Saturday, December 17, 2011

2011 Invitational, Game #1

I'm actually going to do some batreps out of order since I still have five Grey Knight reports recorded, but you guys respond so much more to Tyranid content. 

Millennium Games held its invitational tournament on December 10th, finishing their 2011tournament season.  To earn a spot, you must have placed in the top two in one of their monthly tournaments.  I took best overall twice during the year with my Grey Knights,  but I have been playing them so much that I needed to mix it up.

The format would score table quarters, kill points, and objectives (5 fixed every game) with rotating order or priority with primaries worth 12bps, secondaries worth 6bps, and tertiaries worth 3bps.  Comp was also player scored with 6pts for each "favorite opponent list" votes or 3pts for each "second favorite list" vote.  Painting was worth 3pts/2pts/1pt voted by the players.

Since I have been playing my fluffy Grey Knight army so much, I decided to go back to my roots and put together a "harder" Tyranid list.  I would lose points in the comp and painting departments, but I wanted to max out my battle points.  I weighed the options with my two painted armies and just knew my painted Tyranid collection would handle table quarters and 5 objectives much better.  I took a modified version of my ATC list which ended up being:

Hive Tyrant + armored shell, old adversary, hive commander, devourers x2, paroxysm, leech essence
Tyrant Guard x3 + lash whips
Tyranid Prime + boneswords, toxin sacs, regeneration
Hive Guard x2
Hive Guard x2
Hive Guard x2
Genestealers x20 + broodlord w/talons
Genestealers x8 + toxin sacs
Genestealers x8 + adrenal glands
Gaunts x16 + devourers
Tervigon + catalyst, adrenal glands, toxin sacs

This list was designed primarily to "play the missions", going up the center with the deathstar to jump into table quarters, go after flank objectives with genestealers, and score the backfield with the tervigon and gaunts.  I like the table presence of triple hive guard units so I wasn't worried about the extra kill point.

When I arrived at the shop and helped set up terrain, I knew it was going to be a tough tournament with the best of the best locals including Jay, Shaun, Chris, and many more talented generals.  The field of armies included 2 GK, 2 BA, 2 DE, 2 Nids, 2 SW, 3 CSM, 2 SM, and 1 Eldar.

My first pairing was against Paul P's GK which I have played twice before in June and in April.  My record against Paul isn't good, but I'm getting accustomed to his play style and tricks.  His list was approximately:

Henchmen - 5 assassins, 5 acolytes + 2 melta, chimera
Henchmen - 5 acolytes, 3 plasma guns
Purifiers x6 + 6 halberds, rhino
Terminators x10 + 2 psycannons, psybolt ammo, 4 halberds, 2 hammers
Strike Knights x10 + 2 psycannons
Strike Knights x10 + 2 psycannons
Nemesis Dreadknight + hvy incinerator
Purgation squad x5 + 4 incinerators, 1 hammer, rhino

Pre-game:  His list has a lot of potential to hurt tyranids, so I have to play smart and hope he makes mistakes.  Fortunately for me, the combination of a tyrant deathstar running up the middle and outflanking genestealers tends to force people into making mistakes.  This mission would be diagonal deployment with primary being table quarters.

I won the roll-off and opted to go first so I could get FnP off and take less shooting casualties.  In my packing frenzy, I left the memory card out of my camera so pictures are from my cell phone.  As such, there won't be many and they aren't the best quality, so I apologize.

I deployed in my table quarter centrally, using a gaunt screen and smoke stacks to cover everything in case I lose the initiative.  Surprising me, Paul deploys deep into his corner, probably trying to save his rhinos from my hive guard.  This may give me an opening to pull him apart with lucky outflank rolls and a strong frontal assault.  He puts the plasma squad in the left point of his deployment zone.  I infiltrate the big unit of genestealers and outflank the small ones.

The game begins and I decide Paul probably won't pull his entire army across the board to go after genestealers, so I FnP the devil gaunts.  This would prove to be a big mistake for me!  Everything moves and runs to get better distance next turn instead of risking some long shots this turn.

Here is a shot after my first movement phase.  You can see Paul's terminators and two strike squads up front.  His three loaded rhinos are in the back.  I decide my genestealers won't do much damage to his wall of bodies, so they will go after the plasma henchmen and then fall back to hold that quarter and objective.

Paul surprises me again, pulling every unit except the far right strike squad towards my genestealers.
The grey knight army pours everything into the genestealers, who started the shooting phase with no cover or FnP due to my poor placement.  I lose more than half the squad after all the dice have fallen.  The stationary strike squad kills a few gaunts.

Both units of outflanking genestealers arrive, the furious charge unit on the right within reach of the strike squads or rhinos.  The poisoned unit arrives on the left, away from the action but fully capable of holding an objective and quarter.  My deathstar, devil gaunts, and hive guard move up nearing midfield with a huge amount of dakka dice.  I believe the fusillade killed 6 terminators and a few marines.  The terminators broke and fell back.  On the left, my genestealers steamroll the plasma henchmen.  On the right, 8 genestealers assault 10 strike knights, manage to kill 6ish, and finish the unit off with no retreat wounds.

Paul's terminators, still with both psycannons, rally and head towards the left to chase after my genestealers and that table quarter.  The dreadknight and remaining strike squad also head left.  All three transports drive towards the middle, with the incinerator unit jumping out to fry genestealers on the right.
I lose the right unit to the quadruple incinerators.  On the left, Paul shoots his entire army into the broodlord's unit and reduces it to two models who fail morale and fall back into synapse range.  This event is important because it denied Paul a kill points and will force him to shoot them again next turn.

