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Harlequins at Rapid Fire 2018 – Tournament Report

I’m just back from Rapid Fire, one of the longest running tournaments in Scotland. I think it’s maybe the 10th year in a row I’ve been? As always Stirling Wargamers put on a great event in their very impressive new premises, and I had a blast.

I took Harlies (surprise surprise), eager to see how the changes in the FAQ effected them. My list

Shadowseer

Troupe Master (Fusion and Kiss)

Troupe, 5 Players, 4 Fusion Pistols, 4 Caresses.

Troupe, 5 Players, 4 Fusion Pistols, 4 Caresses.

Troupe, 5 Players, 4 Fusion Pistols, 4 Caresses.

Troupe, 5 Players, 4 Fusion Pistols, 4 Caresses.

Solitaire

6 Skyweavers, Haywire Cannons, Zephyr Glaives

4 Starweavers

Archon

Ravager, 3 Disintegrator Cannons

Ravager, 3 Disintegrator Cannons

Ravager, 3 Disintegrator Cannons

The missions weren’t ITC, nor ETC, but straight out the book. The only change was that the lower floor of ruins blocked LOS. We had a list document for the tournament a few days before and I was shocked at how many Knights there were – I never added them up, but I’m pretty sure there were more knights than people! But oddly, they had removed names from the lists! This made doing the first round draw the day before a bit pointless, as unless you knew who your opponent was (and I didn’t), you had no idea which list was his.

 

Game 1

So with lists remaining a mystery, my heart sank when I saw my opponent pulling genstealers  out of his case. There were 2 Tyranid lists – both of them running 3 big units of Genestealers and the Swarmlord to “launch” the ‘stealers across the table. Deployment was Dawn of War. Oh and he also had a Flying Hive Tyrant, ad Brood lord and a Zoanthrope baby sitting a big brood of Hive Guard.

My list really struggles against hordes – and against Kraken genestealers that can assault right across the table on turn 1, I was a tad apprehensive. So I spread out my deployment, and prayed for first turn ….. which I got ……. and proceed to have the second worse first turn I’ve ever had (we’ll come to the worse first run shortly!). I blitzed the Solitaire across the board hoping to take out some Hive Guard. I had “bought” Cegorach’s Rose to do a straight 3 damage and thought I could take out quite a few. They were also hiding behind los blocking terrain allowing me to get off a charge without triggering overwatch … well, that worked well…. because of course Hive Guard don’t need los to shoot. Luckily I realised that just before I declared the charge, and switched target to the Zoanthrope, thinking I would kill the Zoanthrope and consolidate into the Hive Guard forcing them to fall back and be unable to shoot. Unfortunately, even fighting twice (so 20 attacks, hitting on 2s, wounding on 4s with a reroll and doing a flat 3 damage) couldn’t kill the Zoanthrope …. and when I consolidated into the Hive Guard (they were very close so I could get both), they proceed to beat down the Solitaire to 1 wound. But that was OK because they would need to fall back. Well, yes, unless of course there was a Hive Tyrant who could fly cross and smite the Solitaire to death before the Hive Guard shot….”sigh”.

In other news, all 3 Ravagers shot the Swarmlord, and did 2 wounds, and the rest of my army killed 4 genstealers! 

And it didn’t get any better in my opponent’s turn. He moved up and assaulted a Starweaver, surrounding it, killed it and all the Players inside who couldn’t get out. He also killed all my bikes (to be fair I had been using them to screen as they were of limited use in this game). 

But things would turn around in round 2 surely …. Well, “no”! My Ravagers still failed to kill the Swarmlord, and 5 Fusion Pistols in double dice range refused to kill the Broodlord (he’s only T4, W5 with a 5++, for gods sake!!). Oh and I set up a charge with my Shadowseer into a big unit of ‘stealers. “Madness” I hear you say, but I had the “Suit of Hidden Knives” and knew Fog of Dreams and Veil of Tears. The suit inflicts mortal wounds on enemy units in the fight phase for every 1 they roll to hit.  Fog of Dreams makes an enemy unit -1 to hit, and Veil of Tears cast on the Shadowseer makes her -1 to hit. Combined with Lightening Fast Reactions and the Genstealers are -3 to hit, and infliction mortal wounds on themselves on a 4 or less. 

