Ten people showed up for Redcap’s May tournament, once again an excellent production. For whatever reason the theme was definitely strife within the Imperium, with Orks and Tyranids making an appearance but everybody else loyalists battling amongst themselves to determine who the Emperor loves most. Even the Sisters came to fight for the title of most blindly dedicated to the empire. Also notably, the overwhelming majority of armies were painted, and most of those pretty well. Full results and armies in play are up on the tournament page on Torrent of Fire. I will say, ToF’s interface remains amazingly terrible, specifically the non-intuitive navigation among pages, but it’s super cool to be able to see details of who played who and so on.
More photos, including other games/armies, are in the Flickr gallery.
I dropped the Predator and downgraded a Razorback from Thursday’s games to add some bodies and a quadgun:
- Capt Angholan—Vulkan
- Ghost Squad Harmon—Sternguard x5 w/ 3x Combi-Meltas, Poweraxe, Drop Pod
- Squad Scolirus—Tacticals x10 w/ Vet Sgt, Powerfist+Boltgun, Flamer, Multimelta, Drop Pod
- Squad Titus—Tacticals x10 w/ Vet Sgt, Chainsword+Bolt Pistol, Meltagun, Missile Launcher, Rhino
- Scouts x5 w/ Camo Cloaks, Sniper Rifles
- Imperial Bunker w/ Quadgun
Of course, having made that quadgun swap, nobody brought any flyers and only the Tyranids brought a flying monstrous creature…
First up was John L and his Clan Raukaan Iron Hands Space Marines, fielding something like:
- Sternguard x10 w/ 5x Combi-Meltas in Drop Pod
- Tacticals x10 w/ Rhino
- Scouts 5x
- Centurions x3 w/ Grav-Amps
The mission was 12″ table edge deployment, Scouring objectives. I went second by choice, both of us picked normal scoring.
Raukaan Sternguard dropped directly in front of the Kingbreakers’ bunker with massed combi-meltas, an ironic twist for the latter. Those Sternguard had some back and forth about which targets to prioritize—the bunker or the nearby troops—but eventually cracked the bunker open. They were in turn obliterated when Squad Scolirus dropped onto the Kingbreakers’ own base in a dramatic reinforcing action.
Meanwhile, Capt Angholan and the Ghosts claimed first blood by taking out the opposing Stalker on the drop, but were immediately knocked down by the Raukaan Centurions. The Centurions then began a slow march across the bridge dividing the table, a wall of hurricane bolter & grav-amp fire sheltering their advance and withering Kingbreakers all across the board. Kingbreakers Tacticals played a tight game of desperate and decreasing chances to pull off a win by hiding around their now-burning bunker to hold and contest their two home objectives in the endgame, but ultimately the margins grew too thin.
Outcome & Analysis
A crushing loss for the Kingbreakers, finally swept off the table in Turn 7, one bonus point earned for John having no elites left.
The huge mistake I made here was underestimating the Centurions. I played John and basically this list plus some flyers and dreadnoughts in the January tournament. In that game the Centurions were very hard to eliminate, but didn’t actually achieve much either. However, that was on the dockyard cathedral board were they had almost no sightlines and I was able to drop all my guys into protective cover right near them before running in Angholan and Scolirus to tie them up (2+/3+ save on the captain) and slowly take them down (powerfist on the sergeant). On this bridge board however, once they got on the bridge they literally had sightlines to every part of the board except the tiny space behind my bunker.
So, in the drop I went for the assured First Blood kill with the Sternguard tagging the Stalker because that secondary is frequently critical, five Sternguard weren’t going to be able to wipe out the Centurions, and from that previous game I wasn’t super worried about them anyway. That was wrong. The Sternguard should have attacked the Centurions. Even if they’d only killed one that would have been a dramatic reduction in their firepower throughout the remainder of the game.
