news. I don't play against them very much and usually when I do it is against heavily optimized tournament armies. Adrian ended up with 17 points for army composition, but perhaps some of his opponents gave him lower soft scores than I did. I generally give out middle of the rode scores unless people do something to impress me. I'm a pretty nice guy so I don't "chipmunk". Who makes up this crap anyway?

First turn and game over

Adrian's army had three flying tanks, always a bad sign. He had three squads of infiltrators/snipers plus the Avatar, plus Dark Reapers, plus Banshees, plus Fire Dragons, plus Wraithguard. I don't remember any guardians and I don't remember getting to take many armor saves. Which is my big complaint about the eldar army list. Too many Eldar guns don't allow armor saves...

Defending my objective is lonely work

So yah I lost. It wasn't close. My sickness was affecting me, but my first big mistake was placing my objective on a hill. I thought defending a hill would give me a good field of fire, but it just made me a giant target. I also let Adrian have first turn, because on objective seizing missions it is usually advantages to go last. Adrian's first turn shooting considering all the flying tanks was way more devastating than mine. I was basically losing from the first turn onwards.

Last man standing on the hill

I forgot to move and shoot my flankers the first time they showed up. My sorcerer hurt himself riding through difficult terrain. Slim being fearless was his downfall. Lots of little annoyances. I'm going to have to practice playing the Eldar it is probably the Codex I do the least well against. Power Armor just isn't much use against them it seems. AV14 proved more useful, but the Avatar managed to damage the Landraider and the next Eldar army destroyed it. I really don't know what to recommend taking against them. Hope you don't have to play them in a tournament, at least if you're an all Nurgle army.

Defending the landraider

My solution to most problems going forward, assuming I find any time at all to paint and play is autocannons. My three heavy bolter, one lascannon havoc squad did quite well, but the Mark of Nurgle isn't necessary for havocs and I can't help but think all autocannons will solve a lot of problems. The heavy bolters can't hurt too many things that give me problems. I know autocannons allow power armor saves and say plasma cannons do not. But I'm not a loyalist player so I can't take plasma cannons and I just think a lot of units that gave me trouble at West Coast Mayhem and Astronomi-con Vancouver this year would just disappear under massed autocannon fire. I mean any problem you can't solve with an autocannon, is it really worth solving? I never fired at the pyramid once, and besides there is always lascannons...

Game Three: Carson Zawatsky: Nurgle Chaos Spacemarines

I think Carson and I played once before, but he had a Tzeentchian army that time... This was kinda like the master VS the student, but I'm not sure which one I was. I lost and Carson went on to win the entire tournament, but he couldn't have done it without crushing me.

The deployment for game three

Carson's army had two ten man plaguemarine squads in rhinos, one seven man squad on foot, five Nurgle terminators, an all lascannon predator, and a daemon prince. Oh yeah and two obliterators which I made early priority targets. He also had a vindicator, how can I forget about that?

The game started out well enough, we were on a table with a lot of impassable terrain, at least that is how we ruled it. The predator and landraider engaged in some sort of shooting duel with the havocs and the termies and obliterators getting involved. I won that as I forced the termies to run behind cover and I killed the rest of his shooting forces eventually. However all the shooting on the left flank left the vindicator and rhinos pretty unmolested. The scarlet fevers also paid the price.

The pivotal moment in the game

Carson kinda wanted a daemon prince VS daemon prince fight but I didn't. In the end it didn't happen. Slim leaped from behind cover to try and damage the horde of plaguemarines but Nurgle's Rot did nothing and he died in hand to hand. Fighting over the secondary objective, seven plaguemarines defeated 12 plaguebearers in H2H without losing a model. This occurred over and over, plaguebearers would charge plaguemarines and lose. Losing the extra attack on the charge and not being big squads really hurt in this game.

