Saturday 15 February 2020

Adeptus Titanicus - The Battle for Gate 7


Back with some Adeptus Titanicus with The Claw (the_claw_74 on Instagram, do him a follow), and a fun narrative type game. The traitor forces of the Warmaster clash over a huge underground facility, the Proditor Manufactorum, on Esteban V in the Ultima Segmentum (not to be confused with Estaban III, home of the Legio Tempestus). Away from the front lines, Legio Magna lay claim to their recently conquered territory, but Legio Mortis demand the prize be ceded to them on grounds of seniority. Inevitably the titans walk, and the fate of Proditor Manufactorum will be decided at Gate 7.

So with the narrative determined, we built our forces and decided on the mission rules. We decided on 'a bit more than 1000 points' and both ended around 1085. As the Legio Mortis attackers, I took a fast moving, aggressive force with a Janissary maniple of two Warhounds and the new Reaver, with two banners of Questoris knights (one mine, one borrowed). The Legio Magna forces consisted of a Fortis maniple, with two Reavers and a Warlord. He definitely had more big guns than me, but I was hoping my speed would let me use the terrain and get outside of firing arcs.

Having not played much Titanicus recently (or at all), we kept it simple, with 5 turns, 12 inch deployment zones and an appropriate mission card each. As the attacker I selected Engage and Destroy, while The Claw picked Hold the Line, appropriately.

Titans on the table. I opted to overload the right flank, facing off against a melee Reaver, hoping my knights could march up the middle and draw some fire from the big guns at the back. Thanks to the raised centre of the board the terrain would prove to be quite effective at blocking line of sight.

In turn one Magna's big guns stayed back, while the melee Reaver charged up the middle. I moved my titans cagily around terrain to avoid most of the firepower. It proved effective as there was very minimal damage on the right flank.

With most of the firing solutions blocked, the first real shots in anger rang out from the Reaver's Gatling blaster and Volcano cannon, destroying one of my Knights.

Turn 2 and the melee Reaver failed a command check to Charge, instead moving forward right into all my guns. The Claw later said this was a big mistake, which it probably was, but I countered by moving my Reaver right into a clean firing arc of the Warlord.

ENGINE KILL! Combined fire from the Knights and Vulcan/Turbo laser Warhound stripped the shields, before the Inferno/Plasma Warhound picked up the kill with shots to the back. My Reaver didn't even get to fire it's Melta cannon. It did however get absolutely lit up by the Warlord, putting critical damage on the body and causing the reactor to run hot after pushing the void shields.

New Model Syndrome in full effect in turn 3 when the Reaver fell to it's own overheating plasma reactor.

Elsewhere though turn 3 was for manoeuvring, with Knights and Warhounds using the Full Stride order to get out of Firing Arcs. One of the banners wasn't able to get that far though and got the full firepower of the Warlord at close range, but miraculously the Lord Scion survived.

Turn 4 was all about moving in for the kill. I had initiative so I was able to do damage first, but with no more table to run to, I wasn't able to completely avoid the Warlord. The Knights danced around the Reaver, while the Warhounds did their thing, the Vulcan Mega Bolter unleashing an absolute storm of fire, stripping 4 void shields off by itself, then finishing the job with the Turbo laser. The Plasma blastgun then put some serious hurt in on the mighty engine. To rub salt in the wounds, the Warlord was unable to strip the shields from the closest Warhound!

The Reaver did finally kill off one of the Knight banners, but the Warlord was weakened, and the game would probably be decided based on if the Warhounds could kill it or if it would destroy one of them.

In turn 5, First Fire orders on the Warhounds caused further damage, while the Warlord got unlucky again in failing to reignite it's Void Shields (even with Emergency Repairs). It's machine spirit was clearly upset, as it woke up while attempting to fire the Volcano Cannon, and caused the engine to stomp forward and smash into my Warhound instead.

