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.
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.
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.
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!)
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.