Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Nicon 2011 Wrap Up!


I may have been a bit overly pessimistic when discounting my chances earlier when talking about Nicon 2011.

The dice have stopped clattering, the dust has settled, and in the end I managed to pull first by a healthy margin. It was by no means an easy run though, it felt like it was quite possibly one of the hardest runs I've had to do to date in terms of caliber of opponent.

I made a minor change to my list, switching out my 125 point warboss from my 1750 point list, to the 225 point Ghazghkull to round it out to 1850 points. This was the first no comp event I can remember in NZ in like... ever, and I was dead keen to use him as I'll probably never get another chance.

All up, I ran with: Ghaz, a KFF big mek, 8 meganobs in a battlewagon, 2x30 shoota boyz, 12 trukk boyz, 11 grots, 4 deffkoptas, and 2 squads of killa kans.

I won't go into too much detail for the games, but the rounds were as follows.

Round 1: James Dean, yes, the man with the coolest name ever. James used to work at GW, has fantastic military service stories, and paints like a red bull addicted daemon on crack; talk about an enjoyable mix to find in an opponent!
James had a pretty balanced Chaos list, a couple of squads in rhinos, a couple of 1k sons squads on foot, a lash sorcerer, 2 squads of daemons and a greater daemon, backed up by 2 oblits and a las/las pred.

Kill Points was the name of the game, and with dawn of war, I was able to start cramming boys down his throat early on. Ghaz got off to a brilliant start, taking out the lash sorcer and the oblits in a big multi charge, but then died like a dog to chaos marine/lesser daemon attacks, boo! Minimal kill points were lost however, and the game finished 19-1 to me.

Round 2: Damien Avery, my good friend and often partner in crime! This was the 4th or 5th time I've had to play Damien now, and he just keeps getting better and better. His Tyranid list remained untouched but competetive, consisting of a Tyrant with 2 guard, 5 Hive Guard, 2 tervigons and 2 squads of gaunts, 8 Ymargle stealers, 2 trygons, and 3 shrikes rocking boneswords.
Damien plays a very solid defensive blob that makes great use of screening. The mission objective was to secure a crashed thunderhawk in the centre of the table, so I held his threat at bay with the meganobs and ghaz waiting centrally in their battlewagon, until I could shoot away his gaunt screen and get stuck in. 2 Failed charges on a boyz squad from the Ymargles and then Shrikes saw his left flank collapse, allowing me to make my move and then sneak in with the grots to snake the objective.
I wasn't able to stop Damien getting the secondary (which was to kill a scoring unit of mine), so the game finished 17-3.
Damien recovered from this loss to go on a rampage and finished second overall.

Round 3 saw me drawing a previous NZ Master, Dave Lewy who had brought along some Necrons. Dave was running The Deceiver, Lord on Destroyer Body, 3x5 Immortals, 2x10 warriors, 7 Scarabs, 2 squads of destroyers, 3 heavy destroyers.
The mission was to claim 4 objectives that ticked up in value each time a unit died near them. The game was over quite quickly, as Dave was caught out by the reach of ork boyz and trukk boyz with a Ghaz Waaagh, the auto-6 getting the boyz squads right up into the face of his army, wiping out the lord + scarabs, and catching all of the destroyers with the trukkers. The last straw was The Deciever getting his head snipped off by a killer kan, so Dave conceeded and the game finished 20-0.

Round 4, the final round of day 1 and I was playing against Nikola Jacsic. Nikola is easily one of the best players in the country, and really showed a great understanding of the "great dance" that goes on in midfield contention in an objective game. Nicola was running a Nurgle warptime flying prince, a flying lash prince, a greater daemon, 2 squads of 2 oblits, a landraider full of beserkers, 2 squads of CSM in rhinos, and a token squad of plague marines.
The mission was "late orders", so we didn't find out until turn 4 that it was a 5 objective claim mission. Early on I had caught out Nikola's lash prince and greater daemon with shooting, but missed the opportunity to capitilise on this in turn 2. We traded units back and forth but in the end I was able to drive Nikola back into his own quarter in order to protect his secondary objective that was to hold terrain in his quarter, though this was at the expense of the meganobs. The game finished 17-5 in my favour, and was an incredibly draining hard game to finish the day on!