But of course I failed to casts both powers and the Shadowseer was duly converted to biomass.

I did kill a bunch of ‘stealers, but not enough to stop him killing 2 Ravagers in his turn.

So, round 3 comes along and it’s looking pretty bleak. I still have 1 Ravager and 3 Starweavers full of Players, but I had 2 units of Genestealrs (one on somewhat reduced numbers) to deal with, a huge unit of gaunts who held the “Relic”. the Swarmlord, a Broodlord, a Hive Tyrant and all the Hive Guard … oh and some Rippers. 

And then Cegorach smiled…..!

The lone Ravagers finally killed the Swarmlord, and one of the Troupes killed the Broodlord. Combined Shuriken Cannons finished off the reduced genestealer unit, and 2 Troupes jumped out their ‘weavers, swallowed hard and lined up a charge on the remaining unit of ‘stealers. This was pretty desperate – if both of them charged, one would get to swing and my opponent could interrupt (he had 2 command points left) and probably wipe out both Troupes before the 2nd one swung. I didn’t have enough CP’s to “Vect” the interrupt, but neither did I have many other options!

So the first Troupe swung, and wiped out a bunch of ‘stealers ….. and my opponent didn’t interrupt … we talked about it after the game – it just didn’t occur to him. So the next Troupe swung and wiped out the rest of the Stealers. In response the Hive Tyrant put some wounds on a Starweaver.

So, it’s turn 4 and my opponent has 2 units of Rippers and a huge unit of ‘gaunts on the Relic, which is on top of a bastion. He still has the bloody Zoanthrope left, and a Hive Tyrant, and all the Hive Guard. I need to take the Relic to win. 

So I move one of the Starweavers back to the Troupe that had just killed the ’stealers and jumped them back in. I run the other Troupe forward to threaten the Relic, forcing him to bring the Hive Tyrant in range of a Long Range Fusion Drive By of the newly embarked Troupe, next turn.  I shoot a bit and kill some ‘gaunts. He brings the Hive Tyrant back into LRFD range, and knocked a couple fo wounds off the Staweaver, and kills the footslogging Troupe I had used as “bait”. But he also moves the Zoanthrope up onto the Bastion beside the Relic. Now I need to clear a bunch of gaunts, a Zoanthrope and 2 Ripper Swarms off the Relic.

So, gambling on a turn 6, I move up the embarked Troupe and Kill the Hive Tyrant with Fusion Pistols (see … they do work!!). I kill a bunch of ‘gaunts with Shuriken Cannons and the Ravager kills about half of the Hive Guard. He now has 4 ‘gaunts, a Zoanthrope and 2 Ripper swarms holding the relic. 

Time for a miracle.

I jump out the Troupe and run up onto the Bastion. The Players then switch off their flip belts ready to assault (!!!), however they can’t fire their Fusion Pistols at the Zoanthrope because 4 ‘gaunts are closer. Thankfully I kill the ‘gaunts with Shuriken Cannons and then use The Fusion Pistols to kill the Zoanthrope, before assaulting the Ripper swarms. And that’s where I thought my luck had run out because the Troupe fails to kill all the Rippers, leaving one base on the relic … but hold on, that’s OK. While both the Troupe and the Rippers are ob sec, I have more models. So I take the Ripper base “prisoner” so the Hive Guard can’t shoot the Troupe, and the game ends.

Phew…. to say I snatched victory from jaws of defeat is an understatement.

 

Game 2

Against Space Wolves plus a guard battalion with a bunch of Mortars. Wolf Lord with a Jump Pack, some Grey Hunters, a Devastator squad 3 units of 5 Wulfen and Bjorn. Oh, and a random space marine librarian … for “Null Zone” (of dear!).

Wulfen are horrible. I can’t assault them because they kill me as I kill them, and I really don’t have the fire power to put them down. Plus, their ability to come on from any board edge, screws with my Ravagers … which is the best thing I have for killing them. And Mortars, just murder my Troupe’s once they’re out their ‘weavers.  My plan is to get away from the board edges ASAP, and murder the guard, before dealing with the Wulfen coming in from reserve. So I set up on the line ready to go.

But my opponent is wise to this, and instead of setting the Wulfen up in reserve, he sets 2 units up on the board right opposite all my Starweavers….and we’re playing the pointy dawn of war deployment with only an 18” gap between them….. and Wulfen move 7”, can advance and charge and reroll failed charges …. Bugger! 

