Warhammer 40K SA Nationals 2016 – Report


This past weekend played host to the Warhammer 40K Nationals tournament run by the crew from the Cabal up in Pretoria. With a great deal of rules updates and clarifications in play with the Errata provided by Games Workshop and an increase in the points allowance it was bound to be an interesting tournament.
I attended playing my Tau forces, with a little Eldar support from a fellow Warzone member. While similar to my list I used at Into the Fray last year the list had gone through many iterations since then and now was missing even the usual Riptides Tau lists are known for at the moment.
Hunter Contingent Dominance

Hunter Cadre
192 – Commander: Iridium Armor, Target Lock, Neuroweb System Jammer, Puretide Engram Chip, Fusion Blaster, Shield Generator, Stimulant Injector, Onager Gauntlet
45 – Strike Team (5)
45 – Strike Team (5)
45 – Breacher Team (5)
55 – Pathfinder Team (5)
55 – Pathfinder Team (5)
300 – Crisis Team: Shas’vre (Vectored Retro Thrusters, Command and Control Node, Multi-spectrum Sensor Suite), Shas’ui (Plasma Rifle x 2, Early Warning Override) x2, Shas’ui (Cyclic Ion Blaster x2, Early Warning Override) x2
430 – Stormsurge: Shield Generator, Pulse Driver Cannon, Early Warning Override
Auxiliary
Optimized Stealth Cadre
90 – Stealth Team: (3)
90 – Stealth Team: (3)
165 – Ghostkeel: Twin-linked Fusion, Early Warning Override, Velocity Tracker, Cyclic Ion Raker
Aspect Host
105 – Warp Spiders with Exarch (5)
105 – Warp Spiders with Exarch (5)
124 – Warp Spiders with Exarch (6)
With the recent errata very much ruling out the controversial rules spreading of the initial wording of coordinated fire power I had changed my list to be a bit more MSU in structure. It didn’t help that the missions favoured Objective Secured heavy armies and my list had none of that, but at least I would have the interceptor fire and D weapons on the Stormsurge this time round to deal with other troubling enemies. As before the Optimized Stealth Cadre made its reappearance as I honestly think it is one of the better formations in the Tau codex.
As mentioned in the opening I had dropped my Riptide, having once gone up to having two running around on the board I now had none. In their place though I found a worthy replacement, Warp Spiders… A unit that myself and most of my club mates have labelled the most broken unit around in 7th edition at the moment.
The venue for the event was a bit out of the way at Roodeplaat dam, a fact which lead to many of the usuals not coming through to the event, but in the end we still had 29 players arrive from all over the country. Tables were assigned, which was a nice addition to the usual find a table after being called out that most local tournaments follow. Most tables had some decent line of sight blocking terrain but there were a few that could and would lead to troublesome rounds.

