Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Gateway Grand Tournament Thoughts and Results (sort of)

Well the weekend is over, and I managed to survive my first Grand Tournament.  It was a 5 round tournament held over two days, and  while I didn't perform nearly as well as I liked, after an objective analysis of my games, I performed much better than I originally thought I did.  All of my opponents were fantastic to play against and I wouldn't hesitate to play any of them again.  I did hear of a few individuals that had personality conflicts, but the judges were called over to settle disputes and nothing got too hairy.

What does that mean exactly?  The missions included Primary (15/7/3 pts), Secondary (10/5/2 pts), and Tertiary objectives (5/3/1) with two additional battle point modifiers worth one point each.  Most secondary objectives were table quarters while tertiary were typically old school victory points.  While I only earned a "win" on the primary objective on one game, I managed to win out on battle points on a few games and get soundly beaten twice for a final record of 3 wins and 2 losses.

My 2000 pt GT list
My list wasn't too special.  I brought Vulkan, 5 TH/SS Assault Terminators, 2 HF/MM Dreads, 2 Vindicators, 2 MM/HF Landspeeders, 2 Tactical Squads with Flamers, Lascannons, & TL LC Razorbacks, and 1 Tactical Squad in a Rhino with Flamer, Multi-Melta, Rhino, Powerfist, & Combi-melta.


...and after.
Game 1 was Capture & Control with Spearhead deployment.  My opponent played an Air Cavalry Imperial Guard list with 9 Vendettas loaded with melta vets and plasma command squads.  Seriously.  I had heard of speculation or theory-hammer, but this cat actually put nine of those bad boys down on the table...or at least 6.  He literally didn't have the room to deploy them all on the first turn so they came in on reserve.  With 27 twin linked lascannons, scout moves and all those extra plasma/melta weapons I thought I was doomed.  While I included a bit of long range shooting (4 total lascannons) in my list, I didn't have enough for this list.  I hunkered down like a scared little boy and wonder of wonders, my opponent came after me!  He brought his skimmers to within melta range and Vulkan was an absolute rock star, slinging guardsmen around like it was his job.  After the dust settled, I had downed all his Vendettas and most of their contents.  While we each controlled our own objective, I won on points 18 to 13.  I had killed 1900 points of his army to 730 of mine.  Take home lesson?  Do not get intimidated by the Vendetta swarm.  Yes, they would have been much, much more effective if he shot the snot out of me at range, but they are still guardsmen on the inside.  This guy finished 27th out of 37.

Ravenwing Assault!

I don't believe I need much more than this picture to describe my first loss of the weekend.  What you see is my opponent's Ravenguard force after his scout moves and first turn movement phase.  This mission was pitched battle deployment with a primary objective of killing your opponent's HQ choice.  His army contained a good deal of melta on bikes, and attack bikes.  After his first turn of shooting the left side of my army simply didn't exist anymore.  He used his superior movement to great advantage and his target selection was inspired.  He was rolling out of his mind for this game, and most of my destroyed vehicles were killed with a 7 on the vehicle damage chart.  While I wasn't tabled, this guy killed more of my army (1575 pts) than any other opponent on the day.  This game tied for my favorite of the tournament, and I had more fun with this one than I did with the win in the previous round.  This guy finished 22nd out of 37.

Eldar Seer Council on Jetbikes?  No thank you.
My final game on Saturday was against a buddy from Carbondale.  While I had known him (he's a member of the Lords of Egypt gaming club that plays out of Castle Perilous) for a few years, I had never gotten the chance to play him.  That was probably for the best.  This guy handed me my worst beating of the tournament.  He earned the maximum points (32) while I got the consolation amount (6) given to guys who just show up and let the other guys beat on them.  The mission was Annihilation with Dawn of War deployment.  Objectively, this was a great game.  He knew his rules, he knew his mission, and the game flowed very smoothly.  I got a bit emotional (something I aspire not to do...the other players don't deserve that sort of thing) because I just couldn't do anything against a 10 man Eldar Seer Council.  I don't care to hear calls about how big of a point sink that unit is.  700 some odd points?  Big deal, it easily had a bigger impact on my list.  The rest of his list included 3 fire prisms and some other transports.  There were some 5 man squads of Dire Avengers (who never fired a shot) and Fire Dragons (who blew up all sorts of stuff).  No two ways about it, I got crushed by a better list, and very likely a better player.  This guy finished 18th out of 37.


