Friday, December 30, 2011

Helpful hints to become a WAAC player!

So in the spirit of the WAAC podcast* here are some helpful hints that I love to use to help me win, and I hope can spread the WAAC message!

Time Management 
Time is your friend. Remember, that there is no playing like slow playing!

First off, play an army that not only takes a long time to play, but dominates in the early game. I am talking Orks, Tryanids and Dark Eldar here. This way time is on your side. If the game only goes to turn 3-4 you are going to be in great shape, and all over the middle of the board and on all of the objectives, while your opponent will still be huddled in his deployment zone. So here are some quick tips to make sure your will never see turn #5:

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The WAAC podcast

I like the direction that the 11th Company Podcast has taken and they have embraced their inner WAAC player and changed to the WAAC Podcast!

Well, early on they started talking about my Draigowing list and how you can make it seem not that bad when you take it to comped or sportsmanship heavy tournaments.  I liked where they were going and now I have some good ideas of how to spin my army so when I do go to tourmanets that are heavy on the soft scores I can try to shine that turd. 

 It looks like how to make your army look fluffy takes a lot of time, and a lot of effort, but it looks like if I can do it it will pay dividends on the table top in composition score and with my sportsmanship score. I know most of us WAAC gamers do not like doing it, but I like to look at it as just another part of the game. Kind of like the game before the game.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

I played some games on Boxing Day!

Boxing day for those of you who live in the US is a holiday on the day after Christmas when people in the UK and Canada go out into the streets and punch each other out. (I am not exactly sure but that is what I have heard).

I went to LA this for Christmas to celebrate the holiday, and what is a holiday without 40k?

Let me tell you, there is nothing like driving around for 14+ hours for clearing out your back log of podcasts that you have not listened to yet. Podcasts are great for driving, and even though it is a heck of a drive it makes the time go by really fast.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Forgeworld: Imperial Armor Apocalypse II, the Revenge of Resin!

So when I heard that The Bay Area Open is going to be including units from Forge World’s Imperial Armor Apocalypse II I was not to happy about it.

As most people who like forge world are quick to point out that most of the units in the Imperial Armor books are overcosted and not that good. That might be true, but just like every codex the units that you see are all going to be the best units that are undercosted. Nobody takes the bad units, but they scour the book to find the cheesy ones. It is like the heavy support for space wolves. What is the point of pointing out the most of the choices are not any good when all anyone ever takes are long fangs?

I have had limited experience myself with Forge World in games. The reason why is that I am in a state that does not have ready access to them like some of the larger areas with their battle bunkers and GW stores!

So my experience is limited to Adepticon’s Team Tournament and Gladiator. Now in the gladiator you are expecting to get slapped silly by some monstrosity with Strength D weapons, Lifta-Dropa arms, structure points and gargantuan creatures. The team tournament is a lot more restrictive, with no structure points and gargantuan creatures, but you can take almost everything else. So every year there is something in the new books that is sprung on us that we have to deal with. Several years ago it was the Meiotic Spores that dropped on us. A couple of years ago it was the Griffin mortar with an incendiary round that mades a unit automatically fall back. A couple of years ago it was the Hades Breaching Drill that was all of the rage.
So I was unhappy when the Bay Area Open decided to add the 40K approved units out of the Apocalypse II book. Well, I have heard stories about the Caestus Assault Ram, and the Achilles Land Raider, and the Lucious Drop Pod, etc. I have not read the books though, and I did not see what is contained in there at all. I have since had the opportunity to read the book and I must say that it is not all that bad. There are units in it that are really good, but most top tier armies can deal with. Of course there are other armies though that might struggle with the units in the IA; AII book, One problem is that a lot of people see things through the prism of their own armies. So when you see something that your army can deal with, then you assume that everyone else will not have a problem with it, or that they can deal with it, but the truth is that some armies will struggle against some of the Apocalypse II units. 

Reese also said he would bet that the winner would not have any forge world units in it. I would take that bet! The reason why is that 3 Chaos Contemtor dreads+ obliterators backing them up are going to be a deadly combo. Sure, that is a ton of points, but that is a lot of fire-power. Throw in a couple of Lash Princes for 155 points and some deck chair units and I think you will be better than ok.

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Nuances of 40k: How small mistakes cost you games.

