At the weekend I attended Stronghold, a tournament I started five years ago and have been involved in running since. This year however, being busy getting ready to move to the other side of the planet, some of my gaming friends had taken over the organisation of the event (which takes a lot - hats off to any other TO's out there) which left me free to just turn up on the day and play.
At the tournaments kick off five years past, we wanted an event which was different from the others that many of us play at. Myself and some of my close friends play at a lot of big competitive events, mostly down in England where we can play against some of the UK's best players. Those events are great fun, but we wanted to have less of a weapons grade event. In recent years I had adapted the Australian made Community Comp rules for use in Stronghold (can't seem to link to it, but google it and check it out, those guys put a lot of effort into it). This had the result of reducing the amount of spam of top units that you regularly see at major competitive events, and having armies that actually look like armies, with rarely seen units accruing less 'comp' points and therefore being dusted off and produced on the table top.
This year's event had the following army restrictions:
1250 pts limit
Armies must be organised into a CAD (Harlequins excepted)
No GMC's /superheavies
Invisibility comped to BS1
Max two of any one unit choice
Max two MC's
Points restricted allied detachment (can't remember the cap on this just now :/)
No summoning for armies with Come the Apocalypse: Daemons
Preferred enemy and Hatred: Unpainted models
Originally, I was desperately wanting to field my painting project marine army that I've been working on for a while - my Lions Vigilant, a Dark Angels successor. However, I was just not going to get them ready in time. So I reverted back to my large painted force of beloved Tau.
So, my army was as follows:
HQ1. Commander, command and control node, drone controller, two marker drones
Troops 1. 12 Fire Warriors
Troops 2. 12 Fire Warriors
Elite 1. XV8 x 2, dual burst cannons, x 2 gun drones
Elite 2. 3 man Stealth team (old models - I love these guys, look like fire warrior special forces)
Elite 3. Riptide, HBC, SMS
Fast attack 1. 4 marker drones
Heavy Support 1. Skyray, SMS, BSF
HQ1. Ethereal, homing beacon
Troops 1. 10 kroot, hound
Troops 2. 10 kroot
Elite 1. Ghostkeel, Ion raker, burst cannon
Idea here was if I could draw fire with the riptide and ghostkeel, I could march a large phalanx of tau infantry up the table and obliterate opponents with mass pulse fire with the Ethereal's boost and accurate shooting with the markerlights. Thing is, I have owned a lot of fire warriors for quite some time and whilst I have thought they have potential, I have often built my armies around the more competitive choices such as tides, ghosts, XV88's etc etc. So I was looking forward to a swarm of Tau infantry flooding my opponents' DZ and letting loose. Also, at the end of the day since I have always ran this tournament, I wasn't sure I wanted to try and win it - it may be bad form. Regardless, I wasn't going to play to lose either! Either way, I thought this was a bit of a fresh tau build for me.
Mission - Contact Lost
Opponent - Liam, with his Eldar/Dark Eldar
Deployment - Dawn of War
1st turn - Eldar/DE
So I have played Liam at two competitive events in the last year, and won both of them. In his defence, the second of these was an event that Liam was running, so not sure if he would have been playing to his best ability at that one, for the same reasons that I wouldn't necessarily want to win at Stronghold. Regardless, I had grudge matched him to give him a chance for vengeance before I depart the country
Liams list was something like this (from my poor memory)
Farseer, Shard of Anaris, bike
6 Windriders, scatter lasers
6 Windriders, scatter lasers
6 Shining Spears, autarch with big stabby lance
Dark Eldar allies
5 Kabalites in a venom
9 reavers with some cluster clatrops
This is a reasonably nasty list within the restrictions, so I reckon im in for some problems this game. Not to mention Liam is one of the best players in Scotland. Also, the fact I'm not going first means I reckon i'm going to be removing a lot of models first turn.
Early turns it pans out like I thought it would - Liam's scary units outranging most of mine, and me losing a lot of models. I have a shocker of a turn 1 shooting phase where I only kill one scatter bike. However, as the game moves on it pans out that I have scored steadily on the maelstrom whilst denying him the ability to pick op a lot of cards. I manage to down the voidraven and kill off the shining spears as well as half the scatter bikes and a fair number of reavers, but I don't have much left by the end of the game. Mostly, it was the skyray, riptide and ghostkeel killing stuff here really, and the phalanx of infantry did not get the opportunity to shine.
5-3 victory for the Eldar alliance, with the loss of the Ethereal VP, first blood and linebreaker making the Eldar win on secondaries.
Thoughts - closer than I thought this would go originally, especially with me going 2nd. Was a fun game, and surprised me that I was actually within a chance of winning. But a deserved victory for Liam. So much firepower!