Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Adepticon 2010 Report- part 3

Top of the mast of Chris Birkenhagen's Dark Elven Corsair display. Winner of player choice "Best Display" award for the event. photos below are of some of my favorite armies of the day and not necessarily of my opponents.

Saturday- Warhammer Fantasy Battles Championship.

I arrived bright and early Saturday morning ready to go, despite my head still foggy from much beer consumed the night before. This was the biggest single Warhammer Event I have seen yet, Round 1 was set up with 75 tables or 150 players, not sure about the no shows, or people who dropped but 124 players finished all 4 games at the end of the day,still making this the biggest Adepticon Championship yet. I’ll a do a brief recap of my games, the much talked about WPS comp requirements, and a host of other things, including why this was the worst event of the weekend for me.This will be somewhat long, but if you’re interested please read on!

Game 1 VS High Elves – Travis

High Elves at WPS 2!

As I carried my stuff over to my round 1 Table assignment..I got about 10 feet away and stopped in my tracks. There was Travis 2000 points High Elf army, with a Elf Prince on Star Dragon AND, a Level 2 Mage on a Fire Dragon That’s right two dragons at 2K, coincidentally this list was also a WPS “2” that’s right 2, 2 and 2…well I had two words for Travis and you know what they are. (just kidding) Fortunately Travis was a good guy from Minneapolis', Warbringers Club of which I know quite a few of the guys. So I wasn’t taking it personally, Some people just don’t understand if you put all you eggs in one basket..its very easy to lose the game and them tournament. I had some good opportunity to actually win this game, Unfortunately I had a cannonball stick in the mud at the feet of the star dragon, which would have let me kill it much earlier. As it stood the dragon after taking a few wounds lost a close combat and failed his break test and flew into a building and died..lucky break for me, but I just couldn’t capitalize on anything I did. The rest of Travis' list was 5 Dragon Princes, 2 units of Shadow Warriors, 18 Spearmen, a big group of White Lions, and an Eagle and some Archers. Anyway..I shot the living crap out of the mage but just couldn’t the enough of the randomized 5’s or 6’s I need to get enough dice on him to fail his save and I couldn’t so the o mage lived only taking 1 wound, I could not break the White Lions (Stubborn) and got rear charged by the Spearmen, I got the White Lions down to just one guy but couldnt clear them the rear charge broke me, and my Generals unit got run down and that was it. Despite the Dragons, I held my own in this game, but winning was going to boil down to luck and luck I didn’t have.



Loss, No Bonus Points.

Again Chris B's Dark Elves which where modeled so they could easily double as Vampire Counts as well, an awesome idea and he pulled it off.

Game 2 VS Orcs and Goblins- John

Ok this game is going to haunt me for a long time, there is no way in hell I should have lost this game, when I saw johns army, I was like, whew..well this shouldn’t be too bad. John had, a Big unit of Black Orcs, with Warboss kitted out as a death machine, another Warboss on Pig in a unit with three Trolls. 2 Units of 25 Night Goblins with two Fanatics Each. A, Goblin Boss,A pair of Bolt throwers, a Giant, some spider riders and that’s about it. This the kind of army I eat for lunch on top of that, John had apparently never played Empire before. Didn’t know how the Stank worked or Detachments work, etc, etc.. The game started out fine, I grabbed the objective positioned my stuff, started shooting him up, drew the fantatics out of both unit early, they weren’t an issues. My spells were getting some kills..his bolt throwers were doing much of anything. I put my flagelants into the giant early after missing 2 chances to cannon it. (misfire, and overshot). He walked his stuff across the center of board Exposing the flank of his Black Orcs to the Steam Tank, a unit of Night goblins was Drafting him just far enough back that his flank was sticking about inch,Just enough to put the stank there and only get two Black Orcs Striking back at it. I only used 4 Steam Points to charge Not wanting to gamble on such a juicy target. I hit him with 11 (out of 15) strength 6 impact hit and roll 7 freaking “1”’s doing only 4 kills…unfortunately his unit champ is on the corner so he can strike back with a great weapon and manages to do one wound, because I fail my save. . I negate his ranks and but with 4 kills and a Flank, I am at +5 he’s got numbers, a banner and 1 kill, so he only loses by 2 and makes his break check. After that shit just went horribly wrong in that combat..even with only two guys being able to strike back, since the hit me at S6 he wounds me on 4’s. Then he put the Night Goblins with a Goblin character in the Flank getting another 8 or so attacks that all hit and wound on 6’s but still, then I fail a couple of steam generation rolls, next thing I know the Stank is useless just taking wounds. I put my block into the front of the black orcs, but basically bounce off with bad dice, I flee, rally and come back for another try but the game ends locked, bottom of 6, I fail one save on my last wound on the Stank, and it dies

