I have returned and rested up from my trip to Canandaigua, New York for Da Boyz GT 2013. This was my first time attending this event. In the past, the only GT I've ever attended has been Adepticon. I must say I was rather nervous about this trip. I always get nervous about attending a GT. I worry about my opponents and whether they're going to be nice or not. I worry about the terrain and whether it's going to be sparse or lack line-of-sight-blocking elements. I worry about whether the tournament or my opponents will accept my conversions for use in our games. For this tournament especially, I worried about the list composition restrictions which felt, to me, like it would restrict the lower-echelon codexes far more than the high-powered codexes. I'm happy to report (spoiler alert) that the vast majority of these concerns were largely unfounded, as usual.
I prepared for this GT by by painstakingly choosing models for cool-factor and then touching up a few of the paint jobs. I also brought along a couple pairs of underpants as a new addition to the Battlepouch in case I defeated a Taudar list and pooped myself (another spoiler alert: my underpants remained unsoiled for the entire tournament).
Location and Event
I drove in with my friend, Kevin, who has a car which is much more reasonable on gas than my little truck, Loretta. We found Canandaigua to be a nice town. Since the event hotel was sold out by the time we registered, we had to stay at the Super 8 in town about 20 miles away. Although this was a bit of a hardship due to the ice and snow which precipitated that weekend, the hotel's proximity to a Michael's craft store and Denny's was rather advantageous. My buddy, Mike explored the Hobbit Hole and he certainly did Slam It Up.
When we pulled into the hotel lot, we knew immediately that we were in the right place...
The event location itself was beautiful. Bristol Harbour Resort had a very cozy hunting lodge feel to the interior. The view from the game halls was absolutely spectacular throughout the weekend.
Da Boyz posted a link to a video someone made of the location before the tournament began.
Although the resort's restaurant and bar are a bit pricey, Da Boyz wisely included food in the price of the ticket and made available a breakfast buffet on Sunday and a lunch buffet on both Saturday and Sunday. This was a really good decision. It's important to keep your body full of the nutrients it needs to keep its energy up and to remain healthy. Water was also available to the players at all times and I never saw us run out of either water or cups at the dispensaries. At the end, one of the organizers mentioned that the price of the tickets may go up slightly next year to better accommodate the food and I won't complain.
Da Boyz GT is a class act. The swag bag contained cool mysterious objectives and a Da Boyz GT churchkey.
The trophies for all the winners are etched (not printed) mugs or pitchers. Very cool. The prize support is pretty phenomenal. There was a mountain of Games Workshop kits, cases, and other swag piled up as you entered the main game hall. Many of the prizes were for the tournament winners, but there was also a big raffle drawing at the end. Everyone got one free ticket and another free ticket for each lost game. After that, you could buy tickets.
Pair-A-Dice games was one of the generous sponsors as well as Tablewar, Rivetzone, Valkyrie Painting, and Mr.Dandy. I'd never seen a Tablewar case before and I could feel my itchy consumer trigger-finger twitching.
The main hall was huge and quite well-lit, but not too harshly. All the best terrain was in there. If you were losing your games, you were assigned to the Fun Room which was a secondary gaming hall. The best part about the Fun Room is that there's free beer! On the last round, instead of free beer, raffle tickets were given to all of the Fun Room attendees and extra prizes were raffled off. While the main hall didn't lack for fun with some of the T.O.s (probably as drunk as everyone else) cheerfully hollering into the portable sound system, the Fun Room did have a slightly more laid back atmosphere. Some of the players joked about tanking their games so they could stay there.
Time was not an issue throughout the tournament. The rounds were two and a half hours long. All of my games finished with plenty of time to spare. I noticed very few games going to time around me. My feelings are that people are beginning to get quite used to 6th edition and those who are not can be easily assisted by those who can. Terrain was pre-set, but we were allowed to adjust or remove one piece of terrain (within reason) to fit our Fortification. I don't think that player-set terrain would have negatively impacted time, but more on terrain later. Postings were quick and we were given thirty minutes between rounds to find our next table assignments.
I also tried a new dice system which you can see being used in some of my later pictures. I stacked the dice in my dice tray in rows of 5 in two groups so that I could count them quickly. Also, when I pulled misses after rolling, I tried to do so in groups of 5 at a time for use later. The first part worked well. I think the second part was a little clumsy, though I may get used to it.
Having said that, I certainly saw a huge variety of army lists over the course of the tournament and I have no doubt that (at least on the mid-tables and the Fun Room) the comp helped to bring that about and that's pretty cool. The real takeaway on the comp system is that it gave me an opportunity to look at my army a little differently than I had before and added some spice to the army-building metagame.
