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Monday, May 20, 2013

NagoyaHammer 2v2 Tournament: Game 3 of 3

Well this is very unfortunate. I have very few pictures from our final game and it seems I just have a couple angles on the same exact turn. That really stinks because this last game was our most challenging and tensest game of the day. We played against Tau + Eldar. After I got hold of the Tau codex in April I had been saying to Scott that the absolute worst match up we could get would be double Tau. They just have all the right tools to shoot down low-mid AV value targets. And especially against the low end. AV10, open-topped is hilariously easy to remove from the board with massed S7 missiles and S5 rapid fire. Especially when they have the range advantage and can remain mobile. Well here we were facing off against half of that nightmare. Here are their lists:

Miguel Eldar

Farseer - RoWard + Some power

6 Dire Avengers
5 Rangers

6 Wraithguard

Fast Attack
6 Swooping Hawks - Exarch w/ Sun Rifle
6 Warp Spiders - Exarch Spinneret Rifle
Nightwing Interceptor

I'm not too sure about his upgrades. Hawks get a bad rap on the Internet, but the truth is that while they cost too much, they slaughter vehicles if they charge. And I know how much damage Spiders can do if left alone because I use them a lot. These were the two high priority targets we were looking at before the game started. The others were footslogging and were slow enough that we could leave them be until later on, like turn 3 or so. The Nightwing would require some consideration, but not until turn 2. The worst it would do is kill a vehicle before we could return fire. Without interceptor on our units we would just have to wait and see what it does and react on the following turn. That would probably mean letting my own Nightwings have at it until it evades.

Tanya's Tau

2x about 8 Fire Warriors
10 or so Kroot

Riptide with a mix of shield, missile and markerlight drones. I think it had the Ion cannon gun.

3 Broadsides with missiles and a mix of drones.

I'm pretty sure that's it on the Tau side. Looking at the list in the beginning out target priority was clear. Kill the Riptide and the Broadsides. If we could do that, the game would mostly be over. With that commander, the Riptide can some nasty stuff. Ignoring cover is one of the worst, in my opinion. But also that one unit can split fire three times. The Broadsides can split fire too. We knew it would be bad news bears when all those missiles came flying at our vehicles. This game was going to be decided by the first two turns.

The mission was The Relic. We won both rolls--going first and deployment zone. Both sides were essentially the same but one had a little bit of ruins to hide in. We chose not to give that to the Broadsides. We set up as far forward as we could get and hid mostly behind the rocks in the middle, which Scott immediately named Hamburger Hill. With the only objective on top of it and both sides with very soft infantry, it was clear from the beginning that name would be fitting. They set up with mostly Eldar near where my Hornets are in the pictures. The Riptide/Commander unit was where my Nightwings are and the Broadsides had set up about where that proxy Nightwing is.

Saying it this way I think you can sort of see how the battle went for us already. That's a shame because there was nothing clear about how the game would turn out when turn one started. For the third time in a row Scott won first turn (much more than three times in a row, actually. It's not for nothing I had him roll...lucky f%^$. *Ahem!* Excuse me. Ate a bug...moving on!) Our opponents then promptly stole the initiative and proceeded to hammer our vehicles with those nasty missiles. For the first time in the whole day I took some losses that I couldn't have done anything about. Lost both of my Wave Serpents that turn. And Scott lost a few Venoms as well.

On our turn one we got to work on the Riptide and Broadsides, but let me say now that it's insanely tough, even with lots of poison, dark light and S6, to kill one of those with lots of drones attached. The ablative wounds and attached IC give you an absurd amount of T6 wounds and with Look out Sir, you can really cherry pick who eats what shot. With the losses I took, I didn't really contribute much first turn. Maybe a wound or two on the drones. Think I kills some troops with my Hornets. I was trying to avoid getting within 18" of the Wraithguard though, so until they were committed to the center of the board I didn't want to draw too much of their attention. When our turn one ended we hadn't significantly diminished the firepower that was about to bear down on us again.

