Darrell and Sam Take an ENCORE

April 23, 2012 by dracs

While the other guys were lucky enough to be off to Salute, Darrell and I decided to get a bit of wargaming done ourselves. Hence we found ourselves taking part in the ENCORE Warhammer 40k tournament, a small competition run by the CORE gaming society in Magee College.

I have only recently returned to gaming in the grim, dark future, so I found that the relaxed nature of the gaming at ENCORE a great way to get to grips once again with the game, as well as learning a number of good tips and tactics to make use of.

I was using a Space Wolf army list which Darrell had written for me for a previous ENCORE tournament, a cheesy 1000 points army complete with a plethora of Long Fangs with missiles, a Land Raider with twin linked practically everything, and of course a Rune Priest armed with Jaws of the World Wolf. It was a very beginner friendly list, which essentially allowed me to sit back behind terrain and let the enemy come to me. Of course it didn't always turn out quite like that.

My first battle was up against an army of Dark Angels, led by Bob, in a contest for objectives. I, being the complete novice that I am, deployed my Land Raider out in front so as to block the path to where my Long Fangs and Grey Hunters sat huddled in a ruin around the warm glow of my objective. This promptly led to the Raven Wing bikes zipping up the field and causing my Land Raider to explode in the first turn. Not the most promising of starts.

However in my turn it seemed I would be getting some revenge. My Rune Priest and his retinue of Sky Claws crept out from around the ruins and let loose a devastating Jaws attack, taking out one attack bike, a regular bike, a terminator and the army's HQ. This was definitely my Rune Priest's finest moment of the day and not something he seemed able to repeat.

Eventually, a steady barrage from my missile launchers and bolters left the Dark Angels with only one unit in a tower protecting their objective and two men who had been in a Rhino before it blew up cautiously edging around the ruins to try and get close enough to contest my objective (they ended just one inch out!) I in turn had lost my Land Raider, my Blood Claws and my Rune Priest. In the end it was a comfortable, but hard fought draw.

The next  army I faced was Richard's well painted force of Blood Angels in a game of gain ground. I unfortunately lost the dice roll for objective placement, leaving my opponent with two objectives, which he immediately sat a unit of scouts and a unit of assault marines on. I decided the best plan would be to hang back and let him come to me, while sending my Rune Priest forward to try and get the incredibly scary Mephiston in line for a Jaws attack, all the while shooting Living Lightning at the Assault Marines and Scouts. I was confident that my ability to prevent psychic abilities on a 4+ would keep me safe from Mephiston closing with me too quickly. Man was I wrong. Although I did stop his Wings of Sanguinius ability he still promptly fleeted up close, assaulted into me and  annihilated the entire unit.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the board, a unit of bikes were quickly making their way toward where my Grey Hunters stood on the second floor of a ruin, guarding my one objective. They managed to weather my barrage of missile fire to get out of my Long Fangs line of site behind the side of the ruins. Here they were steadily whittled down by the Grey Hunters, who they circled menacingly below, like sharks but with guns.

Then, when I thought it could not get any worse a drop pod landed in front of my Land Raider. Out of this stepped a nemesis of mine from the previous ENCORE. I had played against this army once before and had been concentrating on taking out the troop choices when I had a nasty surprise in the form of a dreadnought taking my Land Raider down in close combat. It seemed my opponent was hoping for a repeat performance. He immediately attempted to get rid of me with his multi-melta, which fortunately failed. I didn't want to take any chances that this thing might survive, so come my turn I turned the entirety of my Land Raider's impressive fire power on the Dreadnought, leaving it a smouldering ruin. This left me elated. I no longer cared if I won or lost, I had taken care of my nemesis! It turned out to be a good thing that I didn't care about losing, for Mephiston went on to single handedly slaughter almost everything in my army, leaving only my Grey Hunters by the game's end.

My final battle saw me facing an army of Grey Knights, commanded by none other than the competition's organiser, Darragh. This time the game was a battle for points, using Dawn of War deployment rules. I placed my unit of Grey Hunters on the table, with the Rune Priest among them. I was rather nervous about facing an army of psykers and wanted to make sure I'd be able to use Jaws as soon as possible.

No sooner had I deployed than I was regretting this decision, for in his first turn the Grey Knight army commander deep striked in behind my guys. Accompanied by a group of ghostly companions, he proceeded to fire into my unit, which fortunately came off relatively unscathed. Needless to say come my next turn I quickly got the Rune Priest out of the unit, jumping him to the top floor of some more ruins and letting fly with Jaws of the World wolf, taking down one of the Grey Knight ghosts. It proved not to be the greatest of moves as he was promptly killed in my opponent's next turn by a Lascannon wielded by his Dreadnought. I feel another vendetta coming on.

After exchanging fire for a while and taking out a couple more ghosts my Grey Hunters ended up getting assaulted. If it is one thing this tournament has taught me it is do not underestimate Grey Hunters, especially when they are accompanied by a Wolf Guard with a power fist, one of them has the Mark of the Wolfen and they have a standard allowing them to re-roll any ones this combat. This combat raged back and forth for about 2 turns, eventually leaving only the main Grey Knight and my Wolf Guard. These both then took one another out at the same time, in a brilliant display of mutual destruction.

Meanwhile my Land Raider and Long Fangs had come onto the board and had taken up position near some ruins on the other side of the board. I focused their fire power on the enemy Razorback, which I managed to immobilize, and the Dreadnought. This continued to taunt me throughout the game, ducking in and out of cover and avoiding destruction due to some pretty bad dice rolls.

While all my attention was focused on these, Darragh started to bring in the only things in his army which really posed a threat for my Land Raider, a pair of Nemesis Daemon Hammers. The first of these he attempted to Deep Strike. This didn't work out as he ended up landing within one inch of the Land Raider, leading to the Grey Knight having to be removed once again. The second however, accompanied by a unit of Terminators, made it, and succeeded in leaving the Land Raider stunned. Under advice from Darrell, I swivelled the Land Raider and tank shocked over the surrounding Grey Knights, taking out the their hammer guy.

While the rest the Grey Knight unit succeeded in taking out my Long Fangs, I started to split my Land Raider's fire between the immobilised Razorback and the Dreadnought. In the end this gamble for some last big points failed, with the two enemy machines succeeding to pass every cover save that came their way.

Overall I think my position was sixth, two away from last. Darrell of course managed to snag himself first prize. My congratulations go to all of the other winners, as well as to Bob who was awarded a Battle Foam Bag for best sportsmanship.

While I do not think of myself as being competitive, this tournament has definitely left me wanting to improve my 40k and to start really working on the Space Marine army I am just starting to piece together. All in all it was a really good experience for me starting out into the game and I look forward to the next time, where I hope I will be able to avoid destruction from Dreadnoughts.

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