Author Topic: ATC 2016  (Read 2349 times)

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Offline hillshire

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ATC 2016
« on: May 29, 2016, 07:37:33 PM »
Going to the ATC for the first time this year, I'm very excited about it. Many of my friends and teammates have, they speak very highly of the event.

Anyone else on the boards going? Should be fun!

I've got my list finalized, I'm pretty happy with it. It's a variation on the Skyhammer list from Adepticon but plays faster and hits harder. Basically grav-devastators and Centurions w/assault and tactical marines, nothing flashy. Just lots of shooting with a bit of assault. I've been refining it over two tournaments and an ATC retreat. 6 Wins (3 vs different Eldar w/D weapons, 1 vs Imperial Guard armor, 1 vs Necrons w/double Canoptek Harvest, and 1 vs Dark Angels shrouded bikestar + Imperial Knight), 1 minor loss (an army of 8 Stormtalons and a Stormraven plus other stuff), and 2 bad losses (both to Tau with huge amounts of Intercept). This list should hold up better against Tau but we'll try to avoid that at the ATC. We have other armies in our team which are much more effective vs Tau than mine.

Sorry, no time for details but I wanted to get the thread started.

I hope to meet some great players there and have some fun games!

Offline hillshire

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Re: ATC 2016
« Reply #1 on: June 03, 2016, 01:36:43 AM »
For reference, here's the website:

Here are some of the key elements of the ATC tournament:

*5 players per team, each playing their own army

*Once a team member uses a faction, then the others cannot use it in their lists. This is very important. A team can't have multiple lists using Tau, Eldar, or Space Marines to boost their effectiveness. Really cuts down on battle brother shenanigans with Space Marines in particular. Sure, you can make that Deathstar list but then your other teammates lose access to that faction. Can't just drop the Riptide Wing into each army. Imperial Knights can be used in two lists but the second list can only bring a single Knight (a nod to War Convocation?). In other words, you can still make powerful lists but each choice limits the choices of your teammates so you have to be more strategic.

*Pairings. So, in each round of the tournament a team is paired against another team. The details are on the website but the gist is that the team captains have some control over what list they want to fight against or avoid (avoiding seems easier). This allows you to focus your army a bit more than usual since you have a good chance of avoiding a list one of your armies is weak against. On the other hand, if several lists on your team are too focused it becomes harder to get the match-ups you want.

*Terrain density. 5 tables. 1 with heavy terrain, 1 with light terrain, and 3 with normal terrain. This comes up in the pairings phase so you can use it to your advantage. Try to get Planet Kueball for your Tau and Planet Dencity for your terrain huggers.

*The event is an ITC event but uses its own scoring, paint requirements, and missions (which I'll go over in another post). They're using the ITC FAQ with some adjustments but the word is they're also using the GW Draft FAQs. RIP Void Shield Generator, you got too silly and had to be sat down.

So what are people likely to face at ATC? Well, let's get the obvious choices out of the way first:

1. Eldar. Wraithknights, scatbikes, Warp Spiders, and D-slingers of various types in all kinds of combinations.

2. Tau. Stormsurges and Riptides plus whatever

3. Space Marines. Biker deathstar is highly likely. Drop marines possible.

One of the cool things about ATC is that since you have some control over what you face, you don't have to bring an "all comers" army. You can bring things that you wouldn't see in a GT because they can be very hard to deal with if they can avoid their nemesis. Now, I have no idea what people are bringing but here are some out-of-the-norm things that could happen.

4. Flyers. Since the ATC is using Death from the Skies, there are some very effective formations that improve their damage output. The roll for an additional 90 degree turn helps get them where you need them. And some armies would have a hard time dealing with 10+ flyers zipping around.

5. Monoliths. Necrons are a solid army but you rarely see Monoliths (or at least I rarely see them). But against some armies their AV14 and ability to shift troops around the board would cause tears of frustration rather than laughter. Combine that with flying croissants and some players would have literally now idea of how to deal with them.

6. Tyranids and Orks. I don't claim to know a lot about how to run Tyranids or Orks but it seems like they could be good spoiler armies against some lists.

7. Daemons. In the right hands, Daemons are very competitive in a tournament. At ATC they could be devastating. I know I wouldn't want to go up against them!