The comp will certainly not stop me from attending next year. I should note, however, that I would certainly like to see the restriction on units which may be taken as both troops and another slot increased from two to four. It would be nice to run a proper Warboss/Nob/Battlewagon or Wazdakka/Biker list next year.
The terrain at Da Boyz GT is phenomenal. This is not hyperbole. The terrain is the best that I have ever seen at an event. The genius behind this terrain is a competition. Players actually bring in tables of terrain which are voted on by the attendees. The best table wins a prize. This spirit of competition and community involvement produces some really exceptional tables. Since we drive in, I'm considering participating next year and doing an Ork Scrapyard or something.
Every table I saw had an adequate amount of terrain including line-of-sight blocking. Indeed, I do believe that Da Boyz understands and has embraced the need for more terrain in 6th Edition as prescribed in the rulebook. Although it was not player-placed, good thought was put into the placement of the terrain and every player had the tools they needed to win.
I'm not going to go into detail about each table. I'll let the pictures I took speak for themselves.Sadly, some of my pictures got lost in the Warp, but you can check out my games played pics below for a few more shots.
Some of you may recall my list from a previous post. It was basically a combination of my favorite models along with a handful of competitive choices. The list was actually fun to play, though I do have a few minor regrets about the models I chose. More on that later.
Game 1 - Fast Grey Knights with Dropped Space Wolves
Dawn of War deployment, Crusade (4 objectives) primary, Purge the Astartes secondary.
My first game was with a Grey Knight/Space Wolf list. It comprised of Interceptors, Coteaz, henchmen, a Dreadknight, Dreadnoughts, Grey Hunters in Drop Pods, and a Runepriest. I usually do very well against lists of this kind, but I was off my game that morning. I made some poor target priority choices by going after the Dreadknight. It's not so terrible because it rattles people pretty bad when they lose a Dreadknight on turn one, but I couldn't quite seal the deal. It survived and I was on my back foot the rest of the game.
I never really made it to the other side of the board in this game. Things fell apart rather quickly because of all the shooting. I did manage to kill quite a few models and Mad Doc did get dug in with quite a few models and didn't do too bad, but then he failed three saves/feel no pain and died. On a happy note, Shazzo Blitzklawz (Zagstruck) actually landed where he ought to and killed some Terminators before dying.
It was a good game and my opponent was quite pleasant, however when I came back to the table after lunch, I found a large piece of line-of-sight blocking terrain in the center of the table where there hadn't been one previously. I hope that this had been added by a Judge rather than replaced by my opponent. It would make me very sad to think he'd gotten rid of it temporarily for his advantage.
Orks 0, Grey Knights/Space Wolves 33
Game 2 - Inquisitorial Grey KnightsVanguard Strike deployment, The Relic primary, the Emperor's Will (2 objectives) secondary.
My second game was against another Grey Knight player. He was running an inquisitorial list. The guy was a slightly fluffier player and seemed excited about the new Inquisition codex even though he couldn't use it that day. He did have some Grey Knights in the army, though, including a Strike Squad and a couple of Dreadnoughts.
During this game I moved laterally with the Battlewagons, claiming cover whenever possible. My first target was his quadgun which I actually destroyed with my own quadgun. This allowed the Dakkajets to pretty much run around with impunity. Da Yeller Klaw, my Deff Dread didn't do too bad a job at distracting some Weaponsmiths for a couple of turns.
Again, Shazzo Blitzklaws deepstruck in and landed without cracking his skull open. He assaulted a psyker squad and killed it to a man.
In the end, we were tied. I tried to kill Coteaz behind the Aegis Defense Line using the Dakkajets to Focus Fire snipe him out, but he used Look Out Sir to deflect the bullets.
We laughed at the fact that we'd managed to tie the game and cheerfully began filling out our sheets. As we were filling out our sheets, I remembered that Coteaz's squad hadn't made their leadership test. My opponent was happy to oblige and rolled an 11. Then an 8. Coteaz fell off the board and an objective. I felt really crappy about that, but my opponent laughed it off. He was a really cool dude.
