Justin and I seem to always meet at Da Boyz. I narrowly won our first game with my Sisters against his Necron destroyer list in 2010. In 2012 I played his Tyranids with Daemons and he beat me pretty handily. This is a great chance for redemption. I also found out he has had a great year at GT's this year.
Justin is bringing Tau and I wish we had a bit more Line of Sight blocking on the board. Unfortunately, there is not a lot I can do about that. His wife had also come with him to the GT - but she was stuck inside a bit due to the snow storm raging that day.
This game is going to be tough. Justin is a really solid player and he brought a very competitive army to the event - as evidenced by his standing thus far at the GT. The parameters for this game were:
Primary: Emperor's Will - only enemy objective counts
Deployment: Dawn of War
Tau w/ Space Marine (Iron Hands) Allies
Tau Commander w/ Command and Control Node, Vectored Retro Thrusters, Neuroweb System Jammer, Onager Gauntlet, Puretide Engram Neurochip, Multispectrum Sensor Suite
Chapter Master on Bike w/ Artificer Armor, Shield Eternal, Power Fist
Riptide w/ Ion Accelerator, Smart Missile Systems, Early Warning Override
Riptide w/ Ion Accelerator, Smart Missile Systems, Early Warning Override, Positional Relay
Scouts w/ Bolters
Skyray w/ Smart Missile Systems, Blacksun Filters
Skyray w/ Smart Missile Systems, Blacksun Filters
5x Centurions w/ Grav Cannons, Missile Launchers and Omniscope
Psychic Powers/Warlord Traits
Fateweaver: Perfect Timing/Inferno :: Enfeeble/Invisibility
Herald of Khorne: Grimoire of True Names
Horrors: Flickering Fire
Commander: Night Attacker (which does not matter this game)
There is a lot of firepower in this army. Luckily, I win the option to go first or second and decide to go second so I can respond with my deployment. I am not going to be able to do much about his unit of Cover Ignoring, Hitting and Running, Stealth, Shrouded, Rerolling Misses Centurions that infiltrate.
When we place objectives, I know the Kroot will want to outflank onto their objectives - so I place mine symmetrically at the center of my deployment zone. I want to make those Kroot work to get there and to force Justin to protect them from my assault units.
In reserves for Justin are three units of Kroot - 2x Outflanking. 1 units of Scouts - normal reserves. He is actually a bit spread across the board overall - but his units have such a long range they will have a chance to shoot regardless. I put as much of my army in reserve as possible - and outflank the Seekers and Hounds, Deep Strike the Daemonettes and Horrors while having the Plagues walk on. The plagues walking on was done to force more units near my board edge where I put my objectives.
Shadowsun appears 18" away from my Soul Grinder with her super unit - Centurions, Bike Chapter Master and Suit Commander. I elect not to seize and realize I made a small mistake here because the unit can actually shoot at Fate with its orbital bombardment.
The Skyrays and Riptide both unload all they have into the Hounds - but I still make it into assault to wreck one Skyray. I predictably lose a soul Grinder as the deathstar advances forward - and luckily Fate does not get hit by the Orbital Bombardment. Fate gets a 2++ while the Hounds are invisible.
I knock a Hull Point off the other Sky Ray and Stun it - but otherwise manage no damage.
The deathstar advances and it takes out my second Soul Grinder. 2 units of Kroot arrive on my right board edge - along with a scout unit that moves onto the objective by the right hand side Riptide. I take some more fire on the Hounds and a Riptide assaults them - I win combat by 2 (luckily!) but fail to break the Riptide.
Fateweaver gets the Grimoire again and moves to take down some Kroot - she casts Perfect Timing to ignore cover.
For reserves I get the Seekers, Plaguebearers and Daemonettes. I start hunting down troops and surround the Riptide and Scouts.
This might be the first time I manage to get a Seeker unit into assault with a 2+ save I want to take out in a while.
I leave a bit too much of a gap here and the Kroot arrive to take shots at the Seekers.
Justin fails to Nova Charge his shield and takes a wound - I think this was his second nova charge wound.
The Centurions double back to protect the Kroot - there are only 3 left in the top unit due to Fateweaver.