I lose 300 points and john wins the game by 76 points. (+376) moral of the story..I had too much confidence in my crutch, the steam tank, and when things went wrong I got rattled and didn’t do what I needed to do the get back in the game properly. There was a lot of I did wrong here, that I won’t be doing again. John got some key dice rolls I didn’t get, but whatever, he was good guy and got the win. I get sentenced to bottom tables for the rest of the event and was not too happy.

0-2 Loss, 2 bonus


Game 3 VS Goblins Kevin-

One of the few shots of Kevins Goblin Horde that came out..thats 30 ranked archers, who will make your wizard standing on a hill soil himself.

I take a deep breath and am now out in the hallway at bottom tables. Thankfully I meet Kevin from NY, who was an absolute blast to play..He had an insane WPS 25 list of all Goblins lead by Grom the goblin special character. Now special character, were not allowed without approval, no one was going to deny Kevin , Grom with a 25 WPS. Kevin had every wacky goblin unit in the book including things like ranked squigs that explode that I have never faced before. His model count was in the 250 range..and he had ranked units as much as 50-60 goblins. This game was closer than you’d think. I had bad turn where my whole right flank collapsed because of a my handgunner breaking from squigs and it caused 3 panic checks in other untis that I failed all off. Some the stuff came back..but it created some problems. Kevin did some crazy stuff to try to get close toward the end of the game including taking 28 kills from running a full unit thru a wall of fire to get into close combat to support some other stuff. In the end I pulled it off With max scores but it was three hour game and we were the close to, if not the last table to finish the round. Again Kevin was a great opponent and sport, I’d play him again any day.

1-2 Win, Max (or close , don’t recall) Bonus points.


Alex Davy's awesome converted Ogre Bulls for his Cult of Ulric themed Empire Army, one of my favorite of the event.

Game 4 Vs Empire – Jim

Last Game , I’m pretty tired and I’m hoping for a good, at least fun match up and I get, Empire. Damn..nothing worse than Empire vs Empire. Jim basically had a gunline, with the Popemobile, . 2 Cannons and the Helblaster., 30 handgunners.Two blocks of 30 swordsmen and 20 flaggies. He also had wizard. I thought this game would be a draw as soon as I sat down and it was. I had to hide the Stank from his cannons, so I didn’t get into combat until late game. I managed to nerf his artillery, kill his wizard..he put his flaggies in the Objective , the one scenario of the whole tourney where the object was a building that was captureable, and he puts 20 flaggies in there, (which I don’t think you can do..I think its 5 per story) but he was insistent, and I didn’t care as it put them out of the game.. I made a last ditch effort to kill his Arch Lector by flank charging the War Altar with my Block with my Characters…he challenged me with the Speculum and ASF weapon…I figure maybe he’d kill me but I could give up my General and still draw (fortunately I lived, but I was right) in the end I was up +176 he won the Objective, but I got the Bonus Battle, Jim was a good guy, and his list pretty standard Empire tournament stuff. I’ll knock him a couple on my personal scale because Empire vs Empire just isn’t all that fun, and his army was almost all proxies historical models with no cohesive themes or anything.

1-2-1 Draw 3 bonus.


Jerrod Horstmans Nurgle Forest Daemons, this guys stuff never ceases to impress me.

