Day two was make or break time, qualification on Generalshop tends to require a minimum of 102 Game Points with a high number of Victory Points, that equates to a minimum of 3 Wins and a Draw out of the six games. A few of Exeter Inquisition players were out of the running, a couple were very well place with at least a couple of wins, so far I sat on 41 Game Points with a win, a loss and a draw.
Game 4 -
Colin Tough #84 - Eldar - Dawn of War, Seize Ground
Colin's army on the face of it was'nt the most nasty out there, Eldrad, a unit of Fire Dragons, two units of Warp Spiders, an Avatar, Wraithlord, a Falcon Grav Tank, and 3 units of 3 Jet Bikes - which of course are the objective takers. He deployed just the Avatar with all but the Jet Bikes comming on turn 1, I meanwhile deployed a combined squad in the center, the Anti-Tank Squad and Command Squad with everything every arriving turn 1 apart from the Roughriders.
I admit I felt quite confident at first, believing I could deal with the Avatar, Wraithlord and the Warp Spiders without too much pain, though accepting that the Falcon with Eldrad and Fire Dragons would cause me some hurt - leaving me to deal with the Bikes. I was rather wrong.
A poor decision in deploying the big Infantry Squad lead to them getting assaulted by the Avatar without it having to take a turn of shooting in full few of my firebase with almost inevitable consequences on the left flank. Meanwhile the Warp Spiders with a perfect Warp Jump made cover by the skin of their teeth also denying me vital shots and giving him cover saves against my big guns, I took a few down but nothing like enough. The Falcon and Fire Dragons did'nt prove quite as painful as I'd feared initially, though the Veterans I'd sent in the hope of stopping them paid a high price on my right, Eldrad fustrated me at every turn with Fortune and Doom meanwhile. With the core of my Firebase disintergrating it became a battle for survival more then anything else, and I did manage to not quite get tabled by a whisker, but was powerless to stop the Jet Bikes from taking the majority of the objectives.
Colin made intelligent use of cover and reserves, which when combined with a few good dice at the right time and a bad deployment choice of my part gave him control of the game almost from the second turn onwards resulting in a well deserved win. It goes to show that a sloppy deployment and a bit of overconfidence can really hurt when the pieces fall into place to take advantage of it, definately a lesson worth learning. He went on to finish 29th overal.
Game 5 -
Ken Goodall #58 - Space Marines - Spearhead, Capture & Control
Last year I came up against Khan on a Bike with my Sisters, and there's a player at the club who uses a White Scar Bike army to devastating effect, until this game I've never seen him used on foot, but with the units in the army I knew this was going to be a tough one. As well as Khan Ken's army included a Librarian, a Scout Squad, a Tactucal Squad with a Razorback, a Terminator Assault Squad in a Landraider Redeemer, a Vanguard Veteran Squad in a Razorback and a small Bike unit with a Multi-Melta Attack Bike.
The Scouts and the Tactical Squad deployed, combat squading with one unit in the Razorback the other in cover on his objective, I carefully placed my own objective as far in the center as I could away from the coming outflank move, using a couple of Infantry Squads to disrupt any assault while my firebase held the center, the Roughriders and Valkyrie with it's Veterans doing in reserve the later outflanking.
My first couple of turns were spent tackling his deployed force, but with good cover I caused few casualties though the Razorback was immobilised and weapon destroyed, then the Landraider showed up with the Terminators and Librarian. The Librarian set about the shielding squads while the Landraider pushed forward - in a commedy which was set to last two or three turns the Librarian fluffed his rolls though I was unable to do anything in return also. In the following turn the Bikes arrived on the other flank threatening my Leman Russ with the Khan and Vanguard Veterans in their Razorback in my deployment zone, while the Terminators set about an infantry squad wiping them out in short order but leaving them exposed. The Valkyrie arrived and deployed it's Veterans to deal with the Bikes which is did quite successfully - bar the Attack Bike which was left on one wound, the Vendetta Veterans disembarked and set upon the Landraider stunning it while the rest of the army laid into the Terminators just about bringing them down with the Roughriders finishing the job, these then took up a defensive position around the firebase to shield them from charge while aided by Khan and the Vanguard Veterans the Librarian was saved from the ongoing combats in which he'd done so poorly - but then so had I!