Anyway, this isn't meant to be a comprehensive list. Just throwing out some ideas. I'm expecting to see some lists where my reaction will be "I've never even thought of that, I'm not even sure how that works!"

Offline hillshire

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Re: ATC 2016
« Reply #2 on: June 06, 2016, 09:20:23 PM »
Let's look at the Pre Game Actions. Here's the link for the mission packet in case you'd like to check them out yourself:

Most of this is pretty much your usual steps.

For example, at this point, Scout moves still happen before Seize the Initiative so there's still a chance of being caught badly out of position by a Seize.

The key difference from how people usually play that every player should be aware of: whoever deploys first must go first (unless they get Seized on).

In other words, you can't win the roll and wait to see how your opponent deploys before deciding whether you want to go first or second. You have to decide based on the list. And maybe the terrain.

Every mission has 1/3 of its points (10 out of 30) based on an objective (or objectives) scored at the end of the game. So it is generally to your advantage to go second since it gives you the final option for scoring an objective or blasting your opponent off of one now that they're not hiding in a corner behind cover.

With that in mind, let's do a brief breakdown of scoring and how that can effect your army build. We'll go into greater detail in later posts when we look at the actual missions.

1/3 is an End Game Objective(s): the Relic (center of the table), Emperor's Will (each player places 1 objective in their opponent's deployment zone), and Tactical Objectives (players take turns placing 5 Objective Markers)

Typically this is where you call in your late game objective grabbers such as ScatBikes or Land Speeder Storms for some Objective Secured game winners

1/3 is Progressive: No Man's Land (both players place 1 objective in No Man's Land), Quarters (each table quarter has an objective placed in its center), and Center (kind of like Relic but can't be moved)

Here's where you need durable units. Something tough enough to survive once it gets onto the objective. And at least somewhat shooty so they can contribute while they're hanging out

1/3 is Kill Points: ummm, kill stuff

Here's where your Deathstars get to shine, rolling around killing stuff and knocking them off objectives

Having said that, I don't think this tournament favors Deathstars. Not the giant ones anyways. A Deathstar can only hold one objective at a time unless it splits up. So progressives are a lost cause. Kill points could work out but if your opponent kills your support units early and scatters onto objectives, they should be able to place themselves distant enough to keep from being multi-assaulted effectively. So kill points might be harder to rack up then one might think. On the other hand, if there were only a few support units, you might come out ahead anyways if you can keep your ICs from dying.

Mini-Deathstars could be pretty good though. Strong enough to win an objective and durable enough to survive to the end of the game. Could be pretty good.

Does the tournament favor MSU? Possibly. MSU makes up for durability with sheer numbers. But is likely to suffer in the kill points department. And holding the End Game Objective isn't guaranteed if there's something tough enough to take it away from you.

One thing the tournament definitely does not favor is castling. Just holding the objectives in your third will lose you the game. If I knew I was up against a castle, I would select the heavy terrain table so they couldn't just shoot me off the objectives.

So what kind of army would be effective for this tournament? Well, really, all kinds of armies but in general terms the army should have:

1. Durable shooters for hanging out on the Progressive Objectives while also winning some Kill Points

2. A Mini Deathstar for cruising around destroying units (Kill Points!) and knocking them off objectives (denying Progressives to the enemy)

3. Highly mobile objective grabbers to come in late in the game from Reserves, hide out in Ruins until the end of the game, and then zip onto the End Game Objective(s) at the last minute.

And my army has  . . . none of those things. Dang! Maybe I should have read my own posts before building my army . . .

Online Draco765

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Re: ATC 2016
« Reply #3 on: June 07, 2016, 08:24:03 AM »
Not sure what happened, but my local group shrunk after ATC last year. They were very active players but right after the event they just dropped their armys and went to other games. They had a blast and did relatively good, but for some reason it caused them all to burn out on the game.

Offline hillshire

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Re: ATC 2016
« Reply #4 on: June 07, 2016, 07:48:14 PM »
I'm just speculating but it could be one of a couple of things.

