Friday, September 13, 2019

Killteam in Berlin II battle reports

Before starting on the batreps a little context. The format of this tourney is very different from what you are used to.

Let us call it the Berlin format.
The Berlin format

First, you do not have a roster. You bring 2 lists 125 pts and before the game starts you choose from one of the list. The reason that the TO gave to me why he does that is that he can control the lists but not the teams or the roster. With a roster your opponent got to control you and he does not want to add this to the pressure of the tournament especially since there are a lot of “casual” players participating (I got to give that to him, 2 of my 4 opponents only had 1 list). He wants it to be a fun and safe environment and to be able to take out the “bad seeds” at the list control. 

On that point it was a success, everyone I played/interacted with was great and not one tried sneaky stuff!

Second, the mission is the same for all the games, only the terrain change. You can find it here (in German)

In short, for these of you that do not speak German:  

There are 4 secondary objectives:
1- Control more objectives than your opponent at the end of the game. On each map there are 5 objectives markers, one in the middle, one in the middle of each quarters of the table (for 1 CP you can harvest a marker that you control at the end of a turn and it counts as an objective you control). 

2- At the end of the game you have more unshaken models in the deployment zone of your opponent than he does. 

3- Your enemy has more points out of action than you have 

4- Your opponent has more specialists out of action than you have.

For each you get 1 victory point. You get to choose one of them as a primary objective and if you get it, you get 3 VP instead of 1. But you can only pick each objective as primary one time for the whole tournament. 

Arena is not to be used.

One important point: The scouting phase is to be used normally (which turned out to be a BIG deal in some games)

If you win the game you get 5 pts, 3 for a draw, 1 for a loss. That determines your ranking. VP differential in games is the main tie breaker. So with 4 close wins, you could win the tourney. 

The planning

Looking at the online registration, I saw that there was 3 Grey Knights players and 1 Thousand Sons. I play Chaos Space Marines. These are some of my worst match ups. I therefore decided early that my main list would be a classical cultists semi-spam that works well against all-comers and for my second, it would be an anti-psyker list. 

I did one test of the mission with my main list against DG and I won 5-0. So I was feeling good about that list: 

-          Cultist Leader with Pistol and brutal assault weapon
-          CSM gunner with Plasma gun (Sniper)
-          Aspiring Champion with Power fist and plasma pistol (Combat)
-          Berserker Champion with Power fist and chain sword (Veteran)
-          2 Cultists gunner with Flamer
-          1 CSM gunner with Hv. Bolter
-          4 Cultists with Autoguns
-          4 Cultists with Pistols and Brutal assault weapons.

So 15 bodies. 

The plan is to use the Serker as a bowling ball to try a T1 charge on my opponent weak side (i.e. without a Melee specialist), send the AC after him, use the Hv. Bolter to get some long range support and then split the rest into 2-3 groups of cultists with the flamer and Plasma supporting them. With these I should be able to grab objectives and occupy my opponents deployment zone. 

Alternatively they can turn into kill group to target models. Cultists hunting in packs can get the job done with a little luck. 

The second list is my anti-GK list (could work against 1000 s or DW):

-          Cultist leader with Shotgun
-          Plasma sniper
-          Hv Bolter, Heavy
-          Terminator with combi-plasma and lightning claw, Comms
-          Berserker Champion with combi-plasma and Power Sword
-          2 Cultist gunners with Hv Stubbers
-          5 Cultists with Autoguns.
12 Bodies

The idea is to shield the CSMs from the Psybolts with the cultists, use the Sniper, Comms team to take out a model a turn and harass them from afar with the Stubbers and Hv Bolter. Not the best plan, but it is the only one that I could come up with. 

The trip

I left at 6h30 am with a 3 hours drive in front of me. There was a moment of panic at the start as my GPS did not recognize the address (it is technically a private street owned by Siemens AG). Found the nearest cross road and off I was. Yes I ended up on an Autobahn and yes there were no speed limits…

The arrival
Smooth registry, quick look at the various boards to see the amount of terrain on it, a quick hello and chat with Marauder33 and I got my first match up against Necrons on the Starship map i.e. an Arena map with no Arena rules. 

Game 1 NECRONS!!!!

From the get go my opponent got dealt a big blow by the TO that ruled that on this map there was no way to move through the walls (he was Nephrekh dynasty) so with that, he lost his faction advantage.

