Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Assault on Arkham- The Games

Guess who won?!? The answer may be surprising!

A few weeks back, Arkham Gaming Centre in Gleno, Northern Ireland held a two day tournament and what a fantastic weekend was had by all.
The tables looked great, the atmosphere was brilliant and I achieved my first top ten finish, coming in at eighth place.
The Missions for all five games had a primary and secondary objective as well as allowing tournament points for victory point difference. This made the scores reflect the true nature of how the battle is going. Often (especially with Imperial Guard in kill point missions) the game will seem pretty much neck and neck, but the kill points are unfavourably against the imperial guard.

The list I took can be seen HERE

Day 1

My first game, (dawn of war, capture and control primary, seize ground secondary) I was paired off against a grey knight player with 6 Psyfleman dreadnaughts. This was a potentially scary army and allowed to alpha-strike, could have been potentially devastating. I managed to out range two of the psyflemen by placing all of my army bar one squad of hydras on the opposite flank (Also so all my melta vets and vendettas could hit Mordrak’s squad). The picture above sums up the game (and indeed the whole weekend) quite nicely. Those psyflemen are scary, but with so many points invested in them and Mordrak, there was little on the field in terms of scoring units. Truthfully, I think I went after the psyflemen a bit too much, leaving the two lonely strike squads in razorback untouched until too late. Meaning I couldn’t know him off his home objective in time.
Despite his cruel army list, my opponent Darragh was one of the nicest guys to play. He had also magnetized and painted his whole Grey knight army with style.  The game ended with the primary and secondary mission a draw, but I just pulled ahead on victory points.

The three red dots are the long fang deployments. The shoe boxes were counted as big orange bunkers, +2 to hit. :)

Game two I faced off against a space wolf army. The mission was Annihilation primary, capture and control secondary with spearhead deployment.
I knew this was going to be a tough one. Thunder wolf cavalry, 3 squads of long fangs, a few squads in razorbacks and some wolf scouts made this list quite daunting. Surprisingly with spearhead deployment, my opponent deployed two squads of his long fangs at the extreme corner of his own deployment zone. Everything else he pushed up as far as it would go up the field. I deployed out of reach of the two squads of long fangs, knowing they would have to move for at least two turns to get range.
In his first turn he pushed forward, knocking out two vendettas with split fire from the one long fang unit in range. I lost a chimera as well, due to some shoddy deployment on my part which exposed side armour to his razorbacks.

The thunder wolf cavalry went down pretty much first turn to my manticore, with only the lord surviving, and I took out a razorback and 2 marines with the same manticore shot.
Apart from this my first turn firepower was rather ineffective, I did drop the second razor back and managed to kill another marine, but with his long fangs on top of a bunker, I failed to kill any.
Turn two and his long fangs where now in range, next turn I would feel their full firepower. He managed to bring in his wolf scouts right at my manticore’s backside.  I kept fire on his troops, killing the last remaining razorback, a couple of marines, and the scouts that had taken out my manticore.

By turn 5 most of my vehicles where wrecks. All but one squad of my troops were still alive and kicking, but he had bunkered his forces into terrain to hold his objective, as every time he had tried to advance, my meltagunners had simply destroyed anything that got too close.
The game ended here, with me losing out on Kill points, drawing on capture and control and I was just slightly behind on kill points. The truth is I was a little too afraid of the Thunder Wolves, and perhaps not afraid enough of the Long Fangs.

Game three was against my friend Michael (pitched battle, Seize ground primary and Annihilation secondary). His Death wing are fantastic looking and severely scary on the tabletop. The mission was pretty much Ideal (although I stood little chance of a Kill point win). The table wasn’t exactly perfect, but seizing the initiative went a long way to helping me knock out two of his vindicators and a couple of land speeders early on.
The main problem I had was that even with killing a decent amount of terminators, I couldn’t get rid of any more than one complete squad. In fact, even getting a squad down to half strength proved difficult. Eventually, I ran out of steam and the death wing pinned me to the wall. I lost both the Annihilation and seize ground missions and scraped away with a draw in victory points.
Michael played well and despite some early bad luck he played very well.

Day 2
I had it all to do at this point. I was currently sitting in 18th Place (four from bottom). I needed at least a win or so to pull me into mid pack. Unfortunately I only got pictures of the boards from day 1.

Game four and my first opponent of the day was Eldar. The mission was Annihilation with a secondary mission of seize ground. Deployment was Dawn of war.
Probably my worst mission type, given my twenty kill points but the early turns went well for me. I managed to take out his pathfinders with 4 flamers delivered by vendetta. He did sneak a few moves on me though; outflanking war walkers and 3+ saves from his jet bikes allowed him to hold the left field objective. His dire Avengers in heavy cover held the right objective until my chimeras with heavy flamers turned up and his avatar chomped nicely through my melta vets.

The whole game came down to one roll though. If the game ended in turn five, I would have lost by one kill point and suffered a defeat in the seize ground objective as well.

Luckily it kept going for one more turn and I was able to take out three more kill points, knock him off the third objective to draw the secondary mission and pull slightly ahead on victory points.
So going into game 5 I had one clear win, one sort of draw and two losses. Not bad, given my usual tournament record.

And then I got paired up with the Psyfleman dread grey knights again...

I was very nervous going into this game. Mission was pitched battle, capture and control primary and Annihilation secondary. We both knew each other’s surprises and he won the dice roll for choice of turn. Surprisingly he let me go first. He said it was because he had gone first in all his other games and it felt wrong to do this the whole tournament. This is probably what helped me do quite well in this game, as given a turn to try and hit his psyflemen, I knocked out two in the first turn and stopped another three from firing. His troops where in reserve and he held mordrak back this time, fearing my meltagunners.

By turn five I was ahead on kill points with five out of six psyflemen destroyed and the final one had no weapons. Only then I remembered that the main mission was capture and control. I started a headlong dash to move my meltagunners in range of his final troop choice resting on his home objective. If the game hadn’t lasted the full two extra turns, I doubt I would have taken him off his objective, but luckily I got my meltas there on time and hit the final strike squad with everything I had.

So I finished up the day with a decisive victory, but also with a great game against a great opponent. We will definitely be having another grudge match soon I’m sure!

Conclusions- Well I think my list held its own. My only issue that I have is controlling the mid field, as I have a lot of long range and short range weapons, but there seems to be that awkward turn where I have run out of long range firepower and my short range stuff is just not quite reaching.  I did make some silly mistakes, but overall I think my game has become tighter over the two tournaments I have played this summer.
 I think guard are a little more effective at 1750 than 1500 with that extra 250 buying a few more aces up your sleeve.

A great weekend and a great set of games! Thank you Arkham and Thank you Johnny (tournament organiser extraordinaire!

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