First post for December! Christmas is getting closer and this feels me with joy for reasons unkown. Hope you like the picture on the left. It's me circa 1983. And yes we didn't have colour picture back then, thank you very much. I posted it here as hard evidence to prove that I invented LARPing. It is also relevant to the topic since I am going to take a trip down memory lane again.
I was wondering the other day if I could remember the tournament games I played in the past. I had some success in recent competitions but how did I fare when I was still a 40K noob? I posted a fairly brief description of my hobby experience here before but I want to be more specific and try to recall the tournaments of yore. I tried to find a database with past GT results around the Internet but to no avail. I don't think anything like that exists so I have to recall everything from memory. Please bear with me.
I attended my first tournament not long after I got back into the hobby and started learning 40K. If I remember correctly it was Northwest Conflict 2004. I was playing Necrons at the time and only had a few months of experience with the army. Games were capped at 1000 points so I was using a Necron Lord, couple of 10 man warrior squads, a unit of destroyers and a monolith. For such a low point limit and still having to use a normal FOC, Necrons were quite inefficient.
My first game was against an oldish kind of guy (well for me being 23 at the time, anyone above 35 was old). He was using a pure Nurgle list from what I can remember and I think it seemed very intimidating . By the way, Chaos Space Marines used to be very competitive at the time . I did some major mistakes in the deployment so he killed all my destroyers in the first round of shooting. I wasn't able to kill much with my warriors and monolith so he kept shooting at me taking down my warriors and at some point charged me with his dreadnought. I phased out at some point so it was all over for my first 40K tournament game ever.
Second game was against a young guy ( I am guessing around 16 years old). His dad was there with him which I thought it was kinda strange. If I went to a tournament along with my mom I would be embarrassed to death ( fist Magic the Gathering tournament I ever attended I was 14 years old ). He was using Blood Angels with the very old codex rules. I don't recall much from the game but somehow we drew. Not too bad I guess but still it didn't feel too good getting a tie from a youngster.
For my last game the opponent was missing. I had to play against a GW staff member instead. I thought it was very unfair since I was under the impression that "professionals" of the hobby were very good players. HAHAHAHA, how little did I know back then. Figures out he had Necrons as well, albeit a very different list (scarabs, wraiths etc.) than me. I recall it being a very boring battle since not much was happening and models just weren't dying but in the end I managed to win. I only did a minor win though so only got 13 out of the possible 20.
In total I had 0+10+13=23 points out of the possible 60 I could have scored. The rest of my soft scores were pretty good though so I think I finished somewhere below the middle. Not too bad if you considered I was a small baby seal back then and I was using a mediocre army that was very nerfed due to the points limit. The guys at the data entry managed to screw up my results and gave me a minor loss instead of a minor victory in the last game. When the list of the results were published I was like in the bottom ten. For some reason this made me quite angry!
Second tournament I went to was a GT Heat. I haven't been playing 40k for even a year and still I wanted to compete at a GT? What a cheeky young fellow I was! Inexperience, lack of tactics, mediocre army, poor understanding of many rules and even the language barrier didn't stop me! I would actually recommend to new players to try and compete to a few tournaments even if they are not sure of themselves. Provided they know the rules well enough of course. They will probably lose but still it is a great experience and will probably play against many different types of armies. This can teach them much more than a couple of months worth of gaming in their local gaming club.
I distinctly remember how gobsmacked I was when I saw Warhammer World. It was like a hobby paradise! Not too much time to goof around though because the games started soon after the registration. These English people are very punctual, in Greece I usually wait for a couple of hours until the tournament starts. Must be the weather or something.
So my first game was against a guy with long hair and a beard. Always a good sign! He was using Blood Angels, again with the ancient codex. He seemed like an experienced player and his army seemed scary. Nevertheless I played a very good game (and I guess I was lucky too) since I lost only one Necron warrior in the duration of the whole match and managed to kill all but one of his units. Good start!
Second game I didn't enjoy much. My opponent was THAT guy! Constantly bickering about rules here and there. He called the judge 3 times and each one he was on the wrong side. Plus we were playing that 3rd ed mission where you score VP for your units being in the opponents side. He had a speed freak army (of the very old variety) so he just moved all his vehicles in my deployment area for the fist couple of turns. He then tried to stall the game for as much as possible so that I couldn't shoot his units to bits with my supreme firepower. Very poor sportsmanship indeed. I still didn't mark down the way but in retrospect I should have because the totally deserved it. We finished the game in round 4 with a minor loss for me. Definitely the worst game I've ever played in a tournament.
Memory starting to be a bit hazy now. I think my last game for the day was against a dude with a fantastically painted World Bearers army. He was even using the Bloodthirster model from Forge World. And an awesome guy too. He was using a sub optimal list just for fluff reasons (I think he was going for best army) so I manage to win with not much difficulty althought that Greater Daemon proved to be a bit of a pickle in the last few turns.
|Neil, Richard, Dwayne and me. It's not that I am a small guy, it's that the rest of them are big!|
I had a great night at Rock City but the next morning it was very hard to wake up due to lack of sleep and probably alcohol poisoning. My first game for the day was against this young kid from Finland. He was playing Tau with a lot of crisis suits. Having a severe case of ageism at the time I thought the game would be a walk in the park. I guess God punished me for my hubris and I lost quite badly. I didn't phase out but it was a massacre against me. That was an embarrassing experience I guess but at least I learned not to measure a players strategic ability by his age.
Next game was against a very friendly guy who was using footdar. They were a viable list back then if you want to know. I remember that it was impossible for me to kill his Avatar and three Wraithlords so my units were running around trying to save their lives. He admitted to me that he only played very few games with his list. In comparison to him I was a veteran, even with my limited experience. We were playing an objectives based mission and the game was a draw in the end. I honestly thought that I was going to lose though so I welcomed the result.
In my last game I went against a middle aged guy with a very well painted Space Marine army. This is the first and last time I tried to manipulate someone in a tournament. When we rolled for who is going to get the first turn my opponent won the dice off. He decided to go first. I then said:"Ah, good for me, that means that I will get all my Will Be Back rolls since the last played turn will be mine". He immediately changed his mind and opted to go second instead. I was lying of course since I wanted to kill his Rhinos before he could reach me (3rd ed. Rhino Rush FTW!) which I actually did in my first turn turn of shooting. I probably realised it a bit later and he seemed quite pissed off and hateful for the rest of the game. I did win in the end but I was feeling really guilty afterwards so I never, ever tried anything like that again.
So, in my first Grand Tournament, I finished with three wins, one draw and two losses. I didn't manage to be in the top fifty so that I could proceed to the next round but I was quite close from what I can remember. Something like fifty eighth if my memory isn't fooling me. Most importantly I got the tournament virus for good. I was really hooked up from that point on. Tournaments play a major role in my hobby experience nowadays and I do a lot of planning around them.
In this article, I wanted to include the other two tournaments that I've been in the UK. Unfortunately the word count has increased uncomfortably and I know how daunting a wall of text can be to a reader. I will include more of my antics in a feature article so stay tuned please!