Saturday, June 18, 2011

Dashofpepper at the Railhead Rumble GT: Game Four (with a side rant)

June 10, 2011: Dashofpepper makes the drive the Dallas, TX for the Railhead Rumble GT. I arrived in Dallas, checked into the hotel, picked Hulksmash up from the airport, and headed to the Sheraton to scope out the GT area of A-Kon.

19,200 mostly 16-25 year olds swarming an anime convention…an hour after arriving and pushing our way through dressed up (or undressed) anime fans, we finally discovered that the GT was in the attached Marriott and made our way there to check it out. I’m glad that we did an advance recon, or we would have been extremely late the following morning, which is probably why the GT was an hour late kicking off – others weren’t so fortunate!

I brought my Dark Eldar to the Railhead Rumble. The list is as follows:

Dashofpepper’s Darklight Storm:
HQ: Baron Sathonyx
HQ: Haemonculi with Shattershard and Crucible of Malediction

Troop1: 5x Warriors with a Blaster inside a Venom with Dual Splinter Cannons
Troop2: 5x Warriors with a Blaster inside a Venom with Dual Splinter Cannons
Troop3: 5x Warriors with a Blaster inside a Venom with Dual Splinter Cannons
Troop4: 5x Warriors with a Blaster inside a Venom with Dual Splinter Cannons
Troop5: 5x Warriors with a Blaster inside a Venom with Dual Splinter Cannons
Troop6: 9x Wyches with Haywire Grenades inside a Raider with Torment Grenade Launcher, Grisly Trophies, and Flickerfield

Elite1: 4x Trueborn with 4x Blasters in a Venom with Dual Splinter Cannons
Elite2: 4x Trueborn with 4x Blasters in a Venom with Dual Splinter Cannons
Elite3: 3x Trueborn with 4x Blasters in a Venom with Dual Splinter Cannons

Fast Attack1: 3x Beastmasters, 5x Khymerae, 4x Razorwing Flocks

Heavy Support1: Ravager with 3x Dark Lances and Flickerfield
Heavy Support2: Ravager with 3x Dark Lances and Flickerfield
Heavy Support3: Ravager with 3x Dark Lances and Flickerfield

Round Four with Mark Krueger
HQ: Librarian with Hammerhand, Might of Titan, Quicksilver, Shrouding, Warp Rift; Master Crafted Nemesis Force Sword, Storm Bolter, Terminator Armor
HQ: Ordo Xenos Inquisitor with 1x Servo Skull, Carapace Armour, All grenades, Chainsword

Troop1: Henchmen Warband: 4x Crusaders with Power Weapons and Storm Shields, 4x Death Cult Assassins with 2x Power Weapons each, Chimera with Multi-laser, Heavy Bolter
Troop2: Grey Knight Strike Squad: 4x Grey Knights, 1 Psycannon, 1x Justicar with Mastercrafted Nemesis Force Halberd in a Razorback with Psybolt Twin-Linked Assault Cannons
Troop3: Grey Knight Strike Squad: 4x Grey Knights, 1 Psycannon, 1x Justicar with Mastercrafted Nemesis Force Halberd in a Razorback with Psybolt Twin-Linked Assault Cannons
Troop4: Grey Knight Strike Squad: 4x Grey Knights, 1 Psycannon, 1x Justicar with Mastercrafted Nemesis Force Halberd in a Razorback with Psybolt Twin-Linked Assault Cannons

Elite1: 6x Purifiers; 2x Normal, 1x Daemonhammer, 1x Knight of the Flame with Force Halberd, 2x Psycannons in a Razorback with Psybolt Twin-Linked Assault Cannons
Elite2: 6x Purifiers; 2x Normal, 1x Daemonhammer, 1x Knight of the Flame with Force Halberd, 2x Psycannons in a Razorback with Psybolt Twin-Linked Assault Cannons

Heavy1: Psybolt Twin-Linked Autocannon Dreadnought
Heavy2: Psybolt Twin-Linked Autocannon Dreadnought
Heavy3: Psybolt Twin-Linked Autocannon Dreadnought

Annihilation, Costly Unit, Assassination in Dawn of War – right up my alley! I’m good at killing stuff, especially in Dawn of War. His most costly unit is the purple razorback’s purifiers, and I choose his Libararian for my assassination target. He picks Baron Sathonyx for his target, and the beasts are the most expensive unit.