First is "goal achieved". Consciously or unconsciously, people often have certain goals which, once achieved, fulfill an inner need. I've occasionally seen this with some young musicians. They're playing well and improving their skills so you reward them with a medal or trophy. Then they drop out of music and never play again. Wasn't because they didn't enjoy it or weren't playing well but once a certain impetus was satisfied or validated, they moved on to something different.

Second is "major event". Similar to "goal achieved" but it's more that they packed so much of one interest into a short amount of time that it literally fills up that interest for a while. Sometimes permanently. Kind of like gorging on a tasty food. You really enjoyed it but don't want to even look at it again for a long time.

Offline hillshire

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Re: ATC 2016
« Reply #5 on: June 15, 2016, 06:48:36 PM »
Mission 1 - Dawn of War

Primary: Relic. 10 pts Win, 5 pts Contested, 0 pts if neither can claim

Secondary: 4 Progressive Crusade Objectives (10 pts possible). Each player places 2 Objective Markers. The first must be placed in No Man's Land, the second as per usual. Starting Turn 2, score 4 pts per turn for the player who controls the most objectives. At the end of the game, subtract the lower from the higher to find how many VPs the winner of Secondary claims. 10 pts max.

Tertiary: Kill Points Differential (10 pts possible).

Bonus VPs: +1 for First Blood, Slay the Warlord, and/or Line Breaker

Primary: There are several ways to play this.

1. Durability. A highly durable unit could reach the Relic and simply hang onto it through sheer durability. Wouldn't even have to be a powerful unit, just durable. Use your "fighty" models to destroy enemy units and keep them away from the Relic. Works even better if your durable unit is Objective Secured.

2. Death Star. Seems obvious because it is. Claiming the Relic early is nice but not necessary. Might be better to smash key enemy units and then win the Relic later in the game. Keep a close eye on the game clock. Don't want to be caught one turn away from charging in and claiming it.

3. Objective Secured. Particularly if your opponent has little to none. Just need to get an ObSec unit within 3" at the end of the game. Works best with fast units.

4. Attrition and late game grab. Ignore the Relic in favor of focusing down enemy units and winning the Secondary Mission. Then grab the Relic late in the game. Ideally after all of your opponents are dead. Which helps towards Tertiary.

5. Keep away. This is trickier and requires a unit which can move consistently in more than one phase of the game. Commonly achieved by Turbo Boosting a bike unit 6" during the Shooting Phase. Even better, pop it inside a vehicle. Ideally, a Land Raider. And start moving it away from the enemy's strength.

6. Bombardment. Gun line of long ranged artillery (well, doesn't have to be artillery, just an example). Shoot the enemy in their deployment zone. Shoot them when they move out of their deployment zone. Shoot them when they try to reach the Relic. Shoot them when they try to move the relic. Pour so much fire into them that by Turn 4 there's nothing left to oppose your measly little late game objective grabbers.

7. Vehicle barrier. This will work against some armies or just provide a single turn speed bump for others. But the idea is to place a wall of vehicles (usually drop pods and/or rhinos) between the Relic and the enemy. Sometimes even a single turn is enough to hold on to the Relic before your enemy crashes through your wall of steel.

Secondary: Initial placement of Objectives is key and depends a lot on your army.

1. Defensive. It's not hard to place the No Man's Land objective close to a defendable position near a deployment zone. Although you run the risk of helping your opponent rather than yourself with a bad roll for Deployment Zones. But maybe you have a special rule to help with that. Anyway, it's easy to set up so that you always have 2 Secondary Objectives under your control if you win the Deployment Zone roll.

2. Aggressive. Placing one or both Objectives more into the midfield so that as your army advances, it will easily sweep up Objectives. Common in horde armies and Death Star armies that can cover a wide area, dropping off units to hold Markers as they progress.

3. Maneuver. A riskier method would be to place one or both of your Objectives far away from where you expect the main battle to play out. Sometimes seen in elite style armies (low model count, has only a few small units to spare for sitting on Objectives since the rest are needed for fighting). That way you can zip or drop some low cost objective campers onto them while the rest of your army brings the fight to the enemy. Riskier because even a moderately strong unit can probably sweep your objective campers off. Ideally, your campers are also long range shooters so that they're still contributing to the cause but plopping min cost basic troops is pretty common.