After a turn hiding behind the Landraider - which was still alive thanks to my inability to roll anything but 1's when penetrating it - the Khan, Librarian and Vanguard Veterans now set about my Firebase, crucially with a combat which continued into my turn, the Librarian was brought down as were a couple of the Vanguard but I just did'nt have enough bodies to halt them - they slowly munched their way forward to my objective, which they eventually contested with the Landraider before finally wiping out all my scoring units in that part of the battlefield. Essentially this left my only chance at a win in dropping the Valkyrie borne Veteran Squad onto his objective and clearing it of marines, unfortuantely there were now two squads there, the depleated first combat squad (one marine) and the fresh second one which had disembarked from their Razorback whiel I'd be concentrating on my objective. The Veterans got in place on turn 5 contesting the objective but just could'nt clear the marines in cover and were promptly thrown back in assault on turn 6 leaving Ken holding his objective and with me unable to contest anything.
As it went the game could easily have gone the other way if I'd managed to pop the Landraider with two turns of twin-linked Meltagun fire - that failiure really did cost me dearly and it kept troops engaged which could have been better employed against his Vanguard Veterans, the two Redeemer Flamers were just too dangous too not tackle. I probably should of saved the Roughriders as well for the Vanguard Veterans and Khan instead of finishing of the Terminators, I'd of had more chance of dealing with those two with numbers then I did of dealing with the former. I certainly can't fault anything Ken did, he played it flawlessly to my eyes and was an utter gentleman about it. There's always a little bit of antipcation about the game which seals the fate of qualifying or not as it can bring out the worst in a gamer, Ken however was an absolute pleasure to play against. Having won this game however regretfully he did'nt manage to qualify finishing 90th after losing his last game.
Game 6 -
Darren #72 - Space Marines - Pitched Battle, Annilation
I've been on the low tables before for game 6, so it's not unfamiliar territory to me at all - and I can honestly say I love the games that take place here. With both players knowing that they can't qualify it seems to lead to games which are purely about the fun of it with no other motivation. It's lead to situations like when I played an all infantry Space Wolf list a few years ago with Gun Line Guard, I could of sat back and annilated him - I did'nt, I assaulted him instead!
My last game saw me playing against Darren with his Relicator's Scout force, the army was very much a work in progress but it's got a lot of potential for a fine army once the painting is finished with lots of unique conversions and ideas, such as a disturbingly biological Powerfist on one Scout Sergeant and the Legion of the Damned being used to count as Relictors Brethen lost in the warp, their souls drawn to fight for the chapter once more by a Librarian. What followed was the most enojoyable game of the weekend.
Darren's army consisted of three big units of Scouts, two aggressive ones one Snipers with Sergeant Telion, there was also the Librarian with the Legion of the Damned, a Scout Bike a Thunderfire Cannon and Whirlwind.
I deployed a combined infantry squad in the building in my deployment zone, flanked by armour, the rest of my infantry were deployed mostly on the left flank where there was lots of cover, with a smaller force in the center, Valkyrie went into reserve to outflank, the Roughriders just in reserve. He deployed a Thunderfire Cannon, the Sniper Scout Squad Vindicator and Whirlwind, the rest outflanked apart from the Librarian and Legion of the Damned which were to deep strike. Jokingly at the start I told Darren that my aim for the game was to finish with a regular Guard Infantry Squad in his deployment zone - without Air Transport.
The first act of the game saw cluster mines from the Scout Bikers cause some hurt to the combined infantry squad in the building - should of seen it comming, but they held on, then my Infantry advanced on the left while my center held bar one infantry which pushed forward, the Vendetta took out the Thunderfire Cannon the Anti-Tank Squad the Whirlwind and everything else started firing at the Sniper Scouts felling a couple.