Orks 12, Grey Knights 1
Game 3 - Mechanized Dark Eldar
Hammer & Anvil deployment with Big Guns Never Tire primary, The Scouring secondary (6 total objectives)
This game was against a Dark Eldar player. I was extremely concerned about this match-up, because Lances have a way of ruining my day. They eat poor Battlewagons alive. I played the game super cagey. I knew that my opponent had no anti-air, so I stayed as far away with my vehicles as possible. I did start the game with them a bit forward as you see in the picture above, but that was only to make certain he deployed a bit forward. On turn 1, he threw a few shots at the bastion, but then for the next few turns I backed up and moved laterally with the vehicles while blasting away with WAAGH! Tower and my Dakkajets. He backed off a bit, stunned at the shooting, but then quickly realized that was a mistake and pressed forward late in the game. Of course, by then it was too late. I had a lot of short range firepower left and simply eliminated everything that came nearby.
My opponent was a really good sport the entire time and I did my best to encourage him. He was honest about his lack of recent experience and I did my best to give him a few pointers. I hope that he felt I was being helpful and not a know-it-all. My buddy recalled later that someone came up to the table next to him and begin regaling a story of an incredulous game with an Ork opponent playing cagey with a Bastion. I think the entire situation perplexed him. I think my play style has that effect sometimes.
It, of course, did not perplex my next opponent. Not by a long shot.
Orks 22, Dark Eldar 6
Game 4 - Eldar/Tau Mobile Shooting Gallery
Vanguard Strike Deployment with The Scouring primary, The Relic secondary.
I'd won two out of three games by this point, so I found myself taken out of the Fun Room and placed firmly in the main hall against an Eldar/Tau list. My entire strategy against this list coming into the tournament was to win the roll to go first and fan out, hoping to catch things in assault. I always knew that going second against this list would almost certainly be a loss. I lost the roll to go first, so I deployed defensively and played as cagey with my troops as I possibly could. I used Mad Doc and my non-scoring to distract my opponent on his side of the board. Unfortunately, these units just couldn't hold on long enough for me to score objectives and keep him strung out. The shooting was just way too good.
The game was an absolute nightmare, but I must stress that my opponent was a good guy and really tried to improve my experience.
It's important to note here how important it is to discuss terrain with your opponent before the game. When he put his Skyray and Riptide on top of the building you see in the upper right hand corner of the picture, I said, "Hold on. Let's talk about terrain." We had a short discussion about the buildings on the table and agreed to make them impassible, but I stressed, "The only thing I need you to agree to is that if you're putting models on top of this thing, I need to be able to assault up it. That's all." He agreed.
Meanwhile, somewhere around turn two, on the table next to us, a bit of an argument erupted. A Tau/Eldar player had his Riptide and a Wave Serpent standing on top of a tall building shooting at his Chaos Space Marine opponent and a Judge was trying to adjudicate an argument about the fairness of such a tactic. Once the Tau player had moved his models off the building and the Judge had walked away, I grinned at my opponent and said "And that's the argument I was trying to avoid." He seemed to agree.
It is so important to discuss terrain before the game begins. Most people are going to be agreeable about your concerns. Just make sure they know ahead of time so they can plan their strategy around it.
Orks 0, Eldar/Tau 33
Game 5 - Eclectic Carcaharodons
Hammer & Anvil deployment, Purge the Astartes primary, Big Guns Never Tire (4 objectives) secondary.
The next day dawned bright and I found myself in the main hall again. I played an awesome game against a Space Marine player. I'm not going to lie, I really thought I had this one in the bag. I eat Space Marines for a living. He had a Tactical Squad in a drop pod, a squad of Devastator Centurions, a squad of full-melta Legion of the Damned, a Thunderfire Cannon, two small Tactical Squads with Lascannons, a squad of Thunderhammer/Stormshield Terminators, a Stormtalon, a Tactical Squad in a drop pod, and a command squad in a drop pod with Calgar.
First of all, the board we played on was beautiful. It was easily the best one I played on all weekend. It was designed as a world infested by Tyranids. We figured that his Carcharodons had landed here expecting to purge some Tyranids, but they'd gotten their intel wrong. These weren't Tyranid Biomorphs... they were Ork birthing pods!
Things were going well for me in the beginning. True, he killed my transports, but I was in his deployment zone when that happened, so I was pretty okay with that. I proceeded to slaughter most of his army, particularly with some lucky shots on his Thunderfire Cannon from a Dakkajet which negated his ability to really kill my Gretchin which I'd stupidly left on the roof of the Bastion.
Again, Shazzo Blitzklaws dropped in and successfully assaulted the Terminators! I was beginning to get a little weirded out at the Shazzo's accuracy in my games.
The most exciting part of our game was when Mad Doc's unit assaulted Calgar's and challenged him ("CALGAR!!! TAKE ME AWAY!"). Finally! An opponent I could fight in a challenge and it doesn't mean either model dies before the other can swing! In the end, I'd landed two unsaved wounds and Drillteef came out unscathed. Calgar fell back on purpose, then killed a Trukk. I was perplexed by this and, in my turn, shot the poor chap to death with a Dakkajet.
