Hello Frontline readers. The Kickin Chicken himself here Joshua Dearth writing my first ever article on the interwebs. For those of you who know me (or know of me) I seem to be one of those individuals that is accompanied by entropy both in and out of wargaming. I have been shown whole forum threads dedicated to hating me and others dedicated to praise in some fashion. I have been playing Warhammer for over 20 years and competitively for over 15. I say this not with any desire to sound arrogant, but in an attempt to give you a little background from which I am writing this article. I have played competitively in almost every state in the country and every region. I can honestly say that my one true passion is playing tournament 40K. It is truly what I love to do. Since I moved back to the wonderful dense population of Rapid City, SD this past year my gaming career has taken a bit of a hit as the nearest decent game shop is 4.5 hours away. (And yes I still drive there twice a month to play 40K, and no I don’t think I have a problem.)
I recently spoke to Reece and mentioned that I would be attending The Seattle Hearts of Fire Tournament or TSHFT as it is known and would love to write an article in review of it as it has had some mixed press over the past couple of years. So I modified my ATC list slightly and prepped for the 16 hour drive out to Seattle for this event. I wanted to make an even stronger effort to attend as one of my own teammates recently took over running the event and I really wanted to support his efforts. Mr More Tanks did a truly amazing job with his first GT. My list is a pretty harsh alpha strike list that has seemed to serve me fairly well since it was created. For clarity I will post the list here:
Librarian Level 1 with Auspex
2x 5 man tactical squads in drop pods
3x drop pods
3x 3 man Centurion Devastators with Grav
Ultramarines Skyhammer Annihilation Force
2x 5 man assault squads with 2 flamers each
2x 5 man devastator squads in drop pods with 4 multi-meltas each
The list hits really hard turn 1 with all 3 centurion squads coming down with a character attached and the entire Skyhammer coming down turn 1. That and all of the centurions and devastators are twin-linked with the Devastator Doctrine. So I think the list strategy is pretty straight forward.
So a brief overview of the event for me, day one was rather eventful. Round 1 was against one of the Mugu Legion Denny Page. He was running a drop pod list as well but with a heavy Skitari presence. He forced me to go first (which is one of the fears my list had). I dropped Coteaz and one of the Centurion units in the corner of the table about 18”x18” into the table and used Coteaz to shield the rest of the army that I dropped right into the corner. The hope here was that if my opponent wanted to threaten the bulk of my army he would have to drop into range of Coteaz and his unit to use his “I’ve been expecting you” rule. That and casting shrouding off of Tigurius and putting everyone behind the drop pods gave me a bit more backup. The game went in my favor and ended in a win, but I found out right before the second round that Denny was under the impression that Coteaz’s ability worked from 24” not 12”. During the game when I saw him measuring a 2 foot bubble for the rest of his deep strikes after his first unit fell prey to Coteaz and his Centurions buddies, I thought he was just making sure there was no chance of scattering into the threat range. I had no idea he was misunderstanding the rule. I felt so bad, especially since his army had such a good chance of taking me out. We talked about it, (I still owe him a drink as a result) but Denny was such an upstanding guy, rather than cry foul or get bent out of shape over it, we shook hands agreed that we must get a rematch at some point and went on with the rest of the tournament.
Round 2 was much less eventful for me. I got paired against an Iron Hands player named Oliver Reeves that had a great looking army with two sicarans on a sky shield. Unfortunately his bike deathstar and his centurions had a string of really bad dice that got them all taken out turn 1 leaving him with two wounded sicarans, and 3 five man scout squads at the bottom of turn 1. The rest of the game was as you can imagine. Oliver was such a good sport about the fact that his dice disserted him and we finished out the game in good spirits.
Round 3 was against a truly amazingly beautiful Imperial Fists army played by Karl Payne (for which I will always know him as Fireball!) He started out by handing me an amazing shot glass etched with an imperial eagle on it and poured us each a shot of Fireball (which I would like to add is amazing!). We then proceeded to have a tense back and forth match involving 16 yellow drop pods all over the table. (It was rather confusing at times)
He was running a battle company with all pods and played it exceptionally well. I won the roll to decide who goes first and was able to make him take first turn. That put me in the advantage turn 1 and I was lucky enough to hold that advantage through the game. It was tight, but I was able to pull a full victory by the end. We finished off the game with taking another shot and shaking hands.
