Saturday, September 10, 2016

2v2 Tournament Batrep - A Howl of Laughter

 Is this just real life, is this just fantasy...
Caught in the webway, no escape from reality....
Open your eyes, look up to the skies and see...

Hello all! It's been a while since the last update. Took part in a 2v2 tournament with my beloved Masque of the Third Act last weekend, pairing up with Alan and his Space Wolves army. Alan brought a formation from the new Warzone Fenris supplement, which meant that he had 10 drop pods coming in on the first turn. Groovy. My list remained roughly the same, with the Troupes all having special weapons, and some psychic/Solitaire support. Details below.

The Blackmanes (all in drop pods)
3 x 5 Blood Claws, each with 1 Flamer
4 x 5 Grey Hunters, each with 1 Melta
1 x 2 Long Fangs, with 1 Melta
1 x 3 Thunderwolf Cavalry, with 1 Power Fist
1 Wolf Guard Battle Leader
5 Wolf Scouts
1 Murderfang

The Masque of the Third Act
2 Lvl 2 Shadowseers, one with the Mask of Secrets
1 Solitaire
3 Troupes, all with either Caresses, Kisses, or Embraces
2 Starweavers
1 Voidweaver

Sweat beaded on the Shadowseer's brow as he focused on the tides of the Warp. Trespassers from the Mon'keigh Imperium had made their way through the Cursed Forest of Lys, coming perilously close to freeing the evil that remained trapped in the shrouded ruins. Through long planning and crafted illusion, the Masque of the Third Act had managed to bring the attention of the Space Wolves to this benighted world. With delicious irony and no small amount of manipulation, the Wolves would be unleashed on their brethren...

Our first game was against a Sororitas/Iron Hands list with Wiloon and Colin at the helm. The Iron Hands list allowed them to choose a vehicle as their warlord, and they promptly chose the Land Raider, which made it a high priority target for all the drop melta.The scenario gave extra VP for killing off units that were NOT from your Warlord's detachment, and given how many units Alan had, we made his Battle Leader the Warlord.

Deployment. The harlies are clustered in terrain to take advantage of what meagre cover was available. That Knight Crusader was going to tear them a new one if it managed to draw LOS.

Turn 1. Steel Rain! All the drop pods come down, and we chose to cluster the majority of the pods close to their troop transports. We managed to get Slay the Warlord and First Blood, with some good rolling on the Meltaguns.

Our first turn saw the Blackmanes come down and glance down the Warlord Land Raider for First Blood and Slay the Warlord! That gave us a start which was way better than expected.

Those Wolves are baying for Sisters' blood as they crack open the Land Raider!
The Knight then moved up and began blasting the Space Wolves away. It was surprising to Alan and I that they didn't target the Harlies, but I suppose having a bunch of smelly Vikings in their face offended the Sisters' sense of propriety. The shooting didn't last long though, as the Harlies were now within charge distance.

The Harlies and the Thunderwolves charge in to try and tie up the Crusader. Look at that awesome conversion of using the school badge as a crest!

Between the flurry of Harlequin's Caresses and Thunderwolf attacks, the Knight goes up in flames. The Titanic Explosion scatters clean off from everything and does no further damage.

The Wolves hit the Sisters' lines hard, with the Solitair to come in soon after.
The Solitaire proved his worth as he easily gibbed both Uriah Jacobus and a few of his Dominion escort. While we were unable to kill many of the Sisters for the bonus VP, we had managed to pin them in their deployment zone, letting us rack up the Maelstrom points. At the end of the game, our first round score was 29-11. Wiloon and Colin were great people to play against, and man, did that Knight look sweet with a CHIJ school badge on it. You can't get more Sororitas than CHIJ.

The Masque of the Third Act faded back into the shadows of the webway, their job completed. The ever eager Space Wolves had fallen on their brethren quickly, never realising that the corruption they sensed was from the forest itself, not their fellow Imperials. The clues had already been laid to lead the Wolves on to their next target amongst the Crystal Tombs of Khet...

Our second game was against an Ultramarines/AdMech team, led by Marshall and Reuben. Lots of marines, two thunderfire cannons, and a whole bunch of robots with Grav/Phosphor in drop pods. Reuben rolled the Warlord Trait that made his Canticles always function at their highest level, and they gave us first turn. The mission included a Relic for an extra 5VP.

First turn and deployment as the Space Wolves' pods start coming down.
Between the pods, the drop melta, and shuriken cannon fire, we managed to wreck both Rhinos for First Blood. The marines came piling out, and were hemmed in like the Sisters before them. This meant that our opponents had lost much of their mobility and flexibility in securing objectives, as there were 6 Objective Secured units that were either wrecked or stuck in the middle of nowhere.