Bright and early the next morning saw me facing against Daniel Hayden's amazingly painted bright blue Tyranids. Daniel was running The Swarmlord with a guard, a Flyrant, 3 units of Hyve Guard, a Tervigon and squad of gaunts to make him troops, a squad of stealers with brood lord, and 2 trygons. Quite low in model count, but a lot of threat. The mission again was kill points, with modified KP totals for fast moving models.

To offset the modified KP's, I played my koptas so that they always outranged his Hyve Guard, and pulled the trukk out of the game to go help towards the secondary later on. Daniel refused flanked me, but I had set up centrally enough that instead I was able to make this work against him, especially with the added mobility from Ghazghkulls Waagh. In the end I had great consolidate rolls all game, so I was able to do a lot of offensive screening. This allowed me to do things like have Ghaz rock up and punch a trygon to death only to consolidate back and have a squad of boyz screen infron't of him, safe from multi tyrant revenge, and the same again with the meganobs. Some long and weird shaped tails on the boyz squads made for a couple of interesting multi charges, and in the end although there were a few turns of very careful consideration early on, the game finished up 20-0 to me.

Going into the last round, I was up against Doug Sainsbury. I have a lot of time for Doug, a nicer guy you will not meet. Reasonably new to the hobby, Doug has really hit it with the right attitude and as a result, has been able to develop some fantastic gameplay and some really well thought out lists. Doug suffers a little bit in the over-all by having no enjoyment at all for painting. While this is a perfectly valid approach to the hobby, I know people like Doug would love to be able to jump a few places up further, and I plan to do a series of articles that read like a cheat sheat for lazy people that don't like painting but will yield good looking results for minimal effort (and thus a higher painting score!).
The mission was effectively table quarters with 1 objective in the middle, where scoring units were needed to claim a quarter, no contesting. Doug had: Sammael in speeder, 3 Typhoons, 3 Dakkapreds, 3 dreads with TL-AC and Missile Launcher, 3 attack bikes, 2 squads of 3 bikes with 2 meltas, 1 of 6 with 2 plas.

I knew going into this round that I had developed enough of a lead that I needed ~5 points only from this game to win the event. The secondary was worth 5 points, and in this mission the secondary was kill points, where you picked 5 KP's in your opponents list secretly, and they were the only ones that counted. I knew that with all his anti tank, Doug would pick my 2 kan squads, Trukk, and Battle Wagon - and then for the 5th, I wasnt sure if it would be the koptas, trukk boyz, or grots - but decided to protect them and held all 3 in reserve. When these did come on, I had a big bit of LOS blocking terrain and they hid behind it all game. I was okay with not using these units, if it was going to secure me the tourney win.
Mean while in selecting Dougs units, I got to do the double whammy. I selected the 3 attack bikes, and 2 small bike squads - which would all but eliminate his scoring units. These are also the mobile scouting meltas he would have to use if he was going to get the battle wagon early, and as it turns out, thats exactly what he did.

I wound up gradually cleaning units up with shooting as I advanced, until a Ghazghkull Waagh caught them castled up in the corner with their pants down. In the end Doug only had 2 dreads left, and I was ahead on the secondary 5 KP's to 3, meaning that I had secured another 20-0 and with that the tournament.

Over all the event had a really great atmosphere. It was the first time in forever that I can remember where the end result wasnt soiled with bitching about comp scores, where everyone with a bad score is sure the judges got their score wrong, but all the rest right. In talking to most of the people who usually surf up the standings with a good comp score, they also seem happy with how it went down, so overall on the surface it appears to have been a success! I'm sure as more no comp events crop up, something will rear its ugly head, it seems to be wargamers nature to twist things with a bitter touch, but such is life!

I had a good enough time that the very next night I was down at a newly formed local club giving the space wolves a blat around the table, and I look forward to forging out in that strange new world!

- Charlie


  1. I would have loved to go to Nicon, hopefully a no comp event will make its way into the south island soon.

    Interesting that you say that most people had very similar lists, i would have expected at least a couple of SW or IG players to bring out the toys.

  2. Steve Davis' guard list definitely brought out all the toys, but it did already.

    In NZ's regular comp environment, no matter what you take in SW or IG you will get raped on comp because of the internet hate for them.

