Ah, Vegas. Now home of one of if not the largest 40k tournaments in the country. How did little ol’ me get into the top 8, vying for the finals? A lot of luck, practice, some skill, and the willingness to see it till the end. Let’s take a look at my road to the LVO, my games, thoughts of the event, and plans for the future.
List Building 101
I knew going into this event that I needed a strong list. I’d played a bit with Centurions, running them just bare with Tigurius and found their lack of range, no invul save, and speed to be not worth the cost. I didn’t do too well at BAO and really wanted to amp up my list. I admire people like Darkwynn and Reecius with their ability to take odd lists and make them work, but I (and I think like many others) may not have the tactical chops to pull those kinds of lists off on a regular basis. I know I needed something…dirty and since I had a lot of the pieces for the Centurionstar already, decided to give it a shot.
I didn’t do this alone. I consulted other players for their ideas who I respected in the 40k community and my area. Guys like Dr. Insanotron and the French Overlord gave me a lot of good advice to tool my list as tight as it could, making it a fine cutting blade.
Practice Makes Perfect
Repetition builds memory and when it comes to 40k, playing as much as you can will usually yield better play over time. I played my list, or a very close version many many times in the past six months before the LVO. I felt it helped me learn a lot about the Centurionstar, their powers, what I wanted, as well as what to do when I didn’t get what I want. With my setup of Loth, GK Librarian, and Draigo I was guaranteed Gate of Infinity, Prescience, and Invisibility. All of these were good powers to base a strategy off of. I could rarely get more than three powers off reliably so I had to pick and choose depending upon the situation. I actually tried not to use Gate as I could then cast other powers such as Sancutary to keep my Dreadknights alive and Force or Hammerhand to bring down other foes.
I really feel that by practicing my list until I was comfortable with it, I was able to make better tactical decisions when I was tired and fatigued through the weekend. I met and know people that took completely new lists or made big changes right before and I know that for me that wouldn’t be very wise as I tend to make big mistakes at the beginning of play and while I learn from those mistakes, the biggest tournament of the year is not the place to do that.
I also took some advice in that I plan to continue to use the Centurionstar at tournaments, but play different armies in the off times like at our weekly league to keep things fresh.
Game One – My first round saw my first bit of luck. I played Dexter, a great guy with a Tau list. Problem was, it was geared for flyers and FMC’s. He saw my list and let out a sigh and a curse as my list was the paper to his rock. I took first turn, powered up and went in deep, killing a set of Pathfinders, his unit of Broadsides, and a Skyray as well. Next turn I killed both Riptides (one Ion one Burst Cannon) and pushed forward to seal the deal. He took it all in stride and by the end I had maxed out my points.
Game Two – Next bit of luck VS a Necron Decurion Detachment. It was Kill points and I know firsthand how resilient the Necrons can be as they are my other more competitive army. He was running the Reclamation Legion, Canoptek Harvest, and Obelisk formation with a Monolith. I was slated to go second, but his LOW gave me the +1 to seize and I got the 5 to go first. I went right after the Spyder in the Canoptek formation and took it low. The next few turns saw him repositioning and sniping at my Dreadknights, as well as trying to rapid fire into the Star to get some wounds on it. The Obelisk came in and misshaped leaving the Monolith vulnerable to my Centurions Grav weapons. When that beast came in next turn though, woof, the Obelisk can put out 15 strength 7 Tesla shots in the right angle and killed one Dreadknight in one stunning volley. I only put a few hull points on it the next turn and it almost killed another Dreadknight. By the end though, the Centurionstar took out the Spyder, Monolith, Obelisk and others as well. With the Dreadknights running amok, I mounted up Kill points and took away 9 points for the win.
Game Three – My next opponents list had me worried a bit. Nurgle FMC’s with summoning. My opponent, EJ, brought over three or four trays of extra daemons, just ya know…..in case. I hadn’t played against a true summoning list so was worried how that was going to shape up. He had 17 power dice I think and outweighed me there as well. One thing I know about FMC lists is that they function a lot like mine. A few very strong models and some support units. When those strong units die, you feel it. I went for first blood and was able to take out one of his FMC’s and most if not all of a horror squad. He surged forward and, as luck would have it, failed to make his charges into my Knights and took some wounds as well coming in. We went back and forth and I was able to whittle down his other FMC’s and Great unclean one. There was a chance near the end that it could be a tie as we were playing the Relic, but the game continued into later turns and I was able to put in the final blows. 10 Points.
Game Four – Day two and I was 3-0. Not to shabby. To be honest, I was hoping for 4-2 so I needed one more win to make my personal goal. This game though I would meet the paper to MY rock. Brandon went on to take best Dark Angels player and also had five wins over the weekend. He had an unusual list with two 30 man conscripts, two 20 man platoons, two platoon command squads, three drop pods with twenty five marines to go along with it, as well as some Leman Russ backup. He had 11 objective secured units to my three and we were playing the Scouring. A perfect storm of difficulty.
