Tournament trial 2000 – Can a Highlander list defeat a modern 40K tournament?

May 28, 2015
28 May/15

I’ve been pretty hard on tournaments in the past (trawl through my previous posts if you’re bored).  However, the players in Highland are getting some pretty heavy prize support from a local store, and they sold it as a balanced well run tournament.

I was intrigued.  That rarely happens when you mention the word “tournament” around me.

Rules stated that the list should be 2000, and follow all the rules for army composition.  This turned me off a little, as 40K has been going into the “buy this formation for an auto-win” direction.  So, I played with another rule.

I went full Highlander.

It’s not a Highlander tournament, I was just in a Highlander mood.  For those unaware, a Highlander list cannot have ANY repeat choices, except for troops.  I’m not talking the lame Space Wolf rule that two exactly identical characters but one has melta bombs counts.  I mean if you choose a Librarian, you can’t take another.  This prevents spam, overpowered crap, and other stuff that makes 40K just unbearable to me.

So I decided to do an experiment.  Other people are going to bring their lists this week, so I’d pit my list against theirs and see if I had a chance.  If new 40K codex creep makes a balanced, fun, fluffy list untenable then Tournaments are not my scene.  However, if I have a chance, I’m going for it.

So, how’d it go?  Let’s find out!


Custom Tournament Mission #4: Right Place at the Wrong Time

Deployment is decided randomly.  During the tournament, all simultaneous games will have the same deployment.  We rolled Vanguard Strike (corners).

Six objectives are placed as per a Maelstrom mission from the core rulebook.  When an objective is first claimed, roll a D6.   On a 1, the objective explodes with a S5 AP4 3″ blast from the objective, and the objective is removed.  On a 2-3, the objective is fake, remove it.  On a 4, the objective is real!  Roll a D6 to determine what kind of Mysterious Objective it is.  Re-roll all results of 1, as the objective is not booby trapped.  After 3 objectives have been removed as fakes, or found to be real, either remove objectives or mark them as real so that 3 real objectives remain.

Objective are worth 3 VPs.  First Blood, Linebreaker, and Slay the Warlord score as normal.

All tournament boards will have the following terrain:

– 2 ruined buildings, chipboard around building counts as area terrain

– 2 hills or craters, or a mix

– 1 impassable line of sight blocking wall

– 1 river or other water hazard

– 2 forests that count as “twisted copses” from the main rulebook

– 1 building, armor 14 all around, with entrances on all 4 sides, one fire point on each side.  This building has the special rule “At any cost necessary” which allows you to target the building, even if your own troops are occupying it (for Maelstrom missions).


Bozeman – 2000 point Highlander (battle forged)

– Leonidas, captain of the 1st company (counts as Vulkan He’stan)

– Librarian, Level 2, Space Marine Bike, Flame Breath, Fire Shield, Spontaneous Combustion

– Tactical Squad x 10, Veteran Sergeant, Combi-Melta, Power Fist, Meltagun, Multi-melta in a Rhino

– Tactical Squad x 10, Veteran Sergeant, Combi-Flamer, Power Fist, Flamer, Multi-melta in a Rhino

– Scouts x 5 with bolters, in a Land Speeder Storm with a Multi-melta

– Dreadnought, 2x Twin Linked Autocannons

– Ironclad Dreadnought, Heavy Flamer, Ironclad Launchers, in a Drop Pod

– Assault Squad x 5, 2x Flamers, removed Jump Packs, in a FREE Drop Pod

– Bike Squad x 8 plus an Attack Bike, Veteran Sergeant, Power Fist, 2x Meltaguns, Multi-melta

– Land Speeders x 3, 3x Multi-meltas

– Thunderfire Cannon

– Whirlwind

– Predator Destructor (autocannon), Heavy Bolter Sponsons


Dominic – 2000 Eldar (unbound)