This game has a modified DoW deployment; instead of one HQ and two troop units, you get two fast attack and one elite choice. They get choices, not units – so any dedicated transports can go out too.

We roll for deployment and Mark wins, and elects to have me go first. I choose to deploy my beast unit in midfield. I don’t deploy any elites because I can still flat out up the field and be in a midfield position to nuke wherever he comes in at.

Dashofpepper Turn One:
My army moves 24” onto the empty table to sit on a 4+ cover save. I didn’t take pictures the first turn by accident. >< I was probably in shock. My beasts move through the middle piece and into terrain.

Enemy Turn One:
Mark moves his whole army into the top left corner.

He opens fire and….notes that he doesn’t have to roll nightfight. Because the mission has modified Dawn of War…in that there is no Nightfight…in that a very shooty army now gets to alpha-strike me. Which means…that I probably just lost the game.

A trueborn venom explodes. Two of the trueborn inside die and they fail pinning. Another trueborn venom explodes. Two of the trueborn inside die but pass pinning. My third trueborn venom gets weapon destroyed. My wych raider gets wrecked – the wyches spill out the front.

FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK. How did I *NOT* read the mission carefully enough? I didn’t even PRETEND to worry about hiding or playing a ranged game because I thought it would be nightfight and I’d get a turn two alpha-strike.

Dashofpepper Turn Two:
I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place. Most of my venoms are on the wrong side of midfield to get in to shoot him, My wych transport went down midfield and the next piece of cover is miles away, two trueborn units are effectively out of the fight…and this turn…most of my army is *still* going to be out of the fight.

On the left, my remaining trueborn unit moves up 12” and disembarks behind cover to shoot at vehicles. My ravagers line up in midfield to try taking down some transports, and my wyches and haemonculi hoof it across open ground with the Baron and Beasts trailing as fast as they can.

All my troop venoms on the right are too far away from midfield to do anything, so they all move flat out to get in his face. Those two trueborn in the back left that didn’t get pinned are too far away to do anything, so they run forward.

My poor, poor army. L


I suspect that I’m not going to recover on the killpoint front, so I focus on the mission objectives for once. Momentarily at least. One razorback with Psybolt Twin-Linked Assault Cannons is as good as another, so I target the purple one with the most costly unit and explode it! Woohoo! At least now I’ll have a target for splinter cannons! Oh…I moved all those flat out.

I also weapon destroy the one next to it with my trueborn. My second ravager stuns another razorback, and the third one whiffs against the Chimera. The librarian is in there, and I want him out.
My beasts and wyches both run forward – far enough to get near the cover. I leave a couple of trailing wyches so that if he shoots at my beasts, I’ll get cover saves.

Enemy Turn Two:
The mutilation continues. Mark does some minor shifting on my left and disembarks his purifiers and strike squad. The dreadnoughts position themselves for optimal shooting.

The other pieces of his army shift along his backfield and disembarks behind his transports so that he can shoot at me some more.

This picture is what I’m seeing. It wouldn’t look NEARLY so bad if it were my turn.

On the right side, he wrecks two of my troop venoms with the razorback and dreadnought. Cover saves don’t help – both squads tumble out and fail pinning. The troops that disembarked fire on my wyches – who evaporate with the help of his psycannons that disembarked on the other side of the picture out of view.

Little rat bastards, now is NOT the time to go to ground.

On the other side of the board, one of my ravagers gets shaken and immobilized, while dreadnought and assault cannon fire that can only range my disembarked trueborn or their mostly harmless venom zero in on the trueborn, convincing them to go to ground. They miraculously pass like six 3+ cover saves.