Another way to think of it is, if your army is tougher but less maneuverable, try to keep the objectives close together. Take advantage of your opponent's placement of his or her objectives. If you army is more maneuverable than your opponent, you might want to spread them out. Don't make it easy for your opponent, make him or her have to make hard decisions of who to send where.

Regardless of the method, you have to remember to score objectives. It's easy to get wrapped up in shooting and charging while forgetting what your army is fighting for. Before the tournament even begins, draw a little scoreboard on your mission packet (if one isn't already provided) to help you keep track of who scored how many VPs each player turn.

Also, this can be a hard part of the mission for either side to gain an advantage in. In most of our test games, the Secondary came out as a tie or just a few points awarded. So, don't sacrifice units to win Secondary. It's probably not going to help that much.

Tertiary. This happens almost as a side effect. If you're maneuvering your army strategically to win the Secondary Mission at the start of the game and the Tertiary at the end of it, you should be able to destroy enemy units along the way. However, crippling the enemy with a heavy alpha strike early in the game will win Tertiary almost immediately and make it easier to win Secondary and Primary as the game goes on. However. Most alpha strike armies are not particularly maneuverable (drop pods, Tau gun line, Imperial Guard gun line). Usually, if you can weather the alpha strike, you can beat them on objectives.

Overall, think of Mission 1 as a wave. Early turns set you up to win Secondary, later turns set you up to win Primary. Tertiary comes from good management and target priority over the course of the game.
« Last Edit: June 15, 2016, 06:52:11 PM by hillshire »

Offline hillshire

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Re: ATC 2016
« Reply #6 on: June 21, 2016, 12:57:32 AM »
Went to an ATC prep tournament. I was invited by a teammate and should have asked more questions. I thought we were just getting together with some buddies and testing ideas like we did last time. So I took an experimental variation instead of going full hard core. Turns out it was a full tournament with 24 players, many of them top notch. Hoooo boy. Payed the price for that! But winning or losing isn't as important as learning for an event like this and I learned a lot. I thought I'd share some observations based on my experience.

Previously, progressive objectives were a wash. Many players, including myself, were tying on them. Due to good planning, I was actually quite successful with them and won progressives in all three missions. So, it is possible to avoid the tie there and win that third of the score.

Unfortunately, since I had weakened my list by dropping 2 grav cannons and replacing them with 2 heavy bolters so I could fit in an inquisitor with 3 servo skulls (I wanted to see if that would help with getting reliable drops, more on that later) I didn't quite have enough fire power to finish off a key unit in each game.

Game 1 I failed to finish off two Warp Spider units so I failed to table him. The first didn't have enough fire poured into him and the second didn't have the second assault team charge him because they scattered too far. The servo skulls didn't help me in that case. I had managed to kill 1 Warp Spider unit and two scatbike teams on the drop but without everything killed, that doesn't matter. Then 3 more units of Warp Spiders, a Skatach, more jet bikes with various HQs came in Turn 2 and proceeded to zip all around gradually killing off my dudes. I won progressives but lost end game and kill points.

Game 2 I failed to finish off a third Imperial Knight (I did kill two) on the drop (he had 1 HP left, those 10 more grav shots would have done it), again failing to table my opponent. That third IK then rampaged all around my army and I some how could not drop that final HP. I won progressives, squeaked a 1 pt win on kill points, but lost end game.

Game 3 was against a War Convocation. They were surprisingly hard to kill off. Started off well for me but due to their durability and weird rules (not to mention being well played by an excellent general), they gradually wore down my forces to get onto key End Game objectives. I won progressive but lost kill points and end game.

Something became glaringly obvious by the end of the tournament. If your guys are dying, you are most likely going to lose both kill points and end game because there's no one left to hold or seize the end game objective.

There are three basic ways to address this:

1. Be more killy so that you are the one winning on kill points which leads to end game. Kind of shot myself in the foot there with my experimental list. I'm still kicking myself with my good foot over that mistake.

2. Be more survivable so that you deflect damage and survive to the end game objectives while limiting the number of Kill Points you're giving up. Well, given the lists I've been coming up with, there's not a lot I can do there. I can get a bit tougher but not a lot.