The enemy turn two begins with the Swooping Hawks coming in from Reserves and the Nightwing not showing up. Lucky break number one. The Eldar move up some and most of the Tau do not. Just the Kroot if I remember correctly. I was glad to see the Wraithguard move forward onto the hill. That'd let my Hornets get into their backfield without fear of distortion guns tearing me apart. Warp Spiders were right on the hill, ready to shred some Dark Eldar. Swooping Hawks landed right on target between my Farseer and his contingent of only 3 Dire Avengers, ready to flashlight me to smithereens.  Our opponents opened fire again and Scott took the brunt of it again. I forget what all he lost this turn, but actually it could have been worse. Much worse. In fact it turned out pretty well when the Riptide wounded itself trying to charge its overdrive thing, then shot wide with its blast of splattery death and annihilated the Warp Spiders in front of us. Lucky breaks 2 and 3! This time I got very little attention, in part because I had little on the board. My Farseer passed wounds away to the Dire Avengers and took a few saves himself. In the end he survived, but his squad did not.

At the bottom of turn two both of my Nightwings came in and we positioned to end the units that had been giving us these head aches. I knew Scott was shooting the Riptide with nearly everything he had on the right side, but I was busy with my own shooting, so I didn't really see what was happening. I fired my Scatter Walkers into the Broadsides to bring down the drones in front. Then a Nightwing laid out the exposed suit with a Brightlance which was assigned to be rolled against first so that the Shuriken Cannons could wound down more drones. After I repeated that once more, Scott finished of the unit with a Ravager. The Swooping Hawks were still a problem if they could assault, but one Shattershard and some good rolls later and they were cleared out quickly. There was some more shooting but that was essentially the end of the phase. I looked over and the Riptide was gone. "Oh awesome, you killed it!" I said to my partner. Nah, turned out we killed enough drones and it failed its leadership test and ran away. Lucky break number four! I wonder if they actually intended that to be a balancing factor for getting to have all those amazing T6 wounds. Hehe, funny stuff anyway.

Essentially that was the end of the game. We played two more turns but I don't remember meaningful losses on our side. Kroot killed a venom and then got dakkaed down, I think. And the Rangers managed to bring one down too. But for the most part we were just playing to clear out their troops and ensure that ours could reach the center before time ran up. Unless we had that objective or got some infantry into their deployment zone we would tie. That would only score us two points total for the tournament and mean we could potentially tie for first if the second-place team could score the maximum. When we got some troops in contact with the Relic we just called it.

There were a lot of really tense moments, especially first turn getting seized. But from our opponents' turn two things slid downhill and it snowballed from there. The Warp Spiders getting vaporized was a real load off. I don't think it was a game changer, but our opponents sure would have had a lot more options on turn three if they were around and if the Riptide hadn't run away. Miguel and Tanya were great sports despite their horrible luck on a couple clutch rolls. I had a great time playing with them and look forward to the next opportunity.

And that was the end of the tournament! We came in first with units that I see lots of complaints about on the internet. Dark Eldar catch a lot of heat and so does Mechdar. But I feel that with some IA11 units on my side and with the interplay between massed poison, darklight and S6, we had all our offensive bases covered. Scott's list does struggle to bring down lots of vehicles quickly despite all the S8 it packs. In turn one, the Blasters can't fire so he really only has Ravagers to fire with. But with some Eldar shooting shoring him up, I can crack open vehicles and provide targets to his poison. Or that was the idea at least. We ended up playing against armies with a lot of stuff on the ground and he was never left wanting more targets. To be sure, our list would struggle harder in a scene with more powergaming in it, but I'm actually still confident we'd do very well even in an event where people are bringing the nastiest, meanest lists they can think of. The luck we would need would probably not be in-game rolls, but who we draw for opponents. I really think the toughest match ups for us are armies that can do what we're doing, but better. Double IG, double Tau, or really any mix of units that shoot with tons of S5-7 dakka.

It was great to meet so many awesome people and to see what kind of crowds big events in Japan can draw. Apparently it was their biggest yet. It was the first time for anyone from our group to play with theirs and I hope it will signal more trips, more gaming and more events. I'm certain there are more players in Japan that need brought into the fold too. I hope we can broaden the community out here. Guess it's up us on the east to something together in the second half of the year.