For the record, I disagree with that ruling, he should have been allow to use his faction trait, it is only on advances anyway. But the TO is always right. 

His list was: Immortal Leader with Gauss, Deathmark Comms, Deathmark Sniper, Pretorian Zealot, 4 Flayed one and 1 warrior. 

I was expecting a DS from both Deathmarks, but he put 3 flayed ones in reserve. 

Seeing the labyrinth before me I decided to place 2 models in reserve (plasma and AC) and picked having more models than him in his deployment zone. My plan was to try to rush cultists to the zone.
In the shooting phase I picked Traps and he picked Shoot Sentries.

I Veteran moved my Serker to set up a T1 charge and failed it (Same thing would happen on T2). I moved to cover 2 objectives and left a hole in my screen and he DS his flayed ones there, I then outflanked on his side of the board my 2 guys. 

Yep I played it wrong, in my head it was 1 CP for both and not just 1 model. I was convinced of this and was shocked when I got corrected later on (more in game 3). However I realized that he also played it wrong since one of his Flayed one was closer than 5’’ of my nearest model, there was a spot, but the whole base did not fit in. So we could say that we both set up 1 model too much. 

I was not that much concerned with the Flayed Ones as I had a flamer near by that could hit all the Flayed ones….then I rolled 1….I gave one a flesh wound (the flamer would die the next turn killed by a Flayed one). So at the end of turn 1 we each had to deal with enemies in our deployment zones. 

Deployment zones and troop movement Game 1
Red: CSM
Green: Necrons

My plasma took out one Deathmark, the Pretorian moved to block my rushing cultists, my Serker came to help them, failed miserably, even if I used decisive strike, and was killed, my Hv. Bolter eliminated one Flayed one, cultists were dying and then Pop, the cultist that will not die made his 6+ save (the only I made in the tournament) pinning a Flayed one. Pop has a long story of doing this, he killed an Ork leader and a DG Aspiring champion. In all the games I’ve used him, he never died. 

Pop, blessed by the Dark Gods!

My opponent learned a lot in this game as I controlled objectives through walls and did fall back shenanigans to pin his Flayed Ones. The later, he had never seen and I called the TO over so that a third party explained the rule to him. He looked at me and said : “Well played…”

At the end of turn 3, with 15 mins on the clock, my opponent was winning (more points killed, more objectives). I offered him to stop since it would be a challenge to do 1 turn in 15 minutes and it could only worsen his position. He said that he wanted to play until the end of the allocated time and stopping now would be unfair for me. So we wrapped this in 14 mins. I think my opponent lost track of the objectives because he retreated all his models that my AC charged (moving them out of his deployment zone) and moved his remaining 2 Flayed one off objectives and one out of my deployment zone so that at the end of the game I had a 4-1 win (control more objective, occupy the enemy deployment zone (primary) vs killed more points). 

Necrons cowardly retreating from my AC

This was a nerve wracking one and in retrospect it was the best game of the tournament. My opponent and I were both sweating like hell at the end! After one game I was 3rd and I was pretty happy to get the W.

Game 2, No, not Grey Knights!

Yeah, second game and boom! I get the team that I did not wanted to face. I selected controlling the most objectives since he had 6 men to my 12. 

His list was:
Justicar with Falchions, Combat and Zealot with Falchions, Psilancer Heavy, Psicannon, GK with Falchions.

The plan was to go and harvest some objectives early to get him to stretch his defense early to make it easier to kill individual models. I would camp my deployment zone to deny him VPs and rush his in T4. I selected Scouting enemy force since there were not a lot of terrain features under 8'' and to force a roll off if my opponent choose it, he choose shoot sentries. 

I started by making a big deployment mistake, the central objective was on the top of a platform. He set up one GK up there, I set up a cultist, a stubber guy and my Serker champ. The plan was to pin the GK with one or two of the cultists and shoot him down with the plasma. In retrospect, I should have kept the Serker and the stubber on the ground and shoot the GK from there. 

Because of the abundance of terrain, I had difficulties setting up Cultists screen effectively. 

I also had poor luck with my Hv Bolter that could not hit anything, maybe I should have put the Comms near him. When I hit, it was saved or I got a flesh wound. I still managed to kill 2 GK but my cultists got slaughtered and I had to make a break test T3. I passed it. 

