The Armchair General 2012 Tournament 2: Jolly Toys Outing

18 Mar

Failure is the foundation of success, and the means by which it is achieved (Lao Tzu)

So, you heard the hype, listened to the podcast special, know the results and you are still planning to read about my tale of mid table mediocrity at the Jolly Boys Rogering?  Well I shall try not to dissapoint!


Warhammer world is a great venue, if you have never been then I strongly encourage you to go.  This tournament was my third time there and I still feel like a 16 year old every time I even approach the Games Workshop site.  It is such a shame that increasingly indy tournaments are not being run there but that is a story for another day.  This tournament appealed to me a lot because of the venue, the unusual points level and game format (2k in a Nova Open style with primary, secondary and tertiary objectives in play every single game) and the prizes.  Yes, I wanted to win the axe they had as first prize but also I liked the fact that they were doing best in race awards – if you aren’t a top player this still gives something to shoot for.  It’s even better when you look at the field and realise that there is only one other player running the same race as you and it isn’t Gary Percival for a change!

The List


Belial (dual lightning claws)

Deathwing Command Squad (banner, apocethary, chain fist, cyclone/hammer , 1 wound allocation hammer)

2 “shooty” Deathwing Squads (chainfist, cyclone/hammer, 2 powerfist/stormbolters, 1 wound allocation hammer)

2 “assaulty” Deathwing Squads (cyclone/lightning claws, 2 lightning claws, 2 hammers)

2 Venerable dreadnoughts (assault cannon, close combat weapon)

2 Land speeders (typhoon launcher, multimelta)

1 Bike squad (melta gun, melta bombs, wound allocation mook, plus a multimelta attack bike)

A couple of points.  I have been using my Belial with claws for a while now.  It does make him a terror against infantry squads, he can charge in with up to 6 WS5 attacks and kill a combat squad before they get to their initiative pass.  You avoid putting any ap 1 or 2 stuff on him anyway since it would normally double him out but anything else goes on him first for a 2+ save with feel no pain and 3 wounds in case it goes wrong.  There aren’t as many hammers in my list as you see in a lot of other lists.  The reason is that I do like giving my terminators a job and 3 storm bolters or 3 claws makes it quite clear to me when playing what each squad should be doing.  It’s also quite good for wound allocation.

Game 1


So my first opponent was actually one of the Oxford Gaming Club who organised the event.  Steve Bunce brought a Black Templar list which consisted of 3x 5 man scoring units with lascannons in a couple of rhinos, 2x 5 man terminator squads with double cyclones and tank hunters (I think one was an honour guard for a chaplin?) and a big squad of combat terminators with emperors champion and marshall.  Looking at it written down I’m sure I’ve missed something, Steve if you want to correct me in comments please feel free!  The mission was kill points primary, then quarters, then objectives.  It was dawn of war and my opponent got first turn so he deployed the honour gard terminators and the chaplin behind a line of site blocking building in the middle of the board.  I was expecting the big block of combat terminators with prefered enemy to go there so it was a relief that they would have to foot slog all the way from his board edge.

I castled up in my right hand corner with 2 squads in a piece of slightly raised area terrain.  When I came on the board everything else except for 1 speeder, 1 terminator squad and the bikes hid behind the same hill with just cyclones poking out.  Those other 3 bits I sent to my far left flank.  The templars were sensibly spread across the board and their combat deathstar came running towards me through a narrow channel to avoid terrain.  I fired 12 frag missiles into the tightly bunched terminators whittling them significantly and causing them (rather luckily for me) to break and run.  They rallied of course but never attempted to get to the bulk of my force again after that!  The game was all about who rolled more 1s for their armour saves for a few turns and I kept my cool, staying out of charge range and plugging away.  My dreads, and bikes all met grizzly ends from tank hunting missiles and what was left of the combat deathstar went cross country to root out my isolated terminator squad.

The last turns of the game were extremely tactical because we were close on kill points, objectives and quarters.  My attack bike epically failed me: it shot up an initiate squad in cover on an objective (with the help of 2 cyclones) and the last guy in the squad righteous zealed out of the cover so I charged him.  The attack bike took a wound from his 1 attack, caused none in return, lost the combat by 1 so promptly died to the fearless wound it had to take.  Great, that’s me wiped out of the quarter, not contesting the objective and a swing of 2 kill points…

Over in the middle of the board Belial’s squad advanced on the centre objective which was held by an initiate squad neatly blocked using their own rhino.  Had it ended turn 6 I would have lost as I was only able to charge their transport but in turn 7 I was able to mop up the initiates and use the consolidate move to put 2 of the 4 man squad into the nearside left table quarter whilst still claiming the centre objective.  It had been a bloody game and I had 1 deathwing squad in my near right quarter, on the objective and uncontested.  The nearside left quarter contained a wounded marshal, wounded emperors champ and the one surviving member of the assault terminator squad but it also had an unwounded belial and his above half strength command squad which tipped the VPs in my favour.  The back quarters were both held by the templars with their 1 remaining shooty terminator squad, initiate squad and I think also a chaplain but it was enough that we went to objectives where I won 2-1 having killed all but 1 of his scoring units.  I really enjoyed this game, my opponent was fantastic and it particularly highlighted how close the Nova style game can be.

