Monday, 11 June 2018

Throne of Skulls Doubles Tournament Feb 2018 - Part 6 - The Miniatures Exhibition Hall

Although not strictly a part of the tournament, if you are at Warhammer World it is a given that you should ALWAYS visit the exhibition hall. And anyway with the tournament entry you gain free entry to the hall so there really is no excuse and, believe me, it is well worth it.

I figured that for those who have never been it is always worth it to see some pictures even if they do absolutely no justice to the displays in the hall. There are hundreds of displays of different models but I always prefer to see the displays of models mid-battle. The makers of these types of display are not only skilled painters but the imagination and creative modelling skills are quite something to behold.

Unfortunately Rich and I could only grab a half hour in the hall and didn't even scratch the surface of the experience. I think that you could spend 3-4 hours in there many times over and never get bored and keep seeing new things. It really is that amazing.

Anyway enough of blowing smoke up backsides have a look at some of the pictures of my favourite dioramas I found in the hall...

An Ork Siege against a castle in Age of Sigmar

Just an incredibly modeled battlefield!

Monday, 4 June 2018

Throne of Skulls Doubles Tournament Feb 2018 - Part 5 - Best Painted Competitions

Following up from our tournament reports: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 & Part 4. I thought it would be good to write a quick post about the best painted competition for the weekend regarding what happens, what to expect and of course post a few photos of the armies nominated.

We were one of the lucky pairs to be nominated and although we didn't win - we didn't deserve to which you'll understand when you see the other armies involved - it is a very proud moment to see your hard work in the cabinets at the mecca of 40k - Warhammer World.

'The Feth on Parade'

What happens?

During a tournament weekend at Warhammer World there is always a 'Best painted army' competition where the best 6 armies in the room are shortlisted by the organisers and invited to be displayed in the glass cabinets at the front of the gaming hall. During lunchtime on the second day of the tournament everyone in the tournament then votes for their favourite and the army with the best votes wins the title!

Saturday, 26 May 2018

Day 2 - Game 5 and Results - Throne of Skulls Doubles Tournament Feb 2018 - Part 4

Sunday - Day 2 - Game 5
During dinner all we could do was sit in silence as we couldn't believe what had just happened in Game 4!! Now it really didn't matter whether we won or lost the last game as the one we just played had been so good!!

We slowly picked ourselves up and wondered if we could still do it though. Could we still win the tournament?

We were slightly delayed in starting our final game as our army was in the cabinets for best painted army and being voted on which didn't help as we were rushing around getting it sorted. Finally we realised we were on Table 14 against a team called 'Twelve inch assault' - so in the top 28 players - not bad!

We found our opponents waiting for us and their army was Salamanders and Ultramarines. We introduced ourselves and had a very lukewarm reception - I'm not sure if this was because we were delayed in getting our army back or whether they were just tired or what but let's just say that the conversation didn't flow. Also when we asked about using the dice app it was a straight refusal with a hint of disgust for suggesting it - fair enough but the game was going to be a lot slower and we had already started late.

Looking at their army they had lots and lots of missiles from elite marines and tanks. They had a grav tank that had loads of missiles, 2 Lascannons and a Gatling Cannon, a Sicarian and a squad of Intercessors that had 39 flamer shots autohitting plus loads of missiles too!
In fact I would hazard a guess to say that once in range they would have more shooting than us. However, we looked at the army and both thought that we had the edge in this game as we outranged their guns and so could possibly do enough damage before they got close. A lot was also going to depend on who got the first turn as both armies could really cripple each other...

The mission rolled was Resupply Drop
This mission involved 6 objectives of which after the 3rd turn 4 randomly get taken off the table.
Rich and I both quite like this mission as it means that the game is effectively a shooting match with a last minute run for the two objectives - exactly how we like to play!!

Thursday, 10 May 2018

Day 2 - Game 4 - Throne of Skulls Doubles Tournament Feb 2018 - Part 3

On Saturday night we had a couple of beers in the oldest Inn in England - Ye Old Trip To Jerusalem underneath Nottingham castle and then moved on to Ludorati which is a board game cafe/bar. I decided to introduce Rich to a really simple but quite tactical game which my daughters and I like to play - Lost Cities. We had a fun time and playing a different game allowed us to wind down a little as all we could think about was Warhammer tactics!

As we walked into Bugmans on Sunday morning and ordered the first of many Lattes we wondered whereabouts in the rankings we might be after our loss. This tournament doesn't just take into account wins and draws but also favourite games and votes for best painted army so, although we thought we might not be able to win, we did believe we could still finish highly. So a good marker would be what table number we would be playing on...

