Heroes World Highlander Tournament (1,500 pts)

Hey all!  I had the great pleasure and privilege to be enrolled in my first tournament over this weekend, a 10 man 4 gamer just yesterday.  I don’t think I’ve ever had this much fun playing Warhammer before, and had 4 AWESOME games.  

Without spoiling anything, I’ll take you directly to my wicked-cool Tyranid Highlander List:

The Swarmlord and Friends:

  • The Swarmlord
    • 3x Tyrant Guard: 2x LW & Bonesword, 1x Crushing Claw
  • Zoanthrope Brood (x3): Neurothrope
  • Genestealers (x6): Broodlord
  • Hormagaunts (x12)
  • Termagants (x12): Devourers (x12)
  • Warriors (x3): Venom Cannon, Rending Claws, LW & Bonesword & Double-Bonesword
  • Carnifex: Stranglethorn Cannon, Adrenal Glands
  • Trygon Prime: Toxin Sacs

Not much really to say about this list, except it’s a very low model count at 1,500 points, and also VERY SLOW.  There’s a couple of bugs that can get up and in your face (infiltrating Stealers and the deep striking Trygon), but otherwise these guys do their work in assault.

2015-05-31 07.38.12
This list does represent every single model I have for Tyranids as well, so I didn’t really have any flexibility in that respect.  I had to remove 2 genestealers for point considerations, and running the Phodian formation wasn’t a possibility if I wanted to fit the zoanies *AND* Mr. Swarmlord (which I did).

I wasn’t feeling particularly thrilled with respect to this list even though it has the potential to do a lot of damage.  At the outset of the tourney, and knowing some of the competition I’d be up against (based on the tune-up games I had played earlier), I said I would have been thrilled with 1-2 wins on the day.

Welp, we’ll see how that holds up now won’t we?

Game One – Tyranids vs. Orkz
Eternal War – Crusade – Night Fight T1 – Vanguard Strike

I drew one of my favourite opponents in the first round, none other than Grovin’Grove of MWG innernet famooseness.  He brought an Ork list that featured a 30 strong unit of Stormboyz with a painboy on a bike riding along, as well as a 30 strong foot mob with Mad-Dok Grotsnik.  There were a bunch of bikes and Coptas, a battery of 3 Lobbas, a whack of Lootas, and a trukk with 3 Meganobz.  Their goal was to close the distance fast and stay mobile enough to cap the objectives at the end.

Most of the game was spent in the Assault phase.
Most of the game was spent in the Assault phase.

The game didn’t disappoint, as the Stormboyz charged the Swarmlord and his full retinue on the bottom of Turn 1.  This assault would drag-on for a long time, with the Boyz benefiting for a 5+ FNP on anything that didn’t cause Instant Death (which admittedly was quite a lot with all the Boneswords and Swarmie…)

WAAAGH!  Swarmie has his lunch delivered to him, him and his unit eating about 8 Orkz per round of combat (give or take)
WAAAGH! Swarmie has his lunch delivered to him, him and his unit eating about 8 Orkz per round of combat (give or take)

The big hit of the game for the bugs is when the Neurothrope uncorked a massive psychic assault on the Deff Coptas, and leached all the spirits out of them for a ridiculous 9 wounds.

The Meganobz had previously failed their charge on the H-Gaunts right before the Neurothrope sucked the life out of 'em.  The Carnifex, lurking, took care of the remaining MANz.
The Meganobz had previously failed their charge on the H-Gaunts right before the Neurothrope sucked the life out of ’em. The Carnifex, lurking, took care of the remaining MANz.
The MANz ride gave the Carnifex the stink-eye as he went screaming past him, like two trucks passing each other on the highway.
The MANz ride gave the Carnifex the stink-eye as he went screaming past him, like two trucks passing each other on the highway.
After mopping up the T-gants, the Boyz and Grotsnik decide to give Swarmie a pass, and assault the Carnifex instead, killing it outright.  It was the PK that did it :(
After mopping up the T-gants, the Boyz and Grotsnik decide to give Swarmie a pass, and assault the Carnifex instead, killing it outright. It was the PK that did it 😦

When the dust settled, there was a very contented looking Trygon Prime standing on an objective, and The Swarmlord was standing on a pile of Ork bodies about 50 tall at the centre of the table.  The sole survivors on the Ork side were the Bikers, which made a huge mess of the Warriors, Genestealers, and flanked the Zoanthropes, but were unable to capture any objectives for fear of being assaulted by a liberated murder-machine.

A fantastic, bloody gory mess of a game.  But Oak takes game 1, 5-1!

Game Two – Tyranids vs. SM (Imperial Fists)
Maelstrom – Tac. Escalation – Night Fight T1 – Hammer and Anvil

Oh god.  This game was against the same opponent that schooled me in the ways of the Grav-Centurions in knocking out Swarmie and picking off a unit per turn.  Shooting was scary effective.

