Hard Boyz Finals 2009: Suckage, Redux

I went 1-2 at Hard Boyz 2009 in Chicago, so I was naturally pretty disappointed. One doesn't spend money on a plane ticket and a hotel room with the idea they're going to be middle of the road. Still, I like to learn from my losses, so I find myself thinking about those far more often than my successes, be it games or events.

Given the magnitude of the suckage here, I find myself thinking about this one a lot.  A LOT.

What's bad about this one is how I brought it on my myself.  How so?

I changed my list the day before getting on the plane.

(What's that?)

I changed my list the day before getting on the plane!


I could probably end the post here and everyone would understand, but let's take a look at it and try to understand what went wrong. Here's the list...

Game III, my lone Land Raider trying to blast away at his three Imperial versions.

Khorne Lord on Bike with Blood Feeder
3 Units of Chosen with a Meltagun and a Lascannon in a Rhino
1 Unit of Berserkers with a Champ with a Powerfist
3 Units of CSM's with a Champ with a Powerfist in a Rhino
1 Unit of Summoned Lesser Daemons
1 Unit of 5 Bikers with a Champ with a Powerfist
1 Land Raider
2 Units of Havocs with a Lascannon and 2 Missile Launchers in a Rhino

Total Roster Cost: 2499

Let's break it down.  (The Italics are my thoughts now.  I'm rewriting a post I made right after the event, updating it with my new thoughts.  To that end, let's compare and contrast my thoughts then and now.  So from here on down, my words in 2009 are in regular type and my thoughts now are in italics.)

Abaddon and the Berserkers in the Land Raider = Good (Abaddon is awesome, Berserkers are meh)
Khorne Lord w Bloodfeeder on Bike with supporting Bike Squad = God Awful (Worse than God Awful)
Chosen w Lascannon popping out of a Rhino x3 = Good (Bad)
5-man core units w PF and melta gun popping out of a Rhino x3 = Average (Bad, Bad, Bad)
5 Daemons = Poor (Good, but not like this)

Havoc squad w Lascannon and Missle Launchers popping out of a Rhino = Poor (Poor)
The Rhino Spam theme = Good (Mech is Mech is Mech)
Screwing up the Rhino Spam theme with some poor choices = Priceless (Priceless)

So, I had 8 Rhinos and a Land Raider, which in all 3 games were great. I wasn't sold on the idea of bare-bones tanks until I tried it, now I'm a convert. 35pts works if you use a lot of 'em. That part of the army worked, but there was a supplemental.

That is, the idea of KEEPING THE SQUAD IN THE RHINO and secondarily using the hatch to turn the Rhinos into pillboxes. All this was to the good, but you have to do it right.

So let's take a look at one example of poor execution, the Havoc squad with 3 heavy weapons. Two points here: 1) having 3 weapons encouraged me to disembark the squad, which is counter to the strategy, and 2) I didn't realize more than 1 weapon could fire from the top hatch.  (Sigh.)

How's that for stupid? I change my army and didn't actually know the rules that applied to the new force I was playing. You can see this mistake in the choices I made. Since I can have two weapons shoot from my cheapo pillboxes, why not give the Havocs two Lascannons and stick them in a Rhino? This is better than having the Chosen in the same role with only one.  (Nowadays, I think two Autocannons would have been a better choice.)

Abaddon rolled his only 1 in close combat at the only point I really needed him to come through!  Naturally.

I could go on, but let's look at the true elephant in the room, the Khorne Lord with the Bloodfeeder and the Bike Squad he accompanies. This, my friends, is over 400 points of stupid. On paper... it's still stupid... but let's look at it the way I did. I have the models, but more importantly the Bloodfeeder can add 2d6 extra attacks! That gives me a close combat character to match Abaddon. Well, it doesn't, but that's actually what I was looking for, a close assault or counterattack option to balance Abaddon. Notice these two units are the only CC element in an army primarily designed to be a gunline, so I figure they have to be good. Truth be told, even discounting how the Lord won't fight if he rolls a 1 on either dice, the option just doesn't work. It's a power weapon, true, but it simply won't hit or wound enough for me to build a significant portion of my army around. He doesn't come close to being an Abbaddon.

