ITC Analysis Part 1 - Mission Overview
Jon, AKA JRBunn brings us his perspective on the ITC format that he experienced at the LVO. With my first Independent Tournament Circuit event out of the way, it's time to take a more in-depth look at the missions. Although some sort of list tailoring is necessary to be successful at these events, I think they do a great job of keeping the feel of 7th Edition 40k intact. Let's delve in a bit and see what these missions entail.
For starters, let's take a look at the first mission. All of the missions follow this format, utilizing a mission from the main rulebook followed by the ITC modified maelstrom mission –
Step 1. Adjust and define terrain with your opponent. There should be a roughly symmetrical distribution of terrain on the table.
Step 2. Roll for Psychic Powers/Gifts/etc.
Step 3. Roll for deployment zones. DAWN OF WAR DEPLOYMENT
Step 4. Place Fortifications. No Fortification may be placed closer than 4″ to any table edge or another piece of terrain. Adjust terrain to fit any large Fortifications or remove the terrain piece if it becomes impossible to place the Fortification. Please note that the Aegis is an exception to the above rule and may be placed closer than 4″ to a table edge or another piece of terrain.
Step 5. Place Objectives using normal objective placement rules as modified below. a. Each player places 1 Emperor's Will objective in their own deployment zone. b. Each player places 1 Maelstrom objective more than 18" away from their own deployment edge, these should be numbered 1 and 2.
Step 6. Roll for Warlord trait per usual in the BRB Pg. 124. Do not use the Tactical Traits table. If your opponent has a LoW and you do not, you can roll on the Escalation Warlord table (pg.34 of the Escalation Supplement).
Step 7. Roll for Night Fighting.
Step 8. Roll for first turn. The player that wins the roll can choose to go first or second. The player going first then deploys first and goes first unless the other player seizes the initiative.
Primary Mission: Modified Emperor's Will: 4 Mission Points if achieved, 0 pts if lost or tied.
Secondary Mission: Modified Maelstrom: 3 Mission Points if achieved, 0 pts if lost or tied. 1. Hold Maelstrom Objective 1 2. Hold Maelstrom Objective 2 3. Have a scoring unit at least partially within the enemy deployment zone. 4. Destroy an Enemy Unit 5. Destroy an Enemy Unit 6. Have at least 3 of your and none of your opponent's scoring units in your deployment zone.
Bonus Points: 1 Mission Point each: First Blood, Linebreaker, Slay the Warlord.
The winner of each mission is the player with the highest point total. The actual victory points you've scored for the primary/secondary missions do not matter. For example, if you held both Emperor's Will objectives, you would win the Primary Mission and receive four points towards the round total. A player can receive a maximum of ten points - four for the Primary, three for the Secondary, and one each for First Blood, Slay the Warlord, and Linebreaker.
Most players are familiar with Eternal War missions - the person who holds the most objectives at the end of the game is usually the winner, with Big Guns Never Tire, The Scouring, and Purge the Alien being the exceptions. The setup for ITC is a bit more 6th-Edition oriented for ease of tournament play, with players choosing which side they would like before objectives are placed. This is slightly offset by limiting where some objectives can be placed - in the Big Guns mission, one of the objectives you place has to be in your opponent's Vanguard Strike deployment zone. Going second in objective missions is almost always beneficial as it grants you the last movement phase in each turn to reposition your army.
The Maelstrom missions require both players to roll two dice at the start of each game turn, re-rolling any duplicates. Two 'Destroy an Enemy Unit' rolls requires you to kill two enemy units to score both points. Again, this method gives the player going second a general advantage, as you gain the ability to contest Maelstrom Objectives, move into your opponent's deployment zone, etc. You'll also want to run combat units with a decent probability of surviving a turn. Auxiliary units (empty Rhinos, Drop Pods, Raiders) can still be used since they merely provide tertiary targets - there's almost no utility in killing them in early turns as they will provide few kills throughout the game.
For now, I'm going to focus on the bare minimum to win each game, not to go for an all-out massacre. Now, I can post each possible outcome, but here's the ultimate result - the Maelstrom missions end up being the controllable factor in wins. That's not to say the Primary mission isn't important - it still scores you the most points - but up until the fifth turn, the Primary mission is always up for grabs, and this is not the case with the Maelstrom mission. The moment you lose the Maelstrom mission instantly changes the game for your opponent, as their 'win condition' is much easier - they only need to tie on the Primary to ensure a game win/tie. In other words, winning the Maelstrom is a half-objective swing on the battlefield. Given that this is the only way to influence your decisions regarding how to win Primary mission, this is pretty huge.
Next time, we'll discuss what it takes to give you the best odds at winning each Maelstrom mission individually. We'll also take a look at the Tertiary missions, and ultimately, take a look at the top eight armies of the 2015 Las Vegas Open and how each was able to play to the strengths of the tournament.