Nidzilla @ The Bay Area Open 2012, part 1

Well, it’s now just over a month since the 2012 Bay Area Open tournament took place on the first weekend of March. I’ve procrastinated this report long enough... so I should finally tap out the details of my games before they’re gone from my brain. As last year, the tournament took place in Antioch, CA and I was there to take part in the 40k championship. The championship was a grueling seven games over two days with scoring based on a straight win/lose/draw count. This year saw a couple of important tweaks to the format that I thought made the tournament a fairly level playing field for some of the more eclectic army choices out there. The most important of the changes to the format was the Bay Area Open Scenario used in all games. All games featured parallel Capture and Control, Seize Ground and Kill Points missions being played at once. Win two out of three of those, or win one and draw the rest to win outright. Draws are only possible by drawing all three missions, or winning one each and drawing the remaining mission. With multiple ways of playing to win in each game it is far tougher to get ties and a solid base of scoring units were useful in all games. From my Tyranid-centric point of view, I didn’t have to worry so much about my Tervigons being useless in kill points missions and could spawn gaunts in every mission. Also last year I ended up in a kill points mission against a six KP Deathwing army and there was really no way I could win it - with the scenario from this year I could always play for objectives even if the kill points mission would be impossible to win.

Secondly, terrain was improved this year and all tables had a reliable chunk of Line-Of-Sight blocking terrain in the center of each table - in most cases terrain was big enough to block line of sight to monstrous creatures, so sometimes even my Trygons picked up cover saves.

The Bay Area Open has a format that encourages players from all armies to take part and doesn’t use a “comp” system to try and re-handicap the codexes against each other. It’s the job of the scenarios and tables to give a fair environment for armies to compete on, and that approach from Reece, Will and Frankie set me up for a sequence of seven great games. Thanks guys!

Here’s my list:

The Swarmlord and one guard with lash whip

A hive tyrant, with hive commander, with two sets of twin linked devourers and one guard with lash whip

Two units of two hive guard

Two units of ten termagants

A Tervigon with Adrenal Glands, Toxin Sacks and Catalyst

A Tervigon with Catalyst and Crushing Claws

Two Trygons with Adrenal Glands

So why did I bring the big bugs? Well... it’s my own most important rule: start with models that are awesome and *then* figure out how to build a strong list around them. I focused an army around what I wanted to sculpt and convert - regular Dice Abide readers will have seen the hulking Swarmlord I’ve just finished converting up.

Most games using the BAO scenario set up the same way, with the three Seize ground objectives to be fought over in the center of the table and capture and control objectives placed safely in each player’s deployment zone. To win you needed to reliably be able to control the table center, take your opponent’s base while keeping your own or get ahead on kill points and stay there. Being able to reliably do two of these would win games and a capability to do all three was what I really needed.

With a Nidzilla list and lots of resilient high toughness models I wouldn’t concede too many kill points and I would start with a strong core of Tervigons, Termagants, Hive Tyrants and Hive Guard that could advance on center table, cast Catalyst for some Feel No Pain on critical units and be hard to shift for most opponents.

I also wanted a list that had a reliable means of taking or challenging the Capture and Control objectives and disrupting backfield fire bases like long fangs, psyfle dreads, land speeders, manticores and obliterators. With the stacking reserves bonuses from the swarmlord and a tyrant I could get my reserves in on turn two with a 2+ and potentially surprise my opponent with an outflanking tervigon and two trygons.

A few of the popular lists do have some hard counter measures against monstrous creatures, but I decided that tailoring my list to deal with Dark Eldar or Grey Knight force weapons would just make for boring games and I simply took a list I wanted to play. Fortunately that decision worked out fairly well for me.

Game 1: Luis Gonzalez, Mech IG (list from my memory...)

Company Command Squad 4 units of veterans in Chimeras - three with plasma guns and one with melta-guns. 1 Psyker Battle Squad (on foot) 3 Vendettas 1 Squadron of two Hydras 2 Manticores

My first game was against Luis (Brother Captain Poncho), a Frontline Gaming regular and an Imperial Guard player with a pretty tough looking list. Deployment was Dawn of War, so night fighting shut down a lot of Luis’ first turn shooting and let me deploy my Swarmlord and a Tervigon front and center with a lot of blocking terrain giving cover saves to both and letting me hold the central objectives.

I made a few mistakes in this game, but my Swarmlord was able to get forward in cover and soak up a phenomenal amount of fire, shutting down the Psyker battle squad with his shadow and dropping leech essence on it to recover a few wounds. With the threat of the Swarmlord right in his lap, Luis didn’t have the hot dice he needed to deal with my two Trygons when they turned up and my Tervigon outflanked into his Manticores and trashed them both before spawning gaunts and taking his capture and control objective. My hive guard did their job of shooting down the Vendettas, though one unit of them had a fatal accident with a very accurate Manticore barrage shortly after doing so - I was lucky those two turns of shooting played out in the right order.

Though this was a really fun game and it seemed like a close fight, when the dust settled I had won all three sub missions - I had both sets of objectives and was a few kill points ahead.

Next week I'll talk about my next three games, since my preamble tended to go on for a bit.  Oh and here are some pretty pictures of my army and that first game: