Dispatches from the Front – TSHFT 2016 or Grav, the Double Edged Sword

Hey guys, I recently flew in from Seattle after attending TSHFT and boy are my arms tired!!

For those of you who have no idea what TSHFT is, it’s an acronym for the Seattle Heart of Fire and Sword Tournament.  Apparently the person who named this event many years ago spoke English as a second language so if you look at it that way it makes complete sense.  I think it would be better if they changed the name to The Seattle Heart of Fire and Sword Versus Ice Dragon Tournament but that’s just one fat guy’s opinion.  This year the tournament was hosted at the Coast Bellevue Hotel, in rainy Bellevue WA, and was a considerable step up from last year’s location.  There was great breakfasts included as well as delicious buffet style lunches that were definitely worth the cost of entry not having to deal with trying to go out and find food in the short amount of lunch time between rounds.  I normally wouldn’t travel so far for a tournament with less than 60 people in attendance, but TSHFT is always a blast and a lot of my friends always end up going so the chance to hang out and have fun with people I only see once or twice a year makes the expense worth it.

This year, I decided to bring the list that I’ve been rocking for the past couple of months, the White Scars Battle Company with Inquisitional allies.  Here’s the list so you know just how much big dick swangin I thought I was going into this tournament.


Chaplain – Hunters Eye

Command Squad – 5x Melta Guns, Drop Pod

4x Tactical Squads – 5 Marines, Combi-Grav, Grav Cannon, Rhino

2x Tactical Squads – 10 Marines, Combi-Melta, Melta Gun, Multi-Melta, Drop Pod

2x Attack Bikes – Multimeltas

2x Devastator Squads – 5 Marines, 2x Grav Cannon, Rhino

10th Company Taskforce

5x Scouts – Bolters

5x Scouts – Bolters

5x Scouts – Sniper Rifles


Inquisitor – 3x Servo Skulls

So going into this tournament I was pretty cocky.  I had gotten a lot of practice in with this list and any list that boasts 52 Grav shots per turn along with copious amounts of drop melta should have the tools it takes to get to the top tables at any 40k tournament, right?  RIGHT!?  I couldn’t have been more wrong.  Let’s take a look at the 6 games I played throughout the tournament and try and piece together where it all went so horribly wrong.

Game 1 – Peter Lovejoy (Khorne Daemonkin)  Primary Mission – Emperors Will


Unfortunately for me, I made the excellent decision to go out hard the night before the first game so was feeling a bit bleary eyed as I made my way towards my first opponent of the tournament.  Leading up to this I had a nagging question at the back of my mind wondering what I would do if I had to go against a Daemon player where my mountains of Grav shots would have not effect.  I laughed it off as not likely, seeing as how the vast majority of the players at a tournament would have Tau or Eldar or other Space Marine Battle Companies.  I had nothing to fear.  I wasn’t laughing when I roll up to the table and see Peter calmly unloading his Khorne Daemonkin miniatures, and his Void Shield Generator.  D’OH.  The game was a rough one for me.  I had to drop in close with my melta in order to pop his Void Shield, which I did, but that left my soft body Space Marines within gobble range of his army.  And the Blood Tithe kept comin!   All I could do was try and sit on as many objectives as possible while my mass Grav shots wounded on 6’s and Peter rolled them Daemon saves.  A couple Khorne Lords clobbering Rhinos and doggies snacking on Marine turns later, I ended my first game with a loss.

Game 2 – Nathan Fluger (Orks) Primary Mission – The Relic


Awesome.  Just fuckin great.  After a first game clobbering at the hands of Peter and his Daemonkin, my next game is a hammer and anvil deployment with primary being the Relic against horde Orks.  AGAINST HORDE ORKS.  By this time I’ve started to not only have some major beer sweat stank from the night before but have also started to seriously second guess my decision to take a Grav-centric Battle Company to the tournament.  Fluger had 3 large mobs of Ork Boyz, a large Stormboy mob, a couple Meganob units in Trukkz, the plasma cannon type big guns near an ammo dump to re-roll the 1’s for the overheat checks, and a unit of Lootas in a bunker near the ammo dump as well.  The army was lead by the character from that Space Wolf campaign that lets Orks re-roll their mob rule checks, which was incredibly useful for our game.  With the odds stacked against me, I had the first turn and drove all the Rhinos towards his Ork Boy mobs and dropped my pods right in front of them to try and hold back the tide.  All the small 5 man Tactical Squads bailed out and rapid fired into the Orks to try and thin them out before the charge.  I spaced out the little 5 man squads to tie him up all game while a Scout Squad which had infiltrated on top of the Relic slowly slunk back towards my lines, surrounded by Rhinos to shield them from the Lootas and plasma blast big guns.  To the surprise of no one we only made it to turn 3 and in the end I actually took Primary for some reason while Fluger wracked up tons of secondary Maelstrom points throughout the game.  He took two tertiary points while I took 1 and Fluger wins the game 6-5.  BALLS!

