Saturday, December 20, 2008

2004 New Zealand GT - Death Guard

New Zealand Grand Tournament is held every September and is one of two Grand Tournaments in this part of the world. As always a group of Warlords ventured north to compete in the 40k tournament.

Arrived in Auckland Friday afternoon and after registering at GW a group of Warlords and other out of towners went out for a pre-tourney meal. I think we must all be getting old as it was a very quiet night.

The NZGT is six rounds over two days so is pretty intense. This year the missions from Komplete Fanatic were used with Dawn Engagement being played twice.

I took my Death Guard Legion “Legio Morbidius” that I’ve been painting over the past year. I already had a Death Guard army but in a labour of love I wanted to create a new incarnation. It had debuted three weeks ago at Call to Arms where I had been lucky enough to pick up Best Army and Players Choice. CTA had shown a couple of areas for improvement in the composition to provide greater flexibility so over the intervening time these changes were made.

The army (all have Mark of Nurgle):

Chaos Lord – Great Weapon, Daemon Armour, Daemon Stature, Daemon Aura, Daemonic Mutation, Great Weapon

Retinue – 6 Chosen Terminators, 2 Reaper Autocannons, two Power Fists, three Lightning Claws, Chaos Icon

14 man Plague Marine squad – two plasma guns, AC with Power Fist, Chaos Icon

7 man Plague Marine squad – melta gun, AC with Lightning Claws, Daemonic Strength in Rhino with Smoke and Extra Armour, Chaos Icon

7 Plague Bearers

7 Nurglings

Defiler with Mutated Hull

Predator with HB Sponsons, TL Lascannon, Extra Armour

So 45 models and 7 units.

Game One – Dawn Engagement – Doug Bisley (13th Company)

Doug had only recently started playing with the 13th Company. Previously he had used IG so I expect it was a real change. He had the normal 13th Coy toys with the exception of the Rune Priest – so no gate.

The key points in the battle were the Defiler destroying the 3 man Long Fang squad (leaving Doug with no long range anti-tank) and the Wulfen falling for the ‘tethered goat’ well away from the main action.

In the end I was able to score a fairly solid win. Doug is a great guy and we sat down after the game and discussed how he could strengthen his army to provide more flexibility. I wasn’t surprised when he went on to win Best Sport.

Best Unit - Defiler

19-7 win

Game Two – Commandos – Dave Millar (Daemonhunters)

Dave is an ex-pat New Zealander living in Melbourne and has a well-deserved reputation as a top-notch player. He was using a Daemonhunter army with a strong Grey Knight component and also two squads of Imperial Stormtroopers. His HQs were a Grand Master and an Inquisitor Lord.

I placed three commandos one side with the bulk of my army (I had the 14man squad as a blocking force). Dave split his more equally and had a 2:1 commando split.

The key points in the game were a defiler shot that covered 5 Grey Knights and 2 commandos scattering to no effect; Dave’s GM surviving a multitude of Inv. Saves to account for most of my Retinue plus the Lord before falling.

Both of us got two commandos off on the same turn and with little more to be achieved agreed a draw.

Dave is another excellent opponent and I was grateful to have the chance to lock horns. We both agreed the mission is broken as the Commandos with 5 PW attacks on the charge are just too powerful. GW should look at changing this stat line.

Best Unit – 14 man squad (but no-one stood out)

13-13 Draw

Game Three – Crash and Burn – Tim Roberts (Necrons)

This mission is the Thunderhawk Down variant and always a lot of fun. Tim had 4 units of ten warriors, a small squad of Pariahs, Lord on foot and heaps of Destroyers. There were two 4 Destroyer squads plus a single Heavy Destroyer.

My games with Tim are always very very hard. Tim is an extremely thoughtful player who knows how to use his army .Key to this mission is to retain flexibility until the ship comes down. The first few turns are a bit chess like as you try to inflict damage without sustaining too much.

I managed to knock over 10 necrons first turn (mainly due to the Defiler) however Tim made nine of 10 WBB rolls so it was all to naught. Prior to the TH crashing Tim destroyed my Nurglings.

When it came down it was just in front of my retinue and I was able to put a rhino in the gap blocking a huge swathe of LOS. Tim took the bait and blew it up….effectively marginalizing 3 of his 4 Necron squads and most of his Destroyers. I move most of my army up behind to jump on the objective if Tim came forward. He was forced to do this and through the objective went my two PM squads holding him up 3-4” away.

In the end I had held him away from it and was able to move enough on to claim.

Best Unit – 7 man squad

14-6 win

So end of Day One and I’ve two wins and a draw and sitting somewhere in the top half dozen – 6 points behind Dave Millar.

