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?