My second turn began quickly with my left flank infantry now about half way across the board, the Sniper Scouts went to ground from where I simple could'nt shift them however the Vindicator was popped by the Vendetta.
In Darrens turn the majority of his Scouts on foot showed up, and too a man arrived on the right hand side of the table - where there was nothing, neither cover nore Guardsmen. That would simple become a shooting gallery with a predictable result, so I suggested to him we made a game of it and agreed that they all infact arrived on the left flank where the terrain and guardsmen were both plentiful! Game on. The Scouts quickly ripped through the majority of my infantry with only a single full strength squad and a few survivors left.
Then it was the turn of the (Air) Cavalry, the Valkyrie arrived on the left flank deployed it's Veterans and the Vendetta formed up alongside it also dropping it's Veterans into the fray, the survivors of the infantry meanwhile formed up to take on another Scout Squad and the Demolisher brought it's guns to bear on a unit of Scout Bikers - a lone Guard infantry squad in the center was now 3/4 of the way across the board. The Sniper Scouts remained pinned while my infantry did it's work, one squad was almost wiped out by the Veterans, another badly mauled by the regular infantry and the Demolisher lived upto it's name. I then assaulted with one mauled infantry squad into one of the damaged scout units, with casulaties on both sides resulting in a drawn combat. In his turn the Legion of the Damned arrived stunning and immobiling the Demolisher, while the remaining Scount squad not enaged in combat wiped out one of the Veteran units, in return his other remaining scout squad already locked in combat was finished off with some lucky rolls - they made a line straight for the other squad.
The Roughriders arrived, assaulting and killing one Legionarrie, a couple more felled by guns before being wiped out in return, as the Leman Russ and some remaining unegaged infantry manouvered to get line of sight to them, the remaining Veterans were bolstered by the victorious Infantry Squad meanwhile finished off the Scouts. Finally the infantry squad in the center assaulted the Sniper Scouts dragging their Lascannon behind them. The Legion of the Damned then assaulted the Demolisher finishing it off, while elsewhere combat and movement continued.
My turn saw lots of movement and I aimed to bring mroe guns to bear on the Legion of the Damned, with only a few remaining. I was confident next turn would see their demise however, while combat continued against the Sniper Scouts. Of course now the Librarian used the Gate to move the Legion of the Damned to attack the Valkyrie from behind, it promptly blew up killing the last of the Infantry Squad which had seen the demise of two units of scouts in combat, however in the same turn the Sniper Scouts were finished off, leaving me with an infantry squad (still pulling it's Lascannon along). In my final turn the last of the Legion of the Damned and the Librarian fell leaving the field to the Guard.
And with that fantasticly fun last game (much kudos to Darren!) I failed to qualify on Generalship, my final place was ranked as 124th, however that is'nt quite right as they entered the results for my last game in reverse recording it as a defeat for me, which means in fact it should have been something around 86th rather then Darren as was recorded in the final results sheet (no idea on what my final VPs would have been had they been correctly entered, I'd esimate around 5000VPs though given I tabled or almost tabled two opponents (3000VPs) and averaged I estimate about 500VPs minimum in the other four games.
Except it was'nt quite the end of it.
At lunch on the first day everyone sets out their armies so the judges can view them and for selection of the Best Army nominations, except this year before the first game on day two I was thrilled when they announced my name amongst those selected as one of the 8 nominations. The public vote took place secretly following lunch on the second day with 5 places available for qualification for those who recieved the most votes.
I still did'nt expect to qualify however as I felt that many of the other armies nominated were techniclly more advanced when it came to painting and would thus get more of the vote. However much to my delight I was one of the six nominated who recieved qualification based on the Best Army Public Vote results (I'm assuming as it's only supposed to be five that two must have been drawn in votes), though I've no idea of the rankings other then that Best Army Award went to a brilliant Traitor Guard army. So that means I'll be at this years Throne of Skulls Final in March - it's gonna be Guard, but we'll have to see what the list itself will shape up as yet!