Monday, July 18

Wargames Con: Reflections of a Fluffy Army in a Competitive Environment

So, Wargames Con has come and gone and with it my short lived desire to play ‘fluffy’ armies in tournaments. Granted, I still feel that I can never fully let go of what an army stands for, after all I did decide to play my Blood Angels for the fact that I love what they are and what they stand for. That being said, I also enjoy the fact that they are competitive, if played in a preticular way (IE, Razorspam). Lets examine the hard lessons I learned in 10 games over 3 days…

My List:
This is a straight forward list, and very fluffy in that it’s exactly what you’d expect a Blood Angel army to look like if it was taken directly from the stories… lots of jump troop, all jump troops to be exact. Decent of Angels in their truest form. Not to say that a DoA army is unplayable at a tournament, but that it’s very unforgiving for a player that’s been out of the competitive scene like me. I have served the last 3 years on active duty with the Army, and as such am quite out of practice, especially when it comes to the metagame much like Dragoon 6.
Oh right, my list… this was what I brought to Wargames Con:

Libby (JP, Sword and Shield of Sanguinius)
2 Sanguinary Priests with JP & PW
Sanguinary Guard- Banner, Fist, and 2 Inf Pistols
Vanguard Vets x5- Assorted weapons and Storm Shields
10 Assault Marines- 2 Meltaguns, SGT w/fist
10 Assault Marines- 2 Meltaguns, SGT w/LC
10 Assault Marines- 2 Meltaguns, SGT w/PW
10 Assault Marines- 2 Meltaguns, SGT w/PW

This list, as I have written about, is quite fun to play. Despite this, it is also quite the challenge to win competitive games with. It works, or it doesn’t, and it often depends highly on what your opponent brings to the table.
So how did I do, a game by game of the solo tourney:

Game 1: Grey Knights -
This army is a true nightmare for the DoA… Warp Quake is utter BS in my opinion. A power that instantly enables you to have a 1/3 chance of totally killing a unit out right and a guaranteed chance of a roll on the mishap table.  On top of that he had the Inquisitor that gets to shoot at any unit that deep strikes within a 12” bubble… every single one, who he pared with a psyker squad that coulde drop a STR 8 AP1 large blast and 3 servitors with Plasma Cannons. Needless to say I was tabled game 1 and a distain for Grey Knights grew. Yet, despite that, the man I played, Eric from the Hogs of War guys, was awesome and he gave me a lot of great pointers.
Result: Grey Knight Massacre (tabled)

Game 2: Blood Angels (mech)
This was a close game, well fought on both sides, and really fun. I deployed my whole army via deep strike, and he used his armor to castle around the Objectives in the center of the table. I dropped my army on a single flank in an attempted force flank. He had a few dreads as well as Mepheston, and I was tied up in a number of assaults with the cursed dreads, which my fists seemed to be able to do very little against. Dante had cursed Mepheston and was able to drop him in a single round of combat (go Dante!). In the end I was able to keep my objective by hiding a single surviving marine from an assault squad on my objective and doing a bold move into his center to not only kill the squads he had hold his objective but keep any other of his units far enough away to contest.
Result: Minor Victory (he got secondary and tertiary)

Game 3: Dark Eldar
This was my third game in a row on the same table, so I had the terrain down pat. This was a Kill Point mission, and I knew I’d have far fewer then he had, but my relative lack of mobility compared to so many Venoms and Raiders meant that I’d have a hard time with this one. He maneuvered his army so that I couldn’t bottle him up, which wasn’t a bad tactic, and I dropped in on one side of the table with the intent of killing as much as I could be for it zoomed away to relative safety. We did quite a number on each other, his wyches holding up a few squads while his raiders and venoms harassed my unengaged units. In the end I was causing more damage than him, but I just didn’t have the numbers to hold out. He tabled me the end of turn 5… had even 1 marine lived, I would have won, as I had something like 4 or 5 more kill points then him at that point.
Result: Dark Eldar Massacre (Tabled)

Game 4: Grey Knights (again)
This wasn’t as bad a list as the first I had fought. It was Dawn of War, so I deployed my army on the field. He had a purifier list and 2 Storm Ravens with the usual double autocannon dreads and a vindicare. Things in the battle would have gone much better had in not been for my horrible dice (and the utter cheese that is Grey Knights). I had 2 assaults squads, full strength and a priest try to charge a libby and 10 purifiers… low and behold, he gets off sanctuary. One of my squads fails to reach combat and the other squad losses both its Sgt with power weapon and the priest to dangerous terrain tests… awesome. On a positive note, as single sanguinary guard held out against a dread and assassin in the bottom floor of a ruin till the end of the game, what a champ.
Result: Minor Loss (tied primary, he got secondary and tertiary)