It was quite a hard-fought battle. In the end, it was the Legion of the Damned who sealed it for him. He threw melta into my Bastion and killed the Lootaz inside, then assaulted the Gretchin which had tried to run away from the structure that, while not destroyed, was still a death trap. In the end, as is usual, even though I did reduce his numbers greatly, I could not withstand the remaining bolter fire on his side of the board. I tried to weather it and use my battlewagon to keep the tattered remains of my army alive, but in the end the Wagons crumpled and his Terminators refused to fail their 3++ saves fast enough. In the end, I lost kill points 10-9.
I absolutely can't feel bad about such a great game that I really could have won on kill points against Space Marines. My opponent was awesome and we had a super fun game. This game really represented what a game of 40k should feel like... a close game between awesome armies on beautiful terrain and between friendly opponents.
Orks 2, Space Marines 32
Game 6 - Hive Fleet Beluosis
Dawn of War deployment with Emperor's Will With a Twist primary and Crusade (4 Objectives) as secondary.
This was another awesome, imaginative mission. Each player received two objectives, one of which must be placed outside their deployment zone. The primary objective was to score objectives outside your deployment zone, the secondary was just total objectives. What a wonderful mission that creates a little metagame which really makes you think. I loved it.
It was wonderful playing him again. The great thing about Orks vs. Tyranids is that it is always satisfying. So much ends up dead!
I moved laterally with Da Yeller Klaw and the Big Chef. I put my Meganobz on the roof of the Bastion to save the Gretchin from the Biovores. I played cagey at first with my Battlewagons, shooting at anything that came near the center objectives.
Eventually, he pressed through my lines and I was forced to make my own counter-push. I shoved models into the choke-points, shooting and assaulting his scoring units. Shazzo Blitzklawz again deepstruck right in front of his Biovores, assaulted, and murdered them. I honestly don't know what's going on with him. Da Yeller Klaw was assaulted by a Tervigon. The momma and he had a bit of a slap fight in the first round of their combat, but he whiffed completely on the second while she crushed him to death. Great fight! In the end, the Meganobz actually leapt off the Bastion in order to shoot and assault some 'gaunts near the center left objective. We went to turn six and I won thanks to shooting some 'gaunts off his back objective and taking it with four lonely Ork Boyz being shielded by a Battlewagon with 1 hull point left on it.
Also, its important to note that I did let out a good, healthy "WAAGH!" during this game. I figured what the heck, it's the last game of the tournament and we were in the Fun Room.
Orks 32, Tyranids 2
Battle Points: 84/198
Total Points: 146/298
I think this image is STILL appropriate:
Each player was ranked from favorite opponent to least favorite opponent. This system is really cool because it really finds the best opponents in the bunch. It is simple and effective. I am really glad that my opponents rated me so highly. I'm sure that my opponent from my 4th game may have rated me low because I was pretty grumpy during that game because I wasn't really having any fun. I tried to keep my spirits up, but it was really difficult watching my models just get blown off the table. I actually almost fell asleep once while he was shooting. However, that's just one black mark on an otherwise fantastic time and I am glad I was able to have been a part of the good time had by others.
The maximum you can get is 40 before the top percent points are awarded. I am a little disappointed in my 28 appearance score. It stands in contrast to my almost perfect score at Adepticon 2013.
I met up with the judge and asked him what tips he could give me to improve my painting. He said that my army looked awesome and that there were only four or five people he gave full points for conversions and I was one of them. He also said my vehicles looked great. He also let me know that my army looked like a progression from early-painted models to recently painted models. This was very true and something I'd been concerned about. My 'Ard boyz and Orange Boyz are kind of early work even though the 'Ard Boyz have received a bit of a recent update. At Adepticon, I just brought my Shoota Boyz which are almost brand new and have better-executed highlights on them.
So, even though I'm a little disappointed, it does make a lot of sense. This army was, technically, not painted as nicely as the one I'd brought to Adepticon. My goal after finishing the huge Titan project that is looming before me will be to go through all my infantry and work on reducing some of the splotchiness of the Boyz' shirts and also improving the highlights on their skin.
The judge also explained that my army looked a bit dusty which is true. The army sees a lot of action and sometimes finds itself left out. I also sometimes have to leave foam out of my bags. I need to get some boxes for my extra foam. He also suggested using an airbrush to blow the dust off, so I'll give that a try as well.
I am truly floored.