3. Have something fast that can hide throughout the game and then jump onto the End Game objective at the last possible moment. Works best if you're going second. Preferably ObSec. This I might be able to add.

I'm going to game out some ideas over the next couple weeks.

Apologies for not posting my list but there's no real point yet, I write new ones daily. Once it's locked and submitted, I'll post it.

So what was the meta?

Imperial Knights. I was surprised how many Imperial Knights there were. 1, 3, or 5 were the common builds. There were also some Renegade ones. Even an Ork Stompa (Big Mech?).

Eldar of various flavors. No surprise, right? I was facing 35 Warp Spiders in 6 units Game 1. Two of my tricks to counter them worked (surrounding a building with a 10 marine unit to catch one while triangulating another). One failed miserably (assaults don't work when you're too far away). Thinking back on the game, there are some things I could have done better such as deploying onto high terrain to deny them the ability to jump from side to side around them and blocking out the Relic with Drop Pods. I need to get in more practice vs Warp Spiders.

Daemons. Several Daemon armies, including two Khorne Daemonkin armies. These did well.

Chaos Space Marines. One army won the event while the other placed 6th. One of which had a whole bunch of Soul Grinders and a Brass Scorpion. Not sure which one placed where.

Orks. Two Ork armies. They didn't place well but fun to see them.

Dark Angels, Blood Angels, and Space Wolves. Didn't fair particularly well. Only one, a Dark Angels army, placed 7th while the rest were in the bottom half of the tournament.

Space Marines did even worse with no help from me. Worst showing in a long time. The shame . . .

Only 1 Battle Company which was also a Drop Pod army. That table looked like a forest of Drop Pods.

Necrons. Only one army, placed 8th.

Cult Mechanicus. Again, only one. Placed 10th (with a lot of help from me unfortunately).

No shows: Sisters of Battle, Tyranids, Imperial Guard, Black Templar, Dark Eldar, Harlequins, Grey Knights, and Tau (whaaat?! no Tau?! I know!)

For this event, Chaos of one flavor or another took 5 of the Top 10 slots, including 1st and 2nd. Imperium of Man 3 (Imperial Knights, Dark Angels, and Cult Mechanicus). Xenos 2 (Eldar and Necron).

One shouldn't read too much into the meta here but almost every player is going to the ATC. Some very strong teams were represented. This was a great experience which I am still processing.
« Last Edit: June 21, 2016, 01:06:50 AM by hillshire »

Offline hillshire

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Re: ATC 2016
« Reply #7 on: July 27, 2016, 12:30:31 AM »
A successful tournament!

Sorry I didn't get to finish my series on mission prep but I had to focus on building and painting models for ATC. Some crucial bits were accidentally shipped to England (still not sure how that happened) so I had to do some rapid fire conversions and customization, then prime and paint them.

I really enjoyed the missions. Against some of my opponents it became a very strategic chess match requiring careful consideration of firing lanes, movement, and cover. Others it was a matter of applying mass fire on targets.

If I get my spirit back, I'll do a more detailed write up of the games. But at the moment, I have to admit the fun of the event has been badly tarnished. It's not that I did badly. Really, for my first ATC, I did quite well. Four wins, three of which were max points and two of which were tablings. 17, 20, 20, and 20. The losses I scored 7 and 4.

On day one, I didn't even mind the loss in the first game. I had played well and still managed to wrack up almost half the points, a minor loss. So I was contributing well to the team even if I hadn't won. And I would have won max points on Turn 5 and majority of the points on Turn 6. But it went to Turn 7 and I had nothing left in range to claim or contest the Relic with. So, an exciting and dramatic game which I had no problems with.

Until I found out the next day that my opponent had given himself an illegal advantage by claiming his Y'vahra was flying so I had to snap shoot at it. That sounded weird to me at the time so I questioned it but he assured me that was the way it works. It wasn't until the next day that another Tau player told me that it doesn't work that way. And having checked the data slate, it's pretty clear that it only counts as flying for that movement phase. Not player Turn, let alone game Turn. As it was, I had snap shotted it down to 1 wound. So, if I were able to use my full BS, it would certainly have been dead. And the grav unit it flamed into oblivion would have still been alive. Which means they would have targeted the Stormsurge which I'd already wounded would almost certainly have died the following turn (20 more grav shots would have helped a lot). Considering I had almost won that game anyway, I think it's fair to say, I would have won that game.

