Captain A’s TSHFT Tournament Report


So a couple of weekends ago I went to Seattle to see friends, eat good food, and play 6 rounds of 40k with my new Ratsurrection Genestealer Cult. A great time was had hanging out, playing some great people, and rolling dice till my back was sore. I learned a lot about my list, its limitations, and whom I don’t want to face at an event.

TSHFT Review


The Seattle Heart of Fire Tournament (TSHFT) is held typically at the Red Lion in Bellevue, WA. Rooms were reasonable and there was a good amount of space for games to be played. The bar was pretty good with decent deals, but often closed early and the breakfast buffet was a bit lacking for the price. All in all it is a fine space and pretty adequate.DSC_0230


The cost of the event is high at $90, but you get two catered lunches on Sunday and Saturday. You also get some cool swag in laser cut name tags and other items. I really liked the convenience of the catered lunches, but I think a more simple and straightforward meal plan might be better, something like a burger bar as the options ran out quick and felt to me like they were trying to be more a high concept type food when they didn’t really need to be.


Terrain was stepped up this year with a ton of ruins, blocking billboards, and buildings added overall. Each table had multiple line of sight blocking pieces that added a lot to the experience of my games. There is always some room for growth as I would love to see some more themed terrain to fit the mats. Every table had a FAT Mat, and a decent amount of terrain. Now some work needs to be done to make them more aesthetically pleasing.

Game Length

This is my one big critique of the event in that the rounds needed to be longer. We only hand two and a half hours for games, and it just wasn’t sustainable at this points level. My games overall did ok, but we were pushing to get those last few turns in. I don’t feel it was just my list (Genestealer Cult) that slowed things down, but many lists that act in all phases or are heavy in one phase. I felt I was playing as fast or faster than most of my opponents and we still didn’t get our games to a natural conclusion. Two hours and forty five minutes are a minimum needed for most games at this point level with the mechanics in place. (Article coming about this!)DSC_0231


I’m coming in hot for this one! SOMEONE didn’t proofread the packet and there were a ton of mistakes in it as the missions mechanics that changed weren’t there. It had the old scoring method, wrong tertiary in one or two games, and was missing the Kill Three or Hold Three Objective maelstrom wordings. This one got phoned in and should not happen again. Looking at you Tanks! (With love of course.)

Best Coast Pairings

We saw the release of the Best Coast Pairings player app! It is an invaluable tool for tournament players and goers alike. For quite some time now I’ve often said to anyone who would listen that there needs to be a way for TO’s to lock in players lists as I’m sure there have been one or two players that saw whom they were playing and pulled out list A, B, or C that was just tailored a bit to give them the advantage. Now, everything is locked down and you can see who is playing what at the event. Also not needing the TO app to log scores saves time and headaches. Now if only they would release the Android TO app they would rule the Tournament app world!DSC_0232


I had a great time and played some great people this weekend. There were some hurdles (six games is brutal) but the event ran pretty smoothly on the whole and I was pleased with terrain and prizes. Who wouldn’t want to win a cruise! There was also a ton of Trader A vouchers to win as well and I hear they went over swimmingly. I think there were a couple of oversights that should be addressed but TSFHT is a great Northwest tournament that you should try to attend in the future.

Game Reports

Round 1 – Jeff – Daemons/CSM

Magnus, Chaos Lord, Heral, Bloodcrushers, Cultists

I went second and set up far forward in his area to hopefully withstand the coming blow from his Deathstar. I underestimated their durability and some of my blocks suffered, but I was able to whittle down his obsec cultists with shooting. His psychic phase was spent buffing his deathstar and shooting at units and he didn’t summon much until the end of the our game. I think he should have went for Chariots from the beginning as those where terrible for me. I did some work on his Bloodcrushers, killing more than half and the Herald, but was unable to crush it as they don’t care about Rending. I was able to kill all of the Cultists but one. On the last turn all I had to do was kill one cultist and the game would have been mine. I got a unit in to be able to charge and set them up three inches from two cultists on an objective and killed one. I rolled the charge and rolled…snake eyes! Doh! I would have won if I could kill that last cultist and contest his emperors will but as it was we tied. Fun game though.

Round 2 – Alan – Eldar/Dark Eldar

Scatbikes, Wraithknight, Venoms, Wracks, Wraithguard, Archon

Alan’s a great guy and good opponent. He boxed into the corner and I surrounded him from all sides, using my squads to screen off my charging units and give them extra cover. I focused on the obsec when I could and was able to mount a maelstrom lead and pulled away with the relic for the win. I’m actually a little foggy on most of the gameplay, but I know I won!

Round 3 – Chris – Blood Angels

Drop Pods, Tacs, Dreadnoughts, Skyravens

A win and a tie was not to bad and I knew I was in for a challenge when I saw the mass flamers, frag cannons, and heavy flamers in Chris’ list. He had actually made his list with Genestealer Cult in mind. I made a criticle mental error when I pulled off a unit that could have charged turn one! I also misplaced my First Curse that round as well. Even with those phopas, my Genestealers made a ton of 5 ups, but just couldn’t rend those armor 13 units down. All those Drop Pods gave me maelstrom trouble and I couldn’t get some good rends on those either. I went down with a loss, but it was still a great game.

Round 4 – Kersey – Eldar

Massed Scatbikes, Wraithknight, Farseers, Warp Spiders, Fire Prisms

I had this one in the bag. Many units got a 6 to charge and I was going first. I was playing a newer player and figured he was set everything up and was right. Trouble was, I got siezed on! Blergh. Even with his massed shooting, most of my units had 3+ cover with night fight, but even with that I lost a ton. I focused entirely on his Scatbikes and his Wraithknight when needed and took them down as fast as I could. I got a key kills 3 maelstrom and he didn’t know about the Scouring scoring until we talked about it at the end. My experience and knowledge gave me the edge and I was able to put my units on higher scoring objectives and take him off of his scoring objectives. Round won.

Round 5 – Matt – Dark Angels

Lions Blade with a mix of tacs and assault units in pods and rhino/razorback. Ravenwing bikes, Ravenwing Speeders.

My nemesis! Last TSHFT Matt meme’d me when he shut off my Hammer and Anvil deployment zone and killed my Centstar as they walked into a wall of drop pods. Yay! This was my time for revenge but I knew I had a hard one as Dark Angels are great against Genestealers with their overatch at full BS. He went first and I set up cagey around the map, mostly in my deployment zone with some units that could charge in his. He came in and shellacked those while my forces went back to Reserves. He had a very unfortunate round of shooting turn two and his reserves would not come on and that gave me an opening. I pushed the first curse in and went for solid maelstrom choices. When he failed his kill 3 that sealed maelstrom for me. I knew he had the primary as I just can’t contest with obsec filled Rhinos parked on objectives. I was able to pull a tie as I rushed for linebreaker and took him off of linebreaker at the end. Great game!DSC_0233

Round 6 – Alex – Renegades/Knights/CSM

Quad Guns, Zombies, Rapiers, 2 Knights, Psyclopia Cabal

I knew this was going to be bad, but went full in. I was extremely tired and this led to some mistakes end of our time. I tried to charge in but shot at the wrong units with one of my key killing units and had to charge into zombies when I wanted to try to charge into his Quad Guns. Later I had a unit of Metamorphs that was summoned in and got a 6 to charge, but went after his warlord when I should have gone after his Knight on an objective. Oh well. I did some work on his zombies and some artillery, but just couldn’t withstand the beating of those artillery pieces. Lost game.20170115_085345

Tactical Thoughts

The Genestealer Cult is a ton of fun and is so different than any army out there. The ability to appear and charge is great and exciting to see those 6’s. It really appeases my gambling nature to hunt for those charges and really overload their deployment zone, only to fade away and pull off units and spring back in next turn. Its a blast to play but you need to move fast.

