Hello everyone iNcontroL here to talk about my experience at the Know No Mercy GT in Sacramento California this past weekend. Be sure to check the Tactics Corner for more great tournament reports!
Let me first say this was a balls to the wall tourney. A lot of people know/think the power level in WH40k is creeping up and up and they are probably right. Well, if that is true this tournament represented that factor in spades. The big nasties that ITC has mitigated to some level like invisibility, Lords of War (or taking multiple LoW like 5 wraith knights!) and some of the other things such as re-rollable 2+ saves or half a dozen factions coming together to form a super buddies list were all in attendance! That said nobody brought a Reaver.. damn! It was insane. Of course the fairly normal yet still equally scary lists marched the field as well like Battle Companies, War Convocation, Demon Flying Circus, CentStar, Skyhammer and more! This was most certainly a blood bath.
Beyond the tournament comp we experienced a fun mix of ITC, NOVA and straight book missions which had some interesting results. I am of course a huge fan and veteran of the ITC missions but I enjoyed the NOVA missions as well. They were a lot more reasonable than I had expected. That said I did in fact once again reestablish my disdain for straight book missions. Julio Rodriguez one of the stronger west coast players had his ass handed to him round 1 of the GT by our very own PhatJSleeze or Rawdogger or Jason as his birth parents call him due to straight kill points book mission. Oh but, Julio should have like used tactics! He should have, you know, played to the mission! Uh huh.. Jason brought ol Belligerence (Stormlord with 30 or so assorted guardsmen inside shooting out) and 2 wyvverns backed up by a voidshield vs Julio’s Battle Company. HAHA! Now I know a lot of you would say “well Julio is taking a brutal list he got what he deserved!” Certainly this is true.. but I just can’t say I am a fan of such binary results in a WH40k tourney. I prefer the ITC missions where every army for the most part has more of a chance.. not to derail this too much but FOR THE MOST PART I think we can generally agree that book missions can sometimes just straight shank you in the side.
Another example was Tasty Taste’s experience with said missions. The other book mission was straight maelstrom.. uhhg. Nick (TT) was doing great.. he was in day 2 rocking a 3-0 and was facing Tim Hosker of the Left Coast Corsairs to start day 2. Nick was playing Dark Angels on bikes and Tim was playing Space Wolves with Skyhammer (some thunder cav, lone wolf etc) pretty cool matchup! Problem was they weren’t playing that matchup at all.. they were playing slots! WEEEEEEEEE!!!! Tim took the Tactical WL trait that allows you to reroll D3 maelstrom cards and Nick didn’t think along those lines.. the maelstrom did the rest. Now, Tim is a fantastic player so not to take anything away from him but at the end of the game Nick had lost a handful of bikes and Tim had remaining 2 squads of space marines down to their last men, 2 pods and a single SW HQ on a dog.. it looked comical. Tim however had drawn the better cards and was able to secure a massive advantage by turn 2-3 or so. So, book Maelstrom is not for me.. not for Nick, either but maybe some of you are fine with this! I get that.. but maybe just not for hyper competitive tourneys? Moving on!
So I took my War Convocation. I am, as some of you might know.. fairly obsessed with WH40k. Since the BAO where I went 5-0 and took 2nd I have played 2 other tourneys with that list (won them both) and countless practice games at my very own home thanks to the terrain from FLG and also at Endgame in downtown Oakland where I practice with some of the best in California. I love Adeptus Mechanicus. I’ve been reading all their books from the Black Library, ordered and perused the Forge World books and was even blessed by the Omnissiah with my very own Warlord to look after my forces. Anyways.. lets talk about the list and the games!
