Saturday, December 20, 2008

2008 Liber Animus - Space Marines

Liber Animus V was held over the weekend in Melbourne. This was the fourth Liber I had attended. Over the past year I have been playing Fantasy rather than 40k and went into the tournament having played only 10 games in the past 12 months (largely as bye buster at two tournaments I ran).

My list was a traited Space Marine army (The Aventine) as follows:

Librarian with Fury of the Ancients and Fear of the Darkness with Terminator Command Squad with 2x Assault Cannon in Drop Pod

Chaplain with Terminator Honours, Adamantine Mantle and Power Fist with 8 man Command Squad with CCW/BP, 2x Melta Guns and Vet Sgt with Power Fist in Drop Pod

Venerable Dreadnaught with Extra Armour and Heavy Flamer upgrades in Drop Pod

2x Dreadnaught with Extra armour and Heavy Flamer upgrades in Drop Pod

2x 8 man Tactical Squad with BP/CCW, 2x Melta, Vet Sgt with PF in Drop Pod

2x 8 man Tactical Squad with Bolter, 2x Plasma Gun, Sgt with CCW/BP

No Fast Attack

No Heavy Support

There were 13 Eldar armies (4 of the 8 New Zealanders) playing in the event so prior to starting I called a Jihad on all Eldar commanders.

Game 1 – Mark Morrison (Nurgle Chaos) in Thunderhawk Down

I first met Mark 6-7 years ago and though attending at least one common tournament a year we had never played. We both share a “love” for the Death Guard and while I’ve cracked the ######s with the new Chaos Codex, Mark has continued to play a Nurgle Chaos army centred around the lack of daemons. He has written some really funny fluff entitled “Who left the Daemon cage open?”

The game was really tight because the Thunderhawk did not turn up until Turn 5. I spent the first few turns sniping Dreads (successful), Plague Marines (not successful), Mark doing the same. How often do you get 6 Dreads on the same table?

On Turn 5 the ship showed up. It promptly scattered onto my Librarian who in one of those fine cinematic moments, sensed its presence and tried to catch it – unsuccessfully!

Game ended in a draw which was fitting given how tight it was. Mark was a truly excellent opponent and it was no surprise when he won “Best Sport”.

Result – Draw

Game 2 – Jason Sedlak (Nurgle Chaos) in No Man’s Land

Jason had travelled from the West Coast of the USA for this tournament. He had a very nice and crisply painted army featuring four Plague Marine Squads in rhinos, two Vindicators, a squad of marked Terminators and a nasty Lord in Terminator armour.

The mission involved getting the most scoring units into the two 15” corner squares on your opponent’s side of the board. Clearly the mission suited a Drop pod army however it was still doable for Jason – unless he split his army.

Jason split his army into two equal parts, each going for one of his two target corners. This allowed me to concentrate my force on one side of the board working on the basis that if I destroyed one half of his army with mine I would be able to achieve a greater number of units in one of the target corners while ignoring the other.

And that’s how it worked. I destroyed two Vindicators and one Troop unit for the loss of my Terminators and a tactical squad. This gave me a low scoring win

Result – Win

Game 3 – Travis Cooper (Chaos) in Grab It!

So Round 3 and my third Chaos opponents. I had exhausted all Nurgle options so Travis’ army was Undivided with Noise Marine support. In this mission you had to hold the most designated terrain pieces.

Again this game had a number of “cinematic” moments; the most notable ones were the dysfunctional dreadnaughts and the retarded squad leaders. In the first involved a round of combat where two dreads failed to hit each other then next turn ensured mutual complete destruction. In the second, one of my tactical squads immobilised a rhino forcing the Noise Marines to disembark. The NM Champ opened up with his Doom Siren covering eight of my squad. Unfortunately he had bought the Kazoo version and only killed two. They then charged and were reduced to a single marine and the Power Weapon wielding champ. With “fearless” roll it dropped to just the Champ. Next turn he killed one Marine and my squad and a 3 attack Vet Sgt with Power Fist failed all theirs, broke and run. The Champ chased, doom sirened three in the following turn and then promptly missed with 4 Power Weapon attacks against the Sgt. This time he was squashed for his troubles.