– Wraith Host Formation

— Spiritseer, Embolden/Horrify, Protect/Jinx, Conceal/Reveal

— Wraithguard x 5 with Wraithcannons, in a Wave Serpent with a Scatter Laser and Holofields

— Wraithguard x 5 with D-scythes, in a Wave Serpent with a Scatter Laser and Holofields

— Wraithguard x 5 with Wraithblades, in a Wave Serpent with a Scatter Laser and Holofields

— Wraithlord, 2x flamer, Ghostglaive, 2x Brightlances

— Wraithknight with Suncannon and Scattershield

– Farseer, (warlord trait: split fire), Guide, Mind War, Fortune, Will of Asuryan

– Dire Avengers x 10, Exarch, Shimmershield in a Wave Serpent with a Scatter Laser and Holofields

– Crimson Hunter with an Exarch Pilot.



Above setup map enhanced with MS Paint to show the position of the 6th objective.


Turn 1 – Eldar

Wave Serpents move out and fire on the Rhinos, taking 2 hull points off each and immobilizing one.  The Wraithknight fires on the bikes, forcing them to jink and killing 2.  The objective by the wave serpent explodes and disappears.

The Eldar move out.

Flames under fire!

Turn 1 – Azure Flames

The Ironclad drops in, but a holofield save prevent its meltagun from popping a Wave Serpent.  The rest of the army moves out and fires, killing the Wave Serpent holding the Wraithguard with D-scythes.  Objective behind the wall is real!

Move out!

The whole army was necessary to kill one Wave Serpent…  This does not bode well.  Plus, Holofields are a hell of a drug.

Turn 2 – Eldar

Wraithguard with D-Cannons pop out and destroy a Rhino.  A bad morale check leaves the occupants pinned!  Further fire from Dire Avengers whittle a few tactical marines away.  The D-scythe Wraithguard annihilate the Ironclad. Lucky Jink saves protect the Land Speeders.  Bike combat squad with the attack bike takes a few casualties.  They fall back 4″.  Side shots wreck the Predator.  The Wraithlord arrives from reserves and walks on.  The Eldar reveal two more fake objectives, all the rest are real!

Jink for your lives!


Turn 2 – Azure Flames

Leonidas and the Assault Squad arrive and bake the Dire Avengers.  Scouts arrive in the Land Speeder Storm.  Librarian casts Fire Shield on the assault Squad.  Lucky melta shot on the Crimson Hunter causes a penetrating hit, and forces the jet to fly off the table next turn.

Dire Avengers go bye-bye.

Masses fire has little effect when the enemy can ignore it…

Turn 3 – Eldar

Th D-scythes vent their rage on the Drop Pod.  The Wraithknight kills all but Leonidas and one Assault Marine.  The Wraithguard with wraithblades attemp to charge the bikes, but re-rolling meltas kill one and prevent the charge!  A Wave Serpent fires on the Whirlwind, glancing it.

Overwatch saves the day!

Sneaky Wave Serpent!

Turn 3 – Azure Flames

Leonidas, the Assault Squad, and the Tactical Squad assault the Wave Serpent on the hill, killing it.  The Librarian suffers a Perils of the Warp, and overcharges himself, gaining a whole slew of POWER!  He and the bikes assault a second Wave Serpent, killing it.  The other Tactical Squad assaults the last Wave Serpent, also killing it.  Hat trick!

Krak goes the grenade.

Marines with krak grenades STANDARD are fantastic.  You used to have to pay 2 points in 3rd edition!

Turn 4 – Eldar

The Wraithknight fires on Leonidas, and kills the last assault marine.  It tries to charge Leonidas, but a roll of 4 with -2 for difficult terrain fails.  The Crimson Hunter arrives, and kills the Dreadnought.  Fire kills one Land Speeder.  Wraithblade Wraithguard charge the bikes, killing all but the Librarian.  Wraithguard with D-scythes destroy one Land Speeder and the last saves with a lucky jink from the Wraithlord.

