With the last couple of months full of work and traveling, I haven’t had much time to update the blog. My traveling around Florida the last four weeks has been related to Warhammer 40K, though; I have been playing in tournaments! I figured this post could be my sharing with you my first Grand Tournament experience of 2019! Two weekends ago, I played in the Armageddon Series: Battle for the Peak GT. The event was hosted by Brohammer, a Warhammer 40K group comprised of nearly 150 members across Florida. The tournament itself hosted 42 players in total (there were some drops by the end of the tournament) and in the end, I found myself landing in 29th place (going 2-3). I didn’t really do much to prepare for this tournament; in fact, I ended up bringing a list I had only run once before the GT.
For about the last six to seven months, I have predominately been playing Sisters of Battle. Gasp! I know, I am a traitor. Tzeentch will never forgive me. To be fair, I have always expressed an interest in playing Adepta Sororitas, even when I was playing Chaos Daemons and Thousand Sons. I can dedicate a separate blog post to detailing the motivations for my switch (as it is a pretty drastic change going from Tzeentch Daemons to Sisters), but I want to be clear that I haven’t abandoned Chaos entirely! I will return to Tzeentch; the call of Chaos is far too tempting to ignore!
Anyway, the list I brought to Battle for the Peak was a “pure” Sisters list. In other words, I did not combine or supplement my Sisters with any Adeptus Mechanicus, Imperial Knights, or Custodes. The original list I was running prior to this tournament did include a Super Heavy Detachment with a Knight Gallant and two Armiger Helverins. Whether I return to that original list for ATC 2019 is still up in the air for me (as I can see the merits of having a Gallant stomp around and serve as a major threat on the tabletop), but I decided to run a pure Sisters list at Battle for the Peak because I wanted to get a sense of what works and what doesn’t for Sisters as they currently are (in light of not having a codex).
I ran two Battalion Detachments: one Ebon Chalice and the other Bloody Rose. The Ebon Chalice detachment consisted of one Cannoness serving as my Warlord (with the Book of St. Lucius as her relic and Indomitable Belief as her Warlord Trait) while the other was an HQ designed to run with the Battle Sisters (allowing them to re-roll 1s to hit). There were three units of Battle Sister Squads (five Sisters in each squad), three Exorcists, two Dominion Squads (all equipped with Storm Bolters), and two Repressors. The Bloody Rose detachment had Celestine and her Geminae, a Missionary, three Battle Sister Squads (five Sisters in each squad), three Penitent Engines, a Rhino, and one unit of nine Arco-Flagellants. I also started out each match at -1 Command Point for the Officio Assassinorum slot (costing 85 points).
The tournament was held in Kissimmee, Florida at a trailer park. Yes, a trailer park. Hey, go ahead and judge. I will admit, I was skeptical at first. Honestly, the venue was much better than I thought it would be! There were tons of tables set up and plenty of room to navigate the space and get between tables. I wasn’t bumping elbows with anybody or getting too close for comfort. The terrain that was provided looked great and was evenly distributed across the tables. Overall, I have zero complaints! Well, sometimes it got a bit hot in there, but with all of the bodies in the room, I suppose that is to be expected…
Given that the FAQ took its sweet ass time to drop (it didn’t grace us with its presence until late April), it was determined that pre-FAQ rules would be utilized for this tournament. I didn’t feel one way or another about this; I just accepted that Imperial Knights were going to run amuck and get their last hurrah in. Lulz. Standard ITC missions were used.
My first match was against Gabriel Rocheleau. He had a pre-FAQ nerf Knight Castellan. QED. Fin. The end. Ha! To be honest, his list was a resilient one. He was running Adeptus Mechanicus with a Knight Castellan. In his Ad Mech Battalion were two Assault Drills and Fulgarite Electropriests. I had only played against Electropriests one other time and it was back when I was running Chaos Daemons. I was reminded of how tough and irritating they can be to tangle with in close combat. Even my Penitent Engines and Arco-Flagellants were struggling with them. I realized by turn two that my Exorcists were better off focusing their shots on the Assault Drills rather than the Castellan, but there was a part of me (a very naïve part) that hoped I could whittle down the Castellan a bit more than I did. My biggest mistake was letting the Castellan phase me out; I should have done more work to eliminate what was directly in front of me. After all, Knight Castellans can do exactly what they need to do just by being parked in the far corner of the table. I did my best to keep up with the onslaught, but it was rough! The loss was devastating: 38 to 10. I was a little discouraged, but I kept reminding myself of my goal (which is always my goal at a tournament): get at least one win. I knew I had four more opportunities to walk away with at least one victory.