So in the end I held three terrain pieces to none and managed to secure the victory.

Result – Win

Battle of the Ditch

On Saturday night we had the traditional Battle of the Ditch between Australia and New Zealand. Instigated in 2004 the New Zealanders have managed to secure this trophy each year though last year was a real nailbiter.

This year there were seven games. New Zealand went out to an early 3-1 lead with Hagen and myself drawing and Alan Borthwick and Charlie St. Clair winning. However things in the other three games were very touch and go. Kane squeaked a win out against Jack Dunn bringing it back to 3-2. We had to wait a further two hours for the final two results with John Tailby and Dan Atrill finishing in a draw after a nine turn game and Jason Isaac coming from well down (in fact gone) on Turn 4 to squeak a win. So 4.5 to 2.5 to New Zealand.

My game versus Tom Damin was very tight. I managed to bring down three of Tom’s units to below scoring on my Turn 6 to scrape a very fortuitous draw.

Game 4 – Kane Tucker (Eldar) in Hero

Another game over five years in the making. I first met Kane in 2003 at the Sydney GT and since then we correspond regularly….again we had never played.

We were both very happy to finally get the chance to game. The mission was Hero but really was a Take and Hold mission with each of us having our individual objectives. My objective came back 4” but Kane’s scattered a whopping 10” back placing it 6” from his base line – Great.

Because it was an Escalation mission I had a great chance to cause havoc in Kane’s army before the Avatar turned up. Of course my Librarian decided to have a sleep-in so I didn’t get to “Filth of the Darkness” his Avengers. My Chaplain also had a sleep-in turning up on Turn 4 as well. However the funniest arrival was that of my Hero. I had made him a baby Drop Pod. Taking the least favourable option i.e. not attaching him to a squad offtable, by the time he was due to arrive all the pods had landed. Therefore he walked onto the table on Turn 5.
There were a few highlights in the game from my point of view. Kane had been very proud about the survivability of his Wraithguard unit. When I killed nine in one turn of shooting he was a little less chipper. As is the case though the sole remaining guy and his Warlock minder killed my Venerable Dreadnaught next turn. Prince Yriel charged one of my other Dreads (who had previously lost his CCW arm). He managed to score three penetrating hits stunning it and removing its other arm. My Dread fluffed his attack back. Next turn Yriel managed three more damage rolls, immobilising the dread and stunning it again. This time my Dread didn’t miss, ending the career of the poncy eldar pirate.

The final highlight was the fight between the Wraithlords and my Termies. I managed to reduce one to one wound before they both charged my squad. Having killed one termie from shooting Kane had high hopes of killing the squad…..nada. Oh how we laughed. My six return attacks all failed to hit the constructs…..that wasn’t so funny. This went on for awhile and at the end of the game one of the Wraithlords was still trying to kill the Librarian.

The game ended in comic farce. In his last turn Kane moved his Wraithlords forward. The non-scoring one to get a shot on one of the units holding my objective and the other (scoring) into my fleeing Librarian. I thought he’s pretty confident, moving a potential scoring unit out of zone but thought he was after bonus points for most expensive unit. When he didn’t move a squad of Dire Avengers into zone I started to wonder what he was up to. Kane removed one of my scoring units and the game ended.

Kane’s smile disappeared when I said 1-0 to me.

Kane - “No it’s 3-1 to me”.

Pete - “Ahhh no….you have no units in 6” of the objectives”.

Kane – “It’s 12””

Pete – “It’s not, read the mission”

Kane (reading mission) – A series of very naughty words.

Given the stuffup I offered to call it a draw which is what it ended up. Great game and no surprise when Kane picked up 2nd Best Sport. Thanks for memorable game mate.

Game 5 – Myles Tyshing (Necrons) in Dirty Secrets

For the last three Libers Myles has been the technological expertise behind the event. It was excellent to see him at the table this time. He had brought a Necron army with strong base of Warriors, a squad of Immortals, Flayed Ones, Destroyers, Wraiths and Scarabs. He had two Lords and a Spyder. I figured that the best way to score Battle Points would be to phase him out, so that was my plan.

My mission was to take the centre and I realised pretty quickly that Miles had to get into my deployment zone.