So at 1-2-1 my same damn record as last year, except, I had a lower comp score this year (WPS 18) versus my maxed out, nuclear soft scores in 2009…I finished with 7 less points this year but finished 65th out of 124 vs 28th out of 119 in 09”.

I had two big issues with this event this year. First of all being- they should have seated round one games based on the closest comp score. That’s just the way most events do pairings these days in a comp event. I totally get Marty’s (tourney TO) rationale behind not doing that however it just didn’t work. In my case I got a shit match up. Which was still ok Because if you're going to lose a game, the first game is the one to lose. But that loss set me on a path that I was not too happy with. I played HE, O&G twice and Empire? Three lousier match ups I couldn’t have asked for. I spend all my time practicing and winning games againt, VC, DoC, WoC, DE, and Lizards, everything but Skaven ( I tried) and I get those match ups? Not the games I wanted to play, despite my great opponents…(all my opponents were great despite any army or list issues)

It's my own damn fault for losing game 2, which really dictated my matches rounds 3 and 4, but if I just had a better match up game 1, I would have been on a different path the whole event. I had such a great time Friday, this event was somewhat of buzzkill for me, in comparison to the year before. Don’t get me wrong, I still had good time But I felt like I took a step backward, as I had a much better army competitively, and hell, I won the damn local primer for the event. Not that I had even the slightest delusion of winning, but coming almost 40 spots below last year just wasn’t where I thought I’d end up, disappointing.

One of Alex's banner from his Cult of Ulric, Go White Wolves!

I need to take few moment to discuss the much maligned WPS composition for the event. Having used it in practice before in two real events now, my guess was it was going to be a win /win for the event, and as a far as I can tell it was.. In post event discussion with a bunch of guys, including some naysayers and some middle of the roaders (like my pal Jeff, who again won the championships) everyone pretty much concluded the same thing, WPS works because peoples WPS scores where extremely similar to last years player judged comp scores, except you determined your own comp, so you could not hold it against your opponent. Example. My game 1, I would have given Travis a player judged comp score of ‘2” one for each dragon, his WPS score was a 2, I would have given Kevin a 25 for his goblins which was a WPS 25. Outside of slight discrepancies of a couple points here and there…WPS score were spot on with potential judged compositions scores but it takes the supposed player bias out of the equation, thats the key. Of course people tried to milk the loopholes for all they were worth but in the end WPS did do its job and reign in OTT /WAAC lists and WPS scores kept people honest. Again Travis had one of the lower WPS scores I saw at a “2” and in the end he placed far below me in the standings (20 something spots), a lot of the low WPS score players finished bottom 25 because they were bidding battle points so as soon as they lost a game and had a WPS scores less than 5 you can’t really come back from that even at 2-2 if you were bidding battle points. With average scores you were coming up with way less that 100 points.

Finally got a good shot of one of James Wappels Stegadons, James showed me how you could play and an actually full 2000 point game on his 2 x 2 display board in a manner similar to 3D chess it was pretty impressive. Mr Wappel once again gets "Best Appearance" for the event, although honestly I wasn't loving the neon aquarium plants on his display, its matters not as every unit in the army is a Golden Demon entry

On the flip side of WPS really helping you in the event. One fellow I know, brought a 21 WPS Lizard list and bid battle points (crazy I know, but like he said “I’m a gambler”) he lost one game but won his next three, so made the loss up (+15 pts) from bidding and with a 21 WPS comp, he finishes top 10 out of 124…crazy! And well deserved. In short WPS comp worked, and while we all admit its got some loopholes, they are fixable. So if you want Warhammer to be more of a chess game and and lot less of just a straight dice game, you’ll join me in backing WPS as a standard composition requirement in events. If something else better comes along great. Until then..this is the 3rd event I've been with evidence that it works. Like I predicted on local forums and even here..the overall winner Saturday would be a 0 point bidder, with a WPS in the 10-15 range with good paint and that’s who won. My pal Jeff from Minneapolis won the Adepticon Fantasy Championships for the 4th time in 5 years, and proves once again he is the best player in the game by winning regardless of what rules or restrictions are thrown his way, He shows up to play to the event , is a stand up guy and does what he does best, win! and with a beautiful army to boot.. In fact I think most of the top guys were WPS scores above 10. As a result even the guy who won the coveted "Best General" award (which some people seem to think needs to automatically be the runner up award which it's not) came in at 30 points below the over winner at 42nd place!!! Why? he might have won the most battlepoints, but the rest of his scores must have been shit. (I'm making some assumptions here based on his overall score, if I'm way off base or missing something I'll clear it up for sure.)