Sunday - Day 2 - Game 4
Table 20 was the result so we knew that at least we were in the top 40 somewhere. Our opponents Jason and Rich duly arrived and we had a good old chat. These guys were playing on the next table to us for the first game of the tournament and so we had already said hello. I had even already said "thakn goodness we're not playing that army"...

Jason and Rich were playing an army called 'Void Rage' which consisted of Dark Eldar and Eldar.
The army consisted of a huge amount of flying or hovering stuff which meant -1 to hit for the flyers and -1 to hit outside of 12" - This was not going to be fun hence my comment of yesterday - Nice to look at though!
Top Gun of the future
Mission and Tactics
The mission was Scorched Earth from the Chapter Approved book.

Saturday, 24 March 2018

Day 1 - Games 1, 2 & 3 - Throne of Skulls Doubles Tournament Feb 2018 - Part 2

Following on from our first post HERE about our participation with our Astra Militarum army in the Warhammer World Doubles tournament in Feb 2018 and Rich's post about slow play and our experience at combating in the tournament HERE I am going to cover the games we played across 2 posts.

On day 1 we were scheduled to play 3 games and this is the story of those three games - not in massive detail but a selection of highlights and a recap of our experiences of each game. Day 2 will be covered in a future post.

We were going to the tournament to win. Have a great time yes, but win. As you may know from our previous posts Rich and I didn't have much time to play before the tournament but had done our research and preparation as much as we possibly could and were ready...

Friday Night
We had arranged to get to Warhammer World on the Friday night to play a quick friendly(?) game against Dave (@errantwolfdave) and Chris (@ChrisFrosin) to test our theories and strategies and to give me my first play of Astra Militarum in 8th edition - eek! (Our list is HERE if you are interested)

The game was super fun and was great to meet Chris and his Necrons for the first time and catch up with Dave and his Space Wolves. We lost!! What?!! How did we lose??!! To be honest I expected to struggle a bit as this was the first time that we had played our army and we made a few mistakes:
Early on against the pesky Necrons
- We deployed poorly - it was our first time and we set a screen of infantry up but too close in to our corner deployment which meant that we left a couple of tanks outside the line!!
- We put Pask on the side closest to the enemy and so he got targeted straight away.
- The main mistake - we took too long and run out of time! We played 4 turns and if you have read Rich's post (HERE) you will know we need 5 at least! If we had played that extra turn we should have won the game. Dave had no models left on the board and Chris only had a handful whereas we had most of our army left. Gah!

Overall a good game though and very tight. It was a good benchmark for what we needed to work on for the next day so we swiftly reconvened to the pub to talk tactics...

Saturday, 3 March 2018

Dealing with Slow Playing at Tournaments and Dice Rolling Apps

As you’ll have seen on our previous post HERE, Dad’s James and Rich visited the Warhammer World 40k Doubles tournament in early February. We went with the focus on having fun but winning and so did a lot of prep beforehand, not much gaming as we were struggling for time, but a lot of other prep including getting solid strategies for each of the missions, planning out all the stuff we needed to remember in sequence for a turn (See below for our own cheat sheet for our army) and even pre-deployment. But in all this prep time, in the few practice games I did get, I noticed that neither myself or my opponent were getting through the turns quickly enough - one game didn’t get past turn 2 as my opponent spent 75mins on his first turn! This could totally ruin our chances as we have found throughout all of the editions in 40k that the Astra Militarum (our army) always get stronger the longer the game goes on. The amount of units available and the options that the army has means that turn 5 has always proven to be crucial to the Astra Militarum for securing a victory.

Now our tournament was at 2,000 points with a strict 2.5hrs on the clock. This would mean an average of 15 min turns per team and that excludes set up time. We knew from experience that if you spent 30 - 45 mins each on turn 1, you were unlikely to ever get to that magic turn 5 (even if there were fewer models to deal with for the remainder of the game).

To tackle this, we did a number of things, including seeking advice on the Competitive 40k Facebook Group and Reddit. We have collated these thoughts and our own experiences and have listed some of the processes we put in place during the tournament and our opinions on some other time saving ideas below:

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Throne of Skulls Doubles Tournament Feb 2018 Review - Part 1 - The general experience

As you may know from our Twitter updates or our last post HERE Rich and I (James) attended the Throne of Skulls Doubles tournament at Warhammer World in Feb 2018. It was to be our first tournament since 2012 and seemed like a good one to enter because of the focus on enjoyment, it was in February which is a fairly quiet time for us two dads and that it was at Warhammer World of which I haven't been since it has been refurbished.
Warhammer World Entrance
The build up to the tournament was quite fun and interesting from my point of view as I was like a kid in a sweet shop - just totally giddy for the two weeks prior, not being able to contain my excitement for much of the time! We had decided to reprise 'The Emperor's Feth' our Astra Militarum army from 5th edition and Rich set about making it work in 8th. After a few weeks of Whatsapping lists to each other we finally settled on one (you can see it HERE) and both had to paint up a few new units - 3 sentinels, a Tempestor Prime, a Scions squad and a Taurox Prime. I managed to finish the Taurox on the Friday morning we were due to leave - typical!!!