I do not believe my opponent was intentionally cheating. He seemed like a really great guy and most likely saw the part about flying and jumped to conclusions without really considering the limitations written into the rules. None the less, he gave himself a huge advantage which unfairly skewed the game.

That by itself wouldn't have gotten me down about the whole experience if my other loss had not resulted from, once again, a Tau player misinterpreting the rules and inadvertently giving himself an enormous advantage. But this time, it wasn't one Y'vahra, it was with three. In this case, the player insisted that they could Go to Ground giving them a 2+ cover save (Ruins, Night Fight, and Go to Ground). To which I countered that they couldn't since they were Monstrous Creatures. He continued to insist that he and his Tau buddies did this all the time and it was legal since they weren't Fearless. Now this is where I made two mistakes. First, I should have called over a judge because this clearly sounded wrong to me. Second, I didn't go to the Monstrous Creature entry in the BRB on my iPad, I went to the Stormsurge entry since it was already called up from the day before and it didn't say anything about Going to Ground there. So, I decided to just move on and continue the game. Which I regret now. Should have stuck to my guns and been more thorough.

Again, I don't think the player was intentionally cheating. After all, what's the point? We're not winning money. None of us were in contention for a top prize at that point. So the only point is to prove our ability to command the armies we chose. Cheating to win proves nothing to either player. And he seemed like a good person. At the same time, a 2+ cover save is much better than 3+. Roughly twice the number of wounds would have gone through.

As it was, I managed to kill two of them but similar to Game 1, I couldn't finish off the third so I had a Y'vahra jump over and kill a grav squad which would have contributed enormously in the following turn. In this case, it was actually worse because without the illegal bonus, I most likely would have had grav squads free to kill both the third Y'vahra and one of the four Riptides. I had five grav cannon teams, one with Ignores Cover (which single handedly killed a Y'vahra). So that leaves four grav teams vs two Y'vahra. It's not unreasonable to figure that two or three of them would have been enough to kill two Y'vahra leaving one or two to shoot at a Riptide or two who were in Terrain instead of Ruins. In other words, I most likely would have won that game. His remaining units wouldn't have been able to withstand the amount of grav backed up by assault units I had on the table.

So, I'm not counting that game as a real game.

I'm generally a pretty easy going guy. But this has raised my saltiness towards Tau to a whole new level. Previously, they were just annoying. Now, I have the Hatred special rule against Tau.

Apologies if this all sounds whiney. If I had played poorly, I would blame my tactical mistakes first. But I was playing well, the difference came down to illegal advantages. Funny thing, in two of the other games, I made rather large tactical blunders early in the games but managed to pull it around and fight for wins anyway. But those are stories for another day.

Hopefully writing all this out will help purge the bitterness. Because I had a great weekend playing games and talking with my friends. I'm really proud of our team. While some of our lists were highly competitive, we also had some pretty friendly and fluffy stuff too so we weren't nearly as hard core as we could have been. Maybe next year. Even so, we did quite well. I'm not sure of our team total but I scored 88 points myself and I know the guys were wracking up strong wins as well. Well done lads!
« Last Edit: July 27, 2016, 12:37:44 AM by hillshire »

Offline hillshire

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Re: ATC 2016
« Reply #8 on: July 31, 2016, 06:48:13 PM »
So let's talk about the tournament.

First, the setting. We're in a community arena, the kind of place they would play hockey in Minnesota. You would think it would soon be overwhelmed by the heat and aroma often accompanied by 300+ people into an enclosed area (about 250 40k gamers but there were also vendors, a cosplay convention on the first day, and some other tournament going on) but that never became an issue. Wasn't hot, humid, or smelly. I was perfectly comfortable the whole time.

The tables were very long with 5 playing surfaces in a row. No gaps for placing down your display board or gear. Most teams seemed ready for this and had a rolling cart or something to move around with. I had a little folding table. Seemed like the table with heavy terrain was usually at the end, which makes sense since those are the players most likely to be running around checking line of sight.

