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
FUN 4 SPORTS 4 COMP 1
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
FUN 2, SPORTS 5, COMP 5
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.
FUN 5, SPORTS 5, COMP 5
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.
FUN 3, SPORTS 5, COMP 4
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.