One of the things that Gensetealer Cult struggles with is the after turn one durability. Toughness 3 and Armor 5 is easily negated and you have to hug terrain or set up cover as much as you can by screening your own units with meat shields or getting close to use the enemy as cover as well. I found my attrition rate to be astounding in later turns which hurt really bad and often kept me from objectives.20170115_085358

I also struggle with maintaining my bubbles of influence with my characters. Each character gives a bubble of influence to units within 12” with the Icon giving it at 24”. The Magus gives Adamantium Will, the Patriarch gives Fearless, the Primus gives Hatred, and the Icon gives Furious Charge and 6+ Feel No Pain. Working on concert makes these characters invaluable. If you can shut them down, do it.

Unfortunately for the Cult, there are a lot of good counters out there. Tau Ignoring Cover is bad, Flamers, AP5, massed shooting, and artillery can make short work of the cult. Focus fire and take out whole units if you can to limit their ability to return with reinforcements.DSC_0227

On the whole I felt I had a chance in every game I played. Had I remembered a few things here or there or made a better choice, my record might have been better. I still had a great time as winning isn’t the only thing in these games for me any more and that made my time that much more of a success.

Time Management

I felt that overall I was really good at time management. There were a few turns that took long, but overall I felt good. My deployments typically took 15 minutes or less and that is fantastic considering I had 150+ models all coming in randomly. I tried to speed things up by omitting stuff like shooting some units or just trying to move as fast as I could and still play accurately.

One thing I have found recently that I would highly recommend is an app called Objective Secured. It’s only for iPhones/iPads, but is an excellent resource. The main thing it has that I am using is a turn timer that switches back and forth like a chess clock but calculates your total time played for each game. I forgot my iPad at home for this event but is great to help you know how long your taking for your games. My friend whom I played with found out that while he was concerned about my Cult taking too long, he played for 14 more minutes than me in game! Its good for both players to know how long they are taking in game and to do things to try to make it go faster.20170115_085617


TSHFT is a great event that brings some fantastic players from all over. There were a ton of players that I knew and got to say hi to and hang out with so it was awesome for me to attend. I highly recommend this major event as one to put on your list next year.


About CaptainA

Aaron is a longtime gamer of many systems. He is an avid community builder of 40k and after running many 40k events in Portland, Oregon, has recently moved to Boise, Idaho and continues to host and run leagues and events. He has also recently expanded his repertoire and entered the second hand Warhammer business. Check out his website at to see how he can help you get rid off your old and unused models.

20 Responses to “Captain A’s TSHFT Tournament Report”

  1. Hiveminded January 23, 2017 8:20 pm #

    Thanks for the write up!

    • CaptainA January 23, 2017 8:27 pm #


  2. Jerry Pan January 24, 2017 12:09 am #

    Really interesting write up!!!

    Any orks around btw? 😀

    • CaptainA January 24, 2017 7:26 am #

      Not that I remember seeing.

  3. Brutishcard January 24, 2017 2:46 am #

    Great write up. I love seeing photos of tournament armies,your ratpack is a particularly cool theme.

    • CaptainA January 24, 2017 7:26 am #


  4. Glocknal January 24, 2017 5:27 am #

    Great report!

    What did your list consist of? Having played against Gene cult a few times i think most players are making the mistake of going bare bones MSU and not taking enough shooting in their lists. Only one result on Cult Ambush allows you to charge while all of them allow you to shoot. There will be times when you need to eliminate a light transport or remove a damaged unit off a objective. I think the best GC lists will feature at least a few units that shoot, some media in sized squads that can absorb some overwatch fire, and a CAD for last turn OB sec contesting.

    • CaptainA January 24, 2017 7:28 am #

      Brood Cycle
      3 x 5 Acolytes
      10 Hybrid Metamorphs Claws
      10 Genestealers
      10 Neophytes Seismic Hammer
      10 Neophytes Seismic Hammer

      Subterranean Uprising
      4 x 10 Acolytes
      3 x 10 Metamorphs Claws

  5. Massaen January 24, 2017 6:42 am #

    Thanks for the plug for the Objective Secured App! We are in the process of planning a number of updates for it as well as an android version. Any feedback you have is more than welcome!

    That’s a huge volume of models for 2 and a half hours!

    • CaptainA January 24, 2017 7:28 am #

      It sure is! Even at lower points its a lot of models.

      Thanks for the app and GO ANDROID!!!!! Yay.I’ve tried chess clocks and they stink for 40k so this thing works great.

  6. fluger January 24, 2017 2:48 pm #

    Awesome report! I’d love to see pics of your GSC. I assume they are Skaven or maybe the Mantic rat people?

    Glad you took it to Matt for that dastardly defeat from last time! 😀

    • CaptainA January 25, 2017 9:21 am #

      I’m treating it like a win cuz I didn’t lose!

      Yeah, my GSC are Mantic and GW Skaven with Tyranids bits and whatnot.

  7. Dbiesto January 24, 2017 9:29 pm #

    I love the old text style summary reports! Always fun to read, and because I’ve been out of the loop didn’t realize they remade genestealer cults from way back…any advice for someone a bit rusty on 7th edition rules to speed up gameplay? I’m tempted to play a few tournaments for fun, but I’m not sure how frustrated people would get with me. I have the rules on note cards and am creating dataslates to track abilities and wounds. Any short cuts much appreciated, as most leagues are weekdays I’m stuck with only tournaments 🍻🍻🍻

    • CaptainA January 25, 2017 9:20 am #

      Best way to get faster is to practice playing games. If you can’t, sounds like you are doing some great things. Cheat sheets and the like work great. Don’t worry about frustrating opponents. Most people i’ve met and played with are very nice and will help you through things.

      • Dbiesto January 25, 2017 5:52 pm #

        🍻 sounds good. I’m planning to have a pic of each multieound model to mark off. Dice and counters tend to get knocked around and I kept having to flip through the rulebook to confirm psychic powers. Also, that is awesome an army that large was playing faster than medium sized ones. 🍻 This site has some of the best advice and articles never would’ve thought of half the old strategies back in 5th and 6th.

  8. sheit27 January 25, 2017 2:30 pm #

    brings 150 models

    complains about 2:30 rounds

    I wonder why

    • abusepuppy January 25, 2017 5:10 pm #

      The game should be open to multiple different styles of armies. CaptainA is not a slow (or inexperienced) player in the slightest, and as he notes above he played _faster_ than many of his opponents. The physical reality of moving models should not disqualify him from a tournament on that virtue alone.

      The game has slowed down significantly compared to earlier editions. Even players that don’t use horde-style armies often struggle to complete their rounds on time. The issue needs to be addressed, one way or another.

    • CaptainA January 25, 2017 7:19 pm #

      Thanks for the great response and quality feedback…er….

      The fact is that many armies are adding to the inability to finish on time. Renegades artillery and zombies can take forever, batco that operates in every phase, taudar shooting can take long as well.

      I was deploying in 15 minutes or less in just about every game. I don’t feel that it was all me or necessarily me. 2.5 just isn’t very long to play. Article incoming.

    • MikhailLenin January 26, 2017 11:55 am #

      Well I don’t think this has to do with bodies but gameplay mechanics.

      Too many armies and units not function in multiple phases aside from Move, Shoot, Assault.

      There are plenty of units now that Move, Move&Shoot(vice versa), Move or Assault.

      GSC is slow not because of bodies but because of the whole Returning to the Shadows mechanic but that isn’t going to be necessarily slower than lets say a Battle Company.

      Mechanically speaking, the meta and game are slower than previous iteration because there is a lot more “activities” in a turn for a unit.

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