Planes are an aspect now?

I COULD charge you… but, I’m tired… yeah, that’s the ticket.

The Wraithguard make the bikes pay for their arrogance.

The Land Speeders provide a distraction.

Turn 4 – Azure Flames

The Tactical Squad charges to save the Librarian.  They kill one Wraithguard, but lose two, lose combat, and flee… four inches.  Leonidas boldly charges the Wraithknight to delay it, and succeeds, surviving the attacks.  The last Land Speeder flees behind the building to secure Linebreaker, while the Bikes advance.

Combat does not go as planned, but the Librarian is extricated.

A last, desperate charge.

Not pictured: the Land Speeder behind the building.

Turn 5 – Eldar

The Crimson Hunter arrives, after being forced to fly off the board.  It forces the tactical squad on the hill to go to ground.  Wraithlord and Wraithguard advance on the objective by the crater.  The Wraithknight finishes off Leonidas for Slay the Warlord.  Wraithblades charge the Tactical Squad, but are all killed.

Aircraft incoming!

Objective is being held.

Leonidas held as long as he could…

Turn 5 – Azure Flames

Bikes contest the objective and kill a Wraithguard.  Librarian and Tactical Squad move out towards the hill.  Land Speeder Storm peeks out from behind the building.  Game continues to turn 6.

Selling their lives dearly.

The Librarian moves to assist the beleaguered tactical squad.

Turn 6 – Eldar

Wraithknight shoots, assaults, breaks, and chases off the board the tactical squad on the hill.  It consolidates right in front of the Librarian.  Crimson Hunter takes aim at the Thunderfire holding the objective, and precision shots kill the Techmarine, removing the Thunderfire.  D-scythes end the bike squad.

Come get it!

Bikes are toast.

Precision shots clear the objective!

Turn 6 – Azure Flames

Whirlwind moves up to claim the objective behind the wall.  Tactical squad runs 6″ behind the Wraithknight, and secure the objective.  Scouts run out of the Land Speeder Storm, and thanks to Objective Secured, steal the crater objective right out from under the Eldar!  Game ends!


Final score:

Azure Flames – 3 objectives plus First Blood and Linebreaker – 11 VPs

Eldar – Slay the Warlord and Linebreaker – 2 VPs


Well, even with D-strength flamers, and a fancy-schmancy formation, the Highlander came out on top.  It looks like this might be a tournament worthy list after all.  Let’s do it!

Dominic’s list has neat stuff, but because the Wraithguard are so expensive, it had few options to hold points.  Those D-scythes are potent terror weapons, but they need to be in position to do the most damage.  They can also only kill one unit per turn, so a list with lots of targets can overwhelm them.  Personally, I’d like to see more aspect warriors.  Some Fire Dragons and Striking Scorpions would be awesome in Wave Serpents.

Next: some more Gothic if I can swing it, an Assault Squad painted, and more Highland tournament prep!  Stay tuned!

Filed under: Azure Flames, Gaming

The Bait rematch – Tau Shan’al Shi’ur vs. Imperial Navy

May 11, 2015
11 May/15

Stephen and I wanted to get together to play another game of Gothic.  However, due to mutual delays, we couldn’t get started until 9pm.  Stephen suggested a rematch of The Bait, which he played against my Dark Eldar.  This time, however, I was the pursued as my Tau Kor’or’vesh fleet!


