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"For the Sword!" Tournament
Intro <> Kenton's Fighting Tigers <> Pat's Space Wolves
"For the Sword!"
Tournament: Kenton's Fighting Tigers
To maximize the amount of big, cheap guns I could point at the enemy, I took lots of 5-man Tactical Squads. I backed them up with a Predator Annihilator (packing three lascannons and a hunter-killer missile) and six Land Speeders with multi-meltas. Booyah!
I built my army specifically to take out tough guys like Marines, so my list included lots of anti-armor weapons. For a while, I was worried that an infantry-heavy army would be able to shrug off the piddling casualties that lascannons and multi-meltas would inflict and kick my guys around, but I decided to put my trust in frag missiles and rapid-firing bolters to deal with enemy hordes.
Of course, you can’t count on shooting alone to win you battles—particularly if in the first turn of every game you’d be hampered by the Night Fighting rules. I needed some kind of assault ability, if only to hold off nutcase Khorne Berzerkers for a round or two. I brought one of my favorite units, a 10-man Tactical Squad with a meltagun, and outfitted with a Rhino so they could move across the board.
I also needed an HQ unit. Bearing in mind a lesson that Paul had taught me about expensive commanders in small games, I took Jirbu Ghosh (below), a Space Marine Leader armed with a plasma pistol and a close combat weapon. She cost all of 48 points (that included an auspex that I threw in just because I had 2 points left over when I was done writing up my list).
HQ units are best in close combat, but I was trying to avoid close combat for as long as possible. To make her even “shootier,” I gave her a 5-man Command Squad, including 2 Marines with meltaguns. Then I outfitted this squad with a Razorback bearing a lascannon and twin-linked plasma guns. My plan was for Jirbu Ghosh and her bodyguard to accompany the 10-strong Tactical Squad and help them out.
So how did the Tigers do?
Game 1: vs. Orks (Ian Castleman)
When you play a shooty army against an assault army, you have to hit the fast stuff first, even if it means ignoring big guns (like that Basilisk) for a few rounds. Why? Because the longer you stay out of close combat (where your big guns are useless), the better your chances of winning. I was willing to let the Basilisk nail those Speeders and some Marines if I could keep his Stormboyz and Warbikes from getting my Tactical Squads. I knew that if the Stormboyz and the Warbikes got into hand-to-hand, they would keep my Tac guys busy long enough for the Kommandos and Slugga Boyz and Warboss to arrive—at which point, it would be all over.
I fired every frag missile and bolter shot I could into the Stormboyz and wiped them out in two rounds. Simultaneously, I intercepted the Warbikes with the Command Squad and the mobile Tac Squad, blazed away with bolters and meltaguns, then assaulted them—and wiped them out. Ian made the mistake of letting his Warboss and his Nobz wander right in front of my Predator: three lascannon shots a round whittled them down quickly, wounding them easily (2+), negating that nifty 2+ save, and likewise taking away their advantage of having 2 Wounds each (Instant Kill rule). BZARK!
The two Land Speeders left with weapons went after the Basilisk but didn’t hurt it at all before the Shoota Boyz gunned them down. I moved the Land Speeder without its gun behind the Basilisk—which forced the Shoota Boyz to stop advancing, turn around, and shoot it. Remember, you don’t have to kill enemy units to defeat them—sometimes all you have to do is distract them. By the time they got done blasting the Speeder, the Command Squad and the mobile Tac Squad were done with the Warbikes and were now in their face. CRUNCH! The Command Squad’s meltaguns then took care of the Basilisk.
By the end of the game, Ian had a total of four Orks left on the field, with two of my squads and three vehicles (including the Predator) in his deployment zone to claim bonus victory points. I had lost no Tigers—NOT ONE—to close combat, despite the facts that Orks are some of the deadliest hand-to-hand fighters around.
Tigers 2456, Orks 426.