Game Four – Dawn Engagement – Jason Issac (Tyranids)

Jason is another Warlord and the two of us had played a couple of times recently. His army is a very tough Mutable Genus Tyranid with Winged HT, two squads of Leaping Warriors with Rending Claws, enhanced hormagaunts, genestealers, spinegaunts, a venom cannon toting Carnifex and the Red Terror. So very very quick.

Night fight first turn and Jason comes forward. Great. I’ve got one turn of shooting before it’s close combat for the rest of the game. Five night rolls and not one over 15”. Ouch.

From here the battle was a real arm wrestle. I managed to take what chances I had to get on top in a long hard fought game. We were starting to run into time constraints so agreed to finish on Turn 5. Jason was able to get his HT into my defiler and destroy it on this last turn which produced a swing of 580 points. This was enough to bring it back to a draw.

Another excellent game against a guy who is always a pleasure to play.

Best Unit – Nurglings (tied up squad of hormagaunts and spinegaunts)

Draw 14-13

Game Five – Seize and Defend – Craig Latta (Space Wolves)

Craig is another tournament regular that I hadn’t previously played. We had both been hoping that we would get a chance to battle. Last year he had finished 3rd at the GT with a Nurgle army so he had a strong knowledge of Death Guard.

Of the armies I fought I thought Craig’s was the best composed. He had two squads of Grey Hunters, one of Blood Claws, Ven Dread, Lord, single squad of 3 Attack Bikes, Predator, Vindicator and the ubiquitous Scouts.

This mission should be subtitled “Near or Far” as these are the two strategies. I had the choice and decided to play “Near” as I felt I was stronger in HtH.

The unit I was most scared of was the scouts – turning up late. In the end they arrived early and Craig had to commit them. The Primary Objectives were fought over by my 14 man squad, Plague Bearers and Retinue vs. Craig’s Grey Hunters and Blood Claws. I had Predator and Defiler in support while Craig had his Vindicator and Predator. In the end I was able to seize my objective while denying Craig his. I was helped by the defiler dispensing both infantry and then the Vindicator.

Really enjoyed playing Craig and hopefully we’ll meet again soon.

Best Unit – Defiler though all-round team effort.

Win 16-6

Game Six – Save the Shrine – Al Borthwick (Bad Moons Ork)

This was the game I had been looking forward to all tournament. For me, Al is a benchmark player; the guy that you grade yourself against. He had placed 2nd at the GT the previous three years after winning it in 2000.

The mission was not necessarily the one on which I wanted this confrontation to be decided as in playtesting our group had determined it to be heavily weighted in favour of the Defender. Al won the crucial roll and I split my army to attack the shrine.

What a letdown this game was to be. I had lost most of my army on the second turn to Al’s shooting and it ceased to be a contest. I did manage to get some Plaguebearers into the shrine where the killed Al’s warboss but the remnants of my force were easily shot away.

I don’t think there was much I could have done to turn the game and Al is too good a player to even give me a sniff.

Well done to Al…..I’m disappointed it wasn’t a contest but I hope I took it on the chin.

Best Unit – Plaguebearers

Loss 7-18

So three wins, two good draws and a pretty dismal loss. I was on a bit of a downer after the event because of the last game. It wasn’t the result rather the fact that had not been competitive. I also was suffering a little bit from the rush over the past fortnight to finish everything in time.

By my reckoning (I haven’t seen the results) I was still in the top eight for gameplay about 13-14 points behind the leader Darren Bufkin (Sisters of Battle)). We waited around for the hour or so for games to finish and results to be entered.

The GW staff went though LotR and Fantasy first with Fantasy being won by a Nurgle player (yay!!!). I got called up for Best Army and for Players’ Choice and was extremely humbled to win both of them. Al was second in both so it was nice from his pont of view to see the positions reversed for Best Painted. I knew that he really wanted to win that and deserved the prize after all the work he had put in on such a large (95 model) army.

Dave Millar got called up for 3rd Overall and then Al was called 2nd. I was a little dumbfounded when my name was called for 1st Overall as I had thought I was too far behind. It appears my soft scores got me over the line.

So shocked and again humbled. I appreciate the kind comments that came my way afterwards. I wasn’t particularly ebullient as I was still disappointed that the last game had been a no-contest (it did preserve my perfect record of losses in the last round of the four NZGTs I’ve been to). Looking back today I am extremely proud that I managed to back up last year’s win and also to pick up Players Choice and Best Army.

Thanks to all my opponents. I had six very good games over the course of the two days. The effort over the past month or so paid results but I’m not sure it’s something that I’ll go through again. I didn’t enjoy working to a deadline with this army (normally it motivates me). I’m not sure whether I’m just getting too old or whether it was because I had done a Death Guard army before. The other downer was that I was starting to feel the weight of expectation (mainly from myself) and this started to detract somewhat from the fun aspect.

No comments:

Post a Comment