Game 1

My first matchup is against Quintus, someone who I rarely play at tournaments but who I know will be a tough opponent to beat. We get to our table and look at each other’s lists, almost mirrors as he is playing Eldar with Tau support, in the form of a Riptide wing, and both joke about how we had hoped to face a Demi Company or equivalent in the first game.
He manages to get pick sides and gets first turn and promptly places his Wraithknight and Riptide Wing front and centre, his own warp spiders starting on the board to avoid possible interceptor fire form my list. Seeing all that in front of me and not liking my odds on taking a first turn of all that firepower I take the risky decision to keep all my forces in reserve barring the optimized stealth cadre, which I hide out of line of sight or out of D-weapon range in the case of the large Ghostkeel model.
I don’t try seizing the initiative and hope I can avoid giving up first blood and then hope I get some good reserves rolls on turn 2. Amazingly my Ghostkeel survives on one wound and I only lose a stealth suit in his opening volleys giving me a chance to get first blood. Shockingly I manage to pull this off when I put three wounds on a jet bike squad who promptly fail their 3+ armor saves.
From that high point the game becomes a game of cat and mouse as my reserves start arriving, picking a unit off only to die the next round, my Stormsurge doing most poorly and failing far too many armor rolls the turn after it arrived. In the end I don’t manage to kill more units but with time called and my having killed his warlord earlier in the game I eek out the win 11-10. I know that if time had not been called I would very likely have lost the subsequent turns but I suppose it is a risk you have to keep in mind during tournaments.
MVP: That moment the Ghostkeel got me first blood against the run of the battle.
Game 2
My second game is against one of the PE players, Brett, and his Blood Angels. It’s always good to see less used armies on the board and Brett takes this a level further by using more dreadnoughts and las cannon devastator units than I’ve faced outside of apocalypse games. It’s the maelstrom game where you keep your objectives secret and I get the warlord trait to reroll the D3 when I score objectives, deployment choice and first turn.
I set up in a line trying to make sure that when he drops in that I can intercept as needed but still move up to take the midway objectives as needed. Brett manages to sieze the initiative and begins his drop pod assault as two librarian dreadnoughts drop in my back line. A lucky interceptor roll by my Stormsurge nets me first blood off of one of the drop pods, which is a good thing as the subsequent psychic phase is fiery and filled with the death of many, many, fire warriors and warp spiders.
At my go I get to the business of clearing my back lines, the Ghostkeel showing why wall of mirrors is so good and the Stormsurge firing off a destroyer missile or two before foolishly charging a librarian. Not realising it still had 5 attacks hitting on 3s and wounding on 2s… Luckily for me Brett only hits once and fails to wound and the Stormsurge spooked by all this rolls a 6 on the subsequent stomp to remove his foe.
My objectives for the turn are good and I score the first of my D3 scoring cards, getting 3 on the roll without the need for the reroll. Brett’s turn follows a similar formula to the first, drop pods interceptor and more fire for me. My Commander ate a very large amount of las cannons to the face, but that toughness 5 and 4+/5++ means he takes them in his stride.
My turn comes with more D3 scoring cards and I make good on them all, rolling well on each for 6 more points as I start whittling the back lines of the Blood Angels forces, seeking out their Inquisitor warlord. With his fire support waning I remove any models that could move around and make it easy to score points. It is clear I will win from here but I ask Brett if we can see how far it goes as I can get more points for tie breaks later in the tournament. He agrees and I pile on some more points before the game ends on turn 5.
MVP: My Stormsurge getting first blood on interceptor and then surviving an ill-advised assault unscratched. Not having to use my warlord trait once on the D3 rolls.
Game 3
This is an interesting mission that the Cabal came up with. It has routes in Infinity but has some poor decisions on how objective secured units score that lead to many of us not playing Demi Companies to dread the mission. Area control is the name of the game, with the middle of the board being split into 3 and having models in those zones being what gets you points. The trick here being that objective secured units counted for 2 units and could count from the inside of dedicated transports, which fortunately did not count themselves.
I’m paired up against Ryan using a typical Eldar Windrunner Host with some Warp Spider support and some white scars allies toting grav-weapons from a rhino and on foot. While he doesn’t have as much objective secured units as a Demi Company he still has seven to my none.
I get first turn and side pick which is very important in this game as there is almost no terrain to block line of sight on this table, especially in the middle. I place everything down and make sure to use the trick I had learnt in practice to scout my pathfinders into the scoring zones. Ryan manages to seize the initiative but places an empty drop pod too close to my Ghostkeel who obliges and intercepts with a melta shot for first blood, something that would be very important to the outcome of the game.
Ryan brings my Stormsurge down to one wound remaining and moves into good positions to take on my left flank. Critically he fails a casting of invisibility on his unit of centurions and my very sickly Stormsurge repays that kindness removing two of them and rolling a 6 on the destroyer missile aimed at his Wraithknight. At this point it’s getting late in the day and the light is fading, which is a problem as the venue’s cables have been stolen in the week and we are without power. The TO makes the decision to call a break and asks us to return the next day to continue the game.
With a resigned sigh Ryan and I agree to try get in a bit earlier the next day, however tiring that may be and head home before traffic sets in. The next morning bleary eyed I take my place at the table again and we get under way. Ryan has fortunately not noticed my scout move up into the scoring zones and doesn’t rush my deployment zone for points ending up only getting 2 points due to the move.