The Emperor's Feth

Thursday, 8 February 2018

Warhammer 40k Throne of Skulls Doubles Tournament - 10/11th Feb 2018

Just after Christmas Rich and I decided to enter the Warhammer 40k Throne of Skulls Doubles Tournament in February. We haven't played competitively since 5th edition back in 2010 & 2011. Since the onset of young children in general our hobby time has been limited but we thought that it was about time for us to compete once again.

In previous years we have always focused mainly on painting and trying to win best painted at the event. 4 times we entered and 4 times we were nominated but never won - always the bridesmaid...sigh! This time around however we have decided to be competitive and actually try to win the thing! Even though I have been playing Blood Angels since 8th began and Rich hasn't played many games of 8th due to his focus on his Imperial Fists 30k army we decided to resurrect our first love - The Emperor's Feth Astra Militarum army. Both of us love this army and it has been good for us to have a rest and paint something else over the past few years.
James' half of a previous doubles tournament back in 5th edition
Pulling out the army has brought back many memories of tournament play - getting in the top ten  and then being crippled by our opponent seizing the initiative in the last game, rushing through the last turns to complete a victory with seconds to spare, rolling unbelievably hot with 2 Manticores and destroying an Ork army in one turn (sorry!), etc. etc...

However an army from 5th edition is not one that will suffice now and so we started to do some research...

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Taurox Prime - Why I chose it and tips on building it

A Change In Army

A new year and a switch back to 'The Emperor's Feth' my first and favourite army in 40k! After a couple of years getting a Blood Angels army in tabletop condition a change was well needed and I am now ready to return back to my Astra Militarum army which needs a serious update as I haven't played it since 5th Edition!!
Some of The Emperor's Feth
I began my Warhammer 40k experience by total fluke in the week that 5th edition was released and played competitively all through that edition. You can check out the story of how I started in 40k and chose my army here.

Since 5th I played a little in 6th, less in 7th and then have played a lot more since 8th was released. However I have only played with Blood Angels so far in 8th edition and am in need of a change, so back to 'The Feth' I go.

The Emperor's Feth

My army actually still stacks up to some extent from 5th edition, but to compete and achieve a brigade detachment for some juicy command points it definitely needs a couple of additions. If you want to see my current Astra Militarum army and units there are some pics in the Gallery.

To get to a brigade i'm going to need some more elites but mainly troops as I only have 3 troop squads at the moment. I do want a couple of extra standard troop squads but I don't want to start back painting with something so dull. The alternative is to paint some Tempestus Scions which I have always loved the look of but back in the day they were not worth the points. Now however they are resurgent and powerful too for their points cost. With Deep Strike, orders and the ability to take 4 plasmaguns in a squad for 100 - 150 points is fantastic!

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

The Best Units in Astra Militarum, 8th Edition

Hi folks,
I've been researching the best units in Astra Militarum (AM) pretty heavily and have come across some incredible resources, plus indulged my love of a good spreadsheet and done a little analysis of my own. What you'll see here is a summary of the most popular units in the top 18 ITC lists of 2017 for AM and some links to the resources I have been digesting. My data on AM comes from the US ITC tournaments which were numerous and diverse in terms of meta to produce some results I think are worth taking some instruction from - these are lovingly compiled by the guys at Frontline Gaming, all credit to them for collating this info.

To begin with, AM have done very well in 8th Edition ITC tournaments in 2017. They are in the top 5 factions across 2017 which also include Space Marines, Chaos Space Marines, Orcs and Tyranids. This is a big swing from 7th Edition which featured Eldar heavily, alongside Space Marines, Chaos Space Marines, Tau & Chaos Daemons. No doubt as each faction gets a new codex next year we will see more changes.

My addition to the great work from Frontline is to collate any AM lists that got a top 3 placing at 20 of the ITC 8th Edition tournaments last year and list out the units I found there. I sorted the units into 'buckets' of battlefield roles and then listed the top 3 (or less where there wasn't enough diversity!) to produce the units that people find most optimal and voila....

The # denotes the number of times this Unit appeared in the lists and the % indicates the percentage this unit represents for all the entries for this battlefield role. So what does all this tell us? Well there are some really dominant units: