The Little Vortex That Could

Hello all, Rawdogger here to talk about the importance of keeping a level head during a 40K game in which an ass is being kicked. More specifically, when that ass being kicked is actually your face.

This past weekend I traveled to a stormy Sacramento California for the No Mercy 40k tournament at the lovely Great Escape Games. My favorite hunk Geoff Robinson did a better write up on the event than I can, so make sure to check out his report if you are interested in hearing all about how he is amazing at playing 40k and how great he looks in a translucent baby blue shirt wore to match his dreamy eyes.


As fans of this site might know quite well already, I tend to be a fairly horrible 40k player. I try to alleviate this affliction of poor decision making and atrocious luck by taking army lists that should play themselves, but my actions seem to only anger the gods of chance and I find myself more often than not hugging the toilet bowl that is the bottom tables. In fact around these parts I’ve become known as something of a real bottom, whatever that means. I also tend to despair as soon as events begin to go against me, which makes for an uncomfortable game for my opponent and unnecessary stress on my already over taxed blood stream. I’m a bad loser, is really what I am trying to get at. This weekend I had a game against a player named Scott Anderson, who taught me that no matter how grim things look there is always a chance to snatch a victory from the jaws of absolute and utter defeat.


The lesson began during the second game of the tournament. After getting Dark Lanced and Wraith Cannoned back to the Stone Age throughout my first game, I was looking for some pay back. Hard payback, if you get my drift. I line up against my opponent, a jovial man named Scott Anderson. Scott had what I would describe as a fun list. He might disagree with me on this but when I see a Grey Knight list, even a Nemesis Stike Force list, I see a lot of over costed units that just aren’t effective enough to make up for the low model count. With a Storm Lord filled with Plas/Las vets, Leman Russ Executioners with Preferred Enemy, and a Manticore I was feeling fairly confident. We get the board set up and deploy. With Coteaz on my side I promptly steal the initiative and get down to what the Guard do best, LAYIN DAT DIP. To say that my first turn of shooting was devastating would be an understatement. I took out one of his Dreadknights, knocked a couple wounds of his second Dreadknight, wrecked one of his Rhinos transporting a Purifier squad, and immobilized the other. At this point I began to feel bad for Scott. I’ve been where he was more times than I can count. Most of his army was neutralized right out of the gate, with the likely prospect that the rest would be gone by turn 3. He was facing a castled up armor 14 wall of death that he did not have the tools to crack. But did Scott despair? No, he did not.

Scott had a chance.

It was a long shot, but damn it he wouldn’t go quietly into that dark night. What the hell could Scott do against this certain doom? At this point I personally would have rage quit, something that I have done on numerous occasions. Scott wouldn’t be rage quitting today. Scott would stare death in the face, flip on his shades and say, ‘FUCK THE ODDS’.

Scott had the Vortex of Doom.

At the beginning of the game, Scott astounded me by rolling his Grand Master’s psychic powers from the Sanctic Daemonology table. I couldn’t have cared less when he rolled up the Vortex of Doom power, a risky warp charge 3 power that, if failed, drops a D template on your own caster and his unit. I was too busy fantasizing on all the nasty ways my plasma weapons would melt his army. The other pre-game roll that I should have paid attention to was the warlord trait that Scott rolled. Again, defying my expectations Scott insisted on rolling on the Grey Knight trait table. He got the trait where his Warlord could automatically come in from reserve the first turn available and would not scatter when Deep Striking. Well, I should have paid attention to these two separate, but ultimately significant rolls as doing so would have prepared me for the teeth punching one-two combo that was about to happen. On the bottom of turn one Scott brings in his Grand Master with Terminators and lands them on my left flank. Right next to the board edge, something that would not have been advisable had he not been able to do so without scattering. He throws 15 power dice at the Vortex of Doom power, does not perils, and proceeds to lob the vortex onto the nearest Plasmacutioner tank. He rolls poorly and only strips off a hull point however it stuns the tank. At the top of turn 2, the vortex scatters onto the Storm Lord, stripping of 3 of its hull points and I drive that thick bitch the hell away from the potential D slapping vortex. The swirling vortex also causes me to have to disrupt the castle and scatter my armored formation. On the bottom of turn 2 the vortex luckily scatters off the table, however my lines are now broken and one Plasmacutioner and a Veteran Squad in a Chimera are obliterated by the Psycannon toting Grand Master and remaining Terminators. On my turn 3 I fire everything possible at the Grand Master, but Scott’s saves are on point and I do one wound. Scott sees one more chance and again throws 15 dice at the Vortex power and does not perils or fail the test. He lobs the Vortex and it lands smack dab in the center of the Storm Lord. He rolls a 6 on the D table, and the old girl takes 6+D6 hull points and goes nuclear, killing both veteran squads, Coteaz, and the Company Command Squad praying to the Emperor inside. As this was a kill point game for the primary mission the game was at that point effectively over. I had gone from a certain victory to a crushing defeat in the blink of an eye. An eye the shape of a Vortex of Doom.


