Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Berks Spring Assault II - Dark Angels Battle Reports

Berks spring assault 2 reflections…

My thoughts about berks spring assault 2 as a tournament… first I will start off with a few battle overviews of my four rounds and then I’ll address the tournament overall. I of course brought my dark angels. My list looked something like..
deathwing squad + chainfist + apothecary
2x 5 man tacts with melta in rhinos with an extra stormbolter
2x speeders with multi-melta + typhoon
2x pred with heavy bolter sponsons
Honestly I did a bunch of play testing with this list and it is very strong indeed. Its a lot of fire power with mobility and a nice CC punch with that termie squad. I was ready.

Round 1. Vs Sister of Battle.
I got to play ‘Hugo’ from the berks club running his sisters. This was not a very fair fight right from the start. Hugo was having difficulty getting a list printed out and models ready for play. I kinda felt bad that he had to play me the first round. It was dawn of war deployment. He deployed 2x squads of sisters on the field as well as the cannoness + retinue. He had 2x sister squads in reserve as well as a heavy weapons team with heavy bolters and an exorcist. I deployed my terminators right in front of his squads and a tact squad in a rhino. He went first and couldn’t really see anything to hit me when he forces can on. My turn 1 saw my terminators wipe the near squad of sisters and throw some wounds on another from shooting. This game went pretty quick and I won’t bore the audience with the details. My terminators carved a bloody path straight through the sister’s lines. They took out a 10 man squad each turn and I believe on turn 3 the canoness assaulted them and belial took down 3 and the lightning claw term took down the canoness. Speeder was able to take down the exorcist with a side armor shot after making all his cover saves from a turbo boost. And.. the heavy weapon squad eventually ate too much pred fire and went down. Massacre victory for the DA.

Round 2. VS. Dragon Warriors (CSM)
I finally got to play my friend DJ’s brother-in-law ben with his CSMs. This match was going to be fun, I love playing with guys I know. Its why I love supporting the local tournament scene. The mission was here to bone me however. I played on a VERY urban board. I mean.. VERY. I think there was more BLOS terrain than flat ground. Not good for an army like mine that relies heavily on its ranged fire power.. than the bomb hit.. night fight rules would be in effect the entire game… wtf is that? Really? On this map? His list was nothing fancy, prince with wings, mark of slan. 1x defiler. 2x 10 Man CSM squads in rhinos and a 10 man zerker squad in rhino. Great.. a cc list on a night fight GAME. Ouch. I thought maybe I could punk his defiler and prince and then swing back across my lines and defend against the zerkers and CSMs. I castled up in the corner and rushed my termies out to meet the defiler and prince, it worked great.. save the prince kept making his invulns and the damn defiler took 8 penetrating shots from shooting and terminator hammers and was still standing… that was the game. Failing to take down that defiler meant the zerkers got the charge off on me and wiped my terminators. Just too many wounds even with the apothecary. I was able to take down the prince with melta guns and the defiler luckily got immobilized facing a wall. (lol, I gotta say that was pretty funny) so his battle cannon was meh which made me happy. I took down each squad to less than half but he got me to almost nothing.
Now.. I gotta say… ben was a great guy, really fun to play, we had a blast in round 2. But that night fight for the whole game has absolutely got to go. I don’t know why our local tournaments are so in love with this idea, it completely bones a non-assault based force. Here, I have an idea.. whynot make the entire board dangerous terrain. How would you assault-based armies like those apples? It’s the same thing. So stupid, should not be there. I played a decent round, but the scenario completely screwed my army. Time for lunch and I was 1 and 1.

Round 3 vs. eldar (john from turn 8 podcast)
john had a pretty decent eldar list, a little bit of everything here. An avatar, wraithlord, squad of war walkers, a far seer with a guardian squad, guard squad on bikes, 2x venoms, and a transport with dragons inside. (if I remember correctly). The mission was capture the flag, which I must say, was a really really good mission. Steel Mike made up for his blunder on the night fight game with this one. Basically you and your opponent deploy spearhead and there is a ‘flag’ in each opposite corner. The goal is to invade and capture the flag and bring it back to your deployment zone. Any model is a BS can carry the flag and you cannot put the flag in transports. I thought it was great. This is the kind of uniqueness I was hoping to see at this tournament. I was very afraid of the jet bikers picking up the flag and turboing around the map for the rest of the game. So… I deepstruck my termies on turn 1 (love deathwing assault) and scatterd 12” which honestly ended up being VERY close to the other objective. So on turn 1 I had one objective. And was already running it back to my side and.. there wasn’t really much he could have done about that considering he had to go through my terminator HQ squad to get that flag back. I sped both rhinos up 12” in a T, making sure not to waste my smoke where I didn’t have to. I secured the second objective as well on turn 2 and tried to create a wall of rhinos to escort it back to my side. No such luck. As I was running that flag back, the wraithlord was too much and eventually killed my little 5 man squad off. I had to break off belial from my terminators to join the second tact squad to carry it the rest of the way. The predators were my MVPs in this mission. Heavy bolters took down both venoms, a bunch of jet bikes and the war walkers once they came in. the speeders were decent as well, taking down the transport and a few war walkers. I felt bad about john taking the avatar. I focused fired it on my turn 1 and dropped it before it even got to move. That’s not right. My opponent ended up contesting my one flag with a late game jet bike boost luckily passing his dangerous terrain. And I failed to get his last one into my deployment zone. I forgot it was only 18” not 24” (bah humbug there). And with some secondary objectives I managed to get a pretty good victory. John was a great guy to play and hopefully he learned a lot and got some good stuff for his podcast.
Onto round 4.