Alternatively, I could have gone for the Rhino with his Tac Squads. I saw that as a much less probable drop to get melta bonuses, but even without that I still would have had a good chance to pop it. Potentially I could even have separated the Sternguard and Angholan to crack it with the Sternguard and then heavy flame the guys inside. It would have been really helpful later to have his troops advancing slower, as well as to prevent him from using that Rhino to block in my own Rhino.
Next was David H and his Sisters of Battle. I can’t recall when I last played against the Sororitas, so that was pretty cool. He fielded something like:
- Battle Sisters x10 w/ Rhino
- Battle Sisters x5
- Seraphim x7
- Dominion Squad x5 w/ Immolator
- Exorcists x2
The mission was table corners deployment, four Big Guns Never Tire objectives. I went second by David’s choice, both of us picked alternate scoring.
Kingbreakers Scouts camped out on top of an objective while Tacticals did double duty manning the quadgun and covering another objective by their bunker. In the opposite corner, Exorcists (a scoring unit under Big Guns) attempted to hold down objectives alongside a small squad of Battle Sisters protecting an Inquisitor.
Angholan and the Ghosts tried to drop on the Exorcists but scattered badly, well out of direct contact. Squad Titus advanced quickly along the flank to support them, but was hung up by immobilizing missile fire. Hoofing it on foot, the squad was then raked and decimated by an outflanking Immolator and melta toting Dominions outflanking onto their side. Angholan and Harmon returned the favor, pivoting to wipe out Immolator and Dominions both in assault before switching back to march on and crush the nearest Exorcist.
Directly in the midst of all this, Squad Scolirus dropped onto an objective in the middle of the firefight. One combat squad took up defensive positions on that objective with their multi-melta while Scolirus lead a running gun battle through and under the dockyard ruins against the Sisters and Inquisitor on the other objective. Eventually clearing them off, the remains of Tactical 1 then hunkered down in dense ruins in hopes of outlasting sniping fire from the remaining Exorcist.
On the opposite table edge, the Kingbreakers quadgun immobilized an oncoming Rhino and forced a contingent of Battle Sisters to advance slowly toward their target objectives. Scout Snipers killed Saint Celestine but she resurrected to lead her Seraphim in overwhelming the Kingbreakers’ bunker and cruelly turning the quadgun against the snipers in retribution. Battle Sisters eventually took the bunker objective, but the Sororitas’ advance on the other was halted by a precision multi-melta shot from across the battlefield that put Celestine out for good.
Outcome & Analysis
Max points for the Kingbreakers, a crushing victory and two bonus points for more secondary objectives (all three) and opponent having no HQs on the table.
One small trouble I had here was that I should have picked the laterally opposite corner with a nice ruin, and placed my fortification better. As-was, the impassable building in my corner was a touch too high to claim the objective from on top of it so some of my Scouts had to hang out on the ground floor. Similarly, by putting an objective next to that my fortification wound up too close, so my second objective had to go a bit off and some Tacticals similarly had to hang out on the ground floor. When I selected that corner and set the bunker I was thinking in terms of running to claim on Turn 5 as for normal scoring, but I’d opted to go with alternate, per-turn scoring, for this round, so my defensive position was a little more brittle than it should have been.
I thoroughly enjoyed the one point where I had a choice between sniping at the oncoming Battle Sisters to try and pin them, or sniping my own now-vacant quadgun in hopes to sabotage it before the Seraphim could take it over…
Finally up was Rob W and his Imperial Guard, forcefully debating which army had the true heroes of the February doubles tournament. He fielded something like:
- Company Command w/ Officer of the Fleet, Artillery Spotter, Voxcaster, Autocannons
- Inquisitor w/ 3x Servo Skulls, Liber Hereticus, Powerfist
- Primaris Psyker
- Ministorum Priest
- Platoon Command Squad w/ 4x Flamers
- Infantry Blob x20 w/ Lascannons
- Conscripts x30
- Veterans x10 w/ 3x Plasmaguns
- Aegis Defense Line w/ Quadgun
Mission was 12″ table edges, four Crusade objectives. I went second by Rob’s choice, both of us picked alternate scoring.