Finally the Warhounds fired again, the Plasma/Inferno gun taking a chunk of damage from the legs, and then eventually the Vulcan Mega Bolter securing the ENGINE KILL with called shots to the kneecaps. A magazine detonation later and my last Knight was destroyed, but with both Warhounds standing right in the Legio Magna side of the board, this one ended as a convincing victory for Legio Mortis!

So there we have it. Gate 7 falls, and Legio Mortis now lays claim to the Proditor Manufactorum. I feel like we are starting to get our eyes in a bit for the rules, and with the game flowing a little more smoothly, Titanicus is absolutely a blast. We both had a great game, though we made mistakes, I feel lessons were learned. I'd like to claim tactical genius, but I definitely got very lucky in this game, with The Claw's Warlord Titan particularly unlucky to fail several command checks, repair rolls and loads of void shield saves at first time of asking, and my rolling was pretty hot (overheating pun unintended.)

No doubt we will one day return to this place, and Legio Magna will be out for revenge... 

Tuesday 11 February 2020

Grand Tournament Day 2


Welcome back to the 40k Grand Tournament report, as we move onto day two. Day one is here, and my list is here. The Adeptus Mechanicus of Ryza and Taranis Imperial Knights continue on their quest to not be completely embarrassed in a relatively competitive setting, coming off two defeats and a victory in their recent encounters.

Game four was against Wayne with Chaos Knights. I forget most of the traitor names, but he had three 'crusaders', a 'preceptor' and one of each Armiger. They had a whole load of special rules that I largely forgot during the game, but there was a 4+ invulnerable one, one with a load of 'Freeblade' type rules and they all had +1 to hit in melee on the first round. The mission was Lockdown, and we had the corners deployment.

I took first turn, but Wayne was canny enough to deploy out of range of my Destroyers and the Valiant, so it was largely a turn of moving and some ineffectual fire from the Crusader. I did get my infantry out onto plenty of objectives which would put me ahead on points early on.

The Chaos Knights moved up to respond and opened fire. The Helverin and the big laser on the Desecrator (I think) melted most of the Destroyers, but the rest of the fire was fairly ineffectively poured into the Valiant. Lady Helena stood tall and her mount, The Defiant Flame, once again lived up to it's name. 

Speaking of flames, Helena charged forward and started spreading fire across the front rank of Traitor Knights, not killing any of them but reducing two below half wounds. Thanks to the Valiant soaking all the fire, I still had plenty of infantry to hold objectives and go further ahead on points.

In Wayne's turn, I got another stroke of luck as the Despoiler failed it's 'freeblade' leadership test (in spite of a CP reroll), forcing it to charge the closest target and be hitting on 6s with shooting. Elsewhere shooting did some damage but my knights were still standing. At the end of turn 2 the first full unit finally died as the Despoiler turbo-murdered a tech-priest Enginseer on an objective.

More Knight action in my turn, the Valiant and Crusader did some mopping up on the two damaged 'Crusaders', killing both (including one with the Thundercoil Harpoon!) My Armiger also did good, killing it's evil twin Warglaive. At this point I was way ahead on points so Wayne went for killing stuff...

The Armiger got sliced in half by the Despoiler (it did 30 wounds!), and some shooting did some serious damage to my big knights. I forget the exact details but I think the Valiant fell and got back up again, and then at some point there was a big explosion. As you can see there was a big pile of knights in the middle!

Eventually my forces cleared up the table, earning me a convincing win. This was a real fun, if short game. Wayne's big robots looked proper evil, and I enjoyed seeing some of their fun weird rules. Having infantry and loads of command points definitely gave me the edge in this scenario, but I also got a good chunk of luck with Helena's heroics. This also gave me two wins which means I was pretty satisfied no matter what happened next. (And I was even more satisfied after a cheeky carvery for lunch!)

Game 5 was against Andrew and more Knights! This time Imperial, using Hawkshroud, and bringing a Valiant! (#rightdominus). He took the Valiant, (with Ion Bulwark and the Traitor's Pyre, naturally), a Gallant, two Crusaders and Inquisitor Greyfax. Andrew was 'fresh' off the LVO the previous weekend, so he was bringing a jet lag friendly list. The mission was Crusade and we had the quartered deployment zone again.

