WPS Club Challenge Tournament

Last weekend I attended a very different type of event that took the form of the WPS Club Challenge. This event has been running every year since 1997 so has a long history with much rivalry between the clubs and promotes a fun weekend across 5 different systems which encourages friendly and sportsmanlike games. This was certainly not a win-at-all-costs type of event but obviously everyone likes a shiny trophy so....

The event was running 5 different systems which were 40k, Warhammer Fantasy, Blood Bowl, Warmachine and (for the first time this year) X-wing. To be eligible  to win one of the system shields you needed to enter at least 2 club players for that system and for the overall club challenge shield you needed a minimum of 6 players entered over 3 different systems. Each system also had trophies for 1st, 2nd, 3rd, most sporting and best painted. Because it was also a club challenge you would never play one of your own team and if it could be avoided you wouldn't play the same person twice. I'm not going to go much into the scoring system as its slightly complicated but generally speaking you are looking at the average points across all players for that system for the actual system shields and across all systems for the club challenge. There are also a lot of incidental points going towards soft scores for such as most sporting and painting scores which don't effect the final standings of the system shields but DO effect the final overall placing of the club for the whole event. Confused yet? If you are interested a full break down of the maths involved can be found here. There was also a joker to be nominated every round and if the joker won his game the team scored some additional team points but this had to be done before the next round draw was announced so you had no clue who you would be playing.

Sanctuary gaming centre was hosting the event and it was also the first year they were submitting a team for a chance to come away with the challenge cup. In total we would be entering 10 players across 3 of the systems with the following people:

Blood Bowl
Theo Bank, Terry Carr, Mark Funiss, Steven Cross

X-Wing
Emma banks, Richard Tansey, Tim King, Chris Taylor

40k
Nathan Roberts and myself

For the 40K event it would be 5 games of 1750 with the only limitations being a maximum of 2 sources, no supplement allies can be allied with their parent faction (Tau + Farsight are not allowed but space marines + Farsight would be), No Adamantium lance or firebase cadre. Other than that you could bring unbound, forgeworld, horus heresy armies and everything else in between.

Tournament points were essentially calculated so that you got 20 points for a win, 5 points for a loss. There was also a margin of destruction thrown into the mix which was basically the difference between the old style blood points
There was also 5 additional points for a secret objective which you randomly drew for each round. These being to kill an enemy character in a challenge, kill something during night fight, kill something in assault and get one of your own nominated troops units killed by the end of the game. Both players could achieve this regardless of the results of the overall game. So essentially if I was to win the game against player B I would get 20 points. If I also killed 1600 points worth of his units and he killed 200 points worth of mine the destroyed modifier would be (1600 - 200 = 1400) +4 / -4 so final standings would be 24 - 1

Rather a long introduction but as I said this was a different type of event than the usual. So! as it wasn't one of the win at all costs types of tournaments I decided to go with a fairly balanced Necron list. No fancy tricks, no re-roll saves on wraiths with reanimation or anything of that sort. The list I decided on was going to be:

Reclamation Legion:
5 Immortals, Night Scythe
5 Immortals, Night Scythe
Overlord, Phase Shifter, Voidreaper
5 Tomb Blades with nebuloscope, particle beamer and shield vanes
10 Warriors, Ghost ark
10 Warriors, Ghost ark
10 Warriors, Ghost ark
10 Deathmarks
10 Deathmarks.
Total 1750.

Turning up the event I was looking around at the other 15 players for 40k and trying to decide which lists I really didn't want to play against. One club had turned up with 4 players who all had identical lists in the form of 4 imperial knights, 1 standard, 3 of the horus heresy Forgeworld variety of which I had no clue what they did or how they worked. There were a couple of Nid players with flying hive tyrant spam (Nathan included), 1 Tau, 1 Necron (me!) 1 Eldar, 1 deamon, and a few marines kicking around the place so a fairly good mix overall, knights excluded.