Rob placed his two objectives surprisingly far apart, one in his corner artillery encampment as expected, the other near the opposite corner across from my base camp. I chose to deploy my Scouts as normal so that he couldn’t block their infiltration with his servo skulls. They then made a scout move up onto an objective in ruins just outside my deployment zone. This wound up being important as it upped the velocity toward combat on that flank, as well as eventually getting me a critical bonus point for having a troop mid-field.
Supporting the planetary governor to investigate rumors of imminent rebellion, Kingbreakers Scouts had just moved into reconnaissance positions to surveil a huge gathering of Conscripts suspiciously milling about a shadowy Inquisitor, Primaris Psyker, and a Ministorum Priest when they were shocked to see the blob suddenly leap to life and charge at their position under the trio’s raging exhortations! Facing a substantive threat to the Marines’ base camp as well as their own lives, all possible reinforcements were coolly called in as the tremendous volume of lasgun shots forced the Scouts to ground. Captain Angholan and Scolirus’ First Tactical themselves immediately dropped from orbit, bringing the flaming heart of the chapter to burn away the heretics before the psyker theology insurrection could continue. Gouts of flame halved the Conscripts’ numbers and rebuffed their countering assault, while the Kingbreakers’ fire-tempered armor shrugged off the blistering heat of the Platoon Command flamers come to reinforce the felons.
The forecasted rebellion suddenly under way, the Kingbreakers’ camp found itself under barrage from the local Guard artillery corps. Marines dove for cover in their bunker and surrounding ruins, spooling up their quadgun and krak missiles to take out the Guard’s own anti-air defenses. The skies cleared, Harmon’s Ghosts dropped square into the heart of the traitors’ encampment, taking out the primary artillery before being forced out of the fight by crippling mass shooting surrounding their position.
Meanwhile, Angholan and Squad Scolirus hurled themselves into the Conscripts amid the whirling flames, Angholan bellowing forth challenges to any who would stand against the Emperor. Driven mad by his false visions, the Primaris rallied first but was cut through as quick as air. Stepping into his place, the Priest was similarly slain but not before driving in a near-fatal power blade. Leaping over the bleeding body of his crippled captain, Scolirus met the rogue Inquisitor in mid-strike, powerfist hammering powerfist and blasting both down in the titanic energies unleashed. Their heroes down but the rotten core of the rebellion excised, Tactical 1 redoubled their efforts and eliminated the stragglers before following Sergeant Titus, overdriving his Rhino through the thick of the combat, to take up defensive positions preventing the rebels from claiming their leaders’ bodies for martyrdom.
Victory for the Kingbreakers, with a bonus point for having a troop in no-man’s land.
When the blob first started coming at me I was really worried about being swamped through sheer numbers, and it got really close to my forward line very quickly! With all the orders and special dudes going on it also caught me off guard (!) with a bunch of tricks—Scout move, 4+ Invulnerables, Fearless, debuffs on my guys, etc., in addition to then having a couple multi-wound power weapons buried in the blob. Fortunately in deployment I’d put Angholan with Tactical 1 specifically to go flame that blob, and that’s what they did. Flamer overwatch did me a huge service when it took out the whole front rank of the Conscripts, causing them to fail a charge by about half an inch. The Salamanders’ anti-flame buff also negated the Platoon Command flamers. Together that meant the whole squad got to charge rather than be charged in Turn 2, at full strength, and got in two rounds of flaming the blob beforehand. Following that, neither of us remembered Rob’s maledictions forcing re-rolls on Invulnerable saves for a turn or so, which certainly helped Angholan survive longer.