This is an interesting game mission, in that you need to have bodies on the table at the end of the game in order to cap objectives.

Poor Carnifex was the early casualty, he was down to 1 wound from some insanely good shooting from the Sniper Scouts and a lascannon.  Unable to get into cover large enough to hide him away, he tried for the box-cars charge against the landraider in what would be an ultimately futile affair.

Ironically, my opponent had just picked up the “kill a monstrous creature card”.  Crap.

Other than that, the game was largely tentative until about T3, when I decided that I needed to force the issue in order to start gaining some momentum on objectives.  It worked out rather nicely, but had to sacrifice my entire right flank and a Trygon to make it work.

My warriors and T gants took advantage of the aggression on the right flank and pushed into the left.  The big moment here was charging into a small group of tactical marines and killing all but one, making the nearby Sternguard unit extremely cross.  In the ensuing turn, the nids broke combat, got into position and let the Sternguard’s rhino have it.

Devilgants make full use of Onslaught to get into a prime firing position on the Sternguard's rhino, and let fly.  The Swarmlord is lurking off-camer on the right side, otherwise the Sternguard might have bailed out on the other side...
Devilgants make full use of Onslaught to get into a prime firing position on the Sternguard’s rhino, and let fly. The Swarmlord is lurking off-camer on the right side, otherwise the Sternguard might have bailed out on the other side…

The T-gants hopped onto the objective, and the Warriors nailed the sniper scouts for a 5 point turn 5, which is ultimately what won me the game.

Heroic lone Termagant is credit to team!
Heroic lone Termagant is credit to team!

At the end of it, I had 1 Warrior, 1 T-gant, the Swarmlord and one of his Tyrant Guard remaining.  I only killed 250 points of Marines.

I had no business winning that game, but I did, 10-9.

Game Three – Tyranids vs. Tau (Farsight)
Eternal War – Purge the Alien – Dawn of War

OH GOD.  Tau!  I was able to make some noise against Shopkeep’s Tau previously, but this one had a different flavour, with my opponent sneaking in a Farsight Bomb into his Highlander list.  I’d never played against a list constructed like this, but my course of action was clear.  I needed to make progress while there was progress to be made (IE until the bomb arrives).

Deployment, more or less.  I got seized on, as well.  :(
Deployment, more or less. I got seized on, as well. 😦

I plod across no-mans land to try and get in to do some damage.  Eventually Swarmie wipes out the Broadsides (yay!) but I’ve already taken some pretty horrific casualties by the time I get there.  When the bomb eventually drops on T4, it’s all over.

The only units I have left are now Swarmie and a Tyrant Guard, and the Trygon Prime which is running around trying to chase down their Skyray.  He eventually succeeded, but that was the ballgame.

This game really exposed the lack of mobility I have in this build, and will definitely be something I need to address in future builds.

Oak loses Game 3 11-3

Game Four – Tyranids vs. Blood Angels
Maelstrom – Contact Lost – Dawn of War

This is a game where both players were pretty stoked for the match-up.  The BA player is very experienced with his army, and knows what it is capable of.  Both armies had a heavy serving of great striking ability, and were were excited to see how it shook out.

BA Army List included a Libby, Priest, small tac in a razorback, sniper scouts, 5 man group of Sanguinary Guard, riding in a Stormraven, 5 Assault Termies (TH/SS) riding in a Landraider Crusader, and a Fast Predator w/ 2x Lascannons and an Autocannon.

Deployment.  Same table as Game 3, and very similar deployment, but decided to stack up some units on the right side to see if I could reduce the effectiveness of the BA's speed.  Stealers were infiltrated as close as possible to the predator on the other flank, to harass that side...

Deployment. Same table as Game 3, and very similar deployment, but decided to stack up some units on the right side to see if I could reduce the effectiveness of the BA’s speed. Stealers were infiltrated as close as possible to the predator on the other flank, to harass that side…

The game got bloody in a hurry.

By this point, the Tac squad is already completely gone.  The Terminators hop out to exact gory vengeance.
By this point, the Tac squad is already completely gone. The Terminators hop out to exact gory vengeance.

They succeed in doing so, largely because the unit was so whittled down by all the AP2 shooting coming down from the Raven and some prodigious dakka from the Crusader.  Swarmie still kills 2 of them on his final wound, and dies a hero.  Surely his final words were: “RRRAARRANNNGGGGHHSZZZZZZzzzzzz*”

(* “My lunch is eating me?!?!  How obsurd!”)

Devilgaunts kill 2 of the surviving terminators, and the Carnifex polishes off the third, consolidating onto an objective.