In this series I am going to post games that I played in where I made mistakes and where they cost me the game. Most of these mistakes are going to be very small, but they will have a large impact on the overall result. These articles will focus on the errors, and will show that it impact it had. Lucky for me I have written up a lot of battle reports in the past, so I have a lot of mistakes that I have made to use for illustrations.

Mistakes in 40k
Everyone makes mistakes; it is just part of the game. If you are playing against a player that is not very good, they might not be able to capitalize on it, or even realize you made one. The problem comes when you are playing a top player on the top tables and it is often the person who makes a mistake is the one who will lose.

What about the Dice?   
I hear a lot of talk about how 40k is a game of dice, and that is what decides who wins the games. In my experience, it is the decisions and mistake that you make in the game are what decides it. Don’t get me wrong, there are games where dice can lose you a game. There are a surprising number of games where I can’t roll over a 4 on the vehicle damage table and can’t kill a vehicle. You saw a little of that in my game with Neil Gilstrap when I shot my whole army at a couple of razorbacks for a couple of turns and I was unable to kill them in the 6th game of the Nova Open.

Isn’t it about matchups?
To a degree yes it is, and there are bad matchups in certain missions. For example; play against a deathstar army in KPs, or a MSU army in objectives and you are going to be at a disadvantage. Also certain armies match-up to other armies better than others. As someone who makes their own army, it is your role to build a list that does not have disadvantages, or at least minimizes them. If your army has a lot of bad matchups or does not perform well in certain missions, it is because your list is poor, and you need to improve it.

So let’s get on to the examples!

Friday, December 16, 2011

E-mail in looking for Paladin help

E-mail in!

Ryan writes:
"If you had a moment, I wanted to bend your ear regarding DraigoWing—I’m attending my first 40k tournament (in SOME time)—and decided to talk my new Custodes for a walk."
Don’t you mean your old Custodes? By the way, Ryan has some beautiful models!

“ So I’m going pretty zany—and without breaking down into my unique wound allocation hee haws—basically I’m taking;..”

A no-brainer must-have!

Libby w/ Shrouding/Quicksilver
You need to think about powers for you librarian. A lot of people see Quicksilver and like it and think it is useful, and it is not. You cast it in your movement phase only on your turn, and you have halberds striking at I6 anyways so it is really not useful. You want to take Might of Titans. Sometimes you need some extra strength, and where it really comes in handy is the 2d6 armor penetration. The other power that you have to take is Sanctuary. Not only does it have a chance to keep things from assaulting you, not only does it do some damage to whatever is charging you, but the most important thing is does is make units without grenades attack last. That means Genestealers, Orks, Incubi, Demons, and a lot of other nasty stuff attacks after you do.

10 Pals w/ 4 cannons (Unique stuff for wounds)
I take it you are throwing around weapons to give them unique profiles. A few notes on weapons:
I really like Halberds because that I6 is very nice, but everything in moderation.
Swords are ok, and it is good to have a couple just in case when you get into assault you have a couple of 4+ Inv saves.
You need 2 demonhammers (in case you combat squad you then have a demonhammer in each squad) but sometimes you have trouble wounding high toughness creatures, and it is nice to have a strength 8 force weapon. Also you can crank it up to strength 10 with hammerhand for a lot of use killing vehicles and units like TWC.
You can throw in some Master crafting to give everyone a unique profile.
Brotherhood banner is something that you should always take and is very useful. (plus it looks like you have a nice model for it!)
A Nemesis Force Staff is something that I just started to add. I have been taking a lot of thunder hammer hits, and to be able to put them on this guy so I do not lose combat has been very valuable.    

10 Pals w/ 2 Cannons 2 Inc (Unique stuff for wounds)
As a general rule you do not need incinerators. The reason why is that to be able to use a flamer template you need to be fast. So if you were in a land raider or a stormraven you can do it, but otherwise you will be 
1. Out of range. 
2. If something gets that close to you it would have charged you. 
3. You do not want to do casualties to the unit because they will remove the models that are closest to you so you will be taken out of charge range.  

Dreadknight w/ Psy
Well I have to say this guy does not add a lot to your army. You might want to throw in a couple of Psyfleman Dreadnaughts for some long range anti-tank. Personally I would think about putting in your Land Raider since it looks like you have a very nice one. It works well with your army, it gives you much needed long range firepower, and it goes well with carrying paladins for assault. Also those incinerators will finally come in handy, and you can give your librarian Warp Rift.

