The issues with the hotel from last year were greatly improved. Internet access per night still cost $5, but was better than $10. Cell phones actually had data access in the event room, which was a vast difference from last year. There was breakfast and lunch available this time around which was good, but it was a little spendy for what you got. You definitely paid for convenience.
As for the tournament itself, I believe that the missions were still good overall. The ruling that Flyers counted as scoring in their respective missions (Scouring/Big Guns) was slightly annoying, but it didn't end up costing me a game miraculously. Most games were either Quarters or Objectives as the primary goal. I think there was only 1 game out of 8 that had KP as the primary. Quarters could not be claimed by vehicles, even when they got counted as scoring. So infantry-based scoring units were really important, but they were slow to maneuver. Transports were better at making sure you were mobile, but you had to remember to disembark on the last turn to claim.
The games had 2:30 to finish, which was plenty of time for me. I had at least 5 turns in all but two games (four full turns in those) and that was with most of my opponent's running infantry heavy armies. I also enjoyed the fact that the games were more split up this year. Made the event much more enjoyable, as I wasn't forced to endure all those games in short succession.
Now, let's talk about my list and what I saw at the tournament. First off, the Flyer spam that everyone expected didn't happen. There was maybe 2-3 Necron players that had 6 or more Flyers. And I don't think they finished very high. Mechanized armies seemed to be a minority, more likely due to them not counting towards the Quarters goal. Six of my opponent's had an Aegis Defense Line with a Quad Gun and I saw them on the majority of tables, including those with Flyers themselves. I don't think we'll have to worry about them much for the rest of 6th Edition. They aren't that good, as I have been saying. Some are decent, but none are so uber game changing that you have to devote a lot of resources to killing them.
There were also a lot of the "Look Out Sir!" character squads, such as Nob Bikers and Paladins. I faced both and killing them was extremely difficult. With the new FAQ removing these as characters, there goes those deathstar units. So you won't have to worry about them either.
This is what I noticed as far a game play:
- Shooting was very important...IF it was torrent-fire or AP2. We needed to kill lots of infantry and I don't think this trend will stop going forward into 6th Edition. Larger squad sizes, albeit with worse cover saves overall, means you need more shots to take things down. The AP2 makes killing those targets more efficient and can take down the huge amount of 2+ armor that was present. However, don't discount the need for AT; you WILL face mechanized forces and you need to be able to break into their transports.
- I discovered that quantity for AT firepower is much better than quality. Between the hull points and how easy it is to grant cover saves to your vehicles, things like Meltaguns/Multi-Meltas just didn't cut it for me. Either you needed multiples of them (3x Melta) or twin-linked. They either missed or were cover saved. Dinging off Hull Points was a much more reliable way of wrecking vehicles by far.
- 5+ vehicles hulls on the table made for a difficult time for my opponent. None of my opponents killed all of my vehicles. So there is something to be said for remaining mechanized, even when they aren't scoring/denial units.
- 4+ troops is absolutely, positively a requirement in lists. Every single one. No exceptions. With the increased torrents you'll be seeing (and I did see) at competitive events, you'll simply get focus-fired down if you have less than that. Then guess what happens? You lose.
- Personal Traits for your BT Warlord, especially if you've taken a shooty-terminator command squad. 3 of the 6 traits play very well into a defensive HQ unit. The other three are pretty decent if you're playing an aggressive HQ list. Unless facing a very situational enemy archetype, don't stray from Personal Traits. They are REALLY good for our point sink HQs.
- Close Combat is what is key for our armies. Since we don't have the number of shots against infantry to win that way, we need to get business done another way. The only way that can be done is via CC. Something with either lots of attacks or with a good amount of quality attacks. Please note: in my list, the Assault Terminators soaked up an ocean of shots with the EC leading them. With the change to "Look Out Sir!" in the FAQs, that setup was nerfed slightly. But due to their 2+ saves, I wasn't taking very many wounds anyway.
- AP2 CC weapons aren't as super-needed as we all may have thought. Because games are going to hinge on whether or not you can kill your opponent's troops, you're going to be seeing lots of 3+ armor. Only a few armies can take mostly/completely 2+ armor on their troops. So what is my point? AP3 CC weapons are still worthwhile, especially in smaller squads who need to strike at initiative to do damage. You'll still be killing lots of 3+ armor.