Justin's shooting is very good and I lose way more models than I had hoped to. The Riptide assaults the Seekers to protect the scouts and tie them up a bit.
There used to be a Kroot unit here, but I knock them out in assault with the Plaguebearers and the Daemonettes. Fateweaver has grabbed the Grimoire again and used Perfect Timing to annihilate another Kroot unit. In the next picture you can barely see my Flesh Hounds that arrived to backup the Seekers - I want to hold that rear objective with my Horrors next turn.
There are a lot of dead Seekers and Daemonettes as the Centurions try to make it back to deal with the Hounds/Seekers/Fateweaver. Unfortuantely, the Seekers took down the Riptide his turn and the Scout assault on the Hounds goes poorly - Justin was trying to edge out a win and force me into an instability test. It was probably his best bet in that corner because the scouts were otherwise dead.
The Seekers are not all dead though! The Horrors make their Deep Strike with little scatter and stay out of Line of Sight. The Seekers advance to threaten the last two remaining
Fateweaver tries to take down the last two Kroot with Flickering Fire and Perfect Timing but she perils her attempt! I fail the charge with the Plagues on them as well and the Seekers are running as fast as they can.
Remember that Riptide close combat? It went on this long with the Riptide - and the Chapter Master bailed out the unit a few turns ago. My Herald is dead but one hound remains to lock the Riptide in place.
We were closing out on time - so I will finish the narrative here. The Chapter Master Turbo Boosts forward, but I have a wall of Flesh Hounds surrounding the Horrors that sit on the objectives. Fateweaver and the Seekers both lineup to take down the last Kroot - who have been joined by Shadowsun for Stealth and Shroud. She is in the back though since she used her jet pack move to get to the Emperor's Will objective.
Fateweaver casts Perfect Timing - then unloads with Flickering Fire, Bolt of Tzeentch and Inferno. Flickering Fire was enough - but I used all 3 to minimize the chance of losing to a single Deny the Witch or failed psychic check. Without the Kroot, Shadowsun cannot hold the objectives...
Primary: 1 - 0 Win
Secondary: 1 - 0 Win
First Blood: 0
Slay the Warlord: 0
The score on this game is really not indicative of how close the game was overall. The Centurions put out a lot of firepower and put down a lot of wounds - even when they were wounding on 6's against all of my Daemons. Really the key discriminator here was getting Perfect Timing on Fateweaver.
Round 6 Thoughts
Justin is a great player - I do not think I need to tell anyone that - and while the matchup favored me in this game, it was a really tight game down to the wire. Perfect Timing on Fateweaver was huge, as she was able to hunt down Justin's weak troop units while my assault elements kept enough pressure on for long enough to keep my own safe. Overall, I think this is the best game I played over the entire tournament - and I really started to get a feel for how this army plays overall against 2+ armor.
Although some of my units were not up to the quality I would have liked - I did change my list at the last minute - I was able to earn a decent painting score this year. I am proud to have put together a fully painted and based force for the event, especially since I could use so few of my other units. Between Battle/Sports/Painting/List Bonus I earned a score of:
Battle Points: 149
This score puts me in 8th place overall for the tournament - my best finish at Da Boyz to date or at a major GT for that matter. I think I have a lot of opportunities to improve - mainly by pushing myself as a painter over the next year to elevate the quality of my army. There were a lot of details I could have picked out on models, better shading/blending and more details added to my bases to push forward the overall theme. I am really looking forward to adding these elements now that I have a strong base to work forward from.
As a reflection on my thoughts on the list from Game 1 to Game 6, I really evolved to play this list the way it was meant to be played. In the first few games I tried to use it as a blunt instrument - and while there are times when it can overwhelm and opponent, there are other games when it needs to use its speed to avoid threats, setup assaults and wait for the correct moment/place to commit. I went from trying to annihilate the enemy army in early games to playing more for the objectives and focusing on the key units that needed to be taken down or controlled.
I have a new iteration of this list I played at the Millennium Games Invitational - I did not take any pictures of the games, I wanted to enjoy them a bit more than be a photographer - but I will discuss some of those changes and how they played out over the tournament.