Mission: The Bait

Setting: Outer Reaches


Bozeman – Tau Kor’or’vesh Shan’al Shi’ur

-Lar’shi’vre “Protector” class cruiser, T’au Lar’shi’vre Aloh Sho’ka, T’olku configuration (pursued ship)

-Il’porrui “Emmisary” class light cruiser, T’au Il’porrui M’yen Lar’shi, Bor’kan configuration (squadroned with two other ships below)

—–Il’porrui “Emmisary” class light cruiser, T’au Il’porrui Lynu Kar’tyr, Bor’kan configuration

—–Il’porrui “Emmisary” class light cruiser, T’au Il’porrui Sh’ve Mont’re, Sa’cea configuration

Vral Squadron: 4 Kir’la “Warden” escorts and 1 Kir’shash’vre “Castellan” escort


Stephen – Imperial Navy

-Avenger class grand cruiser

-Dauntless light cruiser (torpedo configuration)

-Dauntless light cruiser (lance configuration)

-Squadron of 2 Cobra destoryers




Turn 1 – Tau Shan’al Shi’ur

The Aloh Sho’ka fails to go on Come to a New Heading, and so simply moves and launches missiles and a fighter for a CAP.

Turn 1 – Imperial Navy

A bad roll prevents the fleet from going on special orders.  The whole fleet advances.

Turn 2 – Tau Shan’al Shi’ur

Aloh Sho’ka Reloads Ordnance and turns.

Turn 2 – Imperial Navy

Cobras and the torpedo Dauntless get All Ahead Full, but the other ships don’t.  Small torpedo wave from a cobra stops the CAP around the Aloh Sho’ka, and the Dauntless fires torpedoes.  It fails to brace.  One damage causes an Engine Room Damaged result!

Turn 3 – Tau Shan’al Shi’ur

Aloh Sho’ka re-launches a CAP and fires at the Cobras, taking down a shield.  The squadron of 3 Emissary light cruisers arrives, and fire 8 missiles at the lance Dauntless.  One missile is shot down by turrets and the rest… MISS!  8 misses on a roll of 5+! Things are looking down for the Tau…

Turn 3 – Imperial Navy

Fleet moves up, but fire is ineffective.  The other Cobra fires torpedoes at the Aloh Sho’ka and removes the fighters on CAP.

Turn 4 – Tau Shan’al Shi’ur

Aloh Sho’ka goes on All Ahead Full to get around the Warp Rift.  The Emissaries Reload Ordnance and fire on the Dauntless again, doing minor damage.  The missiles remove a Cobra.

Turn 4 – Imperial Navy

The lance Dauntless fires on the Emissaries, but do no damage.  The torpedo Dauntless fails to reload, so it chases the Aloh Sho’ka.

Turn 5 – Tau Shan’al Shi’ur

The Emissaries Reload Ordnance, and combined fire reduces the lance Dauntless to a Blazing Hulk!  Vral Squadron comes in from the board edge, destroys the other Cobra, and lowers a shield on the torpedo Dauntless!  The Dauntless Braces for Impact.

Turn 5 – Imperial Navy

The blazing Dauntless suffers a Plasma Drive Overload, exploding and firing 4 lances at one of the Emissaries, lowering one shield and doing no damage.  The Avenger grand cruiser puts the Emissaries in its sight, but a poor roll does no damage.  Torpedo Dauntless on Brace fires ineffectually at Vral Squadron.

Turn 6 – Tau Shan’al Shi’ur

Emmisaries Come to a New Heading to get a shot on the Avenger, but the order reduces their weapons and has little effect.  The Aloh Sho’ka Reloads Ordnance and fires missiles and a Manta Bomber.  Vral Squadron cripples the Dauntless.

Turn 6 – Imperial Navy

Dauntless disengages.  The Avenger fires on the Emissaries causing a Brace.

Turn 7 – Tau Shan’al Shi’ur

Emissaries fire on the Avenger, taking down only 2 shields.  Missiles and the Manta prove ineffective.

Turn 7 – Imperial Navy

Avenger disengages.  Turn not pictured.