My first game was against Sam Watson with his Tau list. He had a slightly different list in that it was 4 riptides, one of which was the forgeworld variant, a couple of tetras, a small unit of crisis suits with missiles, A large squad of sniper drones with the ethereal attached, 1 unit of fire warriors and 2 units of kroot and an aegis defence line. The mission we were playing was where we would draw 3 of the maelstrom cards a turn and my secret objective was to pick one of his units at the start of the game and destroy it in an assault. Realistically I didn't hold up much chance of being able to do that at all with the only one capable of any kind of assault in my list being the overlord but I picked his 3 man crisis suits anyway and pretty much forgot about it. I deployed my 3 ghost arks and tomb blades, put the overlord with one of the immortal squads in reserve as well as the deep striking deathmarks and he pretty much spread out his riptides across his board edge. The rest of this game pretty much came right down to dice rolls being terrible on both our parts. My tomb blades started dropping strength 6 small blasts with ignore cover onto his sniper drones, fire warriors and ethereal before jumping back out of line of sight simply to move them off objectives while the ghost arks went after the riptides. I managed to fail all 4 of my reserve rolls on turn 2 AND turn 3 meaning that I had to fight most of the game with just the ghost arks. Over the next 3 turns with excessive use of jinking ghost arks and the riptides having a 2+ save all that was actually dead was a single ghost ark, 3 of the tomb blades and half a warrior squad while his dead pile was the fire warriors, ethereal, one of the tetras and the gun drones. A couple of wounds on 3 of his riptides but not much else. Point wise was actually very close with it being 6-5 in my favour on the maelstrom objectives and neither of us gaining any significant advantage.  After a disheartening 3 turns of nothing dying on either side my reserves turn up automatically and the game dramatically shifts. One deathmark unit scatters 11", mishaps and gets put in the corner out of the way while the rest come down and remove a riptide, the immortals get out of the flyer and decimate his entire left flank leaving on his crisis suits on that side and a possible charge with my overlord next turn for the secret objective. His return fire on turn 4 does little, removing some of the immortals and most of the deathmarks but they had already done their job at this point. Turn 5 my overlord and immortals charge the crisis suits and wipes them all out. The 3 immortals left in the other squad rapid fire and then assault a squad of kroot (decurion relentless is awesome) wiping those out, the deathmarks take out the forgeworld riptide and the game ends due to time. Overall I had managed to sneak ahead on the maelstrom objectives by a couple of points and gained another 2 from the margin of destruction as well as the secret objective giving me a healthy 27 tournament points out of a possible 30 for my first game. It was a really close fought game which the final points don't reflect however.

My second game was against Chris Steele who had one of the 4 imperial knights lists and I was slightly worried about this game. 4 Knights are hard to shift and 3 of them I had no clue what they actually did so my plan was to play it defensively, play the mission and rack up as many early points as I could knowing that with only 4 models on the table he wouldn't be able to get many maelstrom objectives. The mission was the one where turn 1 you draw 6 cards, 5 on turn 2 etc and since I was going first I set up pretty spread out thinking that I could try and limit the knights destruction by drip feeding him units while keeping the rest a safe distance away while taking pot shots at him. Turn 1 I manage to draw a few cards that were D3 VPs and didn't involve actually killing anything. From what I remember I don't think I actually fired a shot the first turn just jumped onto objectives and took a 8-0 lead on vps with everything moving flat out. His first turn he pretty much fired his bigger guns at my ghost ark which jinked everything due to night fight being in effect and killed 4 out of 5 of my tomb blades with shooting. He then failed a charge on the tomb blades and it was on to my turn 2. My reserves come piling on and the deathmarks being useless in this game deepstrike away from everything and go stand on the linebreaker edge as well as near 2 objectives they could move to claim as needed. Both flyers come on and due to positioning I realize I can get 3 ghost arks all in rapid fire and into different armour facings on his lead knight and for good measure I drop off the immortal squad in the rear ark along with the warlord to make sure he really does die. Figuring I would need all 85 shots to get it done I also position the last remaining tomb blade to take a crack at some side armour which he could glance with his ignore cover. 2 of the warrior squads take it out, the third warrior squad, 3 ghost arks and the immortals take 5 hull points of a second knight and the flyers take a combined 4 hull points of a third knight. After seeing this I realized I probably didn't need to be that defensive.... His turn he takes a few shots at things, one of his knights with Skyfire opens up on one of my nightscythes who passes 5 jink saves. 1 knight charges a ghost ark and wrecks it, another charges the immortals with my overlord and his undamaged knight fails his charge against a second ghost ark but loses 2 hull points to overwatch. In the combat with my overlord he rolls his attacks and take out 4 immortals, on Initiative 2 my overlord gets 3 penetrating hits, 2 explodes results and a total of 7 hull points damage. Luckily it scatters away from them slightly but the remaining immortal dies in the explosion leaving the lord by himself who consolidates onto an objective which is inside some ruins. My turn 3 I take out the two damaged knights and leave only his warlord on 3 hull points which charges and wipes out a warrior squad. Turn 4 I kill off his remaining knight and win the game 25-0. Neither of us get our secret objective and I believe mine was to kill something during night fight which there was very little chance of me gaining.

