Josh brought a pretty shiny red Eldar force. I don’t remember exactly what he had, but something like:
Farseer on a bike
10 Dark Reapers
Shining Spears on Jetbikes
5 Wraithguard in a Wave Serpent
3 war walkers
This was a madcap adventure of a scenario!
There is a Mechanicus Character (who I’ll refer to as the Techpriest for the rest of the BatRep) who has valuable information. He is protected by four Kastellan Robots. He’s trying to run from the centre of the table to a corner. The Techpriest can’t be shot, targeted by psychic powers, or suffer mortal wounds. He must be subdued in the fight phase. Once subdued, he can be carried around like The Relic, but if the carrier is slain, he recovers with 1 wound and continues his escape attempt.
I didn’t like the tiny deployment zone. It was only 6″ wide, and most of my tanks are that long. It didn’t give me much ability to “bubble wrap” my tanks.
Eldar Turn 1
Josh got first turn, and immediately did some trickery to get his shining spears into close combat range with 4 of my tanks. They have a long move, then Josh used a psychic power that let them move AGAIN! He skewered my wyvern, took 10 wounds off of Pask, and consolidated into a hellhound. I hate the way people can consolidate without overwatch….
This put me on my heels, and gave me flashbacks to many first turn tablings had before. He got his war walkers into close combat with the Kastellan Robots and tried tying up the Techpriest target.
Guard Turn 1
My turn to strike back. I dropped my “Bullgryn bomb” into the fray in the centre with the Kastellan Robots, Techpriest, and War Walkers. I drove a wounded hellhound towards his wave serpent, as a sort of suicide run; I was counting on in exploding and causing some havoc.
The rest of my troops skewered the Shining Spears that were embedded in my deployment zone.
The bullgryns managed to beat down the War Walkers and Subdue the Techpriest.
Eldar Turn 2
We were both excitedly invested in the game now. Josh was also double-fisting beers at this time, which I think made him more excited.
He threw almost everything he had at the fray in the middle. He blew my Valkyrie out of the sky, but somehow, one of my Bullgryns survived with 1 wound!
Josh deployed the Wraithguard from his Wave Serpent and shot at the wounded Hellhound. As expected, it exploded and took some of the Wraithguard with it!
Guard Turn 2
This turn is a scene that I think would make an epic movie. My last remaining bullgryn made a run out of the middle dragging the Objective with him. I covered his escape with two hellhounds and a taurox.
I really wanted the last Kastellan Robot to kill my Ministorum Priest in Close Combat so I’d get another narrative objective, but, regrettably, the 4++ save saved him.
With my shooting, I managed to finish off Josh’s wraithguard.
Eldar Turn 3
This is a continuation of that epic scene. Josh used the same psychic trickery to get some jetbikes in front of my retreating bullgryn. Somehow, he still survived! I picture about 20 shurikens embedded in the Bullgryn’s slabshield.
Josh used some psychic powers to debuff my Hellhounds, then destroyed them with the dark reapers and D-cannons. The ensuing explosions finished off the jetbikes, Priest, last Kastellan Robot, and the last bullgryn. Very explosive!
However, that means that Techpriest gets back up with 1 wound!
Guard Turn 3
Both Josh and I were desperate NOT to let the Techpriest get away because we would BOTH lose. This is where things got desperate.
I had an infantry squad heading to get a Narrative Objective by waiting in the escape corner. Instead, I charged them into combat with the Techpriest, and surprisingly, their bayonets subdued the target and I reclaimed the objective.
I also started sprinting my Company Commander and last remaining Infantry squad towards to objective from the corner. I got some very favourable advance rolls with the “move, move, move” order.
Eldar Turn 4
Josh brought whatever he had left to the Techpriest, including his farseer on jetbike, and a couple of characters. He managed to kill off my infantry squad, so the Techpriest was free, again!
Even more desperation: Company Commander and last squad of infantry try to chase down the target who has awoken again!