Perhaps my best H2H unit, the Chosen flanked marched, killed the last terminator as kill points was actually the main mission. I also killed his last lesser daemon with my tactical squad. But the 20 plaguemarines eventually took down both my tactical squads, my havocs and I think two squads of plaguebearers. His daemon prince had to chase after my sorcerer who tried to kill the vindicator from behind. He survived until the end of the game and perhaps another turn might have helped me, but my small daemon squads gave up a lot of kill points and I never tried to pick up the easy ones such as killing the rhinos.

The results of losing the key middle H2H fights

Plaguemarines seem to work better when other people use them. With the exception of the obliterators and vindicator there was nothing in Carson's army I hadn't tried except perhaps Warptime. Well I never had an all lascannon predator but what won the game for him were the three squads of plaguebearers my superior numbers worked against me to a degree as I gave up killpoints faster. I still think it is more important to maximize scoring units rather than trying to minimize killpoints. 2 of 5 missions used killpoints at West Coast Mayhem.

Game Four: Bryce Jensen: Eldar

The second day I remembered to bring cold medicine. I was really hurting after the first game on day one. I drank something like six bottles of juice in under an hour. Day two most of BCIT was shut down so we had to go off campus to buy lunch. Luckily Bryce had a car. I was again late, but I drew Bryce so he was waiting for me. His Eldar army had no flying tanks but it had plenty of bikes and elite troops. I once again probably didn't do the best in early target prioritization, but the Shining Spears rolled freakishly well on their saves. They almost single handily wiped out my entire army this game.

Bryce deploys his forces

It wasn't that I didn't shoot at them or outnumber them in H2H, they had two characters with them and they along with the Farseer and the Harlequins really did a number on my grunt heavy army. Lesser daemons are no match for harlequins. I either need an elite H2H unit of my own in my next army or just rely on plaguemarines to take the charge and tie them up until I can overwhelm them. Day two I was completely decimated by elite H2H units.

My sorceror meets his end Final act of desperation

Despite how badly H2H and shooting was going especially against the Shining Spears, I still was in position to make a desperate move to try and tie the game, but I think Bryce was wrong about a rule. It didn't matter Bryce was able to surround and take down my landraider and he also killed the five model plaguebearer squad which was holding an objective. I'm now 0-2 against Bryce but lets just say Bryce was happy to see no plaguemarines and I think once again a few autocannons or perhaps a unit champion or two would have really helped this game.

Game Five: Mark Withycombe: Blood Angels

Looking at the final standings to get the spelling of Mark's last name right I can't help but notice that I played three of the top five overall finishers in the tournament. How come I didn't get to fight any weak links? Andrian with his adjusted score finished about 17th and the ringer with zero for most of the soft scores finished last, but all my other opponents were way up the charts. Adrian did get 54 for general, though I heard some questioned the accuracy of his measurements, of course some people have a big mouth...

Early H2H does not go my way

This was actually a really good game, I voted Carson as my favourite opponent as despite my sickness I made a lot of funny jokes often at my own expense. It wasn't that I wasn't funny this game, it was just the damn Death Company and especially the Chaplin just rolled through everything. Finally my havocs killed him, In H2H! I had really good luck with my landraider or Mark had bad luck with his predator however you want to look at it. Regardless way more of my guys died especially in H2H than did Blood Angels. The game went to seven turns, the maximum, that is how long it took to kill the Chaplain.

The Death Company Chaplain continues to rampage

I was thinking table quarters was the main mission, but Kill Points was, so two games were decided by kill points at West Coast Mayhem. I couldn't win kill points not with the amount of damage the Chaplin did. I came close on quarters but an immobile dreadnought here and an immobile rhino there could have been the difference. I actually sacrificed my sorcerer at the end of turn five to try and destroy an assault squad. Slim died earlier once again outnumbered and done in by his own fearlessness or the powerfist of a tactical squad sergeant. That guy lived until the end, costing me a kill point, possibly a table quarter and the game. Immobilized vehicles used to not count for contesting, but now they do. I think 3 quarters might have been contested or perhaps I lost one in the final turn completely, regardless I lost and really had the point driven home that I needed something to stop rampaging H2H units. Usually I just shoot them or my plaguemarines slow them down, but I didn't have any plaguemarines or as many mealta guns and flamers as I usually have...

