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Iron Halo Tournament
Introduction <> Battle Summaries
Iron Halo Tournament
Battle #1: Cruel
In our first encounter, Josh and I had traded punches (not literally, of course) for several turns and he had come out with a win of 1147 Victory Points to my 920. I was hoping for some good-natured payback.
Our mission, exclusively for RTTs, was “Archeotech Excavation”: the point was to find a counter (one of six scattered on the table) that would provide the lucky finder with a bonus 300 Victory Points. We deployed 12" onto the table—I put Jheste and Warrior Squad 0 together on one side and Vulnavya and Raider Squad #1 nearby and kept everything else in the webway portals.
I won the roll to go first and had Vulnavya and her Raider Squad sweep left and disembark behind some cover. Jheste and crew stayed put and opened their portal. Josh was familiar with how webway portals work, though, and immediately turbo-boosted both his Scarab swarms towards them, correctly assuming that if he surrounded them, nothing could come out of them.
On my second turn, the Silver Scorpions and the Handmaidens—which are both units of Wyches—emerged, as did my Reavers. Jheste and his Warriors went Fleet of Foot towards Josh’s army, hugging cover all the way. The Wyches went the way Vulnavya did, while the Reavers threw themselves into the oncoming Scarabs—and were promptly eaten for their troubles. Zounds! I hadn’t expected them to live, but I thought they would have at least slowed down the Scarabs. Worse, because the little buggers had massacred my Reavers, they got to move even closer to my webway portal.
The members of Raider Squad #1 likewise threw themselves into close combat with the second Scarab swarm while Vulnavya opened her portal. Raider Squad #1 didn’t last long, either. Josh moved up the rest of his army and fire from some nearby ‘bot Warriors brought Vulnavya down. Josh’s first Scarab swarm surrounded the portal that Jheste had opened, and the second swarm, after munching Raider Squad #1 almost—ALMOST—surrounded the second portal.
On my third turn, the Ring of Honor, Raider Squad #3, and two Taloses came out of the portal that Vulnavya had opened. Jheste, Warrior Squad 0, the Silver Scorpions and the Handmaidens attacked the Scarabs around the first portal and wiped them out; Raider Squad #3 and the two Taloses tore the Scarabs away from the other portal, and the Ring of Honor (Wyches, remember) assaulted Josh’s nearest Necron Warriors, wiping them out. Knowing that I would not be able to reach another Necron squad, I pulled back the Ring after their victory and hoped they would be out of range of fire.
And they were. On Josh’s turn, his remaining Warriors retreated to take up defensive positions atop a ridge, while the Deceiver, the Immortals, the Wraiths and Pariahs advanced. He shot down Raider #1 and the Wraiths grabbed a counter—which turned out to not be the objective.
On Turn 4, Warrior Squad 0 grabbed a counter and found that it was the objective—huzzah! There was much rejoicing among the Sissies in Silver Boots. My Death Twinkies unloaded a heap of fire on the Wraiths, obliterating them. The Ring of Honor renewed the attack, charging and carving into one Warrior unit while the Warrior squad next to them succumbed to a horrorfex (I remembered to use them in this game!) and was pinned.
On Josh’s turn, the Deceiver charged a squad of Warriors (members of a dismounted Raider Squad) and slapped them around. Josh’s shooting took down some Wyches, but time was called, and the Ozone Scorpions had won, 1013 Victory Points to 492. Revenge is sweet!
Battle #2: Personality
My opponent’s army was your typical Iron Warriors force:
The mission was another RTT exclusive: “Priorities,” where again, you were supposed to grab little counters, each with a certain number of points on them. The person holding the highest number of points from counters at the end of the game would win. I lost the roll for table edge and wound up with the side with scant terrain—for the webway portal trick to work, it needs terrain. It’s also very vulnerable to ordnance barrages—I knew that going in, but “Anonymous G” demonstrated that to me very quickly.
Again, I started with Jheste and Warrior Squad 0 on one end of the board, Vulnavya and Raider Squad #1 near the middle. “Anonymous G” put his Basilisk behind that big skull-shaped piece of terrain you see above, lined up his guys, and began shooting me—with questions. Like:
“What are the stats for Warriors?”…and so on. All asked one right after the other, throughout the first half of the game: while I was trying to figure out the mission parameters, while I was trying to deploy, while I was trying to move, while I was trying to fire.
Now, I know that a lot of people are unfamiliar with Dark Eldar, so at first, I cut “Anonymous G” some slack and answered him in quick, general terms (“A splinter cannon is like a heavy bolter with less range and strength, but you can move and fire with it”). But those general answers didn’t satisfy him: he wanted details. This constant interrogation was very distracting and the longer it went on, the more I became convinced that “Anonymous G” just wanted me to spoonfeed him a strategy for beating me. As if one needs strategy when playing Iron Warriors: just line up and shoot, for God’s sake!
I went first, and Jheste popped open his webway portal. Vulnavya and crew slunk into some cover while their Raider took a potshot at the Defiler—and missed, of course. The Iron Warriors opened fire—and “Anonymous G” and I went from the Shooting Phase straight to the Argument Phase, where I mistakenly argued that his indirect fire A) could not be used to target Independent Characters (actually, you can if you do it right), and B) that my Raider Squad should have a cover save (actually, no, they shouldn’t). My apologies. In any event, the IW barrage killed most of my Raider Squad and pinned the survivors; remaining fire brought down Raider #1.
In Turn 2, Vulnavya opened her webway portal and Talos #2 and Raider Squad #2 appeared from Jheste’s. These were not exactly the heavy-hitting reserves I had hoped for. On “G’s” turn, two squads of Oblits Deep Struck behind my lines, wounding the Talos with their fire; other IW fire blew the dark lance off Raider #2 and shook it as well. Meanwhile, the Daemon Prince was steadily, if foolishly, advancing towards Jheste and his crew. He charged Raider Squad #2, and I had him right where I wanted him.