Game 3 – Vince Morgado (Astra Militarum/Inquisition) Primary Mission – Purge the Alien


Ah Killpoints, the bane of Battle Companies everywhere, though it wasn’t the only thing kicking my ass this day.  By this point in the tournament I was pretty down from losing the first 2 games, not to mention my hangover was hitting it’s crescendo.  Seeing my friend Vince looking as down as I was was a welcome sight and I knew even if I took another loss it would be a fun match.  Vince was running 5th edition Forgeworld Armoured Company list with a couple Veteran Squads with Plasma and like 3 Inquisitors for some reason.  He had two Vultures and a Vendetta which could cause me problems so I knew the only way I was going to win this game was by Alpha Striking the hell out of him, which I proceeded to do with my Drop Pods landing directly in front of his Aegis line and laying the smack down.  Grav shots rained down like a shit storm and before he knew it most of his tanks had been taken out of the fight.  From there it was mostly downhill for old Vince.  My Attack Bikes outflanked behind his lines and shot multi-melta into his remaining vehicles while the drop Tacticals continued to fire on the Veterans hunkering down behind his Aegis line.  His flyers tried valiantly to stave off the inevitable but once on the table they were shot at by all the Grav and either jinked or were taken out.  A tough loss for Vince but a nice win after two rough losses.

Game 4 – Chuck Arnett ?  (Tau/Space Marines) Primary Mission – The Scouring


My last game of the day and I was determined to end the day at 50%.  For the life of me I’m completely spacing on his name, but I believe it was Chuck Arnett from the Mugu Legion. It was the end of a long day and I was ready to eat and get some shut eye after the long night before.  He was running two Riptide wings (6 total Riptides, folks!) with Drop Centurions and Tactical Squads.  I knew I only had one chance against him, as all of his Riptides were armed with the large blasts with tons of range and the missile launchers, which would tear me apart no matter where my little boxes were hiding on the board.   I needed to go first.  He won the roll and chose to deploy first.  I scouted everything forward and trusted my luck in Coteaz’s re-roll but he decided to take the night off and left my ass hanging in the breeze.  My opponent calmly lets me know he is firing all of his weapons twice that turn and at different targets and I watch my entire army evaporate before my eyes.  I drop behind his Riptide wall to try and distract him from completely wiping most of my army off the table on his turn 2 and watch as he intercepts with them large blasts and completely wipes THEM off the board.  I spend another turn retreating and firing pot shots at him but we call it at the bottom of turn 3 as I have almost nothing left on the board and he is up on Maelstrom as well as the Tertiary.  I go out with a group of guys to a nice Sushi restaurant, hit the bed, and sleep for 10 hours.  Sad dreams.  Clown dreams.

Game 5 – Justin Whitton? (Daemons) Primary Mission – Big Guns Never Tire


After a nice long sleep, I awake with one goal in mind.  Finish at 50%.  I needed to win both games on day 2 in order to finish the tournament with 3 wins and 3 losses.  After a large helping of coffee and humble pie for breakfast, I set off to see who my opponent would be for the first game of the day.  To my dismay I see another friendly face with a tray full of Daemons.  He was running a fairly classic Daemons list, with the 2+ re-rollable Screamer Star, Plague Drones with 2+ cover saves, Fateweaver to re-roll dat Grimoire, and a couple Nurgle Soul Grinders to protect his backfield and sit with a 2+ cover save.  We also determined that my  Devastator Squads each gave up 2 Big Guns Never Tire points, one for the squad and one for the Rhino.  Perfect.  This time I do everything I can to just sit on objectives and try and tie up his un-killable units in close combat.  My dastardly plan works and at the end of the game I have too many objective secure units on the objectives and win 6-4.  Another close game that my opponent would have won if he didn’t fail every summoning spell he tried over three turns.  Oh well I takes em as I can, even dirty.