So 2k, I’m walking in 23 models—haha.  I just wanted to know your experiences with Paladins—and any general tips you might offer

I would slim down one of your paladin squads and take some solo-dins (one-model paladin units) for scoring units to claim objectives. If you do take a land raider not only can you then take those incinerators, but you might want to think about taking a 4-man paladin squad and beef them up for assault just so you can fit them with a HQ into it.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

I was thinking about the top players that I have never beaten...

And what that led me to do is to think about players that I have beaten, tied and lost to. I thought I would make a quick list.

The people I have beaten
Really there are a lot, and this is not a brag post, or a humble brag, but I have won my share. I will say that I have heard the phase “I (or he) have (has) never lost before (with this army)” many times. 

The Even Stevens
When you hear about the top players in the country I have played just about all of them at one time or another. As you work your way up to the top tables you see a lot of familiar faces. Against the top players I have a pretty good record, and for the most part I can hold my own. Also there are a lot of top players that I have split games with, or tied. Like Darkwyn of BoLS fame that I played once in an RTT in Orlando and he beat my Chaos with his Black Templars. Then a few weeks later we had a re-match in Tampa and it was his Black Templars vs. my Eldar, and I did a lot better. Let’s put it like this…after this game he started to take blessed hull even though there was no DE running around at that time ;) Another example is against Greg Sparks where I had one of my favorite games of all time at LA Games Day a few years ago. I was playing my Tyranids against his Chaos, and it was a slug-fest that ended in a close tie, and then I played him again at the Adepticon Invitational and again I almost beat him and it ended up in another tie. There are many others like Marc Parker, Alex Fenell, Mike Mutscheller, Dave Fay, etc that I have tied or we have ended up splitting our games. 

The no-shows
I like playing the best-of-the-best and I like to be challenged so here is the short list of players that I have never played but want to:
Mike Brandt
Nick “Yermom” Nanavati
Thomas “Goatperson” Reidy
Shawn Kemp
Ragnar Arneson
Bill Kim

The Victors
Here is the short list of people that I have played but lost to that hurt the most (plus excuses ;):

Ben “Spacecurves” Mohlie
Ben has beaten me twice. The first time was in a demo game at Adepticon a couple of years ago. I was playing Chaos Space Marines and he was playing Space Wolves (Hey, when I put it like that, it does not sound so bad!). I popped his Land Raider on the first turn, and that was the first and last bit of luck that I had. He had to foot slog his way to me and I could not even come close to hitting him with a plasma cannon, and his rhinos were impregnable (he should have put whatever they were made out of on the land raider) and I lost. The other time was last summer in the Mirror Match tournament at Wargames Con where we both had the same Space Marine army. I was making a good accounting of myself even though I have never played Space Marine before, and they are Ben’s wheelhouse. Well, I got the jump on one of his squads and hit it hard, but he made almost all of his saves, and then he hit back and I could not roll that well and I lost several guys. At this point I should have failed my morale check and run, but I forgot that I could do that and he assaulted me and beat me down. Next year’s mirror match will be chaos marines and one of my specialties, so we will see how he does then!  

Tony Kopach
As most people know, I played him twice at the Nova Open. The first game I played him in the invitational and I rolled like crap and his grey hunters beat up my paladins in assault. The second game was in the Nova finals where I lost the game when I did not make my Interceptors scoring. I got sick, and was so tired after 13 games that when I looked down at the end of turn #3 and I realized that I only have 2 troops in an objective game I knew I was screwed.

Paul Murphy
I guess I lost to him twice, but I do not count the first time. It was at the Adepticon Gladiator and he just destroyed me with a stompawith a lifta-droppa arm. The second time was the same year at the AdepticonInvitational and he was running Nob Bikers (back when they were unbeatable) Chaos Space Marines. He ran up to me with his bikers and I assaulted them with my HQs (a Demon Prince and a Sorcerer on a disc). I had a Thousand Son’s Squad that I could throw at them, but I was worried about combat resolution. He ended up collapsing on my HQs, and killing them. I should have thrown my Thousand Sons squad at them to hold him in place so he could not get all of those attacks at my HQs, and I would have had 2 turns of beating on them, and hopefully cripple them.

Reese Robins
This was Space Wolves vs. my first and only running of myDark Eldar at the Sprue Posse GT. I had him right where I wanted him in a KP mission, and I ended up failing a morale roll on LD 9 and 2 KP ran off the table at the end of the game giving him the win.

