A Seal walks into a club- Baby Seals First Steps by David W

10 Dec

 Sealed off from 40k…

First off, apologies for the big gap in between articles (if anyone even noticed?!) I’ve been studying for some exams, and my poor, addled brain can’t process 40k & financial accounting at the same time. I did offer to write a blog about group-consolidated statements of financial position, but Mr Symcox was unimpressed…

But now I’ve finished-so I can rev up my 40k motor (everyone’s got one-I imagine mines a second hand lawn-mower motor with a pull cord to get it started) and get back in the game! I’ve got my 3rd tournament on Sunday-Flintshire fanatics, it’ll be my first 1500pt tourney, with a whole new grey knight list that I’ve had no practice with whatsoever. It should be interesting. But I’m getting ahead of myself….

Last month I went to my second tournament- Onslaught in Bristol. This was my first 2-dayer, and so required a different level of preparation, organisation, mental fortitude, and car-park payments. I’d been looking forward to this one for a while, so I was pretty organised. The hotel was booked and paid for months in advance, with a few minor adjustments my army was all ready to go. I’d seen who I was playing in the first round, knew what codex they were using and so did a little codex-homework (I call it homework-I actually do it at work)-I didn’t want to be blindsided by my own lack of knowledge!

I’ve said before-75% of the time I have no idea what’s going on, so I won’t be doing full battle reports-they’d be even more of unstructured mess than my usual writing style!

So I took: Coteaz, Libby with usual powers, 10 Purifiers with psyback, 2×5 man Strike Squads with psybacks, 4 Death cult assassins with chimera, 2x12pt acolyte squads, 5xInterceptors, 2xAuto dreads & a land raider redeemer. I could talk about my general tactics, my strengths and weaknesses and my good and bad match ups but frankly, as I now realise in retrospect, I had no idea what I was doing. I also found myself almost entirely focussed on not embarrassing myself, when I should have been focussing on actually enjoying myself.

Ill take a breath here to give my general thoughts on the weekend. I felt the tournament was well run, the organisers very friendly, the boards were varied and all looked really cool and every guy I played was a gentleman and very understanding of my rules-ignorance. I’m sorry to those names I forget, but my memory is terrible, I only remember the names of 2 of my 5 opponents, but that’s probably because they both bent me over and branded me-my left buttock is Daniel, my right Nathan. But I’ll get to that…

Sealed with a kiss (Sorry, no actual kissing here-I’m just running out of Seal idioms)

So I’ll go straight in to my first tip to someone new to travelling to tournaments. Plan your parking. This might be common sense for a lot of people out there, but it can really mess with your day if you forget, and really mess with your wallet if you don’t know where the best places are. Obviously I forgot to look into it, and after 3 abortive attempts to park nearby, I ended up parking 10 minutes away, 5 minutes before the first game was due to start, in one of the most expensive car parks in Bristol. Knowing that I had a 25 quid car park charge coming at the end of the day left a bit of a grey cloud over everything-and would have been easily avoided with a bit of foresight!

So I ran through the very confusing streets of Bristol to just make it in time for 9.30 (thank you maps app!)- But I wasted all the homework I’d done, as my opponent had been switched (my fault for cutting it so fine). I ended up playing a grey knights acolyte/razorback heavy list. It was a very close KP game where, as usual, my landraider got blown up before shooting anything at all. I had a great round of shooting, blocking in most of his razorbacks when I wrecked the front one & immobilised another. He then had an even better turn, blowing up my landraider, killing my assassins & blasting my librarian. We were both sure I’d lost- up until my last turn where I somehow just managed to scrape a victory (I don’t really know how). One more turn though, and he would have buried me.

It was a great first game to a tournament, close, with a very friendly opponent, who was more than happy to talk about the game as it was progressing. I think my main lessons were that, against some armies, being 3KP down isn’t the end of the world. Also, It’s all too easy to forget your bleeding kill points at the same time your gaining them. Keep a running tally; it’s really useful to see exactly what you need to pull back.