Game 2: vs. Ulthwe
Eldar (Jeannette Hill)
Jeannette’s army was your typical Guardian-heavy Ulthwe force, with a Seer Council, a Wraithlord, some War Walkers, and Howling Banshees mounted in a Wave Serpent. Casualties were light for most of the game, with our armies maneuvering around like two boxers trading tentative jabs. Jeannette also expertly performed that Eldar trick of presenting multiple threats from different sides, which can thoroughly hamper the common tactic of concentrating the Space Marines’ power against a single portion of the enemy force. After all, if your Marines are getting chewed up from starcannon fire on the left, it’s easy to forget about the Banshees sneaking up on the right.
In the end, Jeannette managed to get three vehicles into my deployment zone but I managed to get my Command Squad and the mobile Tactical Squad into hand-to-hand combat against the Guardians and Seer Council hanging out in her deployment zone.
Tigers 1563, Ulthwe: 1545. (We decided that this game was more than
just “close,” it was “Florida-close!”)
Game 3: vs. Space
Wolves (Patrick Eibel)
This was the first time I’d fought against Space Wolves under the 3rd Edition rules, but Pat and I had many “training sessions” under 2nd Edition and I had played Wolves at Games Day, so I knew all about them. For my army, fighting Space Wolves was just like fighting Orks: I had to keep shooting, because once they get me in hand-to-hand, it would be all over with.
Rather than send my Command Squad and mobile Tactical Squad to tango with his Wolves (as I had against the Orks and Ulthwe), I gave them the job of sneaking into Pat’s deployment zone, avoiding his three Speeders with multimeltas and his Vindicator. My Speeders ran interference, going after his Speeders and his Rhinos (loaded down with Gray Hunters).
I did not have nearly the success I did against the Orks. Pat’s more experienced than Ian and Space Wolves are a bit different from Orks even if their strategy is the same. When you fight against Wolves, you just have to prepare yourself for some harsh hits, like the Wolf Scouts that entered the board right inside my deployment zone and tore apart one of my Tac Squads. Or the Gray Hunter Squad that hacked up one Tac Squad, blew up my Predator, then hacked up another Tac Squad—despite me immobilizing their Rhino just outside my deployment zone!
In the end, the Command Squad and the mobile Tac Squad made it across the board without taking any casualties and destroyed the Vindicator guarding Pat’s deployment zone. Despite the licks the Wolves inflicted on my back line, the bonus points I gained were enough to win.
Tigers 1338, Wolves, 1218.
Game 4: vs. Sisters
of Battle (Mike Somerville)
I had gone into this tournament hoping to do well, but I hadn’t seriously expected to contend for the sword. I thought for sure that at some point in the tournament a horde army of Orks or Tyranids would gut me like a fish and ruin my standings. But here I was, one victory away from winning a tournament for the very first time.
Sisters are a hard army to do well with. Most of their weaponry is close range, but they don’t have the hand-to-hand combat ability of Marines to survive enemy assaults. Mike’s army was maxed-out to lay down a ferocious amount of firepower: lots of Retributor Squads with heavy bolters or multi-meltas, lots of flamers and heavy flamers, lots of boltguns. Plus it could move: If I recall correctly, Mike had six tanks. An Eversor Assassin made up for the lack of Seraphim Squads.
Though the final score doesn’t reflect it, it was a tense, hard-fought game, with the Sisters blasting up lots and lots of my Tigers while the Eversor destroyed my Predator and carved through a Tac Squad on my back lines. In the end, hand-to-hand combat won the day for me. My shooty Tac Squads killed the Eversor and drive the Sisters out of my deployment zone, and my Command Squad and mobile Tac Squad smashed through two Sister Squads and reached Mike’s deployment zone.
Final score: Tigers 1829, Sisters 965.
Though I had certainly never expected to, I had won the sword!
Pat came in second, Mike came in third, and Jeanette came in fourth. For winning second place, Pat received a $20 store credit that he used to pick up a new Attack Bike for his Space Wolves. Incidentally, Paul awarded the Tigers a 15 for Appearance and a 13 for Army Composition. Pat’s Space Wolves got a 16 for Appearance and a 12 for Composition.
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© Copyright Kenton
Kilgore, November 2000
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