The point of this article is not to show how cockiness can be your downfall, but to show that when all looks lost not to despair. There is always a way to win the game if you keep a level head and don’t begin feeling sorry for yourself and or flipping the table. I like to call these wins the Reece Robbins special, since he is always coming from behind. I have on numerous occasions watched Reece all but lose a game, only to have some stupid throw away unit come in from reserve and jump on an objective to barely win the game. Congratulations, Scott. While it hurt at the time to lose in such a spectacular fashion, you were a great opponent and I hope this story makes people laugh for many years to come.

So readers what are some of the things you do when the chips are down and you are taking a pounding from your opponent? What are you best stories of a come from behind victory?


About Jason

Raw Dogger, aka, Phat J Sleaze (formerly of the Booty Boyzzz) is a highly opinionated, questionably skilled 40k enthusiast. When not working at Frontline Gaming, he can be found down on Jabroni Avenue.

31 Responses to “The Little Vortex That Could”

  1. Avatar
    Cuddles February 10, 2015 12:15 pm #

    I never really put a large investment in thoughts of winning a game. I try to focus on building a good list and coming up with something unique. I also focus on trying things that other people won’t expect. This, I believe, takes me into games with a mentality that doesn’t allow me to get bummed when I lose.

    I know there are a lot of people who want to win win win. I think when you make the goal to have fun, winning is more enjoyable and you don’t get bummed when you lose.

  2. Avatar
    Richard February 10, 2015 12:17 pm #

    Haha, dang that is one way to go out in a blaze of glory. Sorry about the loss, but man, that is the most memorable defeat I have ever read about! Almost makes me want to play GK!

    • Reecius
      Reecius February 10, 2015 2:02 pm #

      Yeah, that was legend! haha

  3. Avatar
    iNcontroL February 10, 2015 12:25 pm #

    A good story and an awesome message.. thanks Jason 🙂 I do find it highly appropriate on many levels though that the lesson “never give up” is being taught from the perspective of Rawdogger having a lead snatched away from him by some insane luck from his opponent. Keep rawdogging it bro <3

  4. Avatar
    Robertomis Maximus February 10, 2015 12:39 pm #

    sexy shirt bro

  5. Avatar
    Hotsauceman1 February 10, 2015 12:50 pm #

    Wait….if Rawdogger is a power gamer and always at the bottom……..Does that mean…..
    But I know what you mean Rawdogger….I have had anger issues in the game as of late because I loose so often.
    But my best is when I won with 1 model on the board, Khan defiant against 3 flyrants.

    • Jason
      Raw Dogger February 10, 2015 2:14 pm #

      I always say that the real power comes from the bottom.

      • Mr.MoreTanks
        Mr.MoreTanks February 11, 2015 7:49 pm #

        He really does.

  6. Avatar
    z3n1st February 10, 2015 1:18 pm #

    Great article RD!

  7. Avatar
    bigpig February 10, 2015 2:25 pm #

    Great write up jason. Good reminder to always look for solutions. For the record, while I have seen you give up on a game, you have never rage quit.

  8. Avatar
    Andrew February 10, 2015 2:46 pm #

    I’d like to remind everyone that it is equally important to be a good winner. When I lose a game I can still find it enjoyable with an opponent that is friendly, funny, sympathetic about bad dice, and enthusiastic about my Hail Mary attempts. It is much more difficult to lose when the other guy treats his victory as validation for every girl who has ever turned him down.

    In a tournament I don’t believe you should necessarily drop from a full-court press to a half-court press just because you have a commanding lead, but maybe avoid cheering and high-fiving your buddies after you destroy that last remaining immobilized rhino in the corner that would have no effect on the rest of the game.

    • Jason
      Raw Dogger February 10, 2015 3:26 pm #

      Well said! I have seen poor losers as well as poor winners. Every once in awhile you get someone who is both a poor winner and poor loser. If you draw that guy, man, you’ve got one hell of a game planned!

  9. Avatar
    greggles February 10, 2015 3:00 pm #

    This reminds me of the fellow who took two deathstrike missiles at Nova, and roffle stomped people. Sometimes I think every gets too attached to “what is the most optimal mathhammer net list” and forgets there are lots of different ways to win this game!

  10. Avatar
    Chris February 10, 2015 3:14 pm #

    Anyone who tells an entertaining story about how he was inspired by a LOSS should win best sportsman. Loved the post!!

  11. Avatar
    adam Fasoldt February 10, 2015 7:16 pm #

    Haha! Amen, man! There’s ALWAYS a chance! Keep them dice rollin!

  12. Avatar
    Interrogator_Chaplain February 10, 2015 7:38 pm #

    Yeah, but I’m playing Dark Angels. Hope is hard to come by on the best of days.