Guard Turn 4
My guardsmen and company commander were able to charge the techpriest, but unfortunately could not subdue him. The 2+ save was pretty good against my AP0 attacks. Should have given the Company Commander a better weapon than a chainsword.
Eldar Turn 5
Josh swept in and removed my infantry, and claimed the objective. That was about it for the game since I had no infantry left to try to claim the objective.
I can imagine the scenario as the Eldar explain what happened to their superiors. Something about the Mon-keigh interfering and trying to take their target, but ultimately they succeeded.
I could have conceded the Relic earlier and tried getting more narrative objectives. But, shooting for the moon made it more exciting.
I attended Astronomi-con for the first time in September, and I don’t know why I haven’t been going for years!
It’s definitely a different kind of event in ALL the best ways. I understand why people go to tournaments to WAAC (win at all costs), but I think Warhammer is more fun when it’s narrative and trying to tell a story. And I think that’s the real joy of the hobby that Mike and Christian have been able to distill into this event.
I finished the tournament with 2 ties, 1 win, and 2 losses. No awards for me, but as my first time, I think I’m pretty happy. I expected a narrative event, but people still brought lists that were TOUGH and POWERFUL. I suppose you don’t want people taking it easy on you.
I plan on writing battle reports for many (if not all) of the 5 battles. But this may be a good summary for the whole thing.
I should note that BIG FAQ 2 dropped the day before this tournament, nerfing the FAQ farm that Astra Militarum used to enjoy so much. I quickly switched out my Warlord’s relic, but I definitely felt the lack of CP.
I was going to write a fluff piece about how this Cadian regement (the 77th) “liberated” a planet, but had no Cadia to return home to. So, they took this abandoned garage as their new home.
And really, I wanted to cram as many vehicles as possible into a list because I like them, and they’re hard to kill.
I used the special Astronimi-con “narrative detachment” (2-3 hq, 4-5 troops, 1-2 Elites, 1-2 fast, 1-2 heavy, 0-1 flyers) for +10 CP.
My army for all five games was the following 90 power list.
Company Commander with Boltgun, Grand Strategist, and Relic of Lost Cadia (Warlord)
Knight Commander Pask in Executioner Leman Russ with Plasma Sponsors, Lascannon, Hunter-Killer Missile, Storm Bolter and track guards
2x Infantry Squad with Vox-caster, plasma, Lascannon, and boltgun for sergerant
2x Infantry Squad with Vox-caster, plasma, and plasma pistol and power sword for sergeant
ministorum priest with laspistol and chainword
3x bullgryns with Slabshield and bullgryn maul
2x hellhounds with heavy bolter, storm bolter, Hunter-Killer Missile and track guards
1x hellhound with heavy bolter, storm bolter
2x basilisks with heavy bolter, and Hunter-Killer Missile
wyvern with heavy bolter, and Hunter-Killer Missile
-Valkyrie with Lascannon, Multiple Rocket Pods, and 2x Heavy bolters
2x taurox with 2x autocannons and storm bolter
The Bullgryns and Priest were in the Valkyrie and used the tactic that is apparently called the “Bullgryn bomb.” The Valkyrie can move up to 40″, and then the transported units inside can disembark at any point of the movement path, as long as they are 9″ away from an enemy. Then, it’s a regular disembarkation, so the troops inside can move their usual 6″. So, these 3 big angry bullgryns wind up 3″ away from a priority target on turn 1. They really do hit like an avalanche of muscle, with 3 attacks each (4 on the bone ‘ead), +1 attack each on the charge, +1 attack each from the priest = 16 S7 attacks, hitting on 3+, -1 AP, 2D each!
Many things I learned during this tournament:
Hellhounds are THE BOMB! Literally and figuratively. The 2D6 auto-hits are a wonderful trick. There are so many things that reduce the already pitiful accuracy of guardsmen so having something automatically hit is lovely. Especially with overwatch!