The Ultramarines respond by piling out of their wrecked transports to face their erstwhile brethren.

The Ultramarines retaliate, dropping in with a full tactical squad to try and reclaim that objective.

Murderfang unleashes his rage on an unsuspecting Thunderfire cannon and tears its Techmarine operator to bloody shreds.

 Love this shot. While the battle swirls around him, the Solitaire leaps into combat with a Librarian.

We were quickly reminded that the AdMech shooting was very painful, with the Kastelan Maniple killing Murderfang with Overwatch! The Grav Destroyers also hurt quite a bit, as did their auto 3 hit flamers, which meant a lot of toasted Harlequins. We nearly managed to pull off a resounding victory by hanging on to the Relic, but Reuben's Grav Destroyers managed to kill the unit holding the Relic at the end. Nevertheless, we took the second game 23-7. Marshall and Alan were old frenemies, and it was always amusing listening to their banter. It was really tough luck for them that we popped both their Rhinos, which would have given the list much more objective securing ability.

The Wolves were performing their roles just as planned, and the Troupe Master of the Light nodded to the Solitaire as he passed; the Masque was about to perform the final act, one which would require sacrifice for success. The Harlequins were ready to play their part, ready to die in order to ensure that the White Scars and the Space Wolves met and renewed their bonds on the Blasted Steppes of Vandra IV...

After 2 games played, Alan and I were coming in top with 52 points, while the 2nd placed Zim and Lum had 49. The 3rd placed players had 41 points, and to catch up, the 3rd placed team would need to table their opponent, or at least win by a relatively big margin. I was reasonably confident they wouldn't be able to achieve that, as their opponent had a Stormsurge with Interceptor. To everybody's surprise, the Tau player chose not to intercept the Skyhammer grav devastators, and the poor Stormsurge promptly died without firing a shot. Their game predictably ended in a tabling thereafter, giving them 71 points. It was now an open contest for the top three places.

On to our final game! We faced off against Zim and Lum's White Scars/Ultramarines. We were playing a mission with Eternal War, which meant that objectives held at the end of the game were worth 2 VP each. Against a fast moving and durable CAD on bikes, and a Skyhammer. This was going to end well...
Deployment. Both sides deployed with caution, with the bikes spreading out to avoid getting walled in by the pods, and the Harlies and scouts stick to terrain to avoid the Skyhammer.

That familiar pitter patter of steel raindrops. As the objectives were worth 2VPs each at the end of the game, we tried to bubblewrap the objectives and screen the enemy off.

We got first turn again, and the Blackmanes promptly dropped in. We tried to bubble wrap the objectives with pods and bodies, but our lists just weren't designed for this type of attritional battle, and the Skyhammer hit us like a ton of bricks. Notably, Lum's drops were INSANE. See picture below for evidence.

In comes the Skyhammer! What a ballsy drop!

A lot of our stuff died shortly after this.
I apologise for the lack of pictures, as we were rushing through turns and the hour was late. As the game wore on, the superior firepower of the White Scars and Skyhammer took its toll, with both Wolves and Harlies dying in equal measure. Zim's Thunderfire cannons took their toll, but in a post-mortem on the game, I realised that Barrage weapons only hit the top floor of the ruin in ITC rules! My harlies on the ground floor would have survived a volley, which could have made quite the difference. In the end, we just couldn't kill enough of the bikes to secure objectives, and they took the game by quite a margin (sorry can't remember the exact score). 

The final result was that Zim and Lum took first place, in what was their maiden(ish) tournament! No shame in losing to the eventual champions eh, and we came in third so it wasn't too bad ;) 

A great tournament for the most part, and I'm glad to have proven to myself (and hopefully some other people) that Harlies could make the cut if played right, under the right circumstances. To lose second because of someone else's mistake did sting, but them's the breaks. Looking forward to the next one, and thanks to GRex for organising the tournament!

The Masque of the Third Act slunk away into the Webway, bearing their dead and wounded with them. Yet again they had taken a battering, but their goals had been accomplished. In fighting each other, the Imperium in the sector was temporarily weakened, allowing Exodites seeking refuge to slip by undetected. In fighting each other, the White Scars, Ultramarines, Space Wolves, Adepta Sororitas, and Adeptus Mechanicus had tested their mettle and come out the better for it. They would need their battle hardened mentality to face the oncoming 13th Black Crusade....

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