On Turn 3, the Silver Scorpions and the Handmaidens screeched out of the portal and jumped the Daemon Prince, knocking three Wounds off him. From the other portal, the Ring of Honor, the Reavers, and Raider Squad #4 emerged and set to work: the Wyches attacked a nearby squad of Chaos Space Marines, and the Reavers and Raider Squad (including their ride) shot up the Raptors. Jheste’s Warrior squad lit into two of the Obliterators with their blasters, slaying both of them.
On the IW turn, the assaulty goodness continued, with the Wyches killing the Daemon Prince and moving across the board in search of more Ferrous Freeks. The Ring Of Honor uncharacteristically lost close combat against the CSMs and fell back, and the Havocs cut a swath through my left flank.
Turn 4 would be the last turn, as time was called. More DE reinforcements came out of the portals, but they were not in position to attack the IWs. I stupidly forgot to disembark a Raider squad near a counter—by that time, I was thoroughly annoyed with my opponent and all I wanted to do was just kill, kill, KILL the gimmicky Iron Warriors and put an end to their noise. At the end, many of the IWs had been torn into scrap metal but they nevertheless had 6 points from counters compared to the Ozone Scorpions’ 5 points.
All in all, a very unpleasant game for both of us. As you can imagine, neither of us scored the other highly at all for sportsmanship….
Battle #3: Hunters
Become the Hunted
This table had terrain I would have killed for in my second game: a line of trees going across the center of the table—just perfect for hiding sneaky Dark Eldar. I deployed Jheste, Warrior Squad 0, Vulnavya, and Raider Squad #4 (for the dark lance on the transport); everything else went in the portals.
The mission was “Battle in the Eye of Terror,” a Victory Points thing where you’re allowed, each turn, to take one of your units already on the table and Deep Strike them to another spot on the table, as if you had a Necron Veil of Darkness. Neither of us used this ability during the game: my guys were exactly where they wanted to be, and I think Richard forgot.
On Turn 1, my squads ran forward, behind cover. Richard maneuvered his Sisters closer and shot down Raider #4 with bolter fire. On Turn 2, both Haemonculi opened their webway portals. Richard, perhaps wondering when I was going to actually do something during the game, continued to advance. His Terminators and a unit of Grey Knights teleported in; they and the Land Raider Crusader opened fire. Ten scrubs from Warrior Squad 0 died and the rest fell back; five from Raider Squad #4 joined the Warp and the rest held.
On Turn 3, the roof fell in on poor Richard.
The Ring of Honor and the Silver Scorpions zoomed out of one portal and crashed into both squads of Sisters of Battle. Two Taloses and the Reavers also popped out. On my right flank, the other three Raider squads emerged, surrounding the Grey Knight squad that had just beamed in. Massed gunfire from the Raider Squads and their rides evaporated the GK squad, the Wyches hack-n-slashed their way deep into the Sisters, and the Taloses started pulling apart the Termies. The only downer was the Reavers doing dookie (that’s a technical term) with their blasters against the LR Crusader.
Reeling, Richard Deep Struck another GK squad and his Grand Master disembarked from the LRC (so THAT’S where he had been...). The Grand Master nuked a Talos with his force sword (OUCH!) and the Termies sliced Jheste in two. The Crusader gunned down the Reavers. The Hunters had become the hunted, but they weren’t going down without a fight.
On my fourth turn, the Handmaidens emerged from the webway portal and slew the Termies, then consolidated into the Grand Master. One of my Raiders trained its dark lance on the Crusader and blew it to pieces. The Ring of Honor polished off their Sisters and rolled into the GK squad that had teleported in the turn before.
And so it continued into Turn 5. The Grand Master used Holocaust twice (to good effect) until he bricked a Perils of the Warp test and lost his last wound. At that point, Richard conceded, with two figures left on the board.
Thus Endeth That
One reason is that they’re too stressful. I play to have fun, but before this tournament (and the last one, too), I was a bundle of nerves. I came into the tourney wanting to redeem myself for the poor showing I had at the last tournament, and until the first game actually started, I was worried that I would get embarrassed again, or that I would play against a bunch of dickheads, or both. Who wants to spend hours (in prep and gaming) and dollars (gas and entry fee) to have a crappy time?
Though I had fun during two of the games, the situation was still too stressful in that we were under a two-hour time limit. I hate rushing during gaming—my friend Pat and I usually take about 6 hours or so to set up, play, and clean up a 2000-point game. This gives us plenty of time to plan, move figures, roll dice, look up rules, make notes, take photos, kibitz, and have breaks. For me, two hours is not enough time to enjoy a game.
The last reason is that tournaments have a huge amount of subjectivity to them. What do I mean by that? Simply put, you have little control over your final score. The only thing you can hope to control is the outcome of your games, whether you win or lose.
Any other scores are determined by a judge (for painting or army composition) or by your opponent (for sportsmanship). If a judge doesn’t like your paint scheme, you score poorly, even if everyone else thinks you’re a Golden Demon contender. If your opponent doesn’t like you, he might slam your sportsmanship score, even if everyone else thinks you’re Mr. Wonderful. The result? You go home empty-handed. Who needs that noise?
This is not to say that I did not have a good time at the tournament. I did, and I’m glad I went. I gave everyone there a healthy respect for Dark Eldar—usually considered a “sucky” army—and I met some cool people that I will be happy to play in the future. But I could have accomplished all that without the considerable stress of a tournament. I’ve won tournaments before and I don’t feel like I have anything left to prove. No more for me, thanks. The only gaming I’m doing from now on is strictly for fun.
Posted: December 2005
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