Wednesday, 24 February 2016

The Application of Theory: Tournament Wrap Up

In a previous post I gave a preview of the Thousand Sons force I would take in a club tournament. Today I want to talk about what I learned and how my theory-hammering went in practise!

Some of you may remember that I had started up a club with a group of friends called the Brunswookiees Battle Company (the BBC). The main aim of this club was to get people interested in playing more often, so that we could do more of what we enjoy about this hobby. With this goal in mind, we decided to have our first, sanctioned tournament! It was a simple little 1,000 point affair, with only CADs allowed, and no flyers. The reason we settled on this format was because we had a couple of members of the group who had little experience with 40k on the whole. The vast majority of us had been 'out of the game' since the end of 5th Ed, and so were rusty on all the new aspects of 7th. CADs-only allowed us to dial back the scope for abuse, allowing everybody to have a decent chance at fairing well in a totally new environment. The restriction on flyers was in a similar vein, as the flyer rules are difficult to wrap your head around, especially when the changes to assaults, weapon profiles and the new Psychic Phase are brought into the equation. It also served the practical purpose that not all of us had the resources to buff our forces with flyers, and as we all know, if someone brings a plane and the other player has no anti-air or flyer of their own, you're gonna have a bad time.

What Did I Take?

I used this opportunity to think outside the box of my usual play-style of unhindered aggression and go for something different. I chose a force of 1,000pts of Thousand Sons, backed up with Daemonology and some lovely new Daemons of Tzeentch. Here's the List:

  • Daemon Prince
    • Mastery lvl 3
    • Mark of Tzeentch
    • Tzeentch and Daemonology
  • Sorcerer
    • Mastery lvl 2
    • Spell Familiar
    • Mark of Tzeentch
    • Aura of Dark Glory
    • Tzeentch and Daemonology
  • 5x Thousand Sons
  • 5x Thousand Sons
  • Vindicator
    • Siege Shield
  • Helbrute
  • 10x Cultists
    • Autoguns
    • Shotgun
    • Heavy Stubber
The idea behind this army was pretty simple. With a starting cache of 7 Warp Charges, the sorcerer and the Daemon Prince would summon various daemons onto the board to take advantage of the situation and plug the gaps in my force. If I came up against vehicles, Doom Bolt and Screamers would provide some handy anti-tank; swarms could be taken care of with Flamers; and Horrors would be summoned to grab forward-position objectives and act as speed bumps on the way to the rest of my painfully static army. The rest of the army is designed to sit back and put out firepower: 1k Sons are great for sitting on an objective, while the Helbrute can hold his own in combat or a shoot out, using his multi-melta. The Vindicator would do what it does best: area denial. No one wants to be anywhere near this thing's firing arc!

How Did I Go?

Not bad, all things considered. This was my first time playing a summoning list of any sort. I've played against summoning Vampire Counts in Fantasy 8th, but never come up against summoning in 40k. Also, as I said, this army deliberately went out of my comfort zone. I usually play Space Wolves, with lots of Pods, bikes, Thunderwolves and combat-focussed heroes designed to get up close and ruin people's day. This army would not be able to handle such aggressive tactics, and so relied on clever deployment to maximise firing lanes, as well as finding ways to corral my enemy so as not to allow them to exploit my weaknesses. 

I had a very tight victory over Jim's Tyranids. The 1k Sons held their own and were very effective against the Nids' lack of decent armour, effectively holding him at bay while I whittled down his forces. Jim got really unlucky with his reserves and his Lictor-Spec-Ops fluffed their advantage and ran the wrong way, giving me more use out of my Vindicator than I should have had.

Keith's Space Marines, an absolutely stunning Rogue Trader era force of painstakingly sourced and beautifully painted Blood Angels (playing as Ultramarines), were a different story. Their use of Chapter Tactics to out-shoot me in the mid-field really hurt. I wasn't able to push through to get close enough and exploit my combat superiority. Although, my Daemon Prince had a great time slaughtering all in his path! It turns out that Horrors are completely useless in combat and fell to Daemonic Instability and regular old punches to the face (it certainly doesn't help that a Pink Horror is 75% face and 25% tentacles).

Stan's Dark Angels were a different story. Belial landed right where he wanted (and on time too, for a change!), but he was bested in combat by the awesome might of the Daemon Prince. While the DA were similarly capable of winning the fire-fights, they were over-run by daemons. The reliance on plasma also hurt when a barrage of 3 plasma cannon direct hits, quickly turned to self-immolation due to Gets Hot!

Necrons. Bloody Necrons. My Flamers never got in range of the Scarabs and they quickly sheared away my Vindicator's armour, leaving me without the Big Scary. Wil's super-blob of 20 warriors backed up by a Res-Orb wielding Cryptek and a Destroyer Lord attracted and effectively soaked up all of my attention. While I was distracted, Wil swept through the centre, claiming the Relic and the coveted place in the Semi-final. A special mention goes out to my Helbrute, though. He waded through barrage after barrage of Gauss to clear the Necron flank, as well as reducing the second unit of Scarabs to slag. Sadly, it wasn't enough and the game was lost.

I also played a side match with Ethan and his Khorne Daemonkin. He wasn't in the tournament officially, though he was a great 'bye' opponent. I felt bad for his tooled-up Lord with lightning claws. It turns out that not much will help you when a Helbrute's fist comes slamming down onto your head. My Daemon Prince definitely helped Ethan collect his blood tokens, but to both of our dismay, two Cultists (CULTISTS FFS!) held up a unit of Horrors for two or three turns, eventually winning the fight! Sadly for Ethan the roll of the dice decided the battle as the game ended before his Bloodletters could seal the victory. I got away with a win.

Ratio: 2(3) Wins - 2 Losses - Equal 3rd overall

Dan seems happy with the way the Final was playing out


As I suspected, it's a dangerous game to rely too much on psychic powers to carry the day. I easily outclassed everyone else when it came to Warp Charges, but getting the powers off without getting hurt by Perils (on ANY double with Daemonology) is tough. Horrors are largely a useless unit; the Tzeentch powers aren't much use, and in combat they are easily swept aside by any other unit you care to name. 

That said, I have not given up. As my Chaos are my most painted army, I plan to use them quite a bit while my Wolves get ready for battle. Horrors aren't actually all that useless. They are a Brotherhood of Sorcerers, which means that they add Warp Charges. You can also summon them with a few unit upgrades - such as an Icon. This means they can act as a locus for your deep-striking daemons, preventing scatters. With this in mind, they can be good to keep in the back-field, or in cover, nice and safe to help provide power to summon their more effective kin, and help them appear more reliably. They are definitely a synergy/force multiplier unit in this regard.

Played any tournaments recently?
What are your thoughts on summoning lists?

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