Over the weekend of the 16th and 17th February 2019, I attended heat four of the Games Workshop Warhammer 40,000 Grand Tournament. This two day 1750 point matched play event took place at Warhammer World in Nottingham, England.
I had been to a 40k heat last year winning two out of the five games with my close combat Tyranid force. This time I was took my Death Guard, led by the Daemon Primarch Mortarion.
I’ve talked about my list previously on episode 11 of my podcast so wont go in to it again, but see below for a look at the list I submitted to the tournament organisers.
On the first day there would be three games to play, and then on the Sunday, games four and five, followed by the presentation. During lunch time of day one we would be invited to take part in the Legends painting competition where everyone was free to enter characters, units and large items from their list, to be judged by their fellow competitors. On day two, a number of armies, chosen by the even organisers would be up for vote, to determine the best army, these would be voted on by the entrants to the event over the lunch break.
Below I will go through the highlights of my games, you can also listen to me speak about them on episode 12 of the podcast which is due out the week after this article is published.
Game 1: The Four Pillars
Joshua’s Mixed Chaos
My first game was against a mixed Chaos army consisting of Nurgle and Tzeentch units. Joshua’s army, like mine, also included Mortarion. It would transpire that there were only two Mortarions at the event and both met game one. Joshua’s list had a lot of characters, two units of twenty Tzaangor and a selection of more squishy units made up of Cultitsts and Brimstone Horrors
This scenario saw both players attempting to control four objectives, whilst also scoring victory points for killing more units in each battle round.
We were both a little tentative in the first turn, however one of the Tzaangor units was re-positioned for a cheeky flank charge using the Dark Crystal, only for them to fail their charge, even with a re-roll. They would be jumped on by my Mortarion and then finished off by one of the Plagueburst Mortars the following turn.
As will be a common theme in these reports, my lack of numbers soon showed my weakness, and as the multiple Smites, and attacks from Joshua’s Mortarion rang home, I lost a grip on the scenario. In the final turn Joshua’s Mortarion charged my Mortarion and despite being buffed up, Joshua’s Morty did less damage than mine. Neither died, but the game was over and it was a win for Joshua.
I don’t think I played badly in this game, but I got the feeling Joshua played a lot of competitive 40k, and knew his army in side out, using his combos really well during the game. It would have probably gone more his way had some of this dice rolls not been appalling.
Game 2: Beachhead
I was warned that I should expect to face a lot of Knights over the course of the weekend and first four of these appeared in game two. In this scenario there were three objective markers, the one in your home deployment zone was worth on victory point, the one in the middle two victory points and the one in your opponents deployment zone was worth three.
As this scenario was about having more models within three inches of the objectives, I knew I had to be clever in my placement of units as I would easily be able to out number the Knights, but it was then about surviving their torrential assault after that.
I spent the first turn peppering one Knight from afar before sending Mortarion in to destroy another one, only to find it come back to life on one wound. In my next turn, I tried to destroy this again in the shooting phase but had horrendous luck and had to send Morty in to finish the job.
I was doing pretty well tagging objectives to get the points and then getting beaten up afterwards, and after turn five, with very few miniatures left on the table, led 7-6 in victory points. I was happy and thought I had won, but had forgot that on a 3+ roll, we would go to turn six.
Sadly for me, the 3+ was rolled and we went in to turn six, where my minimal numbers went against me again and the game was lost.
Overall, this game went pretty well, and even though Knights are pretty solid, in a scenario where numbers are key, its pretty easy to pick up the victory points. It didn’t help that my force was pretty small, and in the future I would need to look at having bigger units to be able to hold on to the objectives longer.
Game 3: Narrow the Search
So on to the final game of the day and it was against David’s Ultramarines. His army didn’t appear to have anything overly special in it. He did though, have a large number of characters in order to give out loads of buffs to his initially underwhelming units. As well as a devestator squad, there was a few Tactical squads, some scouts, a Rhino and Landraider.
In this scenario there is one objective in the centre, and again its all about the most models within an ever decreasing radius, to claim the victory. Also no invulnerable saves can be taken within 12 inches of the objective.
From the outset my smaller sized force didn’t help me and David too an early 3-0 lead. As the circle decreased, so did David’s army as Mortarion and my Lord of Contagion began to work their way through the characters and small units. To counter my attack David dropped in some Terminators, but they were swiftly dispatched through a combination of Plagueburst Crawler shooting and psychic powers.