So having been comprehensibly out deployed, all would be fine if I got first turn ….. but I didn’t. So the Ravagers ”ducked” and the Starweavers prepared to receive Thunder Hammers to the face. Luckily, only one unit or Wulfen made their charge, and the Starweaver survived on 1 wound, and I used “Vect” to stop him fighting again. The Ravagers also survived. But now I had 2 units of Wulfen and a Wolf Lord right in my face. Time for a big turn one!

Long story short, that turn I killed both units of Wulfen, the Wolf Lord the Librarian and some Mortars, which in effect won me the game. There was still a bit to do, and another unit of Wulfen to deal with, but everything went according to plan. Another win.

 

Game 3

Against 3 Baneblades and a bunch of Scions. I asked my opponent if he understood what Harlies do, and he assured me he did, so I didn’t go into detail. However, he deployed his Baneblades way too close … and I got turn one.  So, I was wondering whether I would kill one or 2 of them turn one, when he seized.

No matter, there was reasonable los blocking terrain and he could only shoot at 2 Starweavers and the Ravagers …. But he had a lot of shots, and some scary guns. Long story short, he fired everything he had and failed to kill anything. Guard really struggle with -1 to hit, or -2 with Lightening Fast Reactions. I then proceeded to execute plan A, killing one Baneblade and crippling another one. In his turn he fired some more. I think he killed a Ravager, but one Starweaver tanked all the shorts from one of the Baneblades, plus the Scions inside, and survived on 1 wound. I rolled a frightening number of 4++ saves. 

All my Fusion Pistols were now in double dice range and I still had all my bikes alive ….. I tabled him on turn 4. I suspect  he killed more of my army when one Baneblade blew up, than all his shooting combined. 

If there is los blocking terrain, my army is a horrible match up for this kind of list.

 

Game 4

With a big win in game 3 I was on top table playing Ynarri! Not your typical list, well kinda typical. The difference was he had swapped out Singing Spears for Skyweavers. He had 2 battalions, one Aliotic with Farseer and Warlock on Bikes, a Hemlock and 3 squads of Rangers. The other one was Ynarri with Yvraine another Warlock (he’s important!), 3 units of Dire Avengers, a Wave Serpent and 10 Dark Reapers. The interesting bit was that rather than Singing Spears he had a Patrol of Harlies with a Troupe Master, a Troupe in a Starweaver, and 6 Skywires. 

We were playing Maelstrom, Hammer and Anvil. Both ends of the table had reasonable los blocking terrain, so we both deployed reasonable conservatively. My thinking was that I needed to deal with the Reapers the Skywires, and the Hemlock, after that it would be mopping up, but that’s easier said than done. The Reapers started in the Serpent with Yvraine and the Warlock, while the Hemlock and the Skywires were well out of Range. My opponent won first turn and elected to go first. He should have probably let me go first, but I think he was worried I would use Twilight Pathways on my Skywires and target the Wave Serpent.

He could see it would be a tight game, so he wanted First Strike. He zoomed his Hemlock up the board to try and kill a Starweaver, but failed. In return I killed the Hemlock (took all the Ravagers and 10 Fusion pistols to do it!!) for first blood. He had scored a stupidly easy 2 VPs by casting 3 Psychic Powers, but I had scored first strike, Overwhelming Fire Power (killing the Hemlock) and held an objective for 3 CP, so I was one up.

In his turn 2 he got another card involving casting powers which he scored and he moved up the Skywires.  I drew some rubbish cards. I now had a choice – I could continue to hold back or move up. If I held back I would be relying entirely on the card draw, and being down on points I couldn’t really afford to do that – so I had to move up. Which is what I did, but I did it with a plan.

With the Hemlock dead the big threats were the Skywires and the Reapers. I had to draw out the Skywires so I could assault them, and the Reapers to shoot them. The Skywires were easier, I suspected he would commit them to killing either the Ravagers or the Starweavers. The Reapers were trickier. They were still in their Serpent, which was beside some los blocking terrain, The obvious move for him was the get them out through the terrain, shoot them, and then Fire and Fade back behind the Terrain. So my plan was to draw them out, and then use Agents of Vect to block Fire and Fade, leaving them out in the open. So I moved 2 Starweavers full of Troupes and a ravager to draw out the Skywires, and used Twilight Pathways to zoom my Skywires right up into his face.  I did a bit of shooting, but nothing very exciting.

