Cliches make me tired.
I'm back from the tournament this weekend, the Hard Boyz Semi-Finals (Round 2 of 3) with a disappointing 3rd round finish. Disappointing only in the sense that it's what I earned; who wants what they earned? I'll take 1st on a lucky break and write home about my new 2500pt army GW can pack'n'mail.
But it wasn't to be dear reader (yes, reader singular - as in, there is only one of you). At Challenge Games in Lubbock, TX, a fantastic and friendly venue I highly recommend, Adam took 1st with Mechdar, Bruce took 2nd with Vulcan 'Bestof,Lite', and I scratched for 3rd with my Hybrid Eldar.
I'll write up the other two games over the next few days - look out for Game 3, where it is evidently okay to slowplay a victory - but for now let's take a brief look at Game 2 against the eventual winner, Adam and his Mechdar.
Eldard plus 10 Warlocks
2 Dragons (8 inc Exarch DBF) in WS w BL SS
3 Avengers minimal in WS w BL SS
3 Fire Prism w HF SS
Look familiar? It's a netlist, and by that I only mean its a variation of a known, agressive build with hard-hitting units and tons of mobility. Let's talk about that for a moment. I know many players look to the net for ideas. Then there are people who copy their army list point for point from their favorite site. The last category of player develops a list over time, learning its strengths and weaknesses over time, molding an army until it works - so many times these lists resemble other lists across the country because like-minded people are bound to work out the same ideas across the board.
There's no right or wrong in any of that; I think most of us dabble in all three types of development over the years, but keep in mind there are few original ideas out there. Recently Stelek championed the Rifleman Dread, that is, a Dreadnought with 2 TL-Autocannons. Now how long has that option been available, staring people in the face, before its truely awesome potential saw discussion? It's where new builds come from, in my admittedly never humble opinion, some smart-cookie having an ephiphany while sitting on the pot reading a tattered codex for the umpteenth time.
Sorry for the aside, but why did I bring it up? Well, Stelek's been championing his view of competative play for over half a year now which I've described before as economy of points, reason and redundancy, and MechMechMech. Adam's list was more the disciple of these tenants than my own, so when all things else were equal...
I was outplayed and could do little about it. Instructive, no?
A few words about the game: I won't bore you with play-by-play in hindsight. It was played in Round 2 so obviously scenario 2 was used. This scenario was 'Fumble in the Dark (With Your Pants Down And A Stupid Grin On Your Face)'...
Okay, I added that last part, but what a bullshit scenario - who thinks of this shit? Nightfight was in effect the whole game and 6 counters were placed, but only 3 of them were worth anything, so on turns 2, 4, and 6 you'd randomly find out where the money was. This was further clusterfucked by having two Eldrads on the board... know what Runes of Warding do to each other? It makes it much easier for your precious psyker to hurt himself playing with fire.
I lost the choice and was forced to go first. I decided I'd have to play aggressively given his obvious advantage in mobility; obviously he'd swoop in and claim objectives on the last turn and I couldn't afford to allow him that. I attacked on the middle/left, blocking and baiting with my tarpit and trying to force his Serpents down. My plan was to try to force a fight in one place while my Pathfinders waited in the wings to identify then claim the objectives.
So I forced his Fire Dragons out of his tanks. He took a turn firing everything at my Fortune'd Seer Council, killing one. That's what they were there for. He then surprised me by throwing both his Dragons in the assault. It was a good move. They were dead regardless, but he tied down my Council when I'd probably have movd them away completely, killing off his Dragons another way. As it was, it gave him the option to break out on both flanks, abandoning the fight but effectively staking his claim to the win. I played my ass off, making a fight of it, but my Pathfinders and Reapers couldn't do a thing about his Wave Serpents and Fire Prisms. (Note: see the black and orange Fire Dragons on the hill? They were from the Serpent I had blocking the rear-armor shot to the middle Serpent... didn't want you thinking I did the in-game equivalent of turning around and bending over.)
This last picture is from his last movement phase. I'd done my best, but he was easily able to contest all the objectives from me, then he cleaned my Pathfinders from off one objective, cementing his win.
So that's it then. Adam was a genuine guy, very cool and very funny. As an example we were joking around about Eldar on Eldar action and shared a faux-passionate huge with everyone looking on. Not a lot of guys get me, but he had a great sense of humor and enough self-esteem not to sweat the homo-erotic humor. My kind of guy.
A few last points...
The Avatar is always awesome. He played the strong linchpin of my force, tying up the enemy and keeping units in the fight that would have otherwise run. That said, he doesn't have a place in the more mobile army I'm going to HAVE to build in the future.
I have a slight issue with craters. A vehicle explosion leaves (can? should?) a crater that is dangerous terrain. I've only ever used this rule if my opponent has a crater to put on the board to represent it, but Adam's FLGS uses the rule at all times, so I went with it and we proxied it, leaving the clear bases behind to represent the crater. Adam later landed a Fire Prism on one and pointed out my Jetbikes require a dangerous terrain test to assault him. I lost a model. Now, I'm not bringing it up because it changed the game, because it didn't. I'm just not sure how I feel about this convention. I'm sure I could have set up an assault that didn't include the crater had it actually been represented. I was taken by surprise, never having really come across this in-game, so I'm going to have to decide how I want to handle it in the future. How big is the crater? Does it block line of sight? Is it shaped exactly like a Serpent, or Land Raider, or what? It's just an oddity and certainly nothing Adam was doing to trip me up. Quite the opposite - I was really out of sorts that game and he was very cool about it.
Last thing: Adam used a 10-strong Seer Council in a Wave Serpent with Eldrad attached. I've heard Stelek blast the foot-option, but it was a tough nut to crack once it was stuck in. Also, Adam seemed to think it counted as a retinue for Eldrad and 1) he couldn't be targeted and 2) he couldn't leave. We had a brief discussion. He showed me the Retinue rule in the BBB and I said "Yes, but show me where it says Retinue in the Eldar Codex." I maintained it was an option opened up by the purchase of a Farseer but otherwise an IC operated as normal. I'm confident I'm right, but I'm putting it out there anyway.
This has gone on long enough - take care all...
Note: I've written this blog as a submission for Yes The Truth Hurts, Stelek and Co.'s tactica site, primarily because I believe it illustrates many of his points on Eldar builds. I include it here because this is my blog... but nobody actually reads it anyway!