Game 2

Its always worrying when you know your opponent by reputation.  I drew Allen El-Sour who my (possibly out of date) research tells me has been capped 4 times for England at the ETC.  Gulp!  Worse yet he was running dual lash chaos space marines and this was a game with objectives as the primary.  Now I used to run dual lash and I would positively lick my lips in anticipation if I drew an all foot army where my obliterator toting plasma cannons could wreak havoc.  The list Allen was using had 2 lash sorcerers in fairly large berserker squards mounted in rhinos, a plague marine squad with dual melta, a power fist and a rhino, 2 squads of 3 obliterators, a defiler and a 5 man deckchair squad.

My plan was to keep more than 24 inches from his sorcerers who had deployed in the corner, kill his mobility and then turn my attention to the obliterators.  It was probably the wrong plan looking back and I should have nuked the obliterators but it is so hard to prioritise something that will shrug off 5/6 of the shots you fire at it.  I got turn 1 and scouted my bikes to within 6 of his rhinos.  They blew one up and charged the berserkers who came out so that I could get a multi charge on the other rhino which I immobilised.  Unfortunately since the bikes died a horrible death to the berserkers Allen got a massacre move which then let him move into lash range on one terminator squad.  They weathered the fire pretty well and I spent a few turns trading shots somewhat ineffectively while his berserkers advanced.  Annoyingly I never managed to finish off the berserker rhino I immobilised turn 1 and when on turn 5 Allen’s deckchair finally arrived from reserve, the rhino had remobilised itself and was able to park a scoring unit on the back left objective.

The worst mistakes I really made were misjudging a charge by a millimeter or two which left me open to being massacred by berserkers and a decision I made right at the end after winning combat with one of his termicide squads that had pulled me off the nearside right objective.  Because their massacre move was so good I decided to take the middle objective and potentially threaten the berserkers who were hunkering down and scoring the nearside left objective rather than retreating back to my safe objective.  The result was that they got lashed off the objective in Allen’s final turn.  We discussed this last move after the game and although it made no difference as Allen didn’t fail a psychic test or a hit roll for his lash all game I gave him more opportunities to win by being closer (he could potentially kill me with obliterators or charge to pull me off the objective) rather than just giving him 1 lash for the win if I was further away.  In the end I lost 2 objectives to 1 so it was a primary win for him.  Had I played that last turn better and been a bit lucky with the lash it would have been a secondary objective win for Allen since he had actually managed to finish off more squads than I had.  Still, live and learn!

Game 3


Nids with quarters as the primary and a spearhead deployment.  My opponent’s name was Joel and he was very good about explaining what in his army did what.  There aren’t a lot of Tyranid players in my local area and this was the first time I had seen venomthropes used.  My thoughts here were “oh, so those things give everything else cover but I can double them out with a krack missile… guess they will die first then”.  Joel filled his quarter with a gargoyle screen, homagaunts, tyranid warriors with a prime, the venomthropes in the middle and a tervigon and 6 ravenors towards the middle far side of the board in the only piece of terrain in that quarter.  I still feel a bit bad about giving him such an open killing field to set up in and using the standard tactic of backing away while he advanced into my hail of fire.  For once the storm bolters really proved their worth here.  Joel also had 2 big squads of stealers with broodlords that he deployed 18 inches from my deployment zone in the 2 unoccupied quarters.  This worried me a bit because I really don’t have a way to root out stealers in cover if they are well spaced out, go to ground in cover and then when I get close charge out and eat me and with the game being quarters I thought I might have a problem.

Turn 1 I targeted the venomthropes and wiped them out with missiles, I also targeted both groups of stealers and caused 4 wounds on each which was enough for a break test.  A massive weight was lifted when the stealers in the far left corner failed their test and ran 4 inches off the board, now I could turn my army to face the stuff coming at me from the right hand side.  What I hadn’t expected was a turn 1 charge from the ravenors and that when they charged a venerable dreadnought they would go through its armour so easily with their many many rending attacks.  Stunned and imobilised the dreadnought held the line preventing me from shooting the damed ravenors…  I decided I had to be rid of them and couldn’t risk the dreadnought exploding and my whole army taking a multi charge so I put 2 squads of deathwing into them and broke them.  Huzah, I’m within 6 they can’t rally happy days I thought, then the tervigon wandered forwards, extended synapse to 18 inches and allowed them to rally and charge me again (albeit at depleted numbers).  It is tricks like this that prove you can never have enough practice.  Trust me when I say that you do not want to be surprised by things like this in tournament games.