This was a close game all the way through, in which is probably my least favourite of the new scenarios. We just about managed to get five turns in, sliding slightly over the allotted time, and as the smoke cleared it all ended in a draw. My first points of the tournament.
In hindsight, I probably should have won this game. If I had got all my units out of their Rhinos earlier then the numbers game could have been more in my favour, but credit where credits due, David did play a good game, and his many character related buffs allowed him to slowly whittle down my units, to keep my numbers low enough for him to get those early victory points.
So at the end of day one, I had played three games and come away with two losses and one draw. Not the best start to the weekend, I spent the evening hoping I would have a better day two.
Game 4 Supplies from Above
Chris’s Ad Mech
Day two would see me play against two other Chris’s in what turned out to be the best two games of the weekend.
The first Chris of the day had a really nicely painted Ad Mech army, that would be nominated for best painted. I have played against Ad Mech quite a lot, but this army was a completely different composition to what I have played in the past. I wont be able to list everything he had, but you’ll get the idea from the pictures below.
I got first turn and cautiously made my way towards Chris’s big guns. Mortarion hid behind a building and all my Rhino’s popped smoke to help them survive the expected barrage of shooting they would receive in the first turn. Luckily for me Chris had some bad rolls in the first turn and we both survived First Strike.
Throughout the game I was very lucky with the roll offs to see if the objectives moved, with two of them spending the whole game on or around my Plagueburst Crawlers. The other two objectives stayed pretty near my advancing troops and I was able to get a decent lead early in the game.
Chris’s firepower slowly whittled down my army, but Mortarion continued to be a thorn in his side. After surviving a drill attack Mortarion found himself, with only three wounds remaining, in the middle of the Ad Mech force, and was shot at by everything. With him still standing at the end of the shooting phase, the Electro Priests charged in to finish him off, but after the fight, only Mortarion was left standing, holding on to his last wound.
With the game already over, in the last Turn Mortarion jumped over the The Domnius, who was the Ad Mech’s warlord, smashing him to pieces, before finally being finished off by concentrated Ad Mech firepower.
The victory points score was very one sided, but Chris put up a valiant effort and we had a really good fun game, with plenty of laughs and jokes about both of our good and bad luck streaks. Amazingly, I had my first victory of the weekend.
Game 5 Vital Intelligence
Chris’s Imperial Guard and Knights
My final game of the weekend was against another Chris, who this time had a mix of Imperial Guard and Knights. And not just any knights, but two of the bristling with more guns than you could ever imagine. This would see me facing seven Knights over the weekend, but at least having already faced some the day before, I had some idea of what to expect. Numbers were my strength, so I knew I had to take advantage of this, and hopefully get my second win.
The game started off badly for me, as Chris stole the initiative. Luckily for me his shooting was not too bad, and I still had most of my army in tact as I got my first turn.
Unsurprisingly, Mortarion had taken a lot of firepower and was down to eight wounds. Knowing that I needed to make the most of him in my first turn, I charged one of the Knights , taking a harpoon to the face on the way in which reduced him to two wounds, and he hadn't even done anything yet. In combat though Mortarion showed off how good he is. With only four attacks, Mortarion managed to take all of the 23 remaining wounds off the Knight. This was helped by the two extra attacks generated on 6's because the enemy were Imperium , which helped me rolled 6D6 damage against is monsterous construct. Knight one was destroyed, but Mortarion was not far behind.
I kept using the numbers game to my advantage and at the end of four turns the scores were 10-10, but it was in the fifth turn that my lack of models went against me, and the game was lost as I was reduced to zero models on the table. Despite losing, this was a really good game to finish the weekend with, and had Chris not stole initiative, I think it would have been very much my game to lose.
So the weekend was over, I had won one game, drawn one and lost three, not the results I was hoping for, but with the two games with the Knights being very close, I could have come away with three or four wins had the dice gone my way.
Army wise, I lacked numbers, plenty of times I was close to claiming objectives, only for the handful of Plague Marines I had left not being enough to grab those victory points. More bodies definitely means a better chance of claiming victory.
I haven't signed up for any 40k GT events during the rest of the year, but I expect I’ll be back next year to try again. Which army I’ll take, who knows, but I’ll make sure I have enough numbers to be a bit more competitive. Now I need to concentrate on getting my head back in to Age of Sigmar as I have heat 2 of the Grand Tournament in Nottingham to look forward to in May, and Bristol Smash in June.