I even took out a flyer, with flamethrowers! Does’t sound right, but given how the hitting mechanics works, this is how to do it.
And then, when they run out of wounds, they explode on a 4+. I think I did more damage with my hellhounds on my opponents turns with overwatch and explosions. I literally used that tactic on purpose in my 4th game, driving a hellhound into the middle of his rush and expecting him to blow it up, only to have the bomb decimate all the nearby units.
I’m going to bring 3 hellhounds with EVERY list I make from now on. Perhaps the only thing is that I would try to use Catachan doctrine to re-roll a random dice; the Cadian doctrine, though nice, didn’t synergize well with the aggressive nature of the hellhounds.
The aforementioned Bullgryn Bomb worked well, but doesn’t last long. Even with a 2+, at T5 they go down a lot faster than my tanks. I may substitute an additional Bullgryn for the priest in future lists; I’d have the same number of attacks. Or do a Crusader bomb instead and buff them with a priest and psyker to give them 2++. Crusaders are only S3, but 30 attacks at AP-3, re-rollable 3+ to hit will make a dent, and probably be more survivable.
The Valkyrie in my bullgryn bomb was a bit of a let-down after it dropped it’s troops. The Multiple Rocket Pod was a big let-down. I should have stuck with the hellfire missiles, which are cheaper. The heavy bolters achieved nothing the entire tournament. Lesson, keep the Valkrie cheap.
Indirect fire artillery is awesome! My two Basilisks were wonderful for beating up on whatever target I wanted, from anywhere on the board, no line-of-sight required. I have a model for a 3rd Basikisk I should built and paint soon. The Wyvern was great at erasing infantry units too, but not as good as hellhounds. The thing I need to continue doing is to keep these artillery protected in the back behind layers and layers of the rest of my army.
The Cadian doctrine was good, but mathhammer says Catachan is slightly better; and MUCH better if I plant Sergeant Harker nearby.
Knight Commander Pask is a MONSTER! I can honestly say that about half the damage I caused through the tournament was from this one model. Some of my opponents knew that right off the bat and aimed to remove him quickly. He’s SUPER expensive, but ridiculously damaging, even on overwatch. If I bring him again, I need to keep layers of bubble wrap to protect him.
The Taurox’s were good… not great. The beauty of the Tauroxes is that they’re cheap; only 4 PL. In points, would I rather have two Tauroxes, or a Leman Russ?
Their autocannons did a whole lot of nothing. Hitting on 5+ when they move doesn’t help. The storm bolters ironically forced more armour saves. It’s nice that they protect my squishy troops from first round massacres. And T6 3+ with 10 wounds is a pretty good bargain for 4 PL.
In power level games, all the upgrades are free, so I should continue to abuse that. Hunter-Killer missiles for everything. Track guards wherever I can find them. A put Augur Arrays on my list, but never used them. I should even include dozer blades to improve the ramming accuracy for my tanks (hits on 5+ instead of 6+).
Now that I have a feel for the zany Astronomi-con scenarios, I would probably want more “shenanigans” that can more around quickly and/or deep strike. I’m thinking Sly Marbo and/or Scions. Many narrative objectives required the Warlord to kill something, sometimes in close combat, but my warlord was equipped for hiding in a corner shouting orders. Maybe I should finish that Celestine model I’ve had for a while. She can easily move 24″ in a turn, and would buff my guard with a 6++.
And, I need to use Command Points (CP’s) more carefully, or generate more, or both. I wasted a lot of CP’s on useless strategems. I may write a blog post about which CP’s are worth it, and which COMBOS work really well.
And it is worthwhile to generate CP’s cheaply. I think a battalion of Scions should be a go-to for every list I do now. A Tempestor prime, Primaris Psyker, and three scion squads is just 14 PL for 5CP!
All in all, I loved ASTRO, and want to register for next year already! I’m even thinking of new ideas for my display board and narrative things to get more points in those categories.
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