Game 6 – Vincent Price (Baronial Court/Eldar) Primary Mission – Crusade


Going into my last game of the tournament, I was hungry for a win.  I had to justify spending all of that money flying to Seattle somehow, and seeing as how I had already lost my dignity Friday night I was determined to be a winner in a different way.  By winner half my games.  I was happy to see that due to a mixup with the pairings I was to play the friendliest man in all of existence, Vince Price.  He may be the friendliest guy around, but he runs one of the dirtiest lists I’ve seen.  Three Imperial Knight Wardens with krak missile launchers, 4 units of Eldar Jetbikes, a Hornet, Autarch on a Bike, and of course everyone’s favorite Void Shield Generator.  As this was an objective game and my best bet was to try and outlast his devastating firepower and drive onto an objective the last turn of the game, I gave Vince first turn.  After a fairly tame turn of shooting from Vince, I drop one of my Melta tac squads and the Melta command squad.  Somehow, I am able to drop the shield before the 5 Melta Gun command squad gets to fire their meltas.  I take aim at Vince’s Warlord Knight and fire all 5.  I hit with 4 and penetrate with them all.  Vince proceeds to roll all of his 3+ Ion saves and I proceed to cry.  I take vengeance and evaporate 2 of his Windrider squads now that the Void Shields are down.  Vince’s Knights proceed to go ham on on his next turn and kill a ton of my brave strapping men.  He regenerates most of his Void Shields again and my Grav becomes useless once more.   My reserves come down within his shield in a gap he foolishly left open and proceed to blast anything that is not a Knight apart.  On our last turn Vince tries his best to shoot all of my units off objectives and move himself on top of them but I am able to be a sneaky bastard and on the bottom of the turn flat out an objective secure Rhino onto the objective for a 6-4 victory.  A WINNER IS ME!!

So after 6 grueling rounds against some of the top players playing the top armies in the game,  I was able to pull of at least a draw showing.  Honestly, I went into this game thinking I had a shot at the top tables with my list.  I definitely have been taking too much Grav weaponry in my list.  3 out of the 6 games having your primary weaponry be useless really hurts so I’ll be switching out some of it for more utilitarian heavy weapons.  I also need to put the Culexus back into the list, to help deal with the Psychic Deathstars that still scour the battlefields of 7th edition.  Thanks for reading!

I’ll be back with my Blood Angels Hot or Not series after the LVO.


About Jason

Raw Dogger, aka, Phat J Sleaze (formerly of the Booty Boyzzz) is a highly opinionated, questionably skilled 40k enthusiast. When not working at Frontline Gaming, he can be found down on Jabroni Avenue.

14 Responses to “Dispatches from the Front – TSHFT 2016 or Grav, the Double Edged Sword”

  1. Avatar
    abusepuppy January 28, 2016 1:38 am #

    Justin was running the Raven Guard “All Scouts All the Time” army. I don’t know the name of the guy running the Screamer Daemons, but it definitely wasn’t Justin.

    There definitely were a lot of weird lists there that Grav was surprisingly-unhelpful against, but on the other hand I think your Battle Company suffers from not having a lot of diversity of firepower- it’s one of the reasons I prefer to run at least a decent number (4+) LasPlas Razorbacks, as they give me some extra tools. I think lacking a solid melee component also hurt you a lot- if something like the Screamers gets lose in your lines, you have no good way to handle it. Ben was running a Knight Acheron to solve this issue- it not only wipes superheavies and deathstars in combat, its mega-flamer will also wipe out hordes really effectively and gives bikes a bad time as well. I’ve seen other people do well with Command Squads on bikes to fill the melee role as well.

    Obviously being a bit wiped out (and more than a bit demoralized by the end of the first day, it seemed) didn’t help things any; certainly, some of those were matchups you potentially could’ve won if things had gone differently. But I think your fundamental point is right- you’ve got too much Grav and not enough other stuff.

    • Avatar
      jpwyrm January 28, 2016 6:56 pm #

      I searched on here and other gaming websites, but I can’t find any pictures or lists from TSHFT – can someone enlighten me on this Raven Guard “All scouts, all the time” army? Definitely rings all the right bells for me!