I continue to push to the middle with the shooty units.  My tervigon is busy filling up the right quarters with gaunts.  My shooting is on fire and I explode the lead (purifier) rhino and wreck the second (purgation) rhino.  I then pump the purifiers with devourers and kill half of them.

Paul pulls his purgation squad and purifiers away from the middle and my tyrant.  He probably doesn't like the math in assault and wants to preserve his vp's to hold a quarter.  His shooting finishes off the broodlord's unit, half of the poison unit, and a bunch of devil gaunts.

I split the deathstar and send the tyrant to the right to gun down the purifiers.  The prime joins devil gaunts to help bolster that kp.  I spawn another unit of gaunts and prepare a big multi assault on the dreadknight with poisoned gaunts and poisoned genestealers.
Paul makes every save versus my shooting this turn, and his dreadknight survives my big assault.

He continues to back out the purifiers and purgators and puts a couple wounds on the tyrant's unit.  His terminators jump into the fray and I start losing that battle.  He dumps Coteaz and the henchmen out in the middle to drop some melta shots, but fails to do much damage.

The game wears down as my tyrant is able to shoot down the purifiers and pound the purgation squad in assault.  Paul eventually beats down my last genestealers and gaunts in the middle, but I counter by assaulting the dreadknight with my prime, killing it with poisoned power weapons.  My tervigon assaults Coteaz and instakills him before he can swing.  Hive guard end up immobilizing the chimera, sealing the game.

At the end of 7 turns, I pulled ahead to win with 3 table quarters, 3 objectives, and 1 more kill point for 21/21 battle points.  The game was a lot closer at turn 5, and we probably would have drawn on primary and secondary objectives had the game ended then.  Paul's dice were also a bit behind the curve, especially with his terminators which averaged casualties from my devourers more suited to their 3+ brothers.  This game was decided by the dice as both of us made a few mistakes which we both capitalized on.  It was a fun game and Paul was a great sport even when his dice went on vacation.


  1. I'm interested, you seem to have abandoned a tenet included in your competitive execution of Tyranids which is to include long-range shooting. Care to comment?

  2. These are great batreps. I am always here when a new one is posted.

  3. With a similar format to NOVA and expectation of solid ~25% coverage + blocks LOS terrain (all the tourneys there seem to have excellent terrain) - no long range is an acceptable risk, given just how tough some of the units in the list are, especially with 2 outflanking stealer units and that big monster unit of stealers to infiltrate as they'll discourage the gunline approach. There's only about 3 easy KPs in this list; fixed objectives and quarters will force the opponent into kill range for those victory conditions.

  4. @ Purgatus ~ This list was a product of several factors, some of which I anticipated incorrectly, and some risks that paid off.

    First, I wanted a fully painted army. This was in hopes to score some painting points. My army didn't win any "best painted" votes, so painting's influence on my list probably wasn't justified. I probably would have been better off with some podded Zoans to handle av14, but I never paired against any land raiders.

    Second, I built the list to beat the missions before I considered what the meta may be. Every game had 5 objectives with one centered and 4 12" from each quarter's board edge. Every game would also score table quarters. This format favors midfield domination. Opposing objectives are 24" apart, center dominating units can jump into any quarter, and there will never be a C&C objective on a table edge. I took a risk here not including long range firepower and as such I would consider my list "tailored" and not balanced for "all comers".

    Third, I had some limited knowledge of what the field of player would be like, since it is a local tournament and the top players earning invites tend to be the same. The most pressing need for long range firepower is the potential of facing land raiders and fast skimmers. We only have one local DE player that spams skimmers and I wasn't going to tailor against one opponent. Land raiders are always a problem for nids, but I figured my deathstar could handle whatever was hiding inside.

    Out of my 3 games, I dodged both DE players and didn't see a single land raider. My gamble in building a list to fight the format paid off in combination with my pairings. I probably wouldn't take this list to a tournament that used pure book missions.

    Normally, 2x8 genestealers outflanking can be avoided by deploying centrally. In this format, they're guaranteed to threaten 2 objectives or table quarters no matter which side they arrive on. Most players will instinctively take objectives early and hope you get an unfavorable outflank roll. However, with +1 to reserves and 66% chance to get the side you need at any given point, my outflanking genestealers influenced every game.

    Anyways, that's most of the thinking behind lack of long range shooting.

  5. @ Ghostin ~ Yes! We're on the same page. What the "average" players at many tournaments don't realize is mission format is a form of passive comp that often rewards "tailored" lists more than "all-comers" lists.

    Tyranids took Best Overall (Chris), and Best General (me) at this event. Both lists had several reserved units (genestealers, lictors) and tyrant deathstars to hold the middle. I used a unit of 20 genestealers, Chris used a huge unit of hormagaunts. Chris had outflanking warriors, I had genestealers and a tervigon for objective and quarter grabbing.

    BA took 2nd overall with a list that featured a lot of mobility. SW and DE were also on the top tables in the final round, but the 3rd game scored kill points as primary we we know how that goes for open topped skimmers.

    After getting crushed by SW at the ATC, I've become a lot more confident in my approach against them. You'll have to wait for game #3 to see how that went for me.

  6. Very interesting game. Can't wait to read game #3 report:)

  7. Cool stuff. I hadn't thought about the victory conditions being a passive form of comp, but it makes sense. Looking forward to the next ones!

  8. Actually we would have drawn on the primary and secondary if the game had ended after turn 6, but it was not to be ... great write-up and awesome Nid list to play against.