April 7, 2010

NATCON Tournament wrap up (lots of pictures)

Got back from NATCON 2010 on Sunday. First tournament of the year and while it was thoroughly enjoyable with some great opponents as an event it was a complete washout as far as my own gaming went. 8 games over 3 days with 7 losses and a single draw. Two of those loses came in the last turn of the game when major units broke and fled after failing stubborn L10 break tests. First tournament I have taken Dwarfs to that I have not recorded a win. Only have myself to blame really as I made a lot of mistakes in the first few games that cost me big points and got thumped by stronger armies in the others.

Two positives to come out of it on a personal note was that I moved up a few places in the National Rankings and gained the Best General Icon for Dwarfs which to be honest isn't that hard to get for them. The second was that I found a group of regular Warmachine players who are looking at running regular 1-day Warmachine tournaments - SIMPLY AWESOME - much easier to get away for a day than a weekend.

Game 1 vs. Mal Patel / Lizardmen
2-18 LOSS

Lost through bad deployment and some very unlucky dice rolls
General and his unit became isolated on right flank allowing LM to charge through centre held by Longbeards and other Hammerer unit
Stonethrower hit Stegadon but could only get a single wound
Longbeards were destroyed when charged by Stegadon and LM General
2nd Hammerer unit held on until single model left

Longbeards eventually rallied but by then were only unit left and were reduced down to the BSB and Thane accompanying them
Single Hammerer held up a unit of S/Warriors as he stubbornly held on delaying the inevitable.
These and Quarrellers in building were only remaining units with only a dead Stegadon and a dead Carnosaur belonging to the LM General to show for it

Opponent was a very nice guy who offered some great advice, particularly in relation to his general who charged my Thane and BSB in the remaining Longbeards. If I had challenged I would have killed him and/or won on CR as he would not have been able to kill any of the weaker Longbeards in the challenge.

Game 2 vs. Darren S / Lizardmen
5-15 LOSS

Facing army with 3 large blocks of infantry, a Slann and 60 Skinks

Forests on terrain board meant I could by deploying centre of board ensure that they funnelled toward me at the centre of the board. Basically I got shot to bits especially my Generals unit which spent the entire game spinning around and around slowing dying a model at a time. Only the other unit of Hammerers really did anything in a knock down drag out fight with the Slanns unit of protective Warriors. I was helped here by the Organ Gun shooting across the front of my units from the wood on my left flank. The Runesmith also in there stopped the OG from getting dealt to by Skinks by charging them by himself and killing off 5 of them before the end of the game. Game ended with the Hammerers down to 4 models and the Thane, with a unit of Warriors in the flank of the Slann who had only 2 Warriors left. In the rear of the Hammerers the Stegadon had returned to charge in but had failed to do anything.

Game 3 vs. Neil Williamson / Warriors of Chaos
6-14 LOSS

Chaos general, unit of Chaos Knights and Chaos Chariot charge Hammerers and General and kill 3 Hammerers. General kills Chariot and Chaos Knights with General are forced to flee.
Giant picks up and throws BSB then falls onto Longbeards killing 7 of them. Giant is wounded by Organ Gun & Quarrellers before finally being killed off by Longbeards and BSB.
Organ Gun kills 8 Chaos Warriors from unit of 12 which is eventually killed off
Turning point was magic inspired panic check on Hammers with BSB and Thane in final turn of game. They failed rolling double 6’s fled and granted my opponent 634 pts turning what should have been a 10-10 draw into a really bad 6-14 loss.

Terrain set up allowed me to deploy unit of Quarrellers in building with Runesmith on right flank and Stonethrower on large hill in centre of deployment zone. Infantry went in between except for small unit of Warriors who went on hill to left of Stonethrower.

Terrain was characterised, helpfully, by large chunk of difficult terrain at foot of hill this would allow me effectively anchor one corner of my army and swing it around securing the rear with the small unit of warriors and the Quarrellers. I deployed the Warmachines early putting the Organ Gun by the building. Whether this influenced my opponents deployment I am not sure but he put both units of Knights on my left well away from my infantry.

Basically he had one option swing his cavalry round through a small gap in my left rear past the Warriors and Stonethrower and into the Quarrellers, while pinning my infantry down with his dogs and chaos warriors.

I used the Strollaz Rune to push my entire line forward including the Organ Gun. After the dice roll I was given the first turn and continued to swing the line around using the difficult terrain as the pivot point. This opened up the Organ Gun to fire on the Chaos Warriors in Turn 2.

Next few turns saw the Chaos Knights charge my Hammers and flee. The Chaos Chariot and Giant charge and die and the Warriors get brutalised by the Organ Gun, flee from the Hammerers and get finished off by the Quarrellers. The majority of the Chaos army swung around behind me going for the small gap.