- Abhor The Witch was awesome. I faced a psyker in the majority of my games and made a fair share of 5+ saves (never made the 6+ save though). But what was more important, was the additional movement at the beginning of the game for my Terminators. Remember that Crusader Seals help boost this movement, making sure that the Terminators got into CC early in the game.
So what about my list? How did it play and how did it do? Honestly, I was very happy with how it played. My first two losses were my hard counter, though the second one was due to my stupidity (i.e. dropping my Vendetta on the ground, breaking it. Thus leaving me without any Flyer defense). I played a 200-man Orc list my first game, with the Nob Biker squad. It caused problems, to say the least, when I couldn't shoot enough of those Orcs down. However, also made the mistake of trying to advance forward to get my guns into range. This only brought his horde even closer to my stuff, when I could have used my superior mobility to protect my forces until I could choke him into kill zones.
The second game could have been won, had I not knee-jerk reacted to my over-aggressiveness in the first game. It was against a 4 Necron Flyer list with the Stormlord. Had I advanced sooner (and had a Vendetta...), I'd have been on a much better footing and had a good shot to win. Though, to be fair, the guy even admitted that he couldn't roll less than a 3+ this game. I, on the other hand, didn't roll anything but a 1-3. lol! I don't blame losses on dice rolling; my lack of early-game advancing caused that in this game. However, the opposite luck in dice certainly made sure he could do what he wanted to me without fear of reprisal. He gave me an excellent game score for being so chill about how terribly in favor the dice were to him. Law of averages, I told him. The later games were better (rolled average, but not bad at least). But I've noticed that its becoming more and more bad rolling on my end, so I think my dice are wearing out. Time for some new ones. I think I'll put up for some of those nice sharp edge/corner dice. More consistent randomness.
Anyway, back to looking critically at my list. The flyer defense was more than enough with just the Vendetta. It definitely was useful in that role. To be honest, I don't think I really would have wanted to spend much more points on it. It killed what it needed to, else it distracted their Flyers in shooting at mine. Which is a good thing for me. I stayed mechanized for mobility sake and it did wonders in my games. I was able to bring plasma to bear pretty much where I wanted to and caused some key wounds in my later games with them. However, once they were blown out of their transports, they became relatively fragile to incoming shooting. I was typically pretty clever with their deployment/disembarking/movement, so that mitigated their losses quite a bit. But they didn't have much "bulk" to them, so I had to play conservative once they lost those Rhinos. In the end, they often were my mid-field/backline objective holders. And because my opponents weren't hurt by them all that much, they were often ignored in lieu of more dangerous targets.
On the other hand, the IG element played extremely aggressive in almost all of my games. Those plasma shots became pretty important in my later games, taking a fearsome tally of kills. However, they did tend to kill themselves a lot. But the more they died to "Get's Hot!", the less attention they drew from my opponent. So I was able to pull off some sneaky stuff at the end of games due to this. Overall, I felt that I had enough separate troops units for the missions. I did wish that they were worth more points and had a couple more bodies in each. Quarters would have been much easier to take if that was the case.
With that being said, the IG Command Squad did a whole lotta nothing most games other than draw fire. They very rarely made it to the 12" range needed to fire those meltas. And when they did, they became #1 target priority for my opponent and died before they could get meaningful fire off. I'll probably change them to plasma in the future if I can squeeze the points. However, I think I have other plans for this squad...
Overall, the list had something for almost everything. It dealt well with the changing mission goals, as well as deployment types. While I did face a high number of Grey Knight and Necron players, they were different styles of lists so I got stretched in different ways. I never thought I was going to lose a game outright or felt severely outmatched.
Anyway, with all that being said...the list doesn't kill infantry well. Even with the Manticore. And there was LOTS of it around. I had to play very finesse based to win my games. I scored more than 1k Victory Points once in eight games. That isn't much at all. And most of that was from the Assault Terminators. Going forward, I'll need to improve on that significantly, especially with infantry being in larger numbers. I think its entirely possible with small tweaks, as I'll probably continue being mechanized going forward.