Andrew was due to go first, and he told me he'd been seized on three times already. So of course I seized the initiative. This was really good for me because I had nowhere to hide my Destroyers and I was sure they weren't going to survive first turn. I immediately powered them up and knocked 18 wounds off a Crusader. Elsewhere my Knights did a chunk of damage off the Gallant. I think I got a little unlucky not to kill either of these targets. I chose not to shoot the Valiant, mainly because I thought it'd be really cool to have a Valiant fight! I also pushed out to grab several objectives for the next turn.

The Hawkshroud Knights did more or less as expected, and mostly deleted the Destroyers. I lost a fair few infantry but the Skitarii held firm on several objectives. Greyfax used a psychic power to give my Valiant -1 to hit for the turn. Then the charge phase, the fully operational Crusader charged the Armiger (finishing it off from shooting), and the Gallant used the large, line of sight blocking terrain piece in the center of the board to charge the Valiant without taking overwatch!

I believe Helena fell once again, but I played 'Our Darkest Hour' and she got back up. In my turn with Machine Spirit Resurgent she was fighting on the top profile, but at -1 from the pesky Inquisitor. My Knights killed off the Gallant and the wounded Crusader, but that left the other two knights largely untouched.

In Andrew's following turn Helena was finally brought down, and Camulus, in the Crusader, suffered damage. He also put a lot of fire into my infantry, blasting me off objectives and giving himself a probable lead at the start of his next turn. With my assets greatly diminished, I had to kill off at least one Knight in my turn to stand a chance. Camulus blasted the Crusader, damaging it significantly. Then I charged, but Andrew had saved enough CP to use the Hawkshroud stratagem and overwatch with the Valiant. The flamer reduced my Crusader to 10 wounds, then the Thundercoil Harpoon hit!

A wound and a failed save, and the Crusader was destroyed! I had two CP left and not much else, so I made it explode! With nothing really to speak of left, we talked out the last few turns, I had a chance to try and finish off the Crusader with my Tech-priests' Eradication rays, but it was not to be. Victory for Hawkshroud, a loss for the forces of the Omnissiah.

Another fun but quick game, played in absolutely the right spirit. Knights do tend to produce a lot of epic moments, but they are very swingy it seems. Andrew was convinced I'd take it after I seized, but I sure proved him wrong! I think if I'd been 4/0 at the start of this game I'd have prioritised killing the Gallant and then the Valiant, and probably held back a bit more with my Knights as well, but we both really wanted to see Valiants do cool stuff, and they did! I'd witnessed two knights killed by Thundercoil Harpoons in one day, so I was pretty happy with that! That said, with two short games on day 2 I did slightly regret taking a low model count army. With the three hour rounds I definitely could have played something with a lot more models and got more 40k for my money!

So in the end, 2 wins and 3 losses, I think is a respectable return. Fairly happy with how my army performed, most of it did more or less as expected. Overall I came somewhere in the 70s out of 91 players, which I was a little disappointed about, because I'd not picked up any favourite game votes. I think all my games were fun and my opponents all seemed to have a laugh, so I can only assume that it's an indication of the overall quality of games at the weekend that each of my opponents had other, even more fun games. I certainly didn't hear much of any of the sort of behaviour favourite game votes are supposed to stop, so I guess it did it's job even if I didn't directly benefit in the rankings.

More importantly of course I had a great time. It was a real fulfilling hobby experience, with five great opponents, lots of awesome armies on display, meeting up with some discord folks, chatting with other gamers and even an overall tournament victory for an Ork army! WAAAAGH! Even if you are only a tiny little bit competitive, like me, I definitely recommend the Warhammer World tournaments. Everyone I spoke to had a great time and it was just an awesome friendly atmosphere. It really felt like we were all there to have a good time, not just to win.