Final score:

Bozeman: 219.5

Stephen: 0


Stephen really loves that Avenger.  Honestly, I can’t understand why.  It’s up-gunned, but only up close.  It has no dorsal or prow armaments to lend it some versatility.  It seems to be good only against the Imperial Navy, who also has to get close, or perhaps Tyranids.  I’m not a fan.  I’d rather have the Vengeance which can scare the pants off of Eldar, or the Exorcist for some fighter craft fun.  The Avenger lost him this game, even though it didn’t get hurt.  It was so SLOW, and short range that it didn’t get to do much.  More Dauntlesses, escorts, or Nova Cannons would have been nice.  A Dominator could have ended the Aloh Sho’ka in two or three turns with luck, or forced it to brace in fear the whole game.

Next: more Gothic?  Projects?  Perhaps some fun times at Highland?

Filed under: Battlefleet Gothic, Gaming

Big Game 2, a blast from the past.

May 6, 2015
06 May/15


Oh man.  Lexington came to visit me and we took a walk down memory lane.  He brought me some photos of a past I had almost forgotten.

So, in previous posts I’ve detailed some of the Big Games, mostly Big Game 5.  However, there were others.  Big Game 1 was hardly worthy of the name, it was a big mess.  No one knew what we were doing, and some drunk fratboys interrupted us.  But it gave us ambition.

Ambition for Big Game 2.

As you can see, we’re on the floor.  This was in the the pole barn of our friend Jake’s Parent’s christmas tree farm.  The central city used the 3rd edition rules found in Codex: Cityfight (remember that?).  The yellow taped areas are “ruins”  and the green “forests.”  You see kids, back in 3rd edition, we had to use our imaginations.  We were allowed to make area terrain without having actual trees.  Sure, it’s not as visually exciting as having an actual ruin or forest, but it allows more freedom of terrain.

Seen here, the “good guys” reserves table.

…and here are some awkward looking young men!  To the left, in the foreground, is Andy (who we called Other Andy), who played Dark Angels.  Sadly, we lost touch with Other Andy, as this was the age before Facebook.  Standing above him is John.  Yes, the one who introduced me to Battlefleet Gothic, here playing his Tyranids.  The blurry kid in the jacket in the foreground is none other than yours truly, bringing the relatively young Azure Flames.  In the back, Joe (left) confers with Brian B. (right).  Joe was the leader of the “good” side, with his Space Marine chapter: the Angels Sacrosanct, a Blood Angels successor.  Brian B. is Little Matt’s younger brother, here with his Imperial Guard.

Here, Dark Eldar and Iron Warriors advance together.

Imperial Guardsmen defend the large building in the City.

Other Andy’s Dark Angels were supposed to all Deep Strike.  Sounds great, right?  They can go where they’re needed.  However, we found out after the game began that he could only Deep Strike… within 24 inches of the Fuel Dump.  So, he got to deploy randomly in a tight area and lose two of his units to Perils of the Warp.

Joe is at left, walking away.  Other Andy and I are on the ground.  Checking his watch is Andy (not Other Andy) who brought his Chaos Marines.  To the extreme right, “Little” Matt B, with his Iron Warriors.

Me and Other Andy try to take the dark portal.

The Tank Company advances toward the city.

The Azure Flames had a small force guarding the bridge.  They were supposed to hold out so that reinforcements would come…

…sadly they were waylaid by Eldar.  The Evil forces take the bridge.

Scott’s Orks roll into the city.

John’s Tyranids deploy… out of focus.

John’s Tyranids advance on the city as well.

…and enter the city.


Space Wolves drop pod in to take the building from Dark Eldar.  Some veterans may recognize that building from GORKAMORKA.

Finally (which is ironic because it’s not the end) Andy (on the ladder) and Scott (from the waist down) survey the battle for the “bad” guys.  Fun story: Scott almost fell off that platform, and Andy ran to catch him.  That rope hanging from the ceiling and Scott’s quick wits are the only reason both of them did not go to the hospital that night.  Fun!

So, how did Big Game 2 end?  The “bad” guys won.  However, it set the stage for Big Games 3 and 5 (Big Game 4 was along a different narrative).

*drowns in nostalgia*

Filed under: Azure Flames, Gaming
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