First couple of turns saw me whittle away the Flayed Ones and Miles destroy one of my Dreads. The real action started on my Turn 3 when the Termies showed up. I got lucky with “Filth of the Darkness” which caused a unit of Warriors containing the foot Lord to run off the board. I brought most of my guns to bear on the Immortals, managing to wipe them out. Myles’ Monolith was hurting my units with its flux arc but unfortunately I was making a good number of saves (or in the case of the Dread was only stunning it). On Turn 4 I applied the squeeze. I managed to hit a Warrior unit with three of mine, and then caused the remaining Warriors and the Destroyers to flee with “Fear”. I knew that if I could win the combat and consolidate then I would win the game as both Myles fleeing units would be unable to rally being within 6” of my troops. In the end my superior numbers paid off and at the start of his next turn Myles phased out being two Necrons under the required level.

Result - Win

Game 6 – Aaron Graham (Traited Space Marines) in Gods of War

Aaron had a marine list with two Terminator Squads, two Venerable Dreads, two Tornados, standard Tactical Squad, small Squad in Razorback, small squad of Assault Marines, a Whirlwind and a Land Raider. The meeting was an Escalation mission.

I got lucky in that only three units (both Dreads and a CCW Tatical Squad) turned up on Turn Two. This meant I’d see more of his army before I had to commit my 6 remaining pods. Aaron was unlucky in that the majority of his units turned up. He wiped out a Tactical Squad and started what would be a marathon combat for his Terminator Squad versus my Dreads. He was very unlucky in not being able to finish the front dread off. On my Turn 3 I got the rest of my army bar the Ven Dread and was able to cause a world of hurt. I managed a Fury of the Ancients shot through 4 units, hurting Assault Marines and bringing down a Tornado. My other shooting wiped out the remaining Assault Marines and the second squad of Terminators as well as causing a wound to the Librarian and snagging more Tactical Marines.

The remaining parts of Aaron’s force showed up and he threw everything…..and when I say everything I’m pretty sure a kitchen sink flew past… my termies. Assault cannons, heavy bolters, lascannons all came their way …… and at the end one dead terminator. By law of averages he should have got three. I was very very relieved. In the centre one of my units took casualties and started falling back. It was never to rally as it always had enemy within 6”. Aaron charged his Librarian who had joined a Tactical Squad into my Chaplain’s squad. Over the next two turns they were finished off and my Chaplain was able to go after Aaron’s Termies who were now past the front dread and onto the second.

My terminators were able to destroy the Land Raider from shooting before they were assaulted by one of his dreads. Again my termie squad wouldn’t die, tying up the dread until the end of the game. Aaron’s other dread bagged my second bolter squad causing it to run so it never rallied. My late arriving Venerable Dread was able to destroy the second Tornado before it smashed the Whirlwind.

In the centre the second dread continued to hold up Aaron’s Termies who were eventually killed by my Chaplain’s squad with him taking out Aaron’s commander.

So a very brutal game where Aaron suffered less than average luck.

The Wash Up

I finished on 101 Battle Points, one behind Alan Borthwick. Liber counts down the placings and so when I was called up in the last three I was pretty happy. I had been there twice before finishing second at LAII and Liber III. Leigh Tressider was 3rd (which would have made his father proud) leaving two New Zealanders, Alan (who won it last year) and myself.

When Al was called in Second Place, I was pretty ecstatic. Finally had the Comissar monkey off my back. I was very humbled by the result and really appreciate those (starting with Al) that offered their congratulations.

I believe I had a good solid army that can play a limited set of tactics and win. However I would say I was lucky with my draw – I never got the hth horde or highly mobile armies that could expose the list. The other thing was I played a great group of opponents and had probably the most relaxed tournament experience I could have. Thanks to the seven guys I played.

As much as I enjoyed winning the biggest buzz I got was seeing my son Jack pick up 3rd in Players’ Choice. He’s fifteen and has produced a really high class army. It was great to see all the time and effort he put into it be rewarded by his peers.

Cheers to the rest of the Nzers who made the trip.....and to the local Vics and out of staters.

Finally, thanks to the organisers. I was a bit flat going into the event but Brad, Dan and Rat created a really relaxed tournament with an outstanding bunch of blokes attending. Well done guys!

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