I looked at my first game on Saturday as a fresh start.  It was against an ultramarine list with a dakka pred, heavy bolter speeder, auto-cannon/missile launcher dread, vindicator, sniper scout squad, missile launcher/lascannon dev squad, two tac squads, and a command squad.  He had a squad of terminators and an assault squad in reserve.  The mission was to capture a flag at midfield and control it with an infantry squad for the remainder of the game.  The scouts infiltrated near the objective, took their scout move to control it, and used their turn one movement to move it to his deployment zone.  In essence, I was fighting for a draw the entire game.  I pummeled this guy's army (1710 victory points to 715) but he controlled the objective till the very end of the game.  Only Vulkan going on a rampage through his troops and killing the last scout in assault earned me a draw on the primary object and a win on battle points.  The frustration of the previous day reared its ugly head in this game as well.  I was more disappointed in my behavior (amounted to pouting essentially) during this game than at any other moment  during the tournament.  It really bothers me to act this way, especially during what amounts to a weak win, but I suppose it's my dirty secret.  I apologized to him about it, and I hope it didn't color my opponent's experience of the tournament.  This guy finished 29th out of 37.

My final game was against a gorgeous Ork army and a player who came into town from Lincoln, Nebraska.  He had a tricked out warboss, weirdboy, a mob of burna boyz on foot, some nobs in a battle wagon, two mobs of boys in trukks, some flash gits, and two Deff dreads.  The mission gave us the opportunity to secretly pick our mission objectives and we both picked kill points.  I figured he'd come at me like...well, like an Ork, so I turtled up and waited for him.  Turns out that I didn't have to wait too long as his weirdboy teleported his flashgits behind my lines.  This was a fun game for the both of us with some good shooting (got my first AV 14 kill with a rending assault cannon shot) and his nob unit assaulted its way across the field before falling to Vulkan.  I beat him on kill points in the end, because there was just too many templates in my army for his to withstand.  This game was the other winner of my "favorite game" award, and it's just too bad this guy lives so far away, but I am glad he made it to the St. Louis metro area for the tournament.  This guy finished 25th out of 37 and earned Best Sportsman.

I came away with a load of experiences, some positive some not so much, at my inaugural Grand Tournament.  My first negative is the fact that more of my club wasn't able to attend.  This event was a big deal for our area and we should have been able to support it with more players.  Overall, the tournament was a success in my mind.  The organization was there, the tables were beautiful, and the judges attentive and available.  I had a minor issue with the soft scoring (I didn't get points for conversions...yeah, not much to say about that one), but nothing earth shattering, and nothing that would prevent me from returning.  The final tally sheets can be found here.  Overall winner played a Deathwing Dark Angels list with 36 Terminators and three Land Speeders.  Imperial Guard, Space Wolves, and Chaos Space Marines rounded out the top 4.  A beautifully converted and painted Ork army won Best Appearance.  We had a pretty good mix of armies with the following attendees:(1) Tau, (1) Dark Eldar, (2) Eldar, (6) Space Marines, (2) Dark Angels, (5) Imperial Guard, (5) Space Wolves, (1) Chaos Space Marines, (3) Grey Knights, (3) Blood Angels, (5) Orks, (1) Tyranid, and (2) Black Templar.

Battle Points = 80 / 160 (not good here, not good at all and a main reason for my frustration)
Victory Points = 7071 / 10000 (not bad, but does it really matter if you let this trump your missions?)