Thursday 6 February 2020

Grand Tournament Day 1


As you may well know by now (or have guessed from the title), I attended the Warhammer 40,000 Grand Tournament at Warhammer World recently. I took my AdMech and Knights (list can be found here) and had a great time! I was intending to write a longer battle report for each game, but I didn't stop to take as many pictures as I should have, and I've already started to forget some details, so I'm doing a post for each of the two days instead, with a shorter summary report of each battle.

In case anyone is a new reader here and doesn't know - I'm not captain competitive. I love playing 40k and I like to think I'm pretty experienced at the game in general, but I'm not a meta chaser and I'll always default to taking units that look cool or are fun over the most optimal ones. I built a list that I thought was reasonably tough, but I had no intention of going for the top tables. Realistically I was aiming for 2 or 3 wins out of 5 games to consider it a 'successful' event.

First game was against Dave, who brought a pure Dark Eldar list. He had a battalion of Archons, Warriors in Venoms and two Ravagers with the ignore cover trait, a vanguard of Urien and three units of two Talos with 4+ invulnerables and a Wych flyer wing with two Razorwings and a Voidraven who got +1 to wound against things with 10+ wounds. It was an interesting list with a bit of everything, and no annoying Vect stratagem. The mission was Scorched Earth.

We deployed on the short edges, and I held back a little back, wary of a long bomb turn 1 Talos charge. Dave went first, and his flyers immediately screamed across the board. He also go forward with Talos and Venoms to hold the central objectives on his turn 2.

The turn 1 shooting was a bit of a whiff. The Knights came out largely unscathed, and my infantry were passing enough saves to make them annoying. The destroyers took a lot of firepower, but only two of them died.

In my turn I split fire all over the shop, destroying a Ravager and a Talos and putting a lot of damage onto the planes (I forget if I downed one this turn). However I didn't do enough to shift the Drukhari off the objectives, including with charges from the Valiant and the Armiger, so Dave started turn 2 with a lead.

Charging Lady Helena in the Valiant forward was a big mistake! Dave was able to wrap around her to stop her escaping, and stop me shooting him off the objective. Knights can walk over infantry, but not monsters. There were then many turns of ineffectual stomping and Talos attacks.

Elsewhere my infantry were getting cleared off the table, but Lord Camulus in the Crusader was doing good blasting Venoms and flyers out of the sky.

Eventually the Valiant was destroyed, and exploded, taking out a lot of Dark Eldar, including a Venom, which then exploded itself and killed some more. In the latter turns I was left with just the Crusader, but the battle cannon and avenger Gatling cannon were proving effective at splitting fire, and by turn 6 I had cleared everything off the board aside from a cowering Archon (the warlord). I'd killed a lot, but Dave had wracked (get it?) up the points and was comfortably ahead at the end.

A good game full of fun moments and a good opponent. Dave said this was his first tournament, so I wished him luck for the rest of the event. He played well and had a nice list, and I'm not sure where he ended up overall, but after day one he'd got 3 wins under his belt. I think we played this game in a good spirit (we resolved a couple of possible disputes with the classic 4+ method) and it set a great tone for the weekend. 

Game two was against John with a stunning Dark Angels army, that eventually was nominated for best painted. He has some really beautiful freehand work depicting the face of a lion on the three Repulsors and Leviathan. Oh, and he had three Repulsors and a Leviathan. Gulp. The list was rounded out with scouts, two units of intercessors, Azreal and a couple of lieutenants. The mission was four pillars, but it hardly mattered. John commented at the start that whoever got first turn was going to win, and I was inclined to agree with him. With the corners deployment zones, there was limited line of sight blocking terrain, so no real way to hide our big guns.

John got to deploy first and built a shooty castle. I pushed the Knights up as far as possible and hid the Destroyers as best as possible (which wasn't very well) and hoped to seize. I did not.