So, after day one I was feeling a bit deflated about my list in general. It performed well, just not that well. As I commented to a fellow Coloradian that I had traveled down with “I can either keep playing tomorrow, or take a running kick to the junk… I think it’d have the same effect.” Needless to say, I went to the Rogue Trader bracket, as I didn’t make the cutoff for the championship one.

Day 2:

Game 5: Orks
This was an epic game, by every sense of a fluffiness. The only thing I put in reserve was my Vanguard Vets. My line charged forward toward his three battle wagons and destroyed 2. By turn 2 almost 50 Blood Angels were locked in a deperate hand to hand battle with dozens of vile green skins. It was a scene straight out of the books! My Vanguard dropped behind enemy lines to take a hill occupied by lootas then turned around and saved my Librarian from certain death to a horde of ‘Ard Boyz. Dante epically lost to a warboss in close combat (of 7 dice rolled to hit, 6 were ‘1’s). We weren’t able to finish the game, but it was a blast. Thanks to Caleb Gordon for a fantastic game that put me back into a good funk again, despite it technically being a loss for me. Had the game played out, who knows who would have held out!
Result: Minor Loss
(The Epic Clash of Armies!)

(Vanguard Prepare to Take the Hill!)

Game 6: Dark Angel Deathwing
After playing his son in game 5, I went on to play the dad, Bill Gordon, in game 6. This was quite a fun game, and Bills Army was beautifully painted! We both choose to deep strike everything, and right away I knew it was going to be interesting. In the end my mobility seemed to win the day as his army came in piece meal and my Vanguard vets ran amuck in his back field (go meltabombs!). Needless to say it was a fantastic game and a lot of fun to play both a father and a son in the same tourney. Bill Gordon ended up getting my “players choice” vote.
Result: Major Victory

(Bill Gordon's Beautiful DA Deathwing!)

Game 7: Black Templar
I finally had a strong grasp of my DoA list by now and this was exactly the kind of army I had made the list to fight. He had 3 units in Rhinos, and a Raider with Termies inside as well as other assorted support units. I dropped in using a refused flank. His raider was popped right away, and my other squads faired just as well hitting their targets. He was never able to bring his army to bare cohesively on me, and I was able to sweep across his army. To make it worse, his dice had failed him and mine were on fire. He was a good sport, and I offered to buy him a beer, but he didn’t drink. All in all, it was a good end to the Con that had started rough.
Result: Massacre

All in all, I had a good time. I learned a lot (mostly that Grey Knights are a pain), and felt I am one step closer to getting back into the swing of things. I defiantly plan on attending next year, as I made a lot of good friends and contacts and felt the event on a whole was great.

(My Battlefoam 720 bag, Artwork by Goatboy)

Now, as an add-on to this article, I’d like to quickly outline the way ahead for me. On the way back to Colorado I decided to change up the list and bring my mech back… don’t worry, it’s not Razor-Spam or Blood-Wolves.

Here’s what I’m thinking:
Reclusiarch Chaplain
Librarian (Unleash Rage & Sword)
2 Priests
5 Assault Termies (3 TH&SS, 2 LC)
10 Assault Marines: SGT w/LC, 2 meltaguns and a Land Raider Redeemer
5 Assault Marines: SGT w/Fist, Meltagun, Razor w/TL Asslt Cannon
5 Assault Marines: SGT w/Fist, Meltagun, Razor w/TL Asslt Cannon
5 Assault Marines: SGT w/ PW & Melta bombs, Flamer, Razor w/TL Las Cannon
5 Assault Marines: SGT w/ PW & Melta bombs, Flamer, Razor w/TL Las Cannon
Storm Raven w/ TL Las Cannon, MM

I plan to run the Chappy, a priest and the Termies in the Raven, and the Libby and other Priest in the raider, meanwhile I’ll use the 5 man squads for fire support, capture objectives and provide addition assault support. This list, in my opinion is still somewhat fluffy, as the army is still designed to run forward and hit you in the face, but unlike my DoA, it has fire support and armored protection to help get it there.  
I’d love to hear comments!