Death to the Chaplain

One of the first things I did was immobilize the Death Company's rhino. This actually trapped his Baal Predator and greatly limited the amount of damage it could do. The other predator I may never have shot at. I got really lucky that it didn't destroy my landraider. I used the landraider to try and stop the damn Death Company. They made a lot of armor saves and Feel No Pain saves and their ability to reroll misses in the first round was huge as they got to use it about five times as not one of my units until the Havocs could survive their initial charge. Slim got beat down by an assault squad and the remains of a tactical squad before the plaguebearers could come to his assistance. One of the big weaknesses of lesser demons as assault troops is lack of frag grenades. It is basically a lost cause to charge them into cover and there was a lot of cover on this board, most of the H2H took place in ruined buildings.

This was a fun game and I learned a lot about the Death Company rules. Once again some autocannons might have had more stopping power than heavy bolters and regular bolters. Maybe I needed more mealta guns and plasma guns... I'll try to have more of everything next year. I've already scribble out an army list to work towards. Then there is always my orks...

The Winners

Empty painting contest cases

The actual winners and scores are available on the West Coast Mayhem or U2KR websites, maybe even GW's someday. The best things in my army were my oddly armed havocs and my landraider. It never died early once and was only destroyed a single time in five games and even then it was mostly due to how desperate things were and how poorly I was doing in that game. AV14 is definitely better in 5th Edition, I think it is the -2 on glancing hits. I'll be including a landraider frequently in my army, maybe even paint another one someday.

Bryce Jensen won the Best Painted Army award for Warhammer 40,000, but I also think he won every category he entered in the Warpstone painting contest. The sad part is he has a number of other well painted armies apparently. I appear to be 0-2 in Warhammer 40,000 games against Bryce, but I seem to recall being 1-0 in miniature painting contests we both enter...

Two of Bryce Jensen's award winning miniatures

Nurgle! 1st overall on the 40K side went to an all Nurgle army. The all Nurgle demon army won a lot of games, and even on the fantasy side, I think it was an all demon army that won first overall. So apparently Nurgle is doing a lot better with the release of the new Demon Codex and fifth edition. I should do better too, someday. I just don't get to play often enough. I'll have to work towards an effective army list, I started on listing out a core couple units after the first day of the tournament completed.

The Losers

Orks! this can be a really fun army to paint and play, but no one managed to field a fully painted ork army on the 40K side. I can't help recall there were several, months ago at Astronomi-con but that was 500 points less to paint. 2000 points of orks can be a lot to paint, but there were other high model count armies, from the Nids, to my own 70 dudes. There was also no IG at all, another staple of Astronomi-con. I don't know if there were any true hordes on the fantasy side, but I seem to recall some pretty big undead and O&G armies.

Mike's all Nurgle deamon army

The people who didn't show. By most accounts the event was even better this year, yet attendance was down. Supposedly this was due in part to stores not selling the tickets ahead of time. Hopefully next year that will get sorted out and with a little more co-ordination the Warpstone and Tournament portions should be better than ever. Thor is supposedly dreaming up his next mega terrain piece.

What's Next?

Hordes of unpainted orks

Study and pass my CFA exam. But I say that every year... I won't do much painting or playing until December and then because of the holidays won't do much playing until the new year. Malcolm and I plan to finish our campaign and we both plan to go to Astronomi-con Vancouver next year.

I plan to build more terrain and I will work on that over the holidays. I'm seeing trenches, lots and lots of bombed out trenches...

Extra well painted ork character

I have so many models to paint, but going forward, less and less of them will be devoted to Nurgle. I still have a few in queue and plans to convert up Nurgle Raptors and Bikers. But I also plan on painting Chaos Undivided troops as well as troops of the other three gods. I also plan to get my Ork army on the field. Astronomi-con should see the return of the not-so-Diseased Sons with possibly a really old and mismatched ork army taking the field at West Coast Mayhem 2009. But at least it will be entirely painted...

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Words and Images © Andrew "Muskie" McKay.
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