SO,  I’ve been playing woefully few games of fifth edition since it came out (has it been a year already?!?); thus, at the end of summer I thought I’d try to do something about it. In the game store I manage, we’ve all been a little lax–for the most part– on getting 5th Edition games in, what with us having spent the spring focused on getting our War of the Rings armies up and running. I decided I should initiate a staff tournament for the fall.

I had my doubts about how well a staff tournament would go over, what with the way that we all suffer from magpie-shiny-object syndrome (made exponentially worse by the myriad other hobbies forever enticing us on the sidelines: board games, comics, Lego, new armies, new models, more boardgames…you get the picture). We’ve only attempted staff campaigns in the past, all without much of what could be called “success.” Previous attempts have all died prematurely due to our inability to stay focused long enough to get our full armies completely painted for the campaign (I’m a firm believer that painting builds excitement to play and playing builds excitement to paint; too much of one or the other risks crippling the ability of a regular person to finish their army in a timely fashion). As soon as one person falls too far behind and drops out, the others’ interest would also soon follow.

This time around, I decided to have an escalation-style tournament that would run three rounds over a long enough period of time that would allow games to be played at a more leisurely rate–and allow adequate time for us all to build up our armies and get them painted. As enticement, the prize for winning the tournament would be a (coveted) full weekend off  in November spent playing at the upcoming Conquest 40k/WFB tournament being put on by some of the store’s patrons–and the store would take care of that person’s admission into the tournament.

The points limit of the first heat would be only 700 points (and require the armies to be a minimum of half painted); the second one would be 1200 points (and half painted), and the third heat would be 1700 points (that had to be three-quarters painted).  The winning player had to PROMISE that the army would be fully based and painted before going to the tournament if it wasn’t 100% completed by that time already otherwise the next runner-up with a fully painted army would get to go to the tournament in his place.

The first two heats would be made up of three games apiece: a staffer would play three different opponents in the first heat, then play the three staff he hadn’t played yet in the second heat. Players could score a maximum of three points per game played in the first two heats:  one point for having played the game (provided their army list was submitted on time), another for having their force completely painted, and a third, freebie point, simply for bringing all the needed materials to play the game (if ANYTHING beyond glue needed to be borrowed during a game, this point was lost).

Heat 2 concluded this week, and only one player has scored full marks.

Heat 3 will be played as a round-robin tournament; each staffer will play each other once. There will be points awarded for army paint job, army composition and sportsmanship as well. The total points for the third heat will be 52, making the total tournament points out of 70 (which means all the easy-to-score points from heats one and two will count 26% towards the final tournament points total.

So how am I doing? Well, because I’ve been a little bit lazy and a WHOLE LOT busy with store stuff, right now my running score has me in dead last –due to not being organised enough to get my lists written up in time and because for four games, I kept forgetting to bring templates (which I’m really embarrassed about, because I’ve always made it a point to bring everything I’d need to every game I play).

Farseer Balangaur: leader of Craftworld Fir Mathedyann's war council.



Heat 1:

Game One Opponent:  Tyranids

Swept and destroyed the alien menace. An early gamble with the Genestealers failed to pay off, and the Gaunts were never able to bring their numbers to bear, meaning I was able to take them on piecemeal.

Game Two Opponent: Thousand Sons

By the mid-point of my second round of shooting, I had managed to eradicate the Chaos lord who, up to that point, been the scourge of all the other staff armies that faced him. Guardians proved their mettle by never failing a single Leadership test (and there were many!) caused by shooting casualties. Solid victory, only three of the Thousand Sons lived to tell of the battle.

Game Three Opponent:  Space Orks.

I don’t remember much for details other than I was FREAKED out about playing against orks because, on paper anyway, they look like they trump Eldar in every way. They’re cheaper, they’re tougher, they assault better, they shoot better (their shuriken catapults are better than mine, thus making that BS of 2 not as much of a drawback as you might think), their leadership is higher (in their own orky way). On paper, Orks destroy Eldar.

So thank God we use miniatures. I pulled off a pretty big win–which I attribute to the game being played at a low points level (we’ll see how I do once we’re playing 1700 points).

Heat 2

Game One Opponent: Space Marines

What a grind. Narrowly lost the game. Highlights include the Marine Scout snipers who missed nearly every shot taken every turn. Vibro-cannon caused the most reliable amount of wounds…followed by very few actual casualties. Ten Storm guardians outperformed 6 Striking Scorpions (with Exarch).

Game Two Opponent: Sisters of Battle

Fought to a draw. Eldar outnumbering the Witch Hunters almost two to one definitely a factor in their good showing. Striking Scorpions all killed in round two: all shot dead or set on fire by the Sisters’ Seraphim squad; the Scorpions’ 3+ save may as well have been a 6+ save. Champions of the game was the squad of Guardian Defenders who, after sustaining 60% casualties, charged a Battle Sisters squad and held them up for 3 combat rounds before the Wraithlord joined the fray and helped destroy the enemy squad.

Game Three Opponent: Necrons

Kill-Point mission. Dawn of War set up and Necrons seizing the initiative resulted in 75% Eldar casualties among the two squads and HQ that deployed at the start of the game. Highlights include: Farseer Balanguar assaulting the Monolith by himself, the Warwalker squadron decimating the Necron Destroyer squad. Low points include: Farseer Balangaur unable to do more than immobilize the Monolith despite 3 penetrating and 5 glancing hits, the Striking Scorpions being eradicated by the Monolith’s ordnance blast, the Wraithlord failing to sweep the Necrons after losing combat, despite the Necrons rolling a ‘2’ to retreat from the assault. That failed roll was the difference between a loss and a draw for me.


I decided for the first two heats to build my army with a focus on numbers and to not necessarily worry about making ‘hard’ lists.  In the first heat’s battles, the list I chose focused on numbers with some mean back up: a tooled-up Farseer, two Guardian Defender squads (10-men each, a Conceal-Warlock with one of them), a six-man Striking Scorpion squad (with exarch who had the Scorpion’s Claw and both Exarch skills) and a Wraithlord to cap it off.

The superior numbers and shots factored hugely in both games played, whereas the Guardians’ inherent fragility never came into play to undo my whole army (which is a risk at all times when using a goodly amount of Guardians–or Re-tardians, as I like to call them).

In the second heat, my army list, with its low regard towards being a ‘hard’ list paid off in spades for my opponents! Though I decided to use some units that I tend to skip over, my thought had been to counterbalance them with units that had traditionally performed well for me.

The 1200-point list retained the same Farseer, two Guardian squads, Striking Scorpions and Wraithlord and added to the mix:  ten Storm Guardians (with one flamer and a Warlock with Destructor), a Warwalker squadron (two scatter lasers and two starcannons), a Vibrocannon battery (two guns) and six Swooping Hawks (with an exarch with both skills but no other upgrades).

This list was a train wreck. The more reliable elements of the army (Aspect warriors and Wraithlord) accomplished only cultivating disappointment from me. The Guardians and Guardian-manned equipment proved far more reliable.

Unfortunately, as good as Guardians can be in their ability to dish out damage, they tend to get eclipsed by the enemy. It’s not too noticeable in smaller games at 1,000 points or less, but it’s painfully obvious in games over that. What happens is that the Guardians just get picked apart, despite any decent damage they deal out. Ideally, this is where the Aspect Warriors come in; but that’s not how it worked out in my three games.

I’m going to have to rethink my whole army for Heat 3.

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