In my turn I score 2 points, giving up on my left flank but making sure I can threaten his deployment and have a strong presence in the middle and right zones. The TO at this point calls that the next round of the game will be the last. Ryan and I aren’t happy about it but have to play with that regardless. He scores 3 points and manages to take out my warlord leaving him on 5 points total.
I take in the board and see that I can win if I get some very decent rolls for my warp spiders otherwise I will need to take out his fortuned Farseer for warlord. My rolls aren’t that good so the Farseer it will have to be. I get 10 Warp Spiders around him and open up, and for a moment it looks like he may just die as Ryan fails all but one armor save. But then his rerolls has other plans as he then passes all but one. I end up having to charge him and in close combat he passes all those saves.
The game ends in a tie, ruining any hope of coming first in the tournament, but at least I could play to get to second place.
MVP: Intercepting fusion guns vs. Drop Pods. First blood is always the most sweet when that goes off. For Ryan his inability to fail 3+ saves
Game 4
This one is a good old eternal war mission with 5 objectives and everyone’s favourite, read “most hated”, deployment Vanguard Strike. I’m paired up with Nigel from Cape Town sporting his mob of Orkish bikers. He gets deployment and first turn and promptly sets up more strength 10, toughness 6 models than should be allowed. I setup to one side leaving the majority of objectives out on my zone and fail to seize the initiative.
He moves forward and fires much dakka into my pathfinders and a lone fire warrior squad reducing both to minimal numbers but not taking them out. Something I am grateful for as I can still get first blood and promptly go about doing taking out some bikers and their Warbosses.
Things are looking bleak on my left but my Stealth Cadre and Warp Spiders have managed a good fight back on the right making sure the three objectives there can be fought for while my Commander and Stormsurge work as a lure to the left. Looking back I had managed to use tactics out of the Tau fluff which left me quite chuffed.
As expected the orks whagh through my left flank taking my objective and ending the Commanders brave defence, the Warp Spiders only just managing to hit and run away to cause a little more havoc. A still clamped down Stormsurge fires at the horde and strips off some more mobility but doesn’t do enough to prevent a charge the next turn.
Time is called during this turn and it becomes a bit of a mad scramble to get units onto objectives. The orks have some objective secured units but they are placed to only hold two of the objectives. However the orks still hold every objective but one at the end of Nigel’s turn. I’ve been planning the turn since Nigel started moving to objectives and I know I need to just contest on three objectives and take the lone unclaimed one deep in his deployment area.
With two squads of Warp Spiders alive and my Ghostkeel in range of firing out more than a few ignores cover shots at runt herds I knew I could pull it off and several thrust moves later I managed to get the objective I needed and get line breaker. Tying us up but for that first blood I managed to get at the start of the game.
MVP: Correct application of Mont’ka
Game 5
The TO asks me to come over to his laptop as there is something he wants show me, I’m worried at first but he then points out that he just wanted to show me the position I was in. If I manage to win my last game I’m guaranteed second place, so long as the top table doesn’t draw. I nod and start feeling the pressure of the tournament but know I’ve been playing well and barring a full demi company I have a good chance at the final mission, the maelstrom game where you get objectives equal to the number of objectives you own.
Pairings are read out and I’m matched with Elrico, an Astra Millitarum player who I have had quite a few games against. He’s the reason I always space my models out as much as I can. We get a decent table with good line of sight blocking terrain. I get first turn and to pick sides and I set up near a triangle of objectives with my more tanky units while my stealthier teams set up to go forward towards the two objectives near his side of the table.
He sets up his usual tank battery, so much ignores cover barrages, and hides is inquisitor and ordinance commander behind a building. His usual super heavy has been left at home and replaced with a Sky Hammer, with full Devastator squads brimming with grav cannons.
He fails to seize the initiative and I get an extra card on my first turn from my warlord trait, and I draw the highest scoring Tau card, with a good chance of managing the D3+1 condition of taking an objective my opponent controls while not losing one of my models. My Warp Spiders do the business with some shooting support from my Ghostkeel and take the objective to gain me 4 points in total off the first turn.
Elrico’s Skyhammer comes down in force, but a tethered Stormsurge fires everything off and picks up that first blood I missed out on the first turn when its destroyer missiles ended up being duds. With less grav to worry about my storm surge survives on a wound remaining. The same can’t be said of a group of warpspiders and pathfinders. A lucky it and run move into Elrico’s deployment zone after the Skyhammer Assault squad fails to kill my Warp Spiders denies him scoring a point.
My turn rolls round and I draw a card that could not be scored unless I was facing a Skyhammer and I take joy in that irony as I take out that assault squad and score the card. With the triangle of objectives firmly in my hands on the left flank and my Stealth Teams and Warp Spiders in between all the tanks I was set for smooth sailing and ended up scoring a good lot of points before the game ended with me winning by a good margin.
MVP: Warp Spiders are just far too good a unit and having a Maelstrom deck on your side is always useful too.
With that victory I had sealed the deal on second place as the top table had a definite winner, not too bad a result for an army with no objective secured units at a tournament that quite heavily favoured armies that used a lot of them.
All in all I had a great time at the tournament, and while the venue was a bit out of the way and had some power issues I think the Cabal did good as hosts, a big thanks to the TO and Head Judge for their quick responses and active work to make sure everyone was having a good tournament.

Anyone interested in the full results can find them HERE

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