Round 4 vs. IG.
Seriously… IG? I think what.. 3 players took IG to this tournament and I get to play one of them. And it was the cheese.. the hot stinky cheese. 3x hydras, 3x vets in chimeras, 1 3plasma, 1 3 flamer, 1 3melta, and a command squad with all melta and an empty vendetta. Ouch. It was going to be tough. I was ready. I hadn’t gotten much play testing versus this type of list but I had a lot of good fire power and my terminators would be a problem for him. Pitched battle deployment but objectives would be rolled for at the beginning of turn 5. Interesting.. it was either table quarters or annihilation.. well.. I was hoping for quarters. Haha. I wanted to go first and get an alpha strike on that gunline. Bring down my terminators.. 10 in scatter, just nicking the very corner of one of his chimeras.. roll on the deep strike mishap.. terrible accident.. destroyed.. great… well this game was over right then and there. No seriously, there really is no reason to even talk about the rest of this match. I lost 40% of my army on turn 1 to a BS scatter and result and now I just spent the rest of the match getting blown off the board. I did managed to take down a few chimeras, the vendetta and 2 vet squads but it was just too much fire power versus a wounded duck of a DA army. Sorry for the sad game. So I would up 2 and 2 for the day. Pretty upset that out of my last 3 tournaments, twice has my command squad been lost of deepstrike mishaps.. and both times was a scatter of 10” +. Ugh. Thems the breaks I guess.

Overall thoughts:
Really really fun tournament. There are many items I would like to address, but I’ll just name a few.
1. Love the fact that many of the young bloods (age 14 and younger) were playing each other the first few rounds. VERY good idea. I was worry about some of our new guys going up against some heavy hitters and really not enjoying themselves. Did not happen. Great great planning on that part guys.
2. Remove the night fight the entire game mission. Its completely stupid. End of story. Remove it.
3. Armies on parade was kind of lame.. I had my guys in the back and hardly anyone even came through the whole way to do it. Eh. The best person won, no doubt there, but I just don’t think it went as well as it could have.
4. Golden grot, I would think about losing this. Just too many events packed into one day. (unless event started earlier, see below)
5. SPACE – dear lord, for a couple of my matches I was little rubbing up against the person behind me and it was really difficult to move armies around and I can’t believe we didn’t have more display boards being turned over. There was plenty of room in the front of the garage if we didn’t have so much ‘extra stuff’ going on. Honestly we didn’t need that much more room, just a wee bit more to give ourselves some breathing room.
6. Free drinks. Love you guys. Thank you thank you thank you. Epic. Nuff said.
7. Raffles. Great. Hope you guys made a bunch of money for the club. This was a great idea and I think it worked very very well. We had guys in our club that knew they wouldn’t be winning a prize but still had the raffles, so they were waiting in anticipation like everyone else.
8. Time. Berks guys put on a great event, lots of things happening from all aspects of the hobby. Give yourselves more time. Start an hour earlier, that would give more cushion to the rest of the day. More time should have been spent explaining the events and what to do and where.
9. Sportsmanship. Yes yes, it is a ‘hobby style’ tournament but I hate sportsmanship. It doesn’t allow any room to maneuver. Say.. your opponent is doing something illegal in the game, and you call him on it and look up the rules and you are right. Bam, you just got NO sportsmanship score. I know that’s not how the system is supposed to work, but it’s the truth. Also, if you table your opponent, his way to ‘get back’ at you is to drop your sportsmanship. I’ve seen it done to me and to other people. Its also a way to gang up on someone who is doing well to try to boost your club mates in front.
10. Appearance scores from your opponent. See sportsmanship above.. why can’t appearance be done by a TO and its just an objective rubric. This way, your opponent doesn’t have the opportunity to get revenge upon you in the soft scores.

End rants.
This was a fantastic event. All of my club mates and I had a GREAT time. It was the first tournament for a lot of them and they had a blast. Everyone on the berks staff was very friendly and quick to get you whatever you needed. I loved being able to meet some of the berks guys I have only known through the forum. DJ and Ben and Hugo. And It was great getting to see the members I’ve already met. Aki, apoth, Archer, Charlie, etc. (sorry if I missed you). I will be going back next year, hopefully Lancashire can sponsor some tables.

-Brother C.


