So, we come to the final part of my tale. Before that though... ORKSES!
Back to our story...
I knew that game three was going to be a bit special even before I read the mission as rampant accusations of "dumb", "stupid", and other less savory terms were being bandied about the club. None of these were more heartfelt than my opponent, who I mistook for a sailor.
Here's the mission:
Deployment: Dawn of War
Each player places 1 objective in his/her deployment zone, then places two in the opponent's.
Objective 1: Destroy at least half of the opponent's army (judged by victory points)
Objective 2: Capture all three objectives in your deployment zone
Objective 3: Capture two objectives in your opponent's deployment zone.
This mission... is a bit misguided. It seriously upgrades pretty much all of the advantages of a 5th ed army while hampering those of a 4th ed. Gone are the tactics of own one, contest the rest. You NEED to hold at least two, possibly even 5 to get a chance at victory. Seeing as quite a few of the players brought minimum Troops choices or only three they saw this as being quite unfair.
My army, on the other hand, was unfairly sitting pretty. I had easily enough firepower to earn the destroy objective and had four troops choices, giving me enough room to play around with the idea of taking ground.
My opponent's army was the beautifully painted and converted Nurgle Chaos Marine army seen below:
Did you SEE that awesome Leman Russ-Defiler? Sweet!
His approximate list:
2 Daemon Princes of Nurgle with wings
5? Chosen with 4 plasma guns
10? Plague Marines with 2 melta in a Rhino x 2
10? Plague Marines with 2 plasma in a Rhino
2 Defilers with Reaper Autocannon and close combat arm
2x9? Lesser Daemons
My opponent seemed a bit... off when I started setting up against him. I blame this on the mission and the fact that I was playing Mech Guard which he greeted with spicy language.
This attitude continued throughout the game which, compounded with several rules disputes on core concepts that I knew I was in the right on, made for an unpleasantly tense experience.
We both deployed our objectives towards midfield, seeing as it was the prime operating zone for both of our armies. For the third time in a row I won the roll to go first and decided to deploy a single Vet squad in their Chimera at midfield. My opponent deployed a melta squad in their Rhino in cover alongside a Daemon Prince, both just outside of 18". He then proceeded to place infiltrating Chosen near one of the objectives despite my insistence that Infiltrators counted against the 1 HQ, 2 Troops limit. I decided not to press the point, seeing as I already had had to convince him that in Dawn of War LOS did not matter for the 18" no-deployment zone.
First turn my army rolled on. The vet's Chimera lit up the Daemon Prince and my Vendettas started blasting. It wasn't until the second Vendetta that I realized that my opponent was keeping 4's for his invulnerable saves. He claimed that his Prince was in area terrain and therefore got a cover save. I had to call over the TO to convince him that MCs and vehicles needed 50% coverage to gain a cover save, which his Prince did not have. The Prince survived the first round of shooting, though I wonder if he really should have... In addition my Command Chimera lit up the Chosen who were summarily blasted off the map by my Leman Russ.
That first turn's arguments set the scene for the rest of the game. I tried to engage my opponent in small talk but he remained quiet and combative, questioning a lot of my moves throughout the game. The game boiled down to pure mechanics and no fun, me just blasting his units off the table while he desperately grabbed for cover and tried to claim all of the objectives on his side of the field.
It was a close game down to turn 5. I had easily done more damage but with his troops in cover and crawling over his three objectives I needed to make a move or risk a draw. I turboboosted a Vendetta on to his center objective and started moving my Chimeras to take my three on turn 6. Since I went first he had a turn to bring down the contesting Vendetta, but cover saves plus 6s to hit and a bad pen roll saved my bird.
Good thing too as the game ended on turn 5. It ended up that I had killed just 17 points over half of his army's total value, making me the only player with a satisfied victory condition.
I finished the day 3-0 and combined with my painting and apparently good Sportsmanship scores... I got first place overall!
This, especially given the disastrous performance that I did in my first "tournament" and the shellacking I received at the Fantasy tournament, was completely unexpected and VERY welcome... especially since it seems that I got in off the waitlist for the 1850 40k Championship at Adepticon. My list really hummed for being only my second time running it and most of the tactics that I had thought about when building the list actually worked to my surprise.
MVP of the day was definitely the Manticore, which never let me down. I was a bit nervous putting it in my otherwise mobile list but it's first turn barrages quickly shut me up, almost single-handedly turning each game in my favor. Even in the last mission it managed to take a squad of disembarked Plague Marines from full to 1 with a single strength 10 barrage that managed to hit twice dead on target. With most of a Land Raider, a Leman Russ, and two transports killed it is a great tank cracker and amazing infantry slaughterer.
So why did I do so well?
Win factor #1 was the fact that I got to go first every single game. Vendettas are fragile if you have any dedicated antitank and getting to go first plus the lack of infantry anti-tank like Long Fangs let me snipe that out quickly.
Another big factor in my win was the lack of any drop armies, as those look like they should ruin my day as I have little to no defense against them. As it was I faced either other shooty armies or relatively slow builds that needed to cross the battlefield in order to get to grips with my army, which only one unit managed to do over the course of the game (and even then only at the lost of his Terminator brethren).
Finally, my dice were rolling hot. I got insanely lucky on my first turn barrages and subsequent rolls like taking out a full tactical squad in cover were completely off the scale. This just means that I'll have to play smarter next time, as I can't rely on staying lucky forever... or can I?
I had a lot of fun at the tourney and can't wait for the next one. Thanks for following along with me, and see you tomorrow.