ATC, War Convocation and YOU!
(a record of ATC 2016 from the AdMech perspective).
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Greetings fleshlings, your friendly neighborhood Arch-Magos here Dernicus with reports of action in the eastern Tennessee region. Another year’s competition is done and has begun to fade to memories as we look forward to another year. Before the data-haze of time corrupts the events here’s a report of the progress of the Omnissiah’s strongest servants.
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Alrighty, that was fun, but lets speak plainly. Dernicus here to report on the American Team Championship. This year was my 3rd ATC, with my 3rd team, and 3rd list and I felt like expressing my opinions on this massive, cornerstone event of competitive 40k might. Hopefully this might lend some kernel of entertainment and insight through the lenses of this humble AdMech general’s experiences. But, to appreciate the following recording, lets look at what was on my side of the battlefield:
(10)Skitarii Vanguard, 3x Plasma caliver, Omnispex
(Warlord) Vanguard Alpha, Arc Maul, Pater Radium(R), (all the upgrades)
(6)Skitarii Rangers, 2x Arc Rifles, Omnispex
Ranger Alpha, Arc Maul, Arc Pistol, Skull of Elder Tesla(R), (all the upgrades)
(5)Sicarian Ruststalkers, Chordclaw/Transonic Razor
Princeps, Omnicesent Mask(R), (all the upgrades)
(5)Sicarian Infiltrators, Flechette Blaster/Taser Goads
Princeps, Phospex(R), (all the upgrades)
(2)Sydonian Dragoons, Taser Lance, Phophor Serpentia
(2)Onager Dunecrawler, 2x Icarus Array, 2x Cognis Heavy Stubber, Cognis Manipulator
Cult Mechanicus Battle Congregation
Techpriest Dominus, Volkite Charger, Scryerskull Persepticus(R)
(3)Kataphron Destroyers, Heavy Grav-Cannon, Phosphor blaster
(3)Kataphron Destroyers, Heavy Grav-Cannon, Phosphor blaster
Void Shield Generator, 3x Void Shields
Oathsworn Knight Detachment
Imperial Knight Warden, Stormspear Missile Pod
Xenos Inquisitor, Rad Grenades, 3x Servo Skulls
Pretty straight forward, and yet many moving parts. In large part, the list has so much variables, so many specialized and fancy named war-gear and units that it can be quite the headache to play with and against. I’d been playing War Convocation for nearly a year now (starting shortly after last years ATC), so I’ve had a fair amount of experience and had built up a method to the madness that is controlling a War Convocation optimally. Coteaz being an attempt to go first whenever possible; the Inquisitor to combo with the Vangaurd Rad Saturation ability to reduce an enemy’s toughness -2 in close combat; a fair amount of Grav to threaten those with armor; and the VSG to buffer against longer ranged foes. Now, lets look at the individual rounds and what happened in each (briefly, I promise).
Round 1: vs Khorne Daemonkin
Deployed 2nd, went 2nd
My first round opponent was a good chap, having told me that he was just returning to tournament play for some time I felt this would be a relaxed game most likely. His army was beautifully painted, fielding a Khorne-marked Chaos Knight, a Bloodthirster, a Lord with the Bloodthirster Ax (never can remember the proper name), 2 large packs of Khorne Hounds, and two large squads of Khorne Berserkers. The army was very thematic, and certainly had some teeth, but having had quite a bit of practice against the Champion of Khorne himself, Horton Doughtry, I felt confident against the list in particular. There was much banter, much blood for the blood-god, but in the end, my opponent was not prepared for the Machine-God’s children.
The game ended with an AdMech decisive victory, nearly a tabling shy of a summoned unit of Khorne Hounds after the 2nd Bloodthirster fell to Litanies of the Electromancer. Everything went according to plan in this fight and it certainly helped that much of my prep for this event included very well played KDK lists that I was not caught unawares, nor did I overextend as I knew what the list could do.
Final Score: Win-19-1
Round 2: vs Chaos Daemons(Incursion)
Deployed 2nd, Seized the Initiative
Next up was the Daemon player for the eventual (and returning) champions, Team Happy. Another Daemon match up, which is certainly not my chosen foe, Id again played against several very competent Daemon lists with my War Convocation. I have seen plenty of Daemons fall to the warriors of Mars through over-confidence of their Chaotic generals, but this was not the case. A basic rundown was 3 units of Pink Horrors, Fateweaver, 3 or 4 Exalted Heralds of Tzeentch, a unit of Furries, a unit of Screamers of Tzeentch, a unit of Nerglings, and a Voidshield Generator. The sheer domination of the psychic phase was a bit oppressive, coupled with the detachment benefits to manipulate the Warp Storm, casting of Psychic powers and all that backed up with Fateweaver. Needless to say, this was going to be an uphill battle at best. Once more this game degenerated into a massive melee with Electormancer and rad effects to try and break the terror known as ScreamerStar.
In the end, the taint of the Warp overtook the day, with some murmurs of questionable plays, and coming down to the last moments of the round. In hindsight, there were a handful of risky plays that I made, but needed to be made to keep the Daemons from completely running away with the game.
Final Score: Loss 1-19
Round 3: vs Renegade Guard(Vrakks) + Renegade Knight + Chaos Daemons
Deployed 1st, Seized on (with double 6’s!)
To finish off the day we faced up against Forge the Narrative. I chose to take on the Vrakks Renegades player, again, confident in the knowledge of previous games against similar armies. He had 2x Earthshakers, 2x units of Thudd-guns, 90 Zombies, the Demagog to fire into combat, 30 pink horrors, a Great Unclean One and a double Gatling Cannon Renegade Knight. The game did start off on a bit of a back-foot due to the being Seized on, but I still felt I could weather the Barrage storm with proper Canticles (Shroudpsalm) and the protection of my Void Shields. Much carnage and upsets back and forth, the game was a meat-grinder for sure.