It came down to the last turn when he took out my Hv Bolter that was camping an objective and my terminator failing to take out of action his Justicar. (I would have won 5-1 by scoring my principal and 2 secondaries).

In the end I lost 5-0 as he scored everything except having models in my deployment zone. It was not a fun game, the psykic phase is not a fun phase without psykers. 

I could grumble about my bad luck and failed saves but the fact remains, I screwed up both my deployment and screens so I deserved to loose. I was lucky to still have a chance to win it on T4.

Game 3 – Hey, I know you! Ad Mech

After the lunch break it was time to face a faction that I know well since it is played by one of my regular opponent (hallo Daniel!). I went with my semi-spam list since Cultists are a legit threat for Ad Mech with their T3, taking out 2-3 Skitariis with cultists is not unusual. His list was:
Vanguard Leader, Fulgurite Electro-Priest Zealot, Ranger Coms with Omnispecs, Infiltrator Combat, Infiltrator Princept, 3 Vanguards Plasmas, 2 Rangers Arc-Light.

Daniel does not play with an Electro-Priest so this was new. When he put both his Infiltrators in reserve, then my plan became clear: Vet move the Serker and then charge anyone that he could get to. After the Necron game abject failure of this strategy, I was hoping for better luck in this game.
In the scouting phase I choose Traps and he choose to shoot Sentries. I got 3 traps, one of them would have a big impact on the game (more on that later).

I vet moved the Serker, lost the initiative and then used Decisive move to charge a Plasma gunner. I covered something like 18 inches and this really shocked and surprised my opponent. He was really throw off his game (He told me so after the game). After seeing his reaction I knew that even if I ended up not killing anyone, the 2 CPs had been well spend. I moved the up to contest objective,  set up firing line and cultists screens. 

My Berserker easily killed the gunner, piled in and BFBG the Electro priest that was near by (note, the ruling in that Tournament was that BFBG allow you to fight anyone within 3’’, no need for it to have been a valid target at the beginning of the turn). Again the Serker let me down failing to even wound the Priest, that proceeded then to kill him…I managed to screen off the Infiltrators, but one still manage to DS in my half of the field the other deep in his half.  So at the end of turn 1, my opponent was off his game, but I was not out of the wood yet. 

Turn 2 I tried to bring my reserve and my opponent corrected me and showed that I could only 1 model, not 3 like a DS. My heart sank. First because this would leave my 2 flamers out, second because I messed that up in the first game. It was solely my fault since I was not familiar with the reserve rules and I should have read it better….it sucked. So I placed my Hv Bolter with a unobstructed LoS to his leader. My AC doubled back to deal with the Infiltrator and contest the objective #3. I continued my standard tactic of rushing cultists to pin the gunners and shooting the ones that are free. The highlight of this turn was my Gunner gunning down his Leader and the Infiltrator charging my AC, missing 3 times and my AC missing 3 times back. 6 dices that rolled 2 or less! 

6 dices, no 3+...

We harvest both an objective. In T3 brought back my 2 Flamers (one free in my deployment zone and one to flame a Plasma caliver, that ended up being killing by a readied cultist. My Hv Bolter killed again but then 3 things happened that turned the tide:
 Boom! (Yeah I know it is supposed to be on a 1 but we both played it on a 6)

1-      One Infiltrator triggered a trap loosing going to 1 wound.
2-      My opponent broke, all but 2 models shook.
3-      Pop, the cultist that would not die, charged the Infiltrator.

On a side note, my AC failed again to hit the Infiltrator and got killed. 

At the start of turn 4, it was pretty clear that I had a great shot at winning it. I just needed to kill one specialist and control one objective more. I managed to kill the wounded Infiltrator with my plasma, lost a cultist to the Electro-Priest, broke, but Pop was insanely brave and controlled the objective to give me that 5-0 victory (I was not able to have an unshaken model in his deployment). 

Pop strikes again!

In the standings I was 4th and feeling pretty good about myself. 

Game 4 – You got to be f*****g kidding me!!! Grey Knights

Yeah, the second game against the list that I had the feeling is the harder to handle. However looking at the board lifted my spirit. I could put a nice gunline in a trench, wait for him to charge it and send the cultists harvest objectives. But we all know how my plan turned out the last time I faced these guys. After reviewing his list, there were a lot of sub-optimal choices so this was the second uplifting points: 
Justicar with Hammer, Zealot with Halberd, Hv with Psilancer, Terminator Gunner with Hammer and Hv Flamer Combat,  1 guy with Falchions

An interesting note, the player was the son of my previous Ad mech opponent. 