Whatever shooting he has left plinks into the beast unit (most costly) and I lose two beastmasters and two khymerae (out of two) fail their invulnerable saves.

Dashofpepper Turn Three:
The beasts break off from the Baron. I need them with a 12” assault into something, and while I wouldn’t like to toss them at vehicles unless I have no choice, I’ll throw the Baron at vehicles. Or Dreadnoughts. I’m crazy like that.

That’s right. I’m eyeballing that dreadnought. I’m going to stick a pain token in that mother****er’s SARCOPHAGUS! And just in case, I’ve got three troop venoms and blasters in there to back me up.

My two trueborn that were hoofing it up midfield continue to hoof it up midfield, and stop where the other trueborn are ducking for cover. What did one Kabalite Trueborn say to the other Kabalite Trueborn? STAND UP AND FIGHT YOU NINNY! Unfortunately, they weren’t listening.

One of my ravagers stuns the chimera. A couple of my venoms on the right side of the field are lined up well to shoot at his costly unit purifiers, and I wipe them off the map. More splinter cannons and possibly even a ravager open up on the strike squad and take it down to one.

On the right side of the field, my embarked venoms can rapid fire into his disembarked strike squad, and they all die – less threat of a counter-attack now.

And that takes us to assault. I was off to a terrible start, and was desperately clawing for ground to not lose the game. Here’s where I nailed in my own coffin:

My beast unit is out of cover. The purifiers I was planning on assaulting all died. He has a lone grey knight left from his strike squad, and 5/6 of his purifiers sitting over there. The chimera is also full of Inquisitorial Assassins, and I don’t want to take them in the face. My preferred assault would be the chimera and the lone Grey Knight….but then I’m going to get assaulted by both the purifiers AND the crusaders/assassins/etc. My best hope seems to be in assaulting the lone grey knight, multi-assaulting into the razorback and then tertiary assaulting into the purifiers. There’s only five of them, and I think I can kill six models with my beast unit. If I win (or consolidate) I can potentially consolidate out of range of the crusaders getting off an assault on my beast unit.

What I DIDN’T know was that his Librarian had quicksilver. I assault into my three targets, and his librarian casts quicksilver on the purifiers, making them I10 and striking first.

I just looked that up in the codex, and see that it is supposed to be cast during the Librarian’s Movement. Not during the enemy assault phase. Come to think of it, being able to cast Quicksilver on a unit that just got charged…picking whatever unit you want and making them I10 would be a bit overpowered.

I should have asked. I tend to presume my opponents know their own rules.

At any rate, this sort of put the nails into my coffin. My beasts assaulted in…and lost two khymerae (and 8 attacks) at the I10 he wasn’t supposed to have, along with taking two wounds on razorwing flocks from Cleansing Flame. In return, I kill the lone strike squad member, one purifier, and lose combat by two – without Baron Sathonyx, I have bad leadership, so I break and run.

On the other side of the board, Baron Sathonyx assaults the dreadnought. I need 3+ to hit, and 6s to glance with STR6 on the charge. I get two glances! I immobilized and shake it.

I’m sure that I intended to stay in combat for a turn to keep his dreadnought from getting to shoot, but after shaking it….and forgetting about Fortitude momentarily, I decide to Hit and Run, and break 14” away from combat.

Enemy Turn Three:
Oh c’mon now. Even *I* know that Chimeras don’t have Fortitude. I ask my opponents to mark damage results on vehicles so that I don’t forget what happened to them; I do the same thing. It’s especially helpful when I can see when them in my battle reports.

