Well it took a few days, but I think I’ve finally recovered from Feast of Blades. We did some video after action reports which should be up on the site soon!
Now that I’ve had some time to digest everything that’s happened I wanted to go over how those three matches went, some general thoughts on the tournaments and some other fun stuff we saw and did.
Doubles Round 1: Us vs. Tau/Eldar
This was one of those games where we looked at their list and knew exactly how this game was going to go. If I had a blank check and time to build a whole new Tau army, this is how it would look. They were efficient with their points and spammed their strong Eldar vehicles (Eldar vehicle shooting is absolutely insane).
They got first turn and focused exclusively on wiping out our Tau anti-tank forces. By the end of turn one all I had was a few pathfinders a Piranha, and my HQ that was in reserve. This was a smart move on their part since now it was mostly foot troops against agile Crisis suits and vehicles. Add to that there was so much wrecked Tau laying around that the Orks had trouble moving out of the terrain and we got bogged down in our own deployment zone. By round five we were just about tabled. Austin managed to annihilate a squad of Kroot with his Dakka Jet, it felt good, but it wasn’t something that would change the outcome of the game.
Our opponents were actually really great guys; they were polite and pretty easy going. It made losing a little easier when it was to people who were cool to play against.
Round 2: Us vs. Tau/Orks
That’s right Tau and Orks vs Tau and Orks, and it was about as epic as you would believe. The two Ork lists were nearly identical except we brought Dreads and they brought nob bikers. The Tau player took several small squads of fire warriors with a Cadre Fire Blade, a Riptide, and some broadsides. I love the Fire Blade, but he needs a massive amount of Fire warriors around him and needs to remain still to be used to full effect. Taking the smaller squads was a mistake and they really should have been placed in front of their deployment to take advantage of the massive amount of shots they can produce. Instead they were placed towards the back in a small squad which I feel was a mistake.
This time we had first turn and we managed to kill a bunch of bikers and got ourselves in a good position. My Tau were able to thin out his boyz quite a bit and we were able to move quickly up the field despite dense terrain. It quickly became a game of finding the right position to let the Orks get their charges off while the Hammerhead dropped templates on enemy Boyz squads and Piranhas sniped Nob Bikers. We felt like we had this game pretty much in hand for most of the game despite the score being surprisingly close.
Our opponents WAAAGH!’d turn 2, and we WAAAGH!’d turn three. In the spirit of things all four of us worked together in “properly” declaring our respective WAAAGH!s… at the top of our lungs. Our combined shouts brought the gaming hall to a stop twice. It was epic.
Round 3: Us vs. Eldar/Blood Angels
The Eldar this time had a list nearly identical to the first team… lots of vehicle shooting and a large pack of jet bikes. The Blood Angels had a pair of Baal Predators, a Furioso Dreadnought in a drop pod, and some small assault squads. We had practiced against similarly configured Blood Angels so we felt reasonably good about this match up.
They had first turn but thanks to our experience we castled ourselves up well so the Predators didn’t have much to burn. The Dread came in in a drop pod and only had fire warriors to go after. They did also kill a couple of Piranhas. We managed to kill one predator and scared the other so badly he ran all the way back into their deployment and wouldn’t be a factor for the rest of the game. The Dread was the biggest problem we faced so we just kept feeding him fire warriors while we tried to find a way to kill him. We never did. This match felt like a grind and a lopsided victory for them, but after looking at the score sheet we realized they hadn’t won by all that much.
Thoughts on the Tournament
Playing in a big tournament felt very different from playing one at my FLGS. It was an older crowd than expected. The average age was around thirty to forty. I’ve talked a few times about my worries of having to deal with “that guy”, but honestly we never saw him! Everyone we met was extremely friendly, easy to get along with, and generally nice people who I wouldn’t mind hanging out with. An event like this is only as good as the people who attend and as I said before the people I met there were across the board great.
I was very surprised by the fact that we didn’t see many flyers. Even in the Open and Grand Tournaments we didn’t see many. I had expected to see legions of Heldrakes, and there were a few, but the flyers were pretty evenly split between Heldrakes, Necron Scythes, and Vendettas. What we saw time and time again were Tau and Eldar Armies. I feel conservative in saying those two comprised close to 50% of the armies we saw. The Tau generally brought at least one Riptide and a full squad of Broadsides, and the Eldar had at least one Wraith Knight and as many vehicles as they could afford. It’s not difficult to see why, they are strong armies, and those are arguably the best units in their books.
It’s interesting to note that I saw MAYBE ten marine armies total in the collective tournaments. Perhaps the new codex was just too close to the tournament for people to sufficiently prepare their lists or they couldn’t get their armies painted in time? I’d love to hear everyone’s opinions on this.
On Feast of Blades
After we got our Doubles games in we had a free day just to wander and sample. There were several games/demos/events I think deserve a call-out:
Mobile Frame 0: They had a huge board setup with several custom squads to play. A good demo requires a knowledgeable guide and the guy running it (sorry I forgot your name) knew the game backwards and forwards. He was able to break it down quickly and got people playing fast. The game was good simple fun blowing up Lego terrain and seeing all the “carnage” scattered around the board at the end. The more players you have the more fun this game gets. I highly recommend this game because it encourages you to design your own “frames” and is very balanced rules wise.
X-Wing: Another simple, yet insanely fun game. The huge “Destroy the Deathstar” event was free to play, open to all, and everyone played well together. With 20+ ships on each side it ran a bit long, but that’s better than it running too short! While it was an epic sized battle I think this game shines around 5-6 ships on each side. You can get crazy deep and keep iterating your list to come up with wicked combos, but just having some X/Y/A wings squaring off against some Tie Interceptors/Advanced seems to be the sweet spot. I expect we will see some sort of tournament for this next year.
Freeblades: I had never heard of this game before this and knew nothing about it before jumping in. DGS Games was there doing a special “grab the loot and get out” type game on a huge multi-level board. The models look sharp and it was fun playing a game with the creator acting as the DM. This isn’t a simple game and I’ll admit I spent most of the time not knowing what was going on. I think if I played a smaller, slower game I would have gotten more out of it, but screaming “Barbarians don’t search for loot, we steal it!” while charging other players never got old.
Infinity: We got a treat in that the guys from Warsenal helped us with a demo game of Infinity on their beautiful table with great looking CA and Haqq models. (We got to use all their fancy templates, markers and tokens too!) It was a quick game, but it hammered home the idea of using cover and that even the most basic rifle can take down an elite trooper. Also that getting “crits” can happen far more often than one might think.
In fact Austin and I were so impressed by our game that we’re jumping into Infinity! We both got a starter box and I picked up a Spec Ops blister and some beautiful terrain from Warsenal and Shark Mounted Lasers so hopefully we can start playing our own games in a few weeks!
Overall it was a great time. The drive wasn’t too bad and Denver is a nice place this time of year. Next year I’m planning on going back with a larger group and maybe participate in some other smaller tournaments. I think just playing in the Doubles and Skipping the Open was the right call. I saw a lot of people there who bit off more than they could chew and by Saturday night were looking burned out and had lost all faith in their game.
You can’t run an event like this without a strong cadre of organizers and judges. I don’t believe I saw a single staff person sitting around or relaxing. Everyone was extremely busy and hardworking. From where I stood, things were organized and well executed. I’d like to say thank you to all the volunteers who made this even possible.
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