The third and final game was against Adam Sinclair using his Eldar aspect warrior host. I know Adam from some of the Outpost tournaments but have never actually played him.
His list was essentially the same as the picture to the right but without the avatar. A warlock in the bike unit and his warlord was a farseer by himself. Not a single wraith unit to which he should be applauded for. I'm not actually sure what happened during the start of this game as he admitted himself he made a number of huge mistakes which may have cost him the game before it even started. He knows my reputation from the Outpost tournaments so wasn't feeling very confident going into it which may have been a contributing factor. We were playing hammer and anvil and we set up the objectives which ended up being 2 in each of the deployment zones around 10" from the short board edge and then 2 of them at the edge of the deployment zone on the left hand side of the table. He then won the roll to decide on his table edge and choose the one with only 2 objectives due to it having a ruin in it meaning I got to deploy on the other 4 objectives. He was also worried about the deathmarks taking out his swooping hawks when they deepstrike in so he deployed them in the center behind some LOS blocking terrain. On his first turn he jumped his warlord into the empty wave serpent and the jetbikes moved down the left side to the middle of the board (he later admitted this was a mistake). He took a few pot shots at the tomb blades but didn't do any damage. His lances from the war walkers and his dark reaper Exarch fired at a ghost ark which due to night fight and a mysterious objective gave me a 2+ jink save. He did manage a penetrating hit on one of the ghost arks dropping it to AV11.  His wave serpent with the fire dragons advanced hoping to get into melta range. My turn the tomb blades along with one of the ghost arks wipe out the jet bikes and the other ghost arks move 12" and snap shot at the war walkers killing one of them while the other takes out 5 of the swooping hawks. His flyer fails its reserves rolls, his fire dragons move up into a large ruin and stay in the wave serpent due to not being in melta range. A couple of glancing hits on my ghost arks but not much else. My turn the deathmarks drop in and decimate his entire dark reapers squad, one of the ghost arks moves up, the warriors disembark to within 2" of the fire dragons transport and rapid fire destroying the wave serpent but failing the charge on the fire dragons. My night scythe took his flyer down to 1 hull point which was then finished off by a ghost ark that was parked on a sky fire nexus. The only other notable thing in the is game is the slow advance of the necrons with everything pushing up every turn, the deathmarks fired at and then charged the war walkers which they remained locked with all game with neither of us actually doing any damage. The immortals with my lord wiped out the last of the fire dragons. The lord then joined a warrior squad who shot 7-8 of the guardians before charging and wiping out the rest. Deathmarks with no other real target charged a wave serpent and wrecked it with 3 glancing hits. By the end of the game there was only a war walker in combat with my deathmarks and for return damage I had lost a couple of hull points on 2 of the ghost arks, and had lost a warrior squad. My secret objective was to wipe out a unit while night fight was in effect which I got on the jet bikes. My own tomb blades despite only firing once on the turn 1 spent 4 turns jumping between 3 different objectives gaining me points every turn and giving me a complete 30-0 victory. For this game our team captain had also nominated me as the joker so I picked up a few extra team points for winning this game.

So at the end of day 1 I was on 3 wins and a total of 82 out of a possible 90.