  1. Good write ups! Sounds like the missions/terrain got ya good on a few. I hate when that happens, but like you said... that's war!

    I think you had a really good point about allowing your opponent to score you on sportsmanship and appearance. As well intentioned as a system like that is, the fact remains that its way too easy to abuse should somebody want to and there is really noway to stop said abuse. I agree completely that any form of scoring (outside of the game itself) should not be able to be done by somebody you just played against.

  2. Glad you had a good time, and I like the feedback. These are valuable items to know so we can continue to plan better events.

    I actually am going to address your pointers in order, but want to let you know that first of all, we had a committee planing the event and missions. Not all of us agreed upon them, but the were chosen as they were and an attempt was made to make sure that they were (mostly) balanced.

    Now for the rest of the stuff:

    1. Young bloods were paried up in the beginning, that was done deliberately. All other rankings were random, other than we did our best to ensure that no one from the same club played each ohter in the first 2 rounds. The rest of it was done by computer matching based upon records. Personally, I favor a purely random round robin, but our committee suggested this format, so we went with it.

    2. Night fight mission: I was concerned this would be unbalanced. But we gambled on a 4'x4' table that it may not be that much a factor. Sometimes you choose the mission, sometimes the mission chooses you. Good feedback, will most likley NOT be in future events (though this does appear in GTs).

    3. Armies on parade: We really wanted our photographer to get shots of everyone's armies. Each year we do a different special award, so this won't happen again next year, i gotta come up with a new one.

    4. Golden grot: Here to stay. It's one of our trademarks. Not required for participation.

    5. SPACE – My bad on this one. I was under the impression we had a larger facility. I honestly secured a place too late. All I can say is that it was more space than last year, ;-) but we are already planning next year's event and will be ample room for everyone.

    6. Food and Beverage are always part of BSA. Just makes for a friendly environment.

    7. Raffles. This was huge and doubled last year's take. We will continue to do this because it sure seems to be a popular idea.

    8. Time. We actually ran on time most the day, with a 20 minute lag. Agreed, we packed a lot in to a tight time table and actually kept pace with it. Next year we will be extending hours, 30 min break between games, longer lunch. That was perhaps the most trying issue after the space. Other than that most folks really had nothing but great stuff to say.

    9. Sportsmanship. Still going to always be part of the game. If you have an issue, you really need to involve a ref. We (at Berks) keep a close eye on sportsmanship scores when they come in. If something looks off, we follow up on it and have "discressionary" points for the judges to help correct such blatant acts of BS. But yes, I too have had it done to me in the past. Regardless, I'm still a huge fan of sportsmanship.

    Monthly tournaments at Showcase, 'ard boyz and other similar venues do not score on sportsmanship, feel free to check them out sometime.

    10. Appearance: This was a flat score for each game. In retrospect, I could have just made it a scale of 0-15 and had us simply rank the armies when they were registered. All players were supposed to do was circle what was appropraite. Agreed, this will fall on judges next time or just simply be a category unto it's own and not affect overall scoring at all next year.

    Mind you that some tournaments, GT's especially, you are not even allowed to show up with an unpainted army, and in some cases, they may let you play but will not be eligible for any prizes. This past year at Cabin Fever was the first time I had ever seen an exception to that rule and that was only because of the low turnout at that event.

    We are not perfect. This is only the 3rd tournament the Berks Club and myself have ever run, and we keep trying to make it better. Thanks for the feedback, hope to see you all next year at it. Now, start getting your armies ready for the Mechanicon GT in West Chester November 4, 5, 6, 2011!!!!!

  3. Mike, dont take my comments very heavy. they were not done in a manner to spite your tournament, I had an absolutely fantastic time. the whole day was great. honestly, i'm splitting hairs here to find most of these points, but i think they were still valid.

    I agree about the sportsmanship scores. honestly, I don't 'snowball' people, but I just know that being the new guys on the block didn't sit too well with some of the mechanicon people we were beating at cabin fever and some of our sportsmanship scores reflected the outcome of the match, not the demeanor of the player. this was never an issue at your place, everyone i played was so very nice (even when they were kicking my face in)

    i think your tournament and your crew has restored a little faith in me about the soft scores. why? because they were honest human beings. if they lost, they accepted it and marked the soft scores based on objectively what they should have done. I applaud the event for drawing the right kind of crowd, if that even makes any sense.

    one thing I think I forgot to commend on was terrain. BEAUTIFUL terrain, every board was gorgeous. I did think table 1 was a little sparse for being table 1 (something to consider for next time) and it would have been fun to have a 'kiddie' table like at the team tourney. maybe they play on a blood bowl board or something, hah! overall though, my goodness, beautiful boards and terrain for the event, I played on the necron one, and man was that pretty, sad no necron players were there.

    also, what happened to the Tau terrain board? there were what? 6 Tau players there? haha, I know Zach from our club was pretty excited to play his tau on a tau board. maybe it was just too much. its like.. when the TO does such a good job, you just want to push him more and more and more :)