Saturday, December 20, 2008

2003 New Zealand GT - Emperor's Children

Over the weekend of 13/14 September the NZGT "Fields of Blood" was held in Auckland. This year there were 53 entries in 40k including 7 from the Warlords. Usually we get up to 15 Warlords venturing north but this year numbers were down. However the contingent included the winners from the past three years (Al Borthwick, Peter Denne and Richard Dagger).

I took my Emperor's Children warband that had served me well in Melbourne. However, this tournament had a compulsory 250 point reserve force which had to comprise either troops in transport or Fast Attack. I tossed up between 6 Emperor’s Children bikers with little or no equipment or an additional troop squad of 6 in a Rhino. In the end I went for the latter. The theme was a variant on the "warband" theme - a 10th Millenia reunion of the Emperor's Children - Noise weapon mandatory, daemonette optional, prey provided.

My army was:

Noise Lord Drant in terminator armour with sonic blaster, combat drugs, dark blade and daemonic strength

Retinue of 5 chosen terminators with one blastmaster, 4 sonic blasters and one power fist

3 squads each of 6 daemonettes

6 man troop squad, aspiring champion with power weapon and bolt pistol, 4 sonic blasters and a blastmaster

6 man troop squad, aspiring champion with twin lightning claws, 4 sonic blasters and a blastmaster in the rhino "Pleasure"

2 6 man noise marine havoc squads – aspiring champion with sonic blaster, another sonic blaster, 4 blastmasters and the tank hunter skill


6 man troop squad, aspiring champion with powerfist and bolt pistol, daemonic mutation, 4 sonic blasters and a blastmaster - all with furious charge

Flew up to Auckland on the Friday afternoon and caught up with the Warlords and shot down to pre-reg. The incentive was that you would get the missions pack early.

Over dinner Al, Michail and myself went thru them. Essentially they were all VP missions where an advantage of 250 points over your opponent got you 15 points, a deficit of 250 points got you 5 and in between was a draw and 10 points. On top of that you got up to 5 bonus points based on the mission. The exception was the second mission where you had to have control of the rescue counter to win.

So a weekend of killing...I was pretty happy with my army selection - shooty troops and no expensive vehicles coupled with damage dealing daemons. The other quirk was that strategy ratings used for deciding board edge and first turn - great if you are a space marine, eldar or necron (But kind of sucked if you were Orks, Bugs or Imperial Guard – Ed)

Game One - Jeff McLean (Dark Eldar)

As I remember I chose board edge but Jeff went first. His army was raider less, his theme being that the army had lost it raiders and then splintered in a very uncivil disagreement. So lots of warriors armed with dark eldar heavy weapons, a wych squad, 2 talos’, and a jetbike reserve. The game was very close, and resulted in a long range shooting duel. I was happy with this due to my superior armour save, toughness and, failing that, cover saves. The terminators shielded the havocs and took the brunt of the eldar fire while the troops dished out blastmaster death. The daemonettes disposed of the two talos and then I got lucky shooting up his jetbikes. In the final turns Jeff sent the wychs and the archon forward to fight my daemonettes and my lord. Combat drugs saved his butt... I managed to get enough damage done for a 16-6 win. Very close.

Game Two - vs. Darren Bufken (Daemonhunters)

Darren had a real Daemonhunters army. Inquisitor Lord with retinue, squads of stormtroopers, arbites in repressor, land raider and reserve of deep striking Grey Knight troops and termies. He went first and pushed forward and revealed two rescue counters...nada. I then jumped on one with my terminators and it was the important counter. From here it was a bit of a shoot out with my guys having a weight advantage. I immobilised the land raider but not before it popped two of my termies holding the counter. Drant decided it was a job for him. I played the havoc "1-2" on the arbites - popping the rhino then the second squad dropping four templates on them. In the end Darren got his lord into combat with my termies and my Lord had three very nervous rounds of combat holding the marker. My reserve and daemonettes saw off the Grey Knights.

Excellent and tense game from which I managed to pick up 19 points.

Game Three - vs. Patrick Cummanskey (Craftworld Eldar - Ulthwe-ish)

I hate Eldar. I hate their goofy special rules. I hate their Phoenix Lords

This was a particularly nasty tournament Eldar list. 3-4 5 man guardian squads with platforms or maximum numbers of flamers/fusion guns. 10 person Striking Scorpions, 10 person Howling Banshees, 3 Dark Reapers, 2 units, each of 1 Vyper, largish (7?) Seer Council, Wraithlord, and Baharroth, the Swooping Hawk Phoenix Lord. Sideboard was a unit of Swooping Hawks and 4 Jetbikes. First turn Baharroth swoops into combat - 17 power weapon attack at initiative 7 wipes out one squad and he consolidates into the havocs. The heavies open up wiping out most of the terminators. Holy shit, I think. From here it goes from bad to worse - by the end of Patrick's second turn I have around 10 models left on the board.