While I’m consolidating the Baron away from the dreadnought and taking pictures, he tells me that he rolled and made his fortitude checks. I see that the Chimera is no longer stunned (and it shot at me) so he either rolled Fortitude for it, or took the dice off. The dreadnought makes his fortitude save and can shoot again.
*Mid-Battle Report Rant*

Alright, this is why I hate sportsmanship. The more I think about the game, the more the little things come back to me. During his second turn, as he moved his dreadnought, then the weapon-destroyed razorback, then the other razorback…he didn’t move the dreadnought, or didn’t get enough movement on the dreadnought to get all three vehicles where he wanted them. So he went back and moved it some more. Then moved the razorbacks some more. And I was like, “Uh…you can’t really go back to a unit and keep moving it after you’ve moved another unit.” And he was like, “No no, its fine, its fine.” And since my sportsmanship got tanked by douches at the last GT, I’m on my best behavior. I don’t want to make a fuss. I don’t want my sportsmanship getting tanked. So I let him do it.

During this turn three, his crusaders disembark from the Chimera before the Chimera moves up. They disembark 2”….a *VERY* generous 2”, then move up 6”. Towards my trueborn units. When I’m eyeballing it, I’m pretty sure that he won’t make it. But his movement gets him close enough that a good roll will make it. So again, I say something: Can you recheck your movement for me? That seems a bit far. He says, “I only moved 6”, 2” disembark…we’re good.” So I put my tape measure down from the closest point on his hatch, measure out 8”, and he’s at the 10” mark. I point it out to him. He nudges his models back a bit.

Again…I’m trying to be on my best behavior. I don’t want to lose because of my sportsmanship. So I let him do it – it costs me two units of trueborn.

Where’s the line? Now Mark – you’ve posted on the blog here. I’m not accusing you of intentionally cheating me. I think you need to tighten up on your rules for *sure*. I’m also not accusing you of intending to tank my sportsmanship – I’d like to think that you wouldn’t have done it. But I don’t know you, and in any given game, playing a strange opponent….exactly what purpose does sportsmanship serve except to let people get away with shenanigans because their opponents are afraid of getting their scores tanked. I think it’s a ridiculous fucking score and completely unnecessary in the tournament world. We’re adults. We can behave like adults. Those who can’t need to get tossed out of the GT. Chris Carlile is floating around out there – I’m told that my “negative” reputation for those who believe it in the area singularly stems from him in the area. A judge ruled against him at another GT, and he has the balls to call ME a cheater on the issue? Hostile spectate me? Motherfucker needed to be thrown out on the street and banned from organized events. I show up at the Railhead Rumble, and see Chris – I approach him trying to bury the hatchet and be the bigger man: “Chris, I took your advice on smaller venoms…” and he says, “DON’T FUCKING TALK TO ME.”

This petty douchery has a direct correlation to sportsmanship scoring. I beat Chris at the last GT. Tanking his sportsmanship serves NO purpose because he’s already out of the running. But tanking MY sportsmanship is some good petty vengeance.

You know how many people throughout the weekend (including judges) said to me some version of “Wow, you’re a pretty nice guy – nothing like I had heard.” I wonder where they fucking heard that from. I didn’t mean to rant on the side, but it all just bubbled up.

That was a bit tangential, and I’ll get back on track now. Again, I’m not raging at Mark – I’m raging that the existence of Sportsmanship scores make me act differently than I normally would – in that I feel forced to let people do illegal things for fear of my score and their influence on it.

I liked Mark during our game. I thought he was a good guy. I thought he was a good guy afterwards. I still think he’s a good guy; although I’m disappointed to find these issues during the battle report – because it would have literally changed the game. My problem is with sportsmanship scoring, what it represents, and how it gets used.

*end mid-battle report rant*

Anyway, back to the game. Enemy Turn Three.

On the left side of the board, his henchmen unit disembarks and moves 6” up in preparation of multi-assaulting my two trueborn units. The Chimera and razorbacks shift forward with the infantry to stay within 6” of my beasts to keep them fleeing while the dreadnoughts shift a bit to get optimal firing lanes.

He weapon destroys one of my ravagers, then explodes it with a multi-laser. *forehead slap*

His two dreadnoughts fire across at the unharmed ravager and the empty trueborn venom from the trueborn about to get wiped out. The venom explodes, and the ravager escaped unscathed.

Over on the right, a psycannon shakes one venom, assault cannons shake a second, and the immobilized dreadnought fires straight ahead into warriors, who pass cover saves.