Now if he could have repeated his victories with a better list, would have placed a lot better? would he still have won Best General with a comp above 10? I know a lot of folks who like to crow. “soft scores should never be worth more than battle points” well they were'nt. But clearly the guy here voluntarily gave up a ton of points in order to take the nastiest list possible and then comes in 42nd place. He gets the Best General award…but I have to ask. was it worth it? (well I guess considering Adepticon's prize support, the answer was yes ) again I ask could you have won it with a better list? My overall point being- Chess is about the being best player, Craps is about who throws the best dice…what game do you want to invest your time and money in?

In end I know you'll hear complaints from people that didn't do well about the Comp or the Battle Point bidding or the scenarios or even the pre set Terrain, but in the end its all about the fact that 150 people flew from all over the country to be here, so take the complaints, Including mine. with a grain of salt, and realize this is the premier Warhammer event in the USA.

Adam Sammon's, magnificent Wood Elves, I think because of the general neutral earth tones across the board this army didn't get its due. It one of the better Armies, I've seen- ever. the details from the converted recurve bows on the Glade Guard, to the Warpaint on the faces of his Wardancers..or how about that Treeman carved out of a piece of wood! no less...EPIC.

Anyway, that’s my take on Saturday. Next up the Sunday’s Team Tourney and Adepticon 2010 final thoughts.


Brad said...

Great reports! Im disappointed I had to miss Adepticon and I loved reading your synopsis. Do you have a photo album with more army pics somewhere? Your photography skills are absolutely stellar.

robinoc said...


Thanks again for posting your Adepticon reports. I've never been in a tournament of this size for any game system. I do know what it feels like to have if not high expectations, a feeling of "I think I can do well" only to fall short of those expectations.

It sounds like you maintained a good attitude and enjoyed the experience.

Do you think the number of games on Friday influenced anything on Saturday?

Again, great blog and enjoy your posts.

Anonymous said...

Nice writeup of games - I really like your personal take on all this - it's the individual experience for all that makes Warhammer so cool. Gripes or not, and personally, I like griping about teh armies.

I'm not a tournamanet guy though, so can you briefly explain comp scoring, WPP, etc.? I don't know what half your acronyms mean...

Steve said...

Nice write up John!

I really enjoyed reading through your experience at the tournament.

Hopefully we will be able to keep some sort of standardized comp scoring for next year. Although so much may change if a new edition is out before then.

The most important thing is that you have fun, and it sounded like you did! Do you think you will be back for next year?

John@Plastic Legions said...

@ Brad, yes I will be doing an Adepticon 2010 gallery of photos soon although I didn't get as many good pics as I would have liked- not enough time

@Robinoc- 9 games (+5 pints of beer afterward) on Friday definitely had a negative effect on Saturday..I usually like 1 game the day before a big tourney just as warmup..2 events the day before was extreme.

@ Battlemind
WPS- stands for Warhammer Players Society the folks from the UK who wrote the come system we used saturday. in a nutshell WPS attempts to reconcile all WFB army books that are 8 years apart by using a check and balance system with the goal of fielding balance armies for an event a score of "15" is the median or considered "balanced" scores above 15 are "softer" below that are "harder" like anything else there are some loopholes people will try exploit.
OTT/WAAC stands for "over the top"
and "Win at all costs" just references to either army lists or players for which winning is the only goal of showing up.

@ Steve- Definitely be back for Saturday, I liked Warbands alot..Either Friday or Sunday next year I think I'll be running a "Legend of the High Seas" game I'll do one other event on the off the day as well.

John@Plastic Legions said...

@ all
Thanks everyone for the positive comments and support

TrekkerYu said...