  1. Great bat reps buddy. I had the same realisation last year. If you want to compete at a high level you can't run fluffy lists, and if you do, you have to be EXTREMLY practiced with it.

    Local RTT's are a bit different though. I think you could compete at that level with a less-optimal list.


  2. Agreed, and I do plan on running the DoA in the future... but perhaps a slightly different list (honor guard, including a Raven, Sanguinor, ect). I also like mech, so I think the new list will be great fun as well as much more competitive... I just need more test games with the Raven.
    Played a buddy at the game store last friday with the new list. His list was a slight change up from the list he brought to WGC (Mech Space Wolves).
    I made some critical mistakes early on, as is to be expected with a new list... but the game was bloody and fun and in the end, despite a loss, I really enjoyed it and felt it had a lot of potential.
    I'm currently on my way spend a week exploring the wilds of Alaska (I'm currently writing this reply from the airport in Juneau), and when I get back I plan on getting more test games in.
    Also, I converted my Storm Raven turret and will be doing a few "WIP" on her as I get it done... more to follow folks!

  3. Sounds like you managed to have a good time, despite getting rocked a bit the first day. I'm sure I'm in for a nasty wake up call in this regard myself. Hopefully, you guys will be there to help make the day good when it comes. :)

  4. Was it my son Jack who tabled you in turn 3? 13 year old with old school wyches? JG

  5. Nice report, I like the options you have with the new list vs a GK list like you had to face in the first round.

    StormRavens rock! The BA rockets are real nice comparied to the GK ones.

    BTW, that Battle Wagon looks small, I thought they were like 8 inches wide? He He!

    Good luck in the future, its too bad you have to drop Dante. he is the man, but I see how the others work for your list.

  6. Sounds like fun, glad you where getting the swing by the end, doa takes a bit of getting used too. One tiny thing to add, Dante can't curse me mephiston as he isn't an independent character.

  7. Nice batreps man, I had a similar experience during my first con, and vowed the next time that I'd 'bring double-lash', since I'd heard that it was 'the' competitive build at the time.

    Though the Double-lash list idea flopped, it DID start me thinking in terms of more competitive lists in general.

    The thing is, people complain about the amount of 'cheese' that exists in tournaments today, and those same people heavily advocate the use of fluffy, non-competitive lists. The sad truth is that it's just not that fun to lose almost all of your games. Since a tournament is, by definition, competitive, why not bring something that will win more?

    Anyways, that's just the way I see it I guess. Glad to see more people 'on board' with competitive play though :)

  8. I would stick to Las/Plas Razors or at least TL Las or TL Heavy Flamer. The assault cannons don't do much against tanks or infantry. They took a downgrade in 5th with rending against both and the greater amount of cover saves(4+ instead of 5+).

    Looks solid but where is the Dread? :) The Raven is already a big target, might as well max it out. What makes Ravens so dangerous is you shoot most of your army at it doesn't matter if it dies because it spits out two killy units.

  9. Last BA list I fought had a Dread with talons. I won the game but that mo-fo rocked 2 units in 1 turn of combat each.

    I never even got to roll to hit it in CC, it just kept killing and killing and killing and...killing.

    My only hope was to shoot it after it destroyed a unit in his turn. When I did shoot it after the first one and missed or failed to pen I know I had just lost annother unit hat couldnt out run it. Then I had to shoot it again in the next turn.

    End result was 2 lost squads and 2 rounds of shooting that needed to go at other targets. I was lucky to get the imob on the chart and move on but didnt have the guns to pick up the KP.

    I think he was a Ven Dread, not sure.

  10. @JG: I talked to Immortal and he said that it was in fact your son he played. Immortal is in AK right now, so no cell service (Poor guy).


  11. Yeah! found a hotspot in AK!

    @JG- I'm almost certain it was your son... he played well (he did table me after all, haha). Well painted old school teal Dark Eldar, nicely done. He was fun to play and he shows a lot of potential!

    @Brian & Swags- I like the Assault Cannon for killing light tanks, but was considering putting TL Las on all of them. I'm not a personal fan of the Las/Plas... I like the reliability of TL.
    I LOVE dreadnoughts... like, unhealthy obsession. My original chapter that I created... the "Immortals," (go figure, huh?) used lots of dreads (I had 9, but could only field 6). My only issue is what do I take out of the list to get the Dread? The only thing I can think of is the Chaplain (130 pts).