The henchmen multi-assault my two trueborn units and wipe them out.

Dashofpepper Turn Four:
I roll for nightfight, and it sets in.

My beasts fall back 3D6. They’ve fallen back far enough that if I get lucky, I can kill a razorback over there and possibly be 6” away the following turn to try regrouping my beasts that he’s trying to escort off the board.

My lone trueborn in that picture from my third unit that got pinned out of his exploded venom lines up and explodes the forward razorback.

My ravager (no longer shaken) shoots at the other razorback and whiffs.

Over on the right, the Baron jumps 12” back in towards the razorback that still has cannons on it while my no-longer pinned warrior units line up blasters to try taking down his vehicles – and splinter cannons line up for shots at his grey knight unit.

I kill the strike unit under massed fire, but don’t managed to hurt any of his vehicles over there with all my blaster fire. Baron Sathonyx assaults into the razorback with a cannon and stuns it.

Enemy Turn Four:
He fails fortitude on the stunned razorback and it sits still. On the left, his purifiers get out of the way so that the other razorback can drive 12” forward to still be in escort range for my beast unit.

One of his psyfleman dreadnoughts explodes my immobilized ravager.

The other psyfleman dreadnought gets nightfight range to my other ravager and immobilized and stuns it.

The dreadnought on the right opens up on Baron Sathonyx for his assassination target and I make four 2++ saves.

Those purifiers light up my remaining solo trueborn and kill him too. Baron Sathonyx whiffs against the razorback he’s still in base contact with.

Dashofpepper Turn Five:
Alright….I have no anti-tank left on the left side of the board to try taking down the razorback escorting my beasts off the board, so he’s got costly unit on me. I also killed his costly unit. He’s going to take me on killpoints by a long shot, so my only hope is to kill his librarian and get the assassination target to tie objectives and make us go to victory points….which I’ll probably win given the relative cost of all the dead stuff.

My beasts fall back another 3D6.

Everything of mine makes a beeline to get shots at that chimera. Baron Sathonyx jumps 12” towards it and crosses his fingers for a good fleet roll to get into assault with either the chimera or preferabl y the Librarian inside.

We lost a turn in here somewhere. >< Because this is actually turn six.

I pour all my fire into the chimera – it takes every blaster (one or two which fail nightfight even with rerolls) to take it down), but I immobilize and finally wreck it.

Baron Sathonyx rolls a 1” for his run move and won’t make it anywhere useful, so he hangs around to assault another dreadnought.

The transportless unit on the right explodes the weaponless razorback, while the other transportless unit wrecks the dreadnought.

Every splinter cannon in the rear over there (three of them) open up on the Librarian – two fail nightfight even with night vision, and the third one fails to cause any wounds.

The other venom in midfield has no LOS to the Librarian so opens up on his purifiers and kills a couple.

Baron Sathonyx assaults into his dreadnought and we whiff against each other – I choose to stay locked in combat to tie up the dreadnought.

At this point, I concede. He’s got me on killpoints 13-11, we tied costly unit, and no one has the assassination target; so he’s got me 1-0-1 on objectives. I don’t get another turn, so his turn is irrelevant, he’s already won.

Post-Game Tactical Assessment:
I was enthused after the game. I made a mistake (not realizing there was no nightfight in the Dawn of War scenario) and Mark made me pay for it – I rarely lose, and it was a close game and well fought. In retrospect, I’m curious what would have happened in the beast assault if he hadn’t cast quicksilver during my assault…and I probably would have had one more surviving ravager. It would have changed the game, but in the end it was irrelevant. The GT setup was such that the first day was just a seeding bracket for day two; and with my only loss being to a 4-0 player, I’d end up in the top bracket with the same clean record as everyone else.

If I had known about the scenario, still going first…my beasts would have deployed centrally as they did, and I either would have reserved everything else, or moved on 6-12” flat out diagonally such that only his autocannons could have ranged me – leaving me with a mostly intact first second turn alpha-strike.