So I am balancing my force between nearside left quarter and farside left quarter hiding behind a bastion for the most part.  Joels is pushing forward with his gargoyles screening the tyranid warriors and the genestealers who have decided to joing the main force pushing towards the middle.  My reserves turn up and I bring the bikes and attack bike in on the far left quarter, deepstrike Belial and his command squad behind my own front line in the nearside left quarter and turn fully half of the army to finish off these ravenors who have just gone through an understrength terminator squad.  The ravenors finally die horribly and I still have enough krack missiles left to punnish the tervigon for sticking its head out from cover to expand the synapse bubble.  Two big threats down I’m feeling flush then the genestealers and what is left of the gargoyles (who I have been firing 3 storm bolters 2 frag missiles at every turn from 1 squad) hit my front squad and it is not pretty.  I spend the last 2 turns of the game putting kracks into tyranid warriors until only the prime is left and putting squads in front of the stealers slowly whittling them down.  Turn 5 I make a bid for the primary but Belial’s squad fluffs its run roll and is stuck in the nearside left quarter rather than the nearside right one.  My opponent spots what I have done and looks at the mission pack again.  He had totally forgotten what the primary was and although he has made inrodes into my lines I still have the 2 lefthand side quarters firmly in my control and the nearside right quarter has 1 landspeeder in it.

At this point there wasn’t much Joel could do, his homagaunts could claim the quarter with just a speeder in it but if we got a turn 6 there was no way he could move more VPs over there than I would have with Belial and his command squad.  There was an immobile dreadnought and a full squad in my home quarter and all he had there was his prime and although the farside left quarter still had a few stealers in it and some termagaunts I had 1 more squad that had been hiding in a bastion most of the game who moved out and into the important quarter to seal the deal.  Joel actually conceeded .  Whilst he had killed a fair amount of my stuff I could see he was really cross with himself for forgetting the mission and from past experience it sucks to end a day that way.  What’s more he was driving so I couldn’t even buy him a beer!

Game 4


I was feeling good going into day 2 when I realised I had drawn Allen again.  We both asked the tournament organisers for different opponents just because we wanted some variety over the weekend.  Fortunately there were 2 people on the table next to us that had not played either of us.  We rolled off for who would get the dark eldar venom spam and who would get the paladins for this kill point primary game.  I got the paladins of course and their general, Guy.  I would much rather have faced the dark eldar and although I didn’t realise it at the time Allen would much rather have had the paladins.  Ho hum, the dice decided to punnish us both!  The game was pitched battle and I got first turn again (yes that is the 4th time this tournament – perhaps I’ve learned something from Nathan…) so I bunched up in the nearside left corner with just one speeder off to the right opposite where I was expecting a dreadnought to be deployed.  The bikes were outflanking again and 1 squad was deepstriking.  Guy combat squadded his paladins, put Draigo with one half, the librarian with the other half, he had 2 psyflemen dreads and a venerable one (2 of which he made scoring) and a 10 man terminator squad.  They all deployed as a big block in the middle, paladins in front of terminators, the venerable dread right in the middle with the 2 psyflemen near the back corners in the 2 pieces of cover on his side.

I thought combat squadding the paladins was a mistake here and decided to focus on krack missiling the librarian’s combat squad.  I also planned to take out the 2 psyflemen with my speeders and try to outrange him with his 30” threat bubble.  Guy rather spoiled that plan by stealing the initiative and shooting down 1 speeder and damaging + stunning the other, walking up the middle and causing havoc to my dreads with his psycannons.  I did manage to kill a few paladins with krack missiles and dropped my deepstriking squad on the far right hand side of the board inviting him to split his force.  He took the bait and we had a terminator-off: 5 deathwing vs 3 paladins (who had been with the librarian).  When he charged me it didn’t look good but remarkably the warding staff failed his 2+ invulnerable and after a couple of turns of combat 1 deathwing terminator walked away from the melee!

Over on the left hand side of the board we played a game of cat and mouse between 5 paladins, draigo and the librarian and Belial + 20 terminators, neither of us wanting to get charged.  The grey knight terminators wandered off to bail out their scoring psyfleman dread who my bikes had epically whiffed against but managed to tie up in combat and contest his objective.  FYI, bikes suck.  Suffice to say they died horribly and hemmoraged kill points for me when the terminators made it over to them.  So the game looks grim.  I am 4-1 down on kill points thanks to my bikes and speeders.  The venerable dreads are both armless and one is immobilised.  Guy holds 2 objectives, I hold 2 so he doesn’t have to do anything to win.  He still decides to play the game and charges into my immobile armless dreadnought putting him in charge range of my block of terminators.

