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

10 Feb


This week: Crockery battlefields, the new- new guy & Caledonian-how low can I go?


So Caledonian! My first “big” tournament! I’d been looking forward to this one for ages-I’d even booked my hotel way back in September (Travelodge-£12 bargain!) and got a few practice games in! Still, this was a trial by fire for my new “fun” list. I’d decided to ditch the list that had basically been written for me; in favour of one I would write myself. I knew it wouldn’t be as competitive-but I’m not very good, so it really doesn’t need to be:




Modrak-4 Ghost Knights

3×5 Purifiers, MC hammer, 2xhalberds, 2xpsycannons, Rhino-dozerblade

10xInterceptors, MC hammer, 2 Incinerators, psycannon ammo

3x Twin auto dreads-psybolt ammo, searchlight


So a list focussing more on the units I knew performed well, with more obvious roles. I fancied using a Grand master for something different, and went with Mordrak to avoid having to footslog (and dropping him in/near to front lines forces opponent to deal with him). That was the plan anyway-but I’d need practice…


If you table someone on the floor is it a flooring, a rugging or did he laminate me?


What I got instead was 2 confusing “battles” against Rob Madeleys Necrons, and one game against someone who was more confused than me!


Rob virtually tabled me twice. But we played on the floor, so it wasn’t technically a tabling. I’m not sure I did much wrong in either game-and my new dice were so hot in the first game I was actually worried they were loaded (subsequent games have proved they most definitely are not). I just got out played to an almost painful degree in the first game, and couldn’t deal with his monoliths in the second. But, barring the ridiculous (yet festive) makeshift terrain we were forced to use, I enjoyed my list. Mordrak wasn’t great-but he did force a reaction that I could maybe capitalise on with a little more practice…


So a new guy at the club asked me for a game (6 months with a rolling game offer on the clubs forum, and this is only the 3rd game its got me…. I thought nerds liked the internet?!), which I gladly accepted. It was an Ork biker list, with a battlewagon, and Snikrot. This was a milestone game for me: it was the first game against a new opponent that I didn’t start with “I’m new to all this…” I wasn’t the new guy any more- I was the veteran, or at least a jaded private! (I’m aware this makes me sound like an uncomfortable rash)


My confidence shot up sky high after this game. I’d deployed well: I’d thought about fire-lanes and maximising my dreadnaughts firepower. I had crowe & Mordrak just far enough from the board edge to be a suitable counter for Snikrot (forcing him into making the mistake of coming on from a different edge) I deliberately moved my dread to get side armour on his battlewagon, destroying it early on, and later in the game I spread my ghosts nights out around my objective to avoid any possibility of him contesting. I actually out-played someone! So Ok-he hadn’t played in a very long time, new almost nothing about the grey knights codex, and made up his list with what he had on him, but I actually made informed tactical decisions! I might actually be getting better!!!! Bring on Caledonian!


I’ll dive right in….



1 Steven H     

Game 1 was against my first ever guard army- and although I knew they could field a lot of vehicles, nothing compares to seeing them all lined up ahead of you for the first time! The game was a bit of a blur-too many Chimeras rolling around for me to really learn a great deal. Needless to say, I lost this game (although I think I got the secondary objective), but Steven forgot his whole first turns shooting and I let him go back & take it!


Baby Seal Game 1, Lesson 1: You’re going to make a lot of mistakes while you learn the game, so if your opponent makes a mistake its usually worth letting them correct it. You’re not going to learn anything winning on a technicality, and as soon as you play someone who doesn’t make the big mistakes you will get punished.  As you get better feel free to open up a can of waac, but until then, be as lenient as you expect to be treated-maybe even more so. I’m now getting to the stage where I’m much harder on myself than I am on my opponent. I need to start learning lessons the hard way, so if I forget my hammerhand-tough!


2 Brad Z

Game 2 was against a fellow member of the Good the Bad and the Dudley, Brad. It was my first time playing Wolves, and Brad made taking a beating a real pleasure! I knew he could bring his relentless multimelta down in a drop pod turn one, and I knew my dreads were the obvious target. So I thought I’d be clever, and deploy my Interceptors for once- and use warpquake to mess with his plans. The problem was, he was going first. So when did I plan to cast it? Needless to say, my idiotic plan failed. I couldn’t cope with the rest of his army coming across the board AND Logan running amok. By the end of the game I only had Crowe left…a resounding defeat!


I made a big mistake before the game had even started (which I should never make again!) and against an army I was unfamiliar with, so I wasn’t too shocked by the loss, I just got outplayed plain and simple. But I had an enjoyable game, and definitely learnt something!