Day 2 with only 2 games left I find that I'm playing John Johamsson who was one of the other players who was using 4 knights. This was also straight up kill points and I know that since he only had 4 models on the table I would pretty much have to kill everything to be in with a chance of winning the game. I was pretty confident going into this match due to my performance against the other knight player the previous day and decided to go on the offensive as soon as possible. I get the first turn and put all 3 ghost arks in 23" range of his lead knight while the tomb blades go flat out into his deployment zone across the other side of the table out of the way. My first turn of shooting against his knight with a 4+ ion shield and a 3+ cover save due to night fight from those not covered by the shield still manage to take off 4 hull points. His first turn he moves up as far as possible and puts as many into cover as he can to help with the ion shields limited ark. He puts a melta gun shot into a ghost ark which explodes and kills 6 warriors after they failed their 4+ armor and 4+ reanimation roll. My turn I spawn more warriors back into the squad and get it back to 8 models. My flyers both come on and drop off the warlord with an immortal squad right in the middle of his 4 knights. My secret objective for this game was to get that troops squad killed and I figured placing it in the middle of his army was a good way to achieve this. After deciding which facing his shields were going I then bypass the majority of them by targeting different ones instead. The one closest to me put his shield at the front because a ghost ark was 6" away got shot in the side by a different one. The combined fire of both night scythes took 5 hull points off one which was finished off by the immortals, the tomb blades managed to get side armour on one of them and took 2 hull points off it thanks to glancing on 6's and having ignore cover etc etc. By the end of this turn he had 2 knight left one of which was untouched and the other had only 1 hull point left. His turn he shoots up all the immortals charges Overlord who is now by himself but only manages to put 2 wounds on him. As it was the lancer (I think?) it didn't have the D weapon close combat attack so a combination of 4+ invulnerable and 5+ reanimation keeps him alive and he them slices it up with the warscythe. Turn 3 I finish off the last knight and win the game 29-1 due to the list only being actually worth 1680 points.

The final game was against Adam Calver who was using a guard army that was actually modelled using Grots. His list had 5 rough riders (still have no clue what these do...), 3 reaper battery platforms, Yarik, a librarian of some description, 3 squads of troops with auto cannons heavy weapon platforms, a chimeras a hell hound, a vendetta, plasma armed Leman Russ, a Manticore and an aegis defence line with quad gun and finally a Vindicare assassin. This was also hammer and anvil deployment and I was going first but my secret objective was to kill his warlord in a challenge. My first turn I destroyed the leman russ completely and one of the chimeras gaining me first blood while the tomb blades also took out one of the reaper batteries thanks to ignore cover on them behind the aegis. His librarian cast prescience on the reaper batter, perils and is immediately executed by Yarik for his trouble.  His return fire managed to get a couple of glances on my ghost arks but with a 3+ jink save due to night fight very little damage was done. My second turn the deathmarks drop behind the reaper battery and kill off Yarik and most of the crew, the tomb blades then charge them killing off the remaining crew while my overlord disembarks from his nightscythe onto the quad gun. The second deathmarks scatter a massive 10" and land in some ruins which the vindicate is using. They rapid fire him into the dirt out of sheer spite. The night scythes and ghost arks pretty much mop up every gun that is more than strength 5 and trundle forward on a killing spree. His second turn the rough riders which I had forgotten about charge into the deathmarks who kill 2 in overwatch. The rough riders then put 3 wounds on the deathmarks who all pass their reanimation rolls then kill them off. The only thing that can actually do any damage at this point is the manticore which is hidden out of line of sight which opens up on a  ghost ark and makes it explode. Yarik gets back up and charges the tomb blades but strikes at initiative 1 so is killed before he can strike. His vendetta comes on and gets shot down by my overlord using the quad gun. My turn 3 the lord goes on a killing spree and charges the hell hound which explodes and kills 3 nearby guys. One of the deathmarks squads charge and take out his manticore and the rest of the army cleans up. His turn 3 Yarik gets back up but fails a charge. My turn 4 I kills the handful of remaining guardsmen and Yarik for the 3rd time with his own quad gun.  I win this game 25-0 as I failed to get my secret objective of killing Yarik in a challenge despite actually killing him 3 times over the course of 4 turns. My losses included a ghost ark, 3 deathmarks and 5 immortals.

Overall there were me and Nathan who were both on 5 wins but he managed to pip me to first place by 4 VPs but since he was also sanctuary our average score meant that we also picked up the shield for 40k between us. I think the final score for 40k overall was Nathan on 140 VPs, me on 136 and 3rd place went to Adam Sinclair who finished on 93 points with only 1 loss against my Necrons.  Tim and Chris picked up first and second in the X-win also gaining Sanctuary the shield and Steve took first place in the blood bowl. As for the whole thing we lost out due to 0.8 points difference with the overall victory going to the dragon slayers.






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