Then salvation. Down come the daemonettes. The remanants of one havoc squad open up on his Banshees and then I charge the end of his line with a daemon squad (so the exarch is in the kill zone but not in base to base). They kill them then move towards the guardians on the base line. Second squad hits and kills the wraith lord while a severly depleted squad guns down Baharroth (good riddance). Over a couple of turns Drant sees off 10 Scorpions by himself (go you good thing). The game is now looking far more even. I manage to knock out the Dark Reapers while Patrick sees off the daemonettes and kills my rhinos.

In the end we both have little left - Patrick marginally ahead. I score 14 points for the draw. Great game. Patrick was a nice guy to play but that list was pretty nasty. At the end of the weekend he wins a prize for lowest comp score.

Game Four - vs. Gareth Ackrill (Tyranids)

Gareth was using my Tyranid army with a list I drew up so I was pretty happy with the draw. Gareth is an excellent player but was on a hiding to nothing in this game - unless I played very poorly.

I shot the hormigaunts then the tyranid warriors while keeping my daemonettes in reserve. As Gareth pushed the tyranid monstrous creatures forward the daemons hit them with 18 attacks with talons. As I said there was little Gareth could do unless I had a brain fart. I picked up 20 points. The Emperor's Children were now on 69 points.

Game 5 - vs. Bruce Manning (Emperor's Children)

A very uncivil war. Bruce and I had quite similar armies. Where I had terminators he had two troop squads, while he had a predator and a defiler to my havocs. One of his daemon squads was on steeds.

Bruce got the first shot and placed the defiler template on a clustered squad outside rhino "Pleasure". This scattered causing no damage. The havocs then took down the hull down defiler while another blastmaster immobilised his rhino. From here there was a free for all with first one then the other getting the upper hand. I pulled the havoc "1-2" on his lord's rhino reducing the squad to 3. For their troubles both havocs wore the mounted daemonettes. The game came down to a battle in the centre where my lord fought his daemonettes while his lord and squad fought my sole terminator. His lord missed my terminator who killed the rest of the squad. The next turn daemonettes finished off his lord. All the while Drant held off his daemonettes.

In the end this game was very very close. Out came the calculators and we found I had won by 258 points. Bruce was a nice guy to play and in bragging terms we called it a "moral" draw. I was happy to take my 20 points which puts me ahead in battle points by 1. After the game we talked about the Emperor’s Children army...and I think Bruce has new respect for the havocs. I know I certainly now see where the 12" range of mounted daemons is useful for a reserve force.

Game Six - vs. Ben Ricketts (Valhallans)

This was an army I used to own. A Valhallan force built around three Demolishers. It was featured in White Dwarf (painted by Paul Goldstone) as a Stalingrad themed army. I sold it about a year ago. Ben had borrowed it from its new owner and added a reserve of 4 Lascannoned Sentinals. It spoiled the theme a bit but had been bloody effective (he was a point behind).
I was pretty happy with this draw as I felt I could take this army out. I was proved comprehensively wrong. While I got the first turn everything else pretty much went wrong.

First turn I got 5 damage roles on one demolisher but couldn't roll higher than a three. I did get the weapon of another though. Ben then opened up on my terminators with his multitude of heavy bolters, wounding five. Three ones later and I'm scraping terminator residue off the table.

Unfortunately for me my havocs are now spooked and can only stun Ben's demolishers from now on. One opens up its big gun hits my power armoured squad and scatters - onto Drant (who dies for the first time of the weekend). Great, it can't get any worse - yes it can. A squad of daemonettes hits a stationary demolisher - 4 times I need a 4 to higher than three. Getting desperate I try again - only one six in eighteen dice, and again a three on the roll.

Ben plays the game excellently letting me feed myself into the meatgrinder. I try to go for bonus points but that fails as well. I end up with 5 and thoughts of glory fade. Well done Ben who was a good opponent to play and thoroughly deserved the 20 points. Ben wins the Butcher for best Gameplay score. So not a nice way to finish but I'm philosophical as I have been outplayed.

Onto the awards and I'm looking to improve on last year's 10th.

GW were great this year, awarding 1st, 2nd and 3rd in all categories and were very generous with their prizes.

I was lucky enough to pick up Best Army. I had thought I was in with a chance at Players' Choice but didn't place so I was surprised to win Best Army. I was then stunned to win Best Painted as I thought Al would win it with his spectacular Kult of Speed. If you haven't seen it, check it out in the window of Games Workshop. It is fantastic.

The Warlords do very well Al picking up Player’s Choice, 2nd in Best Painted and 3rd in Best Army. Richard Dagger collects 3rd in both Sportsmanship and Best Painted and 2nd in both Best Army and Player’s Choice.

When the Overall Prizes were announced there was a three way tie for Third between Craig Latta, Ben and Brent Helem. That leaves Al and I standing next to each other and realising that we are probably in the running. Al's name is called for 2nd and I am floored to win the Overall Prize.

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