Baby Seal Game 2, Lesson 2: all the different reserve and deployment rules can be tricky to remember, and if you mess things up you can loose the game before it’s even started. Normal reserves coupled with scout/infiltrate/outflank/deepstrike, can be hard enough to get your head round. Then factor in codex specific rules like drop-pod assault, webway portals, snikrot, warp-quake etc and it can seem impossible to predict anything at all. When going through your opponent’s army list, ask them if they have any of the above special rules (and any I’ve missed off), or anything specific to their codex that can mess with the “normal” run of the game. Then go through your opponents and your first turn in your head, so you don’t royally screw up your counter-tactics! If your really organised (which I’m not), you could write it down before the game starts.




3 Michael P 

Game 3, and the last game of the day, was against Necrons. I wasn’t completely unprepared for this game-I’d had the two practise games with Rob so I at least knew a few of the tricks his list could pull off. What I hadn’t played against was annihilation barges and 5 turns of stormlord/cryptek induced night fight. Two incredibly frustrating hours later I’d lost. Again. There wasn’t a lot I could have done differently to change the outcome of this game-5 turns of night fight screwed me right over!


Baby Seal Game 3, lesson 3: Sometimes 40k just isn’t fun-5 turns of killing next to nothing an exciting game does not make. It was a bit of anti-climax to the first day for me. Ending on a loss can put a bit of a downer on things, and with only 10 points from a possible 60 I wasn’t exactly feeling confident for day 2!


Soft-Scores….Huh!…. What are they good for? Is it:


A: Absolutely nothing?

B: peace on earth & pretty things to look at?

C: Making grown men cry?

D: Filling up forums with the same arguments week after week after…


The scores for painting/list submission were up by then aswell-I got the basic painting score & full points for list submission as expected. This is where a certain shiny-headed Necron player began his 24-hour complain-a-thon about being marked down for painting. Justified or not (a 3 page discussion on soft-scoring can be found on the Warhammer forum after any & every tournament thread), it’s kind of like getting your results and failing miserably-and then having to listen to a good friend declare the sky is falling because he got a B in Art. They have every right to be upset-but think about who you’re complaining too! I got more points from handing my list in on time than I got from my first 3 games!


On a final note-if you know the mighty showbiz Madeley-imagine him with some silver face paint, holding up a bright green apple whilst pulling his “game” face & he IS a Necron lord- (or possible a “creep-tek” lol)


Next week: Cally day 2:How low can I go? (Hint-very low indeed (not a euphemism!))


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

  1. Tattersky February 10, 2012 at 13:46 #

    Keep the posts coming. This stuff is excellent.
    The ‘Fun’ aspect of the game, opposed to WAAC, comes across very well.

    Do you think you might do a Newbie/1st Edition Returner FAQ or guide? What the ‘eck are ‘Fire-Lanes’ and how do you plan them?


    • DavidW February 10, 2012 at 14:00 #

      Thanks-I really appreciate the good reviews, It keeps me writing the articles!

      I’m planning on doing something along those lines soon-lessons I’ve learnt in my 1st year back playing 40k. A guide is something i can definitely work towards, but at the moment I don’t think I know enough to fill more than a few hundred words!

      “Fire lanes”, in my head anyway, are lines of sight across the board that you plan/hope to be able to shoot down. Especially if you know your opponent is going to come straight at you, you can maximise your target options by planning ahead and making sure that whichever way they come at you, something can shoot at them.

  2. Tom February 10, 2012 at 14:09 #

    Yup keep them coming young sir – a very interesting read and as I’ve said before I really like your style of writing – as for the newbie error with warpquake – been there done that – opponent reserved everything and I went first so what did I do in the shooting phase of turn one? Yep pop smoke on my Land Raiders – forgiveable if it had been 4 years ago not 4 months ago!!
    I’m very much of the opinion that you learn loads more from losing than winning and the best way to get better quickly is to play lots of games against as good an opponent as you can find and entering tourneys is one sure fire way of doing that! The trick is believing that it will turn around!

  3. Embolden40k February 10, 2012 at 22:30 #

    Great stuff, I really enjoy reading your posts!

  4. Graeme Nicholls (@TheTayne) February 10, 2012 at 23:53 #

    You know what, I’ve never really thought of all the various rules that affect how you deploy you’re army. Think I might nab that and write a post or two looking at it.

    As for the rest, ditto to the others. You’ve got a great, amusing style to your blogs, keep them coming!

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