The army got 47 points (Best Painted earned 52) for painting, and I somehow (in spite of my pouting) earned 51 sportsmanship points (Best Sportsman earned 53).  My overall score was 183 (Overall winner earned 224).  Those results were good enough to get me 13th place out of 37, which was the highest finish for a Codex: Space Marines army on the weekend.

I also apologize for the blurry pictures.  Here is a link to some photos of the event.  Apparently the iPhone 4 is not that great a platform for 40k tournament pictures...that or I don't know what I'm doing with it AND my army.  :) 


chaplainaerion said...

Max on sportsmanship was 51 (I believe), so well done there. The army that won best paint scored a 52, so you're in the ballpark (much higher than me, anyway :/ ). Apparently there are many questions about the paint scoring and the scorecard used will be posted shortly. Once it is I'll be sure to link you. My concern is not that I didn't win best appearance, nor that I scored lower than you, but that some of the armies that DID score higher than mine were not even remotely close in skill or appearance. I'm not trying to take anything away from the winner (if he's the guy I think he is, I even voted for him). But the fact that one of the armies I played against scored significantly higher than both you or I while being in all honesty one I would consider "decent tabletop quality" doesn't sit well with me. That, combined with the "conversions" issue you encountered tells me that the changes they are already discussing implementing (three judges as opposed to one, for example) are direly needed. That being said, I had an amazing time and I truly appreciate all the efforts put forth by the organizers. I truly hope it becomes an established event.

chaplainaerion said...

I was mistaken. The Sportsmanship winner scored a 53. Still not sure if that's the max, but it's the highest score so well done!

chosen1 said...

There must have been some kind of Bizzaro field over that facility that weekend for me to have finished higher than you. Although your two losses were bad ones, your wins were larger wins, and you finished with more Battle Points than I did. While the work you've done on my Salamanders is simply amazing, I think the overall look of your Templars is superior to my Salamanders. It was good to see the frustration some of the judges showed about the soft score process, but I am absolutely confident that crew will sort things out to make it an excellent event next year. I'm a bit down knowing that I won't be able to make it...

Anonymous said...

I wanted to go and planned to but the high cost of fuel, a unplanned for church event and finally the only other person who knows how to operate my churches Audio/visual equipment decided to go on vacation...after I had given 6 weeks of notice.

Guyver Blue

chosen1 said...

Don't sweat it blue. You are, literally, the farthest guy from the tournament in our group. It sucks that you couldn't be there, but we understand why you weren't.

Joel said...

Hi, I came across your site and wasn’t able to get an email address to contact you. Would you please consider adding a link to my website on your page. Please email me back and we'll talk about it.


Joel Houston

Chambers said...

How did you find the TAC squads?
Even in my BA army a very similar load out tends to be the workhorse of my army.

chosen1 said...

My twin linked lascannons worked out okay for me. The squad lascannons were horrible for me. I believe I dropped one vehicle out of five games. I never needed my powerfist, but I figure as soon as I don't take it...I'll run into a bunch of wraithlords, daemon princes, or dreads. They were brilliant against dismounted guardsmen, but were glorified objective grabbers in most circumstances. My quest to make them more relevant continues.

Chambers said...

Have you given thought to running the assault squad together with power weapons? I find that two of these squads form solid backbone for my army. I will ad the caveat that they almost with out exception run together as one squad.

Chad Clay said...

Hey there,

I'm Chad, the guy that played the Dark Angels Deathwing list, just wanted to drop a note saying thanks for the fun games out of your crew. I believe I played your buddies Black Templar, it was my favorite game of the tournament.

Also, awesome paint jobs on all your guy's stuff, was a pleasure to see it out on the table.

Thanks again for being a bunch of cool guys to play with.

-Chad Clay

chosen1 said...

Hey Chad, Thanks for stopping by! We enjoyed the heck out of the games we played with you guys too. Make sure you let us know if any of you are coming to the area, and we'll see about getting in some games. You guys need to come down for some more tournaments, but tell the fellas to lay off the butt kicking and let us poor locals win a few. :)