In the scouting phase, I choose traps and he choose to shoot sentries. 
We deployed, he kept his terminator in reserve to DS. I set up my gunline making sure that everyone is obscured and that my team Sniper/Coms had a clear shot at the Psylancer.  I set up a cultist screen and planned the replacements. 

The guys that moved where Cultists....

I took out the Psilancer first turn, screened my half of the board, grab my objectives, set up my psybolt screen and send out a Cultist that rolled a 6 in advance deep in his half. There was nowhere to hide for the GK and nowhere for the terminator to teleport. He harvested an objective, send a guy to deal with my cultist in his half and I kept killing his guys. My dices where hot during injury rolls, I think I inflicted only 1 flesh wound that I successfully rerolled. 

T3, he finally teleported his terminator on the central objective in a desperation move, my Sniper took care of him with an overcharged plasma shot. It was not a fun game. It was satisfying to have my plan and list working perfectly, but I prefer close games. On top of that my dices where hot, I only had to use 1 CP in the first 3 turns! 

In the end, to add insult to injury, he charged my Berserker champion with his Justicar, failed to kill him, with a hammer! (I had the decency not to do play decisive strike). Then my Serker attacked and cut him down with his Power Sword… 6-0 win, I had tabled him. I think he killed 4 Cultists, maybe five and flesh wounded my Serker Champ.
Coming out of this game, I saw that the third place player (my first GK opponent), was loosing badly to Necrons (my first opponent). So I knew I was in a good place. The second place CSM (hallo Marauder) told me that he badly lost to Death Watch. First place was clear, it would come out to VPs between me and the other CSM player. 

 Guess who had more VPs....

In the end I had more VPs and took second place. I was pretty happy.

It was a very fun experience, Beeranid (check his channel here) once said in a video that tournaments are a lot of fun and addictive. This is true. I met a lot of great players, learned a lot of new rules like reserves and as a bonus got a trophy to take back home. So here are to close it, but tops and not so top points (they are not really negative things but things that I personally did not like and you know what they say about opinions....)

The organization, the room and the food, especially the price had I know about this I would have not bothered to pack a sandwich and energy bars.

The players. I would invite any of them to my place for a game. They was no one that I did not like. 

The mission. Although it was the same all games, it never felt as a repetition because of the changing primary and the changing terrain. Compared with the standard tournament missions of BAO, LVO, Adepticon, Nova, etc…it may give some advantage to Elite KT, but I am not sure. I was playing a horde army in the meta of that tournament and I did pretty well. But it somehow requires a change of mindset. I usually play ultra aggressive and it is the way you need to play in the standard missions since you can score starting at T1. With this mission, since all the points are counted at the end, it is all about pacing, managing you resources and knowing when to go for the kill. It makes you play in another way. I liked it. 

The quiz part. When we were waiting for the results the TO Brummbär had a little quiz running about our knowledge of 40k lore. Some guys present had vast reservoirs of useless knowledge! I managed to get one answer in (What is the significance of the color blue for orks? Answer in the comments if you know it) but there was a lot of laughter during that part as everyone had a great time.

The quality of the terrain. Everything very well painted (or pro painted if you use ebay standards) with battle mats or KT boards, it made for a great immersion. 

The people that commented positively on my old skool models. Some players were not even born when these kits came out! It was fun to see the look on their faces when they picked up my metal terminator. 

BTW here is the Gelerpox team that won best painted. I voted for them. 

The location. Easy to access with public transport and car. Lots of parking spots.

I got 2nd place!!!!    

Not so top

Using lists and not command rosters. Again, that is the TO’s choice and I accepted it when I registered. I still disagree with it and think that the command roster and the list tailoring is a very fun and important part of KT. However this will not prevent me to go to the next edition, roster or not

The spaceship board. An arena board without arena rules do not work. Some factions basically lost just by playing on this board, they did not stand a chance.

Me screwing up the reserve and outflank rule

And that is it! 

If you are interested in seeing the results or want to check when the next edition of the tournament is have a look at the T3 website

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