Nids VS Kublacon 2012.... or why I can't win KublaCon
I took my evil nids along to another tournament yesterday - the 2012 repeat of my first tournament at Kublacon 2011 where I came 3rd on battle points, but was chipmunked down to 10th by player voted comp scores.
Again it was a small but enthusiastic gaming crowd of about 45 people. The format was basically book missions, with a single additional battle points condition in each mission "for the tie break". 17 points for a win, 10 points for a draw, 7 points for a loss, with 3 points for picking up the tie break condition - so max 20 battle points per game.
Mission 1: Kill points, spearhead. Capture a single objective in the table centre for the bonus.
My first match up was a young eldar player called Keetan - he brought 2 Wraithlords, an Avatar, some warp spiders, two wave serpents full of Dire Avengers and a Rogue Trader Solitaire on harlequin jetbike to represent his farseer in a huge squad of Jet Bikes - very stylish! Keetan played a pretty solid game, but I had the edge in experience and ended up with 9 or 10 KP to his 3 ... also holding the center to pick up 20 battle points. His wraithlords held out pretty well and punched my Doom of Malantai and a couple of my Trygons to death before being dragged down by hordes of poisoned termagants.
Mission 2: Capture and Control, Dawn of War. Kill highest points enemy HQ for the bonus.
Game 2 was against Andy Able - a Tau general representing Chico CA with 3 squads of crisis suits, a hammerhead, a squad of broadsides, 2 squads of pathfinders, 1 squad of Kroot, 2 large squads of fire warriors in devilfish and 2 small squads on foot.
Andy elected to go first and decided to deploy around and guard the table center. Instead of taking the first turn of shooting I elected to reserve everything, with all my units walking on in turn 2 at the same time my deep striking reserves hit. I was able to drop the Doom of Malantai right in the middle of his force, where it ate one squad of path finders and a couple of drones immediately. My hive tyrant and hive guard were able to march on and knock all the gun and shield drones out of his HQ crisis unit. Return shooting was pretty ineffectual, four rail shots bounced off the Doom's psychic shield and some crisis suit fire dropped one Trygon to two wounds. At the start of my turn two, the Doom shuffled slightly to sit in a spot where it's aura covered the broadsides, a crisis team and the remaining pathfinders. My opponent rolled a triple 6 for his broadside squad's leadership test and they were completely wiped, at which point he called the game, giving me 20 battle points and a nice hour's break before my final game.
Mission 3: Seize Ground (5 objectives), Pitched Battle. Control all five objectives for the bonus.
With perfect battle points from my first two games, I played this game on table 1 against Jeff Walker - a Deathwing player I've played a few times before. Jeff took Belial, a command squad including apothecary, a cyclone and five combat termies, two 5 man squads of hammer terminators with cyclones, two 5 man squads with stormbolters & assault cannon, and 3 missile speeders. Jeff took second turn and elected to deploy late, avoiding a deathwing assault and letting my deep striking reserves drop on turn 2 before his terminators were on the table - a cunning strategy, as when my Doom of Malantai and first Trygon came in from reserves there were no enemy troops on the table to target. I elected to contest/deny an objective off to the right flank with the Doom, which meant Jeff could bring all his termies onto my left flank when they dropped on his turn 2. By that time I had a solid position in the table center with a perimeter of gaunts and had already farmed a couple more big squads. His deep strikers were able to shoot down my first Trygon and in return I was able to get the Swarmlord into combat with his command squad, which turned into a brawl lasting a few turns, with Swarmy dropping several terminators including the apothecary and Belial before dying under a reinforcing squad's thunder hammers... with the Feel No Pain squad out of the way it was then possible for various gaunts along with tyrant devourer fire to finish off most of the terminators on the table, with only one last deep striking squad and the two land speeders to worry about in turn five. At that point I had a solid victory and had spread gaunts to cover all the objectives, but there was a speeder contesting an objective at the end of Jeff's turn 6. ... again the game went on, and I was able to shoot down the final speeder and use my Tyrant and a gaunt squad to whittle the final hammer terminator squad down to one guy, the only survivor of the Deathwing who was safely stuck in combat with gaunts and a tyrant a safe distance from my backfield objective. The majority of my army was still intact, I held 5 objectives... and picked up another 20 battle points.
Asking around, it was obvious a couple of other generals had three wins, but none had made it to the end of their last game whilst retaining the ability to hold five objectives at once, so I was the only general to pick up the full 60 battle points. Here's the straight battle points rankings.... yay... looks like I won best overall and best general going by these.... also 7 player's choice votes... not bad!
I thought, having a perfect battle point score and the only person in the tourney to do so.... I should at least pick up best general. Unfortunately... the tournament organisers decided to wing it a little and introduce an army comp "weighting" system based on GW's own Throne of Skulls. The weighting worked by looking at all the factions in the game, averaging how they performed in the day's games and coming up with a "weighting multiplier" to apply to all player's battle point scores. The worse your army did on average, the more your final battle points score would be multiplied up. Unluckily for me, a couple of enterprising Space Marine generals had lost all three of their games, so this gave all Space Marine players a 1.8x multiplier to their battle point scores and I was pipped for the best general position by the best Space Marine general - the lucky Michael Dunsmore with his record of 2-1-0 and 3 bonus battle points... so his 47 battle points beat my perfect 60. Bummer. As he also had a great painting score he claimed "best overall". I won a small prize of "best Tyranid player" and second overall... and went to the bar to grab a beer and grumble some more about comp systems at Kublacon. With 20/20 hindsight the only thing I could have done to win was bring a couple of Tyranid ringers who would plan to deliberately lose all their games and multiply me back into first place.
The terribly sad weighted scores.
For better or worse, I believe comp is built into 40k with the codexes - most players would acknowledge that the leading codexes are Space Wolves, Grey Knights and Imperial Guard. If you put in the work learning your army and have a little luck on the day and you're able to win with one of the other codexes, it's just cruel for a comp system to snatch the prize away. This system wasn't fixing army balance, it was simply breaking it and allowing bad or unlucky generals to influence the final standings in a pretty random way.
Anyway... it's unfortunate that I got screwed in the final standings, but really not that important at the end of the day. I did have three very fun games of 40k against good generals with well painted armies. The general level of sportsmanship was high and clear judging and sportsmanship scores promoted a really friendly tournament. Tables had good scenery, the missions were easy to understand and play and Chris and his team running everything were well organised and everything ran to time. Bravo Chris, but please no comp next time!