Alas, the traitorous scum turned out to have more guns in the end. On a personal triumph, I was able to kill off not one, but TWO Great Unclean One’s (one with Iron Arm), but I was not able to overcome the continuous rains of artillery. Another loss certainly wasn’t cheering my spirits, BUT the knowledge that my team’s games fared better then mine, ending with a 2-1 team record despite my lack of point contributions.
Final Score: Loss 0-20
Round 4 vs Tau
Deploy 1st, go 1st
This list was certainly a doozy, but I, again, felt I had a chance. It consisted of a Storm Surge, a Riptide Wing, a pair of Forgeworld Riptides (with the VERY powerful Haywire flamers), and a drone-controller Commander. In deployment I gave my opponent pause as I was able to control the board as my Destroyers were placed centralized, forcing the Tau to cower in one of the corners to stay outside of the 36” threat range. For 4 turns, I forced all of the suits to stay in that same corner of a corner, but in the end my warlord trait (-1 to enemy Reserve Rolls) was my undoing as it kept his lone Objective Secured Crisis suit off the table until turn 4 where it landed and was able to take the Relic.
It was a brutal battle of cat and mouse, with many phases of ridiculous dice results. But, in the end, the Tau were victorious by a breath and a roll. Honestly, this was one of my favorite games of the event, with a very fun opponent.
Final Score: Loss 8-12
Round 5 vs Iron Hands Strike Force/Deathstar
Deploy 2nd, go 2nd.
I was a bit apprehensive against this match, in part because of my opponent, but I felt confident (noticing a trend yet?) that I could handle a death-star with my own cheesiness (Rad + Rad + Electromancer is a nasty bit of rolling that even high end star’s need to consider). He had a Fist of Medusa Strike force with a Demi Company, a Strike Force Command (command squad with 4 Storm Shields, Apothecary), Dreadnought, a Librairus Conclave, some Sisters of Battle for Saint Celestine, and Coteaz. For the uninitiated, this death-star was majority Toughness 5, with 4x 3++, with a 3+ Feel No Pain, all the while casting Veil of Time to re-roll their invulnerable saves. Against EVERYTHING else in his list I dominated, only not tabling all but the DeathStar due to time (literally was rolling damage when dice down was called).
Now, my opponent was dealing with some sickness issues and there was a bit of a drag because of it, but overall the game went as expected… aside from the insanity of his dice rolls, and the battle with time. In retrospect I wish I had been a bit more insistent. On expedited game-play given we both had complicated lists.
Final Score: Loss 9-11
Round 6 vs Tau
Deploy 1st, go 1st
Now, this was not my favorite game. This had been the first round that I was not led with, but I still chose my opponent and take much of the blame for picking this particular list to fight. That said, we started off rocky to say the least. I digress, the nastiness I played against was TWO Optimized Stealth Cadre formations (with 3x Ghostkeels each, and 2 Stealth suites), a Riptide, Kroot and Fire warriors and a Tidewall. Those who don’t know, the Optimized Stealth Cadre have an (ACTIVATED) ability called “Wall of Mirrors” that, when ACTIVATED, gives the units in the detachment Ignores Cover and strike as though Rear Armor regardless of facing. I honestly didn’t realize it gave Ignores Cover, so that was entirely my bad.
We slugged out 5 turns, leaving my Vanguard squad the only alive on my side. Honestly I could have made more of a game of it had I paid attention but with the exchanges against the player outside of the game itself I just didn’t have it in me and resolved to not get tabled.
Final Score: Loss 0-20
What conclusions can we take from this sequence of apparent disasters? Despite the apparent power level of the list, War Convocation is certainly not an autopilot list. In every single game I had plays that could have led to victory. With the exception of the first battle, none of my rounds were assuredly in my favor. I had the tools, the options, the possibilities, but I’m still learning. More so, I feel that War Convocation is something I can confidently play BUT against the multitudes of possible lists out there I need more practice to be able to confront new and nasty foes.
In particular, at ATC, War Con did well as it’s a jack of all trades list, being able to swiftly change from an astonishing amount of firepower to a strong melee game, and with a few tricks of its own making it’s no surprise that it was on the Championship team, and 16 other teams (including myself). While in the end I placed 16th of 17 Ad Mech players, my team did very well, placing 11th overall. This makes me consider how much better we might have done had I played the list that much better, even to bring the two decisive defeats into closer games by playing the missions better and managing the game time a bit more.
With the new pairings system this year it was much my own fault for the lists I lost to as I picked (or gave the OK to pick) every one I fought against. Perhaps with a bit more questioning I could have perhaps chosen better, but those lists would have been paired against my teammates and much the same result perhaps. Even with my record, its quite possible I could bring it next year to greater effect, with improvements as Games Workshop has seen fit to change things all the time of late.
And with that, I’ll leave you all with this final thought. ATC is an astounding event that everyone should try to attend at least once. Taking War Convocation was certainly a good play as it was one of the strongest lists I’ve played and did what it was supposed to, albeit with fewer 20-0’s then our liking. WarCon isn’t going anywhere anytime soon and yet it is fallible, which feels good for the game as a whole. “Unbeatable” lists take away from the game as anyone not playing such feels oppressed, and those playing them can become lost as well when there’s no challenge anymore. Thank you all for reading thus far and I look forward to future insight (perhaps not quite so rambling!).