    • Avatar
      loar February 12, 2015 7:02 am #

      when in doubt, bring more black knights

  13. Avatar
    Cavalier February 11, 2015 3:37 am #

    Great article and I totally agree on all points. I almost never concede. Probably because I get into “vendetta” mode where even if I think I’m gonna lose I want to punish my opponents army as much as possible before I go out. In retrospect I think not conceding is a good practice just psychologically because if your regular opponents know they can demoralize you it gives them an advantage in that they know how to push your buttons. Besides you can always scare your opponents into making a mistake when you refuse to quit.

  14. Avatar
    xTHExCLINCHERx February 11, 2015 7:18 am #

    65 point librarian sitting on the game winning objective… nothing else in sight but a swarmlord; swarmlord completely misses all attacks and wounds (oh when it rains it pours 1’s); librarian successfully casts force and perils; goes super charged; one hit, one wound, force applied; dead swarmlord.

    • Avatar
      greggles February 11, 2015 8:59 am #

      That’s ridiculously epic!

      We played a game once, where there was a unit of bikes on the board, and a single infantry unit. Had either one of those units survived, we would have won the game. (he got both but only on the very last jink save). Never give up, never surrender!

      I don’t even know how I would have handled that as the nid player. This is why I bought explosion markers for my ork walker list at LVO. I’ll have fun placing tea lights all over the board. 🙂

  15. Avatar
    Lardus February 11, 2015 7:26 am #

    Hmmm, that warlord trait lets you re-roll scatter…any case: Had a match with 3 IK and a small GK strike force vs Ork Stompa and lots of Orks. Long story short, top of last turn I had my IK Warlord left vs a small squad of Orks. I hit them hard and the last boy ran. Opponent started packing up and I told him “why not roll to regroup”. He didn’t want to but I insisted. He rolled snake-eyes! That robbed me of the victory and tied the game – never give up!!

  16. Avatar
    droozy February 11, 2015 10:05 am #

    As a dedicated CSM player, losing is in my DNA. I’m a big proponent of the idea that you learn much more from your losses than your victories. Never again will the big dog be caught unawares by GK trickery. Besides, what is more satisfying, playing a power list and smacking around lesser codices and armies or serving a sound beating to an optimized list with a fluffy, beautifully painted, lower tier army(even if those victories are few and far between)? I choose the latter. I won’t be winning any GT’s anytime soon but I strive to lose with a smile on my face. After all, this is a game, not a sport.

    • Reecius
      Reecius February 11, 2015 2:21 pm #

      Playing Chaos humbles you, quickly! haha.

      • Avatar
        bigpig February 11, 2015 2:42 pm #

        Losing to Chaos humbles you even more 🙂

      • Avatar
        droozy February 11, 2015 2:52 pm #

        Roger that. I think I might surprise a couple people at LVO though. but just a couple.

  17. jy2
    jy2 February 11, 2015 4:19 pm #

    Great article Mr Dogger! This brings back so many memories of my come-from-behind victories.

    Once in 6th, I brought my invincible wraithwing Necrons against Tau. Well, after Turn 2, all 18 of my wraiths were dead and same with 1 of my 2 Destroyer Lords. But don’t lose focus, play the mission and I was rewarded with a win when the game ended on Turn 5, despite almost getting tabled.

  18. Avatar
    Robert February 12, 2015 3:35 am #

    Passing a ld 5 check with grots who lost the runtherder to win the game by controling my home objective .

  19. Avatar
    j February 12, 2015 4:47 am #

    I thought grey knights couldn’t take daemonology?????

    • Avatar
      droozy February 13, 2015 11:00 am #

      Santic powers are GK specialty. Still in the daemonology discipline.

  20. Avatar
    sand.zzz February 12, 2015 6:23 pm #

    Eh. I strarted playing 40k again last year. Ive been enjoying painting and modeling a few different armies. After about 6 months of work, and watching a dozen or so games at GW snd the flgs, I ventured out to play my first game in ~20 years. What I discovered is that no one brings fun lists to the store for pick up games. Its all min-max/meta/list abuse to stack the odds in ones own favor. So my narrative and fluffy approach to the game is pretty much off limits if I ever want to win. I played 7 or 8 games – losing every one, usually by a large margin. Not sure what happened to the playerbase to this game, but I wasnt like this when I first started playing. So I gifted my cases to a friend and officially retired from playing 40k socially. But hey, at least Im not spending a few hours a week playing lopsided, ridiculous games.

    • Avatar
      Kwodd February 15, 2015 1:59 pm #

      Probably because they’re practicing for an event. If you want to play against a fluffy fun list then you have to ask for it. It would probably help to inform your opponent you’ve been out for a while and need help with rules and target priority. You can’t just jump back in and expect your rule of cool list and inexperience to carry you through a competitive game.

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