Two weekends ago a tightly fought tournament was going down in a post-industrial, mid-western town. No not the Motor City Mayhem, the Fabricator’s Forge 40k Random Doubles tournament! Naturally I immersed myself in the data and competitive analytics. I needed a killer 1000 point list to overcome to the random pairings, so after even more thought I knew I had only one option:
Iron Warriors Superheavy Aux Detachment:
Greater Brass Scorpion – Warlord
Night Lords Superheavy Aux Detachment:
Chaos Typhon – Twin Lascannons, Multi-melta
I know this list may seem weird but trust me, it’s the best list ever. Unfortunately I saw a few others attempted to match my double superheavy-aux detachment but we will get to that later. Each of the matches used the Maelstrom of War cards. In order to buttress morale I also brought my pad of Dr. Seuss stickers to award for meritorious actions.
Match 1: Teammate: Sisters of Battle. Opponents: Ultramarines, Craftworld Eldar
For the most part this match was decent. We deployed the objectives with three near or deployment (this is something I will discuss later). Given the slanted objectives we were able to control the pace of battle. Out opponent’s didn’t work together with the Eldar bunching up the center of the board with the Ultramarines splitting up with the buggies going down one side and the Bladeguard and Tigerius going down the other.
My teammate did much of the killing while my main contribution was not dying lol. The center of the board devolved into a moshpit with the Scorpion desperately trying (and failing repeatedly) to kill the Farseer on a bike. The Wraithknight charged in and did a mighty 5 wounds to the Scorpion, who promptly healed back 4 during the next turn (thanks Iron Warrior’s strat!). For the remainder of the battle the scorpion danced back and forth killing the odd model and chipping off wounds from the Wraithknight as the SoB devoured the other units. One of the highlights of the match was Celestine using her ability to Deny psychic powers to save the Scorpion from being Doomed! After turn three the result wasn’t really in question, with our team building a solid 20 point lead.
Unfortunately there was one part of this game that really annoyed myself and my teammate . Starting before deployment the Ultramarine player complained constantly about my Lords of War. He protested throughout the game, to whoever was in earshot, saying it “Wasn’t a friendly list”. Even as the SoB hoovered up most of his army (my contribution was killing roughly 300 points all battle) he poured out his libations of woe to the annoyance of myself and my teammate. His constant airing of grievances even spread to his teammate, who joined in seemingly oblivious to the fact he also brought a Lord of War (and one with faction traits and abilities no less). If it sounds like I am bitter, I am, a bit. A few of us brought double Lords of War to speed up our games (and for the memes) and also because they are terrible in Malestrom missions. It was just a few guys but I found it galling nonetheless (although the complainer doesn’t have a good reputation in the club either).
Match 2: Teammate: Chaos Daemons, Opponents: Death Guard, Iron Hands
Happily, I got matched with another meme list with my teammate bringing Zarakynel and An’ggrath the Unbound. Unfortunately, we had to go against a souped up Astraeus with a techmarine backing it up. We got first turn but, despite getting a first turn charge, we only did 3 damage to the Astraeus in our first turn after the Slaanesh daemon failed it’s charge.
By the bottom of turn 1 the Astraeus bracketed both the Scorpion and the Khorne daemon, with Zarakynel getting killed by the Death Guard. The Scorpion and An’ggrath teamed up to try and take down the Iron Hand’s superheavy but only dropped it to it’s last 3 wounds. The Iron Hand’s player used a strat to boost it to it’s top wounds profile for a turn and promptly shot us off the board. Naturally I lay the blame at my teammate ‘s poor tactics. My reputation as a superlative general remains untarnished /s.
This early defeat also allowed my teammate and I to bounce around annoying our friends, drinking beer and just chatting, which were our secret objectives the whole time.
Round 3: Teammate : Imperial Knights, Opponents: Chaos Daemons, Imperial Guard(?)