+6 Vanguard – 64 pts
-Plasma Caliver x2
-Conversion Field (Alpha)
-Digital Weapons (Alpha)
-Phase Taser (Alpha)
+5 Rangers – 65 pts
-Transuranic aquebus x2
-Conversion Field (Alpha)
-Digital Weapons (Alpha)
-Arkhan’s Divinator (Alpha)
+5 Ruststalkers – 160 pts
-Conversion Field (Princeps)
-Digital Weapons (Princeps)
-prehensile Data spike (Princeps)
-The Omniscient Mask (Princeps)
+5 Infiltratrors – 185 pts
-Conversion Field (Princeps)
-Digital Weapons (Princeps)
-Elder Skull of Nikolae (Princeps)
+1 Ballistarii – 55 pts
-Twin linked Cognis Lascannon
+1 Dunecrawler – 90 pts
-Cognis Heavy stubber
Cult Mechanicus (435)
+1 Tech-Priest Dominus – 105 pts
-The Scryerskull Perspicatus
+3 Kataphron Destroyers – 165 pts
-Cognis Flamers x3
+3 Kataphron Destroyers – 165 pts
-Cognis Flamers x3
Imperial Knight (425)
+1 Knight Crusader – 425 pts
-Storm Spear rocket Pod
-Carapace Melta gun
Imperial Assassin (140)
+1 Culexus Assassin
Flesh Tearers detachment (225)
+3 Drop Pods 105
+5 Scouts – 55 pts
+1 Sanguinary Priest – 70 pts
Peter Kelly (TO of the tourney) was kind enough to review my list… REECE? And found that I had actually made some math mistakes but was still under 1850 (oh god) so that was good… I constantly think about my list and tinker around a bit but I definitely didn’t pay enough attention in math class(es) to be left alone with my numbers.. so thank you Peter!
The War Convocation is controversially powerful due to the free upgrades and the ability to sing songs to the Omnissiah that buff up the entire formation. Coupled with their best pals the Blood Angels Flesh Tearers this list becomes top tier for sure! Grav dropping down on you and then being very resilient to your return fire due to Stealth-Shrouding or going for maximum pain by twin linking the entire army means I can be deadly on the drop and defensive to the reply. Culexus has the tough job of making sure Psychic powers don’t get out of hand and Bobo the Knight is the anchor.. he represents a killing platform like no other with the last ditch ability to jump in and clobber folks, stomp them and if that doesn’t work explode for the D! The real gems of the army though are the ones you wouldn’t expect.. the Sicarians have time and time again won me games with their mobility and their laundry list of abilities that make them tactically very versatile and strong. My Warlord is not to be ignored either.. the space pope looks cool but not scary in combat terms.. so countless opponents have launched into an attack on him expecting the Tech Priest to crumble but that 2+ save, FNP or in a pinch the 2+ invul save (when he goes to ground) makes him REALLY hard to kill.. more on that later! I have yet to play a game where I didn’t feel like I had a chance or options and I really really enjoy that feeling. Having been a Nid player for the other 18 years of my WH40k life I definitely have walked up to a few tables and just kind of sighed.. no ruins, no cover and you brought what? Oh, ok.. thanks Tony Kopach and 6 wave serpents +2 wraith knights in a no FW environment.. I guess my poor lil Venomthrope will just head to the showers now 🙁
KNMGT was a 6 round 2 day GT with a 64 player cap. It was 2 ITC missions (Emperors Will and Crusade) 2 NOVA missions (Scouring and Relic) and 2 book missions (Kill points and Maelstrom). The event staff were awesome, helpful and present. Tourney ran smoothly as far as I could tell and was a blast!