That said, I’m not sure how much all those specifics mattered. All I really needed to do was tie up the Conscript blob for a while so that objective wasn’t being claimed, with Titus coming forward to claim or contest against the Platoon Command that came in. With that blob blunted Rob didn’t have much that’d be able to cross the board to claim or contest my objectives. The limited sightlines, Scout camo cloaks, and my bunker then basically ensured the large blasts coming down from his Basilisk and artillery officer wouldn’t be able to blast away all three of the troop units I had in my backfield to claim two objectives, particularly with the Sternguard available to most likely take out one or the other of those (the Basilisk in the end). So, this was a tight game of quarter inches and critical rolls, but once that blob wound up in combat back by its own objective I felt I was playing for the victory, and I don’t really see how he could have avoided that combat. Caveat some supremely bad scatter on Angholan and poor luck on run or charge rolls (very short for me and/or very long for him), I don’t think the blob could have kept pressing forward to change that basic calculus of two objectives for me, one for him, and his other contested or unclaimed.
All of that was enough to take 2nd place, as I have in each of the three Redcap’s tournaments I’ve played in 2014 (one the doubles tournament teamed with Rob). John L’s Raukaan took top honors, beating my points by exactly that crushing victory in our first round battle. Tom M picked up a nice result, taking third with his Custodes (Grey Knights). Tom also drew the random award for painted armies, so he actually took home the biggest slice of the pot.
Just a couple general tournament thoughts follow.
Obviously it’s a comparatively easy target at the 1000 point level, but my impression was that the random painted army award has already motivated quite a bit of activity. There was noticeably significantly more painted dudes around. Lots more players than previously were talking about last ditch efforts to finish up new units, or putting more emphasis in army selection on what they have painted.
Probably the Scouring mission should be tweaked for tournament play. I still got swept by John—after a grueling seven turns!—but it worked out that I had both the 4 point and a 3 point objective in my corner, versus the 8 points available across all four other objectives. An easy fix to this mission would be for players to alternate placing an objective along the centerline of the table, otherwise following the usual rules (6″ from table edges, 12″ from each other). These could also just be fixed at the 1st & 3rd quartiles on the centerline. Then the players alternate placing two objectives each in their deployment zones. A small tweak would be to place one in their own deployment and the second in their opponent’s, Apocalypse style. Then each player makes the obvious roll to determine which objective in their zone is a 3 point, the other being a 2 point. Another random roll is then made to determine which of the centerline objectives is the 4 point, the other being the 1 point.
If both players pick Redcap’s alternate scoring none of that matters as those points are irrelevant. But that’s also unfortunate as it makes the Scouring just a 6-objective mission rather than the actually different structure the variable value objectives give it compared to Crusade and such. In terms of increasing the number of interesting strategic decisions being made, having different missions, and eliminating random advantages (“I picked normal & the 4 pt objective is in my base, excellent!”), for the Scouring you should know which objectives are worth what before selecting normal or alternate scoring. But then scoring selection needs to be moved to just before any deployment, which sounds reasonable to me off the cuff as a general change. Then, of course, the previous about fair Scouring objective placement applies.
This was my first tournament under Redcap’s new alternate scoring. It actually totally caught me off guard as I forgot about that entirely. In the first mission I picked normal scoring just because I didn’t have time to process what was going on and make an actual decision so I just went with my usual type strategy. With my half-castle and half-alpha strike contest army it would have gone better for me to pick alternate, though that’s not clear given I had the imbalance of valuable objectives.
In general though I think that’s probably true. I have trouble envisioning many armies or strategies that shouldn’t pick alternate scoring as it is currently. This is particularly true without any cap on how many times the objectives can be continually scored, offering a strong potential for that scheme to simply offer more points than the normal scheme. Neither of those is a problem if you’re actually effectively changing the game but leaving in the normal scoring just in case that does work better for someone, which isn’t an unreasonable position. But if the intent is to offer different victory paths than the rules should perhaps be tweaked, though I have to think about it more.
All in all, once again another excellent tournament at Redcap’s. More photos, including other games/armies, are in the Flickr gallery.