Monday, June 13, 2011

Kublacon 2011 Recap, part 1

I'm back from Kublacon and the Kub-Waaagh (formerly Golden Gargant). It took a few days to recover but now it's time to tell the tale of ... the DOOM of the Eldar!
(I apologize for not having photos again; after finally getting my smartphone software installed and downloading all the images, they were hideous.)

Remember how I said this was the last hurrah for my Eldar army, regardless of the outcome? Do the words "self-fulfilling prophecy" mean anything to you? I was pretty jazzed to attend Kublacon this year since I had so much fun last year. This time around I did a lot of things wrong while preparing for the convention, but I won't go into that until I do the tournament post-mortem.

When I arrived at the Hyatt Saturday morning, the usual suspects were assembled around the pavilion. I was not on the ball that morning due to other issues (the scramble to pack everything the night before, pre-con jitters, getting up much earlier than I was used to just to be able to drive up to the hotel in time, a parking ticket for the rental car from the previous night, etc, etc, so on and so forth...).

Suffice it to say my head was not exactly in the game by the time I got there, which fact was proven when I opened up my Battlefoam bag and found my Eldar codex and half of my seer council missing. I proxied with some extra models I hadn't bothered to remove from the case; my Autarch, a striking scorpion exarch and two dire avenger exarchs.

The tables were, as usual, filled with enough terrain to provide ample cover saves and create some line of sight issues, which is a good thing for my list. If you recall, I decided to run a pretty mech-heavy list this year.

We drew our first round assignments and my first opponent was David. David was running a Blood Angels list of the variety I would choose to run if I were going to run red marines; Commander Dante and the Sanguinor, with lots and lots of jump pack units. Two particularly mean units, his Vanguard Vets and Dante's Honour Guard, were going to cause me some serious problems later on.

The first mission used a non-standard deployment. The board was split into thirds lengthwise, with three objectives; one dead center on the board, and two others planted 12" in from the board edge and diametrically opposed. The objectives formed a line running roughly diagonally across the table.

Additionally, all Reserve rolls were required to be rolled at +1. I didn't really like this; the strength of the Autarch as an HQ is that I may add +1 if I choose, but being forced to add 1 to reserve rolls means I don't have much choice as to when my forces arrive. I like having my reserves come in late at times, particularly in objective games, because it gives me late-game options when contesting.

Another funky rule in this scenario stated that contesting an objective with monstrous creatures or vehicles without embarked scoring units cost you a battle point. Hmm, forced reserves and dings for contesting objectives with vehicles... this is one of my primary tactics! Ulp!

After Dante sent my farseer his "evil e-mail", bringing his WS, Wounds and , David took first turn and kept everything in reserve. I started the game with my seer council and fire prisms in the rightmost deployment zone. With nothing on the board, we went directly to turn 2.

All of Dave's Blood Angels came in on turn 2. Most of them were clustered in the north-central of the board, with one assault squad coming down within melta range of each of my Fire Prisms. This... was going to be rough.

What ensued was a running gun battle where I attempted to keep my distance from his jump troops while unloading firepower into his scoring units. Dave's vanguard vets -- indirectly supported by the mighty Sanguinor - were able to tie down and annihilate my seer council on turn 3, while his honor guard and another assault squad immobilized my south-most fire prism.

During the bottom of turn 3 one of my Dire Avenger units came on the board. I brought them in on the far left, far from the action, hoping that there was enough action to keep my opponent busy on the far right. They easily reached the nearest objective, and were well obscured by intervening terrain. Meanwhile, my surviving Fire Prism attempted to escape its 'corner of death' by using it's star engines to jump over the assault squad which had landed right in front of it the previous turn.

On turn 4 Dave spread out his honour guard and assault units near the immobilized and shaken fire prism, probably as insurance against me somehow magically regaining the ability to shoot (if only!). Meanwhile 2 assault squads were converging on the remaining fire prism to the north.

The Sanguinor and vet squad moved slightly toward the center of the board to get them ready for whatever was coming next.

On my turn all my remaining reserves came in. I brought both squads of fire dragons in together, disembarking them 12" in and shooting at the strung out assault squad to the right, bringing them down to 2 models. Doh, so close! I knew they would probably evaporate during turn 5, but if they kept the units in the center and south ends of the board occupied, I was willing to risk that. My only hope was to contest enough objectives for a draw...

My walkers came in via outflank, and luckily enough popped in well within range of the Sanguinor's exposed back. Ignominiously pumping 24 scatter laser shots into his back, they actually managed to put enough wounds on him to kill him outright. I knew that they would most likely be wiped out by a retaliatory assault, but again, I was trading units for distractions here in an effort to keep Dave away from my sole claimed objective, then stealing a draw by contesting.

Well, long story short, the game continued past 5. It actually went all the way to 7 turns! In the end my opponent claimed all three objectives and I had been wiped off the board. Interestingly, if the game had ended as I'd hoped, it would have been a draw...

Dave was a good opponent (went on to win Best General, actually!) and his army was a very mobile list. Not actually one I've seen much of, but that just makes it better. I was unable to flex my mobility enough against his jump troops to feint or flee effectively, leaving me wide open to the weakness of an MSU-based list.

I did make a few mistakes:
1. I played the reserves game by half. I put my biggest guns and my HQ out exposed when I knew that he would be deep striking everything, adding 1 and rerolling reserves. That was foolish. I did it only because I couldn't stand the thought of putting my seer council on the table via reserves and losing the ability to use my psychic powers; well look how that turned out!
2. This is minor, but I probably should have outflanked my walkers into some nearby terrain for the cover save and some defense vs. assault. At least then I'd be forcing some dangerous terrain tests on the jump pack squads.

Oh well, on to the next game!


  1. Hiya Lars!

    Dave here from Kubla. First let me say it was a great pleasure to meet you and play our game. I believe I even put you down as my favorite opponent!

    Too bad the pictures didn't come out for I think we had some good ones. But thanks for the write up, was a great read.

    Sorry some of the dice rolls didn't go your way (if it makes you feel better my next opponent seemed to have only ones on them the poor guy, but he was also lots of fun to play and was happy to see him win players choice). But you definitely caught me with some good surprises like gunning down sanguinor in one volley:). Made me change my plans for sure:).

    Thinking back That reserves bonus definitely helped me and I agree that the penalty for contesting objectives with vehicles being a detriment was indeed odd in a bad way. But for some reason I remember it even being a detriment if you had troops in the vehicle.

    If I can think of other comments I will definitely post them. Good meeting you, good luck with your dark angels, look forward to playing you again, and if you get time come on down to our con down here in San Luis obispo at the end of June called poly con. Sorey to hear about the ticket.

    Take care and see if you can find where your kid put those bikes:).

  2. Hi Dave! Glad you liked it; it was a very tough, very fun game. I think you played someone I know in game 2, but I can't recall who. I knew about 20 people there.

    That is a great army, btw. And it's not a vehicle-spam list! Blood Angels fan boys take note!