Monday, September 30, 2013

Michigan GT Wrap Up

This past weekend I drove to Lansing to play in the first Warhammer 40k Michigan Grand Tournament.  The format was six rounds of games with 55 participants bringing fully painted 1850 pt armies.   Besides Adepticon, I have never played in a two day tournament before with so many players (Ucon was only 1 day).   It was fun but also tiring to play that much 6th edition 40k in a row.   I still enjoy the 6th edition rule set but it still leaves a lot to be desired for tournament play.  I brought a pretty cheesy competitive list that I had practiced with and tuned over the last couple of weeks.  Highlights from my matches below.

The Farsight Enclave supplement offers up some really neat options for Tau players.  With 6th edition however, there is a lot of abuse of the FOC with allies rules for all the Codexes.  For instance, Farsight Enclaves lists allow you to bring a Tau Codex allied attachment to get around some missing war gear.  Specifically, the now frequently seen "support Commander" build is pretty much showing up in all Tau lists.  There are some variants, but attaching this guy to certain units is a huge force multiplier.

My 1850 List for the Michigan GT (Farsight Enclave Primary, Tau Allied Detachment, Fortification)

  • Commander Farsight
  • Honour-Shas'vre O'Vesa (Independant-character Riptide)
  • x1 Ethereal
  • x1 Riptide (Ion Acc, Talisman of Arthas Moloch, Target lock)
  • One x3 Battlesuits (troops) with TL-missile pod, x2 marker drones
  • One unit of x11 Kroot with x1 Hound (sniper rounds)
  • Skyray Missile Defense Gunship
  • x1 Sniper Drone Team
  • Commander (CC Node, MSS, Flamer, NSJ, Onager, Puretide chip, Vectored Retro Thrusters, XV08-02 Iridium Battlesuit)
  • One x9 Fire Warrior Unit
  • One x12 Kroot Unit (sniper rounds)
  • One unit of x2 Broadsides (missile variant) with x4 missile drones
  • Aegis Defense Line with Icaras Lascannon

O'vesa, Farsight and the Commander all join up with the Riptide to form a toughness '6', 2+ armor save, re-roll shooting, ignoring cover, split firing, long range tank or monster hunter unit with hit-and-run AND 4d6 deny the witch psychic defense.   So a 800 point death star so to speak.

Current rulings seem to allow ICs to join Riptide monstrous creatures as they count as a unit because they can buy drones (even though they don't have to!).   It's goofy and tournaments may rule against this in the future, who knows.

Some photo highlights from my matches and the tournament below.   Hopefully other blogs will post pictures of some of the armies that were there.   Some really nice painting going on locally that I had not seen before.

The hall setup was really nice. There was an interesting mix of crowds at the conference center. Saturday had a Evangelical revival meet and Sunday there was a child beauty pageant (Princess Party?) next door to our hall. Not sure what was more disturbing, 6 year old girls wearing too little clothes and too much makeup on stage with Gangnum Style playing or guys in their mid-30s shouting "Waaaagh". The walls were pretty thin, I am sure they heard us as much as we heard them. Anyway, my matches over the two days....

Game 1 - Tau/Tau vs Chaos Daemons - 2 Objectives - Hammer Anvil Deployment
With a room full of people I didn't know I ended up playing a familiar opponent for my first game.   I played against Jesse Ramey before in tournaments and the Big Game Apocalypse battle we had earlier in the year. Good opponent and it was a tough game for me with all the flying MCs and Invlun saves.   I thought I brought the right tools to fight the Flying Circus Chaos Daemon list, but he took advantage of his well placed terrain to advance on my deployment area (those beer cans!).   With the spawning portal pooping out little daemons on his objective every turn, I knew I had to try to hold mine and try for secondary points.   Unfortunately, we had to finish the game on turn four due to time constraints.   I think I had a shot to pull off the win if we played turn five, but as it ended, he won 17-7 on Battle Points.

Game 2 - Tau/Tau vs Tyranids - d3+1 Objectives - Dawn of War Deployment
My second game was against Matt Turchyn and his nicely painted Tyranids   After playing against Daemons in the first round, Tyranids felt like they were made of glass.   Matt's dice weren't kind to him, everything I shot at just failed any kind of save and died.   There was a decent amount of line of sight blocking terrain but it seemed to slow him down as he approached my guns.

On turn five he only had one unit of gaunts on the board which failed their synapse.   Tau is a tough match up for Tyranids right now but Matt was a good sport about it.   I won 26-0 on battle points.

I played another familiar Chaos Daemons player for my third game.   I have played (and lost!) many times to Loren Bertram's Nurgle lists with my Blood Angels in local tournaments.   He's a nice guy and his son was playing at the tournament as well.   Sometimes it just feels like an uphill battle against Chaos Daemons for me when players get hot dice on the invulnerable saves.    I brought a good list to face Nurgle Daemons but the game was grind from the start.

Game 3 - Tau/Tau vs Chaos Daemons (Nurgle) - Table Quarters - Vanguard Deployment
The Great Unclean one didn't come out from reserves until turn four and landed right in my deployment area denying my table quarter.   I shot my whole army at it and took off two wounds.   It looked like a loss for me until I performed my best tactical move of the tournament, the assault-sling-shot.   I split my Riptides to engage two of his units and assaulted his beasts of Nurgle.    After combat, I used hit-and-run to sling shot "shake-and-bake" style into his table quarter to contest.   I managed to get a tie this game and afterwards was told first blood was the final tie breaker, which I had.   Tough game, but I won 12-12 (tiebreaker 1st blood).