It (kinda) worked. My opponent drew “Big Game Hunter” so had to kill a Ravager. That forced him to commit the Skywires to do so, and he couldn’t ignore my Skywires, so committed the Reapers to kill them. However, he was wise to the risk of having Fire and Fade Vected so used protect and conceal on the Reapers “just in case”. When the dust settled, he had killed 2 Ravagers, and all the Skywires. However, his Skywires were in range of an assault from a Troupe, the Solitaire and the Shadowseer, and Agents of Vect had left the Reapers out in the open. This was the turn to commit.

I moved up 3 Starweavers full of Troupes, and the remaining Ravager. Meanwhile, in my backfield, the a Troupe, the Shadowseer and the Solitaire lined up a charge on the 4 remaining Skywires (I had been whittling them down). And I wiffed, well sort of. I only killed 3 Reapers, and the combined Psychic might, fire power and combat prowess of a 6 man Troupe, and Solitaire and a Shadowseer only managed to kill 2 Skywires. However, I managed to kill all the Dire Avengers, and the Starweaver (one Fusion Pistol got through but I rolled a 1 for damage. I used my last command point to reroll it,,,, and rolled a 6, destroying it. Made me smile!). 

So, there I was 3 Troupes in 3 Starweavers sitting inches away from his entire army. It was his turn 4, and we knew this would be the last round. I said at the start of the turn “I need you to fail Word of the Pheonix” and Doom,and I think I can do this”. He failed Word of the Pheonix and Doom!!. 

When the dust settled I had a Troupe and a Troupe Master left. He was 2 VPs ahead. I needed 3 to win. I drew hold an objective, that was right beside the remaining Ravager, and kill a character. The footslogging Warlock (remember him!) was right beside my remaining Troupe. I snagged the objective, killed the Warlock (4 Fusions Pistols to the face usually does that!), and at the same time took behind enemy lines, for 3 VP’s and the win.

A very close tactical game, with a bit of luck on the last turn.

 

Game 4

So, still on table 1, I faced the only other undefeated player, and his Knights – a Gallant 2 Wardens and a Castellan, along with a guard battalion for CP’s. We were playing one of the silly missions from Chapter Approved where you score objectives cumulatively, characters score double points, and an extra point for each turn they hold an objective. My opponent informed me that all his Knights were characters …..hmmmmmm. 

There was reasonable los blocking terrain, but not enough to hide my whole army. However, I did have fewer drops, so set up to go first and try and kill at least one Knight in that first turn, and with luck take some wound of another.. Yippe… I got first turn…..and he didn’t sieze. Thinks were looking up.

So, remember I said that Game 1 was the second worse first turn I had even had … well this was the worst. 

I decided that Falchou’s Talon was the Relic of Choice allowing one Starweavers to move an extra 6″. By combining that with Fire and Fade on another Starweaver, I was able to get 10 Fusion Pistols into double dice range of one of his Knights. However, it didn’t really matter, as I failed Twilight Pathways on the Skywires … even with a reroll. So I couldnt get the Skywires in range. But it got worse – remember those 10 Fusions Pistols, and the 3 Ravagers? Well, combined they did 4 points of damage on the Knight …..4….. and that was only with a 4++ save, not a 3++.

And it went down hill after that. In getting the Starweavers so close to the Knight I ran the risk of having the guard wrap the ‘weavers, and trap the guys inside. My contingency plan was to use my Shuriken Cannons to wipe the guardsmen so they couldn’t do that. However, (in retrospect, stupidly) I shot them at the Knight instead, hoping for a few extra points of damage. So the inevitable happened …. the guard wrapped the Starweavers, the Knights shot them, destroyed them, and killed everything inside. 

Sadly the game was over turn one. I played on, hiding and ducking, trying to score points where I could – and in fact, if the game had ended on turn 5, I would have won, but it went on the full 7 turns and I was tabled. 

So, a rather disappointing final game, but I was really pleased going 4-1. I think that’s the best I’ve ever done at a 5 game GT. I ended up 4th overall.

So, next weekend is the Scottish Take Over 4 GT in Elgin. 

More to come!

EYIG

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