Splitting fire between the Crusader and my infantry, the Repulsors were deadly, while the Leviathan moved up and gutted the Destroyer unit with it's storm cannons. Some extra bad luck on top for me as the Crusader exploded, killing off several depleted units and being unable to get back up. I think the Dark Angels had killed off seven of my units. John felt guilty and bought me a pint after that.

So on my turn one it basically became Lady Helena vs the world. I continued, trying some long shots to claw back points, including trying to kill all the troops to get the 'hold more' objective with my one remaining Destroyer and nuking Azrael with a Shieldbreaker missile. Neither gamble worked, and to add salt to the wounds, the Valiant was unable to destroy the Leviathan (the half damage stratagem saving it from 5 wounds from the Thundercoil Harpoon.)

With no real chance at the game, the Valiant managed to show some fight (Lady Helena's mount is not known as the Defiant Flame for nothing) and survived a full shooting phase from all the Repulsors.

The mighty machine did eventually fall (I think to overwatch from a Repulsor) and promptly exploded, finally killing off the Leviathan, and that was that.

It was a bit of a one sided game, sadly, but it was fun nonetheless with Knights exploding and some heroics in the face of certain defeat. Also gave me a lot of time before the next game to complete the Instagram phase. 

The final game of the day was against Blood Angels, and a nice man who's name completely escapes me. (If you are reading this, I'm sorry! Please correct me in the comments!) His list was all infantry, with a high number of jump packs and literally half his army starting off the board. He had a couple of Intercessor squads, scouts, two Devastator squads, two Assault squads with meltas, a classic smash Captain, an assortment of buffing characters with jump packs, a 6 man Inceptor squad (jumpy dudes) and two units of 10 Vanguard Veterans all with power axes and storm shields (and a thunder hammer on the sergeant). We played Ascension, and I got first turn.

After turn two I'd killed most of his board presence without too many losses. His turn 1 was never going to be impressive, but he got unlucky with the firepower he did have. After my turn two I think he had the Inceptors and a squad of scouts left on the board, and I had plonked an Enginseer on the central objective to start building up the points. However, in his turn two the battle changed significantly...

I'd managed to screen out his larger units from my back lines, but the characters had found a gap behind my Crusader, the warlord, and were eyeing up the charge. The Vanguard Vets jumped in, one unit murdering some Skitarii and the other charging the Valiant from around a building to avoid the overwatch. The Inceptors stripped wounds off the Armiger and charged it. A bunch of characters made it in to Camulus in the Crusader, including the smash captain. With all the buffs, they managed to reduce the Crusader down to a few wounds (possibly just one), but didn't quite take it down. The Valiant also lost a chunk of wounds but was still fighting at full effectiveness.

In my turn it was panic mode. Time to kill as much as possible. Knights stepped back and opened fire. Storm shields were good though, I think I killed 4 Vanguard from one unit and wounded several of the characters. The captain was on one wound! I'd have to charge him... The Destroyers charged up with the servitor maniple stratagem and killed 8 Vanguard from the other unit, making that flank feel a bit safer.

In combat the warlord stomped on the Smash Captain, but I think was destroyed by one of the other characters, causing an explosion that killed them all!

It was a bloodbath around the board, but that Enginseer was still scoring points. The Blood angels managed to kill off the Armiger and the Destroyers (mostly due to the Inceptors), leaving me with the Valiant and a smattering of characters and infantry, but eventually it was enough to hold the objectives and kill off the remaining units (apart from the scouts hiding in a ruin all game). In the end it was a comfortable, though bloody victory for the Knights of Taranis and their Ryza allies.

Another fun game and a good way to round out the day with a win. The Blood Angels were really scary, but they didn't quite have the staying power to really threaten me on the points. It was also another lovely army with a lot of old school-style black and yellow markings on them, which was cool. I left Warhammer World at the end of the day feeling tired, but happy. I'd gotten the one win to pretty much ensure I wasn't dead last, and one more win in the next day would see me happily into 'somewhere in the middle' territory.