Nice write-ups John. It was good to see you and everyone else.

I like WPS b/c it makes people decide WAAC lists or soft. And those that go for WAAC would likely have to bid aggressively to make up for the hit they take on their lists.

I also like scoring comp using a system everyone knows and is unbiased (more or less).

We should play an Empire vs. Orcs when you're up for it.

DaveF said...

Hey John it was nice to finally put a face to a name, I have been reading your blog for some time now but have never met you and when I decided to make the trip to Adepticon I made a point to find you and see your beautiful army up close. I did finally meet you after your first game and talked to you briefly. I was the Vampire Counts list with the low comp of 5.

I also ended up winning the best general for adepticon with that list this year and yes I only ended up coming in at 42nd overall but best overall wasnt what I was going for. Best general is my target every year for several reasons, first and formost someone isnt "judging" my ability to play the game, either I win or lose, its on me. I dont have to hope someone likes my painting and that someone isnt going to tank my sportsmanship score because they dont like my list, which happened in 2 of my games at Adepticon.

I would just like to point out everyone has the option to take a high or low scoring comp list to a tournament and there are pro's and con's to both. By taking a more balanced high comp list you start out on average 10-15 points ahead of a low comp list right out the gate while taking a low comp list you have an edge on the other players but are behind on points. In my eyes it evens out but. I consider myself a very good player and I still had a hard time with 2 of the higher comped lists I played this year, 1 of which I should have flat out lost but due to my opponents horrific dice rolling and my better that average rolling I ended up winning so just because your running a lower comped list surely doesnt mean instant win. Im just of the oppinion that if your going to a competitive tournament be competitive thats all.

Well enough of my rambelings I just wanted to put my 2 cents in and to answer your question of whether it was worth it or not to take a lower comped list in favor of a higher one it was to me, I got about $400 worth of stuff so I was very happy with how it turned out! At any rate it was good to have met you and keep up the great work on your blog!!!

John@Plastic Legions said...

Hey Dave, and congrats by the way.
I thought it was funny when I wrote that 'was it worth it?' bit and then looked at my bag for best appearance and was like..DOH of course it was worth it. Don't take my comp criticisms too personally.
Best General award is just an easy target in the comp discussion because it usually low comp players slugging it accomplished what you set out to do, so you're obviously a great player, I'd just like to see you do it with a better scoring list!

Your points are well taken, and I definitely said pre event here and on our local forum that people would use sports to tank low comping list, it was something to watch out for...its human nature..
sorry it happen to you.
Good meeting you and Thanks for stopping!


If you dont mind could you email me
I'd like to ask you some questions for an article I want to write
about WPS in practice..I'd like to ask you about your games, list, etc.

Schiltgen said...


My name is Jeff Schiltgen. I regularly play in tournaments, and have also been reading the blog here for quite awhile.

First off, congrats on your Best General award at Adepticon this year! Nice job! VC can be a tough list to win with at high levels, and it obviously took some skill on your part to do so.

Secondly, I do want to step in and add my two cents worth to this particular conversation. John and I teamed up for doubles, and we also spent a lot of time talking about the comp system and the way gamers look at it. I know that I do not look at a low comp score with scorn, and I'm pretty sure John does not either. But the point about comp is that it does force guys to make some tough choices sometimes.

For me, Best Overall is the award I shoot for. This year, I wanted the Vegas tickets, and that means I needed to finish 1st or 2nd overall. So for me, I needed a balance. I needed to win all 4 games, get good paint and sports, and have a decent comp score. My comp came in at a 13, which helped a lot in the overall points, while still giving me a good enough list.

The bottom line...and I also think it was John's point in his that by sacrificing comp you can maybe win more games, but you might lose some valuable overall points. If Best General is your goal...and it's an admirable goal :) ....then comp really doesn't play much part. If an overall high finish is your goal, then comp matters a lot.

Again, congrats on your awards! Nicely done!

Domus said...

Nice write up John! Did you know that the Goblin player "Kevin" you played is Kevin Coleman, the author of the Gnoblar Horde list and the Indy Chaos Dwarves GT list?


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