We ended up going out to dinner with the rest of the TSHFT staff after the rounds of day 1. I was expecting the typical after tournament dinner at Denny’s or Olive Garden, but what we did instead truly shocked and amazed me. We ended up going out to this little Italian joint named Perch Noche in Seattle. One of those places that makes you feel like your sitting in Italy. The entire restaurant was shut down for just our party. Instead of ordering from the menu we all just got to sit there as course after course of the most amazing Italian food I have ever had was brought to the table. Flatbread margarita pizzas, braised Portobello mushrooms, caprisi salad with beats instead of tomatoes. (and that was just the appetizers). 4 courses of entrees, and 3 different courses of desserts and two of the most amazing bottles of wine ever! (all for $25). It was a truly amazing experience and I cannot compliment the TSHFT staff enough for arranging it. From what I understand the Cruisehammer experience is like this but better every night of the voyage! (I can’t wait!!)
Then next day started with round 4 against one of my votes for best looking army. My first Eldar opponent. Rupert Campell had a gorgeous Eldar list, with an Aspect Host to back it up. I seized on him and went first dropping his wave serpent, falcon, fire dragons, 2 units of bikes, and his wraith knight turn 1. He answered back in kind by vaporizing 8 centurions and both librarians turn 1. We spent the rest of the game duking it out with our back up parts of the army. It was a great game with some seriously clutch rolls. I wound up being able to take it in the end and got full 11 points on that game. I would like to make the comment at this point that I here a lot about the ultra competitiveness of the tournaments and how grueling it can be, but I have found that the top tables of the tournaments always seem to have some fairly chill opponents on them and result in some of the best games. There were multiple times in that game that we disagreed on a rule, or a line of sight, but we stated our opinions, and when it was iffy just rolled a die and moved on. Rupert was a talented general with a beautiful army and I was lucky to have pulled out the win.
Final round was against Chuck Arnett of the Mugu Legion with his speed freaks Ork army. He deployed his 15 warbikers, 3 warbosses, and painboy, all together on the corner of the table on turn 1 and waited for the strike. I stucke hard and brought the unit down to 4 wounds on the first turn. That pretty much set the tone for the rest of the game. Even so, Chuck did not give up or surrender in the slightest. He fought tooth and nail throughout the game and made it such a fun challenge. The most memorable moment for me was a lone multi-melta marine hiding on the corner of a building spending three turns trying to shoot a Khorne Herald sitting on an objective, all the while the marine was invisible and had a 4++.
I ended up wining this last game with a full 11 points as well. This was the first time I ever finished a GT level event with over 50 players with a perfect score. It was surprising to me and even more surprising that I was able to have 5 amazing games against 5 amazing opponents with such an amazing prize on the line as a Cruisehammer ticket.
This alone would be great for finishing the article on, but it is not why I feel I belong to the greatest hobby community ever.
After such an amazing weekend, I was planning on staying in the Seattle area for a bit and visiting some friends during this time while I wait to fly to Washington DC next week to attend the Nova Open with my list and see if I can keep my streak going. Unfortunately fate had different plans and my car was broken into two nights ago and my entire army, and all of my gaming gear and laptop were all stolen. This as you can imagine hit pretty hard and brought my travel plans next week into speculation. After calling around to the local game shops and giving them a heads up of what happened and then crawling through every dumpster in a 2 mile radius I posted my woes on Facebook informing some of my friends and teammates of the events that had transpired. What happened next still amazes me.
I started to get flooded with messages and posts from various members of the community expressing their deepest sympathies and their desire to help. The one that truly amazed me was I got a message from Denny Page (my first round opponent this past weekend) and he expressed that he had almost every model I would need for my list shy of a couple, and he was willing to loan me the models and a couple of cases so that I could take them to DC and attend the Nova still. Now here is a man that prior to last weekend I had never met, not only did he lose a solid shot at winning the event because of our first round game, but he lost it on a technicality that was just as much my fault as it was his, and he was willing to loan me $1000+ worth of models to take across the country. If ever there was an example of the need for good sportsmanship here it is. Rather than getting butt hurt over what happened in our game and holding a major grudge, or rather than me being a douche about what happened at the tournament and telling him to “suck it up” we had a great game, we handled an issue with honor and integrity and I feel I walked away from that tournament with a friend rather than an enemy. Enough so that he was willing to come to my aid in a time of need. Other members of the Mugu Legion and my own Team Zero Comp came together to help me gather the rest of the models I need to complete my list so as to allow me to still compete this next weekend. That is why I feel I belong to the greatest hobby community there is. I can’t think of many communities that have the level of integrity and honor that this one does. Yes if you were to judge this community strictly off of the forums you see online it would be a completely different view, but I have seen examples like this more times than I can count. So I count myself blessed to be a part of this community. I would love to hear from you guys of examples of amazing sportsmanship, honor, integrity that you have seen?
So in recap had an amazing weekend, played some awesome games, got to go to a 5 star dinner, won a ticket to Cruisehammer, made some new friends, got my army stolen, realized how much I love this community. I would have to rate this trip as quite the success!