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Bristol Brawl Part Deux - Tournie Report

By Alex West

Saturday

Game 1 vs Phil Curran - Black Templars

Alex: 2554
Phil: 329
Result: Win

The mission was Seek and Destroy at Alpha level which was a nice start to the tournie as it kept things simple. I was, however, worried going into the tournie as whilst I hadn't really lost many games under 4th edition my attempts at juggling a much revised Space Wolf list and getting the balance right between enough warm bodies and mobility had led to a style of playing I wasn't entirely comfortable with. I guess I just missed my rhino rushing blood claws! As such I had already decided that I wouldn't raise my hopes for this tournie and would aim for a top half place.

That being said I was disturbed the amount of Black Templar's there looked to be coming towards me, especially considering there was a land raider crusader in the army. I really thought I would be in trouble. Fortune was with me though and I seemed to get the upper hand early on with some nifty deployment of my vindicator. By placing it on the right flank I was pretty confident about where Phil's army would go. My left and centre. Sure enough I was right, but what was also a bonus was the amount of anti tank stuff he deployed to face the vindi. I was sure it would be destroyed in the first turn.

The crux of the battle came when the wolf scouts came on and tied up a tactical squad and destroyed a very nasty looking predator annihilator early on in the game. Around the same time Phil managed to spectacularly miss my vindi with his speeder and attack bike after deploying a tactical squad led by chaplain from a rhino in big bang range. Sadly I missed this juicy target but one thing led to another, mainly the vindi being able to fire in the next round and the decimation of the crusader squad by my venerable dread and a couple of grey hunters and I was able to pull of a win. Not a bad start to the tournie.

Game 2 vs Jakob Curran - Dark Angels

Alex: 500
Jakob: 80
Result: Win

With the combat patrol games sandwiched between the 'big ones' it was time for my Space Wolves to go into a grudge match. Boyed by my victory in the first game I was looking for another win.

The actual game was strange. It lasted about 5 minutes, mainly because for the frist 2 or 3 turns I drove forward in my rhinos keeping out of sight of Jakobs missile launcher. Then I pulled up and shot up his tactical squad whilst my blood claws parked up behind the grey hunters awaiting the inevitable counter attack from the assault squad and chaplain. Fortunately this counter attack was far from devastating as apart from the chaplain who killed 4 hunters the squad got off lightly. In return they killed a few assault marines and held which allowed me to counter charge with my claws and wolf priest. Game over.

Game 3 vs Steve Butler - Feral Orks

Alex: 878
Steve: 1302
Result: Loss

It would appear my early success worked against me here as I drew the legendary Mr Butler early on, in a Recon at Gamme level too. Whilst I was pleased as I knew I would get a good game and the only way to get better is to play the best, I was a little disappointed we had been drawn together so early. On the other hand I wasn't expecting to do well, and still wasn't really, so I was pleased to get the opportunity to play Steve again.

Having never played feral orks before I was unsure what I was letting myself in for. A couple of things stood out as dangerous though. Mainly the big unit of boar boyz looked rather tasty and the several large mobs of mad boyz would make a mess if they got to my lines, especially the mob that had been souped up. With that in mind I thought I would try a trick during deployment and sacrifice the first couple of units to try and trick steve with my deployment.

This kind of worked but went awry when my rhino with my claws in caught a rocket in the side during redeployment leaving the claws rather stranded. Tactically im not sure I did anything drastically wrong. However I did forget the objective. That being said advancing into that many orks would have been suicide anyway. Playing orks in a recon is always a bitch. Essentially I got shot to death in this game, my inexperience against feral orks costing me. After the first couple of turns I realised I was in trouble with the sheer amount of fire at BS3!! coming at me. So it proved, and anything that got my lines was squished but in the end pure weight of fire told and I even my power armour couldn't save me.

One highlight from the game though was Steve's charge from his boar boyz into my claws. I fully expected them to die horribly but they held and then proceeded to win the combat next round running down the fleeing nobz!

So with this game over with I was still happy with the tournie so far. 3 good games and a lesson in feral orks was accounting for a good day. I still didn't have high hopes of doing well but I was pleasantly surprised by how well the list, which I considered average at best, was doing.

Game 4 vs Steve and Matthew Pearce - Tau

Alex: 428
Matt: 334
Result: Win

I was pleased to be facing Steve and Matt in the combat patrol rather than Steve's 1500 points of dirty slaanesh. However any smirks or thoughts of an easy win I might have had were dispelled in the first turn or 2.