    As such, there is no point softening your list for a comp boost that the judges will not give you. Better to go balls to the wall anyway and have to win all 6 games.

    As such, their lists didn't really need to change from what they already ran.

  3. Well done Charlie great result.

    Looking through the lists I saw - most of them - i thought Steve's list was strongest but would have been stronger with PBS.

    The other list i liked was one of the BA lists. The one with multiple devs

  4. He actually took the PBS out to harden it up, and looking at his draw, I think it was the right call.

    From memory some of his games were:

    Necrons - whilst it would have excelled here, he did not need them vs Gav, and got the phase out.

    Tyranids - effectively useless

    Tyranids again - effectively useless

    Fearless Dark Angels - effectively useless

    CSM - from memory I think Hen was running a pretty much fearless army, rendering them useless, but can't remember. I just remember abbadon and 2 land raiders.

    Can't remember his other game, but his past experience was that they sounded great on paper but he just wasn't getting to use weaken resolve very often to great effect, and would get more mileage out of another squad of hydras rather than a mediocre large blast.

  5. Of couse agaunst that schedule its not going to be as effective :-) But another day another schedule it would be very effective. Overall i think it strengthens the list. I wasnt advocating it replace the hydras....that's crazy talk!

  6. I think he had found that in every tournament he had been to so far, they were never necessary.

  7. Really? I thought it would have been excellent versus orks, tau, marines, imperial guard, vanilla csm, non Avatar eldar etc, none of which are rare.

    What am i missing?

  8. You're missing the relevance to the NZ scene.

    Tau? There's 1 player who knows how to play properly, and he's so bored of them that he now borrows other armies.

    Non avatar eldar? They're still toting runes of warding, meaning you're paying a collection of points to kill your own psykers each turn most likely.

    Imperial guard? the threat will come from other mech lists, better to take more anti tank than make a squad of guardmen run away, only to have them pass the order that gets them back and basically achieve nothing.

    Orks it's only really useful against nobs. Trukk boyz you strand early anyway, and once you've killed enough orks for a test, you might as well just kill the last half a dozen in the 3~ turns it takes them to crawl across the table. Boyz squads you still have to kill 20 before they're not fearless anymore.
    I've played against PSB's somewhere around 20 times now, and have only lost the deffkopta unit to it, who was always meant to be a distraction anyway.

    So that leaves Vanilla CSM, where the CSM squads arent a threat anyway, and marines, where you achieve very little by making them run after the last FAQ. "I make you run! You fall back 7 inches!. Your turn, you auto rally, consolidate 3 inches, move forward another 6... so by making you run, I pulled you 2 inches closer!". It's even funnier when they run away a small amount.

    If it's not a good player with a good list on the other side of a mech guard list like that, its a 3 turn tabling in about 30 minutes.
    The squad isn't good enough against good players with good lists, and if it IS a threat, its target #1, which means to get the effect you need to duplicate it for redundancy, making for even more wasted points against all the armies it doesn't work against.

    I personally would probably still run the squad, so that it keeps my other squads alive due to the massive amounts of fear assosciated to it causing them to get a high amount of attention, but I would expect very little results out of it.

  9. Oh, and actually, if the orks get the first turn and its not DoW, the squad is useless if they took Ghaz too, which most ork players did.

    12 inches on. 12 inches forward. Wrecked vehicle = ~3.5 inches. ghaz pops waagh in guard turn, units become fearless, move 6, run 6, assault 6, = 45.5 inches. another +d6 if the ork player expected his wagon to get popped and preemptively disembarked and ran forward.

    Mean while all those "lascannon here" "melta gun here" wounds get allocated to Ghaz's 2+ invulnerable save and very little actually dies.

  10. From what I've heard from guard players in various discussions/podcasts etc, it seems the PBS helps to overcome a problem the mech guard seem to have in objective games, especially capture and control or similar. It gives them an easy way to clear the enemy scoring unit off the objective at a distance.

    It also seems like they would be ideal against your meganobs in your standard list (obviously not if Ghaz is there), so it's mind-boggling that players haven't adapted their lists to deal with you and your orks given your dominance on the scene over the last couple of years.

  11. Mindboggling....now there's a charitable word :-)