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Events and Battle Reports
Rogue Trader Tournament, 01/17/04
Kenton's Dark Eldar <> Pat's Space Wolves

Rogue Trader Tournament, 01/17/04: “The Play’s The Thing” by Patrick Eibel
Patrick EibelThere are many reasons to enter a Rogue Trader Tournament: to show-off your army, to practice for a Grand Tournament, and of course to win. But going into this tournament, my primary focus was really not on winning at all. 

Recently, it had been brought to my attention that I can be something of a poor sport in games that don’t go my way and a bit of a gloater in games that I win handily. Since my main goal in playing 40K is to spend some enjoyable time with friends, I was troubled at the idea that people did not enjoy playing with me. I decided that, win or lose, I would make a concerted effort to be a “good opponent” in each battle for this tournament.

I decided to play my Space Wolf army because I wanted an army that I would be comfortable with all of the special rules. However, this would mean that my assault-oriented army would have to contend with all of the shooty armies that are currently in vogue: sharpshooting Imperial Guard, Obliterator- happy Iron Warriors, Stubborn Dark Angels, and of course resurrecting Necrons. 

I took the following:

  • Wolf Lord Keric Quicbrand w/ frostblade,wolf pelt, wolf tail talisman, Belt of Russ, frag and meltabomb grenades  (131 points)
  • Rune Priest Horsa Drachenbane w/ frostblade, wolf pelt, wolf tail talisman, frag and meltabomb grenades; Stormcaller psychic ability (110 points)
  • Wolf Guard Battle Leader Hengist Elves-bane w/ power weapon, plasma pistol, frag and meltabomb grenades (96 points)
  • Wolf Guard Leader Modi The Hot-Headed w/ lightning claws, wolf tooth necklace (60 points)
  • Wolf Guard Leader Balder Wolfclaw w/ power fist, bolt pistol, bionic leg, wolf pelt, wolf tail talisman (55 points)
  • Wolf Scout Pack “Lightning”: Two w/ bolt pistol, ccw; two w/ bolt pistol, power weapon; Pack Leader Uller Loganson w/ meltagun (125 points)
  • Gray Hunter Pack “Roskva”: One w/ power weapon; one w/ power fist; one w/ plasma pistol; one w/ flamer; two w/ bolters and ccw; three with bolt pistol and ccw. Transport: Rhino with extra armor, smoke launchers, searchlight.  (255 points)
  • Gray Hunter Pack “Angrboda”: As above, except w/ meltagun (259 points)
  • Gray Hunter Pack “Kvasir”: As Pack Angrboda (259 points)
  • Blood Claw Pack “Mjolnir”: Two w/ power fists, one w/ flamer, six w/ bolt pistols and ccw. Transport: Rhino with extra armor, smoke launchers (214 points)
  • Blood Claw Pack “Sleipnir”: Two w/ power fists, one w/ meltagun, six w/ bolt pistols and ccw. Transport: Rhino with extra armor, smoke launchers (214 points)
  • Predator Destructor “Howling Doom”: Autocannon, sponsons with lascannons; extra armor (130 points)
  • Whirlwind “Kraken”: w/ HK missile (90 points)
Total: 1998 points

So what happened?

Game 1: “I Hate You!” “No, I Hate You More!” (Part 1)
In my first battle, I had the good fortune to be pitted against Greg Smith. Greg had a Dark Angels successor chapter painted in an eye-catching purple and orange scheme. The army was pretty much what you’d expect from a shooty Dark Angel army: 

  • Two Dreadnoughts with missile launchers and twin lascannon
  • Five Tactical Squads (two with heavy bolter/meltagun and a Rhino, two with plasma cannon/plasma gun; and one with flamer, a Standard of Fortune and a Rhino)
  • Command Squad with a Grand Master and Rhino 
  • Assault Squad
  • Devastator Squad with three missile launchers
  • A Land Speeder with a multi-melta.
Going along with the mission parameters, Greg designated Squad Angrboda, who was led by my Wolf Lord, as the “hunted” squad, worth double Victory Points. I designated his Assault Squad, as I figured they would be coming to me anyway. With the Space Wolf Hatred rule towards Dark Angels, this would prove to be a bloody affair.

Greg did his best to take out my Rhinos to slow me down, but he just couldn’t stop all five of my squads. Once the Wolves closed with the Dark Angels in Turn 3, massive carnage ensued, including the Devastator Squad being wiped out in one turn. Through it all, Greg and I had fun talking and joking while his kids took pictures. He truly was enjoyable to play against, so it came as no surprise later when he won the Best Sportsmanship award.

Space Wolves against Dark Angel successors
Above: Pat's Space Wolves take on Greg's Dark Angel successors
Photo © copyright Greg Smith, February 2004. Used with permission. 

Game 2: “I Hate You!” “No, I Hate You More!” (Part 2)
So, having defeated our hated foes, the Dark Angels, I found myself on Table 2 facing my other hated foes, the Thousand Sons. My opponent, Edward Holley, had a beautifully painted and converted army that included several figures with bird wings (the Mark of Tzeentch). His army was what you would expect from Thousand Sons—lots of sSquad with bolters, led by Sorcerers with Doom Bolt. There were also the obligatory Obliterators and a Defiler to deal with.