Basically I was getting shot up again. With so much S5 weaponry on the table my rhinos were peppered until they were destroyed. I tried to foot slog across the table and took horrific casualties thanks to some rather good dice rolling by Matt. To let you know how close I was to losing, if my lone grey hunter that made contact with the large unit of fire warriors had gone down 1 turn earlier then my 4 remaining claws and wolf priest would have been summarily shot to pieces. As it was he managed to hang in there just long enough for what remained of the claws and wolf priest to make contact and with typical tau ability they dropped…..eventually….after a few rounds of combat and my lone hunters demise. Not exactly my pups greatest hour and at the end of the game I wasn't convinced I had got anything out of it. Fortunately I had managed to destroy the unit of stealth suits which were worth quite a few victory points and somehow I managed to scrape a win.

That would prove to be the victory I was most likely to lose all tournament and credit must go to Matt for that.

So with another win under my belt it was time to retire for the day. Somehow I was in a very good position, 2nd in fact, and so it was with mixed emotions I drew Mark for the first game the next day. I knew I was in trouble on that one as, as Mark rightly said; his army was designed to do the same thing as mine but was better at it. Bugger.

With this in mind it was off to the pub for a pint or 2. 6 or 7 later and a couple more it time to roll into bed in a drunken stupor. Not ideal preparation for the next day!

Sunday:

So with about 5 hours sleep, I woke up at 6 and couldn't get back to sleep!, and a general feeling like shit persona….ok maybe semi hungover….it was time for the game with Mark.

Game 5 vs Mark Hargrave - Slaanesh Marines

Conveniently I don't have the results but safe to say that I need to be in top condition to match Mark. I wasn't and I was outclassed. This combined with the traditional bad luck excuse meant I was summarily butchered. To be honest I was expecting to put up more of a fight but Mark won first turn and I never really recovered from his first turn of shooting. From there it was all down hill.

Feeling a bit better, as in not as hungover/knackered, because of the umm rest…..I looked forward to my next game. I knew now that I was out of the running for a cup and in a way it was a weight off my mind as it meant I wouldn't labour myself with false hopes and could enjoy the rest of the tournament.

Game 6 vs James Balfe - Imperial Guard

Alex: 312
Balfe: 248
Result: Win

This was a good skirmish. I thought I would struggle purely because of the weight of fire the guard could put down, and I knew that if I was blown out of the rhino those rough riders would make a mess of the unlucky squad. With that in mind I set about my plan. I crept forwards with my rhinos shooting up the rough riders who promptly fled off the battlefield to my relief. The rest of the game went pretty much as expected with me taking heavy casualties due to the sheer amount of fire but wreaking havoc when the remnants made it into combat…..this was starting to seem familiar! Great game overall and I hope to play Balfe again in a larger game.

With the last combat patrol out of the way I looked forward to the last game. It was going to be fun playing some devilishly beast like 2000pt army. I just hoped it wasn't my own as there were scurrilous rumours of all sorts of army swaps!

Game 7 vs Michael Bolton - Salamanders and Dark Eldar

Result: Win

I don't have the final results with me, again!, but suffice to say I managed a wipe out. Somehow.

When we deployed I was in serious trouble. Most of mikes army was on the table whereas mine was mostly in reserve. Not good. On the plus side I had a wood to hide behind and the first turn was night fight effectively. Mike definitely had the advantage and seemed keen to press this home. He rushed forward with his termies, wyches and a collection of hounds intent on butchering my small starting force. Fortunately for me most of these bounced and I was able to regain the initiative.

My first load of reinforcements got shot up as they came on into the teeth of mikes ready deployed big guns but after that things started to turn my way and I was able to grind him down. The salamanders I3 really hindered them against my power weapon wielding force. By the time my scouts came on and claimed the far quarter after blowing up the whirlwind and mikes dreadnaught and tac squad had had their fluffy handbag fight with my hunters it was all over and a massacre was promptly mine.

Conclusion:

I had had a great tournament. Very enjoyable opponents and I even sportingly let Mr Butler get his revenge for the kicking I gave him at Weymouth! I was a bit gutted that I didn't come away with a trophy being that I was in a good position, again, and to come 4th again!, was a bit of a kick in the teeth. To be honest I had harboured hopes of a 3rd place after winning my last 2 games but wasn't really banking on it. Of course I wasn't to know that Declan and Steve had seen the results and knew full well where I placed and were just being mean and teasing me. Like a fool I actually believed them!

However when the results were read out and Steve Pearce claimed 3rd I thought my fears were confirmed. However I apparently came 2nd. Nice of the guys to tell me. After recovering from the shock I felt very proud that I had won my first trophy on home soil and with such good competition, most of the top WPS players were present. It made up for the so close so far experience at Weymouth and helped to instil a growing belief that I can place in the top handful knowing it's not a freak result. Overall a fantastic tournament and thanks to Mark for organising it.