Round 1: 5 Imperial Knights — Mission: Kill Points
Oh boy.. I had often been asked, “How do you plan on dealing with 5 knights?” I always kind of shrugged off said question because they weren’t THAT common and I felt like Bobo (my knight Crusader) would stand tall and deliver the hand of Space Emperor justice. My opponent was a young lad from the Mercy Killer team who had said he was just getting into competitive WH40k but was a long time player.. cool! We deployed, he castled in the middle (I had first turn) and prepared for what was coming. Knowing that mobility was going to be a factor for him I dropped in both my Grav kataphrons roughly 30 inches away from him but also apart so he didn’t have an easy area to charge into. I deployed in my corner as well where the ruins gave me decent coverage from his guns. First round of shooting proved to be pretty darn effective if I might say so myself.. the grav combined to drop one of his Knights and the explosion dealt 3 hull points to another with the D blast. I also peeled back some side armor on a Knight dealing 2 hull points to him with Aquiro-bus (or whatever) sniper shots (armor bane). Bobo lobbed some in there as well dealing I think 1-2 hull points to another.. all in all the Knight player was a bit shocked at how much damage he took. The rest of the game kind of went like that with him not making the saves he needed to and me being so spread out that I was firing at full force for 3 or so turns until he was completely tabled.
Win! Max points
Round 2: Sisters and a Warhound.. classic pairing — Mission: NOVA Scouring
Game two I felt confidence as I was facing my friend Garrett from the Left Coast Corsairs and his fairly scary list of Sisters with their assorted ignores cover melta some troops, Coteaz and Celestine oh, and a Warhound Titan.. what? Yeah 4 pie plates of D coming off of a 2 voidshield 9 hull point armor 14 model.. gulp.
Garrett won the roll to go first and that further complicated things for me.. I decided to reserve my Knight but deploy everything else. For the most part I was completely hidden due to the LoS blocking piece in the middle (of every table mind you!) and my own ruins where I could line up the walls with the backs of my rangers and WL. I didn’t however find a suitable hiding place for the scouts.. (sorry boys) so they got 4 plated with D. After going to ground only 3 died though.. and they sat on an objective until the bullets stopped raining down. Garrett was bold and infiltrated some Sisters in a transport in my backfield but didn’t do much there so despite not getting first turn like I wanted he really didn’t do that much.. my turn! I dropped in 36 shots of grav roughly 10 inches away from his beast of a machine the Warhound, scryed up the Warhound and then said ok boys.. 1 TL Las cannon shot, 2 Armor bane shots from the snipers and IF I NEED IT the Dune Crawler should be fine to drop 2 void shields so I can grav away, right? Right.. RIGHT? Wrong. All of the previously mentioned weapons managed to deal 1 down Voidshield.. so I was sweating profusely at that point. I instead shot and flamed some sisters and a servitor I think? hehe.. even failed to immobilize a transport. My Ruststalkers did however tackle the backfield threat and would continue to run down the occupants / backfield servitor that Garrett infiltrated.
Turn two I prepared for the worst but in cover, with no real 6’s being rolled the D is scary but manageable. I didn’t lose much with his reply and was starting to retain a bit of my body water and not just sweat it all out. Turn two Bobo strode on and promptly peeled off the shields and softened up some other targets. I then poured the sweet sweet honey scented love of grav all over that Warhound body and dealt 3 HP’s.. not what I was hoping for but it was a start. Garrett brought on his Fire Raptor and blew away several targets but with key saves my grav Kataphrons remained mostly intact. Now in the later stages of the game with both of us bloodied I had two extremely impressive weapon platforms to pick between.. do I scry the Raptor or the Hound? Deciding the ap3+ or 4 and mobility of the Raptor to be the more important target I went with him.. by the way it is worth mentioning I am down a Dunecrawler at the moment because he got D’d. Snap firing 1 grav unit into it I dealt a 2 immobilize results and Garrett failed 1 jink save which meant that baby was crashing on a dice roll of 1-2.. Omnissiah be a tap dancing leprechaun tonight! Garrett rolled precisely that 1 and half my worries crashed into the earth. The rest of the game was me hunkering down on objectives and cleaning up the sisters.. I dealt 2 more HP’s to the Warhound and it came down to the final dice rolls of Garrett in a moment of need charging with the beast into that very same grav unit that landed in front of him turn 1.. with Twin linked firing from the Canticles they ended up dealing the final 2 HP’s to the Hound in over watch.. it was glorious.