I went first and went after Pask and one of his conscript squads. I took out one of the tanks, but not Pask. I should have gone after his Warlord conscript squad, but that was my first mistake. Later turns saw his drop pods coming into clear me off of my back objectives and me trying to in turn to clear them back off. There was a ring of the 2-3 point objectives that I had a good shot of taking, but made my biggest mistake later in the game. When my Centurionstar was locked in combat and failed Gate, I charged my last two Dreadknights into combat. Big mistake as his Librarian had a PFG and his priests were casting reroll saves making it way too hard to clean them up. Too little too late and I couldn’t get to the other objectives in time. It was my closest game and actually one of my favorites. 1 point for me.
Game Five – This time I was facing one of the top Space Marine players in Trevor Van Cleave. He had a really cool list with Salamanders and Legion of the Damned. He had Vulkan in a Command Squad with Meltas and Storm Shields and a Techmarine as his Warlord. He also had 2 Sicarans and the fast artillery that was strength 8 ap3. He also had one or two more tactical squads and three Legion of the Damned brimming with melta.
I went first and tore into his Sicarans, killing them both. The next turns had me trying to nail his command squad, but barely making a dent and missing an opportunity to kill his artillery. He cleaned me off of my back objective with it, nailing my Scout and Strike squads in one volley. It was and epic cleanse. I also failed to kill a squad of five marines, even with two or three Centurions gating over and failing to wipe them out. My big break was when his Legion came down and failed to kill either Dreadknight with him rolling poorly and me rolling hot on my saves. Those Dreadknights went on to clean up the Legion and off of the middle objectives. He had a chance to take some point from me on turn five, but the game went on to seven and I cleared him of everything save his warlord. 9 points for me.
Game Six – My last game saw another Tau list, but this time with a lot more AP2. I made the mistake of letting him go first and we both had the infiltrate special warlord trait. We infiltrated towards each other and I decided to seize….and rolled the six. What transpired next was probably some of the worst rolling I had ever seen in a game. He couldn’t roll anything he wanted. Pretty much everything collapsed in on him and my Dreadknights and Star had a heyday mopping up. I felt bad, but thems the breaks as they say. I know I’ve been on the receiving end of that and there isn’t much you can do. 10 Points.
So after two days I was 5-1 with 49 battle points. I went with my wife and we had planned on hanging out in Vegas Sunday and Monday. I had told her before that if by some chance I get to the finals well my hands would be tied. Lo and behold I had made it in by one point.
Game Seven – Down the Finals! I pulled Nick “Darkwynn-Leafblower-BOLS Troll (in a good way)-Out of Retiremen- Mohiles Successor-Killing it with Scouts” Rose. It was a great game and I got to play on Internet TV on the top table. I went for the glory in the last turns as many of you saw on the Twitch account by putting my Centurionstar in the corner to clear off an objective and try to go for the win. This brought about my only mishap all weekend as I played it safe with my Star at all times. What was my mishap roll? The dreaded “1” that sealed my fate. I think in hindsight, I really lost it in deployment. I should have either stayed in my corner for two turns and kept up my defenses, or better yet make Nick go first and reserve all my Dreadknights, Strikes and Scouts, hoping his Centurions could come in and not do enough damage so my Dreadknights could mop up the Scouts. I regret nothing and it was a real jewel in the crown moment for me.
The Fluttering Flamingo
It was my first time in Vegas so I didn’t know what to expect. It’s an odd town, with millions and millions dumped into the sole purpose of making money. Its kind of dirty, smelly, skeevy, but also a lot of fun. I’m not much of a drinker, so it was good that I didn’t discover the slurpee infused drinks that are all around. That’s my kind of drink, no taste of alcohol to be found. I fear when I go back next year I’m going to be in trouble.
My biggest complaint was how expensive just about everything was. Everything costs money. Internet was $14 a day even as a guest of the hotel for one device! Simple meals were overpriced and that was difficult to swallow sometimes. I have plans on taking along some snacks and drinks in my other luggage to keep down costs for things like breakfast and energy drinks to keep me going. Or try to find a supermarket (I hear there is a Walgreens on the strip) to get some cheap eats and cut down on costs. I’m a teacher by trade and the sole provider of income for my family of four, so things are tight!
As a whole the hotel was not too bad, the event was superbly run, I had a great time, went on to the finals, and met some new people. I don’t think I could have asked for a better experience overall. It’s funny to me that as the newest member of Team0Comp I went the farthest (I had just made it onto the team the weekend before). Insert big cheesy grin. On top of that I won best Grey Knights at the event and won a gift certificate to play for free in any events at the LVO next year! I’m gonna game so much its going to hurt.
Well that is my experience in a nutshell. I consider myself like a lot of other normal guys that play 40k and think if there is anything you can learn it’s to practice your list a lot, make it strong by seeking advice, and it surely doesn’t help to have luck on your side to boot. See you on the table!