Combat was going 50:50 and by end of Turn 5 we were even on points. At end of my Turn 6 we were still even. Then it was Neil’s turn and his last act rather than charging my two remaining units (both Hammerers) was to throw magic at one of them. Losing 3 Hammerers I had to take a panic check were anything other than an 11 or a 12 would be fine. I rolled a 12 fled in the last turn and had 634 points go over to Neil’s tally. So instead of finishing with a slight 100pt deficit and a 10-10 draw I ended down by 700pts and on the losing side of a 6-14 defeat.

Game 4 – vs. Lizardmen
LOSS 8-12

Enjoyable game against a new player who had only been playing WHFB for six months and was in his first tournament
He had 2 large units of Saurus Warriors, a Slann with Temple Guard and the other usual suspects. Annoying unit was the Engine of the Gods which kept spamming a damn ward saving missile shield over everything, saved his army twice over.

Key moments were him getting an irresistible force pit of shades off against Hammerers. Majority of his army swung around behind my right flank and did very little. Both Hammerer units with Thane and General attacked his Slann and accompanying Temple Guard. Organ Gun wiped out unit of Saurus Warriors over period of 2-3 turns. Hammerers got Slann unit down to about three models and Slann but were unable to finish them off.
Engine of the Gods rampaged through army but was forced to flee twice from the Longbeards including crucial failed check in last turn which handed me their victory points, unfortunately Stubborn Slann held out (just) and I couldn’t get him to flee in last turn.

Game 5 – vs. Dwarfs
DRAW 10-10

Against Nick Buckby’s dwarf horde, basically three units of Quarreller’s, one of Hammerers, one of Slayers, five of Warriors and one of Longbeards with no Warmachines and only two characters a Runesmith general and the BSB.

Basically we marched into each other I killed his Hammerer unit with my Hammerers and killed a unit of Warriors with missile fire. He killed my War Machines and a unit of Warriors and we finished on an even draw with Nick getting a slight 120VP advantage. Game was over in 40 minutes so we had around 2 hours to wait for the next game.

Game 6 – vs. Kent Jackson/Vampire Counts
LOSS 2-18

I was looking forward to this one as it wasn’t that strong a list although it did have 10 PD. Basically I fucked it up – badly. I got freaked out about a forest that would allow his ethereal units to approach me unsighted (Black Knights and Banshees) and marched straight into combat. What I should have done was kept shooting and shooting at his Generals unit while sticking my IFT units in front on the big hill that I didn’t make good enough use of.

Still I should have powered through what were three small units of Skeletons and Grave Guard with all three of my infantry blocks in a solid line. But my Longbeards lost on CR, ran away and were cut down along with my BSB allowing the Grave Guard to advance through the middle of my army. My Hammerers which should have been OK with the Lord and Thane in them suffered when the Lord was killed in the 2nd round of combat. After that his Hammerers were no longer IFT were outnumbered ran and cut down.
Rest of game consisted of my Organ Gun blasting away at everything in sight, kept rolling 8’s and 10’s all day which was nice. Basically it gave me those 2 points. The other Hammerer unit was reduced to just the front rank facing the VC general and a full unit of Grave Guard and a Necromancer with a full unit of Skeletons. The Grave Guard were in the rear so I was always rolling on Stubborn. Unfortunately it wasn’t until TURN 6 that I remembered that you could target attacks at people in B2B and finally directed my Thane against the VC General reducing him to two wounds. If I had done that 4 rounds earlier I would have killed him and game would have gone much differently. Still things you learn, or rather re-learn, and that’s the price you pay for entering tournaments when you are SO LACKING in game time.
Losing my General in turn 3 was enough to make me want to bash my head through the table.

Game 7 vs. Skaven
LOSS 8-12

Game I was really looking forward to as I had wanted to play against Skaven all weekend. Up against James Millington very nice guy who was my vote for best opponent of weekend. He had a large force of rats, slaves and a couple of the nastier units of infantry including plague monks and censor bearers. Unlike the other Skaven armies the army didn’t have a doomwheel or a big war machine thingy. It did however have a Vermin Lord and a Hell Pit Abomination.

Terrain allowed me to use a refused flank deployment aided by a building in the middle of the board up against the right hand edge which was where I deployed. A forest in the middle along with rough terrain meant that he had to funnel his larger number of troops through two very small gaps. This meant that I could safely predict what direction his monsters and infantry would come from and set up for it. It also meant that if his infantry, as it did, came through the larger gap it would bunch up giving me the opportunity to break through multiple units with a single effective charge attacking each in turn like dominos.