You'd think having a long row would be bothersome. And it has been at other tournaments I've played in when I had to run around multiple tables to get to the other side. But for some reason, it didn't bother me this time. Maybe because the few times I had to get to the other side, I was running past my teammates and I could check in with them to see how they were doing.

Terrain was varied plentiful. I don't think I ever had trouble finding terrain for my troops to gain cover from. Did make me think about how I will model my own homemade terrain though. Some things were odds and ends built together to create a bit of terrain. They looked ok but I'll try to keep an eye on making it easy for models to stand on. Some terrain it was very hard to get the guys to stand up on.

Fast food was near by and there was a concession stand inside. The burger I bought there was pretty good! Shout out to one of the vendors, Impudent Mortal. I bought a three tiered paint stand from them for a reasonable price. Assembled quickly and works great. The only problem is I need another one. I've got a lot of paints.

The general atmosphere was very positive. The whole thing went pretty smoothly. I would say that if a team drops, they should have the courtesy to inform the judges so that they can adjust pairings before they are announced.

Holding a team together is hard. There's a lot of real life out there waiting to steal away innocent gamers like a Lictor in the brush. So there were a number of ringers out there trying to help their team.

Some parts of the meta were predictable.

1. Deathstars. As soon as you saw Dark Angels, you knew there was going to be Space Wolves on the next page and vice versa. I didn't play any of those, that wasn't my job for the team. I think I would have done well against most.

2. Eldar. Skathach and Warp Hunters were all over the place. Jet bikes and Wraithknights too. Hardly any Warp Spiders though. Maybe the recent FAQs scared them off. This was the army I wanted to fight but they kept trying to avoid me. Got one though.

3. Tau. These builds were also highly predictable. Riptide Wing or two. Y'vahra or three. Stormsure or two. Pretty much a mix of these in different combinations. This was the army I wanted to avoid due to Intercept. Even so, my tactics worked well mimimizing their effectiveness. If only they'd played their Y'vahra by the rules, I would have won anyway. See above.

4. Daemons. Can't recall much about these lists. They were a match I was avoiding. Grav likes it best when their enemy wears armor!

5. War Convocation. Can be tricky to play against. They can be pretty durable and Shroud Psalm negates a lot of my early shooting. Still, if they have two knights, odds were more to my favor (easier to kill IKs than stuff hiding in terrain with a 2+ cover save). I didn't get to play against a full War Convo but I did get to play against some Cult Mechanicus. More on that another time.

6. Khorne Daemonkin. Also pretty popular. Which I also wanted to avoid. Too many Khorne Dogs. Would have been interesting though!

Here's what wasn't predictable:

1. Mass flyers. Famously, one team had a whole team of flyers, Chicago Kamikazes. There were other teams which had a flyer heavy army but none others to that extent. The trick with those is that they need a way to have a survivable presence Turn 1 or they can be tabled before the flyers even arrive by a strong alpha strike. Which my army is very good at. I play tested against a 12 flyer list during a prep tournament where we played to a virtual draw. I won progressives, he won final objectives. He had a slight advantage in kill points. After the game we did a lot of theory hammer. Didn't get to put it to the test. Another time perhaps.

2. Forge World Artillery. Lots of them. Specifically, Artillery on carriages. That way, they can receive orders. Such as Ignores Cover. Often combined with some kind of blob (guardsmen or zombies if they were renegade) to keep the enemy away. The amount of firepower some of these armies can put out is amazing. This is an interesting puzzle to try and solve, would have been interesting to try. The artillery would have been surprisingly difficult for my army to deal with. Since each artillery piece was matched with 2-4 guardsmen, their predominant armor save would be a 5+. Could be worse for a grav heavy army but still hard to deal with. At the same time, those same guardsmen are enjoying a Toughness of 7 so a lot of anti infantry weapons wouldn't be as effective as usual. Interesting challenge. I wish I had taken the time to check some of these armies out. Forge world artillery is pretty expensive, I was curious what people were using.

Beyond that, there was the occasional weird list. Like Imperial Guard (non FW artillery), Gladius or orks. There were rumors of Tyranids but I never saw them. Might have thought Gladius would be popular with all that Objective Secured but the marine slot in the teams were almost always used for a Deathstar (as seen above). Imperial Knights were pretty uncommon also. If they were present, they were usually in a War Convocation list. So far as I know, there was only one other player running Skyhammer and his list wasn't nearly as grav heavy as mine. Dark Eldar were sometimes taken as allies to Eldar, just as Grey Knights were sometimes taken as allies to something else. There was at least one Sisters of Battle list. Would be neat to here how they performed in this meta.

