Nidzilla @ The Bay Area Open 2012, part 2

Well I'm back and going to cover games 2-5.  Then either later this week or early next I'll wrap up with my last few games, the final results and my thoughts of running Tyranids at such a competitive event

Game 2: Mike Entropo, Flying Saucer Eldar (Wave Serpent Spam...)

Avatar Farseer with Fortune, Spirit stones 3 units of 8 Fire Dragons in wave serpents, with dragon’s breath flamer exarchs 4 units of Dire Avengers in wave serpents

Mike is an Eldar general with a fast mechanised army and a quick, aggressive play style that’s a pretty tough match up for my nids - there are so many fast skimmers that he can redeploy shooting and pick fights where he wants them. With three units of fire dragons he can focus fire and take down two or three large monstrous creatures a turn, so he had the tools to take me down hard.

We deployed with spearhead into opposing table quarters and Mike took first turn throwing his three units of fire dragons close to take down my hive tyrant. On turn two, I managed to charge one unit of fire dragons with my swarmlord (busting through a wall) and tie up a second unit a unit of spawned gaunts next to a trygon that popped up through the ground. Surely the trygon could kill that unit if the gaunts held the dragons for a full turn...

… and that’s where on turn three, the game ran away from me. My gaunts died as planned and with my Trygon just an inch from the Fire Dragons I made my biggest mistake of the tournament. I decided to shoot with my Trygon, killing two fire dragons. Mike laughed like an evil genius... and rolled a pair of double sixes on his break test and the “combat tactics” Aspect Warriors ran eleven inches across some terrain to safety where they rallied a turn later and melted the Trygon.

I did an impressive amount of damage to Mike’s list, my Swarmlord took his chance to kill an Avatar and I knocked down as many Eldar flying saucers as I could, but without that Trygon and with the lucky Fire Dragons running rogue I couldn’t win on kill points and couldn’t clear enough vehicles off objectives, so the game went to Mike.

Game 3: Kelly Jernigan, Mech IG

Company Command Squad - 4 meltas and chimera Infantry platoon (blob squad) with Power Weapon Commissar and Sergeants Heavy Weapns Squad w/ 3 Autocannons Special Weapons Squad w/ 3 Grenade launchers Platoon command squad with 4 flamers and Chimera 2x Veteran Squads with 3 meltas and Chimeras 1x Veteran Squad with 3 plasmas and Chimera 1 Vendetta 1 Medusa 1 Manticore 1 Squadron of 2 Hydras 1 Psyker Battle Squad (8 psykers, 1 overseer)

I found that Kelly was a strong player with a marked, and perhaps reasonable, fear of big bugs. I was able to outflank my Tervigon to chew up the Commissar’s blob squad, stealing an objective, and bring in one Trygon to take out the Hydra squadron. My Hive Guard did their job of killing the Vendetta and towards the end of the game I was ahead on kill points and had kept Kelly’s tanks and troops contained in his pitched battle deployment zone, putting me ahead on seize ground objectives as well.

One of the things that made this battle special was the subtle urban camouflage scheme on all Kelly’s tanks, which was inspired by Cold War era British Chieftain tanks. It was great to get my monsters into range and tear a few of them apart!

Game 4 - Peter Hoover, Daemons of Chaos

4 Heralds of Tzeentch on Chariots 3 Units of 6 Fiends of Slaanesh 3 Units of 5 Plaguebearers 2 Units of Pink Horrors The Changeling (in one unit of horrors) 12 Flesh Hounds with Karanak

This fourth game on Saturday was gruelling and I was tired to the point I lost this game with mistakes as much as Peter won it. Still - we’d both played the same number of games, so he gets the credit for gaming endurance, making fewer mistakes himself and being in a position to capitalise on mine.

One of my key mistakes was underestimating the threat range of a unit of fiends, which let them get into a multiple combat with my Hive Tyrant, robbing me of one of my most powerful shooting units against Daemons.

Sadly, I slowly lost control of my objectives and surrendered both my Tervigons as kill points by repeatedly forgetting to cast Catalyst. For turns three through to five, I remember saying “Damn... I’ve forgotten Catalyst again... must remember next turn”. I never did. The only thing that did function as intended in my army was the Swarmlord, who stomped around cutting down Daemons into the seventh turn of the game when the rest of my army was dead, going so far as to kill the scoring unit on the enemy Capture and Control objective. Too little, too late - I lost on Kill Points and Seize Ground objectives.

 Game 5 - Doc Glenboski, Plague Marines

Chaos Space Marines, the Legion of Plague & Pestilence HQ: Sorcerer of Slaanesh w/Lash of Submission, Personal Icon, Force Weapon and Melta Bombs Heavy: 3x units of 3 Obliterators Troops: 3x units of 9 Plague Marines w/ 2x Melta Guns, Champion, Power Fist, Personal Icon in Rhinos.

After a good night’s sleep my game against Doc [] ] was the hands down most fun game of the tournament. We had a pitched battle deployment and the match up really favoured me, with my monstrous creatures able to ignore FNP and armour on all Doc’s plague marines. Little did I know Doc realised the situation he was in, and was planning a lethal gamble on his second turn to try and even the score...

On his first turn Doc put two rhinos full of Plague Marines and his Lash Sorcerer forwards by the central objectives and deployed his units of obliterators “safely” far back on his two flanks. I catalysted my Swarmlord and moved him up behind a bubblewrap unit of gaunts so he would get cover - knowing he had lash, I cunningly pinned the end of my gaunt unit against some impassable terrain, so it couldn’t be pulled far enough from the swarmlord to deny a cover save. Obviously I had thought of everything and was eager to get stuck into a brawl on my own turn two...

… however Doc had a plan, and after piling as many lascannon shots into the swarmlord and lashing the gaunts to make a gap big enough to charge through, he piled two units of plague marines into a multiple combat with the ten gaunts and the Swarmlord and his guard. It was a desperate maneuver and the swarmlord should have been able to squash enough plague marines to save himself, but my dice were poor and Docs were on fire. Even rolling to hit on 5s against the swarmlord he connected two out of three power fist attacks and wiped out the gaunts and the tyrant guard, leaving the swarmlord down at two wounds to save five fearless wounds on his armour. I failed three saves and all my Catalyst feel no pain rolls, leaving the Swarmlord out cold at the end of turn one.

Reprisals were fierce... as turn two hit my outflanking Tervigon tore into the obliterators and my Trygons came in, as I tied up the plague marine squads with Gaunts. Over the coming turns Doc focused on taking out my scoring units, charging and killing all my gaunts and Tervigons and getting him several kill points ahead. I lost all my scoring units and was one kill point behind, but my Trygons, remaining Hive Tyrant and Hive Guard were virtually unopposed, chasing down rhinos and leaving me just two kill points behind at the start of my last turn. Doc had nothing in range to score on any of the objectives and to draw, I needed to kill the Lash Sorcerer, hiding in an immobilised rhino at the table center. My hive guard took their fourth attempt to kill the tank, getting two penetrating hits... and they wrecked it. Just inches away from a very angry hive tyrant and staring down the barrels of two sets of brainleech devourers, the sorcerer had the perfect hiding place behind his wrecked tank - all I could see was top of his pointy hat.

This game came down to the very last dice rolls and I lost by that one kill point. Doc’s list was in tatters with just the sorcerer and one unit of Plague marines cowering in a corner whereas I had two Trygons running rampage as well as a unit of Hive Guard and a Tyrant. If the rhino had exploded or the game lasted one more turn, I could have got a tie... but this game was the perfect example of how a good general can take a few calculated risks to turn a poor match up into a closely fought win. Doc.... I salute you!