I was so close to dropping from the 40k tournament I attended last weekend. The week prior to the tournament was a whirlwind of work and life events, and I was looking forward to getting home on Friday night with plans to not leave my house until Monday morning. What made this tournament a little different, and made me hesitant to commit my entire Saturday, was the points level. This event would be my area’s first Incursion level tournament since GW showed support for smaller (1000pts) game sizes in addition to the the standard 2000pts games. I had serious doubts about playing 40k at 1000pts on a table half the size I was used to. Thankfully, I did not drop from the event, and the morning of the tournament I constructed a Necron list (found below) that I felt would be able to win some games.
First, I have to say the organizer, TO, and hype man that created this event did an amazing job. The event ran smoothly, the atmosphere was friendly and relaxed (perfect for new players!), and every player got sweet prizes just for paying their $10.00 entry fee. I have been playing 40k tournaments for a few years now, and I was genuinely excited when I discovered that, along with all the other attendees, I would get to keep a set of poker chip objective markers just for showing up!
On to the interesting parts for the 40k community. 1000pts is a real game of 40k. If you read no further know that it is as legitimate a way to play competitive 40k as it is different from the standard 2000pts games. This became immediately apparent to me when I started to build an Adeptus Mechanicus list for the event. Nothing I wanted to do fit. Eventually I settled on not even taking Admech to this event and decided to bring my Necrons instead. While this event was beginner friendly I was still trying to win some games. My full list is below, but as a preview, the Transcendent Ctan is real good at 1000pts.
The first thing I felt immediately was how small the table was. With many mission’s deployment zones being just 18 inches apart, fast moving armies were a real problem. The ability to advance and charge became a serious threat to the majority of the table, and during my first game against the new Adeptus Sororitas my Transcendent Ctan’s 24 inch powers covered the entire board while he was sitting on the middle objective. In my second game against Harlequins I quickly realized there was nowhere on the board I would be safe from the clowns skipping over objectives and other models.
This shrinking of the board meant that players needed to screen more diligently than in normal sized games of 40k. It also meant that being zoned out of the majority of the board with reserves was much easier. This is just the first major difference and we can already see entire armies game plans need to change drastically to be successful.
The other difference the game creates at 1000pts is Secondaries become extremely difficult to choose. During my first game I chose Engage on All Fronts out of habit. I quickly realized the fight would be taking place right along the edges of the table quarters, where the objectives were located, and not where my units could be wholly within multiple table quarters. Fortunately for me the Transcendent Ctan made up for my less then optimal Secondary choice. Casting 2 powers a turn and getting another power for 1CP put out an intense amount of mortal wounds that my opponents army just did not have an answer for. With no way to do damage to the Ctan in the psychic phase my opponent’s Sisters army was at a huge disadvantage from the start.
This first game also led to the realization that the Necron’s Secondary, Purge the Vermin, is absolutely amazing in this format (although I would not get to use my new found knowledge until game 3 since game 2 I played Harlequins and they be fast).
During my second game I ran into the best army at this points level. Harlequins are decent at 2000pts, definitely not the power house they were a few months ago, but they can perform well. At 1000pts just looking at your opponents Harlequins list is terrifying. My opponent and I knew from the start his army could go wherever it wanted to on the smaller board size, and there was not a darn thing I could do to stop him. This is where good (or bad) luck came into play.
Unfortunately I did have to go first against the Harlequins player, so I used my 6 inch pre game movement to get my ObSec Necrons all over the board and onto as many objectives as possible. This gave my opponent a difficult decision on where to commit his limited forces. After a failed attempt to snipe my Command Barge with Haywire Bikes, and a tricky wrap and kill of a Harlequins transport (with Troupe and Death Jester inside), I was able to go up on points enough to squeak out a 66-61 win by denying my opponent Primary points.
During my third game I was finally able to use Purge Vermin effectively against a solid Death Guard player. By this game we had both figured out picking secondaries was extremely tough at this points level, so we both went for the “keep my stuff alive” secondaries. Unfortunately for my opponent, the Transcendent Ctan made keeping things alive extremely difficult. Killing a Terminator character, who was his Warlord, with a lucky Time’s Arrow, putting mortals into his big squad of Death Shroud Terminators to eventually remove them from the table, and annoyingly staying alive by being able to take only 3 damage per phase.
At the end of the game neither of us had many models left, but I had managed to score almost max points for Purge Vermin while my opponent’s Minimize Losses only scored him 5 points. This, in combination with outscoring my opponent on the Primary, meant the Necrons finished the day at 3-0!
I ended the event 3-0 but that was only good enough for second place. The winner was playing Astra Militarum, and had never played in a 40k tournament before. I’d like to say I didn’t gloat to my teammates after coming in second to a brand new player….but that would be a lie. The phrase “my Patreon goes live tonight scrubs” may have been used.
While I came in second the best part of the tournament came during the announcement of who won best painted model. My teammate, Jack, got the sweet trophy above for painting the Bullgryn you see below. He is a phenomenal painter and its about time he was recognized!
If you are looking to dip your feet into tournament 40k, or you are a seasoned tournament player, tell your local TO to give the Incursion missions a try. After one event I can’t say if they are more balanced then a 2000pts game, but I can say its more interesting then I thought it would be. The Incursion level of play is a puzzle the 40k community has not pieced together yet, and that made it one of the most enjoyable events of 40k I have ever attended.