Way back in March of 2020 I signed up for a Major that was going on in my local area. I had attended a few RTTs and a couple of GTs over the last few years, but this was to be my first Major (I bet you can all see where this is going). I was extremely excited to say the least. As you all probably guessed the March Major did not go exactly as planned. COVID-19 was just then getting hot and heavy in the news, and looking back it feels like THE weekend of the Major was when the virus really took hold of the news. The almost Major turned into a GT, and I was only able to attend a single day of the Major now GT.
Finally, a little over a year later, I was making my return to tournament 40k! I am lucky enough to have an awesome new store in my area, Tables and Towers in Westminster, MD, that hosted the event, amazing people who stepped up to run and judge the event, and a great local gaming scene with great competitive 40k players who love the game! While many people around the world still are not getting to events some areas are slowly arriving at our new normal. I am by no means someone you would pay for any 40k coaching service, but below is my first 40k Major experience.
With the 5G protection flowing through my veins I arrived the morning of day 1 with an optimistic mindset. With a solid three practice games under my belt with my Mars Admech shooting gallery list nothing could stop me! The list consisted of Cawl, a Divinations of the Magos Manipulus, 2 units of Heavy Grav Destroyers, 3 Dakka-Robots, 3 Skorpius Disintegrators, and some Raiders and ObSec infantry to hold objectives (the list isn’t super imporant with the Admech Codex right around the corner).
Round 1 my opponent was playing a beautifully painted Shadow Keeper Custodes army (I was so caught up in the experience I took 0 pictures!), and he informed me this was his first tournament game of 40k. Unfortunately for my new friend we were playing Retrieval with a Hammer and Anvil style deployment. This meant I could comfortably sit in my deployment zone while still scoring primary points, while taking the Secondaries While We Stand We Fight, Raise Banners and Minimize Losses. The tables had plenty of terrain (actually more then any tournament I have ever been to which was awesome!), but the Custodes player still had to move slowly across the table in order to score any points from his Secondaries of Engage, Bring it Down, and Grind them Down. My opponent actually did outscore me on Primaries due to knocking me off one of my home objectives in Turn 4, but it was too late at this point as I was able to score maximum points on WWSWF and Minimize Losses. My first game ended in a 85-66 victory. My opponent may have lost this battle, but he got my award for coolest t-shirt at the tournament with his General Mattis in power armor Space Force shirt!
Round 2 I was paired into a White Scars player with, again, a beautifully painted army done in the yellow and red quartered style of the Howling Griffons (ok, next time I am taking pictures I promise). The mission, Sweep and Clear, allowed me to have excellent firing lanes onto the mid-table objectives, and my opponent was running a mainly close combat list containing 2 Impulsors and 2 Redemptors as fire support. Unfortunately for my opponent, I knew for this mission I could castle in my deployment zone safely and use my gunline to fire into the three mid-table objectives safely. Following some terrible first turn shooting luck for my opponent (both of his Redemptors rolled 1 for their number of shots on their Plasma) I was able to safely take out the 2 Redemptors along with some Outriders who held objectives at the mid-table. My opponents Turn 2 luck did not change when he failed to kill 5 Rangers who were screening my gunline with a charging Judicar. During my Turn 2 the Mars shooting gallery did what it does. 9 Heavy Grav Destroyers, 3 Dakka-bots and 3 Skorpius’ kill many marines…..many. This game ended in an Admech win with a score of 95-47. I really want to shout out my opponent for this game because it is tough to be in such an up hill battle (I have been there and would be there shortly again). My opponent had zero chance to win after that punishing shooting phase he took in Round 2, but he never got down about it and we still talked about how cool his models looked and had an awesome time.
My Round 3 opponent and I hit it off right away. I am a weird dude with an odd sense of humor, but my opponent seemed to be right there with me. You can imagine my surprise when he betrayed our newfound friendship by playing a sick Dark Angels list that mixed untargetable Talon Masters, unkillable Terminators, and Ravenwing bikes to crush my hopes and dreams of going 3-0. With the mission being Surround and Destroy I wanted to try and flip the table into Hammer and Anvil holding 3 Objectives. The good news was I did manage to do this by focusing my shooting on the Ravenwing portion of my opponents army. The bad news was my opponent did the same thing over on, now, his three Objectives. With Secondaries of Raise Banners, WWSWF and Stubborn Defiance my opponent knew he could sit outside of line of sight and win the game by scoring more Secondaries than I could. While I scored a respectable 75 points it was not enough with my opponent scoring 96 points. He did bring his Terminator block out into line of sight of my gunline once which allowed me to kill 5 Terminators, but he quickly realized there was no benefit to marching one of this WWSWF units across the long board toward a gunline. This resulted in the best quote of the tournament as my opponent moved his Terminators back into obscuring terrain.
“So you won’t be coming back out with those Terminators again?”
My opponent assured me, “Absolutely not”.
The start of Day 2 had me paired into a very interesting Sisters list with 22 separate units. Bloody Rose Seraphim, the close combat Seraphim, Melta Retributors, and Battle Sisters. Gross. My opponent absolutely dismantled my Admech gunline. Hiding Turn 1, picking apart my screening infantry and Raiders Turn 2, and Turn 3 on just tabling me a little at a time. I never held 2 Objectives during the game and the final score was 92-19. Stopped him from getting those last 8 points. Take that dude. Also, this opponent went on to the next round and beat Sean Nayden. I think this guy will be winning some events soon.
Going into Round 5 I was 2-2. I would have been extremely happy with a 3-2 finish at my first 40k tournament in over a year, but it was not meant to be (because I am dumb and forget things). My opponent was playing Ultramarines with Guilliman and all the Aggressors. He also had some Eradicators, Tigerius and some troops. We both played extremely cagey during this game with my opponent not letting my overwhelming firepower trash all his Aggressors in a single turn (the Ultramarine party house was a thing as my opponent hid in a building with basically his entire army). My opponent was able to get the close win with a final score of 84-80. The swing moments in the game came when old Guilliman himself chased down the last Heavy Grav Destroyer to rob me of 5 WWSWF points, and when I forgot to deploy my Skystalkers from reserve in Round 3 costing me two turns of Engage points. We both had an awesome time during this game and since it was so close it just amplified the fun of the game! Wish I remembered those stupid Skystalkers though…..
Most articles on the internet revolving around 40k probably don’t focus on a 2-3 Major performance, but these are odd times we are living in. With more and more events happening all over the world many people in this hobby will find themselves in the same position I was in last weekend. Walking up to their first tournament game in a long time away from competitive 40k. The night before the tournament I thought it would be odd playing strangers at a tournament again, but nothing could have been further from the truth. Right from the start of my first game it felt like I had not missed a beat as far as playing tournament 40k went. I played 5 amazing games with 5 amazing people over the weekend, and I can’t wait until my next tournament.
Best of luck to you all out there as you get back into events, and check out my upcoming articles on the new Admech Codex starting next week since that is the faction I have settled on for this ITC season!