So, my cheesy Skyhammer list was actually kind of anti-meta. Wouldn't even try it in a normal tournament. Some match ups would be hard to deal with. But in this format, I could avoid all of those demons and match up decent to well against most everything else. And considering 4 wins out of 6 and 2 losses due to illegal Tau advantages (otherwise a clean sweep would most likely have occurred), that worked out pretty well.

Summer is fading and work is mounting. Won't be easy but I hope to post about the actual games in the future. Meanwhile, I'm trying to decide on what to play in next week's tournament. Looking forward to it!

Offline hillshire

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Re: ATC 2016
« Reply #9 on: August 18, 2016, 09:23:50 PM »
Game 1 vs Tau

The guy I was playing against was a real cool guy and fun to talk with. His list centered around a Stormsurge, a Y'vahra (seems like every Tau list had one or more of those), a Riptide Wing (and one or more of those), two Sky Ray Gunships (to his credit, this was not your typical Tau choice), and some little stuff.

Unfortunately, this was months ago so the details have gotten fuzzy. So, I'll just summarize.

On the Tau side there was a large stadium like building with walls about 4" high. This blocked line of sight all but one side. The Stormsurge and various little stuff set up inside. The rest of the army set up outside with some minor cover.

Tau had first turn which the Y'vahra use to make its flying jump move.

I dropped into cover from three angles while simultaneously baby sitting objectives. This worked out well because I was able to win the progressive objectives part of the game that way. Good cover, good fields of fire. Excellent. I was able to weather the Intercept with relatively light casualties. Excellent. Put some wounds on the Stormsurge with one unit of Grav Cents, although not as many as I expected. Ok. I think I killed off the Riptide Wing Turn 1 (1 grav squad per Riptide) but I might be confusing that with another game. Last grav squad shoots at the Y'vahra but the player says I have to fire Snap Shots since it's flying.

I should have asked him to show me the rules or called over a judge because that seemed a bit much but he assured me that was the case and I had vague memories of some Tau battle suit flying around plus I was feeling pretty good about my First Turn so I just rolled the dice and hoped for the best. Using Ultramarines CTs on 20 grav shots seemed decent odds but while I put wounds on it, I failed to kill it. Which proved fatal because that one unit roasted that same grav squad as well as killing some other models before I finally took it down.

As it turns out, the Y'vahra can do a flying jump move but it only "flies" during the movement phase. I should not have had to snap shoot and that Y'vahra should have been very dead. And that grav unit very much alive pouring shots into the Stormsurge.

Never did kill the Stormsurge. Brought it down to half its wounds so I did get a VP out of it. The rest of battle was our armies sniping at each other from cover, trying to wear each other down. Come the end of Turn 5 and I make my end game move to take the Relic. I fly my Landspeeder Storm out from its hiding place to sit on the Relic. Since it and the scouts inside were ObSec and none of the Tau were, that would be the game winner. I think the balance of kill points was even at that point. But the game went on to Turn 6 and the Stormsurge shot and stomped the scout team out of existence. So bottom of Turn 6 I make my last play, I jump my Warlord and his Assault Marines onto the Relic. At least they could contest it and then I'd still win the game since I dominated progressives. But it goes on to Turn 7 and the Assault Marines share the same fate as the scouts. At this point I have no units fast enough to reach the Relic and the Stormsurge claims it.

Even so, I was not unhappy about the game at the time. I'd played it as well as I could, my tactics were solid, and I'd almost won the game against my old nemesis the Tau multiple times. It wasn't until the next day that I found out about the Y'vahra and that soured the game for me. I have no doubt it was an honest mistake, I do not think the player was trying to take an illegal advantage. And in the greater scheme of things, while my team did well in the tournament, we weren't in contention for any prizes. So, I can chalk it up as a moral victory from which I learned a lot. And I really did enjoy the game. I'd be happy to play a rematch with the guy again.