Monday, January 24, 2011

Weekend Warrior

Hey all.  It was a pretty busy weekend for me.  Friday after work I was so worn out that I went to sleep at 7:30pm and woke up Saturday at 8:30am.  In my experience, 13 hours of sleep is a sign you really needed some sleep.  

Saturday, I dedicated to modeling, and painting while watching college basketball.  I built, magnetized and painted 5 Razorbacks I've had sitting in my closet since July.  I was happy to get these done finally, since any list I play in 'Ard Boyz this year will almost certainly have Razorbacks.  I also kit bashed together a Black Templar Marshall in terminator armor with Lightning Claw and Storm Shield, and painted that up.  Lastly, I painted and based 3 Dark Elf repeater crossbowmen standard bearers.  Damn Blood and Glory mission making me take standards on units that don't need them.  And of-course, I took pictures of none of this.  Not taking pictures is a theme of the weekend for me.

Saturday night we had a cold snap, and I didn't leave my house Sunday morning for my training ride until 10am because it was too cold to bike before the sun was higher in the sky.  This doesn't really matter much in my story, except I planned on leaving the house at 8am, which would allow me to do a long training ride and get to the FLGS in time for some Adepticon playtest games I scheduled.  With the late start, I was super rushed all day, and I only got in one game instead of the two I had planned.  I was going to do a nice battle report with pictures, but since I was so rushed I completely forgot to bring my camera, and secondly, I tabled my opponent on turn 4.  A turn 4 tabling is a good sign in play-testing, but poor material for a battle report.  I considered doing a text based report, but I doubt anyone is interested in reading a wall of text about how masterfully I played.

But I did watch some interesting 40k games while playing my Fantasy test games.  I watched a pretty well optimized 2,500 'ard Boyz Space Wolves mech list get crushed by a 30 TH/SS terminator Shrike list.  Granted, had Shrike not gotten the first turn it might have gone differently, but what I saw was a mech list with lots of las/plas razors and long fang missiles didn't have enough firepower to kill 30 TH/SS terminators.  They took out a lot of them over the coarse of the game, but there weren't enough turns in the game to kill them all, especially since they crossed the board fast enough to start doing damage and thus lowering the Wolves' firepower.

This taught me a couple things...

1.  It is generally agreed upon that 180 Orks is a list you should play test against, not because its particularly good, but because it is a good test of your list's ability to hand hordes.  If your list can't handle 180 Boyz, it probably won't handle good horde lists, so go back to the drawing board.  Along that vein, I think all 40k playtest gauntlets (for games over 2k) should include a SM list with 30 TH/SS terminators, because it will expose a glaring weakness in your built.  It takes 60 wounds of small arms fire to kill 10 TH/SS termies.  Can your list do that times three before they reach your lines?  Are you sure?  It definitely made me rethink my 'Ard Boyz list choices.

2.  My LGS has stepped it up competitively.  There is another LGS a couple towns away that has lots of players, but the owner hates GW games.  He only carries them because he has to from a financial perspective.  My local LGS is the opposite, he loves GW stuff.  The best player in our store actually lives closer to the other one, and has been slowly poaching their best players.  At the previous years' 'Ard Boyz 40k tournaments we have had around 16 players, about 5 of whom were a real competitive threat to me on the table top.  This year we are going to have around 25 players about half of whom are good enough (and play good enough lists) to beat me.  So my streak of finishing in the top 3 in the prelims for 3 years in a row has a good chance of ending.  I'll have to really step my game up to progress.

3.  I need play test partners who I can test with away from the LGS.  I said this before in my article about overcoming localism, but you can't think regionally or nationally if you're treating your LGS as a shark tank.  Unfortunately, to get to 'ard boyz semis, you have to beat the local guys first.  I really don't want to show my lists to everyone before the tournament.  Ideally, I'd have one or two other guys I can trust and we can test together privately where there won't a lot of people taking notes about my lists and metagaming against me.  Last year I avoided this alternating between 'Nilla Marines, BT, Daemons and Eldar in test games so no one could be sure which list I would bring.  But my time is precious and I'd rather not waste time playing armies just to throw people off the scent.  To sum up, I'd rather have two other guys who know my list inside and out from play test games than a dozen of people who know what I'm bringing and plan against it ahead of time.

So that was my weekend.  Busy and productive, but rushed.  I think I'll post my current BT 'ard Boyz list later on today when I get some free time at work.

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