For this years BAO, I had some big goals in mind. I was hoping to at least go 3-2, win best Grey Knights, and try to crack the top ten for ITC points. Here is my story of wins and woes at the Bay Area Open.
One of the best things about doing events like these is the chance to see old friends and make new ones. Like last year, I rode down with some peeps from Corvallis, Oregon on an epic road trip to San Jose. I went down Thursday and stayed with my buddy Mr. More Tanks and watched some epic Dredd, stayed up way to late, and crashed until early Friday morning.
The next day, myself, Tanks, Abusepubby, Kapcom, and JWhitey scambled into my battlewagon (my minivan) and hit out on the ten hour drive down south. We had to stop at In N Out for sustenance and then continued on down to our hotel in San Jose. All told the trip went well and we hooked up with The French Overlord and some of the rest of the crew at Game Kastle. This store is amazing and has such a huge diversity of third party products. You should check it out. It also has a very nice gaming area. After that was dinner, drinks, and bedtime.
One of the biggest downfalls of my Centstar is that it is very susceptible to drop pod armies. Drop pods are everywhere with the Demi Company and the Skyhammer Annihilaiton Force. I needed a way to null deploy if I had to and keep my Centstar safe from alpha strike harm. Can’t beat em? Join em!
Nemesis Strike Force
Librarian – ML3/Hammer
5 Man Strike Squad
Dreadknight – Hammer/Incinerator/Psycannon/Teleporter
3 Centurions – Grav Cannons/Omniscope
Skyhammer Annihilation Force
5 Assault Marines – 2 Flamer/Melta Bomb
5 Assault Marines – 2 Flamer/Melta Bomb
5 Devestators – Drop Pod/3 Grav Cannons
5 Devestators – Drop Pod/2 Grav Cannon/Combi Melta
I felt I had a lot of flexibility in deployment and when I saw the many large L-Shaped line of sight blocking terrain I felt even more confident about keeping the Censtar safe until needed.
Paul McKelvey! Tau
Paul and I had played at TSHFT and I saw his list in action. I made some big mistakes and he made me pay for it. I was out for blood! He put two of his three riptides on the table and one unit of broadsides in his Imperial Bunker. By turn two, both Riptides were dead, the bunker was busted, and the Broadsides were down to one. Problem was, I failed every psychic power and was even denied Forwarning when Paul used his one die to deny me! The rest of his forces came in and wiped out the Centstar.
I still had a chance as I felt I could tie on the primary, but the maelstrom was not meant to be. In the end I did deny him the primary and felt good about that as I knew the overall winner had to go 5-0 and needed near max points each round to win. Moral victory?
Lesson learned – Avoid the sides and stick to the middle with outflanking broadsides (or any outflanking army) to mitigate damage. I should have Gated away immediately when I failed Invisibility.
This player had a mixture of IG and Space Marines with the Skyhammer Annihilation Force. The game was killpoints and I had the advantage, but even though this mission is killpoints, I feel it favors MSU. The Maelstrom is holding objectives, linebreaker, more units out of the deployment zone, and keeping your deployment zone secure. On top of that, the bonus points are table quarters, linebreaker, and ground control (hold 2 objectives). Yes the primary favors elite armies, but the rest of the mission favors MSU…off of my mini rant.
In the game, I null deployed against him, keeping my Centstar off the board. He went first and spread his forces out, putting multiple units on the three objectives. I decided to hit hard left and work my way towards the middle, bringing in my Skyhammer on the left and going after his wyverns, IG squads and combat squaded dev squads on the left. My plan worked and I got up on kill points easy, but lost he maelstrom. I was however, able to push him off of ground control and both of us got linebreaker. 6-5 for me.
Lesson learned – Fire raptors can deep strike without scattering and come in still flying…who knew?!?!
The relic with a ton of obsec jump infantry? Woof. I was worried as his list had 4 Flying Tyrands, 2 Harpies, 1 Crone, 30 Gargoyles, a Venomthrope, Hormaguants, and Termagaunts. Lots of scoring troops and tough to hit flyers. I pushed hard to whittle down his scoring troops early and tried to take out a flyer or two in the process. He didn’t push hard with his flyrants which helped mitigate my damage against my key units and allowed me to focus more on isolated flyers.
I was able to get up on the maelstrom as my ground forces wrecked his ground troops, but did minimal damage to his flyers. I think I only got one or two the whole game. It came down to who could control the relic and get the most bonus points. I felt I did a pretty tricksy move and made it look like I was going more for the bonus missions and on the bottom of the last turn, put everything into the Gargoyles holding the relic and wiped most of them off the board and more importantly off of the relic. My Dreadknight did work shunting over the last turn and the centstar finished the job. I ended up taking the secondary, denying either of us the primary, and also had First Strike when I took out a unit of Gargoyles on turn one. Either way, this was my funnest game of the weekend as my opponent Nate, was awesome to play against and a ton of fun. Table War! Rage Con!
Lesson learned – Pushing my strengths (killing his troops) and keeping my key units from harm payed off later in the game.
So day one I was 2-1 and still in the hunt to meet my goals. We went out to the San Padre Food Court and it was a very cool place that had tons of food options and we stayed late talking with fellow gamers.
Space Marines Highlander Style
So my game 4 opponent was running a Highlander style force in Rastefarian colors. It was rather hilarious as I imagined his scouts riding in their Speeder blaring reggae with plumes of smoke coming from inside. Everything was painted in green yellow and red and my opponent was a very nice guy. I felt my list outclassed his, but in a heavy objective mission like the Scouring, you can never be sure. I made him go first and hid my star in one of the L shaped buildings. I also made my Skyhammer come in turn two as the majority of his force was coming in turn two in his Stormraven.
My biggest mistake here was in not dropping the pods from my Skyammer on objectives. I was trying to kill the Stormraven with all my twin linked Devastator shots and could have accomplished the same thing by having the pods onto objectives. I wasn’t able to pop the Raven and while his Ironclad went beastmode and tore through a bunch of my smaller units, his Vanguard Vets and Captain wiffed a charge into my Dreadknight. The centstar made short work of them and began picking off one or two units at a time. My opponent felt like he was getting shellacked, but I saw how close the game was getting as we were tied on maelstrom and with the Scouring I could be in big trouble against his obsec troops.
Turn 5 I would have had it, but on turn 6 the unthinkable happened. One, my Librarian and Warlord periled, rolled a 1 on the peril chart, and then failed his leadership test, giving him Slay the Warlord. Then my Dreadknight had to assault the Scout Speeder, broke it over his head, exploded it, wounded himself, and failed his armor save to give up Big Game hunter, and the game. He had Maelstrom, I had Primary and that was that.
Lesson Learned – If my pods were on those objectives, it would have made things much easier for me. Also, even though I write down the Maelstrom objectives, I also need to write down who has what bonus mission as I could have still gone for his Land Raider to get Big Game Hunter back. Hllarious fortune of events and I just had to laugh at the situation.
My last opponent was Adam from TFG Radio. He had a Khorne Daemonkin army with like three different formations. He had a Slaughtercult, Gorepack, and the Fist of Khorne. For those of you that don’t know, the Fist of Khorne is a giant Forge World chaos Drop Pod and 20 Khorne Bezerkers that drop in an can charge the turn they come in. That would put a hurt on my Centstar for sure if they can get it. I had to go first and did my best to hide my Centstar and mitigate the damage he could put out. I did drop my Strike Squad on an objective to try and get a Maelstrom point, but ended up giving up First Blood and no Maelstrom for me when the Fist of Khorne came in and ate them up. It wasn’t a bad trade off as my Skyhammer and Centstar made short work of the Fist with all the Grav.
Again, I pushed hard left and worked my way over to the center to control the objectives and push him off of his objectives. Funny thing here was his Chaos Lord with the Axe that turns him into a Bloodthirster. Before that, he used his blood tithe to turn him into a daemon prince, whom I killed, and then turned him into a Bloodthirster. I would have lost it turn 5 when the Bloodthirster contested an objective keeping him up on the primary, but we went on and I shot him full of grav. In the end it was a great game and Adam was a very nice opponent, even if I kept forgetting his stuff as I was so tired.
Lesson Learned – I didn’t really need Invisibility at all this game. His army was pretty much all close combat and wasn’t close enough to get to me all game. I need to think about what his army does before I go for my stock powers.
The Final Tally
So I ended up 3-2 yay, came in 51st, and lost best Grey Knight to a very deserving gent named Trevor that went 4-1. It was awesome to meet all these players and many people came up to me to say thanks for writing articles and what not. It was honestly very weird but I tried not to let it show. Every time someone would come up to me and say, “Are you Captain A?” I’d wonder if they were going to slap me and challenge me to a duel, tell me I’m the weakest link, or just plain out shiv me! Thanks everybody for doing none of those things!
That night we went to Flames and I got food poisoning or a combo of dehydration/poor food and was sick a good chunk of the night. Yay! The ride back was ok as I was feeling better as a whole and I got to eat at Noho’s in Medford. Take that Geoff!
So overall the event was a big success. It ran very smooth. Warscore performed again as I set that up for the gents in charge. I got to see some old friends and meet new faces. I didn’t do as well as I had hoped but the luck factor in those two games was nuts. What do you do? While a lot of people call the Centstar a crutch, it is actually very fickle and can blow up in a bad psychic phase.
My biggest “critique” for BAO was that the top players get pretty much all the prize support. This year was much better as they were giving away a lot of stuff to the first five people that lost and some other door prizes as well. Guess I need to play/paint better yo!
Also, I was pretty upset that I only got a 1 on a scale of 1-11 for my paint. While I didn’t expect a 10 or 11, I knew many other armies that were not as well painted (they only had three colors) that did better than mine. Not that it mattered in terms of prizes, but more for pride as it really hurt. I wish there was a way to verify or double check scores in that case. My paint isn’t the best, but it does have some OSL, weathering, shading, and some advanced stuff. Oh well. Next year I guess.