Scott Simpson
He is retired as far as I know, but back-in-the-day he was quite the Tau specialist. In the Games Day LA tournament that Sparks and I played in above we fought to a tie, and Scott who was behind us ended up jumping over us in the standing to win the tournament. Also a few months before Scott and I played we were both undefeated in the final round of the Baltimore GT and we just missed each other as I was on table #2 and he was on table #1 playing Toledo Brad. We both won our games and he ended up with a perfect 100 battle points and won best general, and I was at 97 battle points because I misread a mission and screwed up getting 3 points and I ended up with the second highest battle points. I ended up playing him at the Las Vegas GT when I was playing my Witch Hunters, and he was playing his Tau. I had a Rhino filled with Sisters that were pressuring him, and he ended up not only exploding the rhino, but doing enough casualties that I had to take a leadership check that I failed and ran away. If I could have gotten those sisters into assault with him, it would have been game over for him, but it was not to be and I was handed a loss.  

Justin “Dash of Pepper” Hilderbrandt
This loss hurt the most. I was playing in the So Cal Slaughter in Space and we get paired up against each other. He is playing DE (old codex) and I was playing Chaos. This is a bad match-up for me to begin with but I was game. I have wanted to play him because he does well on the tournament scene and I wanted to see what he was made out of, and if he was really that good. So I look at the mission and it was who ever had the most KPs left alive at the end of the game wins. Well, that is great because I like small elite armies that have very few kill points, and he had over 20 of them. That was not too good for me, and the game ended up just like you would expect it to because I would just about need to table him with his fast moving units to get the win in this game. 

This is of course not a comprehensive list of everyone that I have lost to. I have lost my share and then some, but these are the losses that hurt the most.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Eldar for Adepticon?

Must fight down urge to play Eldar at Adepticon!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Nova Invitational Game #5: Blackmoor's Grey Knights vs. Tony Kopack's Space Wolves

So before the final match-up in game #8 of the Nova Open, Tony and I played each other a couple of days before in the Nova Invitational. We had both dropped a game so we were both entering it at 3-1, so when we played each other so our outcome was not that important since we were both out of the running at this point. One of the reasons why I came to the Nova was to play people that I normally do not get the chance to and Tony was one of those people. I have heard a lot about the boy wonder after he went undefeated at last year’s Nova Open and Adepticon. I wanted to get the measure of him and see just how good he was, and now I have my chance.

Unlike after 13 games of the Nova Open when I was dead tired, sick, and out of gas, on Friday during the Invitational I was fresh and ready to go (even after playing 4 games earlier). Normally I am wrecked when I travel from west to east because of the time difference, and jet lag, but this time I had a plan to combat it. For the Nova Open I was able to book a red eye flight on Wednesday night and so I arrived at the hotel at 9:45am Thursday. My plan was to stay awake all day and go to bed early and be so tired that I will fall asleep right away. Then I be could get up at 7:00am local time and be awake and able to play (even though the first game started at 5:00am my time). Well, my plan worked out great! I was the least tired I have ever been at an east coast tournament. 

So on to the game!

My Invitational List
1750 Points of Grey Knights
Librarian w/ Might of Titian, Sanctuary, Shrouding

10 Paladins w/4 Psycannons (1 Master Crafted), 2 Hammers, 4 Halberds (1 Master Crafted), 3 Swords (1 Master Crafted), Brotherhood Banner

10 Grey Knight Strike Squad w/2 Psycannons, Psybolt Ammo

Heavy Support
Dreadnought w/2 Twin-Linked Autocannons, Psybolt Ammunition
Dreadnought w/2 Twin-Linked Autocannons, Psybolt Ammunition
Dreadnought w/2 Twin-Linked Autocannons, Psybolt Ammunition

Tony’s Space Wolf List (From memory)
Rune Priest w/JotWW, Living Lightning
Wolf Guard w/Combi-Melta, Power Fist
Wolf Guard w/Combi-Melta, Power Fist
Wolf Guard w/Combi-Melta, Power Fist
Wolf Guard w/Combi-Melta, Power Fist
Wolf Guard w/Combi-Melta, Power Fist

5 Wolf Scouts w/Melta Gun

8 Grey Hunters w/Melta Gun ,Wolf Standard

8 Grey Hunters w/Melta Gun ,Wolf Standard

8 Grey Hunters w/Melta Gun ,Wolf Standard

8 Grey Hunters w/Melta Gun ,Wolf Standard

Heavy Support
5 Long Fangs w/4 Missile Launchers
5 Long Fangs w/4 Missile Launchers
Razorback w/Las Plas

5 Long Fangs w/4 Missile Launchers
Razorback w/Las Plas

Primary: Table Quarters
Secondary: Objectives
Tertiary: Kill Points
It looks like whenever I play Tony I always get my least favorable alignment of missions (kill points last).

