40k Classic Tournament Debrief

Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending my first tournament, the Lords of War 40k Classic.  I posted my list here. I will write detailed battle reports later, but this post will capture my initial thoughts.

In brief, I’ll just say I had a great time, and look forward the next one. It renewed my interest in the hobby, and has inspired me to continue playing.

Selfie at the Warhammer 40k classic, my first tournament
Selfie at the Warhammer 40k classic, my first tournament

The crowd was very friendly; mostly young, all white men. There were a couple POC among the tournament organizers, but mostly very white. Milling about before the tournament, people were friendly, and genuinely interested in the hobby and excited to talk about their armies and the game.  There was a variety of people from students to bank managers, many guys were married and some even had kids (this was their guys day out). The Legion that hosted us had ample parking and great Air Conditioning. I also liked the vibe that there was a bar downstairs and many people bought a beer and brought them up to sip during the tournament.

I played 4 games and thought I acquitted myself admirably: 2 wins and 2 losses. After one win I felt accomplished. The second win was a surprise and at that point there was nothing that was going to make this day bad. Well, I got massacred in the last game to an ultra-competitive player.

A few players complemented me on my Chimera/Rhino conversion combination thing. One guy was so excited that he took lots of pictures because he was going to “steal the hell out of this idea.” I was quite happy to oblige.

My Rhino/Chimera conversion that was well-received by many at the tournament
My Rhino/Chimera conversion that was well-received by many at the tournament

 

Tactics thoughts:

Oakenhawk was right about a lot of things:

Company Command Squads issuing their Senior Officer Orders of Ignore Cover or Bring It Down are devastating:  My CCS with 3 meltas was a monster-killing beast! It took down a Riptide, and one-shot killed a Vindicator!

Flamers were beautiful: There were a lot of cover-camping units, and the heavy flamers auto-hit and ignore cover. And in many cases, if the Chimera’s flamers didn’t work, there were more inside.

My vehicles are hard to kill: Surprisingly, my tanks all took a lot of beatings, but few lost hull points, and even fewer were destroyed. Having such quantity meant the damage was usually spread around.

Leman Russ Tanks were worth it: Each of my Leman Russ tanks were about 150 points, but I wouldn’t have traded them for anything else. They could move 6″ and fire everything with impunity, and unloading my Exterminator with lascannon and sponsor heavy bolters was my way of saying I wanted something to die! And the Demolisher’s  S10 AP2 large blast was the baseball bat I needed at times to batter tanks. And, their AV14 armour held up surprisingly well to most barrages. Keeping them facing the deadly threats helped, a lot!

The Wyvern is amazing! It became the highest priority target in my army in almost every game. My first opponent destroyed it in turn 1. After it decimated infantry squads in my 2nd and 3rd games, it was also their highest-priority target. That worked to my advantage in some ways because it drew their forces into a trap.
Long story short, twin-linked, 4 large blast barrage, re-rolling to wound was ridiculously good. I want another Wyvern!

Expendable guardsmen and expendable: The redundancy of that statement was quite on purpose. The blob squad of 20 guardsmen was kind of an afterthought for me, but proved to be valuable in a way I didn’t expect: Yes, the autocannons had a bit of a punch and drew attention, but I got an equal punch from my Taurox. This blob squad in cover was the first natural and obvious target for each of my enemies. The squad wasn’t worth much, but drew a lot of fire while my more dangerous units maneuvered. In the end, it didn’t bother me to lose them

Guardsmen in cover doing what the do best, distracting!
Guardsmen in cover doing what the do best, distracting!

Lessons Learned:

Finish off units: In my first game, I missed out on a lot of points because several units still had 2-3 models, or a vehicle had 1 hull point less. I should concentrate on destroying something and then move on. Part of the success in my second game was mopping up objective-claiming units, as exemplified in using my warlord’s Chimera to chase down a lone Kroot and heavy flamer it to death.

Don’t let the opponent set the terms: I made the mistake of waiting for my opponent to come to me in my first and last games, consequently I lost both games. In my second and third games I moved out of a bad deployment zone and outflanked my opponents.

Gets Hot Sucks: The S7 plasma didn’t have much impact on the game, probably because I was trying to keep my Warlord safe. And at one point, they both fried themselves on overwatch! Without some form of twin-linking or Preferred Enemy to mitigate 1’s, I don’t feel like it’s worth it.

Medic not worth it: The feel no pain (5+) granted by the medkit didn’t save one model in my command squad. Another plasma or a flamer (or two) would have been a much better investment.

Don’t fear Close Combat: Guard are pretty lousy at close combat, but in some cases, their numbers help out. The last daemon army I faced had a ridiculous cover save, but if I charged them instead I could have gotten bunch of blows in because of higher initiative and no overwatch.

Photo of the tournament underway
Photo of the tournament underway

Logistics thoughts:

A quantity-based, horde-like army is great in theory and practice, but not practical. Most armies at the tournament had less than 30 models. I had 75 infantry, 8 tanks, and a massive plane! I needed two containers to bring just 1500 points! And setting up and moving models is a drag too. I might as well have had old-school Warhammer Fantasy movement trays and square bases!

I need a display board. I discovered that this was a thing only a few days before the tournament. I almost bought a cafeteria-like tray from a dollar store right before the tournament, but decided to use my case as a makeshift display board. It didn’t work too well. And It would have been nice to display my army nicely.

My "display board" (i.e. one of my cases...
My “display board” (i.e. one of my cases…)

Several players shared their lists made with Army Builder which was really nice because it listed the stats and special rules of each model. I have never played against Tau or Chaos Daemons, and didn’t know their stats, so it was nice that they were there without me having to root through their codex. I’m thinking I’ll model my next list for sharing using the rules for Adepti-con as critera, and Army Builder lists from my opponents as templates.

There were chairs at the tables, and I should have sat more. My legs hurt by the end of the day.

Lunch at 2:15pm is a drag. I’m glad I brought snacks to get me through until then. I scooted out for lunch to get a KFC sandwich and I ate it much faster than I should have.

Tables are kind of crowded, so there isn’t really anywhere to put down your display case and/or codexes and such. In my first game there was an empty table beside us which was great, but in my last game we were in the middle of two other games and kinda stuck.

 

What’s next for me?

I want to join another tournament! I want to play more! It was all a good experience, and I like the honesty of paying to be there: Going to the store to play feels like I’m free-loading or something.

I think I need a display board. There were great ones at the tournament, and I’d like to have one that reflects me and my army. The scoring guide for Astronomi-con helps, but there are also SO many examples online of things that work too.  Maybe I can be crafty and make a display board that can also be a carrying case…

The most ridiculously awesome display board I've ever seen! Look at that plasma-webway portal thing! And it's base is a Millennium Falcon!
The most ridiculously awesome display board I’ve ever seen! Look at that plasma-webway portal thing! And it’s base is a Millennium Falcon!

I think I’m done painting Guard for a while I may paint one or two more melta infantry, but that would be it.  I have a lot of options: Inquisition, Arbites, Space Marines…
But I saw a Tempestus Scions army at the tournament and was intrigued. The Taurox Prime is pretty awesome…