The mission for the second game was “Unplanned Assault,” which allows two Troop selections to start on the board, but no HQ or Elites. This meant that my opponent got to start with two squads including his Sorcerers, which are merely upgrades to the squad, while I got two squads without leaders because mine come from a different part of the army list.

Things went pretty much as expected, with Doom Bolts being shot from Rhino hatches to take down my tanks (thank goodness for smoke launchers!). Fortunately, a big melee occurred on my left flank, which helped to keep the game close. When we rolled for objective in Turn 3, it came up “Table Quarters,” which meant I would have a shot, as I did not have to kill his Terminators, Obliterators or Defiler. In the last turn, the game was tied with one quarter held by each and two contested. All Edward needed to do was kill three Gray Hunters and a Rhino to win. After the Defiler, Terminators and Obliterators all fired, the Rhino was still there, giving me a tie. Whew, that was close!

Again, I had a very enjoyable game even though I am not a huge Thousand Sons fan. I had a bad moment at the end of the game when time was called, but we kept going to the end of the turn, which meant Edward would get all of the shots at my vehicles. I was worried that would cost me the game. It didn’t, but I’m sure my whining affected my sportsmanship score. Still, Edward was a quality opponent with a beautiful army, and it was no surprise that he won the “Best Painted Army” award.

Whoops! Wrong Patrick
Whoops! Wrong Patrick.

Game 3: “Have You Ever Danced With The Devil?”
My final game came against John Shirey and his Eldar army. Finally, an opponent I didn’t “hate”!  Unfortunately, the mission was “Arch Rivals,” which meant that our two commanders would have to move towards each other and try to kill the other. That meant my Wolf Lord was trying to mambo with—you guessed it—the Avatar.

Once again, my Wolves suffered a huge amount of fire, but managed to close by Turn 2 thanks to the funky deployment zones. The whole battle was pretty bloody on both sides, as he shot my guys up and I diced his guys up. The only sour note was my Wolf Lord’s Rhino getting shot down early on, so that he had no chance to get into close combat and ended up just getting shot dead. Very anticlimactic.

By the end of the game, only 200 Victory Points separated John and I, and he called the game a tie (he was technically ahead). This was a very interesting, intense battle, but John and I took it all in stride as it was the end of the day, and things never got ugly.

And What have We Learned From This?
So that was my Rogue Trader Tournament experience: a fairly mediocre showing of one win and two ties. One would think that I was disappointed with that outcome, but I am actually very happy, because I learned two valuable lessons.

Patrick Eibel, All-Around Good GuyFirst, from an army selection standpoint, having five Troop choices was just fantastic.  My strategy to counter the shooty armies was to have too many Rhinos to gun them all down and to protect as many as possible with smoke launchers and Storm Caller. I did a good job of remembering to use the vehicle upgrades and not think of it two turns after my Rhino was toasted (“Dang, I should have used my smoke launchers!”). This also played against my tendency to go for the flashy units over basic Troops. In fact, the list originally included a bike squad, which in hindsight I am happy I did not bring.

The second thing, and this is huge, is that when you focus more on having fun than winning, you tend to have more enjoyable games. Now don’t get me wrong, I was clearly trying to win every game I played, but my main objective was to not be a total jerk to play against. For the most part, I succeeded, and I think my opponents will agree the games were all close but fun. In the end, this is what I want from a game of 40K.

So, the next time you are in a tournament you know you have no chance of winning, I suggest you make your goal something totally unrelated to the outcome of the battle: maybe getting that Scout squad to survive the battle, maybe remembering to use all of your wargear, or just to make every game as much fun for both participants as possible.  You never know what may happen. At worst, you’ll have had an enjoyable day of playing games; at best, you may win Best Sportsman. 

The skald finished his final tale and the meadhall fell silent. Wolf Lord Keric Quicbrand rose from his place at the head of the long table. He raised his pewter mug filled with frosty homebrew and bellowed, “To those that have fallen against our hated foes—the perfidious Dark Angels, the traitorous Thousand Sons, the enigmatic Alfir—we hold our mugs on high and sing their praise.” 

The hall erupted into a chorus of shouts and war whoops, and the men began banging their mugs on the table. Keric quieted the hall and continued. “Tonight, we celebrate and remember those that have fallen. Not out of sadness that they have gone to the Halls of Russ to await the Return, but because that they will miss the next battle. For men such as we, there is no life except in combat. There is no despair except the woe of defeat. And there is no family except our brothers in arms.” Again, the men whooped in response.

Horsa and Hengist sat off in a corner, appreciating the proceedings. “The old man is getting philosophical,” said Hengist.

You would be philosophical, too, if you’d have had as much homebrew as he’s had.”

The two leaders chuckled and raised their mugs with the other men. For tonight at least, there were no other cares on this or any world.

Kenton's Dark Eldar <> Pat's Space Wolves

Related Pages
Other Rogue Trader Tournaments

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© Copyright Patrick Eibel, February 2004. Used with permission.


Fighting Tigers:
Codex <> Tactics <> Gallery <> Allies and Enemies <> Tales of the Tigers

Other Pages:
Main <> What's New <> Site Index <> The Tiger Roars <> Themed Army Ideas
Events and Battle Reports <> Campaigns <> Terrain <> FAQ <> Beyond the Jungle