Okay, those are the primary problems with the list. (There are more, of course.)  Even then, it did pretty well, with 1 win and 2 good losses; nobody rolled over me. (I think that was more due to my skill as a player than the list, now that I've had time to think about it.  Also, my only win was against a player who didn't belong there.)  How much better, then, would my performance be had I practice enough with the concept to tighten it up some, or (even better) played the army I was familiar with, the Eldar?

I think that's pretty obvious.

So my goal now, for the coming year of tournaments, is to apply a critical mind to what I'm doing, be it lists, changes, strategy, tactics... any and all aspects of what I'm doing.  (I actually stuck to that.)

(A word here.  Since that time, I identified my constant need to change my army lists as my biggest weakness as a competitive player.  My friends had been pointing that out for years, but I'm stubborn.  We set up a massive campaign to improve our ability as players, and a major part of that was learning how to use the army you're playing.  I've played nothing but Daemons against every type of army in every type of situation there is, and while Daemons weren't my first choice of competitive armies - it was a random draw - I've learned to appreciate what they're capable of.  Point is, I've practiced my ass off and I think I'm a much stronger player than the dude who showed up in Chicago last year... and I was a pretty competent player even then.)

(I've learned to appreciate an unbiased opinion; to that end, I asked Kirby from 3++ is the New Black to analyze the army I took.  Here's what he said.)

Well Brent *shuffles pages.* I think what you've tried to go for is a Rhino spam army (particularly by your notes at the end) but it seriously lacks in AT and AI. Whilst you have two scary CC monsters in Bike Lord & Abaddon, most armies are happy to sit at range, block midfield and eat your several lascannons. If you want to do something like that go for 12x Rhinos w/meltaguns & flamers & havoc launchers galore though it wouldn't scale well I think (you could add bikes or raptors? Maybe drop 2 Havocs/Chosen for some Termies in LRs, whilst not great at least chews up some points and can be scary in cc).

I'd also be wary of the combat weapons. Whilst CSM aren't crappy SM in combat, as you pointed out keeping them in their Rhinos is a better plan. That saves you a lot of points there. In fact, at 2.5k you could prob fit in Plague Marines instead of CSM which would give you a tougher core. I could write a list if you'd like? but think Stelek wrote one a long time back.

Sorry to hear 'ard Boyz didn't go well. Come to Australia! lol
(A new favorite!) Anon: I haven’t even bothered playing a game of 6th yet, cause I have read the rules, and actually understand how they interact with units. I know my armies no longer function how they should, and so I need to change them.

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Warboss Stalin: "You know, if it actually WAS funny, maybe I wouldn't mind."

Mike Brandt: "It's not a successful bachelor party if you don't misplace someone".

"The Master Manipulator (every store needs one): "...now, enough stroking."

Kirby: "I don't know about gropings. Seriously, Brent, keep it in the pants, please."

Loquacious: "No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't get Hugs & Gropings or Stalks Jawaballs into Brent's little tribute."

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On Internet Advice: You see, I have an almost religious belief that's it's a huge, colossal waste of time.

...I think I'll call it the Gun Shy Pattern Stormbuster, because after the Internet destroyed my first humble effort, I find I'm a bit worried about the reaction to this one.

Lauby: "Is it left over from that time you thought that you could just complete step one 12 times to meet the mandates of that court order?"

Not Brent: "I guess we'll have to read on and find out. Signed, Not Brent. Especially today."

Cynthia Davis: "I think the scrolling text is from Glen Beck's new book."

Grimaldi: "Spamming certain units creates interesting possibilities but also fatal weaknesses."

Purgatus: "Math can inform decisions. It cannot make decisions."

Thoughts? Comments? Hugs and gropings?

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'Clearly cheating?' I didn't misspeak: you jumped to conclusions. If you'd like to apologize I'll be happy to send you an autographed picture of my ass.


I thought I was doing alright before I realized I was losing.

Age and treachery beats youth and vigor every time.

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