Round 3: Demon Flying Circus — Mission: ITC Emperors Will
To finish off the day I’d be facing my friend and often time opponent, Mason Vazquez, a Wolf Brother from the Redding, CA area who is super nice and awesome to play but brings absolute monster lists! This was no different. Bel’Akor, Fatey, D thirster with fighter ace, Demon prince with grimmoire, 2 units of pink horrors, a bunker to hide the cultists and a Heldrake.
Mason and I have played a few times with me eking it out each time with my Nids but the games are always close, bloody and fun. This time around he would play Demons and I my War Convocation. I castled up on my Emperors Will in one corner and on the other end of the table in his corner he placed the bunker, cultists and his objective as well. He then took first turn and went with the Demon alpha strike of having his 4 big nasties in position to launch in and deal some hurting. In a rather odd choice he also placed a unit of pinks near my stuff but in his deployment zone on a piece of area terrain.. this would end up being great for him. He ran forward and accomplished next to nothing.. shrieks went off but he would fail to hit or roll poorly on 3d6 for the LD.
I dropped the Culexus down, shut off his powers and proceeded to shoot 12 shots into a prince dealing…. ZERO wounds! Woohoo! Was a bit of a mistake by me given I could have put those 12 Preferred enemy shots into the tough 3 pinks and probably killed about half of them unless they go to ground but then I take them out of movement for a turn.. just would have been better overall. No matter.. I have a dude that will be really hard to deal with and will shut down their powers while protecting my forces and the Emperors Will! So Mason takes the fighter Ace upgrade which is 40k legal.. for demons on a 3+ this upgrade is AMAZING. The D Thirster got +1 wound, rolled a lesser gift of the Khorne Axe and then got a 4+ FNP from some Demon BS or another but was also grimmoired.. so I just kind of sighed.. had no idea how I was supposed to kill that thing as it barreled down the field at me (with invisibility on it half the time btw). My shooting was mediocre, despite having 3 sky fire nexus’ objectives and a Dune Crawler I didn’t do much but I DID get the Prince with the Grimmoire! I dealt a swift kill shot so there was that..
on Mason’s second turn he charged the culexus with his pinks (LOL RIGHT?) and dealt some more psychic shenanigans that didn’t end up doing anything due to bad dice rolls.. what he DID do was fly off the table leaving me with an invisible blood thirster now cornering me. My culexus struck a pose.. probably opting for the Scorpion martial arts fighting style.. then he backflipped into the combat with the pinks and wiffed 2-3 times but no matter he also failed to wound.. despite Str4 vs tough 3 and PE. Pinks gnawed on his ankles for a paltry 2 wounds.. ok ok.. culexus surely you will rally back and win 2nd round of combat. I mean, he needs to deal 1-2 wounds, suffer none and then watch as that -3 LD helps the daemonic instability do the rest! What could go wrong? Anyways, that D Thirster in super sayan mode charged into my knight and punked him into oblivion.. the explosion DID in fact deal 3 wounds to the Thirster though so Bobo left with a gift I suppose.. Great, now I have a thirster back here and only shooting to deal with him.
Turn 3 things weren’t looking good. Mason’s heldrake cleaned up my creeping Ruststalkers that killed his other pink unit and was going to challenge the bunker for his Emperors Will, his Daemon Princes flew back on casting their respective powers and I have this beast in my backfield staring at a choice of delectable meats. Thirster charges something.. something dies.. can’t remember what. On my turn I walk on 3 kataphrons, outflank my infiltrators into my corner to try and help with their shots and AP3 swords and I surround the thirster.. everything shoots into him, my Dune Crawler sinks the Heldrake and I prepare to hopefully shoot myself the final 4 wounds of this monstrosity! 18 grav shots, 20 str4 stub carbine shots, 12 rad gun shots, 6 plasma, 1 las cannon, 3 sniper shots, 2 aquibuses and the eradication ray + luminagen shot deal maybe 1-2 wounds.. uh oh. Oh and in the background.. if you listen really carefully you can just make out the sound of a Culexus dealing 0 wounds again and getting silently stomped into the ground by a roiling pack of pinks… what the hell… literally. I did however fail to mention I on bended knee asked the space Emperor for his loving hands.. one of the Canticles is (when at 8+ units, which I was) 3 str4 initiative 10 auto hit attacks for each model in combat. Almost my entire army jumped in on the action and went after that thirster.. at initiative 10 something like 36 strength 4 wounds went in and no Blood Thirster came out.. oh thank you Space Emperor!