Ironically, I ended up playing against Mitch my second match. This would be the one match where deployment worked in my favor. The deployment was Dawn of War, which meant that the majority of my units could get across the board and be aggressive like I needed them to. Mitch was running a Tyranid and Genestealer Cult list, comprised of Acolytes, Atalan Jackals (and an Alphus), a Swarmlord (which I hate), Hive Guard, and of course, Genestealers. I knew (given that Mitch and I play each other all of the time) that this was going to be a pretty bloody match: lots of things were going to charge and lots of things were going to die. I think I spread my units out enough such that I ended up having decent board control; I ran my Repressors separately and their scout movement allowed me to get the leg up on controlling objectives. The Penitent Engines got into some nasty combat with Genestealers and, because for some reason the Swarmlord never wants to die, I had to pump the shots from my Exorcists into it in order to eliminate it. Overall, this game was pretty close but fell in my favor: 27 to 20. There was something funny but also comforting about being able to play against Mitch at the tournament; it was funny given that we play so frequently together and it was comforting because it meant quality time in a new, competitive setting. In the end, I am glad he was my opponent. Teehee.
My third match was against Jon “Bear” Geiger. I dreaded this match. I dreaded it not because of Geiger, but because his list had a reputation: it was the infamous Marauder list. This list was 11th at LVO. I knew what was going to happen: I was going to get tabled. I estimated that I might survive till turn two. I did indeed get tabled, but I lasted until turn six! I take that to be a victory on its own! I think there were a few things that impacted my ability to play well against Bear: the first was that I didn’t know how to handle his list given what I was running. I did have units that had decent output by way of shots (like the Repressors and the Dominion Squads), but I knew that my only chance of knocking the flyers out was going to be with the Exorcists given that their damage is D6 (I also needed to roll well to hit given that the flyers are -1 to hit). There is also something incredibly intimidating about two massive flyers on the table and a giant tank waiting to shoot. The deployment also didn’t help my cause. The deployment was Spearhead Assault, meaning that most of my units (like the Arco-Flagellants and the Penitent Engines) were not going to make the distance necessary to get into close combat as soon as I would like. I overcompensated for this when I got top of the turn because I felt like I needed things to move, not realizing that Bear was ultimately going to be coming to me anyway given the movement characteristic of his models. When he noted this, I understood that I could’ve just hung back and let him come to me and destroy me. The first couple of turns went about how you would expect: the volume of shots coming from the Vultures wiped out a number of my Battle Sister Squads. By turn two, I figured it might be worth charging his Shadowsword with my Arco-Flagellants, but this was pretty uneventful given the toughness of the tank. I was one Exorcist down by turn two and the remaining two Exorcists were wounded (with one of them on its last bracket). I did manage to get rid of one Vulture by turn two, but turn five was when things started getting spicy. I really only had Celestine left on the table at this point, so my final effort was to charge her in and knock a Vulture out of the sky. I managed to do this, but Celestine did fall. At the end of the turn, I rolled a 2+ and she was back in the fight! For my final turn, I charged his third Vulture and managed to get rid of it, securing a Big Game Hunter point. I ended up losing by a big margin: 33 to 12. It was a loss I knew I was going to take, but Geiger was a total joy to play; he was affable, funny, and completely willing to help me when I was making missteps or if I had any questions or puzzlements about anything. He actually told me something that was both heartwarming and slightly unfortunate before our match began; he said, “I have been playing this game for over 20 years and I have never had a woman as my opponent.”
The first day of Battle for the Peak concluded with me at 1-2.