There is a ray of hope for me, even when the dreanought dies I realise that by killing the 5 paladins and the libby I will tie the primary, we will go to VPs as I am drawing both objectives and quarters.  On maneuvering for the charge I even realise that 1 squad won’t make it in so I hit the ven dread with 2 krack missiles, pen it twice out in the open and realise if I blow it up and my charge plan works I win on secondary!!!  The dread survives.  Worse, the charge goes horribly wrong.  I put Belial’s squad with their banner, plus 2 other full squads into the paladins.  Draigo goes mental and kills a squad on his own before they get to swing, my 2 claws put out a couple of wounds which are allocated away and then we get to the I1s…   25 thunder hammer attacks kill just 1 paladin.  Suffice to say I lost the combat and the game.  I don’t like paladin armies any more.

Game 5

So there is one single point of honour left.  I must beat that other dark angel player!  I’ve drawn space wolves, an army I historically do quite well against, for a dawn of war quarters game.  My opponent’s name is Dave McGill and he has a fairly balanced list: bear lord on thunderwolf, 2 long fang packs, 3 squads of grey hunters, a rune priest, a vindicator and 2 dreadnoughts (1 in a drop pod).  I get first turn again and set up 1 squad in a building on the halfway line, the other squad in some ruins near my board edge guessing that his long fangs will come on and sit in the ruin opposite.  They do and have terrible move through cover and run rolls for 2 turns.  His bear lord charges the building I am in turn 1 and takes a wound when it explodes.  His drop pod dreadnought arrives next to my board edge and whiffs against my terminators, on the far right hand side of the board I bring on the rest of my army so that they are mostly hidden behind a hill and he brings on everything to face them apart from a grey hunter pack with the runepriest that babysits the longfangs.  Belial and co. also deepstrike on the right pretty far forward and knowing he has a vindicator they use a run to minimise the damage.

My squad in the bulding have to try and deal with the bear lord.  They put 1 wound on him over 2 tuns before he eats them all.  The dreadnought is not so lucky and dies horribly.  Unfortunately if I had actually lost a terminator to the dreadnought I would have been able to hide on the first floor of the ruins and taunt the wolf lord on the floor below me but it was not to be.  Belial and his buddies ignored most of an army shooting at them and went through a large grey hunter pack in cover, a dreadnought, the vindicator, another grey hunter pack and had the game gone to turn 6 they would have been into the long fangs.  They were unstopable!  The bikes turned up on the right and whiffed.  Again.

Eventually the game came down to if my squad in the ruins could kill the bear lord, which they finally did on the last turn.  I held both the quarters on my side and the far right quarter thanks to Belial the unstoppable.  I did give my opponent an opportunity on the final turn by charging 4 grey hunters and a  rune priest who were on the halfway line with my ven dread.  I got to kill the runepriest but the wolfguard took vengance and didn’t care how venerable my dreadnought was.  The squad used their massacre move to get into my nearside left quarter and had the bear lord not died it would have taken the game to secondary objective (I was well ahead on kill points and was 2-0 up on objectives) but as it was the last game of the weekend I wanted to go for it.  Dave was gracious in defeat and the game was a lot of fun.  It made me realise how cavalry can really take advantage of buildings to cross the board quickly and I will certainly think carefully when defining terrain like that going forwards.

Wrap up

Overall a great weekend.  I finished 33rd of 70 and picked up best Dark Angel player.  This report is far too long already so I’ll say little more than I will definitely be back for Jolly Toys 2013, the Oxforg Gaming Club did a fantastic job running the event and I am totally sold on them, the format and the points level!


3 Responses to “The Armchair General 2012 Tournament 2: Jolly Toys Outing”

  1. Mark Perry March 19, 2012 at 16:18 #

    Best Dark Angel player. No one can take that away from you …

    The speeder/biker combo does seem to be a problem for you, but is that due to you needing to change the list or that you seem to almost run it as 2 armies on the table at the same time. The bikes/speeders can’t take much shooting and may be better supporting the main army, getting cover saves from behind dreads etc until they need to go kill something with that melta. But hey, I play Nids, so am paranoid about keeping units in synapse range!

  2. Embolden40k March 19, 2012 at 21:22 #

    Great report, I enjoyed the more indepth look at each game.

    Thanks for taking the time to share! 🙂

  3. forpus01 March 27, 2012 at 16:29 #

    Excellent battle report. I enjoyed it very much. Sounds like a good time.

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