Game 2 was capture and control, against blood angels. His list, I think, had a sang-guard hammer unit, 2 10-man squads of marines, 2 predators, and a stormraven? It’s a little clearer what happened here, as the action was a little more focussed, but the highlights are that my warpquake failed, letting his hammer unit come down right in my lines, next to my objective (they killed a strike squad then got taken apart by purifiers). My landraider finally got a shot off before it died! But it was the multi-melta, at his stormraven. So that was useless (although the DCAs took apart his marines) By the end he only had an untouched squad of marines, and an immobilised predator, but due to me misjudging when to move my interceptors-he pulled out a draw.

Lessons? Interceptors almost won me the game, but he spread out his marines well to stop me contesting, and I didn’t give myself enough time to drag his guys off his objective. If I’d just shunted one turn earlier….damn it! I suppose again, knowledge of what you can achieve in the remaining turns is something that comes with practice-but its really frustrating when you get it wrong.

Also, if a predator is shooting your dreadnaught in the rear armour, turn the dreadnaught round when you shoot it back. Don’t leave it facing the wrong way for 3 turns until it blows up. That would be silly.

Signed, sealed, delivered. (then clubbed)

So a win and a draw-not too bad! My confidence was high as I’d already matched my positive results from the last tournament. Game 3-The fat angry geek. Long story short- he destroyed me. It wasn’t pretty. Now I don’t think I made many mistakes and I’d played against dark elder a few times before, so I couldn’t blame my lack of knowledge for the drubbing either. I think I may have been star-struck. His podcast fame caused me to go weak at the knees. Hearing those dulcet tones from across the board that so sonorously pour from my headphones weak-in, weak-out, made me giggle like a nervous schoolgirl.

Well, it was that or bad dice.

Probably bad dice.

Joking aside-it was a fun game, and he was as helpful, and understanding as you’d expect from a member of the 40kuk team. I did get a little moral victory near the end, killing his hellion pack. But I’m pretty sure he threw that in there for a bit of fun-he already had the game in the bag.

My lips are sealed

So that was the first days games-and I was quite happy with a 1-1-1, especially as I was so close to winning the second game. So what happens at the mid-way point of two-day tournament? I guess they’re all different but this one started with a long walk and a £25 car-park charge. Great. Headed off to the hotel, then met with a few of the guys for something to eat and a quick drink. Much meat was eaten (seriously-a hell of a lot of meat), and much 40k was conversed. The problem being that I still don’t have the guts to get involved in these discussions. It’s been 6 months, and although I am now actually sitting at a table with other 40k players, I still clam up when 40k is on the agenda. (and that’s pretty much the only thing EVER on the agenda) Damn it, I turned 29 last week, I’ve got a good few years on a lot of you guys, and I STILL feel like someone’s grouped me in with the big boys!

Next week: Tournament 2-day 2. hotel towel etiquette, forced smiles, and back to the drawing board…

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8 Responses to “A Seal walks into a club- Baby Seals First Steps by David W”

  1. Bradimus Prime December 10, 2011 at 10:43 #

    Good read Dave, mixed grill FTW!!

    It’s great reading this stuff because its like reading my own story 18 months to two years ago. Tournaments are the best way to get good at this game,get into the scene, meet great people and kill them (on the table of course)

    My advice to any new player out there wondering if they should get into the tourney scene is to just jump straight in and do it, yea you’ll probably get battered the first few times but you’ll soon get the hang of it.

  2. Tattersky December 10, 2011 at 19:58 #

    Favourite blog on 40k UK. Nice work matey!

  3. Tom December 11, 2011 at 13:41 #

    Just started to read 40K UK and I’m loving this – keep it up my man.

    • 40KUK December 13, 2011 at 01:15 #

      Ditto – always a good read.

  4. David W December 11, 2011 at 14:03 #

    Cheers guys-Its good to know people are enjoying these articles! Let me know if they start getting stale!

  5. Mark Perry December 12, 2011 at 11:44 #

    Nice Article, enjoying them … I always find that in 40k company starting a conversation with “I’ve just been spanked by X,Y,Z what would you do?” is an excellent ice breaker!

    • 40KUK December 13, 2011 at 01:16 #

      Hmmm, and in some environments that would perhaps not be the most appropriate ice breaker.

      • Tom December 13, 2011 at 14:38 #

        Oh I don’t know, I’ll have to get you an invite to this club I know!

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