My fourth match, or the first match on Sunday, was against Anthony Hinkel. First, Hinkel’s army was painted beautifully. He was running an awesomely slimy and disgusting Nurgle and Death Guard list, complete with Beasts of Nurgle, Plaguebearers, Poxwalkers, and a number of characters (like Typhus, the Horticulus Slimux, the Sloppity Bilepiper, etc.). This ended up being a pretty gnarly bloodbath. By the first turn, most of our units were locked in close combat with each other and it more or less stayed that way the whole match. I had a Penitent Engine down in the mud with a hefty unit of Poxwalkers and another Penitent Engine locked in battle with the Slimux and Beasts of Nurgle. Before all of the charges were made, I did manage to eliminate some of the Beasts with my Exorcists, but by turns five and six I would become quite frustrated with my Exorcists. By turn three, Hinkel was ready to deep strike his Plaguebearers! Fortunately, I had spread my units out enough such that he couldn’t drop the Plaguebearers in my backfield (hooray for not deploying like an idiot). He ended up having to place his Plaguebearers 9” in front of me with the models side by side in single file lines. He was going to attempt to charge my Exorcists with his Plaguebearers, but I managed to cut him off with my Arco-Flagellants and nail him with 81 attacks thanks to the Extremis Trigger Word stratagem and my Missionary being close to the unit. I took a big chunk out of the unit of Plaguebearers doing that, but near the end of the match Hinkel was able to swamp a few of my Battle Sister Squads and take out my Penitent Engines. Celestine did what she does best: slay characters. I managed to get rid of the Scrivener, the Bilepiper, and the Slimux with her. Unfortunately, my Exorcists let me down in a major way: they completely whiffed with respect to hitting Typhus, which was Hinkel’s Warlord. If they hadn’t whiffed (and if I hadn’t been out of Command Points), I would have gotten my final point for Headhunter, but it just didn’t happen. I will continue hoping and praying that Exorcists will get 2D3 shots instead of D6 shots, but I digress… It was a close match: 30 to 23! Hinkel was a wonderful opponent; he is such a cool guy and so laid back! Even though we had to speedrun the sixth turn given the amount of time left for the match, he didn’t rush me or grow impatient.
I couldn’t think or imagine a better way to end this tournament than to play against Ted Boorum. I have had the pleasure of knowing Ted for a few years now and, in many ways, he has been a mentor to me as I have navigated the world of Warhammer 40K. It was Ted’s Tau versus Dietzy’s Damsels for the final match! Both of us went in with the mindset of having fun (especially since the both of us were 1-4 at this point), but by the fourth turn (which ended up being our final turn) the battle got pretty intense. Each turn had pretty much been point for point: by turn one, he had eliminated one of my Exorcists and a Battle Sister Squad while I had eliminated his Ghostkeel and some Stealth Battlesuits. We kept going back and forth each turn until the bitter end. I realized I was getting into some serious trouble when he whittled down my Arco-Flagellants and Celestine was down and unable to come back by turn three. I also want to take a moment to talk about the way in which my Vindicare Assassin failed me. Vindicare? More like Vindican’t hit anything. Good Lord. I rolled a 1 to hit one of Ted’s characters, spent a Command Point to re-roll it, and I rolled another 1. I ended up doing that two more times during this match! It was absolutely ridiculous. By the fourth turn, it came down to my needing to destroy one of Ted’s Riptides and I was just barely able to do it. If I hadn’t managed to get rid of it, that would have been the game. I secured a victory, but just barely: 20 to 18. I would say this was probably my favorite match of the tournament, not only because I got to play against Teddy and end things in a big way, but also because it was such a nail-biter. Those are always the games that are the best—the ones that are down to the wire.
Daniel Smith, a member of Brohammer, pulled out the big win against David Ozawa (another Bro from Brohammer) with a mixed Chaos list comprised of two Battalion detachments (one Alpha Legion and the other Chaos Undivided) and a Supreme Command Detachment. Dan actually sat down with John Moore (an awesome guy I had the pleasure of playing against at Crucible last year) and Adam Clem of Fog of War and provided a rundown of his list as well as how his matches turned out at the tournament. Please check out the Fog of War podcast! Here is the link to the FoG Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/FogofWar40k/. Catch up on all of the episodes and hear Dan’s interview with John and Adam as well as Carter Leach’s take on Ynnari since the White Dwarf dropped!
A huge thanks to John Lennon and Cass Corneal for their time, help, and patience; they both were great Tournament Organizers. Thanks to Lee Harris for securing the venue, as it was a great space to host the players. Also, a big thanks to Brohammer in general for fostering an inclusive community comprised of talented, kind, and competitive players. I have met some really awesome people through Brohammer and I am excited to be a part of the events they throw and things they do. I can’t wait for next year’s GT! Until next time…