Thinking I was in the clear due to my lead on Maelstrom and at least a tie on primary with me holding LB and him holding BGH due to Bobo.. I was looking at a solid 5 to 1 win unless he got LB then 5 to 2, nice! Mason being the great player he was went in hard on spawning demons and started dropped screamers and plague drones just needing to challenge my primary.. if he won primary he would win with BGH and LB vs my Maelstrom and only LB. Gulp! The game ended with a heated discussion around initiative steps and 1 final round of Space Emperor electric bugaloo hands wrecking or almost wrecking a contesting plague drone unit but in the end it didn’t matter. Fate Weaver died to the Dune Crawler combined with some sky firing vanguard! Whew. We tied on regular mission points so it goes to tie breaker which the first one at this GT was Warlord, giving me the win. Helluva game but no matter how you slice it.. Convocation marches on!
That would do it for day 1.. lots of really close games and tough opponents but a solid day and the dream of winning another GT for me still alive! We would end the Night with laughs and food at a local restaurant.. a good ol ma and pa place I believe they call “Chili’s.” It’s a unique spot, really great place if you are ever in Sacramento hit it up 😉
Round 4: Guard, Coteaz and Inquisitor with a Castigator Knight — Mission: Maelstrom!
Oh what joy! Maelstrom! And I am facing a rather immobile brick of a list that barely could deploy in its vangaurd position. I will keep these brief as I have already written a small book here.. Jason Rockhill is a teammate of mine and a more than worthy adversary. Unfortunately.. this game.. wasn’t… in.. the … cards for him YEAHHHHHHHHHHHHH, I am so funny!
He seized on me which sucked but then he dropped 3 Wyverns worth of artillery into my WL and we both watched as I made 14 of 16 2 up saves and with my WL trait of rerollable FNP I ended up taking 0 wounds. I then got first blood on annihilating his Wyvverns and dealing minimal wounds to the blobs. Turn 2 his castigator came on and didn’t do much.. his thud guns put the hurting on my Ruststalkers but they too came out only down 2 fellas. I proceeded to blast Pask and his buddy away, thinned the herd but the real money shot was a battle cannon wound failing to be looked out by Coteaz and then him getting doubled out by rolling another 1, ouch! Jason however was getting no help from the cards, he scored 4 on turn 1 with maelstrom which was nice but after that the cards pooped on him and were very kind to me. Jason would end up getting tabled in this tough match-up but it was a fun game and he is always a challenge throughout!
Round 5: Space Wolves, Sky Hammer — Mission: NOVA Relic
This game was vs my buddy Tim Hosker, one of the better players in the area and a tourney winner. He had just taken the win from Tasty Taste and was rocking a scary list with a lot of strength 10, a fire raptor and the sky hammer kitted out with bare bones assault marines and 4 grav 2 multi meltas. He decided to go first and drop sky hammer turn 1 so I did what any sensible guy would do with drop pods and null deployed. Only my Culexus and the Ruststalkers behind a wall were on the table. After Tim dropped and ran everything I saw what I was facing and became nervous I’d get tabled turn 2 .. that didn’t happen however as the wounds fell just so his strength 10 was all but dead and I was spread around. He “marked for death” (a mission objective) my infiltrators who were out flanking and I picked WL which was a single Lone Wolf (literally) who I easily picked off. The game was close and back and forth but in the end Bobo was too much as each turn he was annihilating several units.. without the grav/meltas or thunder cav with strength 10 to counter him, he was marching around with impunity. My deployment choices were strong and with the Fire Raptor downed by a single volley from the Dune Crawler I was in too strong of a position. Tim ended the game with a single model left!