Deployment: Spearhead

He wins the dice roll to go first and deploys his army.

Turn #1
Space Wolf Turn #1
He rushed his army up and he takes out a Dreadnaught with his long fangs.

Grey Knight Turn #1
I move up and unload into his rhino that is carrying his Rune Priest. I hate those stupid things and I want to kill him if I am able to, but all I do is knock off his storm bolter and immobilize it. I also immobilize the rhino that is on the top of the board that is near his long fangs.  

Turn #2
Space Wolf Turn #2
He moves up again. He is being very aggressive, and keeps on advancing. My guess is that he has never fought paladins before and wants to try his luck in assault. Note: You should compare this to his behavior in our final game ;) If you have watched that final game, you would see that he is a lot more cautious. I wonder why? In the mean time he shoots his long fangs at my librarian’s combat squad and I roll 2 “1”s and lost 2 paladins.

Grey Knight Turn #2
Alright, time to get this party started!! I shoot at, and wreck the rhino that is in the top of the board, and he piles out. I explode the rhino that was closest, and Draigo and his boys launch an assault. This is where I make quick work out of 9 Grey Hunters! He ends up blocking my psychic powers, and then he counter-attacks and pops his wolf standard. I end up rolling really bad and killing 3 grey hunters total (Draigo should have killed that many by himself) and he ends up doing several wounds. He kills 2 paladins with his power fist who already had one wound on them and I lose combat by 3. I fail my morale roll (like my paladins always do) and they break but I get lucky here and he catches me and I take another wound from no retreat. Well, this battle went about as bad as it possibly can, short of getting escorted off of the board. That was very unexpected and unpleasant.            

Turn #3
Space Wolf Turn #3
He continues to advance. I guess he was encouraged by how poorly paladins do in assault. Draigo finally does what he should have done last turn, and he, and his squad take out the last of the Grey Hunters they were in combat with. His long fangs take out another of my dreadnaughts. He does manage to fix his rune priests rhino and it is no longer immobilized.  

Grey Knight Turn #3
Well, time to get going, I have him right where I want him!! Draigo moves right up to the Rune Priest’s rhino and I unload into it. I need to kill it so I can assault the contents, and after shooting my entire army at it, I can’t kill it. I then assault it and I still can’t kill it but I do manage to immobilize it again! My librarian’s squad assaults his other Grey Hunter squad but with the same result that I had last time. I was unable to get my Librarian into assault range, but the 3 remaining paladins ended up killing nothing, and he wiped my paladins out in return. The good news is that my librarian stays around! Is rolling average too much to ask?
Turn #4
Space Wolf Turn #4
Since I was unable to get Draigo's squad into assault, he was out in the open and the rune priest and his squad unload on them and then they assault. He loses 3 guys, and he kills the last of my paladins. On the other front, my Librarian kills 2 Grey Hunters, and my Librarian makes all of his saves, Tony fails his morale roll and breaks. Great...talking about to little to late...

Grey Knight Turn #4
Well, this is not how paladins should do in combat. The Librarian follows the Grey Hunters to keep them running. Draigo seems like he only gets going on the second round of combat and kills the Rune Priest and the Grey Hunters break. Well, at least my ICs can win a combat, I wish the Paladins could have done something earlier.
Turn #5
Space Wolf Turn #5
This is just about the end. A razorback takes out the Librarian and everything else shoots at Draigo and they take him down.

I am pretty much running on fumes at this point, and when he take out the last of my dreadnaughts, I can’t win because he has 2 table quarters to my 1, and we call the game.

This game seemed to have a big impact on Tony's play the second time we match up. He was not so aggressive, and stayed far away from me. He also had a lucky horseshoe up his rear because Paladins should butcher Grey Hunters, and I ended up whiffing in not just one combat, but 3!

I am prone to horrible bouts of bad luck, and this game was the last of it. That is why I did so well at the Nova Open because I did not have one of those games where I can't make a decent roll. Well, except maybe that last turn of the game when I played Tony in game #8 where I rolled terrible.