Points I remember most were that the game was played in great spirits and was the most enjoyable I had the entire weekend. We both set up traps and clear strategies. He sprung mine, I sprung his and it was only a series of calamities on either side that turned the game either way. Key happenings:
- The Organ Gun blasting the Censor Bearers to pieces in turn 1 after they got too close to the edge of the forest.
- The Hell Pit Abomination rolling a series of poor totals on 3D6 meaning it took nearly 4 turns to reach my deployment zone.
- The Organ Gun blowing up just as the Abomination and Vermin Lord were appearing in its firing line allowing both to freely charge at my remaining missile units.
- Both Hammerer units overrunning through James entire infantry force getting in charge after charge as his army broke around him
- The Rat Ogres flank charging the 2nd unit of Hammerers pinning it down as the Generals unit charged through and wiped out the remaining Skaven infantry including the General.
- Celebrating as my General cut down his and the Hammerers reached the other side of the board only to realise that his General was only worth 55pts, or 155 with the 100pt General bonus.
- My small group of Warriors fleeing the Abomination, only to return a few turns later after it had destroyed the Longbeards and Quarrellers to flank charge it along with the Gyrocopter and come within a dice roll of causing it to flee in Turn 6.
- The Rat Ogres reducing the 2nd Hammerer unit to 5 models including the accompanying Thane and requiring them to take a break test on Stubborn at the end of Turn 6, only for me to (a) throw a 10 when a 9 would have passed and (b) to forget that they had the RO Determination allowing them to take single break test on 1D6. This meant a 445pt unit with two captured banners fled in Turn 6 granting the VP to James and losing me two banners. This switched the result from 14-6 in my favour to 8-12 in his.

This game and the game against Neil Williamson taught me that I need to really remember what I have on each of my units. Little cards or tags on the movement trays will help here. This was the 2nd time in the weekend that I had forgotten about the RO Determination both times in Turn 6, both times resulting in a 600pt turn around to my opponent and the turning of a victory into a loss.

Game 8 vs. Warriors of Chaos
LOSS 1-19

Hated this game, didn’t like my opponent, really couldn’t be bothered playing it. He had four units of Frenzied Chaos Knights with various Banners and four big uberkiller characters plus other units. My only hope was that by castling up in the corner on a large hill my missile troops could kill enough of his units before they hit and killed me to get me some points.

So what happened? The Organ Gun misfired for 4 turns. The Stone Thrower scored three YES THREE direct hits on separate units of Chaos Knights and failed to score a single wound – NOT ONE!!!!!!!!!!! End result he charged me, all of my units died and the only reason I got a single point is because one unit of Hammerers broke and charged down one unit of Knights, and the Organ Gun in Turn 6 managed not to misfire and scored 10 hits and 8 wounds on another Knight unit wiping that out as well.

Really crappy way to end the tournament!!!

FINISHING POSITION 25th out of 32 players my worst result with Dwarfs and the first time I had gone through a tournament with them without getting a victory. In this case I had two victories snatched away because of bad luck or forgetfulness and one victory taken away because I was STUPID. After having ended 2009 by finishing 9th with a very similar Dwarf list this was not how I wanted to start 2010.

Anyway High Elves are next at RUNEFANG III after that its
- NICON (Tauranga 1500pts)
- Horned Rat (Wellington 2250pts)
- Call to Arms (Wellington 2250pts)
- Skitterleap (Wellington 2250pts)

High Elves are going to RUNEFANG III in 3 weeks time. My wife is keen on going to Tauranga so if the budget can take it then Ill enter that as well and probably take Dwarfs as 1500pts gives you a reasonable list.

Horned Rat will be High Elves. Call to Arms I will most likely take Dwarfs again because I like the punishment. Skitterleap will be High Elves or maybe Vampires.


Darth Weasel said...

ouch. at least you had a couple opponents you enjoyed. Hope the next one goes better

Dennis said...

Thanks for the write up and sorry things didn't go as planned. I'm not the most experienced dwarf player, but some things that I noticed from your reports...

Even though you're fielding the best artillery army in the game, you struggle against big monsters and chariots as well to some extent. I would suggest switching to bolt throwers, flame arrows or extra strength (can you reach S7?) so that you can take out the stegadons/hydras/abominations, etc. Not to mention potential flank shots on knights. 2 bolt throwers for next time, and possibly even a canon if you have the special slot available.

Two hammerers unit are great, you should continue with that. You fought arguably the most solid infantry block in the game, Slann lead Temple Guards and almost always killed them off entirely. Keep them at 20 strong.

You're paying a lot for the lord with shieldbearers for a character that doesn't seem to be getting his points back. Is ITP really worth the points? Perhaps against the VC... I don't know, I'm keen to running two killer thanes instead of the lord, and watch that CR rise for both your units.

You don't fear blocks of enemies, so skip the stone thrower. Possibly replace the Gyrocopter with another Organ Gun, unless you're going with even more shooting so that the marchblocking is worth it.

That's some of the things I could think of, not sure if they're much help but I hope to see your dwarfs to better next time :)

John said...

Thanks for great feedback Dennis - I am modifying the list at the moment to bring the Bolt Throwers back.

Taking the Stone Thrower was more about wanting to play it than how useful it might have been.

Unfortunately I need the ITF as NZ tournaments lean strongly toward Fear and Terror causing armies.

Double Organ Gun is a definate for next time around as its simply too good leave at home. Going to work on some unit fillers and see if I can squeeze in 3 units of Hammerers rather than 2 + 1 Longbeards.