      • Avatar
        abusepuppy January 28, 2016 8:11 pm #

        It’s not LITERALLY all Scouts, but it does run a pretty huge number of them. I don’t think any shots of it got taken, and I haven’t seen anyone else run anything like it surprisingly- Raven Guard are no joke. Working off of memory, it was something like this:

        -Pinion Battle Company-
        1 Chaplain (Jump Pack)
        5 Tacticals (Grav Cannon)
        5 Tacticals (Grav Cannon)
        5 Tacticals (Grav Cannon)
        5 ASM (Jump Packs)
        10 Devastators (4 Lascannons, Cherub)
        5 Scouts (Meltabomb)
        5 Scouts (Meltabomb)
        5 Scouts (Meltabomb)
        5 Scouts (Meltabomb)
        5 Scouts (Meltabomb)
        -10th Company Task Force-
        5 Scouts (Meltabomb, Combi-Melta)
        5 Scouts (Meltabomb, Combi-Melta)
        5 Scouts (Meltabomb, Combi-Melta)
        1 Lias Issodon (Warlord)
        5 Scouts (Meltabomb, Combi-Melta)
        5 Scouts (Meltabomb, Combi-Melta)
        1 Drop Pod
        1 Drop Pod
        1 Drop Pod
        1 Thunderfire Cannon
        1 Inquisitor (3 Servo-Skulls)
        2 Acolytes, 1 Psyker
        2 Acolytes, 1 Psyker
        2 Acolytes, 1 Psyker

        The basic idea is that it’s a list with a crapload of bodies and a lot of offensive flexibility; if going first, it can easily shove a metric ton of Marine bodies in the enemy’s face, shooting with Melta and Grav from the very start and with lots of Ignores Cover to boot. If going second, it can play a strong reserve game by Outflanking virtually the entire army and coming in on the first turn if it wants to- and with Lias’s reroll, it will usually get most of its units.

        Inquisition goes in the Drop Pods to provide cheap scoring and psychic threat (’cause Shriek is good) and Lias hangs out with the Devastators to give Shrouded and a 2+ armor save to tank with. Tacticals usually get Infiltrated so they can stand still with their Grav weapons.

        I don’t agree with all of the decisions in it, but the core concept feels pretty solid to me and it has a lot of nasty tricks.

        • Avatar
          jpwyrm January 29, 2016 8:22 am #

          Thanks a lot Abusepuppy! I see what you mean now, that is quite the scout swarm indeed! I like the idea behind this and the fact that it includes a Raptor detachment with Lias Issodon (I play Raptors!). I think I’ll try something similar and see if I can make MSU Ravenguard/Raptors work in my meta!

          It’s a shame there is no pictures of this army. There isn’t much covering of TSHFT in fact, it looks like a big event though…

          Anyway, thanks again!

          • Avatar
            abusepuppy January 29, 2016 8:51 am

            The guys who typically do a lot of the picture-taking were sadly absent; I have some photos of my own (though not a lot) that I still need to get around to uploading.

  2. Avatar
    westrider January 28, 2016 2:07 am #

    That first Game with you kind of set the tone for the weekend for me. I went up against 4 other Players who were pretty heavy on Grav, and all but one of them really struggled, between the VSG and needing 6s on so many of my Units.

    The one exception of those 5 was in Round 2, where I screwed up my screening even without help from Servo Skulls, and he was able to drop inside the shield and take the generator out. The fact that he had a Gallant Lance, and could thus out-fight me in CC on top of that turned it into a massacre. I called it at the end of Turn 3, with only a single Chaos Lord and a handful of Culties left on the board.

    Glad to hear you were able to come back and pull it back up to .500, and it was cool to get to meet you in person.

  3. Mr.MoreTanks
    Mr.MoreTanks January 28, 2016 2:30 am #

    Sad that we didn’t get to play but I’m glad you made it up J. Better luck next time, but way to not quit!

  4. jy2
    jy2 January 28, 2016 10:37 am #

    Well done Jason. Way to claw your way back to boring respectability. 😉

    • Jason
      Jason January 28, 2016 3:38 pm #

      I fight hard for mediocrity

      • Reecius
        Reecius January 28, 2016 3:46 pm #

        You sometimes even achieve it! =P

  5. Avatar
    DirtySheetsMcSkeets January 28, 2016 11:49 am #

    Good article I would have threw in the towel and hit the bar

  6. Avatar
    fluger January 28, 2016 3:19 pm #

    Had a great time playing against you, Jason! I wish my list allowed for faster play so we could’ve gone on longer! You did exactly what you needed to do to make it a game. I hope to play against you in the future!

  7. Avatar
    Nightman January 28, 2016 4:27 pm #

    Your articles always make me chuckle, excellent writing!

  8. Avatar
    Colinsherlow January 28, 2016 4:35 pm #

    Did I see a battle co with Riptide wing a Tshft?

Leave a Reply