Carnifex remembers the Alamo.  Stormraven drops its payload and they go to work, Wiping my centre including Carnifex and the Devil-Gaunts
Carnifex remembers the Alamo. Stormraven drops its payload and they go to work, Wiping my centre including Carnifex and the Devil-Gaunts

Noticing that the BA player at this point isn’t really playing for objectives (by this point I’ve built up a 10-3 lead or so), the Hive Mind orders a charge in the opposite direction of the bug-hunting Blood Angels, who systematically hunt down the remaining xenos unit by unit.

Mercifully, the game ends at the bottom of Turn 5 when I’ve got 4 models left on the table.  Things were NOT looking good however.

The final stand, and how the game ended.
The final stand, and how the game ended.

Final score was 12-3 in favour of the bugs, but again, I had no business winning this game.  If it continued, I would have been tabled for sure.


At the end of the day, there were 4 players with a 3-1 record, so the tie breaker went to the player with the most mission objective points.  Thus, final placings were as follows:

  1. Eldar/Dark Eldar (3-1 & 46 Obj. Pts.)
  2. Necrons (3-1 & 45 Obj. Pts.)
  3. Tau (Farsight) (3-1 & 36 Obj. Pts.)
  4. The Swarmlord and Friends (3-1 & 30 Obj. Pts)

I don’t think I’ve had so much fun playing 40k before, all of the games were absolutely fantastic and everyone I played against were playing with sportsmanship to the extreme.  In the Tau Farsight battle he kept reminding me to take my FnP rolls and in the BA I was allowed to redo a single movement because I forgot that Storm Ravens are AV12 on the back (derp).

Again, I had a great time, and am looking forward to the next one.

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13 thoughts on “Heroes World Highlander Tournament (1,500 pts)”

  1. Nice summary of the day and congrats on doing so well.

    As for not earning the wins, you certainly did. If the goal was to just kill your opponent then games would be very dull and outcomes determined early. Playing the mission, whatever that is, despite taking heavy casualties is legit and how you win games. If they want to focus on nuking your army while you score points then that’s their own fault and doesn’t diminish your victory for playing the mission.

    1. Thanks Thor! Killing folks certainly was the objective in Game 3, and I was found wanting there. Which is kind of interesting.

      I certainly walked the tight-rope, as in 3 of the 4 games I had less than 4 models on the table at the conclusion.

  2. Fantastic bat reps. I especially liked the game two one…those are the absolute best games. Figuring out how to win, when you are on the back foot!

    In game one, I don’t know what your highlander rules were (each highlander is different), but if it was 1 HQ max, the ork list was illegal (painboys take an HQ slot) (So he had two HQ’s)

    1. I’m not sure where we got our ruleset from, but the ruling on the field is that you can only take one of a single codex entry. Multiple HQ’s were fine so long as they fit into your detachment / formation alright and satisfies the “No multiples” thing.

      1. Ah makes sense then! I’ve seen all sorts of variants. Some are no duplication, some are limited slots, some are a combination of the two!.

  3. Holy smokes I can’t believe the bugs did THAT well! I wonder how the guard would fair in the same match-ups (especially game 3). Is the Dark Eldar player a regular? Do you know what he was running?

    1. Neither can I really, I was really fortunate most of those games ended when they did or I would have been tabled for sure.

      I doubt my guard would have done particularly well because I would have only been able to have brought one chimera, one taurox and one taurox prime for mobility…….. Actually, maybe they would have been just fine….

      The Eldar / Dark Eldar was sporting bike units and fast skimmers (serpent, falcon) and so was really able to mop up in those maelstrom missions that highly favour mobility. I feel like I’ve seen the Necrons and Eldar player around before, but I’ve only seen them playing WM:H…

      1. That’s really interesting; I thought that the general consensus on Dark Eldar was that they often struggle in Highlander due to the lack of Raiders and Venoms available to them. I guess that’s where the Eldar come in!

        1. I think they had plenty of options between the 2 standard Eldar grav tanks and 2 DE transports, plus bikes, hawks, hellions, DE bikes…. All of which can move a minimum of 36″ per turn, I believe…

          From what I understand, he purposely ran up the score in one of the Maelstrom missions and left one unit alone on the table and milked Escalation straight through to Turn 7. So if he didn’t wrack up 20+ points in that mission he would be sitting in 3rd, give or take, and given the Necrons the win. *shrugs* I never really had an opportunity to do that, but I’m sure with a few more list optimizations I might have made top 2.

          Marc suggested to Dre to try ITC format missions or BAO style, which I’m all in favour of (are they different? never tried ITC). Adds some randomness while making the end-game equally important.

  4. I find the lack of Ogryns in this post disturbing 😉

    Nah seriously mate well played and a wins a win there are victory conditions other than complete annihilation for a reason

    1. Thanks DC! I think a viable tactic is perhaps leaving a throw-away unit hiding in my backfield to help protect against the threat of a tabling. Doesn’t have to be much, maybe 30-50 points of something. Rippers for Nids, perhaps Ratlings for the Guard? I dunno, something to think about.

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