Round 6, the Grand Finals: Space wolves, Dark Angels, Librarian Conclave (Iron Hands), Coteaz — Mission: ITC Crusade
Welp, here we are. Final round and my nemesis in competition and rival, Steve Sisk is across the table from me. Steve had been gashing his way across this scary tournament, tabling people right and left including my friend and teammate Dan May with his White Scars the round before. Steve’s army is a single, enormous unit, 1 dark shroud and an attack bike. The unit typically (as it did this game) has invisibility, hammer hand, prescience, sanctuary, shrouding and various other powers but those are the heavy lifters. Shooting into this unit looks like this: Did you get past invisibility? Nice, he has a rerollable 2+ or 3+ (at worst) cover save OR (if you ignore cover) a 4+ invul buffed to a 3+ on some characters (sanctuary) unless you shoot into the Wolf dude with a storm shield then it is a 2+ invul. IF you get past that he has a 5+ FnP on most models OR a 4+ fnp on the librarians… all tough 5 and all multi wounds (save for the dogs or the black knights). FUN!
Knowing I could do very little or nothing to this fully operational Deathstar, I played the game out in a way I never have before: almost zero shooting, spread out and run away. Challenging his back corner for a crusade mission he would send little pockets of the big unit over there (like 3-4 dogs, a wolf dude and an attack bike) I won that corner, cool. On my Crusade objective I hid behind a wall and sat there with the Culexus and my knight. Steve had next to no shooting and I knew I could probably win the primary but just waiting for him to have to commit to my corner. I baited him out, dropping in grav on his table corner threatening his other objective. All the while I was ahead 1-3 on maelstrom.. so knowing even if I tie primary I could win secondary and thus win the game if I played to that objective.
On 5 after him rolling over whatever I handed him and him never really going after my corner I would have won! Had it ended… but alas it goes on. Seeing my plan Steve went for it in my corner and the Culexus unfortunately wasn’t enough. I did in fact shut down his powers but didn’t back that up with enough damage output. My knight backed away and contested 1 of my two objectives giving me the other 2 for a win on primary, tie on secondary and a win overall but again the game goes on and with him punking the knight and now winning secondary but with him also scoring WL, LB and FB I was down and out. Hands were shaken and smiles were had, Steve Sisk was the champion!
A lot of really cool stuff happened in this game but perhaps that is a story for another time. Steve and I have battled it out 4 times now. My first ever tourney I faced him and he drubbed me like the seal I was. We would later face off in his very own Contest of Champions in Sac town where I would return the favor to then go on and win my first tourney. We would later play in BAO 2014 where he would run circles around me with his White Scars and laugh as my Barbed Heirodule attempted to chase him down.. on his way to winning that BAO. We again faced at the final round of this last BAO where I would secure the win with some tactical baiting and resiliency from my very own Arch Magos tech priest. I enjoy this game but I LOVE it for the competition and Steve Sisk represents a LOT of that for me. We’ve definitely had our arguments and we would both admit to more than just a little bit of bitchiness when we play each other but I love the competition and this was one of our coolest (and friendliest) games yet.. so here is to the future with my rival in arms!
That’s a wrap!
So there you have it.. tourney is done and gone. I took Best Overall (2nd place in competition) and won Best Agents of the Imperium. Took home $185 in gift cards (rumors of Nids in 2016?) as well as a cool trophy. Would love to say I am still undefeated with my War Convocation in tourneys but alas, no longer can I claim that! Now I just hope to secure enough points to make a real run at LVO for #1 overall in the ITC! My real dream. Thanks for reading.. see you guys around!