Finally giving in to our pleas the TO put all the Lord of War exclusive armies together for one last bout. Alongside my units I had a few Imperial Knights facing against my teammate from the previous battle and his ally using a Banehammer and a Stormlord (tricked out with every possible weapon upgrade). I will remember the battle until the day I die. One of the first things we agreed upon was that we were all going to ignore the mission and the win would go to the last vehicle/monster standing (since battle points weren’t being tracked this made sense).
Naturally, a battle this epic starts with a bang. The Daemons/IG players go first and roll forward. Shooting goes almost entirely into the knights taking down the armiger (much to the Daemon player’s dismay as he was setting up for a charge) and drops another knight to half-wounds. They also chip 6 wounds off the Typhon.
On our turn we moved up and unleashed our firepower. Shooting see the Typhon drop the Banehammer to its bottom bracket (thank you Prey on the Weak stratagem) and some wounds chipped off the other two daemons. The Scorpion and less-damaged knight charge An’ggrath and Zarakynel respectively. In the fight phase the Scorpion goes first and drops An’ggrath to his bottom bracket. The Daemon player interrupts and swings with Zarakynel damaging the knight. The knight brings Zarakynel down to 2 wounds while An’ggrath inflicts 12 wounds on the Scorpion.
Our opponents then go. Since neither An’ggrath nor Zarakynel are titanic they remain locked in combat. Shooting either goes into the remaining knight (killing it) or into the Typhon bringing it to its middle bracket. In the fight phase Zarakynel goes first and kills the last knight. I activated the Scorpion who kills An’ggrath causing him to explode (on a 4+) and promptly kills off Zarakynel as well. With two players eliminated, it would be down to Guard shooting and chaos combat ability.
Now free of combat, the Typhon and Scorpion move up to press the advantage. Shooting sees the Banehammer eliminated but little else (the Typhon’s gun rolled double-digit shots twice all tournament – _ -) In combat the Scorpion charges the Stormlord, takes a few wounds from over-watch and brings it down to 15 wounds (not even to the middle bracket). Backing up again the Stormlord eliminates the Typhon (only barely, as the Typhon’s armor of contempt allows it to shrug 3 lascannon wounds) and the Scorpion is down to 4 wounds left. Using his final command point the Stormlord charges the Scorpion and uses the “Crush Them” stratagem to hit on 2’s. With 9 WS2, S9 attacks AP-2, D3 damage attacks it looks bleak for the Scorpion (I was also out of CP).
However….he only hits with 6 attacks and wounds with 4. The Scoprion miraculously passes all of it’s 4+ saves and clings to life. Enraged by the show of contempt, the Scorpion hits back with all its might, delivering 18 wounds to the Stormlord rendering it to dust. As the last living model on the board, the Scorpion limps off to victory.
Wow what an event! Overall I had a great time! I enjoyed the Maelstorm missions (after the first battle we agreed with all future opponents that should there be an odd number of objectives one had to go in the center of the board to make things more fair, we also likely screwed up the order of deployment zones and objectives in game #1). The last battle was epic and everyone involved had a blast. It was the best games of 9th edition I have played!
That being said there were some issues. The TO stipulated that this event should be a “friendly” one with the only limitation to not bring “meta” lists. Friendly events are the hardest to run as everyone has a different idea of what that means. For some, apparently, this means no Lords of War (which baffles me as some of these units have been really bad since 8th edition) I am sure if we asked enough people everyone’s list would be deemed “Unfriendly” by someone (I remember the days of named characters being considered “Unfriendly”). Admittedly some of the lists were over-tuned for a friendly event, particularly the SoB list and the Iron Hands Astraeus list. However an important fact here is that for both of these players it was their first competitive event. This shows an additional challenge of friendly events in that it will draw in newer players, but these players don’t always know what a friendly list is. Thus you end up with the highest chance of discontent.
Overall I think the TO did a good job. All awards were based on best painted, sportsmanship or a combination of the previous two and battle-performance. It seemed the majority of people had a good time (myself included) and we will likely see these events in the future. Despite the balancing difficulties random doubles provide a good way to get to know people in the area and ease newer players into a competitive environment.
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