Game 4 - Tau/Tau vs Eldar (Iyanden) - Relic + 4 Objectives, Hammer and Anvil Deployment
For my fourth game, I played another familiar opponent, Joshua Earle and his Eldar.  I am not sure what's up with all the local Eldar players named Joshua, weird.   I have seen Joshua at many local events but we have only played once before.   This was the fourth game on Saturday and both of us were pretty tired and just wanted a laid back game.

This turned out the be the best game of the tournament.   Two newer codexes with two similar skilled players and lots of ups and downs with the dice.   It was back and forth all game but I thought I had a good lead going and a good pickup of the Relic late in the game.   Joshua pulled off some fancy Eldar trickery and came back to tie the game in round five by making me drop the Relic and contesting an objective with two remaining jet bikes.   Really fun game that we both enjoyed playing.   I won 12-12 (First blood tiebreaker again!)

Game 5 Tau/Tau vs Imperial Guard/Space Wolves - Scouring 6 Objectives - Dawn of War Deployment
Winning those last few games moved up the rankings and the competition got even tougher.   For game five I played against Michael Hernandez who brought Imperial Guard with Allied Space Wolves.   I was a really concerned about facing two rune priests (cheesy 2 HQ allies...) both with Jaws.   Michael won the roll to go first and came at me hard with his rune priest in a drop pod and gun line of Imperial guard.   The Manticore tank did the most damage taking out a unit of battlesuits AND my Skyray in one barrage.   I did my best to counter attack and move towards the objectives on the left flank.   Michael seemed at first to ignore my death star unit as he had not faced it yet.   Though I think he regretted it once he saw how it operated.

I was able to dominate the left side of the table and conceded the right flank when his Vendettas came on the board.   Fortunately for me though the higher point objectives were on the left.   Even more fortunate for me, Elite units counted as scoring for this mission (scoring Riptide lol).   I managed to kick his guardsmen off the four pointer and win the primary and secondary objectives.   Game started out rough but I pulled out a big win on this one, 24-4 on battle points. Also, O'vesa made his initiative save against Jaws late in the game :-)

Game 6 - Tau/Tau vs Tau/Tau - Purge the Alien + area objectives - Vanguard Deployment
The final game was against Charles Peters who brought a list similar to mine.   It was similar in that he had Farsight and O'vesa, but different in that he had TWO more Riptides....(net list from Nova tournament).   So yeah, I had to face four Riptides this game in a kill points mission.   Fortunately I went first and managed to get first blood which was an actual objective this game, not just a tie breaker.    I managed to concentrate and take down one Riptide on turn 2.   

Things got tougher from there as he advanced towards my deployment area.   I did my best to repel his attacks by always leaving O'vesa in front and using the 3+ invlun option while shooting at the softer targets in his army.   I managed to rack up quick a few kill points as he had single model battle suit troop choices deep strike on.   This game got a bit contentious and TOs were often called over for judgement calls.   At question was my "illegal" Aegis defense line and how much cover it actually provided from tall Riptides.   Sigh, oh well.   I think we were both tired at this point in the tournament but things did get a bit chippy.   The game ended on turn four and I managed win 14-12 on battle points.   Definitely not a fun way to play when you have to argue and pull the book out for everything, but whatever.   To Charles credit, I did give him a decent sportsmanship score since he passed out a bag of goodies to me at the end.    I can be apparently be bribed with Goldfish snacks to give good soft scores...

Anyway, I ended up in 7th place out of 55 players!    You can see the full results at this cool web site TorrentofFire.   The app was really a neat way to see the standings while playing in the tournament.   We should totally do something like that for Foodhammer and use a wall projector.   Something about seeing your name move around the rankings after each match was fun...

I unfortunately did not get a lot of other pictures from other games.    Hopefully they will post highlight pictures of some of the beautiful armies that were there.   Here's a few random pictures I had.

Heldrake doesn't like seeing the four Riptide list everywhere
Welcome to 40k - Tau versus Tau
I bought raffle tickets for this but only managed to score some dice...
And that's it.   Prize distribution was a bit odd as winners were give army packages.   The highest Imperial player got a Tau army, Xenos won Imperial, etc.    It seemed strange that players couldn't just pick out their winnings based on their ranking.   I ended up empty handed, so no new plastic crack for me.

Thanks for reading!


  1. Some comments:

    You may want to add in drones to your 'star' so that your common armor save is 4+, that way grav guns aren't as good against you.

    Two games going to turn four is pretty sad. 'Competitive' 40k needs a kick in the pants.

    Matt's Tyranids look supes similar to mine (Hive Fleet Kraken represent!). Unfortunately Tyranids weren't really invited to the 6th Edition party. The terrain looks decent but still lots of very open corridors to shoot stuff with no cover saves

    Re: your last game: TLOS sucks ass.

    1. Also, great job. Thanks for the commentary. I think Josh will be going next year. I don't know if I can do a two day competitive 40k thing, but maybe next year I'll be in a different mindset

    2. O'vesa comes with two drones, I had already planned on bringing more if the new marines were going to be there. That being said, the Riptide star was fun but not sure if it's the best still as a lot of my stuff felt like it was sitting around watching two models do all the work. I am glad to hear that something will balance Riptides, but I think 6th edition is trouble if more and more stuff starts to get ignore-cover rules.

    3. It is really bizarre that they are powering up the shooting armies so much. Perhaps they just want the game to be a bloodbath like fantasy. I don't mind it in fantasy but I can get into actual combat there.

  2. Glad you had a good time. I was on the table next to you and heard something about a fortification being oversized and just wanted to sigh. Sounds like you had some good games. Hope to see you next year (or sooner)

  3. Thanks for the write up. Points for these events seem too large for the tight times. 1850 now yields armies that would have been like 2250 in the past.